Tag Archives: diet

Stick to Your Diet

bellaweb2Halloween is almost here, followed by Thanksgiving next month and then (dare we say it?) Christmas! While many people find joy in the holiday season, for those trying to lose weight it can be the most miserable time of the year. Fortunately, it is possible to stay dedicated to your diet while surrounded by unhealthy food.

Colin Christopher, author of Success Through Manipulation, provides a few great tips on staying healthy in the face of tempting sweets and foods: 

  • Don’t skip meals this holiday season: Some people skip meals thinking they will be able to consume more goodies at Halloween, more turkey and stuffing at Thanksgiving and more of Christmas dinner.  This will guarantee your failure as it leads to increased hunger, binge eating and depriving your body of necessary calories to convert to energy.
  •  There’s no such thing as eating healthy now to balance out bad meals later: Many people think living on salads and fruit now gives them permission to indulge in whatever they want later.  If you’re trying to lose weight and eat right, salads and fruit are a good choice, but stuffing yourself full of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie later on will still bring plenty of negative consequences. 
  • Have a plan: Bad food choices are going to be in abundance this time of year.  Have a plan in place so you don’t succumb to these negative choices.  Choose healthier options, drink plenty of water which is good for you and will fill you up, and stop eating when your body feels satisfied. 
  • Don’t compare yourself to others: Just because Aunt Mildred shows up to Thanksgiving dinner and she’s 100 pounds heavier than you, doesn’t give you permission to go on an eating spree.   
  • You are responsible: If you gain five pounds at Thanksgiving, it’s your fault.  Stop blaming the holiday, the Halloween candy, the turkey or the pumpkin pie.  It’s very possible to control what you eat this time of year but it’s ultimately your responsibility. 
  • Learn to say no: When Aunt Mildred insists that you try her world famous pecan pie, politely decline.  Explain to her that you are on a diet and very serious about getting healthy.  She will understand. Same goes for the kids or the neighbors with candy on Halloween. 
  • Exercise doesn’t give you the right to eat poorly: Many people think they can go for a long bike ride or hit the gym a few times during the holidays so they can indulge in the holiday feast.  Working out and exercise is great, but it’s never a pass to load up on bad food at the holidays. 
  • Let your clothes be a reminder: Don’t wear something that fits loosely and hides any excess fat.  Wear something that just fits your body and may not be the most flattering.  Let this be a reminder when you grab for that dessert, second serving or the Halloween bowl. This is also a great way to reinforce the idea in your subconscious mind that it’s time to get healthy. 
  • Traveling for the holidays is no excuse: A lot of patients tell me they indulged in fast food or a bag of chips because it was the only option at the airport.  When traveling, pack a healthy meal before you board your flight or hit the road this holiday season.   
  • Dig deep: Whether the temptation is Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies or other holiday season food, dig deep and ask yourself how bad you want to see results.  If you really commit to the process, you can lose weight and get healthy – even at the holidays.  Being partially committed never works. 

Article contributed by Colin Christopher

Bella Girls Get Healthy!

When Bella girls Cory, Stacey and Hayleigh decided to try Pure Barre together, they knew they would need to commit to the workout routine in order to see significant changes in their lives. By signing up for a three-month membership, and committing to attending class at least three times a week, they began to feel healthier and lose inches within their first month.

“The first class was a killer!” Cory laughs and says, “I definitely felt it for a few days afterward. I have really been challenged, in a good way, to improve my overall fitness level.”

pb1In fact, all three participants are starting to notice a difference in their bodies. “I have noticed tremendous changes in my upper body strength in particular,” explains Cory, “and I am definitely tightening my core.”

Pure Barre is different from other workout programs. The moves are small, and the repetition really inspires change in your muscles. The instructors understand if you need to modify the movements to make them safe for you, but they encourage you to push yourself and reach your full potential. They also let you know when you are doing something right.

“I love how the instructors praise you by name in class,” says Stacey, “that helps when you are really trying to focus and have that mind/body experience. It is also incredibly helpful that, if they see you in the wrong position, they come over and try to help you. They want all of us to get the most out of the time we spend there and their attention to our strengths and weaknesses helps us achieve that.”

Fitness Goals:

Cory: “My fitness goals were to integrate a regular fitness regime to my week again after several months ‘off.’ I also want to strengthen and tone my body.”

Stacey:”My goals were very simple. I just wanted to get through the first class! Going into something with no idea what to expect is always a scary thing. I have found the workouts to be easier to complete each time, and I love the fact that when I stretch the next day I feel my muscles hurting. I know I am doing something right!”

