Sunday, August 13, 2017

Water: The Hidden Diet Ingredient

Water is vital for our survival but it can also be critical in helping you lose weight.  When beginning a weight loss program, many people fail to incorporate enough water into their diet, causing them to lose the benefits that water can provide.  As a result, they don’t lose as much weight as they should.

It has been said that water is a natural way to counteract hunger pains.  When you drink water, you tend to feel full faster.  It also flushes out your system, allowing your body to rid itself of harmful toxins.  Water can also boost your energy level and improve your metabolism, allowing you to consume calories more quickly.

Research indicates that hunger and thirst may be inextricably linked.  That means that at times, you may think that you’re hungry, while actually you’re thirsty.  Drinking water during those periods can help you to feel satiated without expanding your waistline.    As a result, by consuming water, you may feel less of a need to eat.

You might be wondering, however, how much water is enough.  Generally speaking, you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces.  Check with your doctor to determine how much water is right for you.  You should also be sure to drink water when you are exercising in order to replace fluids that you lose through perspiration.

Of course, you may not enjoy the taste of water, particularly tap water.  As a result, you might consider drinking infused water, eating soup, or consuming fruits high in water content.   Water can combat high blood pressure and can decrease your cholesterol levels.  It can also be a remedy against water retention, kidney trouble, skin problems, and migraines.  It may even help to prevent cancer.

Water can also enhance your muscle tone, helping you to achieve a more clearly defined physique.  Therefore, it is particularly important that you drink a great deal of water if you enter into a strength training program.  You cannot expect your muscles to work properly if you do not hydrate them.

The temperature of your water can also make a significant difference.  It is believed that water that is cold is digested faster than water that is of a higher temperature.  In fact, water that is relatively cold in temperature can actually serve as a calorie-burner.

You may be surprised to learn that your body is comprised of nearly 70 percent water.  Therefore, water is crucial for the proper functioning of your metabolism.  Water can also help to regulate your body temperature, enabling your body to work more effectively.

Certain symptoms will emerge if you’re not consuming enough water.  For instance, you may find it difficult to concentrate.  You may also have a constant feeling of being tired.  You may be constipated or experience dry skin.  At times, you may also feel constipated and you may notice that you’re not passing as much urine as you should.

Of course, if you are not getting enough water in your diet, the remedy is simple—just turn on the tap and let it flow.  However, realistically, it can be difficult to get into the water habit.  Therefore, you might have to trick your body into drinking water.  How do you do this?  To begin with, you should consider drinking a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning.  This will ensure that you are getting your day off to a healthy start.  Have a drink in mid-morning and another right before lunch.  If you drink a cup with lunch, you will have already had half of your daily water requirements.  Have a drink in the mid-afternoon, another at dinner, one after dinner, and one right before bed.  In this way, you will likely be getting all the water your body needs.  Try this experiment for a few weeks, and you may be amazed at the difference you see in your health and appearance.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stressed Out? A Good Night’s Sleep Can Cure What Ails You

Your child brings home a report card filled with low marks.  Your dog just bit your neighbor, and the kitchen sink no longer works.  You feel you’re under major stress.  As a result, you find yourself tossing and turning at night, unable to get a good night’s sleep.  This is truly unfortunate, because sleep can re-charge a person’s batteries, enabling him or her to better tackle the stressors that come along the road.

Stress-induced insomnia can take a variety of forms.  For instance, you may have difficulty falling asleep in the first place.  Or you may wake up hours earlier than you should.  You may find yourself waking up several times during the night.  Or you may even find that you feel tired when you wake up in the morning because you didn’t get good quality sleep.

One important point to remember is that you are not alone.  Just about everyone suffers from lack of sleep at some point in life.  That said, dealing with insomnia can be exhausting.  You might feel run down during the day and have difficulty concentrating.  You may turn to coffee in order to keep awake during the daylight hours, which can lead to a feeling of restlessness.  You may even try taking a nap in the mid-morning or late afternoon, only to find that you have difficulty sleeping again at night.

While old age, depression, and substance abuse can all lead to insomnia, it might be said that the number one cause is stress.   If your insomnia persists for a week, you should contact your doctor.  He or she may prescribe medication to enable you to get to sleep more quickly.   But you should be aware that there are other techniques you can use to deal with stress-related insomnia.

To begin with, try to determine the root cause of your stress.  This might be your job, your home life, or even some of your recreational activities.  Next, determine whether you are overscheduled.  By eliminating some of your commitments, you might be able to seriously reduce your stress level.  Then, do some problem-solving.  How can you make a stressful situation better?  It could involve engaging in positive thinking, changing your attitude about the situation, or coming up with solutions to resolve the situation.

There are also some concrete steps you can take to improve your sleep.  For instance, make sure that your bedroom is conducive to sleep.  This means finding the most comfortable bedding available, decorating your room with soft, subtle colors, and eliminating clutter or other signs of work in progress.

In addition,  condition yourself to associate your bed with sleep.  This means resisting the temptation to do work in bed, or study for your classes while lying down.  You should even try to avoid watching TV programs in bed.  The idea here is to eliminate stimulants from your sleeping area which could prevent you from falling asleep.   If you like to read in bed, make sure that you read only fun, fiction books, not significant non-fiction that could keep you up at night.

