Tag Archive | Food

Eating Healthy for Your Body Type

I was recently inspired to write this article today from a conversation about the fact that each person has a different body type. The three body types are: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph.  Your body type is either one or a combination of the body types.  There is no one right way for people to eat, as eating for your body type is the most important strategy to be healthy. Below is an article that explains the three body types, food intake tips and exercise tips for each body type for your best health. Cheers to your health!

3 body types, how to work and eat for them!

http://heartcorestudio.com/blog/entry/3-body-types-how-to-work-and-eat-for-them

body types

All info from http://thescienceofeating.com

There are three general categories of Male & Female body types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. Many people think that “body type” just describes the way a person looks, but your body type can also provide information about how you respond to food intake and your hormonal and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) characteristics. These factors can be linked to metabolic differences between individuals, and influence how you respond to diet and training. Understanding your body type will help you to strategically & successfully plan your strength training and diet regiment, and once you establish your body type, you can adjust nutrient intake to maximize fitness composition and health related goals.

Very few people fall perfectly into one of the three categories, and are often a mix of the 3 characteristics. Also, training along with good nutrition can completely change the appearance of one’s body. One important thing to remember is that regardless of your body type, composition, or overall health status, your ability to handle carbohydrate-dense foods is greatly improved during and after exercise, meaning that the best time to eat the majority of starchy/sugary foods is around the times that you’re physically active. Depending on your body type, your carb tolerance is different and your strategy should be different.

Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs are skinny with a small frame, light build, small joints and lean muscle. Usually they have long thin limbs with stringy muscles, narrow shoulders with a fast metabolism making this body type the most resistant to weight gain.

Ectomorphs are often able to overeat, while gaining little, to no extra weight, they tend to have little body fat, muscle and bone mass. Ecto’s need a large amount of calories to gain weight, and workouts should be short & intense focusing on big muscle groups. Supplements like Whey Protein are definitely recommended, and they should eat before bed to prevent muscle catabolism during the night (use casein protein). Generally, ectomorphs lose fat very easily so cutting back to lean muscle shouldn’t be a problem.

Ectomorph Traits

Small “delicate” frame and bone structureClassic “hardgainer”Flat chestSmall shouldersThinLean muscle massFinds it hard to gain weightFast metabolism

Food Intake:

Because Ectomorphs are at a disadvantage due to their thin body structure, they struggle to add size to their frame when attempting to achieve their dream physique, and it will take some hard work and dedication. Because of their fast metabolic rate and a high carbohydrate tolerance, they burn calories too efficiently, preventing them from putting on weight, so diet is especially important. With a High Carb Tolerance, you should be eating a greater percentage of high carb foods all throughout the day. Get more carbs during/post workout than any other time of the day. (More carbs after workouts and less carbs at other times). Carb timing should include some starchy, whole grain, unprocessed carbs that are eaten at every other meal, while veggies and/or fruits (3:1 serving ratio) should be eaten at each meal. Stick to quality sources of protein and healthy fats, but the occasional cheeseburger or slice of pizza is not going to make an ectomorph fat. Also, ectomorphs should use High Calorie weight gainer shakes to help them build mass, so it’s smart to invest in a weight gainer powder if you don’t have time to cook or just need that extra calorie boost. Eat more, more frequently, aim for 6-8 meals spread over the course of the day, and always eat breakfast! This should be your largest meal, consisting primarily of complex carbohydrates and protein.

Cheat days using Junk food can be a useful tool to the ectomorph trying to put on size without worrying about body fat. With anything, there are rules to how you must employ junk food into your daily diet to aid in gaining size and not just satisfying your taste buds. The selection of junk food should contain adequate amounts of protein to meet your needs, and used during your cheat days.

Training

Strength Training with limited Cardio is best for Ectomorphs, and it is recommend to use simple routines with heavy compound movements and minimal isolation movements per muscle group. Since strength training also burns calories. You can incorporate a shock technique day using supersets.

Rest time should be kept between 2-3 minutes as much as possible. Take at least 1 rest day in between the last lifting day, and the optional superset day. http://thescienceofeating.com

Mesomorphs

Mesomorphs have a medium sized bone structure, athletic body, and they typically have a considerable amount of lean mass. Mesomorphs tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant, which leads to a predisposition for muscle gain and the maintenance of a lower body fat. The Mesomorph form is the best body type for bodybuilding, and responds the best to weight training, and gains are usually seen very quickly, even for beginners. The downside to mesomorphs is they gain fat more easily than ectomorphs, so they must watch their calorie intake more closely. Because of this, it helps to use combination of weight training and cardio during workout routines.

Mesomorph Traits

AthleticGenerally hard bodyWell defined musclesRectangular shaped bodyStrongGains muscle easilyGains fat more easily than ectomorphs

Food Intake

Mesomorphs typically do best on a mixed diet, consisting of balanced carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, with a macronutrient split of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat can work well. Always remember that even for the physically blessed mesomorphs, inadequate nutrition equals little gain at the gym. Low-fat proteins such as nonfat Greek yogurt, Kefir, eggs, poultry and seafood build strong muscles and encourage muscle growth. Complex carbohydrates such as spinach and other green vegetables, whole grain foods and low-sugar fruits provide the mesomorph with enough energy to make it through demanding workouts. High-fiber foods such as beans increase feelings of fullness, and these items can help to avoid sugary binges. Also, while most athletes find water adequate, mesomorphs who perform more intense workouts may require speedier electrolyte replenishment with sports drinks or Powerades, and I offer many easy, healthy, delicious recipes for these items here in my website.

