Diana Kelly – Life by Daily Burn http://dailyburn.com/life Thu, 22 Feb 2018 16:54:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 9 Ways to Fight Holiday Bloat (And Never Feel Deprived) http://dailyburn.com/life/health/winter-weight-loss-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/health/winter-weight-loss-tips/#comments Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:30:11 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=22086 9 Ways to Fight Holiday Bloat (and Still Enjoy Your Eggnog)

[caption id="attachment_54813" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain (And Never Feel Deprived) Photo by Ali Inay[/caption]

Already suffering from nightmares that your favorite jeans won’t fit come January? Or that you’ll be sporting double chins in your New Year’s photos? Relax. Even if you've already indulged a little too much this year, you can still make it to 2016 without feeling totally bloated. 

“It’s not the climate and lower temperatures that lead to overeating,” says Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, CDN, owner of One Source Nutrition, LLC, a nutrition counseling and consulting firm in Connecticut. The “winter weight gain” problem centers around behavior and the temptations we’re exposed to during these months of the year. Wanting cheesy casseroles and thick, hearty stews as soon as the temps drop are behaviors we’ve trained ourselves to repeat, says Stokes. “That old hibernation theory of needing more calories to get you through a harsh winter doesn’t hold up.” After all, he says, when we look across the country at places that don’t have harsh winters, people are still eating more this time of year.

RELATED: The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

Blame the link between “winter” and “weight gain” on it being a season when people come together to celebrate rich food, socialize frequently, drink more alcohol, and possibly lose workout motivation. “We’d like the celebrating to be about fellowship, family and getting together with people we don’t see often. But usually the event becomes about the food, buffet and desserts,” says Stokes. Here are nine tips to help you resist that extra Christmas cookie and stay motivated to make it until the new year without the gift of extra girth.

9 Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

1. Celebrate maintenance, not just weight loss.

Research has shown that the average person only gains one to two pounds during the holiday season. But while a pound is about the average for his weight management clients, Stoke says, it’s not uncommon for people who are overweight or obese to gain a bit more. It may not seem like much, but once that pound is on your frame, there’s a good chance it stays there permanently, Stokes says. And if that happens every year, then 10 years later, you’re 10 pounds heavier. Stokes suggests creating a plan that you can manage and be happy with until eggnog season is over. If that means your goal is to maintain your weight, be OK with that! If you’re trying to lose weight, know you’ll have to be extra vigilant with your diet and exercise plan.

RELATED: Why Regaining Weight Is So Common, and How to Deal

2. Have that cookie — but not three. 

From the time Halloween candy hits stores in early October, we’re bombarded with treats and temptations at every turn. What’s worse, we often act as if we’ll never see this food again except this one time of year! We treat holiday food and holiday eating like it’s “The Last Supper," says Stokes. People go gaga for holiday cookies and sweets, specialty appetizers and heavy cocktails as if we can only enjoy them one month of the year. That often leads to overeating each time they’re in front of us, says Stokes. “I remind my clients that if you want a special food on a holiday, have it. Just don’t think you need three servings because there’s no other time of year you can have it. Don’t give food that much power over this [seasonal] event. Take the wind out of its sails,” Stokes says.

RELATED: 14 Holiday Cookie Recipes Under 100 Calories

3. Be willing to say “no.”

If you’re serious about meeting your goal on the other side of the holiday season, make a habit of outlining what you’re going to eat each day and planning your workouts. That might involve setting aside more time for shopping, prepping food and cooking your meals for the week ahead so you’re not at the mercy of less-than-good-for-you leftovers, happy hour drinks on an empty stomach, or eating half the batter of brownie mix for your kid’s school party. And if it’s not in your predetermined meal plan, it’s OK to say, ‘no, thank you.’

Stokes says many of his clients have anxiety over disappointing food pushers. People think it’s a chaotic, out-of-control time where you have to surrender and eat the foods others are pushing on you, especially when you know they have good intentions. But be vigilant and persistent with your plan. “Give your family members the opportunity to hear you say that you don’t want it. If they feel rejected or sad, that’s their problem,” he says.

[caption id="attachment_21981" align="alignnone" width="620"]Low-Fat Eggnog Photo by Perry Santanachote[/caption]

4. Accept slip-ups and move on.

If you ate something you didn’t plan on having that day — like your aunt's famous holiday streusel — the best thing you can do is adjust your program and get back on track at your next meal. That might mean trimming your carbs in half at dinner or skipping your evening snack. If you had a workout planned already for that day, consider increasing the intensity or tacking on 10 more minutes if you can squeeze it in. “One meal is not going to break you. It’s not going to make you gain a pound of fat or muscle,” says Stokes. Also keep in mind that if you get on the scale and see weight gain, it could be fluid retention from eating salty seasonal foods. Don’t get discouraged by a gain and decide to ditch your goal until the new year — start fresh with your next meal.

RELATED: When Is It OK to Cheat? The Truth About Cheat Days

5. Be wary of “open bar” situations.

Drinking alcohol packs a triple punch when it comes to interfering with weight loss. Besides having empty calories, some research has shown that alcohol stimulates appetite and lowers inhibition so you’re more likely to eat fried, fatty, salty foods you normally wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. Stokes tells his clients to try to avoid alcohol at parties if they can, or, if they know they’re going to have a drink or two, not to do it on an empty stomach. When we’re super-hungry it’s hard to think clearly and forgo indulgent foods and high-calorie drinks. Skipping meals throughout the day to save yourself calories for drinking usually backfires and leads to overeating, so pre-plan the number of drinks you’ll have and deduct those calories from your daily total.

RELATED: 5 Hangover Cures to Save You After a Few Too Many

6. Stay present to prevent overeating.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in a beautiful spread of food at a holiday table and wolf down your meal so you can have seconds before it disappears. But the key to tuning in to your body and knowing when you’re full is to stay aware and present. Need a helpful reminder? Try preprogramming a message on your phone to pop up before you sit down to dinner. Use whatever will remind you to be mindful, enjoy the food, relax and savor everything to prevent overeating from happening in the first place. And if you find yourself eating too quickly, it’s OK to get up from the table, pretend you need to make a phone call or check on your kids, and just do something that removes you from that situation for one to two minutes, suggests Stokes. You’ll come back feeling recharged and refocused so you can finish your meal more mindfully.

RELATED: 9 Simple Tricks to Eat More Mindfully — Starting Now

7. Recommit to your initial goals.

Passing on treats day in and day out gets old (and exhausting). To stay motivated, remind yourself of why you wanted to follow a healthy eating plan in the in the first place, says Stokes. For his clients it’s usually connected to wanting to feel better, improve confidence, reverse health problems, and more. “A lot of clients I see have motivation-related issues. Write those reasons you started this healthy initiative down and carry them with you on a sticky note or put them in a digital calendar with a daily pop-up message that says something like, ‘I’m eating this way because I want to feel better and lose weight.’” Seeing reminders daily helps motivation. 

8. Think about why you’re eating.

"A lot of the winter weight gain I see around the holidays is oftentimes about people feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, lonely or sad — and food is a substitute for other things,” says Stokes. It’s easy to fall into emotional eating habits if we don’t have coping mechanisms for uncomfortable feelings, and the holidays aren’t necessarily a joyous time for everyone. “We’re supposed to be happy and come together with family members and we’re all supposed to get along. Recognize that it’s a lot of pressure,” says Stokes. Try to shift the focus back to friends and family and the people you enjoy spending time with the most. And if you need a break, take a few minutes of deep breathing to relax yourself in a quiet place. Then ask yourself if you really need that cookie, or you just needed a breather.

RELATED: Your Guide to Surviving the Holiday Blues

9. Don’t skimp on zzz’s.

The holiday season is all about cramming more things into the day — 25 percent more Stokes estimates, based on his experience with clients — whether it’s parties, shopping, cleaning, cooking, and so on. To get more out of your day, you either hire help or sleep less, he says. And most people usually ditch sleep. With sleep deprivation comes cravings, especially cravings for carbs, sweets and high-calorie foods. Instead, determine how can you delegate some tasks, let go, and get out of that umpteenth holiday party.

After all, something has to give. Try to anticipate and plan around a hectic schedule before it happens. Prioritize your to-do list so the most important goals are at the top — getting the sleep you need, making time for your exercise routine and planning healthy meals. All of those things together make for better health, which is what your ultimate goal is, right?

Originally posted December 2013. Updated December 2017. 

Read More

6 Everyday Habits That Are Making You Bloated
7 Surprising Ways You're Sabotaging Your Metabolism
7 Disastrous Holiday Desserts (and Healthier Swaps!)

The post 9 Ways to Fight Holiday Bloat (And Never Feel Deprived) appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
9 Ways to Fight Holiday Bloat (and Still Enjoy Your Eggnog)

[caption id="attachment_54813" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain (And Never Feel Deprived) Photo by Ali Inay[/caption] Already suffering from nightmares that your favorite jeans won’t fit come January? Or that you’ll be sporting double chins in your New Year’s photos? Relax. Even if you've already indulged a little too much this year, you can still make it to 2016 without feeling totally bloated.  “It’s not the climate and lower temperatures that lead to overeating,” says Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, CDN, owner of One Source Nutrition, LLC, a nutrition counseling and consulting firm in Connecticut. The “winter weight gain” problem centers around behavior and the temptations we’re exposed to during these months of the year. Wanting cheesy casseroles and thick, hearty stews as soon as the temps drop are behaviors we’ve trained ourselves to repeat, says Stokes. “That old hibernation theory of needing more calories to get you through a harsh winter doesn’t hold up.” After all, he says, when we look across the country at places that don’t have harsh winters, people are still eating more this time of year. RELATED: The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat Blame the link between “winter” and “weight gain” on it being a season when people come together to celebrate rich food, socialize frequently, drink more alcohol, and possibly lose workout motivation. “We’d like the celebrating to be about fellowship, family and getting together with people we don’t see often. But usually the event becomes about the food, buffet and desserts,” says Stokes. Here are nine tips to help you resist that extra Christmas cookie and stay motivated to make it until the new year without the gift of extra girth.

9 Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

1. Celebrate maintenance, not just weight loss.

Research has shown that the average person only gains one to two pounds during the holiday season. But while a pound is about the average for his weight management clients, Stoke says, it’s not uncommon for people who are overweight or obese to gain a bit more. It may not seem like much, but once that pound is on your frame, there’s a good chance it stays there permanently, Stokes says. And if that happens every year, then 10 years later, you’re 10 pounds heavier. Stokes suggests creating a plan that you can manage and be happy with until eggnog season is over. If that means your goal is to maintain your weight, be OK with that! If you’re trying to lose weight, know you’ll have to be extra vigilant with your diet and exercise plan. RELATED: Why Regaining Weight Is So Common, and How to Deal

2. Have that cookie — but not three. 

From the time Halloween candy hits stores in early October, we’re bombarded with treats and temptations at every turn. What’s worse, we often act as if we’ll never see this food again except this one time of year! We treat holiday food and holiday eating like it’s “The Last Supper," says Stokes. People go gaga for holiday cookies and sweets, specialty appetizers and heavy cocktails as if we can only enjoy them one month of the year. That often leads to overeating each time they’re in front of us, says Stokes. “I remind my clients that if you want a special food on a holiday, have it. Just don’t think you need three servings because there’s no other time of year you can have it. Don’t give food that much power over this [seasonal] event. Take the wind out of its sails,” Stokes says. RELATED: 14 Holiday Cookie Recipes Under 100 Calories

3. Be willing to say “no.”

If you’re serious about meeting your goal on the other side of the holiday season, make a habit of outlining what you’re going to eat each day and planning your workouts. That might involve setting aside more time for shopping, prepping food and cooking your meals for the week ahead so you’re not at the mercy of less-than-good-for-you leftovers, happy hour drinks on an empty stomach, or eating half the batter of brownie mix for your kid’s school party. And if it’s not in your predetermined meal plan, it’s OK to say, ‘no, thank you.’ Stokes says many of his clients have anxiety over disappointing food pushers. People think it’s a chaotic, out-of-control time where you have to surrender and eat the foods others are pushing on you, especially when you know they have good intentions. But be vigilant and persistent with your plan. “Give your family members the opportunity to hear you say that you don’t want it. If they feel rejected or sad, that’s their problem,” he says. [caption id="attachment_21981" align="alignnone" width="620"]Low-Fat Eggnog Photo by Perry Santanachote[/caption]

4. Accept slip-ups and move on.

If you ate something you didn’t plan on having that day — like your aunt's famous holiday streusel — the best thing you can do is adjust your program and get back on track at your next meal. That might mean trimming your carbs in half at dinner or skipping your evening snack. If you had a workout planned already for that day, consider increasing the intensity or tacking on 10 more minutes if you can squeeze it in. “One meal is not going to break you. It’s not going to make you gain a pound of fat or muscle,” says Stokes. Also keep in mind that if you get on the scale and see weight gain, it could be fluid retention from eating salty seasonal foods. Don’t get discouraged by a gain and decide to ditch your goal until the new year — start fresh with your next meal. RELATED: When Is It OK to Cheat? The Truth About Cheat Days

5. Be wary of “open bar” situations.

Drinking alcohol packs a triple punch when it comes to interfering with weight loss. Besides having empty calories, some research has shown that alcohol stimulates appetite and lowers inhibition so you’re more likely to eat fried, fatty, salty foods you normally wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. Stokes tells his clients to try to avoid alcohol at parties if they can, or, if they know they’re going to have a drink or two, not to do it on an empty stomach. When we’re super-hungry it’s hard to think clearly and forgo indulgent foods and high-calorie drinks. Skipping meals throughout the day to save yourself calories for drinking usually backfires and leads to overeating, so pre-plan the number of drinks you’ll have and deduct those calories from your daily total. RELATED: 5 Hangover Cures to Save You After a Few Too Many

6. Stay present to prevent overeating.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in a beautiful spread of food at a holiday table and wolf down your meal so you can have seconds before it disappears. But the key to tuning in to your body and knowing when you’re full is to stay aware and present. Need a helpful reminder? Try preprogramming a message on your phone to pop up before you sit down to dinner. Use whatever will remind you to be mindful, enjoy the food, relax and savor everything to prevent overeating from happening in the first place. And if you find yourself eating too quickly, it’s OK to get up from the table, pretend you need to make a phone call or check on your kids, and just do something that removes you from that situation for one to two minutes, suggests Stokes. You’ll come back feeling recharged and refocused so you can finish your meal more mindfully. RELATED: 9 Simple Tricks to Eat More Mindfully — Starting Now

7. Recommit to your initial goals.

Passing on treats day in and day out gets old (and exhausting). To stay motivated, remind yourself of why you wanted to follow a healthy eating plan in the in the first place, says Stokes. For his clients it’s usually connected to wanting to feel better, improve confidence, reverse health problems, and more. “A lot of clients I see have motivation-related issues. Write those reasons you started this healthy initiative down and carry them with you on a sticky note or put them in a digital calendar with a daily pop-up message that says something like, ‘I’m eating this way because I want to feel better and lose weight.’” Seeing reminders daily helps motivation. 

8. Think about why you’re eating.

"A lot of the winter weight gain I see around the holidays is oftentimes about people feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, lonely or sad — and food is a substitute for other things,” says Stokes. It’s easy to fall into emotional eating habits if we don’t have coping mechanisms for uncomfortable feelings, and the holidays aren’t necessarily a joyous time for everyone. “We’re supposed to be happy and come together with family members and we’re all supposed to get along. Recognize that it’s a lot of pressure,” says Stokes. Try to shift the focus back to friends and family and the people you enjoy spending time with the most. And if you need a break, take a few minutes of deep breathing to relax yourself in a quiet place. Then ask yourself if you really need that cookie, or you just needed a breather. RELATED: Your Guide to Surviving the Holiday Blues

9. Don’t skimp on zzz’s.

The holiday season is all about cramming more things into the day — 25 percent more Stokes estimates, based on his experience with clients — whether it’s parties, shopping, cleaning, cooking, and so on. To get more out of your day, you either hire help or sleep less, he says. And most people usually ditch sleep. With sleep deprivation comes cravings, especially cravings for carbs, sweets and high-calorie foods. Instead, determine how can you delegate some tasks, let go, and get out of that umpteenth holiday party. After all, something has to give. Try to anticipate and plan around a hectic schedule before it happens. Prioritize your to-do list so the most important goals are at the top — getting the sleep you need, making time for your exercise routine and planning healthy meals. All of those things together make for better health, which is what your ultimate goal is, right? Originally posted December 2013. Updated December 2017.  Read More 6 Everyday Habits That Are Making You Bloated 7 Surprising Ways You're Sabotaging Your Metabolism 7 Disastrous Holiday Desserts (and Healthier Swaps!)

The post 9 Ways to Fight Holiday Bloat (And Never Feel Deprived) appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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8 Signs You’re Way Too Stressed (and How to Deal) http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-deal-with-stress/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-deal-with-stress/#comments Wed, 24 May 2017 15:15:35 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=25746 8 Signs You're Too Stressed (And How to Deal With It)

[caption id="attachment_58931" align="alignnone" width="620"]8 Signs You Have Too Much Stress in Your Life Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

Unless you surround yourself with Tibetan monks, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in your life — including you — that wouldn’t say they’re stressed about something. There are times when stress can be a good thing — it can help you conquer fears or motivate you to get something done. But when you're constantly in a state of tension and anxiety, it can have an effect on your body's physical and emotional state.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of all illness and disease is stress-related. In honor of Mental Health Month, we encourage you to take time each day to de-stress and do something that makes you happy. Take a walk, write in a journal or pull out a paintbrush. Want more ways to get a handle on your stress levels? Catch the red flags. Here are some not-so-obvious signs that you need to relax a bit more — and how to do it.

RELATED: What Mental Health Experts Do to De-Stress

8 Unexpected Signs You Have Too Much Stress in Your Life

1. You’re perpetually sick and just can’t seem to get over it.

If it seems like every week you’ve got a cough, sore throat or a fever, you might want to blame your workload and not just your sneezing coworker. “When we are under extreme pressure, our bodies secrete a stress hormone called cortisol that can help us short-term,” says Richard Colgan, MD, professor of family and community medicine at University of Maryland School of Medicine and author of Advice to the Healer. “But if you’re stressed out constantly, these hormones aren’t as helpful and can become depleted over time.” Colgan says cortisol and other hormones are components of the immune system that help the body cope with stress. But when these hormones are withdrawn, we become more susceptible to sickness.

And the side effects don’t end there. “Stress can also slow wound healing, contribute to the reactivation of latent viruses and increase vulnerability to viral infections,” says Keri Tuit, clinical psychologist at Yale University.

What to do: Listen to your body when you feel tired or drained. Make time for rest and extra sleep. Whether you recently spent time traveling or finalizing a huge work project, allow your body the time it needs to recover.

 

 

"A tired body is not well prepared to cope with stressful situations and ward off illness.”

 

 

2. You’re having trouble concentrating.

When you’re too overwhelmed to focus on what’s in front of you, it could be a sign you’re overworked. Research has connected long-term exposure to excess amounts of cortisol to shrinking of the hippocampus, the brain's memory center, says Tuit. Studies have shown that long-term stress stimulates growth of the proteins that might cause Alzheimer’s disease.

What to do: If you find that you’re experiencing this during the workday, taking a few long inhales and exhales can help. “Deep, even breathing not only affects whether or not our thoughts control us or we control them. It also affects the bodily sensations that are experienced when faced with a high-stress situation,” says Tuit. This type of breathing can help control the heart rate and blood flow, as well as muscle tension, she says.

RELATED: 3 Guided Meditations for Productivity, Sleep and Cravings

3. You have a constant headache that just won’t go away.

If you experience throbbing or feel pressure anywhere on the head or temple area, there’s a good chance it’s a tension or stress headache, says Dr. Colgan. Oftentimes people point to particular troubles in their life that might be causing this pain, but lifestyle might be to blame instead. Keep in mind, if your head pain feels like a “migraine headache,” “the worst headache of your life,” or a headache that wakens you from sleep, those are signs of a dangerous health problem. You should visit a doctor immediately, advises Dr. Colgan.

What to do: “When stress is the cause of your headache, the easiest thing to say is, ‘have less stress in your life.’ But that advice itself is stressful,” says Dr. Colgan. Knowing what your headache‘s coming from is helpful therapy. People oftentimes feel worse worrying and trying to figure out what the cause could be. So knowing it’s not some serious health problem may make a person feel better. “Sometimes the most effective way a doctor can treat a patient is to teach them about their symptoms,” says Dr. Colgan.

4. Your back or neck is always aching.

If you’ve got knots in your shoulders, a stiff neck or your lower back cramped up after a long day, it could be the constant of a job or personal situation, not just the position you sit in during the day. “High levels of stress and tension create discomfort and muscle pain by tightening muscles and causing muscle spasms,” says Dr. Colgan. And stiff muscles in your neck can also lead to headaches, he says.

If your back pain developed after an accident or emotional trauma, it could also be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The National Institute of Health recommends talking to your primary doctor, as many people aren’t able to heal their back pain until they deal with the emotional stress that’s causing it.

What to do: “Many relaxation techniques can help with stress reduction, including guided imagery, taking deep breaths from the diaphragm, meditation, massages and yoga,” says Tuit. Try devoting time for stretching breaks throughout the day to help prevent muscles from tightening up. Make time for some of these yoga poses to unwind at the end of the day.

RELATED: 5 Relaxing Yoga Poses to Do Before Bed

5. You having trouble sleeping well.

“If you find yourself waking up and worrying or ruminating over things, it could be a sign of anxiety or depression,” says Dr. Colgan.  After a long day, sleep should come easy and getting into bed should finally be a time when you can shut your brain off. If you feel tired but have a difficult time falling asleep, it’s possible you have stress-related fatigue.

What to do: Talk to your doctor if this is regular occurrence. Discuss whether your chronic stress may have led to depression, says Dr. Colgan. When you’re not sleeping well, everyday annoyances might make you feel even more overwhelmed and frustrated because you’re more vulnerable. “A tired body is not well prepared to cope with stressful situations and ward off illness,” says Tuit. She suggests addressing your sleep issues by asking yourself if you’re getting six or more hours of sleep each night. If not, determine what’s interfering with that. “Cutting back on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages and increasing exercise can also improve sleep patterns," she says.

6. Your hair is starting to fall out.

If you’re waking up with more than a few strands on your pillow, you may be suffering from alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune skin disease brought on when the body's immune system attacks the hair follicles. It causes small round patches of hair loss on the scalp. “It’s not dangerous, but it’s likely to be associated with a severe stressor, like an assault or significant traumatic event in one’s life,” says Dr. Colgan. This disease is more likely to occur in young women or adolescent girls.

What to do: In most cases, this is typically a temporary condition and your hair will grow back once stress is minimized. But don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about what’s going on, says Dr. Colgan. While your MD might recommend injectable scalp steroids to help with hair growth, it’s best to have an examination. The hair loss could possibly be a sign of a scalp fungal infection, a bacterial function or even a thyroid disorder.

RELATED: A Dietitian's Foolproof Tips for Letting Go of Bad Habits

7. You’re getting UTIs.

If you’ve ever been in a meeting that dragged on for hours or didn’t get up from your desk for a bathroom break, you could be putting yourself at risk for urinary tract infections, says Dr. Colgan. “When people are under increased stress or working too hard, they sometimes put off going to the bathroom, but that’s one of the biggest risk factors for a UTI,” says Dr. Colgan, who’s also a UTI expert.

What to do: C’mon, you’re an adult! When you feel the urge to go to the bathroom, give yourself permission to take a break and go. An uncomfortable urinary infection is going to feel way worse than those few minutes you spent trying to crank out your work.

8. Your sex life is suffering.

While you or your partner might not be aware of it, stress and tension are the leading causes of erectile dysfunction. “A lot of men walk into my office and say they want Viagra, but oftentimes I’ll tell them I don’t think a pill will help their problem when I believe it’s stress that’s causing the issue,” says Dr. Colgan. It’s a vicious cycle, as erectile dysfunction can also cause more stress for the person experiencing it. “And since they’re stressed, sometimes guys will start drinking alcohol to reduce their inhibitions, but I’ll remind them that this is a muscle relaxer, so it won’t help them perform better in their sexual relations,” he says.

What to do: Identify what’s causing the problem. “I tell patients, the body and mind are like significant others: When one doesn’t feel well, the other sympathizes,” says Dr. Colgan. “If you’re having a rocky relationship, increased financial stresses, or lost your job, it’s illogical to think that with all that worry and tension in your life, your body is going to stand by idly and not act differently.”

Dr. Colgan also recommends talking with your partner to let them know what’s going on in order to work through the problem. “I tell them the answer isn’t a pill. The solution is for you and your partner to communicate so you can help them understand that you’re under a lot of stress and tension right now.” If you can work to relieve that tension, your sex life should improve as well.

What are your favorite tips to minimize stress in your life? Share them in the comments below.

Originally published March 2014. Updated May 2017.

The post 8 Signs You’re Way Too Stressed (and How to Deal) appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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8 Signs You're Too Stressed (And How to Deal With It)

[caption id="attachment_58931" align="alignnone" width="620"]8 Signs You Have Too Much Stress in Your Life Photo: Twenty20[/caption] Unless you surround yourself with Tibetan monks, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in your life — including you — that wouldn’t say they’re stressed about something. There are times when stress can be a good thing — it can help you conquer fears or motivate you to get something done. But when you're constantly in a state of tension and anxiety, it can have an effect on your body's physical and emotional state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of all illness and disease is stress-related. In honor of Mental Health Month, we encourage you to take time each day to de-stress and do something that makes you happy. Take a walk, write in a journal or pull out a paintbrush. Want more ways to get a handle on your stress levels? Catch the red flags. Here are some not-so-obvious signs that you need to relax a bit more — and how to do it. RELATED: What Mental Health Experts Do to De-Stress

8 Unexpected Signs You Have Too Much Stress in Your Life

1. You’re perpetually sick and just can’t seem to get over it.

If it seems like every week you’ve got a cough, sore throat or a fever, you might want to blame your workload and not just your sneezing coworker. “When we are under extreme pressure, our bodies secrete a stress hormone called cortisol that can help us short-term,” says Richard Colgan, MD, professor of family and community medicine at University of Maryland School of Medicine and author of Advice to the Healer. “But if you’re stressed out constantly, these hormones aren’t as helpful and can become depleted over time.” Colgan says cortisol and other hormones are components of the immune system that help the body cope with stress. But when these hormones are withdrawn, we become more susceptible to sickness. And the side effects don’t end there. “Stress can also slow wound healing, contribute to the reactivation of latent viruses and increase vulnerability to viral infections,” says Keri Tuit, clinical psychologist at Yale University. What to do: Listen to your body when you feel tired or drained. Make time for rest and extra sleep. Whether you recently spent time traveling or finalizing a huge work project, allow your body the time it needs to recover.
    "A tired body is not well prepared to cope with stressful situations and ward off illness.”    