One other helpful tip is to set up a regular routine prior to going to bed.  It may involve taking a bath or shower to relax you or drinking some milk right before settling down to sleep.  Also, try to get up at the same time every morning so that you are following an established schedule.  In addition, make sure that you do not engage in drinking beverages with caffeine or alcoholic drinks after dinner.

Insomnia is one of the most dangerous side-effects of stress.  It can rob you of your energy, strength, and endurance.  It can make the simplest tasks difficult to handle during the course of the day.  And it can even lead to major depression.  If you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep at night, take immediate action.  Don’t wait for your body to feel the stress of night after night of sleeplessness.  The more proactive you are, the greater the likelihood that you’ll be able to combat insomnia, as well as the stress that goes with it.   Refreshed and renewed, you’ll be able to take on the challenges that come your way, once you’ve gotten enough sleep.

Friday, August 11, 2017

How To Relieve Stress By Meditation

The word meditation simply is defined as to be in a continuous contemplative thought or to simply just think about doing something. 

We all have different types of stress in our lives. You may be stressed out over a job, a relationship, children, or even finances. Taking the time to meditate in your own relaxing way will help with the stress you are feeling. I have learned that worrying about what is stressing you will not help solve the situation that is upsetting you.

You may think that taking time out of your already busy life to meditate is ridiculous. But it is not ridiculous! It can absolutely help calm your nerves which will help you relax enough to sit down and calmly work out the situation that is upsetting you. You may find that you can relax and meditate by sitting and relaxing in a hot bubble bath. If you are worried about not having enough time to sit and relax in a hot tub maybe you can just go outside for a breath of fresh air and take time to just collect your thoughts. After everything has calmed down you can then take the time to take a hot relaxing bath.

You know how easy it can be to lose your temper with kids.  So things don't get out of control you can do breathing exercises to help you meditate. Let the kids go outside for a few minutes or maybe let them watch a movie or whatever they like to do (within reason) for a few minutes so that you can get your thoughts together and meditate. Breathe in and out slowly and take time to think about what options you have to control the situation that has upset you. With having to deal with our children, our jobs, our relationships, and our finances it's a wonder we all can even go on every day.

Find a way of meditation that will work for you and you will see that, even if it's for only a few minutes, it will be a few minutes you don't have to worry about things. Check online or in your local library to find ways to relax. There will be many books on relaxation by meditation. When you are in a place like the library you can actually just relax in that environment where it is quiet. Get a couple of books and find the one that will help you the most.

Take notes on the other books you have read in your journal. Maybe check out a couple of books that talk about different ways of meditating and write down the chapters that interest you the most. Even if you start out by just learning how to have peace of mind that is a very big accomplishment. After you have found peace of mind you can then start working on the daily things in your life that has left you feeling empty inside. Remember you can have the life you have dreamed of if you just take the time to learn ways to help you with relaxation techniques. You can find fulfillment in your life and defiantly make a difference in your life and the lives of others who feel the pressures of everyday life.

Whether you find meditation and relaxation techniques through books, CDs, downloads, or even exercises, you will find that when your life is free of everyday stress you can then start to find solutions to the many different problems in your life in a calm peaceful way. You can go online and find self-help downloads about meditation. Do you want to just settle on a life that can make you miserable day after day? You may feel so empty inside that you feel as if you have no purpose in life.

You must remember you are using the thoughts in your mind to meditate so you want to take the time to clear out all the negative feelings you have in your mind in order to concentrate on how to improve your life and make a goal for yourself. Meditation can help. When you take the time to relax and really stop and think about things that are going on in your life you can also find that you are relaxed enough by meditating to find solutions to many different things you question in your life.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cooking Up Stress Relief

Perhaps it shows through your fidgeting, your nail-biting, or your sleepless nights.  You feel as if you are under a great deal of stress, and you are searching for relief.  While there are many stress reduction strategies you could use, perhaps one of the best is one of the easiest:  cooking.

Cooking is an art as well as a science.  It takes a great deal of patience and persistence to become an excellent cook, and some of your experiments will inevitably end up in the wastebasket or down the garbage disposal.  Yet, there is something incredibly relaxing about sautéing onions, grilling chicken, or barbecuing pork.   You can become mesmerized by the scent of your culinary sensations.  The process of stirring, chopping, or slicing can be highly therapeutic.  You can feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a good meal which can further reduce your stress level.

If you plan to take up cooking as a serious hobby, it is best if you begin by purchasing a good cookbook.  There are even cookbooks that promise you stress-free entertaining.  Selecting the cookbook can be a relaxing experience in and of itself.  Usually, cookbooks are loaded with interesting, eye-catching pictures.  You can also pour over delicious healthy recipes, imagining how to prepare them in your kitchen.

Next, you might want to invest in some sensible cooking supplies.  This will help to alleviate your stress when the time to cook arrives.  Make sure that you have aprons, a grater, a good set of knives, a colander, an array of sauce pans and skillets, and a collection of interesting plates to set your creations on.  The better prepared you are, the less stress you will experience in the kitchen.

Then, it’s time to head to the grocery store.  It’s best if you have prepared a list in advance based upon the recipes you hope to make.  This will save you time, stress, and possibly money at the supermarket.  Make sure that you schedule enough time to go through the grocery store—you don’t want to be rushed.  In addition to the items needed for your recipes, it’s a good idea to pick up some staples.  For instance, you should always have flour, sugar, milk, eggs, and a collection of spices on hand.

