The Art and Science of Foods That Fill You Up

A big part of healthy eating is filling up on the right foods. The problem is that trying to avoid cravings can feel crazy sometimes. Some people eat lunch and feel hungry again an hour later. What’s up with that?

The Science Behind Feeling Full

The reason you feel full after eating something is all in your head, literally. As your stomach digests your meal, it sends signals to your brain telling you that you’re not hungry anymore. Your body takes time to break down food into nutrients, releasing hormones that help you feel full and content.

Even your emotions are involved. Have you ever noticed how happy and satisfied you are after eating a meal that you love? On the other hand, when you’re stressed or depressed, you probably feel hungrier than normal. This is all because of hormones.

The Reason Some Foods Make You Feel Full Longer Than Others

Why are some foods more filling than others? One reason is that they take longer to digest. The more time your stomach spends processing food, the less time it has to feel hungry. Here are a few things that can make any meal more filling:

  • Fiber: Foods that are high in fiber take longer for your body to digest. Fiber turns the things you eat into a kind of gel, slowing them down as they move through your intestines. Another benefit of fiber is that it balances your blood-sugar levels, basically telling your body that your energy levels are good so you don’t need to eat anything else.

  • Protein: When you eat protein, your body releases specific hormones responsible for feelings of fullness. High-protein foods are the best snacks for calming the munchies. Eggs have a lot of protein, and so do nuts and different types of fish.

  • Water: Getting enough water with meals is a great way to calm your appetite. Not only does water have zero calories, it contributes to fullness. Fruit that naturally has high water content is very filling, such as a slice of watermelon or some fresh pineapple.

Other foods help you stay full longer because they have a low energy density. In other words, they have a lot of volume but not very many calories. You feel satisfied without feeling guilty.


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The Best Foods for Calming Hunger

The munchies can make cutting calories from your diet easier said than done. To have success with your weight loss goals, reach for these foods at meal time:

  • Soup: Cooked veggies and protein with plenty of water are the perfect recipe for a filling meal.

  • Greek yogurt: This healthy treat has a lot of protein and probiotics to calm hungry feelings.

  • Vegetables: Did you know that broccoli is 90% water? Leafy greens are packed with fiber, too. Carrots are another filling choice.

  • Fresh fruit: Apples, bananas and oranges have plenty of fiber and water, and they’re super-fast to grab on the go.

  • Potatoes: Boiled or baked potatoes are among the most filling foods on the planet. Scientists think they have a special protein that suppresses appetite.

My personal recommendation is to add a salad to everything (but skip the ranch dressing). If you’re making spaghetti for your kids, make some salad, too. That way you eat fewer calories but still feel satisfied. This helps calm nighttime snacking temptations a lot.

Understanding Hygge and How To Incorporate It Into Your Life

People often assume that daily stress and anxiety are part of existence, that there is no way around or resolving the emotional struggles of life, but is that true? To a certain extent, pressure and emotional wear are routine; however, that does not mean you cannot alter it or reduce your psychological interaction with it.

For centuries, people have practiced mindfulness to take back control from corrosive emotions that drain feelings of happiness and acceptance. The practices and techniques used to accomplish this task vary, such as yoga or meditation, but at the heart of every exercise is finding equilibrium with life, work, socialness, relationships, and everything that makes you who you are.

Despite dating back to the 18th century, hygge — pronounced “hue-guh” or “hoo-gah” — is beginning to dominate the mindfulness generation. People are claiming health, psychological, and social benefits from the practice based on cozy living. To learn more, the remainder of this article will focus on defining hygge and examining some of the benefit claims, wrapping up with how to implement the practice in your own life.

Understanding Hygge

Hygge, a quality of coziness that promotes a feeling of contentment and well-being, originates in Danish culture. It is the practice of focusing on peace, comfort, and coziness in your daily life. To experience hygge, participants must create a warm atmosphere with positive attributes and share that atmosphere with good people who ultimately contribute to optimistic feelings.

While the description can seem a little vague — create a happy place for happy people — in practice, hygge offers profound improvements on both mental and physical health. It would seem that the focused act of finding and cultivating positivity and comfort leads to comparable feelings, leading to the reduction of stress and anxiety.