2. You’re having trouble concentrating.

When you’re too overwhelmed to focus on what’s in front of you, it could be a sign you’re overworked. Research has connected long-term exposure to excess amounts of cortisol to shrinking of the hippocampus, the brain's memory center, says Tuit. Studies have shown that long-term stress stimulates growth of the proteins that might cause Alzheimer’s disease. What to do: If you find that you’re experiencing this during the workday, taking a few long inhales and exhales can help. “Deep, even breathing not only affects whether or not our thoughts control us or we control them. It also affects the bodily sensations that are experienced when faced with a high-stress situation,” says Tuit. This type of breathing can help control the heart rate and blood flow, as well as muscle tension, she says. RELATED: 3 Guided Meditations for Productivity, Sleep and Cravings

3. You have a constant headache that just won’t go away.

If you experience throbbing or feel pressure anywhere on the head or temple area, there’s a good chance it’s a tension or stress headache, says Dr. Colgan. Oftentimes people point to particular troubles in their life that might be causing this pain, but lifestyle might be to blame instead. Keep in mind, if your head pain feels like a “migraine headache,” “the worst headache of your life,” or a headache that wakens you from sleep, those are signs of a dangerous health problem. You should visit a doctor immediately, advises Dr. Colgan. What to do: “When stress is the cause of your headache, the easiest thing to say is, ‘have less stress in your life.’ But that advice itself is stressful,” says Dr. Colgan. Knowing what your headache‘s coming from is helpful therapy. People oftentimes feel worse worrying and trying to figure out what the cause could be. So knowing it’s not some serious health problem may make a person feel better. “Sometimes the most effective way a doctor can treat a patient is to teach them about their symptoms,” says Dr. Colgan.

4. Your back or neck is always aching.

If you’ve got knots in your shoulders, a stiff neck or your lower back cramped up after a long day, it could be the constant of a job or personal situation, not just the position you sit in during the day. “High levels of stress and tension create discomfort and muscle pain by tightening muscles and causing muscle spasms,” says Dr. Colgan. And stiff muscles in your neck can also lead to headaches, he says. If your back pain developed after an accident or emotional trauma, it could also be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The National Institute of Health recommends talking to your primary doctor, as many people aren’t able to heal their back pain until they deal with the emotional stress that’s causing it. What to do: “Many relaxation techniques can help with stress reduction, including guided imagery, taking deep breaths from the diaphragm, meditation, massages and yoga,” says Tuit. Try devoting time for stretching breaks throughout the day to help prevent muscles from tightening up. Make time for some of these yoga poses to unwind at the end of the day. RELATED: 5 Relaxing Yoga Poses to Do Before Bed

5. You having trouble sleeping well.

“If you find yourself waking up and worrying or ruminating over things, it could be a sign of anxiety or depression,” says Dr. Colgan.  After a long day, sleep should come easy and getting into bed should finally be a time when you can shut your brain off. If you feel tired but have a difficult time falling asleep, it’s possible you have stress-related fatigue. What to do: Talk to your doctor if this is regular occurrence. Discuss whether your chronic stress may have led to depression, says Dr. Colgan. When you’re not sleeping well, everyday annoyances might make you feel even more overwhelmed and frustrated because you’re more vulnerable. “A tired body is not well prepared to cope with stressful situations and ward off illness,” says Tuit. She suggests addressing your sleep issues by asking yourself if you’re getting six or more hours of sleep each night. If not, determine what’s interfering with that. “Cutting back on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages and increasing exercise can also improve sleep patterns," she says.

6. Your hair is starting to fall out.

If you’re waking up with more than a few strands on your pillow, you may be suffering from alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune skin disease brought on when the body's immune system attacks the hair follicles. It causes small round patches of hair loss on the scalp. “It’s not dangerous, but it’s likely to be associated with a severe stressor, like an assault or significant traumatic event in one’s life,” says Dr. Colgan. This disease is more likely to occur in young women or adolescent girls. What to do: In most cases, this is typically a temporary condition and your hair will grow back once stress is minimized. But don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about what’s going on, says Dr. Colgan. While your MD might recommend injectable scalp steroids to help with hair growth, it’s best to have an examination. The hair loss could possibly be a sign of a scalp fungal infection, a bacterial function or even a thyroid disorder. RELATED: A Dietitian's Foolproof Tips for Letting Go of Bad Habits

7. You’re getting UTIs.

If you’ve ever been in a meeting that dragged on for hours or didn’t get up from your desk for a bathroom break, you could be putting yourself at risk for urinary tract infections, says Dr. Colgan. “When people are under increased stress or working too hard, they sometimes put off going to the bathroom, but that’s one of the biggest risk factors for a UTI,” says Dr. Colgan, who’s also a UTI expert. What to do: C’mon, you’re an adult! When you feel the urge to go to the bathroom, give yourself permission to take a break and go. An uncomfortable urinary infection is going to feel way worse than those few minutes you spent trying to crank out your work.

8. Your sex life is suffering.

While you or your partner might not be aware of it, stress and tension are the leading causes of erectile dysfunction. “A lot of men walk into my office and say they want Viagra, but oftentimes I’ll tell them I don’t think a pill will help their problem when I believe it’s stress that’s causing the issue,” says Dr. Colgan. It’s a vicious cycle, as erectile dysfunction can also cause more stress for the person experiencing it. “And since they’re stressed, sometimes guys will start drinking alcohol to reduce their inhibitions, but I’ll remind them that this is a muscle relaxer, so it won’t help them perform better in their sexual relations,” he says. What to do: Identify what’s causing the problem. “I tell patients, the body and mind are like significant others: When one doesn’t feel well, the other sympathizes,” says Dr. Colgan. “If you’re having a rocky relationship, increased financial stresses, or lost your job, it’s illogical to think that with all that worry and tension in your life, your body is going to stand by idly and not act differently.” Dr. Colgan also recommends talking with your partner to let them know what’s going on in order to work through the problem. “I tell them the answer isn’t a pill. The solution is for you and your partner to communicate so you can help them understand that you’re under a lot of stress and tension right now.” If you can work to relieve that tension, your sex life should improve as well. What are your favorite tips to minimize stress in your life? Share them in the comments below. Originally published March 2014. Updated May 2017.

The post 8 Signs You’re Way Too Stressed (and How to Deal) appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Is Your Sleep Schedule Wrecking Your Metabolism? http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-schedule-metabolism-weight-gain/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-schedule-metabolism-weight-gain/#respond Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:15:59 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=56970 Is Your Sleep Schedule Wrecking Your Metabolism?

[caption id="attachment_56975" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Your Sleep Schedule Wrecking Your Metabolism? Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

We get it. Netflix, Facebook, Instagram and email can all be stellar distractions to keep you from putting your head on a pillow. But there’s good reason to make sleep a top priority (yes, even above The Bachelor).

Research shows that mixing up your bedtime by more than an hour won’t just impact your energy levels, but it could also affect your weight. In fact, a study published in the journal SLEEP last year discovered that bedtime variability had a negative effect on metabolic health.

Called the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), scientists looked at 338 non-shift working, middle-aged women and their 14-day sleep diary and then gathered follow-up data via another two-week diary approximately five years later. They found that the greater the difference in bedtime and the later they hit the hay, the higher their insulin resistance. Researchers also found a correlation between more time spent in bed (or going to bed earlier than average) and higher BMI, most likely because that meant more sedentary time.

RELATED: Bedroom Makeover: 9 Feng Shui Tips for Better Sleep

“We had the opportunity to examine normative sleep patterns in relation to metabolic health outcomes,” says study co-author, Briana Milligan, doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh in the bio-health psychology program. “Our hypothesis was that women with very late and/or very irregular sleep schedules would also have poorer metabolic health profiles,” she says. (That means higher BMI and higher insulin resistance levels.) And the results confirmed this.

“Looking closely at the data, we also found that weekday-weekend differences in bedtime were especially important,” says Milligan. Other health experts agree that it’s your overall sleep patterns that matter. “It's not just about getting consistent bedtimes during the week, it's consistent bedtime all the time,” says Robert Oexman, DC, director of The Sleep to Live Institute in Mebane, NC.

RELATED: The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain

How Bedtime Affects Your Weight

According to the American Diabetes Association, as of 2012, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes, and approximately 1.4 million Americans receive the diagnosis each year. The SWAN study suggests that irregular sleep schedules may be an important piece of the diabetes puzzle, says Milligan.

As mentioned, the findings from the SWAN study suggest that avoiding a regular sleep schedule increases insulin resistance. This is an important indicator of metabolic health, including diabetes risk, because it means your body isn’t doing a good job of regulating blood sugar.

So how does that affect your waistline? After we consume food, the body breaks it down into sugars, transported by insulin, and converts it into fat tissues and glycogen stores. “The storing of sugar and using of the stored sugar follows a circadian rhythm,” says Milligan. “During the daytime, we’re storing a lot so we can use it for basal metabolic function, and then our brain and body function optimally while we sleep,” she says. When you go to bed late, your body packs the sugar away and eventually, those stores become full and get converted into fat cells, Milligan explains. And by continuously delaying the release of melatonin (a hormone associated with sleep), the body keeps storing sugar rather than using it, says Milligan. Theoretically, this is why poor sleep could be linked to poor metabolic health.

RELATED: 6 Signs You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired)

Findings from earlier sleep studies go even further to say that a sleep debt of four hours a night from participants’ regular eight hours resulted in striking changes in glucose tolerance and endocrine function, impacting the body’s hormones and metabolism. Follow-up research to the that study showed that short sleepers experienced hormonal changes that could affect future body weight and impair long-term health. That’s because to keep blood sugar levels normal, the limited sleepers needed to make 30 percent more insulin than the normal sleepers.

What’s more, people who don’t sleep adequately show an increase in appetite and calorie intake, Oexman explains. The level of leptin (the satiety hormone) falls in subjects who are sleep deprived, therefore promoting hunger. “Because the psychological manifestations of fatigue, sleep and hunger are similar, as adults, we sometimes confuse them,” Oexman says.

RELATED: Bedtime Rituals To Help Banish Your Insomnia

[caption id="attachment_32599" align="alignnone" width="620"]Common Sleep Issues Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6 Tips for Sticking to a Consistent Sleep Schedule

To help you set a sleep schedule you’ll actually stick to — and keep you on track — we asked our sleep experts for their best bedtime advice. Read on for more solid zzz’s.

1. Beware of social jet lag.

Oexman says his patients tell him that they sleep in on the weekends to make up for the sleep they didn’t get during the workweek. “Instead of only sleeping six or seven hours during the weekday, now you’re going to go and spend 10 or 11 hours sleeping in on the weekends,” he says. This is called ‘social jet lag,’ which can involve staying up late during the week for social occasions and then getting up early for work, Oexman explains. Or staying up later on the weekends to hang with friends and sleeping in late. Both of these scenarios can throw off your circadian rhythm for the rest of the week and may lead to changes in BMI and insulin resistance.

“It’s important to get very good sleep every night and I emphasize that people should try to get equal sleep every night,” says Abid Malik, MD, Orlando Health, South Seminole Hospital Sleep Disorder Center. Whether that’s seven to nine hours, you should get that every night, so when the weekend comes around, you’re not in a sleep deficit…and you can get up at the same time on the weekends as you do on the weekdays.”

RELATED: Is It All In Your Gut? The Sleep-Gut Connection

2. Exercise at prime time for sleep.

“People are staying up until 11 p.m., 12 a.m., even 1:00 a.m. to get their workout in at the sacrifice of sleep because it's good for them, right?” asks Oexman. Turns out, those late night gym sessions could be doing more harm than good. “These late-night exercisers are often fighting to keep weight off,” Oexman says.

While exercise can be great for sleep, you have to time it right. Aim to finish your workout three to four hours before you plan to snag some shut-eye, Oexman suggests. We experience a spike in body temperature post-exercise, but to sleep, we actually need it to drop. “That's one of the cues for our bodies to go to sleep,” Oexman explains. “[Exercise] is a great way to help you fall asleep and get good sleep,” so long as you break a sweat on the early side.

3. Regulate your caffeine intake.

Always turning to caffeine to keep you awake? You may want to step away from the Starbucks. “It's this vicious cycle that people succumb to: They don't get enough sleep at night, so in order to maintain alertness during the day, they chug energy drinks and highly-caffeinated beverages,” Oexman says. “Then when it comes time to go to bed at night, they’re probably not going to sleep as well.”

Caffeine can actually have a half-life of up to 12 hours. So aim to switch to a decaf beverage (or just sip water) by 2 p.m., according to sleep experts. “Even if you don't think it impacts your ability to fall asleep, it’s probably interfering with sleep quality,” says Oexman.

RELATED: How Much Coffee Is Too Much?

4. Taper your meal sizes.

Eating late at night can impact insulin and is associated with higher obesity rates, according to research. Try to get your last meal in a few hours before bedtime. A good goal for your evening routine: If you plan to go to sleep at 11 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m., finish your workout by 7 p.m. and have a small dinner soon after, suggests Oexman. That should give your body optimal time for digestion, so you get good sleep and your body is able to regulate blood sugar levels. 

This is one of the areas Milligan and her research team plans to continue research in, too. “Irregular sleep schedules may also be associated with irregular meal times and may act on metabolic health by increasing calorie consumption during nighttime hours,” says Milligan. “Previous research has also shown that the ability to metabolize glucose is higher early in the day,” she says. Late-night snackers, consider yourselves warned.

5. Have a relaxation routine.

Start preparing for bed 30 minutes to one hour prior to laying down for sleep, suggests Oexman. Two eight-ounce glasses of tart cherry juice have been shown to increase quantity and quality of sleep, so this would be a good time to drink a glass (early afternoon for the first), says Oexman. A hot bath or shower is also a good idea, as well as some light stretching in a dimly lit environment, Oexman suggests.

“If you can’t establish a stable bedtime routine, just make sure you wake up at your regular time the next day,” suggests Milligan. “This can help you stick to a regular bedtime the next night.”

RELATED: How Do You Measure Up To These Sleep Statistics?

6. Create a dark, quiet space.

Light, and especially sunlight, has the greatest influence on regulating our sleep-wake cycle, says Oexman. “Get as much sunlight as you possibly can get during the day and then, as you approach bedtime, start taking light away,” he says. Of course, many people view artificial light at night via TVs and tablets, which decrease melatonin production, a hormone we need for quality sleep. “That really impacts our circadian rhythm,” says Oexman.

Give yourself at least 45 minutes away from electronics and light devices to prep your body for sleep, suggests Dr. Malik. “This will hopefully stimulate the melatonin to secrete and then you’ll not only be able to fall asleep sooner, but you’ll get better sleep, too,” says Dr. Malik.

The post Is Your Sleep Schedule Wrecking Your Metabolism? appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Is Your Sleep Schedule Wrecking Your Metabolism?

[caption id="attachment_56975" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Your Sleep Schedule Wrecking Your Metabolism? Photo: Twenty20[/caption] We get it. Netflix, Facebook, Instagram and email can all be stellar distractions to keep you from putting your head on a pillow. But there’s good reason to make sleep a top priority (yes, even above The Bachelor). Research shows that mixing up your bedtime by more than an hour won’t just impact your energy levels, but it could also affect your weight. In fact, a study published in the journal SLEEP last year discovered that bedtime variability had a negative effect on metabolic health. Called the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), scientists looked at 338 non-shift working, middle-aged women and their 14-day sleep diary and then gathered follow-up data via another two-week diary approximately five years later. They found that the greater the difference in bedtime and the later they hit the hay, the higher their insulin resistance. Researchers also found a correlation between more time spent in bed (or going to bed earlier than average) and higher BMI, most likely because that meant more sedentary time. RELATED: Bedroom Makeover: 9 Feng Shui Tips for Better Sleep “We had the opportunity to examine normative sleep patterns in relation to metabolic health outcomes,” says study co-author, Briana Milligan, doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh in the bio-health psychology program. “Our hypothesis was that women with very late and/or very irregular sleep schedules would also have poorer metabolic health profiles,” she says. (That means higher BMI and higher insulin resistance levels.) And the results confirmed this. “Looking closely at the data, we also found that weekday-weekend differences in bedtime were especially important,” says Milligan. Other health experts agree that it’s your overall sleep patterns that matter. “It's not just about getting consistent bedtimes during the week, it's consistent bedtime all the time,” says Robert Oexman, DC, director of The Sleep to Live Institute in Mebane, NC. RELATED: The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain

How Bedtime Affects Your Weight

According to the American Diabetes Association, as of 2012, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes, and approximately 1.4 million Americans receive the diagnosis each year. The SWAN study suggests that irregular sleep schedules may be an important piece of the diabetes puzzle, says Milligan. As mentioned, the findings from the SWAN study suggest that avoiding a regular sleep schedule increases insulin resistance. This is an important indicator of metabolic health, including diabetes risk, because it means your body isn’t doing a good job of regulating blood sugar. So how does that affect your waistline? After we consume food, the body breaks it down into sugars, transported by insulin, and converts it into fat tissues and glycogen stores. “The storing of sugar and using of the stored sugar follows a circadian rhythm,” says Milligan. “During the daytime, we’re storing a lot so we can use it for basal metabolic function, and then our brain and body function optimally while we sleep,” she says. When you go to bed late, your body packs the sugar away and eventually, those stores become full and get converted into fat cells, Milligan explains. And by continuously delaying the release of melatonin (a hormone associated with sleep), the body keeps storing sugar rather than using it, says Milligan. Theoretically, this is why poor sleep could be linked to poor metabolic health. RELATED: 6 Signs You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired) Findings from earlier sleep studies go even further to say that a sleep debt of four hours a night from participants’ regular eight hours resulted in striking changes in glucose tolerance and endocrine function, impacting the body’s hormones and metabolism. Follow-up research to the that study showed that short sleepers experienced hormonal changes that could affect future body weight and impair long-term health. That’s because to keep blood sugar levels normal, the limited sleepers needed to make 30 percent more insulin than the normal sleepers. What’s more, people who don’t sleep adequately show an increase in appetite and calorie intake, Oexman explains. The level of leptin (the satiety hormone) falls in subjects who are sleep deprived, therefore promoting hunger. “Because the psychological manifestations of fatigue, sleep and hunger are similar, as adults, we sometimes confuse them,” Oexman says. RELATED: Bedtime Rituals To Help Banish Your Insomnia [caption id="attachment_32599" align="alignnone" width="620"]Common Sleep Issues Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6 Tips for Sticking to a Consistent Sleep Schedule

To help you set a sleep schedule you’ll actually stick to — and keep you on track — we asked our sleep experts for their best bedtime advice. Read on for more solid zzz’s.

1. Beware of social jet lag.

Oexman says his patients tell him that they sleep in on the weekends to make up for the sleep they didn’t get during the workweek. “Instead of only sleeping six or seven hours during the weekday, now you’re going to go and spend 10 or 11 hours sleeping in on the weekends,” he says. This is called ‘social jet lag,’ which can involve staying up late during the week for social occasions and then getting up early for work, Oexman explains. Or staying up later on the weekends to hang with friends and sleeping in late. Both of these scenarios can throw off your circadian rhythm for the rest of the week and may lead to changes in BMI and insulin resistance. “It’s important to get very good sleep every night and I emphasize that people should try to get equal sleep every night,” says Abid Malik, MD, Orlando Health, South Seminole Hospital Sleep Disorder Center. Whether that’s seven to nine hours, you should get that every night, so when the weekend comes around, you’re not in a sleep deficit…and you can get up at the same time on the weekends as you do on the weekdays.” RELATED: Is It All In Your Gut? The Sleep-Gut Connection

2. Exercise at prime time for sleep.

“People are staying up until 11 p.m., 12 a.m., even 1:00 a.m. to get their workout in at the sacrifice of sleep because it's good for them, right?” asks Oexman. Turns out, those late night gym sessions could be doing more harm than good. “These late-night exercisers are often fighting to keep weight off,” Oexman says. While exercise can be great for sleep, you have to time it right. Aim to finish your workout three to four hours before you plan to snag some shut-eye, Oexman suggests. We experience a spike in body temperature post-exercise, but to sleep, we actually need it to drop. “That's one of the cues for our bodies to go to sleep,” Oexman explains. “[Exercise] is a great way to help you fall asleep and get good sleep,” so long as you break a sweat on the early side.

3. Regulate your caffeine intake.

Always turning to caffeine to keep you awake? You may want to step away from the Starbucks. “It's this vicious cycle that people succumb to: They don't get enough sleep at night, so in order to maintain alertness during the day, they chug energy drinks and highly-caffeinated beverages,” Oexman says. “Then when it comes time to go to bed at night, they’re probably not going to sleep as well.” Caffeine can actually have a half-life of up to 12 hours. So aim to switch to a decaf beverage (or just sip water) by 2 p.m., according to sleep experts. “Even if you don't think it impacts your ability to fall asleep, it’s probably interfering with sleep quality,” says Oexman. RELATED: How Much Coffee Is Too Much?

4. Taper your meal sizes.

Eating late at night can impact insulin and is associated with higher obesity rates, according to research. Try to get your last meal in a few hours before bedtime. A good goal for your evening routine: If you plan to go to sleep at 11 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m., finish your workout by 7 p.m. and have a small dinner soon after, suggests Oexman. That should give your body optimal time for digestion, so you get good sleep and your body is able to regulate blood sugar levels.  This is one of the areas Milligan and her research team plans to continue research in, too. “Irregular sleep schedules may also be associated with irregular meal times and may act on metabolic health by increasing calorie consumption during nighttime hours,” says Milligan. “Previous research has also shown that the ability to metabolize glucose is higher early in the day,” she says. Late-night snackers, consider yourselves warned.

5. Have a relaxation routine.

Start preparing for bed 30 minutes to one hour prior to laying down for sleep, suggests Oexman. Two eight-ounce glasses of tart cherry juice have been shown to increase quantity and quality of sleep, so this would be a good time to drink a glass (early afternoon for the first), says Oexman. A hot bath or shower is also a good idea, as well as some light stretching in a dimly lit environment, Oexman suggests. “If you can’t establish a stable bedtime routine, just make sure you wake up at your regular time the next day,” suggests Milligan. “This can help you stick to a regular bedtime the next night.” RELATED: How Do You Measure Up To These Sleep Statistics?

6. Create a dark, quiet space.

Light, and especially sunlight, has the greatest influence on regulating our sleep-wake cycle, says Oexman. “Get as much sunlight as you possibly can get during the day and then, as you approach bedtime, start taking light away,” he says. Of course, many people view artificial light at night via TVs and tablets, which decrease melatonin production, a hormone we need for quality sleep. “That really impacts our circadian rhythm,” says Oexman. Give yourself at least 45 minutes away from electronics and light devices to prep your body for sleep, suggests Dr. Malik. “This will hopefully stimulate the melatonin to secrete and then you’ll not only be able to fall asleep sooner, but you’ll get better sleep, too,” says Dr. Malik.

The post Is Your Sleep Schedule Wrecking Your Metabolism? appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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7 Weight Loss Tips When the Scale Won’t Budge http://dailyburn.com/life/health/expert-weight-loss-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/health/expert-weight-loss-tips/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:15:18 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=18411 7 Ways to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau

[caption id="attachment_54375" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Ways to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

Whether the scale hasn’t budged for one week or six, it’s always a frustrating experience — especially when you feel you’re doing everything “right” to get the weight off. But before you start beating yourself up or throw in the towel on your healthy eating plan, know that you’re not alone.

The first thing our research shows is that everything hits a plateau,” says Bob Sullivan, co-author of The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success. “Every good idea, diet program, marriage and professional athlete eventually stops working,” says Sullivan. “This is the most confusing thing about any endeavor, and it’s particularly frustrating for people trying to lose weight.” Luckily, there are ways to turn things around — though some methods aren't as obvious as others.

For instance, eating way less might get the scale moving. But cutting calories has its limitations, and in fact, seems to stop working after a while, says Sullivan. The same goes for the same old workout routine — eventually you’ll need to mix things up, add some high-intensity intervals and challenge the body in new ways. Pairing proper nutrition and a challenging workout routine is, of course, a winning combination. But there are a few more ways to help you bust through that weight loss plateau. Here are seven expert-backed tips on how to reach your goal weight, the healthy way. 

RELATED: Real Talk: How Often Should You Actually Weigh Yourself?

7 Things You Can Do When the Scale Won't Budge

 

“It’s easier to form a new habit instead of breaking an old one you struggle with.”

 

1. De-emphasize the scale.

Most physicians would readily agree that the scale alone is a very incomplete metric, says Sullivan. So is your BMI number, or any other metric number on its own. Being healthy involves dozens of measurements, and utilizing more of them will help you realize how far you’ve come and help you set new goals, he says. Perhaps you aren’t moving the scale but you’re lowering your heart rate, reducing belly fat, or improving your cholesterol numbers. Start taking measurements so you can see how your body composition is changing by shedding fat and building lean muscle when your weight stays the same. Being able to fit into a smaller size? Now that’s a milestone worth celebrating!

2. Enlist an honest buddy.

A solid support system is a must when you need that extra push to reach your goals. Whether that’s a friend with similar goals or a significant other who just knows how you’re wired, find someone you can be completely honest with about how you’re doing, says Dr. Susan Albers, psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Family Health Center and author of Eat Q: Unlock the Weight-Loss Power of Emotional Intelligence. Having someone to check in with daily or at least a few times a week will keep you accountable and may help you stay on track when faced with temptation. Knowing you’ll have to tell your weight loss buddy you went back for second helpings may help you put the kibosh on that habit. And when it comes time to hit the gym, sweating as a duo is just way more fun.

RELATED: 5 Tips for Setting a Totally Doable Weight Loss Goal

3. Don’t break old habits — start new ones.

Instead of trying to break old eating habits, form new healthy habits to crowd out the old ones, says Dr. Albers. “It’s easier to form a new habit instead of breaking an old one you struggle with.” So if your old tendency is to have ice cream every night, try swapping the ice cream for non-fat yogurt with granola and factor that into your daily calorie intake, Dr. Albers suggests. Taking control with a positive mindset can help you stay motivated to stick to your healthy eating plan. Just keep in mind that diet boredom and eating the same old foods could also be a factor in your plateau.

To keep from falling off the wagon, have “today-only goals." Go for a quick run, split that cookie with a friend, skip the sugary cocktail at dinner.

4.  Give yourself a hand.

It’s common to overeat because you’re bored or upset about something (aka “emotional eating”). The next time you find yourself diving in for seconds, try tensing your fists to stop yourself from noshing, suggests Dr. Albers. “Clenching your fist while thinking ‘no’ helps you stay true to that behavior. You’re seeing an action and feeling it.” For more helpful strategies, try these nine mindful eating tips.

5. Clean up your environment.

It might seem like an odd way to kick-start weight loss, but getting your home and kitchen organized can help you feel like you’ve got a handle on your weight. “The more in control you feel in your external environment, the more you feel in control internally,” says Dr. Albers. Get rid of the junk (and junk food!), and get your kitchen, home and office in tip-top shape to start inspiring calm and clarity from the inside out.

RELATED: 7 Easy Kitchen Hacks for Clean Eating

6. Stop dwelling on your diet.

“The time you spend away from a problem is just as important as the time you spend trying to solve that problem,” says Sullivan. Since you’re not going to be able to eat and exercise perfectly every day, it’s important to avoid stressing over it 24/7. Spending too much time “fixing” a problem limits how far you’ll actually get. “Most people don’t know this, so they keep banging their head against a wall. That’s the very epitome of a mental plateau becoming a physical plateau.” Keep tabs of your daily food intake and workouts, but remember there’s more to life outside the confines of your diet. Keep your interests varied and social life active!

7. Start with today.

The disappointment you feel when you don’t see the number you want on the scale can lead to a dangerous cycle of negative thinking. People don’t really get depressed because the scale reads 152 instead of 150, they get depressed because they feel fat, says Sullivan. This can lead to feelings of fatalism (i.e. “I might as well just eat that quart of ice cream anyway”), which can lead to binge eating, research shows.

To keep from falling off the wagon, have “today-only goals,” suggests Sullivan. Go for a quick run, split that cookie with a friend, skip the sugary cocktail at dinner. Celebrate these small victories to get back a sense of control, power and achievement. “Take care of the little things and the big things will follow."

Originally posted on September 16, 2013. Updated November 2016.