In order to minimize your stress level, it’s best if you can start by preparing meals for yourself or for close family members.  After you become proficient, you might want to graduate to dinner parties, but don’t expect to produce a seven-course meal during your first few attempts at gourmet cooking.  Select menu items that appeal to you; chances are they will appeal to your family as well.

Another possible stress-reducer is a cooking class.  Such classes are often offered at local community centers, YWCA/YMCAs, or community colleges.  Don’t take the course for credit—take it for fun.  The idea is to have a relaxing time by the stove.  You’ll enjoy camaraderie with other students and you might even socialize with them after class.  Taking a course can expand your horizons, helping you to become a well-rounded person.    

It is true that cooking can be stressful.  After all, if you have five children to feed, you’re low on food, and you have a baby who’s crying, meal time can be stress time.  However, if you permit yourself plenty of time to cook, you choose recipes that you enjoy, and you look at it as a hobby rather than drudgery, cooking can be quite relaxing and can actually help lower your blood pressure.

One thing you’ll want to watch when cooking is portion control.  If you make too much pasta, you might be tempted to overeat, causing health problems on down the road.  Also, it can be important to cook meals that are heart-healthy and that are not loaded with sugar and calories.  Otherwise, you could face the stress of battling a weight problem.  However, if you make sure that you cook plenty of vegetable dishes, you limit the number of desserts you prepare, and you keep close track of your carbohydrate intake, cooking can be a pleasant, stress-reducing experience.  The more practiced you become at gourmet cooking, the more you will look forward to it, and the less stressed you will feel.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nature: A Great Stress-Reliever

We live in an age when stress seems to be around every corner, at every office.  The demands of modern life require us to be constantly “plugged in” through the internet, cell phones, and gaming devices.  You might feel as if your senses are constantly being bombarded, both at work and at home.  As a result, stress might have led you to the breaking point.

But there is a great universal stress reliever—one that is close to everyone.  Nature offers bountiful opportunities for relieving stress.  It might seem old-fashioned to “commune with nature,” but it can be incredibly cathartic, decreasing your stress level immeasurably.

First, you must be willing to take the time to drink in nature and all its beauty.  Often, we feel overwhelmed by commitments—so overwhelmed, in fact, that we become guilty if we take time out for ourselves.  However, if we are to successfully combat stress, we absolutely must reserve time for stress-relief, and nature can be one of the best stress relievers available.

Each season offers its own unique brand of stress relief.  In the autumn, we can be soothed by the multi-colored leaves on the trees, the crunch of leaves under our feet, and lovely October skies.  By experiencing the beauty of nature, we can become more relaxed and better able to take on life’s challenges.

In the winter, we can take brisk walks through the snow, watching the flakes delicately float down to earth.  We can be energized by the brisk winds and frigid temperatures.  We can also gain a certain amount of confidence in battling the elements, helping to relieve our stress level.

In spring, we can enjoy the true riches of nature.  We can experience the scent of flowers just beginning to bloom…the loveliness of plants that have survived winter’s scourge…and listen to the birds chirping in the trees.  Gazing at trees just beginning to bud can be incredibly soothing after a stressful day on the job.

Meanwhile, in the summer, we can experience nature at its most vibrant.  We can enjoy the scent of the grass after the lawn has just been mowed…and watch the trees gently waving in the summer breeze.  We can revel in the sun’s rays, or enjoy the refreshment of a summer shower.  Just a few minutes in the outdoors can reduce our stress level dramatically.

There are also a number of nature-related activities we can engage in in order to relax.  For instance, hiking offers a tremendous opportunity to see the splendor of nature up close and personal.  Skiing allows us to enjoy winter’s beauty, while a game of Frisbee can be a tremendous lift on a summer afternoon.  Because nature offers such a feast for the senses, enjoying the outdoors can bring a sense of calm and tranquility to our lives that few other things can.

Some people, like myself, have found a relaxing nature-related hobby in gardening.  Planting flowers or vegetables, trimming bushes, and weeding can help to relax both the mind and the body.  Others have found that yard work can help to reduce stress.  Such activities as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or shoveling snow can help to remove us from sources of stress, giving us a much-needed break.

You may be so inspired by nature that you write poetry about the things you see and hear.  Such writing can be tremendously cathartic, especially when undertaken outdoors.  Lying in a chaise lounge under a tree, composing sonnets about flowers, can get your creative juices flowing—and lower your stress level in the process.

You might be surprised how therapeutic nature can be.  It can re-awaken your senses, allowing you to see things you might have missed before.  It can demonstrate to you the beauty of creation and give you a renewed vitality for life.  It can provide you with a welcome sanctuary from the world of blaring stereos and non-stop TV chatter.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a nature lover, brief periods outdoors can give you a new sense of purpose.  With such a positive outlook, your ability to handle stress will be enhanced.  In essence, spending a few moments outdoors is like taking a mini-vacation from the rigors of your daily life.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

If You’re Feeling Stressed, Volunteer

At times, it can seem as if you’re on a constant treadmill at work.  There are deadlines to meet, people to consult, relationships to cultivate.  You may feel as if you’re under consistent stress, but you don’t know how to manage it effectively.  You could always quit your job, but your next position might be just as stressful.

Stress can take a tremendous toll on both body and spirit.  It can leave you feeling fatigued, making it hard for you to concentrate.  You may be more susceptible to illness as a result of your stress, resulting in increased absenteeism from work.  You may be more prone to getting into accidents, and you may feel as if you’re on edge much of the time.