Advantages of the Practice

Hygge promotes a healthy and calm lifestyle, which, in turn, creates opportunities for psychological, health, and social benefits. For most people, the assumption that hygge can lead to improved mental health seems obvious. Focusing on comfort and serenity, your body naturally responds with less stress, leading to less depression and anxiety risks. Even more profound, hygge can lead to improved self-worth, increased optimism, and a practice of gratitude and compassion.

With routine practice, hygge expands on these emotional benefits with real health advantages. People who practice hygge claim they experience improved sleep and self-care, less dependence on alcohol and drugs, and sustained dietary practices, like weight regulation.

An unexpected benefit of hygge is an improved social life. Since the practice encourages comfort and emotional safety, practitioners are more inclined to build and nurture stable relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Since people feel more comfortable and safe with hygge, they tend to be more trusting, intimate, and more in-tune with in-person interactions.


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Incorporating Hygge Into Your Daily Life

Incorporating hygge into your daily routine is not challenging. You can use several techniques for both home and the office. For example, at home, try incorporating one or all of the following:

  • Neutral colors

  • Soft textures (blankets, pillows, rugs, etc.)

  • Plants

  • Wood elements

  • Personal items (family pictures, art, etc.)

  • Fireplace or candles

  • Warm, soft lighting

  • Casual gatherings with friends and loved ones

In the office, it can be a little more challenging to customize your space. However, you can consider some or all of the following:

  • Accent lamps with soft white bulbs

  • Area rug

  • Family pictures

  • Potted succulent plant

Hygge is a useful tool that contributes to a person’s emotional, physical, and social health. The key to any mindfulness technique, however, is finding peace within yourself. Do you practice hygge? Leave a comment below.

How to Use Less Plastic in Your Home

Plastic is one of those persistent enemies that the world just can’t seem to get rid of. Though everyone knows how harmful it is, it’s still used in incredible amounts. Take a 10-minute walk around your house and briefly note everything you see that’s made of plastic. You may be surprised to discover just how much of this undesirable material you have in your own home.

Fortunately, you can do what I did and make these lifestyle changes to turn yourself and your family from plastic consumers to plastic shunners.

Buy Boxed Instead of Bottled Products

This tip may seem nearly impossible at first, but it is possible to avoid some bottled products by looking for boxed alternatives. For example, instead of buying liquid laundry detergent in plastic bottles, shop for laundry detergent in powder form that comes in cardboard boxes. If you absolutely must purchase plastic bottles for food or hygiene items (sometimes it’s unavoidable), choose only bottles that have the recycle symbol on the bottom.

Invest in Reusable Straws

Straws are small and may seem harmless, but they’re used in huge quantities and contribute to the world’s plastic waste problem. If you love straws and don’t want to give them up, don’t worry! There are reusable options available. Consider purchasing a pack of reusable glass or stainless-steel straws and keeping one or two in your purse or car so you can use it when you go out to restaurants.

Ditch the Plasticware

No one likes to do dishes, but if you regularly use plasticware to eat your meals, it’s time to consider how you’re impacting the environment. It’s best to use reusable silverware, even if it means spending a few extra minutes doing the dishes. When you request take-out from nearby restaurants, specifically request no plasticware with your order.


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Use a Reusable Water Bottle

Reusable water bottles are so much better for you and the environment than their plastic counterparts. Plus, they often come with cute patterns that match your personality. Drinking from plastic water bottles can leave a bad flavor in your mouth, so you’ll love switching to reusable bottles for the taste alone.

Invest in a Water Purifier

If you like to drink bottled water because your tap water is gross, why not invest in a water purifier? You’ll not only save money, but you’ll help save the environment as well. Every year, billions of plastic water bottles make their way to the landfill. You can make a small dent in that number by ditching your bottled water habit and using a purifier instead.

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are not only bottled in plastic containers, but they’re also full of toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and to you. Instead of purchasing commercial cleaners, consider making your own using natural ingredients such as vinegar, antibacterial essential oils, lemon juice, and/or baking soda. There are plenty of recipes for cleaners online. Use glass spray bottles to store and use your environmentally safe cleaning products.

Use Reusable Produce Bags

Did you know a single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to fully degrade? Instead of using single-use plastic bags, opt for reusable produce bags. Just make sure you wash them frequently to cut back on germs.

