Choosing your health goals

Working together for Health goals
Image courtesy of natural news

Every day we are bombarded by messages about the newest diet craze, a medical study with surprising findings, and an expert who knows what we “should” be doing for our health. However, at the end of the day, we all have different needs. And unfortunately, it’s practically impossible to be a a paleo, gluten-free, vegan who does 8-minute high intensity workouts 3 times a day, wakes up before 6am, and manages to retain her sanity.

…Well, actually it’s pretty fortunate that we can’t do that. But it’s unfortunate that most of us walk around thinking that we should be able to hold ourselves to these health standards that are almost impossible to achieve.

Eventually, you have to choose which health messages you’re going to listen to, and which you’re going to decide are not worth your time.

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Grocery Store Shopping Series: Happy Healthy Tip #4

Grocery perimeter

It’s time to get shopping!! In this series meant to help you become a happier, healthier grocery shopper, we’ve talked about the importance of shopping happy, knowing when to go, and making a list. Now, it’s time to revamp how you shop when you’re in the store!

My tip for this week is based on the geography of a grocery store, and is good practice no matter what your current shopping habits or needs are. Continue reading…


Grocery Store Shopping Series: Happy Healthy Tip #3

Grocery List
Photo Courtesy of imgarcade.com

This post is part of a series on forming healthy, efficient grocery store shopping habits. We’re on to the last post about the pre-shopping experience. Enjoy!

 
 
Having a grocery list is the most important of the pre-planning shopping tips we’ve discussed so far. We’ve talked about not shopping hungry, and choosing the right time to go grocery shopping, but having a plan is so important. Did you know that supermarkets are on average 42,000 square feet and contain over 38,000 different products? WOAH. Navigating that labyrinth with a list and a plan is going to make the entire experience easier and less frustrating.

As a bonus, we’re going to use the grocery store list to make sure that your food purchases align with your health and monetary goals. The grocery list is just one more thing that’s going to help you live your healthy lifestyle.

Making a Grocery Store Shopping List

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Increasing energy levels at work

Low energy sleeping at work
Photo courtesy of The Guardian

What goes up must come down – including energy. We love our energy highs, when we are ready to take on the world, are super productive, and feel great. Those energy lows though? Not so much. Instead we complain, berate ourselves for not feeling our best, and try to find any solution to increase our energy.

Some of our solutions, however, are really band-aids: they’re not fixing our low energy problem, they’re just covering it up for a while. These band-aid solutions, like caffeine and sugar, make you feel good for a little while, but there is usually an energy crash that follows. And while sugar and caffeine are not inherently bad, if they come wrapped in a 400-calorie package, or are being used as a constant crutch to support waning energy, the negative effects can be larger than just that one-time energy crash.

So today, when your energy starts to decrease, and you’re ready to find the nearest quick fix to bring you back up, consider some of these tips instead, which address the root cause of your low energy. These sustainable systems to increase your energy have no negative side-effects, and can help you feel better, work better, and smile!

Tips to increase energy levels at work

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Saying no to unhealthy food

Saying no thank you sign

Saying no is hard to do. It feels so mean! So definitive! So dismissive! Because we get caught up in worrying about the other person’s feelings or perceptions of us, we become willing to overextend ourselves, double book, and invest in projects that we don’t have love or commitment for.

However, whenever you say yes or no, you’re also sending a message to yourself and to others about what your values and priorities are. And by pretending and bending your priorities to align with what others want can result in feeling guilty, sadness, stress, or like we don’t have agency in your own lives. Plus, it can erode at your confidence in what your priorities are and your ability to make decisions that are good for you.

Saying no is difficult when we’re interacting with our bosses and loved ones, but why do we feel a pang of guilt when we tell a waiter at a restaurant “no, I don’t want fries with that”…”actually, I don’t need another glass of wine”….”no dessert tonight, thanks”. Why do we think that these people actually care whether we take them up on these offers? Continue reading…


Why can’t I get to sleep?

sleep
Happy Sleeper

Let’s talk about sleep. Sleep is being mentioned everywhere in the news these days: getting enough sleep has been linked to increased happiness and productivity, weight loss, lower diabetes risk….you name it!

