Archives for the month of: September, 2012

Not everyone is a morning person. No shame in that. But if early morning is the only time you have to workout, you gotta make it happen. Repetition is key to forming a new habit, so if you wake up on the first morning and don’t feel like getting up, that’s not license to go back to bed because it didn’t work. No one springs from bed at the crack of dawn, fresh as a daisy, ready to get sweaty. Yet, millions of people do it everyday. Here’s how you can be one of those people.

  • Go to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each morning, even if it is not a workout day. Adults need 6-8 hours of sleep a night, so plan accordingly. This is the best way to reset your internal clock in the least amount of time.
  • Set an alarm. That’s a no brainer. But if you are a habitual snooze button hitter, turn it on loud and put it on the other side of the room so you have to actually get up to turn it off. If you are out of bed you are less likely to crawl back in. There are also some smartphone apps that make you solve a math problem before it will turn off so can’t turn it off in a sleepy haze. Anyone that shares your bed is just going to have to deal.
  • Turn the lights on. If you are waking up before dawn, you may be tempted to keep the lighting low, but turning on the lights will wake you up faster than a cup of coffee.

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Nutrition labels are meant to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision on the nutritional quality of your food. The nutrition facts labels are regulated by the government, and are unbending in their honesty. The labeling on the front, however, isn’t so strict, and can be manipulated to make you think the food is healthier than it actually is. Marketing: it’s tricky, and it works- unless you are an informed consumer. Here’s what you need to know about label buzzwords:

Fat-Free: In order to call a food item “fat free” it needs to have less than 0.5 grams of fat per labeled serving. First off, fat isn’t terrible, you need it, it just needs to be watched, so picking fat free over a full fat option isn’t automatically necessary. It’s also a huge marketing ploy. Perfect example? Candy. Skittles, Lemonheads and most non-chocolate candy emblazon FAT FREE FOOD! across the front of their labels. It’s true, they are low enough in fat to call themselves fat free, but candy is hardly a healthy food choice. There’s no fat in cement either- doesn’t mean you should eat it.

All-natural: All natural means basically nothing. Natural is a term that sounds healthy, so it’s used to make things sound more pure, rustic and whole, but in truth, it means very little. According to the USDA, food can only be labeled natural if it contains no artificial ingredients, added colors and is minimally processed. Vague, vague, vague. Don’t rest on the All-Natural label alone.

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Eating out is unavoidable. Food is a social centerpiece, and sometimes, you just don’t want to cook. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a restaurant where you could order whatever you wanted, just based on how delicious it sounded and know that, without fail, it was the healthiest way to order that meal, anywhere, hands down?

Well, too bad, cause there’s not. And I’m going to open the first one, so don’t steal my idea. That business model isn’t lucrative enough just yet to overtake the monetary lure of opening a grease and not-quite-sure-what-that-meat-is establishment. (Do remember: you vote with your wallets, so every time you order something unhealthy, you are further showing there isn’t a market for healthy restaurant eats.)

So, because restaurants don’t have you health’s best interest at heart, you get the pleasant task of rattling off a bevy of questions and special requests and substitutions to your server to health up your meals. Don’t apologize for it- it’s their job.

Here are a few tips for navigating restaurant menus and simple requests to ensure your meal is as healthy as can be. You control your food- even when someone else cooks it.

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Nothing strikes fear in the heart of dieters and nutrition-minded eaters more than a holiday. Holidays are a time when people eat without abandon because, hello, it’s a holiday. And that means something. Right?

Labor Day is this Monday and is the last big hurrah of the summer, where most head outdoors to spend their day off work relaxing in the sun with friends and family and stuffing their faces with BBQ, chips, sides and, of course, alcohol.

Here’s the thing with BBQ: it can be one of the healthiest ways to prepare the most deliciously healthy food, but we often tend to turn BBQs into some of the most unhealthy eats around. Instead of throwing chicken and flavorful vegetables on the grill, we lean towards grilling up fatty burgers with oily cheeses on top of bleached refined buns alongside sugar soaked baked beans, mayo drenched potato salads and greasy chips. (If that food description sounded heavenly to you, you need to retrain your taste buds.)

This Labor Day, plan a menu everyone will love the day of, and no one will regret the day after. You know that next day guilty food feeling. Do you really want to be the cause of that for someone else? Didn’t think so.

First thing’s first: Drinks

If you are going to be sitting in the hot sun all day, make sure you drink plenty of water along with your alcohol. Staying hydrated will keep you feeling great all day – and the next morning.

-It’s summer, so keep the beer light. Heavy beers not only have tons of calories but will put you to sleep. The lighter the beer, generally the lighter the calorie count.

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