The post 7 Weight Loss Tips When the Scale Won’t Budge appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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7 Ways to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau

[caption id="attachment_54375" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Ways to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau Photo: Twenty20[/caption] Whether the scale hasn’t budged for one week or six, it’s always a frustrating experience — especially when you feel you’re doing everything “right” to get the weight off. But before you start beating yourself up or throw in the towel on your healthy eating plan, know that you’re not alone. The first thing our research shows is that everything hits a plateau,” says Bob Sullivan, co-author of The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success. “Every good idea, diet program, marriage and professional athlete eventually stops working,” says Sullivan. “This is the most confusing thing about any endeavor, and it’s particularly frustrating for people trying to lose weight.” Luckily, there are ways to turn things around — though some methods aren't as obvious as others. For instance, eating way less might get the scale moving. But cutting calories has its limitations, and in fact, seems to stop working after a while, says Sullivan. The same goes for the same old workout routine — eventually you’ll need to mix things up, add some high-intensity intervals and challenge the body in new ways. Pairing proper nutrition and a challenging workout routine is, of course, a winning combination. But there are a few more ways to help you bust through that weight loss plateau. Here are seven expert-backed tips on how to reach your goal weight, the healthy way.  RELATED: Real Talk: How Often Should You Actually Weigh Yourself?

7 Things You Can Do When the Scale Won't Budge

  “It’s easier to form a new habit instead of breaking an old one you struggle with.”  

1. De-emphasize the scale.

Most physicians would readily agree that the scale alone is a very incomplete metric, says Sullivan. So is your BMI number, or any other metric number on its own. Being healthy involves dozens of measurements, and utilizing more of them will help you realize how far you’ve come and help you set new goals, he says. Perhaps you aren’t moving the scale but you’re lowering your heart rate, reducing belly fat, or improving your cholesterol numbers. Start taking measurements so you can see how your body composition is changing by shedding fat and building lean muscle when your weight stays the same. Being able to fit into a smaller size? Now that’s a milestone worth celebrating!

2. Enlist an honest buddy.

A solid support system is a must when you need that extra push to reach your goals. Whether that’s a friend with similar goals or a significant other who just knows how you’re wired, find someone you can be completely honest with about how you’re doing, says Dr. Susan Albers, psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Family Health Center and author of Eat Q: Unlock the Weight-Loss Power of Emotional Intelligence. Having someone to check in with daily or at least a few times a week will keep you accountable and may help you stay on track when faced with temptation. Knowing you’ll have to tell your weight loss buddy you went back for second helpings may help you put the kibosh on that habit. And when it comes time to hit the gym, sweating as a duo is just way more fun. RELATED: 5 Tips for Setting a Totally Doable Weight Loss Goal

3. Don’t break old habits — start new ones.

Instead of trying to break old eating habits, form new healthy habits to crowd out the old ones, says Dr. Albers. “It’s easier to form a new habit instead of breaking an old one you struggle with.” So if your old tendency is to have ice cream every night, try swapping the ice cream for non-fat yogurt with granola and factor that into your daily calorie intake, Dr. Albers suggests. Taking control with a positive mindset can help you stay motivated to stick to your healthy eating plan. Just keep in mind that diet boredom and eating the same old foods could also be a factor in your plateau.
To keep from falling off the wagon, have “today-only goals." Go for a quick run, split that cookie with a friend, skip the sugary cocktail at dinner.

4.  Give yourself a hand.

It’s common to overeat because you’re bored or upset about something (aka “emotional eating”). The next time you find yourself diving in for seconds, try tensing your fists to stop yourself from noshing, suggests Dr. Albers. “Clenching your fist while thinking ‘no’ helps you stay true to that behavior. You’re seeing an action and feeling it.” For more helpful strategies, try these nine mindful eating tips.

5. Clean up your environment.

It might seem like an odd way to kick-start weight loss, but getting your home and kitchen organized can help you feel like you’ve got a handle on your weight. “The more in control you feel in your external environment, the more you feel in control internally,” says Dr. Albers. Get rid of the junk (and junk food!), and get your kitchen, home and office in tip-top shape to start inspiring calm and clarity from the inside out. RELATED: 7 Easy Kitchen Hacks for Clean Eating

6. Stop dwelling on your diet.

“The time you spend away from a problem is just as important as the time you spend trying to solve that problem,” says Sullivan. Since you’re not going to be able to eat and exercise perfectly every day, it’s important to avoid stressing over it 24/7. Spending too much time “fixing” a problem limits how far you’ll actually get. “Most people don’t know this, so they keep banging their head against a wall. That’s the very epitome of a mental plateau becoming a physical plateau.” Keep tabs of your daily food intake and workouts, but remember there’s more to life outside the confines of your diet. Keep your interests varied and social life active!

7. Start with today.

The disappointment you feel when you don’t see the number you want on the scale can lead to a dangerous cycle of negative thinking. People don’t really get depressed because the scale reads 152 instead of 150, they get depressed because they feel fat, says Sullivan. This can lead to feelings of fatalism (i.e. “I might as well just eat that quart of ice cream anyway”), which can lead to binge eating, research shows. To keep from falling off the wagon, have “today-only goals,” suggests Sullivan. Go for a quick run, split that cookie with a friend, skip the sugary cocktail at dinner. Celebrate these small victories to get back a sense of control, power and achievement. “Take care of the little things and the big things will follow." Originally posted on September 16, 2013. Updated November 2016.

The post 7 Weight Loss Tips When the Scale Won’t Budge appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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6 Ways to Sleep Better and Avoid Jet Lag on the Road http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-sleep-better-jet-lag-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-sleep-better-jet-lag-tips/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 13:00:40 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=39812 How to Sleep Better and Avoid Jet Lag

[caption id="attachment_54038" align="alignnone" width="620"]6 Ways to Sleep Better and Skip Jet Lag on the Road Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler, weekend adventurer, or find yourself away from home just once a year, it’s not easy to get your best night’s sleep when you’re not in your own bed. And if you’re in a different time zone, forget it. To help you catch more zzz’s so you can make the most of your waking time, here are tried-and-true tips from frequent travelers and sleep experts to set you up for slumber success.

RELATED: 7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year

How to Sleep Better and Skip the Jet Lag

1. Adjust to your new time zone before you arrive.

Jet lag tends to worsen with the number of time zones you cross, so pre-planning your sleep schedule is crucial, says Gary K. Zammit, PhD, executive director at the Sleep Disorders Institute in Manhattan. Try to get in sync with your new time zone as soon as possible.

“I get the best night’s sleep when I adjust my body clock to the time zone of my destination a few days prior to traveling,” says Bob Jacobs, vice president of brand management for Westin. “If I’m traveling West in a few days after being on the East coast, I’ll stay up an hour or so later at night. And if I’m going to the East coast after being out West, I’ll start getting up a bit earlier each day.” Then, keep your dozing schedule as stable as possible in your new destination. Dimming your lights in the evening hours and opening shades for some bright light exposure in the early a.m. may also help, Zammit says.

RELATED: Can Changing Time Zones Affect Your Health?

2. Pack smart.

Make your destination feel like home to minimize the impact of sleeping in an unfamiliar environment, suggests Zammit. Bring your favorite pajamas and pack your pillow or pillowcase, too. Still can’t unwind? Consider picking up a lavender-scented essential oil to spritz at night or to dab on your pillow. Research has found that lavender may have a positive effect on insomnia and depression.

For business traveler Christina Lampe, packing for maximum hotel room comfort is her number one priority. “You never know how loud, bright, warm or cold a hotel room will be until you get there,” she says. “I always bring a blackout eye mask, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and two types of pajamas in case my room is too hot or too cold. I find that I sleep better when I control the environment to make it feel like it does at home,” she says.

RELATED: 6 Signs That You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired)

3. Stick to your usual routine.

“Whether I arrive at my hotel at noon or midnight, I keep my routine consistent so I feel settled and ready,” says Chelsea Kay Jones, of Forest Lake, Minn. Jones has worked as a Delta flight attendant for six years. “I iron and hang up my uniform for the next day, unpack my toiletries and lay them out by the sink, set up my hair products and makeup for the next day, then put anything back in my suitcase I won’t be needing.” Sticking to your usual before-bed rituals — like reading — can help you feel more comfortable, too.

4. Get moving.

Being active during the day and avoiding naps is helpful for most people, especially if you can get outside and benefit from light exposure, says Zammit. Taking a quick shower in his hotel room, then putting on fresh clothes and going outside helps James Shillinglaw, Editor-in-Chief of TravAlliance Media, adjust to his new environment and time zone. Going for a quick run when he arrives at his destination also keeps his energy levels high throughout the day, and enables him to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly that night.

RELATED: 10 Unexpected Things That Can Ruin Your Sleep

5. Be mindful of your travel diet.

Try not to fall into “vacation eating” mode, chowing down on heavy, greasy foods, suggests Jones. “If you’re hungry, have a light snack before bed and make sure the snack doesn’t contain caffeine or chocolate, which can keep you up at night,” says Zammit.  Beware of foods and drinks that might cause acid reflux, like orange juice, tomato juice or spicy foods. Instead, nosh on something simple and light, like cereal and milk or applesauce. If you’ve got a few hours before bed, eating high-glycemic carbs (like pasta or pretzels) may also help you fall asleep faster, according to research.

Take a hard look at your drinking habits, too. Since she’s constantly going from dehydrating airplanes to hotels rooms that tend to circulate dry air, Jones says she drinks a ton of water on travel days and skips caffeinated drinks later in the day so they don’t hamper her slumber.

RELATED: 10 Simple Snacks for Better Sleep

6. Get up if you can’t fall asleep.

“If I wake up in the middle of the night, I get up and do something, like read or watch TV,” says Shillinglaw. “I try not to just lie there when I find myself awake. I get out of bed, do something productive, and then go back to sleep in an hour.” Most experts agree that if you wake up and can’t fall back asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, you should get out of bed and do something else. You’ll drift off again later, and your body will thank you the next day.

Want more tips to avoid jet leg keeping it au natural? Check out this handy infographic from the team at Expedia.

More All-Natural Ways to Prevent Jet Lag

9 Natural Ways to Cure Jet Lag

Originally published May 2015. Updated November 2016. 

The post 6 Ways to Sleep Better and Avoid Jet Lag on the Road appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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How to Sleep Better and Avoid Jet Lag

[caption id="attachment_54038" align="alignnone" width="620"]6 Ways to Sleep Better and Skip Jet Lag on the Road Photo: Twenty20[/caption] Whether you’re a frequent business traveler, weekend adventurer, or find yourself away from home just once a year, it’s not easy to get your best night’s sleep when you’re not in your own bed. And if you’re in a different time zone, forget it. To help you catch more zzz’s so you can make the most of your waking time, here are tried-and-true tips from frequent travelers and sleep experts to set you up for slumber success. RELATED: 7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year

How to Sleep Better and Skip the Jet Lag

1. Adjust to your new time zone before you arrive.

Jet lag tends to worsen with the number of time zones you cross, so pre-planning your sleep schedule is crucial, says Gary K. Zammit, PhD, executive director at the Sleep Disorders Institute in Manhattan. Try to get in sync with your new time zone as soon as possible. “I get the best night’s sleep when I adjust my body clock to the time zone of my destination a few days prior to traveling,” says Bob Jacobs, vice president of brand management for Westin. “If I’m traveling West in a few days after being on the East coast, I’ll stay up an hour or so later at night. And if I’m going to the East coast after being out West, I’ll start getting up a bit earlier each day.” Then, keep your dozing schedule as stable as possible in your new destination. Dimming your lights in the evening hours and opening shades for some bright light exposure in the early a.m. may also help, Zammit says. RELATED: Can Changing Time Zones Affect Your Health?

2. Pack smart.

Make your destination feel like home to minimize the impact of sleeping in an unfamiliar environment, suggests Zammit. Bring your favorite pajamas and pack your pillow or pillowcase, too. Still can’t unwind? Consider picking up a lavender-scented essential oil to spritz at night or to dab on your pillow. Research has found that lavender may have a positive effect on insomnia and depression. For business traveler Christina Lampe, packing for maximum hotel room comfort is her number one priority. “You never know how loud, bright, warm or cold a hotel room will be until you get there,” she says. “I always bring a blackout eye mask, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and two types of pajamas in case my room is too hot or too cold. I find that I sleep better when I control the environment to make it feel like it does at home,” she says. RELATED: 6 Signs That You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired)

3. Stick to your usual routine.

“Whether I arrive at my hotel at noon or midnight, I keep my routine consistent so I feel settled and ready,” says Chelsea Kay Jones, of Forest Lake, Minn. Jones has worked as a Delta flight attendant for six years. “I iron and hang up my uniform for the next day, unpack my toiletries and lay them out by the sink, set up my hair products and makeup for the next day, then put anything back in my suitcase I won’t be needing.” Sticking to your usual before-bed rituals — like reading — can help you feel more comfortable, too.

4. Get moving.

Being active during the day and avoiding naps is helpful for most people, especially if you can get outside and benefit from light exposure, says Zammit. Taking a quick shower in his hotel room, then putting on fresh clothes and going outside helps James Shillinglaw, Editor-in-Chief of TravAlliance Media, adjust to his new environment and time zone. Going for a quick run when he arrives at his destination also keeps his energy levels high throughout the day, and enables him to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly that night. RELATED: 10 Unexpected Things That Can Ruin Your Sleep

5. Be mindful of your travel diet.

Try not to fall into “vacation eating” mode, chowing down on heavy, greasy foods, suggests Jones. “If you’re hungry, have a light snack before bed and make sure the snack doesn’t contain caffeine or chocolate, which can keep you up at night,” says Zammit.  Beware of foods and drinks that might cause acid reflux, like orange juice, tomato juice or spicy foods. Instead, nosh on something simple and light, like cereal and milk or applesauce. If you’ve got a few hours before bed, eating high-glycemic carbs (like pasta or pretzels) may also help you fall asleep faster, according to research. Take a hard look at your drinking habits, too. Since she’s constantly going from dehydrating airplanes to hotels rooms that tend to circulate dry air, Jones says she drinks a ton of water on travel days and skips caffeinated drinks later in the day so they don’t hamper her slumber. RELATED: 10 Simple Snacks for Better Sleep

6. Get up if you can’t fall asleep.

“If I wake up in the middle of the night, I get up and do something, like read or watch TV,” says Shillinglaw. “I try not to just lie there when I find myself awake. I get out of bed, do something productive, and then go back to sleep in an hour.” Most experts agree that if you wake up and can’t fall back asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, you should get out of bed and do something else. You’ll drift off again later, and your body will thank you the next day. Want more tips to avoid jet leg keeping it au natural? Check out this handy infographic from the team at Expedia.

More All-Natural Ways to Prevent Jet Lag

9 Natural Ways to Cure Jet Lag Originally published May 2015. Updated November 2016. 

The post 6 Ways to Sleep Better and Avoid Jet Lag on the Road appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
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8 Low-Calorie Foods That Will Actually Fill You Up http://dailyburn.com/life/health/low-calorie-foods-feel-full/ http://dailyburn.com/life/health/low-calorie-foods-feel-full/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 13:15:06 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=16761 8 Low-Calorie Foods That Fill You Up

8 Filling Low-Calorie Foods

Ever have those days when you feel hungry all day long? Us, too! The good news is there are plenty of healthy foods and meal combinations you can enjoy to help you feel full without breaking your calorie bank. The key is prioritizing the following three components for weight loss: low-calorie protein, water and fiber. According to Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Eat Your Way to Sexy, “All three or any one of these will fill you up before they fill you out, so you push away from the table before you’ve overeaten.”

But before you start rooting through your fridge and cupboards, be sure to drink a glass of cold water and wait 15 minutes. Since people often mistake thirst for hunger, you may find the craving to eat subsides, Somer says. But, if you truly are hungry, reach for these weight loss-friendly foods when you need more substance for fewer calories.

RELATED: The One Thing That Helped Me Lose Weight

8 Low-Calorie Foods That Will Fill You Up

[caption id="attachment_16796" align="alignnone" width="620"]Oatmeal with Blueberries Photo: Pond5[/caption]

1. Choose Filling Grains
To maximize that feel-full factor, choose 100 percent whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal. The filling fiber in oats helps balance blood sugar levels, unlike the roller coaster ride caused by sugary breakfasts, says Somer. Looking for an especially satiating whole-grain breakfast? Cook whole oats in milk for a protein, water and fiber-packed meal that will help prevent overeating later in the day.

[caption id="attachment_16797" align="alignnone" width="620"]Black Rice Photo: Pond5[/caption]

2. Go Back to Black
You’ve swapped white rice for brown — but what about black? This lesser-known grain packs a hefty dose of fiber and antioxidants, with fewer carbs and calories than its white and brown counterparts. (A half-cup of cooked black rice is 90 calories compared to the 102 calories in white rice and 108 calories in brown rice.) Try sprinkling the flavorful grain on salads, in burritos or as a hearty side dish, suggests Manuel Villacorta, RD, author of Peruvian Power Foods.

RELATED: Want to Try a Fasting Diet? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

[caption id="attachment_16798" align="alignnone" width="620"]Broccoli Bowl Photo: Pond5[/caption]

3. Eat Energy-Burning Greens
Veggies that burn calories? Now there’s a reason to eat your vegetables! According to Foods That Cause You To Lose Weight: The Negative Calorie Effect, one cup of broccoli contains just 25 calories and requires up to 80 calories to digest in the body, meaning you’ve burned 55 calories just by eating it! Not a broccoli fan? Try asparagus, cauliflower, celery or zucchini when you want an energy-efficient snack.

RELATED: 5 Low-Calorie Snacks That Will Fill You Up

[caption id="attachment_16799" align="alignnone" width="620"]Watermelon Balls Photo: Pond5[/caption]

4. Go All in With Watermelon
Half of every plate or snack should be colorful produce, which is a combo of fiber and water to fill you up on fewer calories, says Somer. This summer, try satisfying your sweet tooth with water-logged watermelon. Two cups contain less than 100 calories and nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C! Plus, on a hot day, a watermelon slushie like this one really hits the spot.

[caption id="attachment_16801" align="alignnone" width="620"]Black and Red Beans Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. Hit Bean Town
“Legumes [provide] the perfect combo of weight loss ingredients,” says Somer. They’re excellent sources of fiber and may help prevent against disease, studies have found. Beans specifically are a great food for waistline watchers as they also contain fiber, complex carbs and a host of antioxidants and nutrients. Consider stocking up on chickpeas, black beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, fava beans, red kidney beans and edamame. From soups and stews to salads and wraps, the possibilities are endless!

RELATED: Pulses: The Superfood With Nearly Twice the Protein as Quinoa

[caption id="attachment_16802" align="alignnone" width="620"]Minestrone Soup Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6. Soup for You
Studies show that people who include broth-based soups (even the low-calorie ones) in their diets consume fewer calories at mealtime. So if you’re at a restaurant, try a broth-based soup with fiber-filled veggies (like this one!) to help you eat less and keep your hands out of the bread basket. Pro tip: Ask the server to put half of your main dish in a to-go container before you see it on your plate. Voilà! You’ll shave off calories, fat and you’ve got lunch for tomorrow!

[caption id="attachment_16803" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yogurt with Gooseberries Photo: Pond5[/caption]

7. Add More Moo
You haven’t had milk with dinner since you were a kid, but you might want to reconsider. Research has shown that regularly consuming low-fat or fat-free dairy products is a habit that can help you stay satisfied and slim. To get the recommended three servings per day, try starting your day with a cottage cheese- or yogurt-based breakfast, drink a glass of low-fat milk with your afternoon snack, or opt for low-fat chocolate milk post-workout (which may also help with exercise recovery!).

RELATED: 9 All-Natural Sources of Healthy Probiotics

[caption id="attachment_16804" align="alignnone" width="620"]Green Smoothie Photo: Pond5[/caption]

8. Drink Green
If you haven’t tried green smoothies yet, you’ve been missing out on a seriously nutrient-dense snack. Made with spinach, kale, collard, mustard or any other greens, green drinks are rich in vitamins and minerals, while providing feel-full fiber for very few calories (and no, they don’t quite taste like salad). For a nutrient-packed protein shake that'll keep hunger in check, combine 2 scoops protein powder, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup fresh kale and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk. Add a 1/2-cup of ice and blend until smooth. Bottoms up!

Disclosure: All products featured on our site are hand-picked by our editorial team in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. We only recommend products we love and believe that you will, too. If you come across an affiliate link on our site, that means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase.

Originally published August 2013. Updated July 2016.  

The post 8 Low-Calorie Foods That Will Actually Fill You Up appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
8 Low-Calorie Foods That Fill You Up

8 Filling Low-Calorie Foods Ever have those days when you feel hungry all day long? Us, too! The good news is there are plenty of healthy foods and meal combinations you can enjoy to help you feel full without breaking your calorie bank. The key is prioritizing the following three components for weight loss: low-calorie protein, water and fiber. According to Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Eat Your Way to Sexy, “All three or any one of these will fill you up before they fill you out, so you push away from the table before you’ve overeaten.” But before you start rooting through your fridge and cupboards, be sure to drink a glass of cold water and wait 15 minutes. Since people often mistake thirst for hunger, you may find the craving to eat subsides, Somer says. But, if you truly are hungry, reach for these weight loss-friendly foods when you need more substance for fewer calories. RELATED: The One Thing That Helped Me Lose Weight

8 Low-Calorie Foods That Will Fill You Up

[caption id="attachment_16796" align="alignnone" width="620"]Oatmeal with Blueberries Photo: Pond5[/caption] 1. Choose Filling Grains To maximize that feel-full factor, choose 100 percent whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal. The filling fiber in oats helps balance blood sugar levels, unlike the roller coaster ride caused by sugary breakfasts, says Somer. Looking for an especially satiating whole-grain breakfast? Cook whole oats in milk for a protein, water and fiber-packed meal that will help prevent overeating later in the day. [caption id="attachment_16797" align="alignnone" width="620"]Black Rice Photo: Pond5[/caption] 2. Go Back to Black You’ve swapped white rice for brown — but what about black? This lesser-known grain packs a hefty dose of fiber and antioxidants, with fewer carbs and calories than its white and brown counterparts. (A half-cup of cooked black rice is 90 calories compared to the 102 calories in white rice and 108 calories in brown rice.) Try sprinkling the flavorful grain on salads, in burritos or as a hearty side dish, suggests Manuel Villacorta, RD, author of Peruvian Power Foods. RELATED: Want to Try a Fasting Diet? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself [caption id="attachment_16798" align="alignnone" width="620"]Broccoli Bowl Photo: Pond5[/caption] 3. Eat Energy-Burning Greens Veggies that burn calories? Now there’s a reason to eat your vegetables! According to Foods That Cause You To Lose Weight: The Negative Calorie Effect, one cup of broccoli contains just 25 calories and requires up to 80 calories to digest in the body, meaning you’ve burned 55 calories just by eating it! Not a broccoli fan? Try asparagus, cauliflower, celery or zucchini when you want an energy-efficient snack. RELATED: 5 Low-Calorie Snacks That Will Fill You Up [caption id="attachment_16799" align="alignnone" width="620"]Watermelon Balls Photo: Pond5[/caption] 4. Go All in With Watermelon Half of every plate or snack should be colorful produce, which is a combo of fiber and water to fill you up on fewer calories, says Somer. This summer, try satisfying your sweet tooth with water-logged watermelon. Two cups contain less than 100 calories and nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C! Plus, on a hot day, a watermelon slushie like this one really hits the spot. [caption id="attachment_16801" align="alignnone" width="620"]Black and Red Beans Photo: Pond5[/caption] 5. Hit Bean Town “Legumes [provide] the perfect combo of weight loss ingredients,” says Somer. They’re excellent sources of fiber and may help prevent against disease, studies have found. Beans specifically are a great food for waistline watchers as they also contain fiber, complex carbs and a host of antioxidants and nutrients. Consider stocking up on chickpeas, black beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, fava beans, red kidney beans and edamame. From soups and stews to salads and wraps, the possibilities are endless! RELATED: Pulses: The Superfood With Nearly Twice the Protein as Quinoa [caption id="attachment_16802" align="alignnone" width="620"]Minestrone Soup Photo: Pond5[/caption] 6. Soup for You Studies show that people who include broth-based soups (even the low-calorie ones) in their diets consume fewer calories at mealtime. So if you’re at a restaurant, try a broth-based soup with fiber-filled veggies (like this one!) to help you eat less and keep your hands out of the bread basket. Pro tip: Ask the server to put half of your main dish in a to-go container before you see it on your plate. Voilà! You’ll shave off calories, fat and you’ve got lunch for tomorrow! [caption id="attachment_16803" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yogurt with Gooseberries Photo: Pond5[/caption] 7. Add More Moo You haven’t had milk with dinner since you were a kid, but you might want to reconsider. Research has shown that regularly consuming low-fat or fat-free dairy products is a habit that can help you stay satisfied and slim. To get the recommended three servings per day, try starting your day with a cottage cheese- or yogurt-based breakfast, drink a glass of low-fat milk with your afternoon snack, or opt for low-fat chocolate milk post-workout (which may also help with exercise recovery!). RELATED: 9 All-Natural Sources of Healthy Probiotics [caption id="attachment_16804" align="alignnone" width="620"]Green Smoothie Photo: Pond5[/caption] 8. Drink Green If you haven’t tried green smoothies yet, you’ve been missing out on a seriously nutrient-dense snack. Made with spinach, kale, collard, mustard or any other greens, green drinks are rich in vitamins and minerals, while providing feel-full fiber for very few calories (and no, they don’t quite taste like salad). For a nutrient-packed protein shake that'll keep hunger in check, combine 2 scoops protein powder, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup fresh kale and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk. Add a 1/2-cup of ice and blend until smooth. Bottoms up! Disclosure: All products featured on our site are hand-picked by our editorial team in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. We only recommend products we love and believe that you will, too. If you come across an affiliate link on our site, that means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase. Originally published August 2013. Updated July 2016.  

The post 8 Low-Calorie Foods That Will Actually Fill You Up appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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10 Quinoa Bowl Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner http://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/quinoa-bowl-recipes-breakfast-lunch-dinner/ http://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/quinoa-bowl-recipes-breakfast-lunch-dinner/#respond Wed, 16 Sep 2015 11:15:22 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=43516 10 Quinoa Bowls for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

10 Quinoa Bowl Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Looking for a mason jar salad substitution? Tired of Taco Tuesday? Maybe you just need a breakfast refresh? Regardless (or even if you just want to try something new), meet your new go-to: The quinoa bowl. By using the gluten-free, vitamin B-rich grain pseudo-cereal as a base, you can mix in all kinds of proteins, fruits or veggies for and array of dishes that’ll never leave you bored. From flavors that are spicy and bold to ones that are fresh and sweet, get ready to whip up one of these 10 delicious recipes.

RELATED: 11 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Pro tip: Make a giant batch of quinoa ahead of time, since it can take about 20 minutes to cook — even after you’ve gotten your water boiled. (That means more time to sleep in — or fit in your morning workout!)