Drink Fresh-Squeezed Juice

Do you love drinking juice? Try squeezing it fresh from oranges or apples. You’ll be using less plastic, and you’ll also maximize the health benefits fresh juice can offer. Fresh-squeezed juice is not processed and it hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for days or weeks, so it’s packed full of nutrients.

Once you make it a habit to avoid plastic whenever possible, the task will become easier (I promise!). You’ll also have greater peace of mind knowing you’re doing your part to protect this beautiful planet we call home.

Get the Skinny on Food Labels

Woman shopping

Deciphering the numbers and acronyms on a nutrition label might feel like cracking the Rosetta stone. If you know what to look at, though, these facts can be the key to a healthier you. This guide will provide the basics you need to create nourishing daily meals.

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size

This info, which appears right at the top of the label, informs everything else you'll read. If you're like me, you've been tricked by serving size one too many times. That small package of cookies might look like a single serving, but the label may reveal that it's meant to be split into two (or more) snacks. This part of the label clearly states the size of a serving and the number of servings in the package.

Dairy aisle

Calories Per Serving

In this section, you'll find out just how many calories you'll consume with each serving. For example, if a box of crackers contains 8 servings at 200 calories each, you can multiple the number of servings you plan to eat by 200 to estimate your total intake. Most people should get about 2,000 calories each day according to the FDA, but this varies based on age, weight and health status.

Some food labels have two columns. This design shows you the calories and nutrients in a single serving as well as in the entire food package.


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Ingredient List

Unless you're buying a product with just one ingredient, the nutrition label must have an ingredient list. These items appear in descending order by weight. In other words, the first ingredient represents the largest portion of the product while the last ingredient represents the smallest amount.

Girl Grocery shopping

Percent Daily Values

This column next to each ingredient (%DV) indicates the percentage of that nutrient you should consume each day. When it comes to vitamins, minerals, fiber and other ingredients that support good health, look for a %DV of around 20% or higher.

You should limit unhealthy ingredients like sodium, cholesterol, trans fat and saturated fat. Stick to choices with 5%DV or less in this category based on advice from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Grocery aisle

Words To Learn

Federal law prevents food manufacturers from using certain terms unless their product meets specific criteria. Get ahead of the game by understanding what these words really mean:

  • Foods labeled as "high in" something must have at least 20%DV of that nutrient. Manufacturers can also use the term "excellent source of..." in this case.
  • A "good source" of a nutrient has 10 to 19%DV of that ingredient.
  • Low-sodium foods have no more than 140 mg of salt in each serving.
  • Sugar-free and fat-free foods must have less than 1/2 g of sugar or fat in each serving.
  • If a food is labeled "calorie-free," it has fewer than 5 calories in each serving. "Low-cal" foods have fewer than 40 calories per serving.
  • The word "reduced" indicates that the product has at least 25% less of something than the standard version, usually calories, sugar or fat.
  • Low-cholesterol foods must have less than 2 g of saturated fat and 20 mg or less of cholesterol.
  • Total sugars are present naturally in foods, including healthy items such as fruits. These are listed separately from added sugars, which can torpedo your efforts to stay healthy.
Grocery aisle

When deciding whether a specific food fits with your nutritional goals, go straight to the nutrition label with your newfound knowledge. Avoid looking at the front of the box, which features marketing claims that may or may not reflect the actual quality of the product. No matter what your dietary goals, reading food labels correctly gives you a map to success.

New Year, New You: How to Use Resolutions to Become a Morning Person

Woman Waking Up

Be honest: would you say you're a morning person? If the answer is a resounding no, you're not alone.
Lots of people dread waking up early or can't function until they have at least two cups of coffee coursing through their veins. While molding yourself into a chipper and cheerful morning person may seem unlikely, it's absolutely possible.

With a new year comes a renewed commitment to health, wellness, and personal goals. Like everything else, you just need to tease out those bad habits and develop a strategy for eliminating them. Here are a few great tips to help you beat the morning blues and attack every day with everything you got.