There are a number of strategies you can employ to deal with stress.  But perhaps one of the most rewarding is to engage in volunteer work.  There is something so comforting about donating your time to helping someone else.  The mere act can elevate your spirits, helping you to better cope with the stressors in your life.  You are giving a tremendous gift—the gift of your time and talent.  And you find your reward in the smiles on the faces of the people (or animals) you’ve assisted.

If you’re considering volunteering, you don’t want the search for volunteer opportunities to be stressful.  Therefore, you’ll want to make the process as simple as possible.  A good resource can be your local newspaper.  Often, the Sunday paper lists organizations that are looking for volunteers.  The newspaper usually provides complete contact information, so you won’t have to hunt around for a phone number.

Deciding which organization to volunteer for can be a challenge.  There are so many causes worthy of our attention.  For instance, there are groups that assist people in times of disaster…groups that lobby for research to find cures for debilitating diseases…homeless shelters…soup kitchens…and pet shelters.  You might also consider volunteering at a school, where teaching assistants and mentors are always appreciated.

In order to decide where to put your talents to use, you might ask yourself some questions such as:

  • How much time can you realistically devote to volunteer work?
  • Are you limited to doing your volunteering in the evenings or on weekends?
  • How much of your own money can you spend in connection with your volunteer work?
  • What causes are the most important to you?
The answers to these questions could help you to choose the volunteer opportunity that’s right for you.

Next, you’ll want to tour the volunteer facility.  You want to get a sense of whether you will enjoy the work.  If you find that the other volunteers are difficult to work with, it could simply produce more stress in your life.  Usually, an initial tour will help to give you a good idea of what it would be like to actually volunteer at the facility.  Also, be sure to find out if the organization offers training to its volunteers.  This could be quite important, especially if you have only a nodding acquaintance with the work of the organization.

Volunteering does require commitment, and you might be wondering if that commitment will add additional stress to your life.  Actually, the opposite will probably be true.  If you find yourself being energized by your volunteer work, you’ll be able to put your problems in better perspective.  Knowing the difficulties that other people face can make your troubles seem quite negligible in comparison.  However, you will want to make sure that you don’t overcommit.  Devote only a limited amount of time to your volunteer work, and resist the urge to do more.  Otherwise, you could find yourself exhausted by the end of the week and unable to perform well on your job.

Volunteering can be one of the great joys in life.  It is a privilege to serve other people, to make a difference in another person’s life.  Through your volunteer work, you’ll be able to meet people you might otherwise not have the opportunity to encounter.  You can forge friendships which can last a lifetime.  You’ll be contributing greatly to your neighborhood and your society, and your little corner of the world should be brighter because of it.

For what organizations or causes have you been a volunteer?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Exercise: The Ultimate Stress-Reliever

Perhaps it’s the result of having a new job, a new partner, or a new baby. You are overwhelmed with a feeling of excitement. Yet, you feel inadequate as well. As a result, you are under a tremendous amount of stress. At times, you might feel as if there’s no relief in sight—as if you’re on a treadmill which shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

However, the secret to effectively dealing with the stress may be to get your body onto an actual treadmill. Exercise can be the key to stress relief. It’s an obvious antidote to fatigue. It can make you feel more energetic, improving your strength and resiliency. It has been shown that individuals who are more physically fit often experience fewer health troubles. In addition, exercisers are less likely to suffer from psychological problems such as depression, binge eating, or insomnia.

Without exercise, you are increasing the likelihood that you will be afflicted with colds, flu, or other medical problems. Aerobic exercise in particular can improve your cardiovascular system and decrease your anxiety level. Some studies have shown that, during aerobic exercise, a chemical is produced in the brain which helps to heal the body from stress-related conditions. You should exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes at a time in order to improve not only your health but your mental outlook.

If you find it difficult to become motivated to exercise, there are a number of steps you can take. To begin with, you can join a gym. Knowing that you’ll have to pay monthly fees may make it more likely that you will actually end up exercising. You might also consider enlisting the aid of a personal trainer. A trainer can provide powerful motivation, pushing you to complete exercises you never thought possible. Another idea is to join an exercise class. There, you’ll meet other people who are in a similar position. The camaraderie that develops between exercisers can help to reduce your stress level.

In general, exercise should make you feel less anxious. Your muscles become less tense and you will be less shaky after a round of exercise. It has also been shown that exercise leads to an hour and a half to two hours of relaxation response. This has also been referred to as the endorphin response. As a result, your mood will improve, enabling you to deal more effectively with stress.

Exercise can also improve your self-image. You’ll experience greater self-worth, which will, in turn, reduce your stress level. A confident person is an individual who knows how to handle stress without becoming flustered. As a result of exercise, you may also end up eating better. Your improved menu may also prove to be a stress reliever. For instance, if you give up caffeinated drinks, you might become less jittery.

In addition to your sessions in the gym, you should be looking for additional opportunities to be active. This could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to work instead of driving, or playing touch football in the backyard with your children. The point is to get moving—and keep moving—at every available opportunity.

Exercise quickens the blood flow to your mind, offering the brain additional sugars and oxygen which can be important if you are concentrating. Exercise can also clear out waste products from the brain which can result in unclear thinking. You will also feel a greater sense of well-being as a result of exercise.