Mesomorphs also tend to have a moderate carb tolerance, meaning you should likely minimize high starchy/sugary carb foods outside the workout window, except after an overnight fast such as for breakfast. This means you’d try eating some higher carb/starchy carb foods in the morning, as well as during/post exercise. The rest of the meals would consist of less dense carb foods and more lean proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Training

Mesomorphs are naturally strong and respond quickly to exercise. Multiple weekly resistance training sessions using moderate to heavy weights with limited rest between sets, help mesomorphs build size. Do upper and lower body compound exercises using two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each, resting between 30 and 90 seconds after each set. http://thescienceofeating.com

Endomorphs

Endomorphs have a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass, and this extra fat seems to resist most efforts to get rid of it. The endomorph body type is solid and generally soft, and gains fat very easily. Endo’s are usually a shorter build with thick arms & legs. Their muscles are strong, especially the upper legs, and are naturally strong in leg exercises like squatting. Football lineman and powerlifters are frequently classified as endomorphs. They also tend to be insulin dominant, leading to a greater propensity for energy storage, including both lean mass and fat mass, and also mean a lower carbohydrate tolerance. As an endomorph, you may feel as though you are destined to be overweight or even obese. NOT TRUE! You just have to make a conscious, concerted effort to do the things your body should be doing for you automatically. If your body isn’t instinctively telling you to get moving, you have to make sure that exercise is part of your daily routine. If your metabolism is sluggish, you need to eat the right foods that will fire up your metabolism. To put it plain as day, you need to bust your ass by exercising and eating right for your body type.

Endomorphs Traits

Soft and round bodyGains muscle and fat very easilyIs generally short“Stocky” buildRound physiqueFinds it hard to lose fatSlow metabolismMuscles not so well defined

Food Intake

Endomorphs typically do best on a higher fat and protein intake with carbohydrate intake being controlled and properly timed after exercise, with their ideal intake around 25% carbs, 35% protein, and 40% fat. Because they are not very carb tolerant, the best tactic is to avoid high carb/starchy carb foods outside the workout window (including breakfast). This means only proteins, fats, veggies and fruits outside the workout window. Also as we approach different stages in our lives, our hormones change and this can influence our body type. This includes stages such as puberty and menopause, as well as the male equivalent, andropause.

Dense carb foods include whole grains like rice, whole grain breads, quinoa, amaranth, millet, corn, barley, dried fruits, yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, recovery drinks, sugars, etc.

Training

When it comes to training, endomorphs find it very easy to gain weight. Unfortunately, a large portion of this weight is fat and not muscle. To keep fat gain to a minimum, endomorphs must always train using cardio as well as weights. Endomorphic bodybuilders need to get their butts to the gym as often as they can without overtraining. Around four days of weight training throughout the week will ensure that the “afterburn” increased metabolic response from each training session will then spill over into taken rest days. Include cardio into each workout, and no matter if an endomorph is bulking or cutting, weight training should be the main focus. An increased amount of muscle mass will increase their base metabolic rate, decreasing their chances of storing/holding onto fat. http://thescienceofeating.com

Quick Reference Guide to Body Types check out more at http://thescienceofeating.com

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Keeping Cool In The Heat Of The Summer

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We are entering the hottest summer weekend of 2016 and we all want to stay healthy and cool as possible! In my last article, I discussed the importance of hydration and the information below expands on that, and provides other ways to stay healthy and keep cool in the heat. Please read the article below to keep you and your loved ones healthy in the heat. Cheers to your health!

How to Stay Cool in Warm Weather

http://m.wikihow.com/Stay-Cool-in-Warm-Weather

Keeping cool in warm weather is a multi-faceted challenge. Risks of getting too hot in warm weather include dehydration, heat stress, heat cramps, or even heat exhaustion. Keeping your body cool will also help to keep your mood calm too, for heat often exacerbates feelings of stress, tension and frustration. There are lots of simple and effective ways to stay cool in warm weather and most of them are very affordable.

Method One of Five:
Eating and Drinking to Stay Cool

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      Stay hydrated. Water is essential for keeping you cool during hot weather. Water keeps your body cool and should be drunk even if you don’t feel thirsty. It’s okay to also drink commercial waters (such as Vitamin Water) or sports drinks such as Powerade or Gatorade but they’re usually not necessary unless you’re deliberately replenishing lost vitamins/electrolytes following a sporting activity.[1]

      • The best way to check your hydration level is to measure your urination color. Anything darker than straw colored is probably an indication that dehydration is on the horizon, and water is needed.[2]
      • Stay away from sugary drinks such as sodas; they decrease the ability of your body to store water. Also, steer clear of alcoholic drinks, coffee, and caffeinated drinks, which are natural diuretics.
    2. 2

      Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.Drink plenty of water before engaging in any activities. If you wait too late, you could experience cramps, which are a sign of heat-related illness.[3] Remind yourself to drink water frequently with one of the following options.

      • Purchase a durable water bottle or water pack that you can tote everywhere and refill at any safe water tap.
      • Freeze a bottle of water to carry around with you. It’ll be solid when you leave the house, but the heat will start melting it from the moment you take it out of the freezer. Wrap it in a towel to prevent water condensation affecting other items in your bag.
      • Download a water drinking app onto your phone. Set reminders, daily targets, and even track when the last time you had a drink.[4]
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      Choose cooling foods. Food can keep you cool provided you make the right choices. Choose salads, fresh raw food, vegetables and fruit. “Cool as a cucumber” is literal; it is nearly 100% water, providing hydration to keep you cool.[5][6] Avoid eating meat and protein-heavy foods during the heat of the day because these can increase metabolic heat production, which can add to loss of water.