Alarm Clock

Say No to the Snooze Button

The snooze button is an evil temptress. You tell yourself "just a few more minutes", only to find that an hour has passed, and now you're late for work. While it's best to not use the snooze button at all, it can be difficult to go cold turkey completely. Once again, technology comes to the rescue. Smart alarm apps offer creative ways to snooze, including math problems that must be solved before you can secure that ten extra minutes. If you're not a math person, don't fret. The act of working out a problem can help wake up your brain, even if you don't get the correct answer.

Glass of water

Drink a Glass of Water Upon Waking

It's true that coffee is associated with a quick pick-me-up in the morning, but water is a better choice of beverage. Water rehydrates the body, fuels the brain, and gives you the burst of energy you need to function optimally in the early hours. For an even greater rejuvenating effect, make the first beverage you drink in the morning a chilly glass of ice water.

Good night


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Establish a Sleep Schedule

A consistent sleep schedule gets your body in tune with waking up early each morning. Additionally, your schedule should extend to the weekends as well, meaning if you get up at 7 am for work during the week, you should get up at the same time Saturday and Sunday. If you have problems falling asleep at a reasonable hour, develop a bedtime ritual. Avoid exercise, digital screens, and caffeine at least two hours before bedtime. Make your bedroom a work-free zone, meaning no laptops, no emails, and no texting. Try reading or taking a relaxing bath to get you in the mood for sleep.

Morning Yoga

Exercise Right After Waking Up

Much like math problems help wake up your brain, exercise helps wake up your body. Now, that doesn't mean you should pop out of bed and go run a half-marathon every morning. Something simple and low-key, like yoga or stretching exercises, should be enough to get you up and moving. There are plenty of free videos online featuring quick and easy exercises you can do each day. Fair warning, the first morning of exercise will probably be difficult. Stick to it, and you'll find each day getting easier and easier.

Cup of coffee

Invest in a Wake-Up Alarm

A bit of sunlight is just the thing to get you up in the morning. When your bedroom lacks strategically placed windows, or you're faced with a gloomy morning, a wake-up alarm is the next best thing. Also known as sunrise lamps, these devices gradually illuminate to mimic sunrise. This signals to your body that it's time to wake up, which is a more comforting process than being roused out of sleep by a blaring alarm.

Anyone can be a morning person when properly motivated. Using one or more of the above techniques can change your perspective, and your life. With the right attitude, you'll be greeting mornings with a smile before you even know it.

The Best Natural Ways To Get Electrolytes

Bottles

Did you know that electrolytes help your body conduct electricity? I’m not talking about zapping your hair into a frizzy nightmare like in the cartoons. Any time your muscles or nerves go to work, they need energy, which is where electrolytes come in. The more you sweat, the more of these essential vitamins and minerals you lose.

Woman Running on Beach

Electrolytes Are Pure Energy … Literally.

You should be getting potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium every day anyway, but your muscles especially need them before, during and after physical or mental exertion. This is why being dehydrated makes you feel like your body is shutting down. And your brain isn’t exactly thrilled either; low electrolyte levels cause problems with concentration and mood.

Gatorade

Gatorade and Powerade and Vitamin Water, Oh My!

How do sports drinks stack up when it comes to giving your body the electrolytes it needs? They’re popular, that’s for sure. But there’s a bad reason for that: Most are filled with sugar.

In one popular brand, the ingredient list I saw read “water, crystalline fructose, cane sugar” and less than 0.5% of different vitamins. In other words, you’re basically getting water and two types of sugar.

Relying on these drinks for your daily fix of electrolytes is like hitting the snooze button on your alarm by taking a sledgehammer to it. Sure, they give you electrolytes, but they also give you a ton of fat-boosting carbs, which is what I’m trying to get rid of when I exercise!


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Coconut Water

The Best Options for Getting Electrolytes and Staying Hydrated.