10 Quinoa Bowl Recipes to Cook Up Now

Persimmon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

1. Persimmon-Pomegranate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Consider this breakfast a serious upgrade from your usual a.m. fare. Made with coconut milk, the dairy-free stuff is your best bet when it comes to developing a creamy texture, while also adding a boost of fiber, selenium and calcium. It’s all topped with antioxidant-rich pomegranate seeds and persimmon, along with spices like cardamom and cinnamon, which add flavor without any extra calories. Recipe and photo: Renee Blair / Life by DailyBurn

RELATED: 19 Ways to Add Flavor for 10 Calories or Less

Quinoa Kale Pesto Bowls

2. Quinoa Kale Pesto Bowls With Poached Eggs
Poached eggs are a top-notch (and super impressive) way of adding protein to a vegetarian meal. By making a twist on traditional basil pesto by using kale instead, your vitamin K intake skyrockets — but the taste is just as delicious. Lemon juice cuts through the garlic; crunchy walnuts add a hit of omega-3s. Photo and recipe: Mike / The Iron You

Crunchy Almond Dressing Quinoa Power Bowl

3. Crunchy Quinoa Power Bowl With Almond Ginger Dressing
Give that tired salad a facelift with this on-the-go lunch. The brightly-colored quinoa bowl is vegetarian-friendly and nutrient-packed, too. Shredded red and green cabbage add texture, while vitamin A- and fiber-rich sweet potatoes will keep you full. And before you reach for the packaged stuff, be sure to try the homemade dressing. Its base is made from almond butter, giving you a solid dose of healthy, unsaturated fats. Photo and recipe: Sarah Cook / Making Thyme For Health

RELATED: 11 Healthy Zucchini Recipes for Low-Carb Meals

Coconut Almond Quinoa Bowl

4. Coconut Almond Quinoa Bowl
Just because you’re not eating a Danish or a giant muffin doesn’t mean you can’t have something sublimely sweet in the a.m. Proof: This quinoa bowl, ideal for breakfast or split in half for a snack. Thanks to a combo of coconut milk, maple syrup and almond butter, you get creaminess and sweetness but without any of the guilt. Sprinkle on toasted coconut and chopped almonds for a bit of texture. Photo and recipe: Kristin Rosenau / Pastry Affair

Brazilian Steak and Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl with Spicy Tomato Coconut Sauce

5. Brazilian Steak and Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl With Spicy Coconut Tomato Sauce
Brazilian steak is cooked churrasco-style, which roughly translates from Portuguese to “barbecued.” Since the majority of this dish is cooked on the grill, you know your meal won’t be soaked in unhealthy fats like butter or vegetable oil. If you’re not feeling the heat, eliminate the peppers as well as the hot paprika, subbing in bell peppers and regular paprika instead. Photo and recipe: Tieghan Gerard / Half Baked Harvest

Caribbean Salmon Quinoa Bowls

6. Caribbean Salmon Quinoa Bowl
Still savoring the very last bits of summer? Then you’ve got to try this quinoa bowl, featuring an omega-3 rich piece of salmon that’s seasoned with chili powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne. The result? A Caribbean-flavored dish that’s both rich and spicy. Cook the salmon on your grill, then add it to your cooked quinoa and top with fresh mango salsa and black beans. Now close your eyes and pretend you’re somewhere tropical when you eat it. Photo and recipe: Danae Halliday / Recipe Runner

RELATED: 10 Delicious Chia Seed Pudding Recipes

Cinnamon Quinoa Bowl

7. Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Cooking quinoa in almond milk, rather than water, adds a bit of extra nutty flavor to the ancient grain. Toss in whole cinnamon sticks and you’ll get maximum flavor (or try vanilla beans or nutmeg sticks instead). Top your creation with sliced almonds, toasted coconut flakes, peaches, raspberries or just about any other fruit. Although we think mini dark chocolate chips would be a nice addition, too. Photo and recipe: Jeanine Donofrio / Love and Lemons

Savory Breakfast Quinoa Bowl

8. Savory Breakfast Quinoa Bowl
OD’ed on sweet quinoa bowls? Feel free to move onto this bowl of savory goodness. If you’re a titan of meal-planning, you’ll know that having pre-cooked quinoa, as well as a stash of hard-boiled eggs, on hand will make this well-rounded breakfast ready in a matter of minutes. Slice up an avocado, your favorite veggie or two and you’re good to go. Photo and recipe: Renee Blair / Life by DailyBurn

Corn Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

9. Corn, Black Beans and Quinoa Salad Bowl
OK, we’ll admit it: Even after eating salads on a regular basis, we still get a midday hankering for veggies pretty much everyday. But since this dish has the protein-heavy quinoa base — as well as fiber-rich black beans — we’re going to add this “salad” to our regular leafy green rotation. It’s perfect to serve right now, thanks to the influx of fresh, end-of-summer corn. (Out of season? Frozen kernels work just as well — and can save some extra cash.) Recipe and photo: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

RELATED: 8 Delicious Takes on French Fries (Healthier Than Fast Food!)

Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl with Peanut Dressing

10. Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowls With Peanut Sauce
In terms of convenience, the crockpot (aka slow cooker) can’t be beat. Dump ingredients in, adjust temperature to its low setting, go about your day, come home — and dinner’s waiting. Remember when you had that craving for Thai food? Yup, here you have it. And with a homemade (but totally restaurant-worthy) peanut sauce to boot. Photo and recipe: Taylor Kiser / Food Faith Fitness

The post 10 Quinoa Bowl Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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10 Quinoa Bowls for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

10 Quinoa Bowl Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Looking for a mason jar salad substitution? Tired of Taco Tuesday? Maybe you just need a breakfast refresh? Regardless (or even if you just want to try something new), meet your new go-to: The quinoa bowl. By using the gluten-free, vitamin B-rich grain pseudo-cereal as a base, you can mix in all kinds of proteins, fruits or veggies for and array of dishes that’ll never leave you bored. From flavors that are spicy and bold to ones that are fresh and sweet, get ready to whip up one of these 10 delicious recipes. RELATED: 11 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes Pro tip: Make a giant batch of quinoa ahead of time, since it can take about 20 minutes to cook — even after you’ve gotten your water boiled. (That means more time to sleep in — or fit in your morning workout!)

10 Quinoa Bowl Recipes to Cook Up Now

Persimmon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl 1. Persimmon-Pomegranate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl Consider this breakfast a serious upgrade from your usual a.m. fare. Made with coconut milk, the dairy-free stuff is your best bet when it comes to developing a creamy texture, while also adding a boost of fiber, selenium and calcium. It’s all topped with antioxidant-rich pomegranate seeds and persimmon, along with spices like cardamom and cinnamon, which add flavor without any extra calories. Recipe and photo: Renee Blair / Life by DailyBurn RELATED: 19 Ways to Add Flavor for 10 Calories or Less Quinoa Kale Pesto Bowls 2. Quinoa Kale Pesto Bowls With Poached Eggs Poached eggs are a top-notch (and super impressive) way of adding protein to a vegetarian meal. By making a twist on traditional basil pesto by using kale instead, your vitamin K intake skyrockets — but the taste is just as delicious. Lemon juice cuts through the garlic; crunchy walnuts add a hit of omega-3s. Photo and recipe: Mike / The Iron You Crunchy Almond Dressing Quinoa Power Bowl 3. Crunchy Quinoa Power Bowl With Almond Ginger Dressing Give that tired salad a facelift with this on-the-go lunch. The brightly-colored quinoa bowl is vegetarian-friendly and nutrient-packed, too. Shredded red and green cabbage add texture, while vitamin A- and fiber-rich sweet potatoes will keep you full. And before you reach for the packaged stuff, be sure to try the homemade dressing. Its base is made from almond butter, giving you a solid dose of healthy, unsaturated fats. Photo and recipe: Sarah Cook / Making Thyme For Health RELATED: 11 Healthy Zucchini Recipes for Low-Carb Meals Coconut Almond Quinoa Bowl 4. Coconut Almond Quinoa Bowl Just because you’re not eating a Danish or a giant muffin doesn’t mean you can’t have something sublimely sweet in the a.m. Proof: This quinoa bowl, ideal for breakfast or split in half for a snack. Thanks to a combo of coconut milk, maple syrup and almond butter, you get creaminess and sweetness but without any of the guilt. Sprinkle on toasted coconut and chopped almonds for a bit of texture. Photo and recipe: Kristin Rosenau / Pastry Affair Brazilian Steak and Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl with Spicy Tomato Coconut Sauce 5. Brazilian Steak and Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl With Spicy Coconut Tomato Sauce Brazilian steak is cooked churrasco-style, which roughly translates from Portuguese to “barbecued.” Since the majority of this dish is cooked on the grill, you know your meal won’t be soaked in unhealthy fats like butter or vegetable oil. If you’re not feeling the heat, eliminate the peppers as well as the hot paprika, subbing in bell peppers and regular paprika instead. Photo and recipe: Tieghan Gerard / Half Baked Harvest Caribbean Salmon Quinoa Bowls 6. Caribbean Salmon Quinoa Bowl Still savoring the very last bits of summer? Then you’ve got to try this quinoa bowl, featuring an omega-3 rich piece of salmon that’s seasoned with chili powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne. The result? A Caribbean-flavored dish that’s both rich and spicy. Cook the salmon on your grill, then add it to your cooked quinoa and top with fresh mango salsa and black beans. Now close your eyes and pretend you’re somewhere tropical when you eat it. Photo and recipe: Danae Halliday / Recipe Runner RELATED: 10 Delicious Chia Seed Pudding Recipes Cinnamon Quinoa Bowl 7. Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl Cooking quinoa in almond milk, rather than water, adds a bit of extra nutty flavor to the ancient grain. Toss in whole cinnamon sticks and you’ll get maximum flavor (or try vanilla beans or nutmeg sticks instead). Top your creation with sliced almonds, toasted coconut flakes, peaches, raspberries or just about any other fruit. Although we think mini dark chocolate chips would be a nice addition, too. Photo and recipe: Jeanine Donofrio / Love and Lemons Savory Breakfast Quinoa Bowl 8. Savory Breakfast Quinoa Bowl OD’ed on sweet quinoa bowls? Feel free to move onto this bowl of savory goodness. If you’re a titan of meal-planning, you’ll know that having pre-cooked quinoa, as well as a stash of hard-boiled eggs, on hand will make this well-rounded breakfast ready in a matter of minutes. Slice up an avocado, your favorite veggie or two and you’re good to go. Photo and recipe: Renee Blair / Life by DailyBurn Corn Black Bean and Quinoa Salad 9. Corn, Black Beans and Quinoa Salad Bowl OK, we’ll admit it: Even after eating salads on a regular basis, we still get a midday hankering for veggies pretty much everyday. But since this dish has the protein-heavy quinoa base — as well as fiber-rich black beans — we’re going to add this “salad” to our regular leafy green rotation. It’s perfect to serve right now, thanks to the influx of fresh, end-of-summer corn. (Out of season? Frozen kernels work just as well — and can save some extra cash.) Recipe and photo: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn RELATED: 8 Delicious Takes on French Fries (Healthier Than Fast Food!) Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl with Peanut Dressing 10. Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowls With Peanut Sauce In terms of convenience, the crockpot (aka slow cooker) can’t be beat. Dump ingredients in, adjust temperature to its low setting, go about your day, come home — and dinner’s waiting. Remember when you had that craving for Thai food? Yup, here you have it. And with a homemade (but totally restaurant-worthy) peanut sauce to boot. Photo and recipe: Taylor Kiser / Food Faith Fitness

The post 10 Quinoa Bowl Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms in the U.S. http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-hotel-gyms/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-hotel-gyms/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:15:57 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41981

[caption id="attachment_42141" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms Photo: Courtesy of the EPIC Miami[/caption]

If the phrase “hotel gym” conjures up images of sad, dark spaces with a few dusty pieces of equipment, we’ve got some good news: that’s no longer the norm. Now you can find gorgeous, expansive spaces with top-of-the-line technology, creative new classes and alternative sporting experiences. So whether you’re on the road for work or for fun, go on and book a few days away at one of these 10 best hotels for fitness lovers (listed in no particular order). You may just end up going for the workouts alone.

RELATED: Work Out Anywhere With Your Free 30-Day DailyBurn Trial

10 Incredible Hotel Gyms

[caption id="attachment_42020" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Four Seasons Hualalai Photo: Courtesy of the Four Seasons[/caption]

1. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Where to Find It: The Big Island, Hawaii

Why We Love It: Experience the great outdoors while you get your cardio fix at this open-air gym featuring some of the best views of the Big Island. Boutique fitness nuts: There’s also plenty of group classes, too — including spinning, Pilates, barre fusion and Bikram yoga (we suggest grabbing an all-access pass for the duration of your stay). Oh, and did we mention the 24-foot outdoor climbing wall? An instructional clinic is required, but it’s well worth the views of the Kona-Kohala coast when you reach the top. Of course, your stay won’t be complete without some seriously epic, locally inspired pampering. Count us in for the Hualalai Island Stone massage and Polynesian Niu (coconut) scrub.

[caption id="attachment_42024" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Fit W San Francisco Photo: Courtesy of W Hotels[/caption]

2. W San Francisco

Where to Find It: San Francisco, CA

Why We Love It: Guests at the W will feel like they walked into a metropolitan nightclub when they enter FIT Gym. The futuristic setting features color-changing light fixtures in the evening for a club-like atmosphere, while natural light streams in during the day from a dramatic skylight. Treadmills, bikes and other cardio machines are set up around the perimeter of the gym with modern furnishings (like a chaise to sprawl out on after a tough sprint) and a chic, self-serve juice bar in the center. Night owl? No problem. This tricked-out lounge is open 24-hours, so you can enjoy a late-night sweat session and healthy sips no matter what schedule you’re on.

[caption id="attachment_42125" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Philadelphia Bellevue Hyatt Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt[/caption]

3. The Hyatt at the Bellevue

Where to Find It: Philadelphia, PA

Why We Love It: Just as The Hyatt at the Bellevue has been an iconic gem in Philly’s history, its adjacent fitness center, The Sporting Club, is a landmark, too. Measuring a whopping 93,000 sq. feet in size, the real draw is the full-sized, NBA-worthy basketball court, as well as the impeccable boxing facilities that’ll have you channeling your inner Rocky for a few minutes of glory. There’s also a running track (great for speedwork), racquetball and squash courts, and, of course, a slew of typical equipment, too. And should you have forgotten some of your gear — or just want to buy something new — there’s an on-site shop filled with tons of functional (and fashionable) options.

RELATED: How to Get the Most Out of Your PTO

[caption id="attachment_42021" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms The Houstonian Club & Spa Photo: Courtesy of the Houstonian[/caption]

4. The Houstonian

Where to Find It: Houston, TX

Why We Love It: The world-famous Houstonian Club & Spa is reason enough to travel to south Texas — even in the summer, when temperatures soar to daily averages over 90 degrees. The outdoor pool complies to the weather, chilled during the warmer months while heated in the winter. Indoors, you’ll find more than 300 pieces of cardio and strength training equipment, including ellipticals, recumbent bikes, step climbers, treadmills, rowers and free weights. And if you’re more of a group exerciser, never fear: There are over 200 fitness classes including Spinning, various forms of yoga, and Tai Chi, plus small, semi-private personal training sessions. Hot tip: Splurge an extra $50 per night to stay on the Concierge Floor, where you’ll then receive complimentary food, drinks and even cocktails throughout the day.

[caption id="attachment_42124" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Las Vegas Canyon Ranch Palazzo Hotel Photo: Courtesy of Canyon Ranch[/caption]

5. The Palazzo Hotel and Resort

Where to Find It: Las Vegas, NV

Why We Love It: Take a break from the crazy, bustling Strip and try on this 40-foot rock climbing wall for size, located in the Palazzo. (Guests at The Venetian Hotel have access to as well — the two are sister properties.) And like the other Canyon Ranch locations, this outpost — despite being a day spa — can grant your every wellness wish. Think: healing thermal cabins, custom-concocted baths or one of 3,000 — yes, 3,000! — pieces of cardio equipment, all which have their own TV screens and pre-sanitized headphones. If you’re unsure of where to start, get a fitness assessment from an exercise physiologist who will tailor a program to meet your specific needs. Tough weekend warriors will appreciate the club’s Kinesis studio class, designed to improve balance, flexibility and stability with resistance moves using grips, cables and weights. And if you’re looking to up your spin game, take an indoor cycling class with RealRyder bikes, which lean from side to side just like a road bike does.

[caption id="attachment_42123" align="alignnone" width="620"]Exhale Spa Epic Miami Gym Photo: Courtesy of the EPIC Miami[/caption]

6. The EPIC Miami

Where to Find It: Miami, FL

Why We Love It: Despite being in the business-centric Downtown district, the EPIC has all the style of South Beach without the crowds. The gym — an Exhale spa outpost — boasts top-notch workouts with some of the best city views straight from the barre floor — not to mention some of the nicest instructors and best customer service in Miami. Located on a pool terrace off of the hotel’s sixteenth floor, this Exhale has the entire club’s signature classes for your endorphin-releasing pleasure, including Core Fusion Extreme, barre and Vinyasa Flow Fusion class. (And those top-notch facials and massages that Exhale is known for? Yup, available there too.)

RELATED: 5 Easy Tips for Healthy Travel

[caption id="attachment_42040" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Park Hyatt New York Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt[/caption]

 7. The Park Hyatt New York

Where to Find It: New York City

Why We Love It: Whether you’re training for a tri or just want to unwind after a whirlwind day in Manhattan, this sun-drenched pool on the twenty-fifth story of the iconic Park Hyatt is an absolute must-see — in fact, it's our favorite swim on this list. Underwater speakers play a curated Carnegie Hall soundtrack, courtesy of the world-famous concert hall that happens to also be across the street, so be sure to catch a performance while you’re in town. If details like that don’t have you sold, make sure to check out the hotel’s 1,845 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center that overlooks the pool. Once in your guest room, unwind from New York’s busy streets with your heated floors plus dual, spa-style showerheads. Treat yourself in the morning by ordering room service: We recommend the foie gras served with mushroom and boiled egg.

[caption id="attachment_42019" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gym Fairmont Princess Aerial Yoga Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels[/caption]

8. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Where to Find It: Scottsdale, AZ

Why We Love It: You’ll feel immersed in Southwestern culture upon arriving at this Hacienda-style wellness wonderland, which houses both its spa and its fitness center. Here, you’ll find trendy, innovative fitness classes like Aerial Hammock Yoga, in addition to Pilates, Spinning, body sculpting, Zumba and TRX, all regularly featured on the schedule. The space, which features Spanish Colonial touches like open plazas with fountains, also offers spa treatments with ingredients derived from the local environment. Try the Sedona Clay Mud Mask for its purifying properties and Desert Salt Scrub to reveal smooth, glowing skin. As if your post-workout glow needed it, anyway.

[caption id="attachment_42122" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Boston Ritz Carlton Equinox Photo: Courtesy of Ritz Carlton[/caption]

9. The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common

Where to Find It: Boston, MA

Why We Love It: New York- and L.A.-based business travelers flock to the centrally located Ritz, which is adjacent to (and provides its guests access to) a sun-lit, sleek Equinox health club. Like its other branches, the Boston location of the high-end chain comes with with all its signature create comforts: an amazing, varied class schedule, an impeccable, modern aesthetic and those insanely refreshing eucalyptus towels. It’s also got a basketball court, an indoor, 25-yard lap pool and four squash courts. But the best part, perhaps, is heading over there at sunset to catch epic views of the Commons from a treadmill or stair climber. Then, grab a favorite book and chill on the outdoor patio — it’s almost always empty, even during the warmer months, and makes for a great hang-out spot.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Sleep Better on the Road and Eliminate Jet Lag

[caption id="attachment_42132" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Los Angeles Athletic Club Pool Photo: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Athletic Club[/caption]

10. The Los Angeles Athletic Club

Where to Find It: Los Angeles, CA

The Best Feature: Yup, you read that right — the hotel itself is just one part of the state-of-the-art gym located in newly revitalized Downtown LA. Sports and fitness junkies should give this 100-plus year old athletic club, which is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, a spot on their travel bucket lists. Channel your inner LeBron James or Kerri Walsh-Jennings at the facility’s full basketball court (with an indoor track circling it), volleyball courts, squash courts, handball and racquetball courts, not to mention a pool Michael Phelps would kill to do a few laps in. Boutique fitness addicts will appreciate the wide variety of boot camp, dance and Pilates classes available. And if you need a little TLC or recovery work, meet with one of the on-site physical therapists for a form check, soft-tissue massage or a total-body refresh.

The post The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms in the U.S. appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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[caption id="attachment_42141" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms Photo: Courtesy of the EPIC Miami[/caption] If the phrase “hotel gym” conjures up images of sad, dark spaces with a few dusty pieces of equipment, we’ve got some good news: that’s no longer the norm. Now you can find gorgeous, expansive spaces with top-of-the-line technology, creative new classes and alternative sporting experiences. So whether you’re on the road for work or for fun, go on and book a few days away at one of these 10 best hotels for fitness lovers (listed in no particular order). You may just end up going for the workouts alone. RELATED: Work Out Anywhere With Your Free 30-Day DailyBurn Trial

10 Incredible Hotel Gyms

[caption id="attachment_42020" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Four Seasons Hualalai Photo: Courtesy of the Four Seasons[/caption] 1. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Where to Find It: The Big Island, Hawaii Why We Love It: Experience the great outdoors while you get your cardio fix at this open-air gym featuring some of the best views of the Big Island. Boutique fitness nuts: There’s also plenty of group classes, too — including spinning, Pilates, barre fusion and Bikram yoga (we suggest grabbing an all-access pass for the duration of your stay). Oh, and did we mention the 24-foot outdoor climbing wall? An instructional clinic is required, but it’s well worth the views of the Kona-Kohala coast when you reach the top. Of course, your stay won’t be complete without some seriously epic, locally inspired pampering. Count us in for the Hualalai Island Stone massage and Polynesian Niu (coconut) scrub. [caption id="attachment_42024" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Fit W San Francisco Photo: Courtesy of W Hotels[/caption] 2. W San Francisco Where to Find It: San Francisco, CA Why We Love It: Guests at the W will feel like they walked into a metropolitan nightclub when they enter FIT Gym. The futuristic setting features color-changing light fixtures in the evening for a club-like atmosphere, while natural light streams in during the day from a dramatic skylight. Treadmills, bikes and other cardio machines are set up around the perimeter of the gym with modern furnishings (like a chaise to sprawl out on after a tough sprint) and a chic, self-serve juice bar in the center. Night owl? No problem. This tricked-out lounge is open 24-hours, so you can enjoy a late-night sweat session and healthy sips no matter what schedule you’re on. [caption id="attachment_42125" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Philadelphia Bellevue Hyatt Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt[/caption] 3. The Hyatt at the Bellevue Where to Find It: Philadelphia, PA Why We Love It: Just as The Hyatt at the Bellevue has been an iconic gem in Philly’s history, its adjacent fitness center, The Sporting Club, is a landmark, too. Measuring a whopping 93,000 sq. feet in size, the real draw is the full-sized, NBA-worthy basketball court, as well as the impeccable boxing facilities that’ll have you channeling your inner Rocky for a few minutes of glory. There’s also a running track (great for speedwork), racquetball and squash courts, and, of course, a slew of typical equipment, too. And should you have forgotten some of your gear — or just want to buy something new — there’s an on-site shop filled with tons of functional (and fashionable) options. RELATED: How to Get the Most Out of Your PTO [caption id="attachment_42021" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms The Houstonian Club & Spa Photo: Courtesy of the Houstonian[/caption] 4. The Houstonian Where to Find It: Houston, TX Why We Love It: The world-famous Houstonian Club & Spa is reason enough to travel to south Texas — even in the summer, when temperatures soar to daily averages over 90 degrees. The outdoor pool complies to the weather, chilled during the warmer months while heated in the winter. Indoors, you’ll find more than 300 pieces of cardio and strength training equipment, including ellipticals, recumbent bikes, step climbers, treadmills, rowers and free weights. And if you’re more of a group exerciser, never fear: There are over 200 fitness classes including Spinning, various forms of yoga, and Tai Chi, plus small, semi-private personal training sessions. Hot tip: Splurge an extra $50 per night to stay on the Concierge Floor, where you’ll then receive complimentary food, drinks and even cocktails throughout the day. [caption id="attachment_42124" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Las Vegas Canyon Ranch Palazzo Hotel Photo: Courtesy of Canyon Ranch[/caption] 5. The Palazzo Hotel and Resort Where to Find It: Las Vegas, NV Why We Love It: Take a break from the crazy, bustling Strip and try on this 40-foot rock climbing wall for size, located in the Palazzo. (Guests at The Venetian Hotel have access to as well — the two are sister properties.) And like the other Canyon Ranch locations, this outpost — despite being a day spa — can grant your every wellness wish. Think: healing thermal cabins, custom-concocted baths or one of 3,000 — yes, 3,000! — pieces of cardio equipment, all which have their own TV screens and pre-sanitized headphones. If you’re unsure of where to start, get a fitness assessment from an exercise physiologist who will tailor a program to meet your specific needs. Tough weekend warriors will appreciate the club’s Kinesis studio class, designed to improve balance, flexibility and stability with resistance moves using grips, cables and weights. And if you’re looking to up your spin game, take an indoor cycling class with RealRyder bikes, which lean from side to side just like a road bike does. [caption id="attachment_42123" align="alignnone" width="620"]Exhale Spa Epic Miami Gym Photo: Courtesy of the EPIC Miami[/caption] 6. The EPIC Miami Where to Find It: Miami, FL Why We Love It: Despite being in the business-centric Downtown district, the EPIC has all the style of South Beach without the crowds. The gym — an Exhale spa outpost — boasts top-notch workouts with some of the best city views straight from the barre floor — not to mention some of the nicest instructors and best customer service in Miami. Located on a pool terrace off of the hotel’s sixteenth floor, this Exhale has the entire club’s signature classes for your endorphin-releasing pleasure, including Core Fusion Extreme, barre and Vinyasa Flow Fusion class. (And those top-notch facials and massages that Exhale is known for? Yup, available there too.) RELATED: 5 Easy Tips for Healthy Travel [caption id="attachment_42040" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Park Hyatt New York Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt[/caption]  7. The Park Hyatt New York Where to Find It: New York City Why We Love It: Whether you’re training for a tri or just want to unwind after a whirlwind day in Manhattan, this sun-drenched pool on the twenty-fifth story of the iconic Park Hyatt is an absolute must-see — in fact, it's our favorite swim on this list. Underwater speakers play a curated Carnegie Hall soundtrack, courtesy of the world-famous concert hall that happens to also be across the street, so be sure to catch a performance while you’re in town. If details like that don’t have you sold, make sure to check out the hotel’s 1,845 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center that overlooks the pool. Once in your guest room, unwind from New York’s busy streets with your heated floors plus dual, spa-style showerheads. Treat yourself in the morning by ordering room service: We recommend the foie gras served with mushroom and boiled egg. [caption id="attachment_42019" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gym Fairmont Princess Aerial Yoga Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels[/caption] 8. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Where to Find It: Scottsdale, AZ Why We Love It: You’ll feel immersed in Southwestern culture upon arriving at this Hacienda-style wellness wonderland, which houses both its spa and its fitness center. Here, you’ll find trendy, innovative fitness classes like Aerial Hammock Yoga, in addition to Pilates, Spinning, body sculpting, Zumba and TRX, all regularly featured on the schedule. The space, which features Spanish Colonial touches like open plazas with fountains, also offers spa treatments with ingredients derived from the local environment. Try the Sedona Clay Mud Mask for its purifying properties and Desert Salt Scrub to reveal smooth, glowing skin. As if your post-workout glow needed it, anyway. [caption id="attachment_42122" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Boston Ritz Carlton Equinox Photo: Courtesy of Ritz Carlton[/caption] 9. The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common Where to Find It: Boston, MA Why We Love It: New York- and L.A.-based business travelers flock to the centrally located Ritz, which is adjacent to (and provides its guests access to) a sun-lit, sleek Equinox health club. Like its other branches, the Boston location of the high-end chain comes with with all its signature create comforts: an amazing, varied class schedule, an impeccable, modern aesthetic and those insanely refreshing eucalyptus towels. It’s also got a basketball court, an indoor, 25-yard lap pool and four squash courts. But the best part, perhaps, is heading over there at sunset to catch epic views of the Commons from a treadmill or stair climber. Then, grab a favorite book and chill on the outdoor patio — it’s almost always empty, even during the warmer months, and makes for a great hang-out spot. RELATED: 6 Ways to Sleep Better on the Road and Eliminate Jet Lag [caption id="attachment_42132" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Los Angeles Athletic Club Pool Photo: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Athletic Club[/caption] 10. The Los Angeles Athletic Club Where to Find It: Los Angeles, CA The Best Feature: Yup, you read that right — the hotel itself is just one part of the state-of-the-art gym located in newly revitalized Downtown LA. Sports and fitness junkies should give this 100-plus year old athletic club, which is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, a spot on their travel bucket lists. Channel your inner LeBron James or Kerri Walsh-Jennings at the facility’s full basketball court (with an indoor track circling it), volleyball courts, squash courts, handball and racquetball courts, not to mention a pool Michael Phelps would kill to do a few laps in. Boutique fitness addicts will appreciate the wide variety of boot camp, dance and Pilates classes available. And if you need a little TLC or recovery work, meet with one of the on-site physical therapists for a form check, soft-tissue massage or a total-body refresh.