Due to all of this research, however, there’s also a plethora of “how to sleep better” articles and tips around the web. The problem I always run in to when reading these articles is that sleeping problems are not created equal! Some nights, I can’t fall asleep easily because I’m agitated or stressed. On others, I’m blissfully happy, but (being in North Carolina), my belly is full of barbeque and I just can’t get comfortable. These two causes are completely different and require different techniques to overcome!

Luckily, taking some time to figure out what is underlying your sleeping issues can make it much easier to take the right steps to bring you closer to some happy Z’s. Continue reading…


Bringing lunch to work

Lunch containers
During the work week, there are lots of reasons why we choose to go out for lunch, rather than bringing food from home. It can feel a little like elementary school to bring a brown paper bag and a peanut butter sandwich. There’s a bit of hassle involved because it takes time to put your lunch together, and there is more to carry during your commute. I would argue, however, that the main reason why we like to eat out so much is because it’s the only time during the day when many of us get up from our desks, walk outside, and take a break from work.

That break time is so important! Taking time away from our desks is important for our productivity and creativity, but if it leads to consuming an excess of salt, sugar, and fat, bringing lunch to work starts to sound pretty good. But you might as well make it easy on yourself, right? Below are great ways to make it easier to have delicious, homemade meals at work.
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What to do when you miss a workout

When I miss a workout, I am a pain to deal with. During high school, I listened to a yoga podcast and would practice every day after school. My sister, who is two years younger than me, would often barge into the room, as sisters do, to ask a question or talk with me. Naturally, in the midst of my calming practice, I would yell and hurl expletives at her until she left the room. So yogic of me, right?
 
I remember that story whenever it’s raining so hard I can’t go running, or I overeat because of stress or mindlessness. Whatever the trigger was that set me off my normal routine, whether it was my fault, someone else’s, or no one’s….what matters is not what happened, but how I react to it.
 

Sometimes a small step off of your healthy path causes other unhealthy choices (“I already screwed it up anyway”). We often get caught up in an “all or nothing” thinking that is so detrimental when inevitable mistakes or missteps occur.
 

However, with the right frame of mind, a negative circumstance or less-than-perfect day can actually strengthen your dedication and determination to your healthy practice. Here’s how it works: Continue reading…


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Grocery Store Shopping Series: Happy Healthy Tip #2

Welcome to the healthy grocery store shopping series! Last week we discussed how shopping hungry, tired, or stressed can negatively impact your grocery store shopping experience. Hopefully, you were able to take note of your mood and hunger levels before you went shopping and realize if you need to switch up your pre-shopping routine.

Waiting outside trader joe's
Waiting in line at Trader Joe’s in Manhattan (photo via The Unbiased Eye)

Today we continue the series with another tip for a healthy, happy grocery store shopping experience: Know When To Go
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How to start making healthy choices

Building healthier choices into your life can be a daunting task. There’s exercising every day, getting enough sleep every day, feeding your family right every day. None of these goals are easy to achieve, and particularly are hard to implement every single day. Because we phrase our goals in this way, it can be difficult to even imagining incorporating these practices into our current routine.

In chemistry, in our bodies, and in our lives, every action needs activation energy. Activation energy is a term used in chemistry for the really high amount of energy that chemical reactions need to get started. After the activation energy is reached, similar to pushing a rock up a hill, the reaction tumbles forward, and your energy to remain in that state plateaus at a normal, stable level. In chemistry, requiring high activation energy is a matter of protection! You don’t want things firing off all the time, making molecules, breaking apart, disrupting the balance. There has to be a clear and strong call to action before the infantry in your body get moving.
Activation energy

When it comes to the decisions we make every day, that high activation energy can stop us from taking the first step towards reaching our lifestyle goals.
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