Believe it or not, you can actually get a lot of electrolytes for free. My other favorite sources are 100% natural, as close to healthy as you can get. Here’s how to hydrate the right way:

  • Tap water: In may areas, tap water naturally has quite of bit of magnesium, sodium and calcium, meaning it compares to pretty much all of the sports drinks on the market. Of course, some people don’t love the taste.
  • Coconut water: This is nature’s answer to electrolyte water. Coconut water has absolutely everything you need for workouts: sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium. It has a pleasant, neutral taste and just 46 calories a cup. I guess getting lost on a desert island isn’t that bad after all!
  • Watermelon: This refreshing summertime fave is over 90% water, making it smart for pre- and post-workout hydration. Sometimes I eat a few slices and other times I drink homemade watermelon juice. Watermelon has a lot of potassium and magnesium.
  • Tart cherry juice: Unsweetened tart cherry juice is rich in electrolytes and vitamins. It has 14% of your daily potassium, 60% of the vitamin A and 40% of the vitamin C you need. Plus, several studies say this juice can increase muscle strength while reducing soreness and recovery time!
  • Milk: Calcium, potassium, protein … remind you of anything? That’s right, milk! Most people wouldn't think of a milk moustache for electrolytes, but this healthy drink is actually one of the most balanced (unless you’re lactose intolerant). Since milk is more filling than other options, however, I would recommend drinking it after workouts, not before.
Coconuts

If you really want to target the perfect electrolyte balance for your body, make a smoothie! A blend of watermelon, frozen mango (or another favorite fruit), milk, pumpkin seeds and coconut water hits the spot after exercising. Always add a sprinkle of sea salt (1/8 teaspoon for every 5 cups of your smoothie) since that’s the electrolyte you sweat the most.

How To Deep Clean Your Kitchen and Save Money With Green Cleaning Products

Clean kitchen

I love green cleaning products. They’re environmentally friendly, practical and safe for my kids. Those benefits are all a huge bonus on my mom checklist. Plus, things such as vinegar and baking soda are insanely cheap! Here are a few of my favorites.

Baking Soda

For Everyday Cleaning/Disinfecting: 

White Vinegar Kitchen Cleaner

What You Need

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Essential oil (optional)

I use this solution every day. It makes me feel great whether I’m mopping the kitchen floor, scrubbing the microwave or cleaning up around the sink. I especially love the touch of essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree. They make the cleaner smell wonderful and my hands never dry out like they used to with harsh cleaning chemicals.

Oil on Water

For Grease:

Olive Oil, Vinegar and Baking Soda Cleanser

What You Need

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp liquid castile soap
  • 1 tbs baking soda
  • 3 cups warm water

Technically, this deep cleaner gets a lot of its cleaning power from something called pure castile soap, not the olive oil in your kitchen. Even though it’s green, castile soap packs quite a punch when it comes to dirt and grime. To boost its grease-cutting power, I add white vinegar and baking soda to the mix. This is everything you need for cleaning the inside of the oven, range hood, grill grate, kitchen backsplash and other greasy areas.


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Granite counter top

For Granite and Marble:

Pure Castile Soap Solution

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons of pure castile soap
  • 1 gallon of distilled water

The one area you have to be careful with when you choose green cleaners is stone countertops. Granite and marble have a special protective layer that keeps them from scratching or staining, and acidic ingredients such as citrus or vinegar slowly eat away at this coating.

The one area you have to be careful with when you choose green cleaners is stone countertops. Granite and marble have a special protective layer that keeps them from scratching or staining, and acidic ingredients such as citrus or vinegar slowly eat away at this coating.

Citrus Cleaner

For Deep Cleaning:

Citrus DIY Kitchen Cleaner

What You Need

  • Peels from any citrus fruit (grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges)
  • White vinegar
  • Large glass mason jars
  • Mesh sieve
  • Spray bottle

How To Make It

  1. 1
    Save up your citrus peels and put them in the mason jar.
  2. 2
    Add enough white vinegar to cover all of the peels completely. Seal the jar and let it sit for a week or two. The longer you leave it, the more powerful the cleaner will be.
  3. 3
    Use the sieve to pour only the liquid into a separate mason jar or covered container. Get rid of the leftover peels.
  4. 4
    Fill a plastic spray bottle halfway with this citrus liquid and the rest distilled water.
  5. 5
    Use this mixture to clean any kitchen surface except marble or granite. For stubborn grime, use the citrus liquid directly without diluting with water.

The secret to major germ-fighting power actually lies in the peels, not the juice. What I love the most about this cleaner is the fresh scent you get with orange, lemon or grapefruit. It's so bright and cheery.

