Archive for December, 2009

Five Healthy Ways to Ring in the New Year

You’re going to start your New Year’s Resolutions at midnight, right? How about getting an early start to 2010’s resolutions on the 31st instead? Here are five great ways to make your New Year’s celebration one of health and happiness instead of headaches and hangovers.

• Start the day with an outdoor holiday activity. Skating, skiing, and walking are great ways kick your new fitness goals into gear.

• Host a “New Year’s Resolution Potluck.” Have friends and family bring over their favorite healthy dishes, or prepare some new healthy dishes everyone wants to try. It’s important to have a balanced meal before any celebrating. This will support  healthy blood sugar levels, and will keep you from snacking quite so much before the night is through.

• Serve lighter versions of festive drinks. Drink spritzers with soda water instead of straight wine. Provide mixes such as 100% cranberry, orange, and pineapple juice instead of soda. Offer hydrating alternatives like coconut water, squashed water (berries and lime slices muddles in sparkling water), or herbal seasonal teas. And have lots of plain ol’ water available. If you must drink alcoholic beverages, remember to “double fist”: wine in one hand, water in the other.

• Plan active party activities. Dancing, Twister, even a lively game of charades will keep everyone active (and away from grazing at the buffet).

• Before bed on any festive evening, enjoy a big glass of water with a multi-vitamin and mineral. Take extra vitamin C to provide antioxidants that help prevent hangovers.

By following some of these holiday tips, your new year will start with a positive attitude and a symptom-free day!


How to stay positive in 2010

In this ever-changing world, it’s important to have energy, enthusiasm, and optimism in every area of our lives to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. How we approach living and feeling about ourselves regarding health issues, relationships, career, family, and finances reflects back into our life as a life experience. That is why it’s so important to be conscious of where we focus our attention and identify areas in our life that are negative.

Doing a little self assessment will enable you to evaluate where you are right now and where you would like to go in 2010. Do you want to live in fear or fulfillment? To create a life that is balanced you need a solid foundation built on positive thinking, optimism, and a healthy lifestyle. To create a life that is built on fear-based thinking is to live a life of limitations, worry, anxiety, and disease. You attract into your life what you consistently think, feel, and act upon.

You can view the upcoming year in two ways, with fear or with anticipation. Overcoming fears can be challenging. But once you identify what they are, the fear becomes less frightening and the time you spent on worry and fear can then be transferred to improving the quality of your life.

While you’re at it, let go of worrying as well. Worry slows you down and uses up your energy and truly serves no purpose. It’s a useless emotion that keeps you stuck in fear.

It really doesn’t matter what your definition of fear is. Don’t let it define who you are. When you face your fears head on, it will give you more confidence, and make you stronger so you can live a much more fulfilling life.

Here are three ways to handle fear.

  1. Talk about it. When you hold fear inside, it gets bigger than it actually is and you begin to think that you are the only one in the world who thinks such things. But you’re not. Talking about your fears will relieve the buildup of emotion, and gives you the opportunity to release and let go to get some positive honest feedback.
  2. Get up and get going. Physical activity gets the blood pumping in the body and boosts the immune system and stimulates the mind. You can walk your worries away.
  3. Set short-term goals. You build self-esteem and confidence when you accomplish a goal and that will help remove fear. Make your first goal a simple one. For example,walking around the block for a week saying your affirmations.

This brings me to another great way to handle your fears — use affirmations. Below are some important points to remember when saying your affirmations.

  • Say the affirmation in the present tense, as you want your subconscious mind to feel that it is already happening
  • Use sentences that are short and to the point.
  • Be very specific with what you desire.
  • Use “I” or “My” when saying your statement.
  • Say the affirmation with feeling, conviction, and emotion.
  • Believe in what you’re saying and anticipate success.
  • Repeat them often so they become a belief in your subconscious mind.

Affirmations are most effective in the morning when you first wake up, and at night just before you drift off to sleep. Using affirmations is an effective way to transform any negative beliefs into positive ones.

Below are a few examples of affirmations for healthy weight. Please use them or alter them so they fit your mindset. Saying them on a regular basis will improve your health and well-being.