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7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/take-every-pto-vacation-day/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/take-every-pto-vacation-day/#respond Fri, 22 May 2015 11:15:56 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=32856 Standard Miami

[caption id="attachment_32860" align="alignnone" width="620"]Take Your Vacation Days Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Think fast: How many vacation days do you have left this year? If you don’t know the answer, go investigate — and then start planning how you’ll use them, pronto.

In a recent ad campaign by MasterCard, a group of children lectures us that 400 million PTO days go unused every year. One young boy comments: “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.” Well said, kid.

And it’s true: According to a survey by Glassdoor, only half of Americans use all their vacation days. To motivate you to book your next trip, here are seven ways taking time off can benefit your health, career and sex life.

RELATED: How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent

Why Taking PTO Is Always Worth It

1. You’ll be less likely to get sick.
“Working too many weeks in a row can be very detrimental to your health,” says Jeff Marksberry, MD, who works with the American Institute of Stress. Employees who fail to take needed breaks are prone to increases in the stress hormone cortisol, which research shows can weaken your immune system and possibly lead to heart problems down the road. “Taking a vacation lets your body and mind recover from the constant bombardment of stress, allowing your immune system to ‘reboot’ so you’re less likely to get sick,” Marksberry says

If your vacation is relaxing enough, you’ll continue to feel blissed out for up to eight weeks afterwards

2. You’ll get happier just planning your trip.
If you’ve spent time perusing the travel boards on Pinterest, you know that even the anticipation of planning a trip can put you in a sunnier frame of mind. A study in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that people who are about to go on a vacation feel happier in the weeks leading up to their trip, compared to folks with no travel plans on the horizon. Plus, according to the research, if your vacation is relaxing enough, you’ll continue to feel blissed out for up to eight weeks afterwards.

RELATED17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy

3. Even a long weekend might improve the economy.
If you’re not using your vacation days because you’re on a budget, spend your time off taking long weekends — it’ll do everyone some good. The U.S. Travel Association reports that encouraging workers to use one more day of paid leave each year could bring $73 billion more to our economy annually (because, let’s face it, we all spend more when we travel more).

4. You might ward off depression.
In a study of 887 super stressed lawyers, published in the journal Human Relations, researchers found that those who took vacations, and were active and social, experienced reduced levels of depression compared to those who spent leisure time watching TV or listening to music. “Quality time should include things like being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, exercise, and some ‘me’ time,” says Dr. Marksberry. That means spending precious hours away from your cellphone, too.

RELATED: How to Get Good at Stress (and Make It Work in Your Favor)

5. Travel can make you more self-aware.
Just thinking about traveling to new places may boost your creativity, according to a study from the American Psychological Assocation. Mentally picturing yourself in a foreign place and contemplating having new experiences can give you an improved sense of self-awareness, too.

“Not using these days is like giving your employer a discount on your paycheck.”

6. You’ll be earning more money per day worked.
“Not using these days is like giving your employer a discount on your paycheck,” says Gary Oster, executive VP of member services at the U.S. Travel Association. Too stressed at work to contemplate leaving it all behind? “If you set yourself up properly before vacation, you should be OK when you get back,” he says. Communicate with your managers and team about what needs to be done before you take off, and set a time to get briefed on the most pressing items when you return, he suggests.

7. You’ll fire up your love life.
Hello, vacation sex! A U.S. Travel Association survey found that couples that travel together are more likely to have a better sex life, enjoy more romance, and be more satisfied in their relationships. “Going away on vacation can benefit your relationship with your partner by taking you out of your everyday routine and opening yourselves up to new experiences,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. . “It may even give you an opportunity to capture some of those feelings of your early time together as a couple."

Originally posted on December 4, 2014. Updated May 2015. 

The post 7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Standard Miami

[caption id="attachment_32860" align="alignnone" width="620"]Take Your Vacation Days Photo: Pond5[/caption] Think fast: How many vacation days do you have left this year? If you don’t know the answer, go investigate — and then start planning how you’ll use them, pronto. In a recent ad campaign by MasterCard, a group of children lectures us that 400 million PTO days go unused every year. One young boy comments: “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.” Well said, kid. And it’s true: According to a survey by Glassdoor, only half of Americans use all their vacation days. To motivate you to book your next trip, here are seven ways taking time off can benefit your health, career and sex life. RELATED: How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent

Why Taking PTO Is Always Worth It

1. You’ll be less likely to get sick. “Working too many weeks in a row can be very detrimental to your health,” says Jeff Marksberry, MD, who works with the American Institute of Stress. Employees who fail to take needed breaks are prone to increases in the stress hormone cortisol, which research shows can weaken your immune system and possibly lead to heart problems down the road. “Taking a vacation lets your body and mind recover from the constant bombardment of stress, allowing your immune system to ‘reboot’ so you’re less likely to get sick,” Marksberry says
If your vacation is relaxing enough, you’ll continue to feel blissed out for up to eight weeks afterwards
2. You’ll get happier just planning your trip. If you’ve spent time perusing the travel boards on Pinterest, you know that even the anticipation of planning a trip can put you in a sunnier frame of mind. A study in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that people who are about to go on a vacation feel happier in the weeks leading up to their trip, compared to folks with no travel plans on the horizon. Plus, according to the research, if your vacation is relaxing enough, you’ll continue to feel blissed out for up to eight weeks afterwards. RELATED17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy 3. Even a long weekend might improve the economy. If you’re not using your vacation days because you’re on a budget, spend your time off taking long weekends — it’ll do everyone some good. The U.S. Travel Association reports that encouraging workers to use one more day of paid leave each year could bring $73 billion more to our economy annually (because, let’s face it, we all spend more when we travel more). 4. You might ward off depression. In a study of 887 super stressed lawyers, published in the journal Human Relations, researchers found that those who took vacations, and were active and social, experienced reduced levels of depression compared to those who spent leisure time watching TV or listening to music. “Quality time should include things like being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, exercise, and some ‘me’ time,” says Dr. Marksberry. That means spending precious hours away from your cellphone, too. RELATED: How to Get Good at Stress (and Make It Work in Your Favor) 5. Travel can make you more self-aware. Just thinking about traveling to new places may boost your creativity, according to a study from the American Psychological Assocation. Mentally picturing yourself in a foreign place and contemplating having new experiences can give you an improved sense of self-awareness, too.
“Not using these days is like giving your employer a discount on your paycheck.”
6. You’ll be earning more money per day worked. “Not using these days is like giving your employer a discount on your paycheck,” says Gary Oster, executive VP of member services at the U.S. Travel Association. Too stressed at work to contemplate leaving it all behind? “If you set yourself up properly before vacation, you should be OK when you get back,” he says. Communicate with your managers and team about what needs to be done before you take off, and set a time to get briefed on the most pressing items when you return, he suggests. 7. You’ll fire up your love life. Hello, vacation sex! A U.S. Travel Association survey found that couples that travel together are more likely to have a better sex life, enjoy more romance, and be more satisfied in their relationships. “Going away on vacation can benefit your relationship with your partner by taking you out of your everyday routine and opening yourselves up to new experiences,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. . “It may even give you an opportunity to capture some of those feelings of your early time together as a couple." Originally posted on December 4, 2014. Updated May 2015. 

The post 7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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4 Fat-Burning Barre Exercises You Can Do at Home http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/fat-burning-barre-exercises-workout/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/fat-burning-barre-exercises-workout/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 14:15:31 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=26759 Fat-Burning Barre Exercises

[caption id="attachment_26774" align="alignnone" width="620"]4 Fat-Burning Barre Exercises Photos courtesy of barre3[/caption]

Want a long, lean physique? We give you permission to head straight to the barre. These ballet-inspired movements have been shown to flatten abs, sculpt thighs, tone arms, and lift your rear. Even better? The fat-blasting moves can be done just about anywhere — no ballet barre required.

To get started, we talked to Sadie Lincoln, author of Love Your Lower Body, and founder of barre3, for a workout that combines ballet barre work, the wisdom of yoga, and the strength of Pilates. And since Barre3 workouts are often done in 10-minute segments, you can put the lid on that “I don’t have time” excuses jar — we’re not having it!

“Every workout includes an isometric hold, small one-inch movements, and a dynamic, functional range of motion,” says Lincoln. Try one of all of these moves while cooking dinner, watching your favorite TV shows, or as a quick break at the office. It’s time to raise the barre!

Do-Anywhere Barre Exercises

[caption id="attachment_26766" align="alignnone" width="620"]Office Barre Push-Up Photo courtesy of barre3[/caption]

1. Firm Arms
Where: The office
Targets: Arms, chest and back
How to: Place your hands directly on your desk or a sturdy chair that can support your weight, shoulder-distance apart, and step back so you’re on the balls of your feet. With the arms extended and spine long, engage your core. (a) Bend your elbows and draw your chest towards the counter. (b) Next, press through your palms and extend the arms bringing you back to the start position. (c) Continue for 60 seconds while maintaining solid form.

RELATED: 6 Exercises for Strong, Lean Arms 

[caption id="attachment_26771" align="alignnone" width="620"]Barre Glute Exercise Photo courtesy of barre3[/caption]

2. Sculpt Your Seat
Where: The kitchen counter
Targets: Glutes, core
How to: Stand tall and lightly rest your palms on the counter. (a) Bend your knees slightly and draw your right foot behind you(b) Lift the leg directly behind you a few inches and hold. The standing knee should be soft, hips squared towards the desk. Make sure the core is engaged, spine is long and you’re leaning slightly forward. (c) Next, lift the right toe up one inch and lower, then slide the same leg out to the right one inch and pull it back to center. (d) Perform this L-shaped move for 30 reps, then repeat on the left side.

[caption id="attachment_26769" align="alignnone" width="620"]Barre Thigh Exercise Photo courtesy of barre3[/caption]

3. Tone Thighs
Where: The living room
Targets: Inner thighs, legs
How to: Facing the back of your couch or a sturdy chair, rest your hands on the support and plant your feet wider than your hips. Bend your knees slightly and hold, making sure the knees aren’t locked. Your toes should be turned out, knees tracking over the middle toes, hips squared, and core engaged. (a) Drag the right heel towards the left foot until feet are together and you’re standing tall. (b) Next, step out with the left foot until you’re back in the wide straddle position with your bent knees. (c) Draw your left foot back towards your right foot until you’re standing tall. (d) Then, step the right foot out to the right until you’re back in the straddle pose. (e) Repeat the back and forth exercises for 60 seconds. For a more advanced move, work on your balance by trying this exercise without the support.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Get Fit in Half the Time

[caption id="attachment_26770" align="alignnone" width="620"]Barre Core Exercise Photo courtesy of barre3[/caption]

4. Flatten Abs
Where: Living room or bedroom
Targets: Core, obliques
How to: Sitting on a mat, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, lean back and place the barre3 core ball or a rolled up towel between your shoulder blades on the mat behind you. (a) With your backside rooted into the mat and spine long, engage your core and rest the weight of your head into your hands. (b) Inhale and slightly open your chest over the ball or towel. (c) As you exhale, draw your low belly down while lifting your head, neck and shoulders up and taking a small cinch to the right by angling the right elbow towards your right waist. (d) Inhale back through center, then exhale and repeat to the left. Be sure to focus on the belly and rib cage drawing down and in towards your hips to target all layers of the core. Continue for 60 seconds.

RELATED: 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

Boost Your Barre Benefits

Have a need for speed? Remember that rushing through the movements won’t get you far. To maximize your time at the barre (or support), follow these essential tips to reap the most benefits from your workout.

1. Embrace the shakes!
Quivering muscles are a good thing with these isometric movements. An isometric hold strengthens your muscles since you aren’t taking breaks for muscle recovery. As you engage your muscles to stay in a posture, you’re taxing both the large and small stabilizer muscles. Holding your muscles during a contraction helps to increase your strength and endurance without having to add weight. Remember to always stop if you feel sharp pain or any other discomfort.

2. Listen to what your body needs.
Customize the workout to your needs and fitness level. At barre3, they say, “Work smarter instead of harder." Sometimes the most simple and basic exercises are the most challenging and effective. “Those who listen to their body's wisdom get better results faster,” says Lincoln. When you’re starting out, feel free to modify the moves, do fewer reps, or take a break whenever you need to. It’s better to do fewer repetitions correctly than to sacrifice form and try to muscle through the recommended reps.

3. Stretch out.
Incorporate at least five minutes of stretching at the end of each session or class to safely bring the heart rate down and release tension in the muscles. We guarantee you’ll be feeling it the next day, so make your recovery count. Lincoln also recommends rounding out barre workouts with cardiovascular activities like brisk walking, swimming or cycling.

RELATED: Are You Doing These 5 Stretches All Wrong?

4. Hydrate and refuel.
To make sure you’re adequately hydrated, weigh yourself before you work out so you’ll be able to tell how much water weight you’ve lost, suggests The American College of Sports Medicine. The ACSM recommends drinking 8-12 ounces of water 15 minutes before any workout, 3-8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise, and 20-24 ounces of water afterwards for every pound of body weight lost. Lincoln also suggests having a post-workout snack that includes fat, fiber and protein, like a handful of raw nuts.

Need some extra motivation to commit to your new workout routine? Enlist a friend — or find support online — to help you stick to a program you’ll love all season long. For added incentive, put a few dollars in a “bathing suit” jar (or whatever reward you set) every time you complete a workout. Before you know it you’ll be cashing in on your hard work.

For more body-sculpting workouts you can do at home, head to DailyBurn.com for your free 30-day trial. 

Originally posted April 8, 2014. 

The post 4 Fat-Burning Barre Exercises You Can Do at Home appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Fat-Burning Barre Exercises

[caption id="attachment_26774" align="alignnone" width="620"]4 Fat-Burning Barre Exercises Photos courtesy of barre3[/caption] Want a long, lean physique? We give you permission to head straight to the barre. These ballet-inspired movements have been shown to flatten abs, sculpt thighs, tone arms, and lift your rear. Even better? The fat-blasting moves can be done just about anywhere — no ballet barre required. To get started, we talked to Sadie Lincoln, author of Love Your Lower Body, and founder of barre3, for a workout that combines ballet barre work, the wisdom of yoga, and the strength of Pilates. And since Barre3 workouts are often done in 10-minute segments, you can put the lid on that “I don’t have time” excuses jar — we’re not having it! “Every workout includes an isometric hold, small one-inch movements, and a dynamic, functional range of motion,” says Lincoln. Try one of all of these moves while cooking dinner, watching your favorite TV shows, or as a quick break at the office. It’s time to raise the barre!

Do-Anywhere Barre Exercises

[caption id="attachment_26766" align="alignnone" width="620"]Office Barre Push-Up Photo courtesy of barre3[/caption] 1. Firm Arms Where: The office Targets: Arms, chest and back How to: Place your hands directly on your desk or a sturdy chair that can support your weight, shoulder-distance apart, and step back so you’re on the balls of your feet. With the arms extended and spine long, engage your core. (a) Bend your elbows and draw your chest towards the counter. (b) Next, press through your palms and extend the arms bringing you back to the start position. (c) Continue for 60 seconds while maintaining solid form. RELATED: 6 Exercises for Strong, Lean Arms  [caption id="attachment_26771" align="alignnone" width="620"]Barre Glute Exercise Photo courtesy of barre3[/caption] 2. Sculpt Your Seat Where: The kitchen counter Targets: Glutes, core How to: Stand tall and lightly rest your palms on the counter. (a) Bend your knees slightly and draw your right foot behind you(b) Lift the leg directly behind you a few inches and hold. The standing knee should be soft, hips squared towards the desk. Make sure the core is engaged, spine is long and you’re leaning slightly forward. (c) Next, lift the right toe up one inch and lower, then slide the same leg out to the right one inch and pull it back to center. (d) Perform this L-shaped move for 30 reps, then repeat on the left side. [caption id="attachment_26769" align="alignnone" width="620"]Barre Thigh Exercise Photo courtesy of barre3[/caption] 3. Tone Thighs Where: The living room Targets: Inner thighs, legs How to: Facing the back of your couch or a sturdy chair, rest your hands on the support and plant your feet wider than your hips. Bend your knees slightly and hold, making sure the knees aren’t locked. Your toes should be turned out, knees tracking over the middle toes, hips squared, and core engaged. (a) Drag the right heel towards the left foot until feet are together and you’re standing tall. (b) Next, step out with the left foot until you’re back in the wide straddle position with your bent knees. (c) Draw your left foot back towards your right foot until you’re standing tall. (d) Then, step the right foot out to the right until you’re back in the straddle pose. (e) Repeat the back and forth exercises for 60 seconds. For a more advanced move, work on your balance by trying this exercise without the support. RELATED: 7 Ways to Get Fit in Half the Time [caption id="attachment_26770" align="alignnone" width="620"]Barre Core Exercise Photo courtesy of barre3[/caption] 4. Flatten Abs Where: Living room or bedroom Targets: Core, obliques How to: Sitting on a mat, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, lean back and place the barre3 core ball or a rolled up towel between your shoulder blades on the mat behind you. (a) With your backside rooted into the mat and spine long, engage your core and rest the weight of your head into your hands. (b) Inhale and slightly open your chest over the ball or towel. (c) As you exhale, draw your low belly down while lifting your head, neck and shoulders up and taking a small cinch to the right by angling the right elbow towards your right waist. (d) Inhale back through center, then exhale and repeat to the left. Be sure to focus on the belly and rib cage drawing down and in towards your hips to target all layers of the core. Continue for 60 seconds. RELATED: 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

Boost Your Barre Benefits

Have a need for speed? Remember that rushing through the movements won’t get you far. To maximize your time at the barre (or support), follow these essential tips to reap the most benefits from your workout. 1. Embrace the shakes! Quivering muscles are a good thing with these isometric movements. An isometric hold strengthens your muscles since you aren’t taking breaks for muscle recovery. As you engage your muscles to stay in a posture, you’re taxing both the large and small stabilizer muscles. Holding your muscles during a contraction helps to increase your strength and endurance without having to add weight. Remember to always stop if you feel sharp pain or any other discomfort. 2. Listen to what your body needs. Customize the workout to your needs and fitness level. At barre3, they say, “Work smarter instead of harder." Sometimes the most simple and basic exercises are the most challenging and effective. “Those who listen to their body's wisdom get better results faster,” says Lincoln. When you’re starting out, feel free to modify the moves, do fewer reps, or take a break whenever you need to. It’s better to do fewer repetitions correctly than to sacrifice form and try to muscle through the recommended reps. 3. Stretch out. Incorporate at least five minutes of stretching at the end of each session or class to safely bring the heart rate down and release tension in the muscles. We guarantee you’ll be feeling it the next day, so make your recovery count. Lincoln also recommends rounding out barre workouts with cardiovascular activities like brisk walking, swimming or cycling. RELATED: Are You Doing These 5 Stretches All Wrong? 4. Hydrate and refuel. To make sure you’re adequately hydrated, weigh yourself before you work out so you’ll be able to tell how much water weight you’ve lost, suggests The American College of Sports Medicine. The ACSM recommends drinking 8-12 ounces of water 15 minutes before any workout, 3-8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise, and 20-24 ounces of water afterwards for every pound of body weight lost. Lincoln also suggests having a post-workout snack that includes fat, fiber and protein, like a handful of raw nuts. Need some extra motivation to commit to your new workout routine? Enlist a friend — or find support online — to help you stick to a program you’ll love all season long. For added incentive, put a few dollars in a “bathing suit” jar (or whatever reward you set) every time you complete a workout. Before you know it you’ll be cashing in on your hard work. For more body-sculpting workouts you can do at home, head to DailyBurn.com for your free 30-day trial.  Originally posted April 8, 2014. 

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19 Ways to Add Flavor for 10 Calories or Less http://dailyburn.com/life/health/healthy-tips-natural-flavors/ http://dailyburn.com/life/health/healthy-tips-natural-flavors/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 15:05:52 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=19028

[caption id="attachment_19201" align="alignnone" width="620"]19 Ways to Add Flavor for 10 Calories or Less Photos: Pond5[/caption]

If you consider yourself a healthy eater, you’ve probably come to rely on a few nutritious standbys, like lean protein, steamed veggies and whole grains. But how many times a week can you have grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and brown rice for dinner before you’re banging your head against the wall? You might think the answer lies in high-calorie marinades or fatty cream sauces to make dishes fun and exciting again. The good news: There are plenty of ways to please your taste buds without adding a calorie bomb to your dish. Read on for 19 kitchen secrets for jazzing up ho-hum meals for 10 calories or less.

1. Lemon Juice

This juice is a great way to finish off a dish with zesty tang. “It’s delicious over a salad as a citrus dressing (mix one tablespoon olive oil with the juice of one fresh lemon), or season chicken with fresh lemon and sautéed garlic,” suggests Lisa Stollman, RDN, author of The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy. Choose fresh-squeezed over the concentrated variety for a natural flavor.
Calories: 4 per tablespoon (lemon juice only)

2. Cucumber Slices

Peel a raw cucumber and add slices to a water pitcher for a refreshing spa-like beverage. Not only does the flavor of the cucumber enter the water, some of the cucumber's nutrients do too, including vitamins C, A, K, iron, calcium and potassium. Munching on the cucumber slices will of course score you maximum vitamins and nutrients.
Calories: 1 per slice

[caption id="attachment_19202" align="alignnone" width="620"]Oranges hanging on tree. Photo: Pond5[/caption]

3. Orange Juice

Add two tablespoons orange juice to one tablespoon olive oil to make a citrus dressing for salads. Orange juice is packed with immunity-boosting vitamin C and may help protect against certain types of cancer. Choose calcium-fortified OJ to help meet your recommended daily calcium intake.
Calories: 7 per tablespoon (orange juice only)

4. Hot Sauce

Most hot sauces have fewer than five calories per teaspoon, so a few shakes will really kick your dishes up a notch without adding many calories at all. Add it to grilled chicken or air-popped popcorn instead of piling on the salt and butter.
Calories: 2-5 per teaspoon

5. Fresh Herbs

One of my ways to add flavor to dishes for nearly zero calories is using fresh herbs,” says Devin Alexander, celebrity chef on NBC’s Biggest Loser and New York Times bestselling author. To make them last longer, rinse with cold water and dry with a paper towel. Then, wrap a paper towel around them and keep them in the fridge in an open food storage bag. When you’re ready to use them, just add the whole leaves to your dishes whole (like bay leaves in a stew) or dice them up and sprinkle them on top to finish a dish or mix them into sauces and soups. “They make for a great presentation in your dishes,” Alexander says. “I make sure to always have fresh cilantro, flat leaf and curly parsley in my refrigerator.”
Calories: <1 per tablespoon

6. Salt-Free Seasoning Blends

With the variety of spices and seasoning blends in your grocery aisle, changing up bland proteins and sides is easier — and more exciting — than you’d think.  If you’re going to season your meals with a blend, reach for a salt-free version to save about 200 mg sodium per teaspoon. “I love using salt-free seasonings in my dishes to pack in delicious flavor without adding calories,” says Alexander. “That way you can control the salt on your own and really focus on the flavor!”
Calories: <1 per teaspoon

7. Curry

Add one to two teaspoons of the popular Indian spice to roasted vegetables and serve over brown rice, suggests Stollman. Curry is also a delicious seasoning for tofu, chicken and sautéed vegetables. Some preliminary studies have found that curry may help with cognition function, and might help protect against heart disease and cancer, though more research is needed.
Calories: 7 per tablespoon

8. Oregano

You’ve been sprinkling it on your pizza slices for years, but this spice can also be used as a rub for red meat and chicken. Add fresh or dried oregano to your salads, or combine it with lemon juice for Greek-inspired fish and chicken dishes.
Calories: 3 per teaspoon

[caption id="attachment_19204" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cumin seeds in a wooden scoop. Photo: Pond5[/caption]

9. Cumin

Cumin seeds have a nutty, peppery Middle Eastern flavor and can be added to dishes as seeds or ground up in the form cumin powder. The peppery, iron-packed addition pairs perfectly with chicken and can be tossed on popcorn for a savory snack!
Calories: 7 per teaspoon

10. Turmeric

This Indian spice has potent anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to aid with digestive problems and pain relief. Stollman recommends adding a teaspoon to rice, beans and soups to impart a mild, spicy flavor and a beautiful yellow color. Add one teaspoon turmeric to one tablespoon olive oil and chopped onion. Sauté and add diced zucchini or eggplant. Serve over rice as a delicious vegerarian-friendly main course or as a side dish.
Calories: 1 per teaspoon (turmeric only)

[caption id="attachment_19205" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ginger Photo: Pond5[/caption]

11. Fresh Ginger

If your only experience with fresh ginger is when it accompanies your sushi dinner, it’s time to get friendlier with this plant root. Ginger is delicious when grated and added to salads, or, add slivers of it to teriyaki sauce as a marinade for tofu or chicken, suggests Stollman. Ginger has been used in Chinese medicine to treat issues like upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and other digestive issues.
Calories: 2 per teaspoon

12. Rosemary

Tuck sprigs of fresh rosemary into the nooks and crannies of a whole chicken before baking for a fragrant flavor that’ll seep into the juices. Or, season veggies by adding one to two teaspoons of dried rosemary to sliced baked potatoes and other veggies before you roast them in the oven. Rosemary is a good source of iron and calcium, and contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help boost immunity.
Calories: 2 per tablespoon (fresh rosemary), 3 per teaspoon (dried rosemary)

13. Vegetable Broth

To cut calories when sautéing vegetables, chicken or fish, replace some of the oil with vegetable broth. Pair one tablespoon of oil with one tablespoon broth as needed. You’ll add flavor without calories and fat! Vegetable broth can also be used as a low-calorie way to flavor mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower dishes. Choose the low-sodium variety to help keep salt intake in check.
Calories: 1 per ounce (vegetable broth only)

 14. Sautéed Onions and Garlic

To add rich flavor to plain veggies, sauté two teaspoons finely diced onions and one teaspoon garlic with a teaspoon of olive oil or cooking spray. Then add fresh chopped veggies, like broccoli, green beans, snow peas, peppers, spinach and more. These flavor-packed vegetables are delicious as a side dish or can be mixed with 1 cup of whole grain pasta or quinoa.
Calories: 9 (onions and garlic combined)

15. Flavored Vinegars

Flavored vingars are a fun, fresh way to add sweetness without calories. Most people stock white, balsamic, cider and/or red wine vinegars in their cabinets, but you can get more creative and elegant with a port or champagne vinegar as a base for pasta salads, marinades, coleslaw and regular salad greens.
Calories: 5 per tablespoon

[caption id="attachment_19206" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cup of coffee Photo: Pond5[/caption]

16. Instant Coffee and Espresso Powder

These shelf-stable products are great low-calorie ways to add flavor to your smoothies, especially if you’re using protein powder and want to mask the taste. You can also sprinkle them on yogurt, low-fat ice cream, or on vanilla puddings to awake your taste buds. Get 7 buzz-worthy recipes for coffee lovers here!
Calories: 4 per teaspoon (instant coffee powder), 0 per teaspoon (espresso powder)

17. Cocoa Powder

Satisfy chocolate cravings and add a touch of sweetness to snacks and meals by sprinkling on unsweetened cocoa powder. Make you own chocolate-flavored nuts by sprinkling cocoa powder on raw almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts, or add a dash to smoothies, oatmeal, puddings and yogurt. One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains three to nine percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc. Cocoa also contains flavonoids, antioxidants that help prevent inflammation and promote blood flow.
Calories: 4 per teaspoon

18.  Cinnamon

This versatile spice is perfect when you need a bit of a sweeter flavor without adding calories. Add cinnamon to your coffee, oatmeal, vanilla or plain yogurt, or sprinkle it over nuts to make your standby snack taste more like dessert. Some research suggests cinnamon has anti-inflammatory benefits, cardiovascular benefits and possible cholesterol-lowering benefits.
Calories: 2 per teaspoon

19. Tea

Use tea as a spice by simply grinding up the tea leaves and using them as a delicious rub for a fresh Asian-cuisine flavor, suggests Alexander. Or, try using leftover brewed tea as a marinade for meat like chicken. Ground matcha green tea can work well as a garnish, spice or rub, or try Lapsang Souchong tea in a Chinese smoked duck recipe to really up the “wow” factor.
Calories: 0 per tablespoon

Originally posted on October 13, 2013. 