As has been shown here, exercise is beneficial for both the body and the mind. As a result, it can relax you when other techniques fail. By engaging in exercise, you free up your mind, enabling you to concentrate better and work more efficiently. Chances are you will not only feel better, you will look better as well. With your brain under control, you should experience less stress. Granted, exercise takes time and requires discipline, but it is well worth the exertion. The good feelings you get from a powerful workout can actually last for days. You may find that you actually look forward to working out because of the tremendous benefits it brings with it.

What is your favorite exercise to overcome stress?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Balancing Cortisol for Weight Loss and Health

Some have called it the “master” of all hormones. Others curse it for its ability to wreak havoc on our body’s fragile endocrine balance. In spite of the mixed opinions one thing is certain: cortisol is a powerful hormone necessary for life. But if its level is not optimal in your body, your health could suffer.

What is Cortisol?

The hormone cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands and is primarily responsible for regulating blood sugar, helping to metabolize fats, protein and carbohydrates and assisting in managing our stress response. We all have times of stress in our lives, and cortisol helps us to function during these times.

When the stress goes up, cortisol kicks in and delivers help. We get a quick burst of energy, our memory sharpens, our immunity increases, and our sensitivity to pain decreases. These are all important and natural functions of cortisol and ensure that we are able to weather the curve balls that life throws at us.

However, if the stress doesn’t let up, neither does the cortisol. Unfortunately, what is healthy in small bursts becomes dangerous over the long term. If you have persistent stress in your life, then you have cortisol levels that are out of balance: your body makes so much cortisol that it detrimentally affects your health. This leads to adrenal fatigue.

When you have prolonged, high levels of cortisol in your bloodstream

  • you will crave foods that are high in carbs (like cake and cookies), 
  • you will gain weight in your abdominal area (which increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes), and 
  • you will have trouble sleeping

Cortisol and the Circadian Rhythm

Our bodies produce different chemicals during the day and night that control our sleep, energy and mood. The natural rhythm of this cycle is known as the Circadian Rhythm, and cortisol is a key player.

Under normal circumstances, your body produces cortisol in amounts largely determined by the clock. Levels tend to be higher in morning—triggered by the emerging daylight--giving you a boost of energy to jumpstart your day.

As the day wears on, cortisol levels should drop, helping to prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Likewise, Melatonin (another hormone that affects your energy and sleep habits) levels should be lower in the morning but as the daylight fades, they should increase, helping you to begin relaxing and preparing for sleep.

However, if you are under constant stress or if your adrenal glands are not functioning properly, your cortisol level may not drop off during the day. Instead, it may actually rise and stay at a dangerously high level. By the time bedtime rolls around, you will not feel sleepy. You will feel “tired but wired,” and be unable to relax and fall asleep.

Reset Your Circadian Clock

If you suspect that your natural, circadian rhythm is disrupted, don’t despair. There are several things you can do to reset your clock so you can start sleeping better at night and waking up more refreshed in the morning.

Try the following tips:
  • Reduce stress. Easier said than done, I know. But many times our stress levels are correlated to our response to stressful situations. Learning how to cope with stress more effectively may be all it takes to balance your cortisol.
  • Be consistent. Going to bed and getting at the same time each day will help to regulate your circadian rhythm. Practice this habit to slowly coax your body into a schedule.
  • Use light wisely. Since your circadian rhythm is partially controlled by light, darken your room well when you go to bed, and flood it with light when it is time to get up. Try using a full spectrum light in the mornings.
  • Avoid naps. If your circadian clock is off, you may find that you get very sleepy in the afternoon. However, taking a nap may make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Try to resist naps.
  • Eat most of your calories early. If you can eat the bulk of your daily calories earlier in the day as opposed to later in the day, you may find that you can recalibrate your circadian rhythms more easily.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Zoganic FruitZip Review

Powdered vitamins you can mix into your drink instead of taking another pill? Yes please!  I was happy to receive 3 flavors of Zoganic FruitZip for free in exchange for my honest review.  I shared the trio on Instagram when they arrived.

The Zoganic FruitZip are all low in sugar, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and all-natural vitamin powerpacks you can bring with you anywhere.  Another bonus is they're made in the US.  Just one box is full of antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, probiotics, and energy.  There are 4 different flavor combinations for your everyday needs.

First up for me to try was Coconut + Energy, which I put in my water for one of my Wednesday walks.  This flavor provides natural electrolytes, B vitamins, as well as calcium and magnesium to build stamina.  While I didn't notice anything different it was nice to have a little flavor in my water while I sweated away.

Next I tried the Orange + Immunity mixed in with some hot tea.  When I'm not feeling well I drink a lot more hot tea to knock out the blah feelings.  It would've been nice to have this flavor while we were sick in Germany because it bolsters your natural immunities, boosts energy, and offers a high-end shot of vitamins and minerals.

Finally I had the Multi + Refreshment on a day where my allergies were driving me crazy at work.  This flavor is just a berry flavored multivitamin but it seemed to have done the trick.  My sneezes and runny nose seemed to have slowed after I drank the Zoganic FruitZip.

Of course the flavor I really wanted to try when I saw this opportunity was the one I didn't receive - Pineapple + Digest.  But they said I was lucky because most others only received 1 flavor so I'm taking it as a win!  This flavor helps relieve acid reflux, boosts energy, and heals and balances the digestive tract.

Which of the 4 flavors of Zoganic FruitZip sounds like something you could use in your life?  Try a box RISK FREE with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.  You can even save 50% off your order using the code HEALTH2017!