Cleaning Kitchen

Don't forget: When life hands you lemons, make DIY kitchen disinfectant! Your entire kitchen will smell 100% clean afterwards and look amazing, and your hands will thank you.

5 Tricks To Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Woman Sleeping

Are you having trouble falling asleep at night? Do you wake up many times every night? You’ve love these five easy and effective tricks for getting a great night's sleep all year long:

1. Eat Breakfast at Night

What kind of nonsense is this?! Breakfast for dinner? Well, according to scientists, absolutely.
I know it’s hard to eat a mouthwatering omelet, some lean bacon, a fresh banana and some delicious whole-grain toast for dinner, but … oh, who am I kidding? Breakfast is amazing!

Eating breakfast at night is good for falling asleep because most breakfast foods are rich in the right nutrients. Eggs are packed with protein, toast has filling carbs and bananas are rich in potassium. This combination makes your muscles relax, which is just what your body needs to fall asleep.

Bananas

2. Go Outside

I’m not encouraging you to sleepwalk. What you need is to get some sun and fresh air during the day. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, go for a short walk, admire your summer garden or watch your dog play around in the snow. Sunlight keeps your normal sleep rhythm balanced, so when it gets dark, your body understands that it’s time to sleep.

Sunny Day outside


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3. Try Some Spiced Almond Milk

Just about everyone has heard the secret of drinking warm milk before bedtime. But did you know it doesn’t have to be cow’s milk? Almond milk has a ton of tryptophan, melatonin and magnesium, natural compounds that get your body in the mood to sleep.

Plus, I’ll be honest. The idea of sipping warm cow’s milk doesn’t appeal to me. On the other hand, I love this spiced almond milk recipe. It’s delicious and relaxing, and it helps me sleep like a baby.

What You Need

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbs almond butter
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey

How To Make Spiced Almond Milk

This recipe is really easy. Just put all of the ingredients in a small pot and heat on the stove until it’s warm. Serve in a mug and sip calmly while listening to soft jazz or classical music. I recommend Etta James.

Almond Milk

4. Invest in the Best Sheets

Your mattress isn’t the only thing that makes a huge difference in sleep quality. So do your bedsheets. Look for breathable cotton or silk. Yes, they cost me more than polyester, but they were so worth the investment.
Trust me, if you wake up a lot during the night, tossing and turning, you won’t believe how much great sheets can change that. They keep your body cool, dry and comfortable all night long, so you wake up more refreshed in the morning.

Bed Sheets

5. Let There Be Dark

Your body won’t know it’s sleepy time unless your bedroom is dark. A dimmer switch or lamp is ideal. Turn down the lights about one hour before bedtime, turn off your smartphone or tablet, and try reading a book or listening to an audiobook. You’ll be asleep before you know it.

Dark Bedroom

These are just some of the sleepy-time tricks I have up my pajama sleeves. Next time I’ll tell you about the benefits of wearing socks to bed! Do you have other questions about sleep troubles? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help.

How To Make a Weight-Loss New Year’s Resolution That Will Actually Stick!

Measuring Tape

We open up a shiny new year by declaring all the things that will be different this year. We'll eat better. We'll exercise more. In reality, though, our resolutions last maybe a week, and then it's back to the same old thing, right? What if there was a trick to making a new habit stick? What if this trick worked even for habits you had tried (and failed) to cultivate many times in the past? News flash: There is such a trick, and it really does work. (Spoiler alert: It's actually not a trick at all. It's science.)

2021

Remember Your Why

Take a bit of time to dig down into why you want to lose weight this year. Get specific. Don't settle for a vague feeling of nostalgia. Instead, write down the personal and health benefits you want to gain by losing weight. Focus on outcomes, such as playing with your grandchildren without getting winded or being able to climb stairs without knee pain from the extra weight on your joints. Post your "why" somewhere you can see it often.

Goals

Set Specific Goals

Now that you know exactly why you want to lose weight write down what that will look like for you when you've accomplished it. Will you be down a certain number of pounds or pants sizes? Will you know you've hit your goal when you can walk a set distance without feeling like you need a nap? Write it down, whatever it is.