      • It may seem counter-intuitive, but eating spicy peppers may help cool you off. They make you sweat, which provides a cooling sensation.[7]
      • Smaller meals may also help keep your core temperature down. Large meals require the body to work harder breaking everything down.[8]
    4. 4

      Make food without using the oven or stove. Find foods that don’t need to be cooked, or don’t need heat to be cooked. If you must actually cook, keep the cool air in, and the temperature down, by using the microwave instead of the stove or oven.[9]

      • Cold soups are great in warm weather. If you haven’t tried them yet, hot weather is the excuse you need! The fact they are often healthy is just an added benefit.[10]
      • Make popsicles, slushies, frozen fruit, frozen yogurt, and other frozen treats to help you cool down. 

Method Two of Five:

Avoiding and Combating the Sun

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      Stay out of the sun while it’s at its hottest. This commonsense approach isn’t always easy to adhere to when summer fun beckons, so it bears repeating. Avoid activities in the noonday sun as much as possible. It’s best to limit your sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day during warmer months. When you are outside during these times, limit your exposure as best as you possibly can.

      • Schedule activities early in the morning or later in the afternoon
      • Some people are particularly vulnerable to heat and should stay in cool places during hot weather, such as children, the elderly and those who have health problems.
    2. 2

      Spend more time in air-conditioned places. When the heat is excessive, it’s best to enjoy the benefits of air conditioning. Air conditioning is the primary preventative measure for heat-related illnesses. Visit public buildings if you don’t have adequate air-conditioning at home.[11] A few possible locations to avoid the heat:

      • The library is a great place to get cool and learn new information.
      • Grocery stores are air conditioned well. And if it’s particularly hot, visit the freezer section and peruse for a while.
    3. 3

      Wear sunscreen! While sunscreen doesn’t necessarily have a cooling effect, its protective effect is vital during warmer weather. As well as being painful and damaging, sunburn can cause a fever and various signs of dehydration.[12] If left unchecked, sunburns can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.[13]

      • At the minimum, use SPF 15. If you’re planning on being outside for a while, SPF 30 would be a better option.
      • Reapply often. Every two hours is recommended, but it should be reapplied more often if you’re swimming or sweating a lot.
      • Apply roughly a shot glass worth of sunscreen to cover the entire body.[14]
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      Stay in the shade. Retreat to shade as much as possible. Taking breaks under trees works doubly well because trees release water into the air that absorbs some of the heat. While shade doesn’t lower the actual temperature, the lack of sunlight exposure makes it feel like the temperature is up to 15 degrees cooler.

      • If a cool breeze comes by, that can feel like an additional lowering of 5 degrees in the shade.[15]
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      Splash water on your skin. When it’s hot outside, a dip in cool water is refreshing. Jumping into a pool is not always a choice. Don’t forget low-maintenance options like sprinklers.[16] You could also try taking showers or baths with cooler than normal water to take the edge off.[17]

      • Fill a spray bottle with pure water and place in the refrigerator at home or work. When you feel too hot, spray a fine mist of the cooled water over face and body to help cool you down quickly. Refill as needed and keep refrigerated.[18]
      • Make a game of staying cool. Gather friends and run through sprinklers. Throw water balloons. Have a squirt gun battle.
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      Use fans. While the efficacy of fans during extreme heat and humidity has been debated, some research suggests fans are beneficial up to 97 °F (36 °C) with 80% humidity, and 108 °F (42 °C) with nearly 50% humidity.[19] Whether hand-held or electric, fans can keep you cool by continuously circulating air. In your home and office space, locate fans in rooms where you are working or resting to keep the air circulating freely and to reduce the mugginess of heat.

      • Try making your own “swamp cooler.”These evaporative coolers can reduce temperature by significant amounts. They range from the simple (i.e. a bowl of chilled water in front of a fan) to the semi-complex. With just a few PVC pipes, a bucket, an electric fan, and a frozen gallon of water, you can create mid-40 °F (4 °C) wind.[20]
      • The fan should not be the primary source of cooling.[21] 

Method Three of Five:
Dressing to Keep Cool

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      Wear lighter clothing. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing will help to keep you cooler. If it is light in color, it’s even better, as this will reflect the heat and sunlight better. Shorts and short sleeved shirts are good choices. Something that lets the air flow freely through, hitting the sweat on your body, works best. The following suggestions are specific ways clothing can maximize your ability to stay cool:

      • Cotton and linen clothing tends to keep you cool and absorb moisture.
      • Clothes you can hold up to the light and see through are great choices. Be sure to apply sunscreen when wearing really thin clothing, however, as the clothing doesn’t provide adequate protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
      • Synthetic clothing tends to trap moisture, which makes the fabric feel heavier, stick to your skin, and restrict air-flow.
      • Working in lower humidity settings with short sleeves has been shown to have a minor benefit. Weigh the options of UV exposure with your choice of clothing.[22]
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      Keep your head covered. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, one that sufficiently covers the top of your scalp as well as the tops of your ears. This helps to keep you cooler by providing shade. Choose a brim that is wide enough that it can also cover the back of your neck.[23]

      • Light-colored hats can help keep you cool.
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      Wear breathable footwear. Depending on the activity, one shoe could be more comfortable or appropriate than another.[24] Consider whether arch support, durability, and comfort are mandatory, and then choose the best breathable footwear for the activity.