The post 19 Ways to Add Flavor for 10 Calories or Less appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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[caption id="attachment_19201" align="alignnone" width="620"]19 Ways to Add Flavor for 10 Calories or Less Photos: Pond5[/caption] If you consider yourself a healthy eater, you’ve probably come to rely on a few nutritious standbys, like lean protein, steamed veggies and whole grains. But how many times a week can you have grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and brown rice for dinner before you’re banging your head against the wall? You might think the answer lies in high-calorie marinades or fatty cream sauces to make dishes fun and exciting again. The good news: There are plenty of ways to please your taste buds without adding a calorie bomb to your dish. Read on for 19 kitchen secrets for jazzing up ho-hum meals for 10 calories or less.

1. Lemon Juice

This juice is a great way to finish off a dish with zesty tang. “It’s delicious over a salad as a citrus dressing (mix one tablespoon olive oil with the juice of one fresh lemon), or season chicken with fresh lemon and sautéed garlic,” suggests Lisa Stollman, RDN, author of The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy. Choose fresh-squeezed over the concentrated variety for a natural flavor. Calories: 4 per tablespoon (lemon juice only)

2. Cucumber Slices

Peel a raw cucumber and add slices to a water pitcher for a refreshing spa-like beverage. Not only does the flavor of the cucumber enter the water, some of the cucumber's nutrients do too, including vitamins C, A, K, iron, calcium and potassium. Munching on the cucumber slices will of course score you maximum vitamins and nutrients. Calories: 1 per slice [caption id="attachment_19202" align="alignnone" width="620"]Oranges hanging on tree. Photo: Pond5[/caption]

3. Orange Juice

Add two tablespoons orange juice to one tablespoon olive oil to make a citrus dressing for salads. Orange juice is packed with immunity-boosting vitamin C and may help protect against certain types of cancer. Choose calcium-fortified OJ to help meet your recommended daily calcium intake. Calories: 7 per tablespoon (orange juice only)

4. Hot Sauce

Most hot sauces have fewer than five calories per teaspoon, so a few shakes will really kick your dishes up a notch without adding many calories at all. Add it to grilled chicken or air-popped popcorn instead of piling on the salt and butter. Calories: 2-5 per teaspoon

5. Fresh Herbs

One of my ways to add flavor to dishes for nearly zero calories is using fresh herbs,” says Devin Alexander, celebrity chef on NBC’s Biggest Loser and New York Times bestselling author. To make them last longer, rinse with cold water and dry with a paper towel. Then, wrap a paper towel around them and keep them in the fridge in an open food storage bag. When you’re ready to use them, just add the whole leaves to your dishes whole (like bay leaves in a stew) or dice them up and sprinkle them on top to finish a dish or mix them into sauces and soups. “They make for a great presentation in your dishes,” Alexander says. “I make sure to always have fresh cilantro, flat leaf and curly parsley in my refrigerator.” Calories: <1 per tablespoon

6. Salt-Free Seasoning Blends

With the variety of spices and seasoning blends in your grocery aisle, changing up bland proteins and sides is easier — and more exciting — than you’d think.  If you’re going to season your meals with a blend, reach for a salt-free version to save about 200 mg sodium per teaspoon. “I love using salt-free seasonings in my dishes to pack in delicious flavor without adding calories,” says Alexander. “That way you can control the salt on your own and really focus on the flavor!” Calories: <1 per teaspoon

7. Curry

Add one to two teaspoons of the popular Indian spice to roasted vegetables and serve over brown rice, suggests Stollman. Curry is also a delicious seasoning for tofu, chicken and sautéed vegetables. Some preliminary studies have found that curry may help with cognition function, and might help protect against heart disease and cancer, though more research is needed. Calories: 7 per tablespoon

8. Oregano

You’ve been sprinkling it on your pizza slices for years, but this spice can also be used as a rub for red meat and chicken. Add fresh or dried oregano to your salads, or combine it with lemon juice for Greek-inspired fish and chicken dishes. Calories: 3 per teaspoon [caption id="attachment_19204" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cumin seeds in a wooden scoop. Photo: Pond5[/caption]

9. Cumin

Cumin seeds have a nutty, peppery Middle Eastern flavor and can be added to dishes as seeds or ground up in the form cumin powder. The peppery, iron-packed addition pairs perfectly with chicken and can be tossed on popcorn for a savory snack! Calories: 7 per teaspoon

10. Turmeric

This Indian spice has potent anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to aid with digestive problems and pain relief. Stollman recommends adding a teaspoon to rice, beans and soups to impart a mild, spicy flavor and a beautiful yellow color. Add one teaspoon turmeric to one tablespoon olive oil and chopped onion. Sauté and add diced zucchini or eggplant. Serve over rice as a delicious vegerarian-friendly main course or as a side dish. Calories: 1 per teaspoon (turmeric only) [caption id="attachment_19205" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ginger Photo: Pond5[/caption]

11. Fresh Ginger

If your only experience with fresh ginger is when it accompanies your sushi dinner, it’s time to get friendlier with this plant root. Ginger is delicious when grated and added to salads, or, add slivers of it to teriyaki sauce as a marinade for tofu or chicken, suggests Stollman. Ginger has been used in Chinese medicine to treat issues like upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and other digestive issues. Calories: 2 per teaspoon

12. Rosemary

Tuck sprigs of fresh rosemary into the nooks and crannies of a whole chicken before baking for a fragrant flavor that’ll seep into the juices. Or, season veggies by adding one to two teaspoons of dried rosemary to sliced baked potatoes and other veggies before you roast them in the oven. Rosemary is a good source of iron and calcium, and contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help boost immunity. Calories: 2 per tablespoon (fresh rosemary), 3 per teaspoon (dried rosemary)

13. Vegetable Broth

To cut calories when sautéing vegetables, chicken or fish, replace some of the oil with vegetable broth. Pair one tablespoon of oil with one tablespoon broth as needed. You’ll add flavor without calories and fat! Vegetable broth can also be used as a low-calorie way to flavor mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower dishes. Choose the low-sodium variety to help keep salt intake in check. Calories: 1 per ounce (vegetable broth only)

 14. Sautéed Onions and Garlic

To add rich flavor to plain veggies, sauté two teaspoons finely diced onions and one teaspoon garlic with a teaspoon of olive oil or cooking spray. Then add fresh chopped veggies, like broccoli, green beans, snow peas, peppers, spinach and more. These flavor-packed vegetables are delicious as a side dish or can be mixed with 1 cup of whole grain pasta or quinoa. Calories: 9 (onions and garlic combined)

15. Flavored Vinegars

Flavored vingars are a fun, fresh way to add sweetness without calories. Most people stock white, balsamic, cider and/or red wine vinegars in their cabinets, but you can get more creative and elegant with a port or champagne vinegar as a base for pasta salads, marinades, coleslaw and regular salad greens. Calories: 5 per tablespoon [caption id="attachment_19206" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cup of coffee Photo: Pond5[/caption]

16. Instant Coffee and Espresso Powder

These shelf-stable products are great low-calorie ways to add flavor to your smoothies, especially if you’re using protein powder and want to mask the taste. You can also sprinkle them on yogurt, low-fat ice cream, or on vanilla puddings to awake your taste buds. Get 7 buzz-worthy recipes for coffee lovers here! Calories: 4 per teaspoon (instant coffee powder), 0 per teaspoon (espresso powder)

17. Cocoa Powder

Satisfy chocolate cravings and add a touch of sweetness to snacks and meals by sprinkling on unsweetened cocoa powder. Make you own chocolate-flavored nuts by sprinkling cocoa powder on raw almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts, or add a dash to smoothies, oatmeal, puddings and yogurt. One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains three to nine percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc. Cocoa also contains flavonoids, antioxidants that help prevent inflammation and promote blood flow. Calories: 4 per teaspoon

18.  Cinnamon

This versatile spice is perfect when you need a bit of a sweeter flavor without adding calories. Add cinnamon to your coffee, oatmeal, vanilla or plain yogurt, or sprinkle it over nuts to make your standby snack taste more like dessert. Some research suggests cinnamon has anti-inflammatory benefits, cardiovascular benefits and possible cholesterol-lowering benefits. Calories: 2 per teaspoon

19. Tea

Use tea as a spice by simply grinding up the tea leaves and using them as a delicious rub for a fresh Asian-cuisine flavor, suggests Alexander. Or, try using leftover brewed tea as a marinade for meat like chicken. Ground matcha green tea can work well as a garnish, spice or rub, or try Lapsang Souchong tea in a Chinese smoked duck recipe to really up the “wow” factor. Calories: 0 per tablespoon Originally posted on October 13, 2013. 

The post 19 Ways to Add Flavor for 10 Calories or Less appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
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10 Reasons You’re Exhausted and What to Do About It http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/exhausted-symptoms-find-relief/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/exhausted-symptoms-find-relief/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:15:28 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=27142 Reasons You're Exhausted

[caption id="attachment_27143" align="alignnone" width="620"]Reasons You're Exhausted Photo: Pond5[/caption]

While many of us accept droopy lids and constant yawning as a daily reality, your lagging daytime energy could be a bigger deal than you think. Whether you feel lethargic during the day or consistently have trouble falling and staying asleep at night, these symptoms of exhaustion could be indicators of a number of health problems, from over-exercising, to a chronic infection, to depression and many more.

“Fatigue is personal and individualized,” says Adam Rindfleisch, MD, University of Wisconsin, Department of Family Medicine, Integrative Medicine. “Since there are a number of reasons why someone could feel fatigued, it’s important your doctor tailors his or her diagnosis to your individual symptoms and needs.”

Not sure what’s causing your drowsiness? Here are some of the most common reasons you may be feeling tired all the time.

1. You’re overtraining.

Whether you stepped up your workout routine to train for a long-distance race (or just swimsuit season) and you feel absolutely spent during the day — or you’re experiencing trouble falling asleep at night — it could be a sign that you’re overdoing it.  “The longer you train, the more rest and recovery your body needs,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, CFT, RDN, CDN, coauthor of The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure. “If you don’t provide your body with adequate rest and nutrition, muscles and cells are continuously breaking down, eventually leading to exhaustion.”

The fix: Sleep at least eight hours a night and try to go to the bed at the same time to keep your internal clock in check, says Lakatos Shames. Also, consider having a 20-minute nap during the day to help you recover if you feel you need it. Make sure you’re providing your body with ample calories from quality carbohydrates and lean protein such as skinless chicken breasts, fish, fat-free Greek yogurt and nuts to charge your training, suggests Lakatos Shames.

2. You’ve got allergies.

When the small intestines become damaged from inflammation, your body isn’t able to absorb nutrients into the blood-stream, which can lead to malnourishment and fatigue.

Allergies are a common culprit behind daily yawning sessions for the 50 million Americans who suffer from them. Allergies take a toll on energy when congestion interferes with your breathing and ability to get a good night’s sleep or if the antihistamine meds you’re taking to relieve symptoms make you feel groggy.

Histamine is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel more awake so if your body is sensitive to antihistamines you’re more likely to feel wiped out from the drugs.

The fix: It’s important to learn what’s causing your allergies so you can remedy the problem, says Dr. Rindfleisch. If the issue is indoor allergies caused by dust mites, mold or pet dander, cleaning and vacuuming might help. If you suffer from outdoor allergies due to pollen and mold spores, take over-the-counter medicine to help and limit your outdoor activities on high pollen count days. If you think antihistamines are making you sleepy, ask your doctor about non-sedating meds to control your symptoms.

3. You’re gluten intolerant.

Food intolerance occurs when your body is unable to digest a certain component of a food, such as the protein called gluten. “When you truly have a food intolerance like celiac disease or are non-celiac gluten sensitive, the gluten can cause your small intestines to become inflamed,” says Lakatos Shames. When the small intestines become damaged from inflammation, your body isn’t able to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment and fatigue.

The fix: “If your doctor diagnosed you with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, eliminate all forms of wheat, rye and barley from your diet since they contain gluten that will damage the intestines,” says Lakatos Shames.  Look for gluten-free alternatives and be sure to read food labels carefully, suggests Lakatos Shames.

4. You’re anemic.

Anemia can happen when your body isn’t producing enough red blood cells or the red blood cells don’t contain enough iron-rich hemoglobin, says Amy L. Doneen, ARNP, medical director of the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center. That lack of oxygen-rich blood in your body can make you feel tired and weak. While iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, other causes include heavy periods, sluggish bone marrow, vitamin B12 deficiency or a lack of folate in the diet, says Dr. Rindfleisch.

The fix: When your anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, your doctor may recommend an iron supplement and suggest eating more iron-rich foods like fish, poultry, cooked beans, iron-fortified breakfast cereals and baked potatoes, says Lakatos Shames. If you suspect your fatigue might be tied to anemia, ask a medical professional to test your iron levels, folate levels and B12 so they can tailor your treatment based on what your body needs, says Dr. Rindfleisch.

5. You’re insulin resistant.

Insulin resistance means the hormone insulin isn’t able to get nutrients, particularly glucose or sugar, into the body’s cells. Since your cells aren’t properly absorbing blood sugar, they can’t transfer energy throughout the body sufficiently, says Dr. Rindfleisch. “There’s a strong correlation between body weight and fat levels increasing and your insulin levels increasing, too,” says Dr. Rindfleisch. “High insulin also creates inflammation which can prevent healing, confuse your body, and affect energy levels,” says Dr. Rindfleisch.

The fix: Get a fasting glucose test during your routine screenings, suggests Dr. Rindfleisch. If your fasting glucose levels are higher than usual, that could be a sign that you’re having insulin resistance issues. Therefore, you should adopt healthy lifestyle changes, like exercising and making healthier food choices to lower your body weight.

Depression affects every aspect of life, from your sleep patterns, to exercise motivation, and food choices — all of which can affect your energy levels.

6. Your thyroid is out of whack.

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck that controls the functioning of many of the body’s organs, including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and skin. When someone’s thyroid levels are low, it affects energy levels because it alters the chemical reactions that get things moving in the body and can also have an effect on blood pressure, how fast the heart beats, chemical pathways, bowel movements, and it can lead to dry skin, says Dr. Rindfleisch.

The fix: Explain your symptoms to your doctor, especially if you’ve been feeing tired and depressed, and ask for a thyroid test, says Dr. Rindfleisch. Thyroid problems are often treated with daily medication to help regulate the gland so it’s functioning properly.

7. You’ve got periodontal disease.

One in two adult Americans is likely to have periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bones supporting the teeth. “Any bleeding whatsoever in the gums when you floss or brush, or puffiness of the gum line isn’t normal and could be a sign that you have a chronic infection which could lead to chronic fatigue,” says Doneen. Gingivitis and the advanced stage of it, periodontitis, indicate there’s inflammation in the body, says Dr. Rindfleisch. “The immune system thinks it’s fighting off an infection and with that comes fatigue,” says Dr. Rindfleisch.

The fix: “I recommend getting fully assessed for the presence of bacteria in the gum line and mouth by going to the dentist every three months, flossing teeth twice a day, and using an electric sonic toothbrush,” says Doneen.

8. You’ve got restless legs syndrome.

The neurological disorder restless legs syndrome can make you feel like you have the urge to move your legs often. You might have a desire to stretch them, bounce them, fidget, or experience aches or pains and feel relief when you get up and walk around. These daytime symptoms might indicate you’re suffering from periodic limb movement during sleep, jerking and twitching throughout the night. This could cause you to wake up frequently or prevent you from going into proper cycles of rest which can affect overall sleep quality and health, says Doneen.

The fix: “You have to settle the legs down so you can keep the body still at night and improve sleep quality,” says Dr. Rindfleisch.  Share your symptoms with your doc to determine if restless legs syndrome could be a reason why you feel tired frequently. Since it’s hard to know if you’re doing it at night, you might not get an official diagnosis until you participate in a sleep study or evaluation to see if you move a lot in your sleep, says Dr. Rindfleisch. If you’re diagnosed, your doc might prescribe medication to help the legs settle down.

9. You’re depressed.

When neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, aren’t balanced in your brain, they can have a direct effect on sleep and energy levels, says Dr. Rindfleisch. The sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin, is created from serotonin, so if that conversion isn’t happening like it’s supposed to, it affects your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, he says. “Depression affects every aspect of life, from your sleep patterns, to exercise motivation, and food choices — all of which can affect your energy levels,” says Doneen.

The fix: If you notice you’re not finding pleasure in the things that normally make you happy, talk with your doctor so they can determine if you’re suffering from depression.  If he or she thinks your neurotransmitter levels are off, they might prescribe an antidepressant medication to boost serotonin levels. Once your serotonin levels are back up to normal, they can make enough melatonin so you can sleep better, says Dr. Rindfleisch.

10. You’re anxious.

Those never-ending worries about your finances or job could be zapping your energy. One of the main symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder is feeling tired all the time, according to the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry. Anxiety creates a sense of alarm in the body and ignites that high-adrenaline “fight or flight response,” which affects hormone levels, creates heart rate variability and blood pressure fluctuations, all of which can lead to fatigue, says Doneen. Your body releases hormones to prepare for that intense response and then the fall from that “high” can create fatigue, says Doneen.

The fix: Talk to your doctor to determine if you’re suffering from anxiety disorder or whether any medications you’re taking may be increasing your heart rate and uneasy feelings. Your doctor may recommend pills to help with anxiety and/or therapy to help you relax and think positive thoughts.

“It’s not OK to be tired all the time,” says Doneen. And it’s totally OK to schedule a doctor’s appointment with the complaint of, “I’m tired.”  Be specific when you talk to your health professional though to help identify what’s causing your fatigue. Let them know if it’s muscle weakness, if it feels like sleepiness, general fatigue all day long, before or after meals or any other specific details that might help them diagnose the problem, says Dr. Rindfleisch. This will help them determine the cause and remedy the situation so you can get back to soaring energy and high-quality sleep in no time.

The post 10 Reasons You’re Exhausted and What to Do About It appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Reasons You're Exhausted

[caption id="attachment_27143" align="alignnone" width="620"]Reasons You're Exhausted Photo: Pond5[/caption]

While many of us accept droopy lids and constant yawning as a daily reality, your lagging daytime energy could be a bigger deal than you think. Whether you feel lethargic during the day or consistently have trouble falling and staying asleep at night, these symptoms of exhaustion could be indicators of a number of health problems, from over-exercising, to a chronic infection, to depression and many more.

“Fatigue is personal and individualized,” says Adam Rindfleisch, MD, University of Wisconsin, Department of Family Medicine, Integrative Medicine. “Since there are a number of reasons why someone could feel fatigued, it’s important your doctor tailors his or her diagnosis to your individual symptoms and needs.”

Not sure what’s causing your drowsiness? Here are some of the most common reasons you may be feeling tired all the time.

1. You’re overtraining.

Whether you stepped up your workout routine to train for a long-distance race (or just swimsuit season) and you feel absolutely spent during the day — or you’re experiencing trouble falling asleep at night — it could be a sign that you’re overdoing it.  “The longer you train, the more rest and recovery your body needs,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, CFT, RDN, CDN, coauthor of The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure. “If you don’t provide your body with adequate rest and nutrition, muscles and cells are continuously breaking down, eventually leading to exhaustion.”

The fix: Sleep at least eight hours a night and try to go to the bed at the same time to keep your internal clock in check, says Lakatos Shames. Also, consider having a 20-minute nap during the day to help you recover if you feel you need it. Make sure you’re providing your body with ample calories from quality carbohydrates and lean protein such as skinless chicken breasts, fish, fat-free Greek yogurt and nuts to charge your training, suggests Lakatos Shames.

2. You’ve got allergies.

When the small intestines become damaged from inflammation, your body isn’t able to absorb nutrients into the blood-stream, which can lead to malnourishment and fatigue.

Allergies are a common culprit behind daily yawning sessions for the 50 million Americans who suffer from them. Allergies take a toll on energy when congestion interferes with your breathing and ability to get a good night’s sleep or if the antihistamine meds you’re taking to relieve symptoms make you feel groggy.

Histamine is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel more awake so if your body is sensitive to antihistamines you’re more likely to feel wiped out from the drugs.

The fix: It’s important to learn what’s causing your allergies so you can remedy the problem, says Dr. Rindfleisch. If the issue is indoor allergies caused by dust mites, mold or pet dander, cleaning and vacuuming might help. If you suffer from outdoor allergies due to pollen and mold spores, take over-the-counter medicine to help and limit your outdoor activities on high pollen count days. If you think antihistamines are making you sleepy, ask your doctor about non-sedating meds to control your symptoms.

3. You’re gluten intolerant.

Food intolerance occurs when your body is unable to digest a certain component of a food, such as the protein called gluten. “When you truly have a food intolerance like celiac disease or are non-celiac gluten sensitive, the gluten can cause your small intestines to become inflamed,” says Lakatos Shames. When the small intestines become damaged from inflammation, your body isn’t able to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment and fatigue.

The fix: “If your doctor diagnosed you with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, eliminate all forms of wheat, rye and barley from your diet since they contain gluten that will damage the intestines,” says Lakatos Shames.  Look for gluten-free alternatives and be sure to read food labels carefully, suggests Lakatos Shames.

4. You’re anemic.

Anemia can happen when your body isn’t producing enough red blood cells or the red blood cells don’t contain enough iron-rich hemoglobin, says Amy L. Doneen, ARNP, medical director of the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center. That lack of oxygen-rich blood in your body can make you feel tired and weak. While iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, other causes include heavy periods, sluggish bone marrow, vitamin B12 deficiency or a lack of folate in the diet, says Dr. Rindfleisch.

The fix: When your anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, your doctor may recommend an iron supplement and suggest eating more iron-rich foods like fish, poultry, cooked beans, iron-fortified breakfast cereals and baked potatoes, says Lakatos Shames. If you suspect your fatigue might be tied to anemia, ask a medical professional to test your iron levels, folate levels and B12 so they can tailor your treatment based on what your body needs, says Dr. Rindfleisch.

5. You’re insulin resistant.

Insulin resistance means the hormone insulin isn’t able to get nutrients, particularly glucose or sugar, into the body’s cells. Since your cells aren’t properly absorbing blood sugar, they can’t transfer energy throughout the body sufficiently, says Dr. Rindfleisch. “There’s a strong correlation between body weight and fat levels increasing and your insulin levels increasing, too,” says Dr. Rindfleisch. “High insulin also creates inflammation which can prevent healing, confuse your body, and affect energy levels,” says Dr. Rindfleisch.

The fix: Get a fasting glucose test during your routine screenings, suggests Dr. Rindfleisch. If your fasting glucose levels are higher than usual, that could be a sign that you’re having insulin resistance issues. Therefore, you should adopt healthy lifestyle changes, like exercising and making healthier food choices to lower your body weight.

Depression affects every aspect of life, from your sleep patterns, to exercise motivation, and food choices — all of which can affect your energy levels.

6. Your thyroid is out of whack.

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck that controls the functioning of many of the body’s organs, including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and skin. When someone’s thyroid levels are low, it affects energy levels because it alters the chemical reactions that get things moving in the body and can also have an effect on blood pressure, how fast the heart beats, chemical pathways, bowel movements, and it can lead to dry skin, says Dr. Rindfleisch.

The fix: Explain your symptoms to your doctor, especially if you’ve been feeing tired and depressed, and ask for a thyroid test, says Dr. Rindfleisch. Thyroid problems are often treated with daily medication to help regulate the gland so it’s functioning properly.

7. You’ve got periodontal disease.

One in two adult Americans is likely to have periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bones supporting the teeth. “Any bleeding whatsoever in the gums when you floss or brush, or puffiness of the gum line isn’t normal and could be a sign that you have a chronic infection which could lead to chronic fatigue,” says Doneen. Gingivitis and the advanced stage of it, periodontitis, indicate there’s inflammation in the body, says Dr. Rindfleisch. “The immune system thinks it’s fighting off an infection and with that comes fatigue,” says Dr. Rindfleisch.

The fix: “I recommend getting fully assessed for the presence of bacteria in the gum line and mouth by going to the dentist every three months, flossing teeth twice a day, and using an electric sonic toothbrush,” says Doneen.

8. You’ve got restless legs syndrome.

The neurological disorder restless legs syndrome can make you feel like you have the urge to move your legs often. You might have a desire to stretch them, bounce them, fidget, or experience aches or pains and feel relief when you get up and walk around. These daytime symptoms might indicate you’re suffering from periodic limb movement during sleep, jerking and twitching throughout the night. This could cause you to wake up frequently or prevent you from going into proper cycles of rest which can affect overall sleep quality and health, says Doneen.

The fix: “You have to settle the legs down so you can keep the body still at night and improve sleep quality,” says Dr. Rindfleisch.  Share your symptoms with your doc to determine if restless legs syndrome could be a reason why you feel tired frequently. Since it’s hard to know if you’re doing it at night, you might not get an official diagnosis until you participate in a sleep study or evaluation to see if you move a lot in your sleep, says Dr. Rindfleisch. If you’re diagnosed, your doc might prescribe medication to help the legs settle down.

9. You’re depressed.

When neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, aren’t balanced in your brain, they can have a direct effect on sleep and energy levels, says Dr. Rindfleisch. The sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin, is created from serotonin, so if that conversion isn’t happening like it’s supposed to, it affects your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, he says. “Depression affects every aspect of life, from your sleep patterns, to exercise motivation, and food choices — all of which can affect your energy levels,” says Doneen.

The fix: If you notice you’re not finding pleasure in the things that normally make you happy, talk with your doctor so they can determine if you’re suffering from depression.  If he or she thinks your neurotransmitter levels are off, they might prescribe an antidepressant medication to boost serotonin levels. Once your serotonin levels are back up to normal, they can make enough melatonin so you can sleep better, says Dr. Rindfleisch.