Follow DrinkZoganic on Instagram for more ways to incorporate Zoganic FruitZip into your daily drinks.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Good Morning Snore Solution Product Review

When 3 sleep studies show the only issue you have is snoring you're on the lookout for a solution.  So of course I jumped at the opportunity to try out the Good Morning Snore Solution.  I received one appliance and storage case for free in exchange for my honest review.

Putting on the Appliance

"Snoring is frequently caused when the muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleeping and block the airway flow through the mouth.  The Good Morning Snore Solution alleviates snoring by pulling the tongue forward in the mouth and maintaining an open airway."
This explanation of the cause of snoring makes an oral appliance sound more effective than a nasal one. The Good Morning Snore Solution definitely keeps your tongue forward.

The wide part of the appliance goes in between your teeth and lips.  I have no problem getting it into position.  I have to squeeze the bulb and suck the air out several times because I almost immediately start a saliva build up during this step.  It's like my glands know something weird's going on.  Once I feel the saliva has sufficiently decreased I insert the tip of my tongue into the bulb.  This part is not one bit comfortable.  My tongue feels like it's super wide and getting mashed by my teeth.

The Good Morning Snore Solution makes me think of a pacifier with the bulb in reverse.  When sucking out the air it feels like I'm practicing for a pacifier.  It's a weird feeling.

Removing the Appliance

Removing the Good Morning Snore Solution is even more awkward than putting it on.  You gently squeeze the bulb and remove your tongue.  Every time my tongue feels a little sore from being locked into position and my mouth is super dry.  They say these side effects improve and go away over time but how long do you have to wait?

So Does it Work?

I kept waiting for Benny to say something other than laughing at the way I looked wearing the appliance.  So I had no idea whether or not the Good Morning Snore Solution was working.  I finally had to break down and ask him point blank if he heard me snoring when he came in the room (or even outside the door because you know snoring can get pretty loud).  Benny said that he has NOT heard me snoring since I started wearing the appliance.

That's what I say about using the Good Morning Snore Solution.  If I'm really not snoring wearing the appliance then I can deal with the uncomfortable part of it.

Who should NOT use this?

If you have any of these conditions they say you shouldn't use the Good Morning Snore Solution:
  • Severe Sleep Apnea (Severe only as it's a registered treatment for mild to moderate apnea.)
  • Severe Respiratory Disorders
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Under 18 (not sure why on this one)
  • Have orthodontic or other oral devices - consult with your dentist first
  • Blocked nasal passages (because you'll have to be breathing through your nose)
So if you're not experiencing any of the above go ahead and give the Good Morning Snore Solution a try.  Get comfortable being uncomfortable as it actually appears to stop snoring!  Visit their website to see the purchase options...

Good Morning Snore Solution - Because Good Nights Equal Good Mornings.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How Hormones Affect Your Energy and Weight

Are willpower and self-control the real solution to low energy and high weight?

Maybe not.  It might be your powerful hormones.

And we’re not just talking about sex hormones here; we’re talking about the hormones that directly affect your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite. Things that control your energy and weight.

Let’s go over a few of the critical links between your hormones, and how they affect your energy and weight. The links may be stronger than you think.

What are hormones?

Having healthy, happy hormones is all around the “health waves” these days.

And for good reason! Your hormones are part of the master control system of your entire body.
Hormones are compounds made by one part of the body that are used to communicate with another part. For example, insulin is made in the pancreas. When your blood sugar gets too high, insulin is released into the bloodstream. Then, it goes to your muscles and other cells to tell them to absorb that sugar out of the blood (and if there is still too much blood sugar, it signals to store it as fat).

Your hormones control not only your blood sugar, but also your metabolism and appetite (plus a host of other things). And you probably know that having healthy blood sugar, metabolism and appetite is a foundation for your optimal energy and weight.

So, how can your hormones get out of whack to zap your energy and pile up the pounds?

Common Hormonal Imbalances

In optimal health, your hormones would work great, and you’d have ample energy and be a good healthy weight.

But often there are problems with this whole setup. One common issue is that there may be too much or too little hormone released to have the desired effect. This is known as hypo- or hyper- “hormone” (i.e. hypo- or hyperthyroidism).

Another common issue is that, even if the right amount of hormone is released, the cells they communicate with can start ignoring them. This is known as hormone “resistance” (i.e. insulin resistance).

As you can imagine, if your hormones have such critical jobs, including controlling blood sugar, metabolism and appetite, they can cause issues with your energy and weight.

Hormones & Energy

Your metabolism is key for controlling your energy. Metabolism itself is basically how much energy (calories) you burn. One of the main players of this guessed it! Your thyroid hormones.

Your thyroid releases hormones that affect the metabolism of all the cells in your body. If it’s too low and your metabolism goes down (hypothyroid), you may feel cold, hungry and tired. If it’s too high and your metabolism is too fast (hyperthyroid), you may feel hot, jittery and lose weight.

What you want is an ideal metabolism, ideal energy use, ideal temperature, and an ideal weight. Your thyroid hormones are the master controller here.

Hormones & Weight

Your weight may be controlled by hormones more than you think! Insulin controls your blood sugar, and whether that sugar is going to be stored as fat or not. And when your blood sugar is too low, you may start craving sugar and carbs.