      • Cotton socks are great, but moisture wicking socks help your feet stay cooler.[25][26]
      • Some running shoes are designed with the summer months in mind, providing ventilation in a variety of designs.[27]
      • Be careful if you decide to go barefoot. Many artificial pavements become unbearably hot during warm weather and can scald your feet.[28]
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      Choose function over style. Wear fewer accessories during hotter weather. Metallic accessories can heat up considerably and less is always best when it comes to keeping cool. Other clothing accessories can weigh clothing down, trapping in heat and moisture.[29] If you have long hair, wear it up and off your face and body, allowing the breeze to flow along your neckline.[30] 

Method Four of Five:
Keeping Your House Cool

    1. 1
      Minimize the effects of sunlight on your roof. Ensuring your house is a lighter color, or a reflective color, can decrease the temperature in the house. Cooler colored roofs are approximately 50 degrees lower during hot summer months. It’s possible to put a roof coating on your existing roof, or replace the traditional darker shingles with a lighter color.[31]
    2. 2
      Close curtains and blinds. The sun’s rays convert to heat. However possible, you should block the rays coming into your house to keep the temperature down. Closing curtains, lowering shades, or even blocking windows can significantly reduce the heat in your house and keep it cool. Awnings work as well, because they keep the direct heat off the windows without blocking out all light.[32]
    3. 3

      Insulate well. Better insulation means less heat in the summer. If your house is hot, you can cool down easier with better insulation. Less crevices and avenues for the air to escape means the cool air stays inside.[33]

      • Ensure there is some air between insulation and roofing material. 

Method Five of Five:
Strategizing to Beat the Heat

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      Plan ahead. Whatever you’re doing outdoors, having a plan will help cut down on unnecessary activity in the heat. By having a plan, you can set time limits on your exposure to the heat and plan ways to minimize the effects of the heat before you head into it each day. Always be sure to stick to your time limits by prioritizing and leaving less important things to be finished when it’s cooler.

      • When hiking, study the map at the beginning of the day, and calculate the best route, especially one that makes the most of shade where possible.
      • While swimming, monitor your time in the pool. You may think there is minimal sun exposure because of the cooling effect of the water, but staying in too long without reapplying sunscreen or taking a break could lead to sunburn.
      • If you have to travel a lot during hot days in your vehicle, plan ahead by having your vehicle inspected and ensuring that your air-conditioning is in working order. When you notice the temps aren’t as frigid as you’d like, take it in for service. The car is likely low on Freon.[34]
    2. 2
      Check local weather or news for updates. As part of your planning, spend time watching the weather forecasts. In the USA, NOAA produces a heat alert based on Heat Index Values. The importance of this measure is that it tells you how hot it will feel outdoors when the relative humidity has been factored in with the actual air temperature. Be aware that heat index values are devised for shady areas and light wind conditions. If you’re under full sunshine and in the presence of strong winds, the heat factor can increase by up to 15 °F (−9 °C).[35]
    3. 3

      Allow yourself time to acclimatize if traveling. Travelers often make the mistake of trying to maintain normal levels of activity when arriving in a country warmer than the one they’ve left. Acclimatization can take up to 10 days depending on the temperature difference.[36] Rather than pushing yourself, give yourself time to acclimatize to the new warmer environment, which means minimizing physical activity until the heat feels more tolerable.

      • Once you feel more comfortable in the heat, gradually build up your physical activities until you’re back to your normal level.
    4. 4

      Pace yourself when working in the heat. Slow down, it’s not worth pushing yourself strenuously when it’s hot outside. Start and progress gradually, noting when the heat is really affecting you. Rest is an important way of coping with too much heat. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to rest when you feel fatigued during warm weather.[37]

      • Things that require a lot of physical effort can be done early in the morning or later in the day.

The Importance of Hydration

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Hydration is vital to maintaining a healthy functioning body. It is so easy to forget to hydrate, but many health issues occur due to dehydration. Personally when I’m dehydrated, the issues are usually dizziness, stomach and sinus problems. Thankfully I haven’t had an asthma problem in over 2 and 1/2 years but for some, dehydration can affect asthma as well as many other functions in the body. In the more extreme weather months such as Summer and Winter, we need to be especially careful, though it is important to stay hydrated year round. Below is an article that explains the importance of hydration. Stay hydrated and live well, cheers to your health!!!

Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work correctly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate joints. Water is needed for good health.

How does my body lose water?

Water makes up more than half of your body weight. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is really hot, when you are physically active, or if you have a fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid water loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can become dehydrated.

How do I know if I’m dehydrated?

Symptoms of dehydration include the following:

  • Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheaded feeling
  • No tears when crying

Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to take action. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.

Who is at higher risk of dehydration?

People are at higher risk of dehydration if they exercise at a high intensity, have certain medical conditions, are sick, or are not able to get enough fluids during the day. Older adults are also at higher risk. As you get older, your brain may not be able to sense dehydration and send the signals for thirst.

You may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking if you:

How much water should I drink each day?

You may have heard different recommendations for daily water intake. Most people have been told they should drink 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is a reasonable goal. However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day.

If you are concerned that you are not drinking enough water, check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine is a sign of dehydration.

Besides water, what else can I consume to stay hydrated?

Water is the best option for staying hydrated. Other drinks and foods can help you stay hydrated, but some may add extra calories from sugar to your diet.

Drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you get each day. Even caffeinated drinks (for example, coffee, tea, and soda) can contribute to your daily water intake. A moderate amount of caffeine (200 to 300 milligrams) is not harmful for most people. This is about the amount in 2 to 4 8-ounce cups of coffee. However, it’s best to limit caffeinated drinks because caffeine may cause some people to urinate more frequently, or feel anxious or jittery.

Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables (for example, watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce) and in soup broths.

What about sports drinks and energy drinks?

For most people, water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration. However, if you are planning on exercising at a high intensity for longer than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful. It contains carbohydrates and electrolytes that can increase your energy and help your body absorb water.

Choose a sports drink wisely. They are often high in calories from added sugar and may contain high levels of sodium. Also, check the serving size. One bottle may contain several servings. If you drink the entire bottle, you may need to double or triple the amounts given on the Nutrition Facts Label. Some sports drinks contain caffeine. If you use a sports drink that contains caffeine, be careful not to get too much caffeine in your diet.

Sports drinks are not the same as energy drinks. Energy drinks usually contain large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants (for example, guarana, ginseng, or taurine) that your body doesn’t need. Most of these drinks are also high in added sugar. Many experts recommend that children and teens should not have energy drinks.

Tips for staying hydrated

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Purchasing bottled water is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap instead.
  • If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • Be sure to drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Healthy Recipes!

Are you ready for healthy recipes that taste like you are having fun cheat days with food? If you get creative with healthy ingredients and textures, you will have a lot of fun with your healthy creations! Below are 15 recipes to get you started, have fun!

15 QUICK AND EASY HEALTHY RECIPES

http://damndelicious.net/2014/12/16/15-quick-and-easy-healthy-recipes/?m

The best and easiest healthy, comforting recipes that aren’t boring at all. And they don’t taste “healthy” at all!

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Healthy meals don’t have to be boring, and they don’t have to take hours to make either. And with these 15 recipes, you’ll have a healthy meal on the dinner table in less than 30 min, and even the pickiest of eaters will be begging for seconds and thirds!

1. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Sandwich – Greek yogurt is a wonderful healthy substitute, but no one has to know because you can’t even tell a difference. [http://damndelicious.net/2012/11/07/lightened-up-greek-yogurt-chicken-salad-sandwich/?m]

2. One Pan Mexican Quinoa -Wonderfully light, healthy and nutritious. And it’s so easy to make – even the quinoa is cooked right in the pan [http://damndelicious.net/2014/04/09/one-pan-mexican-quinoa/?m]

3. Easy Burrito Bowls – Skip Chipotle and try these burrito bowls right at home. It’s easier, healthier and 10000x tastier. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/09/10/easy-burrito-bowls/?m]

4. Asian Quinoa Meatballs – Perfect as a light dinner over brown rice and a side of roasted vegetables. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/10/15/asian-quinoa-meatballs/?m]

5. Avocado Pasta – The easiest, most unbelievably creamy avocado pasta. And it’ll be on your dinner table in just 20 min. Done and done. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/06/20/avocado-pasta/?m]

6. Broccoli Quinoa Casserole – Healthy, cheesy comfort food without any of the guilt. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/03/05/broccoli-quinoa-casserole/?m]

7. Quinoa Chili – This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food. [http://damndelicious.net/2013/10/16/quinoa-chili/?m]

8. Honey Salmon in Foil – A no-fuss, super easy salmon dish that’s baked in foil for the most tender, most flavorful salmon ever. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/02/07/honey-salmon-foil/?m]

9. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers – These stuffed bell peppers will provide the nutrition that you need for a healthy, balanced meal. [http://damndelicious.net/2013/06/03/quinoa-stuffed-bell-peppers/?m]

10. Cauliflower Chowder – A creamy, low carb, hearty and wonderfully cozy soup for those chilly nights. Or any other night of the week. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/03/22/cauliflower-chowder/?m]

11. Quinoa Chicken Parmesan – With an amazingly crisp quinoa crust, you’ll never guess that this is actually so healthy and packed with tons of protein goodness. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/06/23/quinoa-chicken-parmesan/?m]

12. Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps – These simple wraps comes together in less than 30 min, and it’s incredibly hearty, healthy and filling. [http://damndelicious.net/2013/09/24/asian-turkey-lettuce-wraps/?m]

13. Quinoa Black Bean Tacos – Quick, easy, healthy and full of flavor – even meat eaters will love this. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/04/19/quinoa-black-bean-tacos/?m]

14. PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps – A copycat recipe that you can easily make right at home in just 20 minutes. And it tastes a million times better too. Seriously. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/05/30/pf-changs-chicken-lettuce-wraps/?m]

15. Quinoa Enchilada Casserole – A lightened-up, healthy enchilada bake chockfull of quinoa, black beans and cheesy goodness. [http://damndelicious.net/2014/07/07/quinoa-enchilada-casserole/?m]

 

Winter Wellness Tips

We all can feel that winter has finally arrived, it’s freezing outside! While we know that staying warm is one factor to staying healthy during the winter season, we all could use the following wellness winter tips to take better care of ourselves and our families. Below is a great article describing ways to stay healthy during the winter. Stay warm and take care!!!

 

6 MUST-FOLLOW Wellness Tips To Keep You Healthy This Winter

2016-01-20 19.42.55With Winter upon us, most people scramble to “winterize” their homes or cars. But what about our bodies? Undoubtedly, the cold weather challenges our immune system making us more susceptible to colds.