10. You’re anxious.

Those never-ending worries about your finances or job could be zapping your energy. One of the main symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder is feeling tired all the time, according to the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry. Anxiety creates a sense of alarm in the body and ignites that high-adrenaline “fight or flight response,” which affects hormone levels, creates heart rate variability and blood pressure fluctuations, all of which can lead to fatigue, says Doneen. Your body releases hormones to prepare for that intense response and then the fall from that “high” can create fatigue, says Doneen.

The fix: Talk to your doctor to determine if you’re suffering from anxiety disorder or whether any medications you’re taking may be increasing your heart rate and uneasy feelings. Your doctor may recommend pills to help with anxiety and/or therapy to help you relax and think positive thoughts.

“It’s not OK to be tired all the time,” says Doneen. And it’s totally OK to schedule a doctor’s appointment with the complaint of, “I’m tired.”  Be specific when you talk to your health professional though to help identify what’s causing your fatigue. Let them know if it’s muscle weakness, if it feels like sleepiness, general fatigue all day long, before or after meals or any other specific details that might help them diagnose the problem, says Dr. Rindfleisch. This will help them determine the cause and remedy the situation so you can get back to soaring energy and high-quality sleep in no time.

The post 10 Reasons You’re Exhausted and What to Do About It appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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6 Sleep Myths to Finally Put to Bed http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-insomnia-myths/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-insomnia-myths/#respond Thu, 06 Mar 2014 12:15:42 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=25578 Sleep Myths

[caption id="attachment_25580" align="alignnone" width="620"]Sleep Myths Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The real reason you can’t fall asleep might not be as simple as you think. If you’ve ever said, “I need to catch up on sleep,” or cranked up the radio while driving to offset fatigue, you’ve been letting some of these myths creep into your life. Quit believing in these six misconceptions and instead take our experts’ advice on how to kick that tired feeling to the curb — for good.

1. “If I miss sleep during the week, I can make up for it on the weekend.”

You can catch up on short-term sleep debt if you do it within a few days, explains Dr. W. Christopher Winter, of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine. If you slept poorly last night, go to bed early tonight and you’ll probably make up for the sleep you lost. But you can’t make up for the zzz’s you lose over a long period of time. Trying to catch up on those all-nighters you had in college with better shut-eye now isn’t going to repair any damage done.

 

"The last thing we want is for someone to attach a feeling of frustration to their sleep environment. We don’t want people to 'try' to fall asleep."

 

While this still might tempt you to shortchange yourself during the week, making up for lost sleep on the weekend is really too late, says Joyce Walsleben, RN, PhD, associate professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine. “You’ve already been irritable and possibly experienced poor reaction times that may have caused accidents,” she says. “Snoozing late on the weekend can also disrupt your sleep rhythm and make it difficult to go to bed Sunday night, so you’ll be starting the next week already in the hole,” Walsleben says.

2. “If I wake up in the middle of the night, I should stay in bed and try to fall back asleep.”

While you may think counting sheep will send you back into Snoozeville, if hundreds of animals have traipsed through your mind and you’re starting to feel stressed out about it, getting out of bed may help, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

“If you can lie in bed awake in the dark and stay relaxed, thinking positive thoughts, then I advise those people to stay in bed,” Winter says. “The people I tell to get out of bed and go to a new environment are those who get frustrated and irritated when they can’t fall back asleep.” If that’s the case for you, go to another room and try reading a book. “The last thing we want is for someone to attach a feeling of frustration to their sleep environment,” Winter says. “We don’t want people to try to fall asleep.”

If you wake up in the middle of the night and experience problems falling back asleep frequently, change up your bedroom by buying new sheets, painting your room, or making the room darker with new blinds. Make it feel like a different environment other than the one you associate with your lack of sleep.

3. “I have to get eight hours of sleep because that’s what’s recommended.”

There isn’t a magical amount of sleep that’s universally right for everyone. Winter recommends a healthy, young person aim for seven-and-a-half to eight hours a night, but it’s a matter of personal trial and error. If you get eight hours of sleep a night and you’re exhausted during the day, that might not be enough for you. On the other hand, if you’re getting a solid seven and a half hours of sleep a night but you experience trouble passing out at night, that could be your brain saying it doesn’t need quite as much time in bed as you may think it does. The amount of sleep your body requires may change over the years, so listen to it and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.

4. “My snoring is normal and not really a problem.”

Although 40 percent of us will snore at some time, it shouldn’t go ignored, Walsleben says. Snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, when your airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. Sometimes people with sleep apnea wake up during the night gasping for breath. These breathing pauses all night long can strain the heart and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Snoring can happen at any age and should be evaluated by a doctor to determine what’s causing it. Sometimes sleeping on your side or with your head elevated will make a difference, as will weight loss in those that are overweight, Walsleben says.

5. “If I feel sleepy when driving, turning up the music and opening the window wake me up.”

Research has shown that nothing will correct drowsiness while driving except sleep. “If you recognize that you’re having trouble staying alert, pull over to a safe location and take a brief nap,” says Walsleben. The brain is like a computer: When it begins to get tired, it shuts down its 'programs' one at a time. One of the first areas to shut down are the frontal lobes where our judgment centers are located. So we are usually the last to know when we’re tired and having trouble concentrating. Having another passenger in the car may come in handy to spot signs of weariness, and possibly take over driving responsibilities if they’re alert and able.

6. “I have insomnia and never sleep.”

If you are reading this article, you sleep. Insomnia is when you don’t get quality sleep, or quality sleep that meets your expectations. “I see patients every week who tell me they never sleep or only sleep about an hour a night, which just isn’t true,” says Winter. You create more sleep issues when you start framing your problems based on a premise that may not be true. These perceptions are as equally damning as the lack of sleep itself, Winter says. Try not to tell yourself, others, or your doctor that you never sleep. Rephrase the issue to say you’re having trouble falling asleep or that you’re waking up during the night or more specifically identify the problem at hand. Best case scenario, you’ll hit the hay with a more positive outlook ahead.

The post 6 Sleep Myths to Finally Put to Bed appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Sleep Myths

[caption id="attachment_25580" align="alignnone" width="620"]Sleep Myths Photo: Pond5[/caption] The real reason you can’t fall asleep might not be as simple as you think. If you’ve ever said, “I need to catch up on sleep,” or cranked up the radio while driving to offset fatigue, you’ve been letting some of these myths creep into your life. Quit believing in these six misconceptions and instead take our experts’ advice on how to kick that tired feeling to the curb — for good.

1. “If I miss sleep during the week, I can make up for it on the weekend.”

You can catch up on short-term sleep debt if you do it within a few days, explains Dr. W. Christopher Winter, of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine. If you slept poorly last night, go to bed early tonight and you’ll probably make up for the sleep you lost. But you can’t make up for the zzz’s you lose over a long period of time. Trying to catch up on those all-nighters you had in college with better shut-eye now isn’t going to repair any damage done.
  "The last thing we want is for someone to attach a feeling of frustration to their sleep environment. We don’t want people to 'try' to fall asleep."  
While this still might tempt you to shortchange yourself during the week, making up for lost sleep on the weekend is really too late, says Joyce Walsleben, RN, PhD, associate professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine. “You’ve already been irritable and possibly experienced poor reaction times that may have caused accidents,” she says. “Snoozing late on the weekend can also disrupt your sleep rhythm and make it difficult to go to bed Sunday night, so you’ll be starting the next week already in the hole,” Walsleben says.

2. “If I wake up in the middle of the night, I should stay in bed and try to fall back asleep.”

While you may think counting sheep will send you back into Snoozeville, if hundreds of animals have traipsed through your mind and you’re starting to feel stressed out about it, getting out of bed may help, according to the National Sleep Foundation. “If you can lie in bed awake in the dark and stay relaxed, thinking positive thoughts, then I advise those people to stay in bed,” Winter says. “The people I tell to get out of bed and go to a new environment are those who get frustrated and irritated when they can’t fall back asleep.” If that’s the case for you, go to another room and try reading a book. “The last thing we want is for someone to attach a feeling of frustration to their sleep environment,” Winter says. “We don’t want people to try to fall asleep.” If you wake up in the middle of the night and experience problems falling back asleep frequently, change up your bedroom by buying new sheets, painting your room, or making the room darker with new blinds. Make it feel like a different environment other than the one you associate with your lack of sleep.

3. “I have to get eight hours of sleep because that’s what’s recommended.”

There isn’t a magical amount of sleep that’s universally right for everyone. Winter recommends a healthy, young person aim for seven-and-a-half to eight hours a night, but it’s a matter of personal trial and error. If you get eight hours of sleep a night and you’re exhausted during the day, that might not be enough for you. On the other hand, if you’re getting a solid seven and a half hours of sleep a night but you experience trouble passing out at night, that could be your brain saying it doesn’t need quite as much time in bed as you may think it does. The amount of sleep your body requires may change over the years, so listen to it and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.

4. “My snoring is normal and not really a problem.”

Although 40 percent of us will snore at some time, it shouldn’t go ignored, Walsleben says. Snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, when your airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. Sometimes people with sleep apnea wake up during the night gasping for breath. These breathing pauses all night long can strain the heart and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Snoring can happen at any age and should be evaluated by a doctor to determine what’s causing it. Sometimes sleeping on your side or with your head elevated will make a difference, as will weight loss in those that are overweight, Walsleben says.

5. “If I feel sleepy when driving, turning up the music and opening the window wake me up.”

Research has shown that nothing will correct drowsiness while driving except sleep. “If you recognize that you’re having trouble staying alert, pull over to a safe location and take a brief nap,” says Walsleben. The brain is like a computer: When it begins to get tired, it shuts down its 'programs' one at a time. One of the first areas to shut down are the frontal lobes where our judgment centers are located. So we are usually the last to know when we’re tired and having trouble concentrating. Having another passenger in the car may come in handy to spot signs of weariness, and possibly take over driving responsibilities if they’re alert and able.

6. “I have insomnia and never sleep.”

If you are reading this article, you sleep. Insomnia is when you don’t get quality sleep, or quality sleep that meets your expectations. “I see patients every week who tell me they never sleep or only sleep about an hour a night, which just isn’t true,” says Winter. You create more sleep issues when you start framing your problems based on a premise that may not be true. These perceptions are as equally damning as the lack of sleep itself, Winter says. Try not to tell yourself, others, or your doctor that you never sleep. Rephrase the issue to say you’re having trouble falling asleep or that you’re waking up during the night or more specifically identify the problem at hand. Best case scenario, you’ll hit the hay with a more positive outlook ahead.

The post 6 Sleep Myths to Finally Put to Bed appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/tips-for-finding-happiness/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/tips-for-finding-happiness/#comments Tue, 28 Jan 2014 12:15:09 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=24004

[caption id="attachment_24132" align="alignnone" width="620"]17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Whether you wake up on the right side of the bed every morning, or you’re known as the “Debbie Downer” in your group of friends, feeling constant happiness and contentment can sometimes seem like the impossible task. This is especially true when things just aren’t going your way — for instance like spilling something on your favorite shirt, getting a flat tire, or having your babysitter cancel at the last minute. It’s easy to find yourself in a foul mood when these types of unexpected incidences occur. But trying to keep a positive attitude will not only make you more enjoyable to be around, it can also help your health. One study found that people who reported feelings of optimism and high self-esteem were less likely to get sick than those who reported negative emotions.

If you need some help turning your frown upside down, we tracked down our favorite happiness and wellness experts, authors, and bloggers to learn how they stay focused on the positive, no matter what happens throughout the day. Find one of their tips that speaks you and try it today!

1. Create a happiness training routine.

Following a plan can help you prioritize a cheerful outlook on a daily basis. “Just like some people need to put extra effort into their workouts and meal plans in order not to gain weight, I need to put extra effort into my mental health,” says Kelsea Brennan, life and relationship coach. “It means there are certain exercises that I do every day to stay ‘happily fit.’ I will either make list of what I am grateful for or think a loving thought about myself or someone else. When I can get these thoughts on paper, even better. Writing strengthens thinking.”

"Happiness is within me, in the center of my being. I am happy now and always."

2. Connect with someone.

Share time with a buddy to get a mood boost, whether it’s connecting via phone, email, or even better, an in-person get together. “Even on my busiest days I will always find time to cook dinner, make a phone call, have lunch and do whatever possible with someone I cherish,” says Nitika Chopra, talk show host and founder of YourBellaLife.com. “The presence of my loved ones around me is non-negotiable to my happiness.”

3. Practice BOP in the morning.

Starting your day off with habits that bring your awareness to happiness and gratitude can help you change the tone of the rest of your day. “Right now I’m focusing on a Brain Optimizing Process, or BOP,” says Heidi Hanna, PhD, author of Stressaholic: 5 Steps to Transform Your Relationship with Stress. “Before I think about anything in the morning, I go to the gym and work out to get the blood flowing and endorphins pumping. While I’m moving my body, I focus on the things I’m grateful for in my life and think deeply about them — almost meditate on them. Lastly, I think about what I want my focus to be for the day. Not necessarily the things I need to get done, but the type of person I want to be, like a good listener, someone who’s fully engaged and present, or a person who seeks opportunities to be kind to other people.”

4. Be of service to others.

Remember how you felt the last time you selflessly helped someone? They were probably extremely grateful and made you feel that your effort was appreciated. “There's no better feeling than giving a gift for a special occasion, but we can choose to extend that service-minded attitude in all aspects of our lives by giving freely of ourselves as much as we can,” says Eric Paskel, certified yoga instructor, founder of Yoga Shelter. “Ways I practice this are by letting someone get in front of me in line at the store, giving up a parking space to another, or letting go of 'my plans' to help someone through a tough time. No smile has lasted longer than the one that comes from helping another.”

5. Say affirmations out loud.

Repeating a positive mantra out loud or in your head can remind you of specific happiness goals or help keep you levelheaded when the going gets tough. “Tell yourself, ‘Happiness is not dependent on outer situations, circumstances, or people,” says Dr. Susan Shumsky, author of Instant Healing and 9 other best-selling, award-winning books. “Happiness is within me, in the center of my being. I am happy now and always.’ If you’re feeling overwhelmed, say in a clear voice, “I am in control. I am the only authority in my life.”

6. Practice deep breathing.

No matter what kind of foul state you’re in, connecting with your breath is one of the easiest ways to come back to the present moment and feel better — fast. “When it comes to feeling calm, the best tool I have yet to come across is breathing,” says Jon Rhodes, clinical hypnotherapist in the United Kingdom. “Whether you feel stressed or anxious, breathing always becomes quick, shallow and erratic. To reverse stress or anxious feelings … concentrate on breathing slowly, deeply and evenly. After just a few seconds you can calm down, no matter how stressed you were.”

[caption id="attachment_24027" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

7. Find time for a furry friend.

Pets are more than just a cute and cuddly source of joy — their companionship is good for your health. So why not take at least a few minutes each day to walk, play with, talk to or appreciate your companion in some way? “When my two adorable mutt pups jump up on my bed in the morning, we snuggle and take deep breaths together while they lick me and I pet them for about 10 minutes,” says Natalie Berthold, health and lifestyle coach. How could I ever wake up in a bad mood when this is how I start every morning?”

8. Eat lunch without distractions.

If you’re like many Americans, you’re probably wolfing down lunch at your desk or in transit on the way to an appointment. But mindless, speed-eating habits can often lead to overeating because you’re not clued in to your body’s signals that it’s full. “I eat a proper lunch every day. I turn off all distractions, put my food on an actual plate, and sit somewhere away from my computer,” says Amanda Cook, certified holistic health coach. “Those 15 to 20 minutes bring me back into the present moment, make me enjoy my food much more, and I eat less!”

 

"She turned her cant’s into cans and her dreams into plans."

 

9. Set a positive password.

You’re spending a big chunk of your week logging in and out of websites and email, so why not make this an opportunity to remember an affirmative thought or message? “Make your password a suggestion to be positive,” Ray White, author of Connecting Happiness and Success (slated to hit shelves on in June). “One of my recent passwords was ‘Help2bhappy’ which reminds me to help someone be happy. I have to change it every 60 days, so I find other happiness expressions to use.”

10. Reflect on the day’s achievements.

While you may feel like the entire day got away from you and you didn’t check anything off your to-do list, you’re probably underestimating your progress. “I end every day with a free digital service called iDoneThis.com, where I take a few minutes to remember and record what I got done that day,” says Ari Meisel, productivity and wellness expert at GetLeverage.com. “Doing this helps me mentally process the events of the day so I maintain better self-awareness and improve the next day.” You might be surprised by how much you actually accomplished that you forgot about!

11. Conquer stress with laughter.

When you hit your highest stress time of the day — perhaps it’s after getting the kids off to school or when you have an important project due to your boss by noon — squeeze in a few minutes to watch a video that’ll make you giggle. “During stressful times, I'm rescued by animated videos,” says Mansi Goel, yoga practitioner and happiness writer at WorkoutTrends.com. “I'm a big fan of Pixar animation and a few absolutely hilarious characters like King Julien from the Madagascar movies, and the Minions from the Despicable Me movies, are my favorites. I keep a few videos stored in my cell phone, and whenever I feel beaten down by work, I steal a few minutes to watch a random video and pick myself back up.”

[caption id="attachment_24035" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

12. Keep inspirational quotes on hand.

When you see a quote that speaks to you, take a minute and jot it down in a place where you’ll remember — like a journal, a notepad app or text pad in your cell phone, or start a Pinterest board of sayings and images that make you feel good. “I keep a journal of my favorite quotes that I flip through each day,” says Natasha Stoneking, founder of Hello! Happiness Blog. “I started this ritual in college and it's something I still enjoy doing, as it helps get my mind motivated to take on that day and enables me to focus on the positive. Right now I’m loving, ‘She turned her cant’s into cans and her dreams into plans.’"

13. Change up your vocabulary.

Make a decision to omit certain phrases and words from your everyday language that aren’t serving you well or helping you reach your goals.My clients find it helpful to make small changes to language,” says Adina T. Laver, MBA, M.Ed., CPC, divorce and relationship coach. “Eliminating phrases like ‘have to,’ ‘need to’ and ‘should’ and replacing them with ‘want to’ is huge. Also, taking statements like ‘I don't know how’ or ‘I can't do that,’ and adding a ‘yet’ to the end is beneficial. Just that three-letter word changes the statement from being defeating to affirming. ‘Yet’ is filled with possibility.”

14. Practice positive visualization.

Spend some time thinking about the big things you want to achieve in life and bring to mind exactly what that can look like for you. Visualize meeting the man or woman of your dreams, a successful relationship, and all the other goals and dreams that you have,” says Dr. Robert S. Berberian, D.O., founder of Whole Health & Soul. “Visualize them and dream bigger than you've ever dreamed before.”

 

"Having this daily practice helps us stay in touch with being grateful for what we have."

 

15. Make your work space a joyful place.

Surround your most stressful environments — like your office space or car if you spend a lot of time in traffic commuting — with knickknacks and images that make you smile.  “To keep myself happy throughout the day, I fill my office desk with a collection of little, colorful trinkets and characters,” Danny Groner, manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Shutterstock. “There's a small pink pig with an ice cream cone in its mouth that was a holiday gift from a coworker this year. My personal favorite from my collection is a little blue troll with wild hair that I got at a company event last year. These little gems are reminders during the day not to get too overwhelmed by work and to make sure to infuse it with a sense of excitement and color.”

16. Give yourself private time in the morning.

Find yourself at the mercy of everyone else’s schedule in the a.m.? Try waking up before the rest of your clan. “I stretch, lift some light weights, get a nice big cup of coffee and check the news, social media, and email on my phone — all while watching CNN curled up under a blanket,” says Dayna Steele, CEO of YourDailySuccessTip.com, author of 101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities For Success Every Day. “It’s just the dogs and me — nice and peaceful before the day takes over.”

17. Start a gratitude jar.

Having a visual reminder of appreciation is a good tool for helping you remember to say “thank you” for what you have each day. “My husband and I have a jar we keep on our kitchen island, and next to it, we keep slips of blue and pink construction paper,” says Keryl Pesce, author of Happy Bitch, happiness expert, founder of Happy-Bitch.com. “Every day, he and I write down something for which we are grateful, date it and
put it in the jar. Having this daily practice helps us stay in touch with being grateful for what we have. On New Year’s Day this year, we sat over a glass of wine and read
through all of the slips from the past year. There were lots of smiles and a few grateful tears. As a bonus, we keep green slips in there and ask our guests to write down
something as well. Everyone can do this.”

Which happiness tactics bring you the most joy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post 17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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[caption id="attachment_24132" align="alignnone" width="620"]17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy Photo: Pond5[/caption] Whether you wake up on the right side of the bed every morning, or you’re known as the “Debbie Downer” in your group of friends, feeling constant happiness and contentment can sometimes seem like the impossible task. This is especially true when things just aren’t going your way — for instance like spilling something on your favorite shirt, getting a flat tire, or having your babysitter cancel at the last minute. It’s easy to find yourself in a foul mood when these types of unexpected incidences occur. But trying to keep a positive attitude will not only make you more enjoyable to be around, it can also help your health. One study found that people who reported feelings of optimism and high self-esteem were less likely to get sick than those who reported negative emotions. If you need some help turning your frown upside down, we tracked down our favorite happiness and wellness experts, authors, and bloggers to learn how they stay focused on the positive, no matter what happens throughout the day. Find one of their tips that speaks you and try it today!

1. Create a happiness training routine.

Following a plan can help you prioritize a cheerful outlook on a daily basis. “Just like some people need to put extra effort into their workouts and meal plans in order not to gain weight, I need to put extra effort into my mental health,” says Kelsea Brennan, life and relationship coach. “It means there are certain exercises that I do every day to stay ‘happily fit.’ I will either make list of what I am grateful for or think a loving thought about myself or someone else. When I can get these thoughts on paper, even better. Writing strengthens thinking.”
"Happiness is within me, in the center of my being. I am happy now and always."
2. Connect with someone. Share time with a buddy to get a mood boost, whether it’s connecting via phone, email, or even better, an in-person get together. “Even on my busiest days I will always find time to cook dinner, make a phone call, have lunch and do whatever possible with someone I cherish,” says Nitika Chopra, talk show host and founder of YourBellaLife.com. “The presence of my loved ones around me is non-negotiable to my happiness.”

3. Practice BOP in the morning.

Starting your day off with habits that bring your awareness to happiness and gratitude can help you change the tone of the rest of your day. “Right now I’m focusing on a Brain Optimizing Process, or BOP,” says Heidi Hanna, PhD, author of Stressaholic: 5 Steps to Transform Your Relationship with Stress. “Before I think about anything in the morning, I go to the gym and work out to get the blood flowing and endorphins pumping. While I’m moving my body, I focus on the things I’m grateful for in my life and think deeply about them — almost meditate on them. Lastly, I think about what I want my focus to be for the day. Not necessarily the things I need to get done, but the type of person I want to be, like a good listener, someone who’s fully engaged and present, or a person who seeks opportunities to be kind to other people.”

4. Be of service to others.

Remember how you felt the last time you selflessly helped someone? They were probably extremely grateful and made you feel that your effort was appreciated. “There's no better feeling than giving a gift for a special occasion, but we can choose to extend that service-minded attitude in all aspects of our lives by giving freely of ourselves as much as we can,” says Eric Paskel, certified yoga instructor, founder of Yoga Shelter. “Ways I practice this are by letting someone get in front of me in line at the store, giving up a parking space to another, or letting go of 'my plans' to help someone through a tough time. No smile has lasted longer than the one that comes from helping another.”

5. Say affirmations out loud.

Repeating a positive mantra out loud or in your head can remind you of specific happiness goals or help keep you levelheaded when the going gets tough. “Tell yourself, ‘Happiness is not dependent on outer situations, circumstances, or people,” says Dr. Susan Shumsky, author of Instant Healing and 9 other best-selling, award-winning books. “Happiness is within me, in the center of my being. I am happy now and always.’ If you’re feeling overwhelmed, say in a clear voice, “I am in control. I am the only authority in my life.”

6. Practice deep breathing.

No matter what kind of foul state you’re in, connecting with your breath is one of the easiest ways to come back to the present moment and feel better — fast. “When it comes to feeling calm, the best tool I have yet to come across is breathing,” says Jon Rhodes, clinical hypnotherapist in the United Kingdom. “Whether you feel stressed or anxious, breathing always becomes quick, shallow and erratic. To reverse stress or anxious feelings … concentrate on breathing slowly, deeply and evenly. After just a few seconds you can calm down, no matter how stressed you were.” [caption id="attachment_24027" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

7. Find time for a furry friend.

Pets are more than just a cute and cuddly source of joy — their companionship is good for your health. So why not take at least a few minutes each day to walk, play with, talk to or appreciate your companion in some way? “When my two adorable mutt pups jump up on my bed in the morning, we snuggle and take deep breaths together while they lick me and I pet them for about 10 minutes,” says Natalie Berthold, health and lifestyle coach. How could I ever wake up in a bad mood when this is how I start every morning?”

8. Eat lunch without distractions.

If you’re like many Americans, you’re probably wolfing down lunch at your desk or in transit on the way to an appointment. But mindless, speed-eating habits can often lead to overeating because you’re not clued in to your body’s signals that it’s full. “I eat a proper lunch every day. I turn off all distractions, put my food on an actual plate, and sit somewhere away from my computer,” says Amanda Cook, certified holistic health coach. “Those 15 to 20 minutes bring me back into the present moment, make me enjoy my food much more, and I eat less!”
  "She turned her cant’s into cans and her dreams into plans."  

9. Set a positive password.

You’re spending a big chunk of your week logging in and out of websites and email, so why not make this an opportunity to remember an affirmative thought or message? “Make your password a suggestion to be positive,” Ray White, author of Connecting Happiness and Success (slated to hit shelves on in June). “One of my recent passwords was ‘Help2bhappy’ which reminds me to help someone be happy. I have to change it every 60 days, so I find other happiness expressions to use.”

10. Reflect on the day’s achievements.

While you may feel like the entire day got away from you and you didn’t check anything off your to-do list, you’re probably underestimating your progress. “I end every day with a free digital service called iDoneThis.com, where I take a few minutes to remember and record what I got done that day,” says Ari Meisel, productivity and wellness expert at GetLeverage.com. “Doing this helps me mentally process the events of the day so I maintain better self-awareness and improve the next day.” You might be surprised by how much you actually accomplished that you forgot about!

11. Conquer stress with laughter.

When you hit your highest stress time of the day — perhaps it’s after getting the kids off to school or when you have an important project due to your boss by noon — squeeze in a few minutes to watch a video that’ll make you giggle. “During stressful times, I'm rescued by animated videos,” says Mansi Goel, yoga practitioner and happiness writer at WorkoutTrends.com. “I'm a big fan of Pixar animation and a few absolutely hilarious characters like King Julien from the Madagascar movies, and the Minions from the Despicable Me movies, are my favorites. I keep a few videos stored in my cell phone, and whenever I feel beaten down by work, I steal a few minutes to watch a random video and pick myself back up.” [caption id="attachment_24035" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

12. Keep inspirational quotes on hand.

When you see a quote that speaks to you, take a minute and jot it down in a place where you’ll remember — like a journal, a notepad app or text pad in your cell phone, or start a Pinterest board of sayings and images that make you feel good. “I keep a journal of my favorite quotes that I flip through each day,” says Natasha Stoneking, founder of Hello! Happiness Blog. “I started this ritual in college and it's something I still enjoy doing, as it helps get my mind motivated to take on that day and enables me to focus on the positive. Right now I’m loving, ‘She turned her cant’s into cans and her dreams into plans.’"

