Sunday, October 31, 2010

Health Tip

Resolved to lose weight? Consider keeping a food diary. A recent study found that logging what you eat doubles the number of pounds lost.

How much of a grasp do you have on how much food you actually consume in a day? If you’re a mindless nibbler, a habitual grazer or a grab-and-go-er, you may be putting away more than you realize. Keeping a food journal — where you record everything that passes your lips — can help you understand exactly what your eating patterns are. Once you have more objectivity about your current diet, you can make more informed choices about what you want to eat for each meal and snack. It can also help you determine if what you’re feeling is actual hunger or something else, such as boredom. Your food journal needn’t be fancy; it can be as simple as a pad of paper or even a Word document or Excel spreadsheet. Whatever mode you choose, jot down what time you eat, what and how much you eat, and how you were feeling when you ate (something as simple as tired, rushed or starving works great). Research shows that this simple act will make you likely to lose up to twice as many more pounds than if you didn’t set pen to paper (according to a 2008 study by Kaiser Permanent’s Center for Health Research).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Health Tip

Got a mean streak? Time to learn how to play nice. Antagonistic people have thicker arterial walls, a risk factor for heart disease.

Do friends tell you that you’re antagonistic? If you like to dig at people or instigate trouble, it might be wise to dial down the combative behavior. People who are overly aggressive or competitive may be at greater risk of heart attacks or strokes, according to a study in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. As we age, the lining of our arterial walls starts to thicken, which has correlated with a greater risk of heart disease. The more antagonistic a person is, the thicker their arteries tend to be — even at a young age. If you blow your fuse often, consider a course in anger management. Losing weight, quitting smoking and engaging in regular physical activity can be beneficial and decrease the rate of arterial thickening. Physical exercise is also great for stress reduction!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wellness Tip

Keep your favorite snacks out of reach during stressful situations. That’s when women are more likely to engage in mindless eating.

We all know that stress can make us chow down on our favorite unhealthy foods. But did you know that the urge to overeat can linger even after the frustration has subsided? A crazy week at work, for instance, could lead to a snacking binge over the weekend. If you know that you’re going to be entering into a challenging situation, keep temptations to a minimum by stocking your home with enjoyable but healthful snacks. You can also work on minimizing the effects of stress by going for a walk, spending time with friends, meditating or watching a funny movie.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Food Tip

Choose your energy bar wisely. Many of these so-called healthy snacks are essentially candy bars in disguise.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Exercise Tip

Simple calf and ankle exercises can be performed right at your desk.
Our fitness expert recommends the following: 1) Lift and lower both heels while keeping the balls of your feet planted firmly on the floor with knees bent at a 90-degree angle; and 2) Work the opposing muscles of the shin by lifting and lowering the balls of your feet with your heels on the floor. Shoot for 20-30 repetitions of both exercises.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Spend time with giving people. Witnessing others’ acts of kindness can make us want to be more helpful.

Remember those commercials where someone offers his umbrella to a rain-soaked stranger? According to research in the journal Psychological Science, watching people perform altruistic acts doesn’t just feel good — it makes us want to be good too. Kindness is contagious, so surround yourself with giving people. In doing so, you will provide positive role models for your kids, who might just grow up to be the kind of Good Samaritans that make others want to be better people too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Health Tip

Studies show that walking has health benefits and a low risk of injury. It can be done year round and in many settings.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.

- Michael Jordan

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wellness Tip

Kids now get 27 percent of their calories from junk food. Make sure they eat real meals to avoid all-day snacking.

Kids don’t need to nibble on food all day long — in fact, they shouldn’t. According to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, children in the U.S. now get 27 percent of their daily calories from junk food. The reason, it seems, is because many are snacking on sugary, high-calorie beverages and treats throughout the day, in addition to their regular meals. Kids need structured meals that fill them up, so they won’t be constantly grazing throughout the day, explains adolescent nutritionist Alicia Dixon Docter, MS, RD, of Seattle Children’s Hospital. “When people eat constantly, insulin levels remain elevated, which can lead to an increase of fat storage on the body,” says Docter. Waiting every three hours to eat allows blood sugar levels to return to normal. Kids who never have the chance to experience hunger or fullness are also more likely to overeat.

Wellness Tip

How to lower your risk of developing heart disease: Swap out red meat for other sources of protein, like nuts, fish and poultry.

Women can reduce their risk of developing heart disease by limiting the amount of red meat in their diet. That, according to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The study found that women who ate two servings of red meat per day had a 30 percent greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, compared with those who ate half a serving per day. By switching out foods like burgers, hot dogs, bologna and bacon for nuts, fish, chicken or low-fat dairy, you may be able to significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Good choices for quick meals include turkey burgers, chicken without the skin and grilled salmon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Health Tip

Fight bad breath with a cup of green or black tea. Research suggests that the polyphenols in tea can reduce odor-causing bacteria.