Here are 6 simple wellness routines great to follow all year long, but especially designed for Winter wellness:

  1. Stay hydrated. During cold months, people just don’t feel as thirsty. As a result, they don’t drink as much putting them at risk for dehydration. The body needs water to function properly. Drinking water can even give your immune system a boost and prevent you from getting sick during peak cold and flu season. Water also helps regulate body temperature and is essential to the function of cells, tissues and organs. How do you know if you are drinking enough water? When you go to the bathroom, yellow urine means you need to drink more whereas clear or light yellow urine means you are well hydrated. If you feel thirsty, have dry mouth, are light-headed, can’t focus well, feel tired or notice your skin is dry, then you need to drink more water. Consider hot beverages this winter to stay hydrated, and stay well! Keep a water carafe next to your bed or office desk to encourage frequent water consumption. This will aid the out-of-sight out-of-mind challenge for those that are simply not thirsty during the winter months. Our favorite water carafe, BPA free, dishwasher safe, shatterproof, looks like glass, by Govino.
  1. Keep warm. Yale researchers have found the cold virus thrives in a slightly cooler environment— that is, it does better in the nose than in the lungs. First, the common cold virus replicates more rapidly when it exists in chillier air surroundings. Second, the cells in our airways don’t do as good a job of fighting off viruses when we’re exposed to lower temperatures. So, it’s entirely possible that if we can keep our noses toasty we might ward off cold symptoms, says study co-author Akiko Iwasaki, a professor in the department of immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine. So, stay warm, bundle up, cover those noses – consider scarfs by day, and warm heated blankets by night.
  1. Support throat care promptly. Often the first sign of a cold starts with the pesky sore throat. Early symptoms consist of scratchy, itchy, irritated throat, difficulty swallowing, then pain. Being that most colds start from the nose, and the #1 sinus born bacteria is staph-aureus, consider gargling with Gargle Away® Advanced Throat Care. It not only supports fast symptomatic relief of sore throat, laryngitis and vocal care but it reduces the staph-aureus bacteria by 99.9%. The key to supporting normal throat health is prompt action the moment you feel the itchy/scratchy/irritated throat/pain. Gargle Away® offers the most comprehensive throat care and it’s 100% all-natural. It also helps loosen mucus, decrease inflammation, restore your natural pH balance to support normal throat health, soothe cough and more. Available at Amazon, Wegman’s Food Stores, Discount Drug Mart, Value Drug,Fruth Pharmacy and selected retailers.
  1. Wash your hands regularly and keep sanitizer handy. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. Carry hand sanitizer with you in situations where washing your hands is not that convenient – for example, while traveling, at school, following an event with a lot of hand shaking, etc. Consider a hand sanitizer with no alcohol so that your skin is not compromised with frequent use. Perfect for the children as well!
  1. Stay active, outdoors! Just because the weather is crisp and chilly doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. Seek out some fun outdoor winter activities like skiing or hiking or simply bundle up for nature walks for a dose of mind and body wellness. Getting out exposes you to the Sunshine Vitamin, Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps facilitate normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of the vitamin is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases. In addition, new evidence presented in the April-June issue of Dermato-Endocrinology confirms that exposure to the sun in appropriate and measured timeframes has a number of health benefits. A few of those include: enhancing mood, energy, clarity of mind through the release of endorphins, and UV radiation from the sun enhances skin barrier functions which help treat skin diseases such as psoriasis. Google winter activity suggestions near you.
  1. Get your sleep. Ah, the power of a good night’s rest. Turns out a lack of sleep really can make us more prone to catching colds or the Flu. According to the Sleep Center of the University of Texas, experimental data proves if you don’t sleep well, you will get sick. “Sleep loss not only plays a role in whether we come down with a cold or flu. It also influences how we fight illnesses once we come down with them. For example, our bodies fight infection with fevers. “One of the things that happens when we sleep is that we can get a better fever response,” Balachandran says. “This is why feverstend to rise at night. But if we are not sleeping, our fever reaction is not primed, so we may not be waging war on infection as best we can,” says WebMD. If you have a weak immune system, you will likely be more prone to infection if you are not getting enough sleep. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to help reduce stress, improve memory, eliminate depression, have a clarity of mind, live longer, and even curb inflammation – research indicates those who get 6 or less hours sleep per night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more sleep. This C-reactive protein is also associated with Heart Attack. Easy fix. SHUT DOWN your body to recharge or you’ll CRASH your body with illness. Sleep 8 hours! Shut off those televisions and computers. Use Pandora to play soothing music as you slip into a calm deep sleep.

Weekly Tips For All Wellness Issues

Self Care is what everyone should do for their own health and wellness on a daily and weekly basis. However self care is so easy to forget when you are super busy. Taking small steps to take care of yourself daily and weekly will help you in amazing ways. Below is an amazing chart of 52 wellness solutions for every kind of issue. Take care of you!