13. Change up your vocabulary.

Make a decision to omit certain phrases and words from your everyday language that aren’t serving you well or helping you reach your goals.My clients find it helpful to make small changes to language,” says Adina T. Laver, MBA, M.Ed., CPC, divorce and relationship coach. “Eliminating phrases like ‘have to,’ ‘need to’ and ‘should’ and replacing them with ‘want to’ is huge. Also, taking statements like ‘I don't know how’ or ‘I can't do that,’ and adding a ‘yet’ to the end is beneficial. Just that three-letter word changes the statement from being defeating to affirming. ‘Yet’ is filled with possibility.”

14. Practice positive visualization.

Spend some time thinking about the big things you want to achieve in life and bring to mind exactly what that can look like for you. Visualize meeting the man or woman of your dreams, a successful relationship, and all the other goals and dreams that you have,” says Dr. Robert S. Berberian, D.O., founder of Whole Health & Soul. “Visualize them and dream bigger than you've ever dreamed before.”
  "Having this daily practice helps us stay in touch with being grateful for what we have."  

15. Make your work space a joyful place.

Surround your most stressful environments — like your office space or car if you spend a lot of time in traffic commuting — with knickknacks and images that make you smile.  “To keep myself happy throughout the day, I fill my office desk with a collection of little, colorful trinkets and characters,” Danny Groner, manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Shutterstock. “There's a small pink pig with an ice cream cone in its mouth that was a holiday gift from a coworker this year. My personal favorite from my collection is a little blue troll with wild hair that I got at a company event last year. These little gems are reminders during the day not to get too overwhelmed by work and to make sure to infuse it with a sense of excitement and color.”

16. Give yourself private time in the morning.

Find yourself at the mercy of everyone else’s schedule in the a.m.? Try waking up before the rest of your clan. “I stretch, lift some light weights, get a nice big cup of coffee and check the news, social media, and email on my phone — all while watching CNN curled up under a blanket,” says Dayna Steele, CEO of YourDailySuccessTip.com, author of 101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities For Success Every Day. “It’s just the dogs and me — nice and peaceful before the day takes over.”

17. Start a gratitude jar.

Having a visual reminder of appreciation is a good tool for helping you remember to say “thank you” for what you have each day. “My husband and I have a jar we keep on our kitchen island, and next to it, we keep slips of blue and pink construction paper,” says Keryl Pesce, author of Happy Bitch, happiness expert, founder of Happy-Bitch.com. “Every day, he and I write down something for which we are grateful, date it and put it in the jar. Having this daily practice helps us stay in touch with being grateful for what we have. On New Year’s Day this year, we sat over a glass of wine and read through all of the slips from the past year. There were lots of smiles and a few grateful tears. As a bonus, we keep green slips in there and ask our guests to write down something as well. Everyone can do this.” Which happiness tactics bring you the most joy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post 17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Can’t Sleep? Your Guide to a Better Night’s Rest http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/cant-sleep-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/cant-sleep-tips/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:15:16 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=23632 Can't Sleep Tips

[caption id="attachment_23634" align="alignnone" width="620"]Can't Sleep Tips Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Think back on the last time you got a good night’s sleep. If last night comes to mind, lucky you! But can you remember when you got some great shut-eye every night for a week? It may be a little more challenging to recall. And you’re in the majority. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 50 to 70 million Americans have sleep or wakefulness disorder, and calls insufficient sleep a public health epidemic.

To help you get your best night’s sleep, there are some things you can do throughout the day so that you fall asleep quickly — and stay asleep. And while some of these tips may help you get better rest tonight, know that getting quality sleep every night may take a few months of putting these habits into place, says Dr. Gerald Suh, ENT, board certified in Sleep Medicine.

“One of the most important things you can do for your sleep is to have a routine to keep your circadian rhythm normal,” says Suh.  Your circadian rhythm is the part of your brain that controls your body’s natural sleep cycle. He and other sleep experts recommend going to sleep and waking up around the same times each day and figuring out the amount of hours of shut-eye your body needs to function optimally. We know that shutting down at the same hour and rising on a steady schedule are often easier said then done, so here are more ways to get quality zzz’s.

Morning

Open your blinds and curtains. Exposing yourself to early morning sunlight helps your body wake up by regulating your biological clock and keeping it on track, says Suh.

Pair carbs with protein at breakfast. Start your day with something to get your energy going so your body knows you’re nourishing it, says Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Younger Next Week: Your Ultimate Rx to Reverse the Clock, Boost Energy and Look and Feel Younger in 7 Days. Begin with a small bowl of whole grain cereal, oatmeal, whole wheat toast, or a whole wheat English muffin as the base of the meal, then round it out with protein, such as an egg, nuts and seeds, yogurt or milk. This protein and carb combo will help with keep you satisfied, full, and give you lasting energy, says Zied.

Drink your caffeinated beverages before lunch. “Think of yourself as an early bird when it comes to caffeine consumption,” says Zied. For most healthy adults, moderate doses of caffeine — 200 to 300 mg, or about two to four cups of brewed coffee — aren't harmful, according to MayoClinic.org. But our experts agree that eliminating caffeine in the afternoon might be one of the best ways to improve your sleep.  Try to avoid caffeinated beverages after 2 p.m. (or at the very least six hours before you plan to sleep).

Midday

Add protein to lunch. It’s important to eat a lot of high-quality protein-packed foods throughout the day in small amounts to give you energy. Include foods like soybeans, low-fat dairy, fish, meat and poultry, suggests Zied.

Take a cat nap. If you’re able to take a nap, keep it to less than 30 minutes and ideally do it between 2 and 3 p.m., suggests Suh. “It can help you function, especially if you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep at night.” If you’re already well rested from a great night’s sleep you can skip this step.

Work out before dinner. While studies vary on the best time to work out, in general, finishing your workout by late afternoon or early evening is ideal to make sure it’s not interfering with your sleep, says Suh. Since exercise gets your body temperature up, you want to give your body enough time to cool down since a declining body temperature helps you fall asleep. While everyone is different and evening workouts might work best for you and your schedule, if you suspect it’s interfering with your sleep, experiment with an earlier exercise routine.

Fit in fitness. Even if you’re having a busy day, try to do some activity — a regular exercise routine is good for your sleep schedule. According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercise of any type can help improve daytime sleepiness, and self-described exercisers report experiencing better sleep than non-exercisers, even if they’re getting the same amount of hours each night. Other research suggests that aerobic physical activity over a few months can help improve sleep quality, mood and overall quality of life.

Cut off alcohol four hours before bed. Even though drinking alcohol can make you feel relaxed, and possibly even sleepy, it can affect sleep quality and lead to you waking up throughout the night, says Dr. Suh. Ideally, sensitive sleepers should avoid alcohol between four and six hours before bedtime. If you’re going to have alcohol, sip it with your dinner, suggests Zied.

Evening

Have a light, but complete dinner. Having a serving of whole-wheat pasta or brown rice at dinner will give your body nutrients from those carbohydrates to create serotonin that will relax you. Round out your meal with healthy options like veggies and a small amount of lean protein to help you feel satisfied without a heavy bloating. Having a stuffed stomach or indigestion can interfere with sleep. If you eat dinner early and want a small snack before bedtime, noshing a small carb-concentrated snack an hour or two before bedtime can help with sleep. Have a small bowl of cereal with milk, nuts, pretzels, oatmeal, fresh fruit, whole grain crackers or air-popped popcorn.

Mellow out. If you have trouble winding down at night and your mind is racing, consider practicing meditation, deep breathing techniques, or even just journaling your thoughts. Any activity that helps you to relax lowers your metabolic rate to help promote sleep, says Dr. Suh. You could also try aromatherapy, drinking hot herbal tea, or taking a hot bath 90 minutes before sleep. The thought is that it raises your core body temperature for a period of time and as heat is released, it creates the dip in body temperature at the right time that is conducive to sleep.

Set up your environment. Ideally you should sleep in a dark room (and dimming lights before bed can help, too), with temperatures a little bit on the cooler side around 60 to 68 degrees, and make sure it’s quiet. There are a bunch of smartphone apps and wearable devices that can track your sleep patterns so you can see what temperature range resulted in the best quality shut-eye for you.

Power down an hour before sleep. It’s best to turn off all of your electronic devices before you go to bed for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. And even more so with those that emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin production and shifts the circadian rhythm to a later time period, says Dr. Suh. Shut off the TV, put the tablet away, stop texting and browsing on your cell phone, and consider putting your e-reader to bed as well, suggests Dr. Suh. Not only will electronics’ blue light emissions possibly prevent sleep, but also some research says they may even fight fatigue. Some e-readers have adopted features that are supposed to help with reading at night, but it may be a good idea to switch to paperback books for a few nights to see if that produces better sleep. You need about an hour after turning off these electronics as it takes some time for decreased light exposure to increase the body's production of melatonin, which plays a major role in inducing sleep.

If you’re still thinking about health resolutions you can actually stick to, making sleep your top priority might be the best resolution you come up with, says Zied.

Better quality sleep and more rest will help you have more energy so you can maintain those 2014 workout goals. And when you’re well-rested, you’ll be more likely to make healthier eating decisions, as studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to an increased desire for high-calorie junk foods That high-energy, healthy-eating combo might just translate to effortless weight loss this year — so why not hit the hay a little earlier tonight?

The post Can’t Sleep? Your Guide to a Better Night’s Rest appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Can't Sleep Tips

[caption id="attachment_23634" align="alignnone" width="620"]Can't Sleep Tips Photo: Pond5[/caption] Think back on the last time you got a good night’s sleep. If last night comes to mind, lucky you! But can you remember when you got some great shut-eye every night for a week? It may be a little more challenging to recall. And you’re in the majority. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 50 to 70 million Americans have sleep or wakefulness disorder, and calls insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. To help you get your best night’s sleep, there are some things you can do throughout the day so that you fall asleep quickly — and stay asleep. And while some of these tips may help you get better rest tonight, know that getting quality sleep every night may take a few months of putting these habits into place, says Dr. Gerald Suh, ENT, board certified in Sleep Medicine. “One of the most important things you can do for your sleep is to have a routine to keep your circadian rhythm normal,” says Suh.  Your circadian rhythm is the part of your brain that controls your body’s natural sleep cycle. He and other sleep experts recommend going to sleep and waking up around the same times each day and figuring out the amount of hours of shut-eye your body needs to function optimally. We know that shutting down at the same hour and rising on a steady schedule are often easier said then done, so here are more ways to get quality zzz’s.

Morning

Open your blinds and curtains. Exposing yourself to early morning sunlight helps your body wake up by regulating your biological clock and keeping it on track, says Suh.

Pair carbs with protein at breakfast. Start your day with something to get your energy going so your body knows you’re nourishing it, says Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Younger Next Week: Your Ultimate Rx to Reverse the Clock, Boost Energy and Look and Feel Younger in 7 Days. Begin with a small bowl of whole grain cereal, oatmeal, whole wheat toast, or a whole wheat English muffin as the base of the meal, then round it out with protein, such as an egg, nuts and seeds, yogurt or milk. This protein and carb combo will help with keep you satisfied, full, and give you lasting energy, says Zied.

Drink your caffeinated beverages before lunch. “Think of yourself as an early bird when it comes to caffeine consumption,” says Zied. For most healthy adults, moderate doses of caffeine — 200 to 300 mg, or about two to four cups of brewed coffee — aren't harmful, according to MayoClinic.org. But our experts agree that eliminating caffeine in the afternoon might be one of the best ways to improve your sleep.  Try to avoid caffeinated beverages after 2 p.m. (or at the very least six hours before you plan to sleep).

Midday

Add protein to lunch. It’s important to eat a lot of high-quality protein-packed foods throughout the day in small amounts to give you energy. Include foods like soybeans, low-fat dairy, fish, meat and poultry, suggests Zied.

Take a cat nap. If you’re able to take a nap, keep it to less than 30 minutes and ideally do it between 2 and 3 p.m., suggests Suh. “It can help you function, especially if you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep at night.” If you’re already well rested from a great night’s sleep you can skip this step.

Work out before dinner. While studies vary on the best time to work out, in general, finishing your workout by late afternoon or early evening is ideal to make sure it’s not interfering with your sleep, says Suh. Since exercise gets your body temperature up, you want to give your body enough time to cool down since a declining body temperature helps you fall asleep. While everyone is different and evening workouts might work best for you and your schedule, if you suspect it’s interfering with your sleep, experiment with an earlier exercise routine.

Fit in fitness. Even if you’re having a busy day, try to do some activity — a regular exercise routine is good for your sleep schedule. According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercise of any type can help improve daytime sleepiness, and self-described exercisers report experiencing better sleep than non-exercisers, even if they’re getting the same amount of hours each night. Other research suggests that aerobic physical activity over a few months can help improve sleep quality, mood and overall quality of life.

Cut off alcohol four hours before bed. Even though drinking alcohol can make you feel relaxed, and possibly even sleepy, it can affect sleep quality and lead to you waking up throughout the night, says Dr. Suh. Ideally, sensitive sleepers should avoid alcohol between four and six hours before bedtime. If you’re going to have alcohol, sip it with your dinner, suggests Zied.

Evening

Have a light, but complete dinner. Having a serving of whole-wheat pasta or brown rice at dinner will give your body nutrients from those carbohydrates to create serotonin that will relax you. Round out your meal with healthy options like veggies and a small amount of lean protein to help you feel satisfied without a heavy bloating. Having a stuffed stomach or indigestion can interfere with sleep. If you eat dinner early and want a small snack before bedtime, noshing a small carb-concentrated snack an hour or two before bedtime can help with sleep. Have a small bowl of cereal with milk, nuts, pretzels, oatmeal, fresh fruit, whole grain crackers or air-popped popcorn.

Mellow out. If you have trouble winding down at night and your mind is racing, consider practicing meditation, deep breathing techniques, or even just journaling your thoughts. Any activity that helps you to relax lowers your metabolic rate to help promote sleep, says Dr. Suh. You could also try aromatherapy, drinking hot herbal tea, or taking a hot bath 90 minutes before sleep. The thought is that it raises your core body temperature for a period of time and as heat is released, it creates the dip in body temperature at the right time that is conducive to sleep.

Set up your environment. Ideally you should sleep in a dark room (and dimming lights before bed can help, too), with temperatures a little bit on the cooler side around 60 to 68 degrees, and make sure it’s quiet. There are a bunch of smartphone apps and wearable devices that can track your sleep patterns so you can see what temperature range resulted in the best quality shut-eye for you.

Power down an hour before sleep. It’s best to turn off all of your electronic devices before you go to bed for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. And even more so with those that emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin production and shifts the circadian rhythm to a later time period, says Dr. Suh. Shut off the TV, put the tablet away, stop texting and browsing on your cell phone, and consider putting your e-reader to bed as well, suggests Dr. Suh. Not only will electronics’ blue light emissions possibly prevent sleep, but also some research says they may even fight fatigue. Some e-readers have adopted features that are supposed to help with reading at night, but it may be a good idea to switch to paperback books for a few nights to see if that produces better sleep. You need about an hour after turning off these electronics as it takes some time for decreased light exposure to increase the body's production of melatonin, which plays a major role in inducing sleep.

If you’re still thinking about health resolutions you can actually stick to, making sleep your top priority might be the best resolution you come up with, says Zied. Better quality sleep and more rest will help you have more energy so you can maintain those 2014 workout goals. And when you’re well-rested, you’ll be more likely to make healthier eating decisions, as studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to an increased desire for high-calorie junk foods That high-energy, healthy-eating combo might just translate to effortless weight loss this year — so why not hit the hay a little earlier tonight?

The post Can’t Sleep? Your Guide to a Better Night’s Rest appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work? http://dailyburn.com/life/health/intermittent-fasting/ http://dailyburn.com/life/health/intermittent-fasting/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 17:35:46 +0000 http://daily-burn.sta.oomphcloud.com/?p=15962 Intermittent Fasting

[caption id="attachment_16038" align="alignnone" width="620"]Intermittent Fasting Photo: Pond5[/caption]

There’s a new trend in dieting these days — not eating. Yup, “fasting” became a popular trend in the U.K. with The Fast Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley and has trickled over to the states in several variations, including The 8-Hour Diet by David Zinczenko, consulting editorial director at American Media, Inc. And while fasting itself is certainly not a novel concept (people have been doing it for religious reasons for hundreds of years), “intermittent fasting” as a weight loss method seems to be the new trend. But is it safe? And does it really work? We talked to fitness and nutrition expert JJ Virgin, bariatric surgeon Dr. Marina Kurian and Dr. John M. Berardi of Precision Nutrition to find out.

While there are different levels of intermittent fasting (IF) diets, two of the most buzzed about are The Fast Diet and The 8-Hour Diet. The Fast Diet, sometimes referred to the 5:2 diet, encourages people to eat normally five days per week, and trim calorie intake down to 500 to 600 calories total for two non-consecutive days. In terms of weight loss, participants can expect to shed about one to two pounds per week, says Dr. Mosley on his website. The 8-Hour Diet, on the other hand, limits the window of time for calorie consumption to eight hours per day, which is supposed to make the body burn fat and calories more efficiently. According to MensHealth.com (the brand author Zinczenko used to work for), The 8-Hour Diet works on a cellular level and triggers the energy centers of the body’s cells (mitochondria) to selectively burn fat for energy. The diet is also said to reduce the amount of cancer-causing cell damage caused by the typical American diet, the site says.

RELATED: 5 Intermittent Fasting Methods: Which One Is Right for You?

Both diets claim that, in addition to helping participants lose weight (and keep it off), they’ll also help regulate blood sugar, possibly prevent diabetes, slow the ageing process, and prevent or minimize risk of heart disease. So far, these claims have only been supported by small human studies or animal studies. Our experts also noted that there isn’t much scientific research in support of IF diets as effective, long-term weight loss plans.

Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re meritless, assuming you’re a healthy individual with realistic weight loss goals, some experts suggest. The positive aspect of these weight loss plans is that they challenge people to get in touch with hunger levels, says JJ Virgin, nutrition and fitness expert, author of The Virgin Diet. “Usually we’re eating because we are tired, thirsty or bored. Ask yourself why you’re eating again,” Virgin says.

Learning the difference between when you think you’re hungry and when you’re actually hungry was one of the biggest takeaways for John M. Berardi, MD, Chief Science Officer of Precision Nutrition and author of Experiments with Intermittent Fasting (based on his own experiments with various intermittent fasting plans over the course of six months).

“Trial fasting is a great way to practice managing hunger,” says Dr. Berardi. “It’s an essential skill for anyone who wants to get in shape and stay healthy and fit.” Though Dr. Berardi started off at a healthy weight, he lost 20 pounds in six months and reduced his body fat from 10 percent to four percent while maintaining most of his lean muscle mass, he says.

RELATED: Is the IIFYM Diet Right for You? 

But is it dangerous?

While people should always check with their doctor before starting any weight loss plan, there are certain individuals who should steer clear of this type of diet, says Marina Kurian, MD, assistant professor of bariatric surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. Those with insulin resistance issues, diabetics, pregnant women and people with low blood sugar should not try these plans, she says, as they could be dangerous to their health.

Virgin says this diet might also be problematic for women who are under chronic stress and have adrenal issues. “You’ll be stressing your body out more by following an intermittent fasting plan, which can lead to insomnia and possibly fertility issues,” Virgin says. Research has linked very low-calorie diets to chronic psychological stress and cortisol production, which has been shown to interfere with weight loss. The bottom line? If following this diet stresses you out or interferes with your sleep patterns, it could also impede weight loss.

Intermittent fasting could also be problematic for individuals with bingeing issues, or anyone who might have trouble controlling how much they’re eating on the non-fasting days. “Don’t let five of those days [or eight hours] be free-for-alls,” says Virgin. Both diets encourage eating wholesome, nutritious foods as often as possible during the times you’re not fasting.

Do fasting and exercise play nice?

As long as you’re adequately hydrated, Dr. Kurian says light to moderate exercise on lower-calorie days is generally safe, assuming you feel up to it. But if you don’t have the energy for exercise (or feel light-headed or dizzy), it may be best to save your strength for higher-calorie days. Plus, because exercise causes the body to burn through its glycogen stores, it’s important you’re able to refuel with a balanced meal or snack (including protein, carbs and fat), optimally within 30 minutes of working out.

If you already follow a regular exercise routine, it may be best to save your most intense workouts for days when you’re not fasting. After all, the goal should be to make the most of your workout session and that’s more likely to happen when you’re properly fueled with quality calories, Virgin says.

RELATED: Intermittent Fasting: Should You Exercise on Empty? 

Bottom line: Is it worth trying?

As far as results go, regular fasting isn’t objectively better for losing body fat, Dr. Berardi says. While he says his IF experiments worked quite well, the intermittent fasting approach (bigger meals, less frequently) didn’t produce better fat loss than a more conventional diet approach (smaller meals, more frequently) might have.

And though it’s not dangerous to follow if you’re a healthy individual, Dr. Kurian says, she wouldn’t recommend this weight loss plan to her patients.

“You have to know what you’re capable of doing for a diet,” says Dr. Kurian. Instead, she recommends people aim to lose about a pound a week for long-term sustainable weight loss.

“Ask yourself if you can do this for life. It’s important to follow a weight loss plan you can maintain long term,” Dr. Kurian says. It’s also key to have a plan in place for the maintenance phase, after you’ve hit your weight loss goal. Otherwise, you’ll be more likely to regain the weight assuming following these fasting plans isn’t feasible for the rest of your life, she says.

Intermittent fasting can work, but it’s not for everyone — nor does it need to be, Dr. Berardi says. “In the end, IF is just one approach, among many effective ones, for improving health, performance and body composition.”

To learn more about the intermittent fasting diets discussed in this article, visit The 8-Hour Diet and The Fast Diet.

The post Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work? appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Intermittent Fasting

[caption id="attachment_16038" align="alignnone" width="620"]Intermittent Fasting Photo: Pond5[/caption]

There’s a new trend in dieting these days — not eating. Yup, “fasting” became a popular trend in the U.K. with The Fast Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley and has trickled over to the states in several variations, including The 8-Hour Diet by David Zinczenko, consulting editorial director at American Media, Inc. And while fasting itself is certainly not a novel concept (people have been doing it for religious reasons for hundreds of years), “intermittent fasting” as a weight loss method seems to be the new trend. But is it safe? And does it really work? We talked to fitness and nutrition expert JJ Virgin, bariatric surgeon Dr. Marina Kurian and Dr. John M. Berardi of Precision Nutrition to find out.

While there are different levels of intermittent fasting (IF) diets, two of the most buzzed about are The Fast Diet and The 8-Hour Diet. The Fast Diet, sometimes referred to the 5:2 diet, encourages people to eat normally five days per week, and trim calorie intake down to 500 to 600 calories total for two non-consecutive days. In terms of weight loss, participants can expect to shed about one to two pounds per week, says Dr. Mosley on his website. The 8-Hour Diet, on the other hand, limits the window of time for calorie consumption to eight hours per day, which is supposed to make the body burn fat and calories more efficiently. According to MensHealth.com (the brand author Zinczenko used to work for), The 8-Hour Diet works on a cellular level and triggers the energy centers of the body’s cells (mitochondria) to selectively burn fat for energy. The diet is also said to reduce the amount of cancer-causing cell damage caused by the typical American diet, the site says.

RELATED: 5 Intermittent Fasting Methods: Which One Is Right for You?

Both diets claim that, in addition to helping participants lose weight (and keep it off), they’ll also help regulate blood sugar, possibly prevent diabetes, slow the ageing process, and prevent or minimize risk of heart disease. So far, these claims have only been supported by small human studies or animal studies. Our experts also noted that there isn’t much scientific research in support of IF diets as effective, long-term weight loss plans.

Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re meritless, assuming you’re a healthy individual with realistic weight loss goals, some experts suggest. The positive aspect of these weight loss plans is that they challenge people to get in touch with hunger levels, says JJ Virgin, nutrition and fitness expert, author of The Virgin Diet. “Usually we’re eating because we are tired, thirsty or bored. Ask yourself why you’re eating again,” Virgin says.

Learning the difference between when you think you’re hungry and when you’re actually hungry was one of the biggest takeaways for John M. Berardi, MD, Chief Science Officer of Precision Nutrition and author of Experiments with Intermittent Fasting (based on his own experiments with various intermittent fasting plans over the course of six months).

“Trial fasting is a great way to practice managing hunger,” says Dr. Berardi. “It’s an essential skill for anyone who wants to get in shape and stay healthy and fit.” Though Dr. Berardi started off at a healthy weight, he lost 20 pounds in six months and reduced his body fat from 10 percent to four percent while maintaining most of his lean muscle mass, he says.

RELATED: Is the IIFYM Diet Right for You? 

But is it dangerous?

While people should always check with their doctor before starting any weight loss plan, there are certain individuals who should steer clear of this type of diet, says Marina Kurian, MD, assistant professor of bariatric surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. Those with insulin resistance issues, diabetics, pregnant women and people with low blood sugar should not try these plans, she says, as they could be dangerous to their health.

Virgin says this diet might also be problematic for women who are under chronic stress and have adrenal issues. “You’ll be stressing your body out more by following an intermittent fasting plan, which can lead to insomnia and possibly fertility issues,” Virgin says. Research has linked very low-calorie diets to chronic psychological stress and cortisol production, which has been shown to interfere with weight loss. The bottom line? If following this diet stresses you out or interferes with your sleep patterns, it could also impede weight loss.

Intermittent fasting could also be problematic for individuals with bingeing issues, or anyone who might have trouble controlling how much they’re eating on the non-fasting days. “Don’t let five of those days [or eight hours] be free-for-alls,” says Virgin. Both diets encourage eating wholesome, nutritious foods as often as possible during the times you’re not fasting.

Do fasting and exercise play nice?

As long as you’re adequately hydrated, Dr. Kurian says light to moderate exercise on lower-calorie days is generally safe, assuming you feel up to it. But if you don’t have the energy for exercise (or feel light-headed or dizzy), it may be best to save your strength for higher-calorie days. Plus, because exercise causes the body to burn through its glycogen stores, it’s important you’re able to refuel with a balanced meal or snack (including protein, carbs and fat), optimally within 30 minutes of working out.

If you already follow a regular exercise routine, it may be best to save your most intense workouts for days when you’re not fasting. After all, the goal should be to make the most of your workout session and that’s more likely to happen when you’re properly fueled with quality calories, Virgin says.

RELATED: Intermittent Fasting: Should You Exercise on Empty? 

Bottom line: Is it worth trying?

As far as results go, regular fasting isn’t objectively better for losing body fat, Dr. Berardi says. While he says his IF experiments worked quite well, the intermittent fasting approach (bigger meals, less frequently) didn’t produce better fat loss than a more conventional diet approach (smaller meals, more frequently) might have.

And though it’s not dangerous to follow if you’re a healthy individual, Dr. Kurian says, she wouldn’t recommend this weight loss plan to her patients.

“You have to know what you’re capable of doing for a diet,” says Dr. Kurian. Instead, she recommends people aim to lose about a pound a week for long-term sustainable weight loss.

“Ask yourself if you can do this for life. It’s important to follow a weight loss plan you can maintain long term,” Dr. Kurian says. It’s also key to have a plan in place for the maintenance phase, after you’ve hit your weight loss goal. Otherwise, you’ll be more likely to regain the weight assuming following these fasting plans isn’t feasible for the rest of your life, she says.

Intermittent fasting can work, but it’s not for everyone — nor does it need to be, Dr. Berardi says. “In the end, IF is just one approach, among many effective ones, for improving health, performance and body composition.”

To learn more about the intermittent fasting diets discussed in this article, visit The 8-Hour Diet and The Fast Diet.

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