  • Today I love my body fully, deeply, and joyfully.
  • I deserve a trim, beautiful, fit, sexy, healthy body.
  • Today I naturally eat less.
  • As I love myself, I allow others to love me too.
  • I practice managing my reaction to foods.
  • I love the way I feel when I take good care of myself.
  • Letting go of weight is effortless for me.
  • Each day I move closer to my ideal weight.

Happy 2010!

Let the excitement begin!


Is it possible to lose weight over the holidays?

Weight release is possible at any time, depending on your priorities and your version of “holiday.” For some people, the holiday season means extra stress, hectic schedules, and lots of get-togethers full of temptations.

For others, it means time off of work, relaxation, exercise, and enjoyment of healthy food and cooking. Depending where you see yourself in this spectrum will determine if your goals can include weight loss, or if it would be more reasonable to aim for weight maintenance.

Take a look at some of these scenarios, and see which ones are applicable to you.

  1. Busy, busy, busy. The whole month of December goes by in a blur of holiday get-togethers, hours of mall shopping, and too many egg-nogs to remember. Anxious busy equals stress hormones, which cause us to retain and store fat. You’re probably skipping meals and activity along the way, which also contributes to the stress factor and weight gain.
  2. Holiday baker extraordinaire. You find joy and peace in baking for others. Baking becomes more of a hobby and relaxation exercise. If you’ve made a conscious effort to substitute your regular, sugar-laden recipes for ones with whole grain flours and natural sweeteners, then you are also giving a gift that doesn’t cause damage or guilt. Fat stores can remain neutral when whole food baking options are chosen.
  3. Skips important healthy weight habits. Instead of attending your favorite spin class, are you taking this time to decorate your house? Are you shopping on your lunch break and skipping lunch? Are you finding you’re drinking more coffee and alcohol than water? In any time of added stress, ensuring you partake in your regular stress-balancing activities is essential for weight management.
  4. Forget all your healthy habits until New Years. All the MindBody FX Lifestyle Habits that you’ve employed are yearlong, including holidays. That “I’ll start again in January” attitude gets you right back to square one. Holding on to as many of these healthy habits as possible will allow January to hold a whole new set of goals — like a dress size smaller.
  5. Embraces time with loved ones. Genuinely enjoying the company of your friends and family will decrease cortisol levels and allow you to enter your rest and digest mode where excess fat stores can be released. Plan health-promoting activities instead of visiting over gingerbread. A winter hike, snowshoeing, or a sleigh ride are great family activities complete with fresh air and possibly some sunshine. Time off over the holidays is a great time to try a new class. Hot yoga will warm anyone after a day of skating. 

Releasing weight over the holidays is totally possible depending on your priorities and choices. If you really love Aunt Donna’s Christmas cake, have some. If you want to lose or maintain your weight, then pass on the second round of coffee and Bailey’s to allow balance. It’s all about happy compromise.

The best tool over the holidays for sticking to your goals is your journal. If you write everything down, you can see that you had nacho dip three times this week, and went to the gym once. You can then schedule gym time with a higher priority for the next week, and choose the carrot and celery sticks for munching.

Journal to remind yourself of why. Write your goals out daily, and you’ll be far more conscious of them. With your goals in mind, you can chose to get through the holidays with a few less pounds on the scale.


Guilt-free alternatives for holiday indulgences: Tip 8

To wrap up my “Guilt-free” series, I saved the best for last to help you enjoy the holiday season.

Today’s tip: Don’t give up.

One day of overeating will not cancel out your entire weight management program, nor will it make you gain weight. You would have to overeat regularly to gain weight. So if you overindulge at a holiday meal, let it go and get on with the fun.

Have a happy holiday without guilt or despair! The holidays are a time of family get togethers, religious celebrations, and enjoying the spirit of goodwill.

Happy holiday eating!


Tips to help you get through the holidays without weight gain

The holidays always seem to fly by. It’s no wonder so many people find it to be a struggle to maintain, or dare I say it, lose weight over the festive season. The holidays run for so long, it stretches the will power pretty thin.

Here are five things to consider in order to not just get through, but to enjoy your holiday season.