HAP_4COLOR_LOGO

HAP Wellness Tips

https://www.hap.org/corporate/chambertoolkit/wellness_tips.php

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Topic

Tip

1 Exercise If using your treadmill for exercise, every 1% incline increases the calories burned by 10%. Thirty minutes of high-intensity exercise a day can help prevent weight gain and metabolic syndrome, adding an incline is a great way to boost intensity.  Check with your doctor to make sure high-intensity activity is right for you.
2 Cooking Plan your meals for the week and try to get an extra meal out of a casserole or one pot dish you might have made on Sunday.
3 Women’s Health Smoking is the leading preventable cause of heart disease in women. In fact, fifty percent of heart attacks among women 45 and older are due to smoking. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about resources to help you quit. Your life depends on it.
4 Exercise Be patient: Tackling a new fitness regime is always a challenge. There will be ups and downs, as well as setbacks and victories. Be patient – don’t give up!
5 Self Care Our life is essentially the sum of our habits. What habits would you like to stop doing? What habits would you like to start? Make a short, realistic list. It takes about a month of consistent effort to adopt a new habit, so keep trying.
6 Nutrition – Food Labels It’s cupboard cleanout time! Go through you cupboards and get rid of items that you may have bought that are high in sodium, fat or sugars. Take a note of them and look for lower sodium, fat or sugar items to replace them. For help reading a food label, go to hap.org and type “Food Label” in the search box and select the document titled, “Healthy Eating: How to Read Food Labels.”
7 Stress Management Know yourself. You can develop your emotional and spiritual self by journaling to enhance your emotional self-awareness. Journaling offers a way to clarify your thoughts and feelings. Writing down a problem or stressful situation often allows for unexpected solutions.  Journal 15-20 minutes a day or as often as you like.
8 Stress Management Humor is a positive mood and emotion changer.  Laughter can help relieve pain and increase happiness.  Movies and TV offer an easy venue to experience laughter while alone or with others.  Looking at the silliness of situations can also shift our way out of the blues.  Make arrangements for a ‘laugh night’ with family or friends just to relax, laugh, and keep things light.
9 Financial Wellness Use a single insurer. Larger insurers usually offer discounts if you use them for car and home, or other coverage. If you have insurance policies with different companies, do your homework to get savings.
10 Men’s Health Our bodies were meant to move.  Regular physical activity not only makes us feel and look better, it improves mood, helps us sleep better and helps keep our weight under control.  It can also increase our libido. Physical activity does not need to be strenuous. Try walking or biking, but if you haven’t been active, check with your doctor before starting.
11 Exercise The almighty lunge is the one exercise to master that can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. This simple exercise may have a bad rap because some think it can cause knee pain, but there is great news. Lunging isn’t bad for you, bad lunging is bad for you. If done correctly, lunging works all the muscles of the legs in a way that will improve how you move, lift, walk and run all day long. SparkPeople.com, a free weight management website, has videos with instruction on how to properly perform various exercises, including lunges.
12 Cooking Encourage your children to help you with meals because when they cook it or prepare it – they have ownership of the meal and are more likely to eat it! Visit hap.org/cookekitchen for healthy, family-friendly recipes.
13 Women’s Health Keep your brain and memory sharp.  Learn a new language or hobby. Do crossword or jigsaw puzzles. And it is never too late to learn how to play an instrument.
14 Exercise Chest up tall! Did you know that if you stand tall when you exercise, you activate the muscle that flattens your belly? It’s easy to do, just pretend you are getting your picture taken. If you are like most people, you automatically stand with your chest up tall. Be sure not to hold your breath. Doing that simple little move can make every exercise a belly flattener.
15 Self Care Move it or lose it.  Moving our bodies every day decreases the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.  It helps to reduce stress and maintains healthy bones and joints. Take a 10 minute walk three times a day five days a week.  You will look and feel better.
16 Nutrition – Food Labels When looking at a label, every 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon (small spoon) of sugar. The body’s storage capacity for sugar is quite limited, so the sugar and other carbohydrates we don’t use are converted into fat and stored in our body as fat.
17 Stress Management Avoid negative environments. Although not always possible, work to avoid negative environments. Negativity is contagious!  Draw yourself nearer to people who are supportive and positive.  You can eliminate drama by not engaging in judgmental conversations. Do not speak negatively about anyone.  (This alone is extremely powerful.) Blaming others inwardly or outwardly only de-energizes us. Notice your thought patterns today.  Are they of acceptance or of judgment?
18 Stress Management Life is better when you are happy but life is best when other people are happy because of you! Be an inspiration, give peace, share your smile. Smile at a stranger today!
19 Financial Wellness Pack a lunch instead of buying one every day. You will help your waist line and your pocket! Packing your own lunch can save you over 0 a year (that’s including the cost of preparing your own lunch).
20 Men’s Health  Your body needs maintenance just as your car does. The only way to know if your body is “running smoothly” is to have your numbers checked. This would include blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight. Early detection is the best way to prevent a health issue – just as it does with your car.
21 Exercise Do you take the stairs? For the average American, climbing stairs for just two minutes a day (six to eight flights) will burn enough calories to prevent annual weight gain.
22 Cooking Cutting up fruits and veggies into easy to grab snacks will help you to get your 7-9 servings a day that you need. Keep sliced fruit from turning brown by dipping it in lemon water.
23 Women’s Health Yoga and tai chi are two ways to keep your joints flexible and your muscles strong.  It’s important to keep your joints flexible so you can tie your shoes or zip up your dress. More importantly, it can help prevent falls. Try it!  You just may like it.
24 Exercise To improve your balance and prevent ankle injuries, try this. Stand with slightly bent  knees and bring one of your feet slightly off the ground. Feel your foot and ankle on the floor making adjustments to stay balanced.  At first, hold for 30 seconds and work up to one minute. Switch to the other foot and repeat.  Works best when wearing flats or bare feet.   This is an easy exercise you can do anywhere.
