{April 30, 2012}   We’ve all been there

It’s late. You’re working on the last few pages of a paper you put off working on until this evening. You’re tired and frustrated, but worst of all, you have the muchies. Every treat in your dorm seems to be calling to you.

Avoiding late-night snacking is one of the hardest parts of any diet. For years, many of us have been told that late-night snacking is the worst possible thing anyone can do when trying to lose weight. But you might be surprised to learn that this diet law is being questioned. New studies show that snacking at night doesn’t cause a difference in weight gain other than affecting total caloric intake. So for example, eating a healthy snack at night isn’t bad; the problem comes in if you’re snacking on donuts like a champ at 1:30 in the morning. Calories start adding up where you least expect them.

So long story short, if you’re hungry late at night, reach for something that won’t ruin your healthy day.  Plus, there are tons of options to go for when you’re fighting evening hunger pangs. All is not lost when the sun goes down, people. Just like everything else, make healthy choices and the rest works itself out. Happy eating!


{April 25, 2012}   Just do it.

You’re busy. You have school or work (or possibly both) weighing you down. Your schedule couldn’t possibly get any busier.  Looking at your to-do list, it’s easy to take working out off the agenda. It’s extraneous. It can be pushed back as far as necessary to get all of your other work done. But this method is not constructive, nor will it give you results. Working out is a way to give back to your body. It’s not just a time to clear your head of the stressful clutter of modern life, but also a way to do something healthy for yourself. The minute you remove it from your schedule, you are letting yourself become more bogged down with unnecessary worries. Do yourself a favor: don’t cross the gym off your list until you’ve finished your workout. Your body will thank you. And once you have had the chance to clear your mind a bit, you might just be glad you stuck with it.

{April 23, 2012}   It’s just life

This post is somewhat timely in my life, and (sorry, folks) not very much related to food. People tend to worry too much about seemingly everything and anything possible. We stress ourselves to the point of not realizing the importance of simply living. It’s a cliche, but sometimes the most important thing to do for yourself is just be happy. So, that’s my healthy challenge for this week. For the next seven days, instead of focusing on all of the negatives in your life (and there may be many), turn it around and remind yourself of the positives. Give yourself a week off from worrying and stressing to the point of exhaustion. Being healthy is just as mental as it is physical.

Take time to help yourself this week. You still have to go to work or school (or both), but you can give your mind a bit of a vacation. Becoming healthier and happier is a choice. What will you choose this week?

{April 18, 2012}   I have a problem.

It’s true: I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic. I love chocolate in basically any form. Before I started eating healthier, I ate an amount of chocolate per day that scares even myself. Now that I’m eating better, I still have chocolate every so often (ok, once a day) just to pick my day up a bit. There’s a reason for this, other than my obvious addiction. It’s been proven that chocolate is not only good for you, but can also help your diet.  No, you’re not dreaming. Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate may actually improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure. But now, research shows that people who eat chocolate on a regular basis have lower BMI’s (body mass index) than those who do not. The reasons behind this are unclear, though it could be that the antioxidants found in dark chocolate can also serve to give your metabolism a boost. But why question it? To me, this is a diet win. Remember, however, that eating chocolate is not a replacement for working out, nor should it be used as a constant source of nourishment. It is, and always will be, a nice little treat to come back to at the end of a hard day. Emphasis onlittle. Be mindful of portion sizes, people. But enjoy 🙂

{April 15, 2012}   Getting fit without the gym

The gym can be quite boring. There’s only so many routines you can try and so much equipment you can take advantage of. That’s why it’s important to bring fitness into your life in ways beyond the traditional gym work outs. With the weather becoming more and more inviting, try bringing your work out outside. Go for a run or a brisk walk to get your body moving. For a better work out, play sports with friends. This is a great way to socialize with your peers and burn calories at the same time. There’s plenty to do to get yourself outdoors and  on your way to a healthier body. Working out shouldn’t have to be strenuous and frustrating. On the contrary, having fun with your fitness program will make you more committed to it and eager to continue. Eventually, you might even find that it becomes a regular part of your day.

{April 11, 2012}   Eating badly…so well

It’s no secret that most of the foods we generally love and crave are high in fat and calories, and mostly low in nutritional value. That’s why we love them so much. I find my self-control slipping away as I watch commercials showing creamy chocolatey goodness, or the newest specials at Olive Garden. Macaroni and Cheese has always been my weakness. But contrary to poular belief, you don’t have to completely give up your favorite foods for your diet: just make them healthier. Even desserts can be made healthier, and thus better for your diet.  It’s all about what you put in and what you take out. Making healthy foods that satisfy your not-so-healthy cravings may be much easier than you ever thought. So next time you’re in the kitchen, grab your laptop and search for healthy versions of your favorite recipes. Be adventurous, change it up, and have fun with your food. You don’t have to munch on salad and veggies all the time to succeed on your diet; you just have to be creative.

{April 9, 2012}   Eating out, on your terms

Eating out should not have to be a frightening experience. There is enough in life that causes stress; dining experiences should not be added to that list. When you’re eating at a restaurant, it’s important to remember that you are still in control of your diet. Just because someone else is preparing your food doesn’t mean you are forced to dig into whatever your mind tells you to order. Just be smart. Drink water throughout the meal to make you more full and hydrated. Check out the menu and nutritional information at home before you leave, and check out the options that will serve your body best. Always choose fruits or vegetables as a side to your entree. Don’t fill up on bread before the meal; if you can, skip the bread entirely. If the menu at the restaurant has  a healthy section, make your selection from there. Don’t be afraid to make substitutions to your meal to enhance its healthy qualities and decrease its fat and calorie content. You can control what you eat. Don’t let peer pressure force you to make bad choices. And most importantly, if you’re full, stop eating. No one is forcing the food down your throat, and there happens to be a refrigerator at home waiting to receive leftovers.

{April 3, 2012}   Changing it up

Working out can get pretty boring. Each routine is the same: get on the treadmill for half an hour, take a breather with some ab work outs and call it a day. You might be surprised, however, to learn that a very important part of your healthy lifestyle is varying your work out. It’s surprising how easily your body can get used to your workout regimen. The whole point of exercising is to improve your physical condition, not just of one or two key areas but of your entire body. Don’t settle for one boring routine when you can change up your conditioning and get better workouts at the same time. Remember, cardio isn’t everything. In fact, adding resistance training to your workout will build more muscle and make you more fit, faster. Exercising isn’t about getting on the elliptical and calling it a day; it requires working out the great variety of muscles your body has, and giving yourself the best possible results for the time you spend.

Continuing with the trend of highlighting healthy foods, this week I’ve chosen granola to focus on. Granola may sound like a bland way to start your day, but it’s actually full of essential nutrients for a healthy diet; it’s loaded with fiber, potassium and iron, to name a few. Not only that, but its many nutrients have the ability to make you healthier.

Granola happens to be a very versatile food. Include it in trail mix for an energizing snack, or use it as a great complement to yogurt. You could add milk for cereal, or mix it with cottage cheese and fruit for a little crunch. To switch it up, try some unique recipes. By taking the time to prepare your own food, you can be in charge of what you put in your body. When it comes to making your body healthy, granola is a great way to add a nutritious, filling food to your diet.

et cetera