1. Liquids. Staying properly hydrated through the month of December may take a little more effort than normal, but it can be very beneficial. Even though the cold weather doesn’t make you think of a tall glass of water, this is exactly what you need to prevent dry winter skin.

Water helps to clear “excess” out of your body, meaning alcohol, sugar, and refined foods — all the items that make you feel less than stellar. Especially with alcohol and caffeinated beverages, remember to drink your two extra glasses of water for every one glass of the above. This allows you to flush these out of your system. A lovely way to start each day is with a glass of warm water with fresh lemon. This will help flush and stimulate the liver and helps it get ready to start its day of holiday feasting.

2. Eating Pattern. It can be tempting to skip a meal in preparation for an event. If you do, your body will think it’s starving and go into stress mode, making you want to eat everything in sight. Keeping your body satisfied with proper nutrition throughout the day is the best way to prevent gorging and allows conscious decision making. Start your day with oatmeal or a smoothie, and continue to eat small, balanced snacks or mini meals throughout the day until the big meal.

3. Nutrient Rich Foods. Let’s face it, some of the traditional holiday treats (shortbread, rum, eggnog, etc.) are not brimming with vitamins, minerals, or fiber. Let’s make sure the food we eat outside of parties are nutrient dense. Include smoothies, fresh juices, and big leafy salads daily to get your nutrient power punch.

4. Activity. How many times have you skipped your scheduled workout to run errands or decorate the house? At this time of year, it’s most important to keep your exercise as consistent as possible. Exercise is an excellent way of dealing with and diffusing stress. Why not schedule holiday get togethers around active pastimes? Walking, harvesting your own Christmas tree, or ice skating can help keep you much more active than meeting for coffee.

5. Mindless Decisions. Have you ever gone to a party and not realized how much you ate or drank? Make your decisions consciously before you’re faced with them. Got three parties in a row? Perhaps one or two drinks a night is all you can “afford.” Save them all up for one special event and go “dry” to the others. Remember that Grandma Eileen’s Christmas pudding is much better than the store-bought one served at your office party. Why not wait for the one you will truly enjoy?

Holidays are not about depriving you of your favorite foods, they’re about enjoying the good things in life.

Getting through the holidays without sacrificing your healthy habits is one goal, but enjoying your holidays and making them work to your benefit is quite another. Enjoy your time with family, friends, and acquaintances, but remember you have to live with yourself all year long. Keep yourself as top priority. Think of it as an early Christmas present to you.


Guilt-free alternatives for holiday indulgences: Tip 7

Do something out of the ordinary to start your Monday off during this holiday season. Creating new routines in the winter is a good way to mix things up. This leads me to the next tip in my “Guilt-free” series.

Today’s tip: Start a new family tradition around the holidays.

Start planning outings instead of planning meals. A fun event will be remembered by everyone. Arrange a skating party, or tobogganing, maybe cross-country skiing, and make sure to bring along a thermos of hot herbal tea or hot cider to keep everyone warm.

If that’s not possible, how about a nice family walk after dinner where you can admire all the Christmas lights and decorations on the homes in your neighborhood. Make the focus on burning calories, not eating them.


Guilt-free alternatives for holiday indulgences: Tip 6

Around the holidays, people are so concerned about gaining weight that won’t fully enjoy their holiday. That brings me to todays tip in my “Guilt-free” series.

Today’s tip: Choose wisely.

Stop thinking that your favorite holiday foods have to be off limit. No food will make you gain weight unless you eat too much of it. A simple way to enjoy your holiday treats is to eat them in smaller portions. Usually the taste is enough to satisfy a craving.

Denying a craving can actually make the it worse, so indulge, just don’t overindulge. I recommend the 4-bite rule. Anywhere between 2 – 4 bites usually curbs the craving and leaves you satisfied. So enjoy, just do it in moderation.


The secret to holiday weight loss

Do you feel it’s a constant struggle to maintain your weight around the holidays? You’re afraid you will spiral out of control and eat your way to the dreaded, but familiar, holiday weight gain syndrome? 

Do you think you’re destined to struggle with your weight forever and that is simply the way it is?

Do you allow old beliefs and patterns to take over your mind when you join in the family celebrations?