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Focus on Habits

After completing the two steps above, you've got your resolution. Now comes the part where you make it all happen. You already know how to lose weight. Although the details may vary depending on your health and other circumstances, it basically comes down to eating better and moving more. What new habits do you need to incorporate into your life to make weight loss happen for you? Create two category headings: one for food and one for movement. Under each heading, write down one or two habits to start with. One could be about filling up on fruits and veggies, and another could be about doubling your average daily steps. Try to choose new habits that are slightly out of reach but don't feel impossible.

Exercise

Tie It All Together

Once you have your new habits in mind (and down on paper!), figure out how to tie them to habits you already have. For example, you already brush your teeth every morning. If you want to create a new habit of drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning, attach the new habit to the existing habit by placing your water glass next to the toothpaste so you remember to grab it and fill it up. If your new habit is eating two servings of fruit at breakfast and you're a coffee drinker, place a cutting board next to the coffee maker and link chopping fruit with waiting for the coffee to brew. Once your new behaviors start to truly become habits, add a couple more, always piggybacking onto something you already do.

Happy New Year

Give Yourself Grace

The true secret to success in anything is never to give up. New Year's resolutions that really stick are those you don't give up on, even when you have setbacks. When you feel like you've failed at keeping your resolutions, dust yourself off and start again. You've got this!

What To Drink and Not Drink When Sick

Cup of tea by a bed

It is not uncommon for people to feel like their mouth is dry when congested or under the weather, especially with a stuffy nose. The stopped up nasal passages force you to breathe through your mouth, increasing dryness in the lips, throat, and mouth. If you are suffering from additional digestion issues, dehydration becomes a serious threat. Unfortunately, too many people choose to drink the wrong things when ill, making the situation worse.

Unfortunately, too many people choose to drink the wrong things when ill, making the situation worse.
This blog post focuses on staying hydrated when you are sick, but the right way. You need to understand the good drinks to consume and why you should avoid others.

Woman sick in bed

Drinks To Stay Hydrated and Healthy

Healthy drinks provide the most benefit. These beverages will improve hydration without making digestive problems worse.

Water

The crowning jewel of beverages is water. When you are ill, you should consume more water than anything else. You will also want to drink more than you typically would if suffering from diarrhea or vomiting.

Some people have a hard time drinking glass after glass of H2O; you can fancy it up a bit. For example, you can add a bit of honey or lemon. Honey can help soothe a sore throat, while lemon improves taste.

Water works well because it helps to rehydrate mucus membranes, and because it is sugar and caffeine-free, it is gentle on the digestive system. However, there are other options for those who cannot take too much water.

Glass of water

Tea

Like ginger, herbal, and green, teas can also soothe upset stomachs and give the immune system a boost. Green tea is high in immune-boosting antioxidants and virus killing catechins. Ginger is well known for soothing gastrointestinal discomfort. And herbal remedies, like elderberry and echinacea, can soothe the throat and jumpstart the immune system because of varying plant compounds.

Cup of tea


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Broth

Broth, and more specifically, bone broth, is the traditional solution to treating upper respiratory infections. There is some truth to the ritual as several studies corroborate broths' ability to help clear nasal passages and ease other respiratory infection symptoms. Additionally, bone broth is a source of protein for those who struggle to keep food down.

Cups of Broth

Drinks To Avoid

While there are drinks to help you feel better and keep you hydrated, some drinks will also do the opposite. If you are ill, it is in your best interest to avoid the following beverages.

Alcohol

While taking a swig of a hot or other alcoholic beverage may sound appealing for melting your troubles away, alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink. Not only can alcoholic drinks lead to inflammation, but they can also suppress your immune system response, meaning that indulging when your ill may prolong the sickness.

Glass of wine

Soda and Sugary Beverages

Many people want ginger ale or juice when they are sick, but these drinks may contain high levels of sugar. Drinking too many sugary beverages can lead to increased blood sugar levels and a decrease in energy. These drinks can also cause gastrointestinal distress.

Glass of Soda

Coffee

While people may want to drink coffee because it is warm when they are sick, it is not a good idea. Coffee contains high caffeine levels, which has a diuretic effect, meaning it makes you pee more frequently. If you avoid water and drink coffee, you can make dehydration issues worse.

Cup of Coffee

What is your go-to drink when you're sick? Leave a comment, and keep reading The Calorie Myths for more helpful tips and advice.