You also have hormones that control your appetite! How hungry and how full you feel are controlled by the hormones ghrelin & leptin. When those get out of whack, you may find yourself wanting to eat because your body thinks you’re hungry and not satisfied...even if that’s not true.

And craving food (especially sugary ones) and not feeling full are going to be huge drives for you to eat more. Even if your body doesn’t truly need it, the hormonal signals tell you that you do.
And don’t forget that stress hormone cortisol. When it’s too high for too long, it tells your body to store fat. And not just any fat - belly fat!

What You Can Do

Your body is very complex and uses hormones to control a substantial number of functions. They control your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite, among others. And these directly affect how much energy you feel, how much you weigh, and even where your body fat is stored.

Here are a few “hormone stabilizing” tips that might help you with your energy and weight:
  • Get regular exercise to use up excess blood sugar before your insulin has your body store it as fat
  • Try stress-relieving activities like deep breathing, meditation or even coloring to reduce your (belly-fat inducing) cortisol
  • Support your thyroid with iodine-containing sea vegetables, fish, legumes, or even an egg
  • Balance your blood sugar with extra fiber from raspberries, avocados, or flax seeds
  • Reduce blood sugar spikes by replacing your juice or soda with fruit-infused water
If you need some support with your energy levels and/or weight, contact me (your wellness coach) for a free strategy session to see how I can help you.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

3 Effortless Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies Daily

Everywhere you turn wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and veggies.

You totally get it.

Yes, fruits and veggies are full, and I mean FULL, of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.).

Yes, people who eat more fruits and veggies live longer, healthier lives, not to mention protect their bodies and minds from just about every chronic disease out there.

Yes, eating more veggies can help you maintain a healthy body weight, and even lose some fat (as long as you don’t bread and fry them, or cover them with cream sauce).

Your question is not
“Should I eat more fruits and vegetables?” 
“How can I actually do it?”

Believe me, as a Wellness Coach I’m chock full of amazing, creative and delicious ways to help you eat more fruits and veggies.

Before we dive in, always start from where you are. If you’re not used to any fruits or veggies (like I was), try for just two per day. Build up from there. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to overhaul your entire diet I one day. Wherever you’re at now, I challenge you to increase it by two per day.

Now, let’s dive into my 3 helpful ideas on exactly HOW to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet!

Sneak Fruits & Veggies into Other Dishes

OK, this one may be, shall we say, “sneaky,” but I’m all about your health, so hear me out.

Some dishes are super-easy to enhance with a bit of strategically placed produce. What do you think of these ideas?

  • Add ½ apple, a small handful of spinach, or extra berries into your smoothie.
  • Dice or shred up an extra bit of carrot, broccoli, zucchini or pepper into your soup.
  • Love sandwiches? Why not add an extra slice of tomato, lettuce or cucumber to it?
  • How about chicken, tuna, or salmon salad? Dice up a stalk of celery and throw it in.
  • Love to bake? How about substituting ¼ cup of the sugar for ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce?
  • Used to having a small salad? Why not try a larger one?
  • Making tomato sauce? Add in some extra mushrooms or peppers.

Make Fruits & Veggies Taste Delicious with a Meal

  • Steam some frozen corn and add a touch of olive oil and your favorite herb or spice.
  • Use veggies as your sandwich “bread” by making a lettuce wrap.
  • Don’t be afraid to spice them up! Try sautéing them for 10 minutes with a drizzle of oil and flavor them with pepper, garlic, ginger or cumin.

Opting for Fruits & Veggies as Snacks

  • Why not throw a banana, apple or a couple of clementines into your lunch bag?
  • Ditch the chips and dip - Instead try some carrot, celery, broccoli, cucumber or cauliflower with a dip like hummus, guacamole, or even your favorite salad dressing?
  • Love sweetened yogurt? Buy plain, and immerse it with fresh or frozen berries.


Take two of these suggestions and try them tomorrow. Just add two more fruits and veggies to the number you’re at today. Two more.

And if you’re not an instant fan, well, try again. Research shows that sometimes it takes our taste buds several tries before actually beginning to like a new flavor. Try it; you might just find some new faves.

You can do it!

Let me know your favorite ideas in the comments below.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Get Unstuck for Mother’s Day

This is for you, Moms.  In fact, whether you are a mom or not, this is for all the women out there who feel trapped in a cycle of, “One day, I am going to eat healthy, lose weight and really take care of myself.”

It’s time to get unstuck, and I'm here to help.

I know that it is hard to find time to focus on you.  And when you finally do take some time for yourself, you probably have a vague sense of guilt that there are other things more worthy of whatever effort or sacrifice you are making to work on you.

That’s part of being a mom.  You put others first.

But consider this.  Neglecting yourself is not good for you or those people who depend on you. The only way you can keep attending to your many responsibilities and joys is if your health is optimal. Once your health starts declining, you will have no choice but to focus on yourself.

Wouldn’t you rather do it now and know what it feels like to be fit and full of energy and still be there for those people who depend on you?

It’s hard to start

Yes, starting is hard.  In fact, it is probably the hardest part.

It may be hard because you’ve ‘started’ before and failed.  That doesn’t matter anymore.  You are not doing it alone this time.  I'm here to walk with you every step of the way.  We’re looking forward, not backward.

It may be hard because you have no idea where you will find the time to exercise.  I’ll help you with that too.  That’s what I do.