No doubt you have a basket full with excuses and reasons why you can and will overeat during the holidays, and then attempt to gain back control come Jan. 2.
Would you like to put the struggling behind you once and for all? I know the missing link to your success, the truth about how you can create the body you want, and maintain it permanently, even over the holiday season.

It is all in your mind. You control your thoughts. When you are committed, focused, and have a strong desire to live in a healthy, fit, and sexy body, you will spend time each day visualizing it. Using positive affirmations and eating mindfully will help you create the body you desire. 

When what you believe about yourself is parallel on the inside, you will no longer self-sabotage. You will release the fear around holiday weight gain and not attract it into your life ever again!

It is to your advantage to begin right now to recommit to the goals you’ve set around your weight loss program. Take out your journal and start to write down all the reasons you set out on this journey. Make it a lifestyle change, not simply a goal to lose weight. 

It is important that you don’t focus your attention on the “fear” of gaining weight because you attract it into your life. Focus on what you desire, what you want (not what you don’t want) to attract into your life, how you want to live your life, and how you see yourself in your ideal body at the ideal weight living your dreams.

Once you’re in alignment with what you’re thinking and feeling, you will no longer struggle with your weight. You will simply know, feel, and embody the person you really are at your core. The weight will melt away without struggle. You will no longer live in fear around food because your focus and attention is on living the life you choose.

Until you change the way you think and feel, the outer action will always be a struggle. Choose your thoughts wisely. Set an intention every morning over the holiday season to release any and all fear around weight gain, temptation, and know that you are aligned with what you want to achieve.


5 health-savvy gifts under $50

Is your significant other still asking you what you want for Christmas? Wouldn’t it be nice to get something that supports your new lifestyle? Instead of a gift certificate to a new restaurant that will hinder your fitness goals, pass along this list and perhaps your significant other will get the hint!

Here are five gifts under $50 that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

1. Yoga/pilates accessory gift pack. Yoga, pilates, and stretching are more motivating to do when you’re properly equipped. A yoga mat, strap, blocks, and a yoga or pilates DVD will make it easier to get these mindful activities into your day. These additional accessories will also be helpful in your MindBody FX yoga DVD.

2. One-month gym membership or fitness class punch card. January is always a great time to check out fitness facilities. Many fitness or yoga studios are now based on punch cards — go at your own leisure. Remember it’s paid for, so you have no excuses not to get your butt to class.

3. Heart rate monitor or pedometer. If you’re a runner, a heart rate monitor is a great tool to use while running to stay in your optimal heart rate range. If walking or hiking is more your thing, a pedometer and step tracking journal will help you reach 10,000 steps a day much easier since you’ll know how many steps you’ve taken!

 4. Set of hand weights. Cardio exercise burns extra energy, but building muscles allows that exercise to be more effective. A set of hand weights (start with 3, 5, and 8 lbs. weights) can be easily incorporated into lunges, squats, and shoulder exercises. Find a strength routine and incorporate it into your workout, ideally three times a week.

 5. Healthy eating or fitness magazine subscription. Getting a health magazine in the mail every month is that little nudge you can use to stay focused on your goals. Magazines I recommend are Fitness,Yoga Journal, Clean Eating, and Eating Well. Make sure you look at them as healthy tools, and not something to be jealous of, or make yourself think you could be doing more. They are the push to keep you going on your path.

Having the right tools allows you to leave your excuses at the door, along with last year’s larger pants. You have goals. You are going to achieve them. So ask your loved ones to help you get there with these great fitness-friendly holiday gifts.


Guilt-free alternatives for holiday indulgences: Tip 5

In yesterday’s post, I talked about the temptation to skip meals before you attend a dinner party. Let’s turn our attention from food in my “Guilt-free” series to drinks for today’s post.

Today’s tip: Try not to drink your calories.

Plan around the beverages you will drink.  If you choose to drink alcohol, bring your own light wines and beers to the party. If you plan to drink liquor, use low-calorie mixers like soda water, tonic water, or cranberry juice. You will find it’s much easier to deal with social drinking if you have a plan.

Also remember that alcohol is a dehydrator. You should drink two glasses of water for each alcoholic beverage.