Worried about bad breath? Sip on a cup of tea. Bad breath, or halitosis, occurs when oral bacteria produce foul-smelling sulfur compounds that stink up the mouth. Chemicals in green, black, oolong and white tea called polyphenols help prevent the bacteria responsible for bad breath and, at the same time, keep existing bacteria from making the offensive sulfur mixture. If you’re concerned about getting the most polyphenols per cup, white tea generally has the most, followed by green, oolong and black. However, studies on halitosis and tea show that black tea, which has the fewest polyphenols, is still effective in reducing bad breath. So drink whichever flavor suits you best.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Exercise Tip

Simple calf and ankle exercises can be performed right at your desk. We recommend the following: 1) Lift and lower both heels while keeping the balls of your feet planted firmly on the floor with knees bent at a 90-degree angle; and 2) Work the opposing muscles of the shin by lifting and lowering the balls of your feet with your heels on the floor. Shoot for 20-30 repetitions of both exercises.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fitness Tip

You don’t have to lift the heaviest weights to build bigger muscles. But you do have to do enough reps to exhaust your muscles.

Many gym-goers believe they have to pump iron with heavy weights to get the biggest muscle gain. But a new study at McMaster University shows you can build just as much muscle using lighter weights, as long as you reach muscle fatigue. That means keep going until you can’t lift anymore. This is especially good news for the elderly, people with arthritis and weight lifting novices. Start with a weight that you can lift 12 to 15 times before fatiguing. Repeat each exercise until you can no longer do another while still maintaining proper form.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Food Tip

Be portion-size savvy: Pour a bowl of cereal. Dump into a measuring cup. Compare it to the serving size on the box. Repeat with other food.

Most people are not very good at judging how much food is on their plate. We may think we’re eating a normal-size portion when, in reality, we’re putting back two to three times the recommended amount. Do you know how big your portion sizes are? Try this test. Pour yourself your usual serving of cereal. Now empty your bowl into a measuring cup to see how much you’ve got. How does it compare to the serving size on the box? “But cereal portions are tiny!” you’re thinking. If a single-cup serving of cereal won’t fill you up, add two tablespoons of ground flaxseed and half a cup of blueberries. The healthy fat in the flaxseed and the fiber of the blueberries will help fill you up. Plus, you’ll get far more nutrients than eating a bowl of cereal alone.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Note how good you feel after you have encouraged someone else. No other argument is necessary to suggest that one should never miss the opportunity to give encouragement.

- George Matthew Adams

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wellness Tip

Daily mindfulness training can combat the effects of a high-stress situation. Buffer your mood with deep breathing exercises.

We all know how stressful situations can get the better of us. They can make us irritable, distracted and even forgetful. Practicing mindfulness techniques can help. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied the effects of mindfulness training — learning how to be present in the moment without reacting emotionally — on a military group about to be deployed to Iraq. They found that the more time spent on daily mindfulness exercises, the better their mood and working memory. Mindfulness allows us to not get lost in our thoughts or emotions, and instead teaches acceptance of the situation. To begin, sit in a comfortable, upright position, somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Set a timer for 10 minutes so you won’t have to glance at the clock. Gaze somewhere in front of you as you focus on your breath. Notice the sensations, like the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen. If thoughts arise, just acknowledge them and then let them go and come back to the focus of your breath. Don’t judge yourself harshly for stray thoughts, for it is the nature of the mind for thoughts to arise. The practice is to recognize when you have been carried away by them. Pay attention to each moment and each breath during this time. Take this time for yourself and see how much better you feel at the conclusion.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fitness Tip

Keeping a fitness journal is a great way to maintain an active lifestyle and get back on track when you feel your exercise habits slipping. Journaling allows you to set and record fitness goals, track your progress, map your successes, and stay motivated. A fitness journal provides valuable feedback to help you assess your plan and make adjustments when needed. Start a journal and stay on your journey to fitness!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nutritional Tip

Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse! It is low in calories but dense in nutrients including calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin A. Keep fresh spinach cool and minimize storage time. Consider reduced-sodium canned and frozen spinach as other options if you can't eat it soon after buying it.

Wellness Tip

Recent studies suggest obese men may have more trouble conceiving with their partner. One study found that a 20-pound weight gain can increase a man’s chance of infertility by about 10 percent. A separate study found a link between weight and sperm health; obese men had higher levels of abnormal sperm and lower semen volume. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise is important to achieving a healthy weight and maintaining good reproductive health.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Exercise Tip

The best way to keep your kids active: Be active yourself. Institute daily walks or bike rides during family fun time.

Set a good example for your kids by getting off the couch and being active. Parents who watch a lot of TV are more likely to have kids who do too. Little ones like to get involved with whatever Mom or Dad is doing. Pop in your favorite workout DVD and let your tots join in. You can even buy workout programs that are made for kids and parents to do together. If your children are older, center family time around physical activities, like shooting hoops or going for a bike ride or daily after-dinner walk.