It may be hard because changing life-long patterns of eating seems completely undesirable right now.  I’ve been there.  And believe me; if some of us can do it, you can too.  The amazing thing is that once you get a taste of the energy and vitality that eating well brings, you won’t look back.

Waiting is dangerous

Listen.  The longer you wait to take your health seriously, the more damage you are doing to your body.

There is only one way to slow down, stop and reverse many of the effects of aging (whether you are 20 or 70 years old):  sensible eating and consistent exercise.  (Well, that’s two, but they have to happen together.)

  • Do you want to avoid the ravages of heart disease (the number one killer of women)?
  • Would you like to never experience the pain of a fractured, osteoporotic bone?
  • Do lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your knees and reducing aches and pains sound attractive to you?
  • Would you like to run a marathon (even if you’re 60!)?

It’s Yours

You’ve dreamed about it long enough.

Make this Mother’s Day the beginning of a new chapter in your life.  Thousands of women just like you are doing it.  And I want to help you do it.

Be strong, vibrant, fit and full of energy.

It’s time to start.  Apply today for your FREE Wellness Strategy Session. I’ll get you unstuck and feeling better than you ever have.

Monday, May 8, 2017

3 Fruits That Can Help With Weight Loss

When you start a weight loss journey, one of the first things you will probably do is look to your diet and make changes. When you do this, you may think of removing foods, but you may overlook the importance of adding certain foods. There are certain fruits that can help you drop weight and reach the goals you have a little faster. The major benefit of adding many of these fruits is the ability to have as much of them as you would like without taking on too many unnecessary or empty calories.


Watermelon is a go to for weight loss. There are a few reasons why. The first is the hydration benefit of the fruit. It is over 90 percent water. This means that you are keeping yourself hydrated while delivering the second benefit that watermelon has to offer to your body, amino acids. This combination comes in at less than 40 calories per serving. This means you are getting nutrients, vitamins, hydration, and a filling bowl of fruit at very little cost to your weight. In fact, you are releasing the hydration into your body which helps move toxins out. This means that the toxins are no longer stored and neither are any blocks that may be preventing you from dropping weight.


It may surprise you to find out that apples can help you drop unwanted weight. Apples also do have a high content of water and can be a good hydration option. Apples also help boost your metabolism and help to regulate your hormones and your blood sugar. Therefore, it is used as part of a cinnamon and apple infused water for people who are trying to drop weight quickly. Apples can be added to juices as well as to water infusions. They are also available in most areas year-round.


If you are looking for a fruit that helps you drop weight, but can also give you a post workout energy boost then your answer is bananas. They pack energy into just a bit over 100 calories. They are quick to eat, easy to carry with you, and they can also help with inflammation. Inflammation can prevent you from dropping weight since it can retain water and can cause pain in the joints and blockages in your system, especially your digestive tract. Keep that in mind when you grab your next banana for a post workout boost.

These are only three of the fruits that can help you with weight loss and how they can help. You can also consider superfoods mixed with these fruits, having these fruits as juices, and keeping some dried fruits on hand as well. This will help give you quick on the go snacks and ensure you are getting as many fruits as you can during the day.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

TNT Pro Series Review

I received this package from TNT Pro Series for free in exchange for my honest review.  Included were the Waist Trimmer Belt, Upper Arm & Thigh Slimmer Kit, Exercise Loop Bands, and the Exercise Stretch Bands with Door Anchor.  I haven't tried out the Exercise Loop Bands yet.

The Waist Trimmer was easy to put on myself.  I struggled a little with getting the Thigh Slimmers in just the right place.  The Upper Arm Slimmers Austin had to put on me...there was no way that I could hold one side of the strap with one hand or my chin and affix the opposite side with the other hand.

You can definitely feel the sweat building up under the trimmer and slimmers.  Wearing them all day potentially leads to you sweating more (depending upon your unique sweat gland makeup).  However, the excess sweat doesn't lead to permanent weight loss as it's just water weight that's lost; it returns when you hydrate.  So I can't say that the TNT Pro Series' Waist Trimmer or Upper Arm & Thigh Slimmer Kit will directly help you lose weight but they can help you to release more toxins from sweating.  Also I'm not sure how long you have to wear the trimmer and slimmer to have a chance to see any results.

Of course my body decides to be weird while I'm trying these out.  The second time I wore the Thigh Slimmer, the front of my thighs were red at the spots where the slimmer ends overlap.  The next morning one of those spots had blistered.  Had this happened on the inner thighs this would've made more sense to me (like chafing when your legs rub together).  I asked the rep if anyone had reported anything like this before.  Again, I'm the first with my body doing something weird.

I have been using the red (heavy) Exercise Stretch Band with Door Anchor instead of a resistance band during my workouts for the exercise I do instead of a pullup.  I've come to realize that I prefer to use a stretch band because you don't have the connection pieces (that attach to the handles) flapping around and hitting your or whatever else is close enough.  When the Exercise Stretch Band flaps around it's not making a nuisance of itself when it hits something.  If you're drawing a blank on what to do with TNT Pro Series' Exercise Stretch Bands, there are pictures of some exercises on the bands themselves.

I plan to continue to wear the TNT Pro Series Waist Trimmer and Thigh Slimmers.  Hopefully my body won't be weird with them again.  I will incorporate the Exercise Loop Bands and the Exercise Stretch Bands with Door Anchor into my workouts.

Have you tried any slimmers or trimmers?

Do you prefer a flat or round band for your strength training?