{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.

{March 28, 2012}   An apple a day

It isn’t news to anybody that fruits and vegetables are healthy, especially for someone on a diet. But there are some fruits that are so good for you, they should be given the honor of their own post. Apples are one such fruit. Not only do they have fiber which leaves you feeling full, but they also boast a wide range of nutrients that will leave your body happy. Those nutrients have been proven to keep people healthy and stave off some unpleasant conditions. If you’re not the type of person to bring an apple with you to munch on (which is  a great snack during the day, by the way), there are quite a few healthy recipes that include apples. We all know how beneficial it is to cook your own meals. So sometime this week, take a trip to the kitchen, slice up a few apples, and get cooking.

{March 26, 2012}   Carrots!

I’ve always loved vegetables. Not only are they good for you, but most actually taste good (at least I think they do). My roommate and I always keep a bag of baby carrots in the fridge, which I can devour in a day. Carrots are not only rich in nutrients, but they’re also very low in calories, making them a great filling snack for any time of day. Plus, you can enjoy them with a low-calorie dip to mask the vegetable taste a bit. And if you’re not the type to munch on plain vegetables all the time, you can try some tasty recipes to turn your carrots into something delicious and nutricious. Who knows? You might just become as addicted to veggies as I am. Happy snacking! 🙂

{March 22, 2012}   Resisting the temptation

Every time I go to the gym, I get on the elliptical first. Even though I pop in my music, I can’t help but watch whatever the TV has to offer, and normally, the commercials feature a wide array of restaurants and fast food joints begging for patronage. For some reason, it seems a lot harder to get motivated to work out when you’re staring at Olive Garden’s latest pasta special for a great new low price. But here’s the thing: resisting the urge to race out of the gym and sprint to the nearest restaurant is what makes you stronger. Will power isn’t developed overnight. Just like the muscles you work out, it gets stronger every time you use it. So don’t get discouraged. Be smart, be healthy, and resist all those temptations that could undo your diet and lifestyle. Eventually, saying no will become easier than you ever thought possible.

{March 20, 2012}   Spring Break Fever

So it’s spring break. Finally. Time to put away the books and try in some small way to relax. But for many of us, myself included, spring break means the temptation of home cooking. All those foods you avoided while at school seem to be right there in front of you better than ever. After all, they’re home-made. Though it may seem impossible to resist the urge to cheat, there are ways to stay healthy while at home. You can still make healthier choices when you’re folks take you out to eat, and when you eat at home,  you can use portion control to limit how much you eat. If you really want to make a difference, offer to help prepare meals using your knowledge f healthy cooking. Chances are you’ll make something you’re family will love and perhaps even teach them a thing or two about good eating habits.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, but try to make good choices just the same and remember that this is a lifestyle. Don’t just forget about nutrition facts because you’re on spring break; instead, incorporate what you have learned on your healthy living journey into your everyday choices. You might not be able to be as healthy as you normally are, but you can still make a difference by being smart. Most importantly, don’t feel bad or let others make you feel bad about your eating choices. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is admirable and should be praised, not chastised. Be good to yourself and your body, no matter what people around you say.

et cetera