Archive for November, 2013


Changes and choices for a healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is this week. A time for family, friends, socializing and, of course, food. It seems like almost everyone puts on a pound or two during the holidays, with all the temptations, parties and hectic schedules.

Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight loss goals. By being aware of options, being disciplined and focusing on other aspects, you can enjoy Thanksgiving and maintain your weight loss goals.

Maintain exercise discipline

Schedules get hectic during the holidays and it’s easy to skip exercising in favor of shopping and spending time with family, friends and co-workers. Make sure to maintain some discipline so you don’t undo all the progress you’ve made during the year.

Be realistic

It’s a good idea to shift your goal from weight loss to weight maintenance. Most people tend to pack on a few extra pounds during the holidays, so if you can maintain, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Focus on spending time with family and friends

Thanksgiving shouldn’t just be what is on the table; it should be about who is around it.

Eat breakfast

Some people skip breakfast in order to save room for a big Thanksgiving meal. By eating a small but satisfying meal in the morning, you’ll give yourself more control over your appetite at dinner.

Cut where you can

There is more sugar and fat in most recipes than is needed, and no one will notice the difference if you make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar and calories.

  • Fat-free chicken broth can be used to baste turkey, make gravy and in place of milk or cream in mashed potatoes.
  • Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can; in baked recipes, for instance, you can use fruit purees instead of oil.
  • Plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream will help reduce fat and calories in creamy dips, mashed potatoes and casseroles.

Be choosy

Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to have dishes that are not available at any other time during the year. Skip the stuff you don’t usually get in favor of the traditional holiday favorites. Keep the portions under control and you won’t kill your diet.

Skip seconds

Resist the temptation to go back for another round. If you manage to limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overeat and have more room for dessert. Leftovers are much better the next day, anyway.

Food discipline

Making smart choices is the key to not having to spend more time in the gym to work off the Thanksgiving meal. White turkey meat is a good source of protein, but avoid the skin and you’ll save yourself some fat calories. Roasted sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables are better options than green bean casserole and candied yams.

Limit alcohol intake

Alcohol calories can add up quickly.

Slow down

If you eat slowly and savor each bite, you’re more likely to enjoy the meal and feel satisfied without overdoing it. The appetite sensors will kick in and you’ll know when to stop.


How to avoid procrastination

Ben Franklin said “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Americans have been procrastinating for over two centuries. Procrastination is normal; almost everyone does it. Putting off being productive is practically a national pastime.

Usually we do it because we’re avoiding something that is either challenging or unpleasant. For the most part, procrastination isn’t really a serious problem until it starts to interfere with work performance. If you find yourself in a funk and are putting off projects, it’s time to take action.

Break it down

Remember the saying about how to eat whale? You have to do it one bite at a time. If the project is overwhelming, try breaking it down into bite-size tasks. Become a to-do list maker.

Create a timeline with specific deadlines

Give each task in the project its own deadline to create a sense of urgency and chronology.

Change for effect

You may be run down by clutter, or your environment may not be inspiring you. You may need to change your workspace around just a bit.

Get rid of the distractions

Take a realistic look at what causes you to procrastinate – surfing, social media, chatting with co-workers – and either limit yourself or cut it out completely.

Hang out with people who inspire you

No matter where you are in life, people influence our behaviors. Identify those people who you believe can inspire you and trigger action.

Reevaluate your goals

Extended periods of procrastination can be a signal that you need to take a look at your long-range goals again. Ask yourself some pointed questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • How do I achieve those goals?
  • What are the steps to take?
  • Does my current work align with that?
  • If not, what can you do about it?

Get started

Don’t wait for the perfect time, because there’s never a perfect time. If you’re waiting for everything to be exactly right in order to start, you’ll never accomplish anything. Stop planning and start doing!


The health effects of vitamin C

It’s November, and that means one thing. No, not holiday shopping. It’s cold and flu season. For many people, that means loading up on vitamin C as a cure for the common cold.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but studies have shown that vitamin C can’t prevent colds. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and neutralizes harmful free radicals, which is necessary for overall immune system health. It also has a laundry list of other health benefits.

  • Prevention of cardiovascular disease
  • Collagen production, necessary to help wounds heal
  • Helps to limit prenatal health problems
  • Promotes eye health, including prevention of cataracts
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels
  • Prevents skin wrinkling
  • Detoxify our bodies, promotes healing of all of our cells, and allows us to better deal with stress
  • Metabolizes heavy metals
  • Removes toxins in the body

Where to get Vitamin C

Vitamin C is not produced in the body, so we have to get it from what we ingest. If you think “oranges” every time vitamin C is mentioned, you’re not alone. But there are many fruits and vegetable that have higher concentrations of vitamin C than a medium orange, which has about 70 mg.

Red bell peppers – One of the most versatile vegetables for cooking, 1 cup contains 190 mg

Kiwi – One serving of two kiwi has 137 mg, in addition to being high in potassium and copper

Broccoli – Low calorie, fiber rich and 132 mg of vitamin C

Cauliflower – Small head has 128 mg, and can be steamed, roasted, mashed or consumed raw

Mango – 122 mg and full of vitamin A, necessary for eye health

Green bell peppers – 1 cup contains 120 mg and is a great source of fiber

Chili peppers – If you like spicy, good news: 1/2 cup of chilis has 108 mg

Papaya – Sweet tropical fruit has 88 mg per cup

Strawberries – One cup has 85 mg of Vitamin C, plus folates for heart health

Kale – Hard to believe it is often used as a garnish, it has 80 mg of vitamin C, plus vitamin A and vitamin K

Pineapple – One of the best things to eat after a tough workout for its anti-inflammatory properties, it has 79 mg per serving

Brussels sprouts – The most hated veggie, one serving of the little cabbages are packed with 75 mg of vitamin C

How much Vitamin C do we need?

Most Americans do not get the amount of vitamin C that they need, either through their diet or taking a supplement. According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended daily allowance is 90 mg for an average adult male and 75 mg for a female. However, the results of a study reported on WebMD found that in order to achieve health results, people should be getting 500 mg of vitamin C.