Hayleigh: “I definitely wanted to tone and strengthen my body, shedding some of the weight I have gained in the past two years. For me, this is part of a lifestyle change. My ultimate goal is to have more energy and be healthier—losing weight and inches would be an added bonus.”

pbDieting:

To get the most out of any workout routine, it is important that your other daily choices reflect your new healthy lifestyle. Cory already had a well balanced, low carb diet that she continues to follow. Stacey and Hayleigh, however, had to make a few changes.
“I am trying to keep it low carb,” Stacey explains, “I am eating more fruits and vegetables—staying away from beer and bread. It kind of defeats the workout to indulge in those after class.”

“My biggest problem is turning down a slice of pizza when my husband makes one for dinner,” says Hayleigh,” However, the more healthy food choices I make, the more energy I have throughout the day. I also sleep better at night if I let him have the pizza to himself.”

All three women are excited to continue the program and share their results with you over the next three months. In the meantime, you should check out Pure Barre for yourself and let us know what you think! Visit their website, www.purebarre.com to find a class that fits your schedule.

10 Foods Impacting Your Mood

Did you know the food you eat can literally make you feel happy or sad? Nutrition is one of the main components of mental health, so it’s important to stock your plate with good food while cutting some of those less beneficial alternatives.

“Food can definitely alter your mood,” says Dr. Shoshana Bennett.“Sometimes the effect is immediate, other times there’s a delay of an hour or so. Over time, the wrong foods can create a continuous foul mood or negative state of mind. Many people still aren’t making the connection between their emotional well-being and what they ate for dinner – or the last 200 dinners.”

Bennett explains that certain foods can negatively affect the neurotransmitters in our brains; these chemicals control sleep, appetite, mood and more. Bad foods can also cause inflammation, which may lead to other physical and mental disorders. She recommends eating these five types of food to feel happy, healthy and balanced:

1. Complex carbohydrates
Foods like beans, potatoes and whole grains are necessary for staying upbeat, as the complex carbohydrates they contain help the brain make serotonin, a mood-changing chemical. Without enough complex carbohydrates, a person can become angry and depressed.

 2. Cold-water fish
Salmon, mackerel and sardines are high in the omega-3s that help boost mood. Several studies show that a deficit in omega-3 fatty acids is linked to anxiety and depression. Most people in the U.S. don’t eat enough fresh, cold-water fish, so supplements are required.

“It’s important to use omega-3 supplements of pure quality,” says Bennett. “This means knowing where the fish comes from and how the supplements are manufactured.”

3.  Selenium
“Research shows people with low levels of the mineral selenium have poorer moods, including the tendency toward depression,” Bennett says.

Foods rich in selenium include shellfish, tuna, nuts, seeds, fish, pork, chicken and pasta. Bennett cautions that too much of this mineral is not healthy either, and recommends checking with a health care practitioner for guidance before taking selenium as a supplement.

4. Folic acid
A diet too low in folic acids can deplete serotonin. Research suggests that depression can be relieved by taking folate supplements or eating more food containing folate, such as spinach, lentils, garbanzo and other beans, romaine lettuce and broccoli.

“Folate is water-soluble, so your body does not store it,” says Bennett. “You need to eat foods regularly that contain it.”

5.  Vitamin D
Vitamin D-rich foods like eggs, milk, cheese and fatty fish (like tuna) help to activate serotonin. Furthermore, research shows a strong connection between low levels of vitamin D and symptoms of depression.

Knowing what foods to skip is just as important as knowing which foods to eat, so Bennett recommends cutting down on these “bad-mood foods”:

1. Sugar
Eating sugar provides a rush of energy, but soon afterward, blood glucose levels drop and lead to low mood and short-temperedness.

2. Sweeteners
Aspartame and other sweeteners can cause depression and insomnia since they block the production of serotonin. If you want a sweetener but are trying to avoid sugar, use stevia or xylitol instead.

3.  Processed carbs
Snack foods, white bread, most cereals and pasta contain processed carbs that negatively affect blood sugar levels the same way as sugar.

4. Hydrogenated oils
Trans fats are physically and mentally dangerous because they can contribute to depression and other illnesses.

5. Sodium
High sodium can negatively affect the neurological system and contribute to depression and fatigue.

“You don’t have to make major changes all at once,” says Bennett. “It’s often more beneficial if one small, realistic alteration is made at a time. Once you experience the payoff – not just read or hear about them – then it becomes fun!”