25 Self Care Emergencies are stressful when you know what to do and very stressful if you don’t know what to do.  Discuss an emergency plan with your doctor. Where does he suggest you seek treatment? Does he take after hour calls? Knowing what to do will take some of the stress out of an emergency situation.
26 Nutrition You can take a daily vitamin supplement, but try to get most of your nutrients from actual food. The antioxidants, vitamins, and other healthy nutrients found in foods like blueberries, beans, and artichokes don’t pack the same punch when they’re not in the form of food. Eat a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables as each color contains unique nutrients that others do not.
27 Stress Management Seek Support. When we feel overloaded, overwhelmed, or overworked, or just feeling down or blue it helps to get some support. Support includes using a mentor, advisor, counselor, therapist, friend, family, coach, support groups, workshops and seminars, church groups, spiritual connections, reading materials, books, soft music, CD’s, DVD’s, journaling, and internet sources, etc.  Reaching out when in need is key toward taking charge of our life. We can’t do it all alone.
28 Nutrition – Food Labels Be wary when a product makes a claim like “Endorsed by Moms of the Healthiest Kids” – This kind of statement is meant to influence your buying decision, not to inform you of its actual quality.  So read the ingredient list to know what is actually contained in the product you are buying.
29 Nutrition Don’t shop when you are hungry – statistics show that you are more likely to make bad choices when hungry.
30 Men’s Health Being connected 24/7 can be a big stressor and chronic stress can negatively affect us psychologically and physically.  Try “unplugging” for a night. That would include TV, phone and computer. Enjoy the peace!  For more information on stress, visit http://men.webmd.com/features/admit-it-men-youre-stressed
31 Nutrition Although cherries have been known to be a folk remedy for gout, they now have been proven effective by science.  There is a substance in cherries that stops the production of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation and pain. A bowl of 20 cherries (fresh or frozen) a day during a bout with gout is enough to neutralize the swelling with no side effects.
32 Exercise A rolling stone gathers no moss. Keep your wheels rolling. Bicycling burns excess calories and sheds body fat. One hour of cycling can burn up to 400-500 calories.
33 Nutrition If taking a supplement to get your vitamins, it is best to have a B-complex or multi vitamin for the B’s.  They work best when taken together….like musicians all together in an orchestra.
34 Women’s Health Did you know that women metabolize alcohol different from men?  In fact, the current recommendation is that women consume no more than one drink per day. One drink means 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 oz wine or 12 ounces of beer. Consuming more than this can increase the risk of health problems or interfere with medications. Alcohol also adds unnecessary calories.
35 Nutrition If we increase the fiber in our diet and do not increase water it will become “cement” in the GI tract.  Prevent constipation by drinking a lot of water.  How much is enough?  A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning followed by one every two hours until bedtime. Want to get more specific? Divide your current weight in half, that’s how many ounces of water you need each day.
36 Self Care When taking a new medicine, make sure you understand the“W’s”.  Why am I taking it? When do I take it? What should I do if I miss a dose? Who do I call if I have any questions?  When should I start to feel better? What are some of the side effects I should know about? Where should it be stored?
37 Exercise Researchers have found that when we walk, our brains are activated and our “gray” matter is protected.   Brain gray matter is involved in muscle control, seeing, speaking, hearing and memory.  So walk at least a mile a day to keep the mind in tip top shape.
38 Stress Management Did you know it’s okay to say “no” if you feel drained and exhausted because you may have volunteered too often or just overbooked yourself? It’s okay to back out, gracefully, of course.  “This no longer works for me…” is a statement to use to relinquish some responsibilities that we may have over committed to or do not want to volunteer to do in the future.  When doing this you are also teaching others it’s okay to take care of oneself.
39 Nutrition – Food Labels When looking at a label, every 5 grams of fat equals 1 pat of butter, or 1 teaspoon (small spoon) of oil. Look for good fats – the unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. These can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Avoid the bad fats: saturated and trans fat. Both can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease.
40 Safe Driving Don’t end up a statistic! Distracted driving kills. Don’t eat, drink, apply makeup or make phone calls while driving. Do not reach behind you to attend to passengers. If your child needs something, pull over to assist them. And absolutely no texting! Turn off your cell phone while driving or assign a designated passenger to text and reply to calls.
41 Men’s Health Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and lung cancer. It lowers your good cholesterol (HDL), temporarily raises your blood pressure, makes it more difficult to exercise and can affect the health of others around you. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about resources to help you quit. Your life depends on it.
42 Exercise Wear proper shoes when you exercise and your feet, and knees, and back will love you. The most important piece of equipment to virtually any kind of exercise is the right pair of shoes.  Go to an athletic shoe specialty store to get an expert insight on the right shoe and the best fit.
43 Nutrition Our bodies need clean, pure water.  Don’t wait until you are thirsty or have a dry mouth. To determine how much your body needs; take your body weight (in pounds) and divide in half… that number is how many ounces you should be drinking daily.
44 Skin Care “Beauty is skin deep”…. Researchers found that even a small increase in eating fruits and vegetables (especially red and yellow foods ) during a 6 week study gave participants improved skin quality. So add a few more servings each day of fresh produce for a healthy glow.
45 Self Care The food we eat can make us sick or keep us healthy. To stay healthy, be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose leaner cuts of meat and remove the skin from chicken and turkey. Limit sugary drinks and foods.  And be sure to watch the portions.  Remember, calories in and calories out. If you take in more calories than you are burning, you will gain weight.
46 Self Care Be prepared when you go to the doctor’s office.  Write down the top three health concerns you want to discuss and bring all medicines and supplements with you.  If you take your blood pressure or blood sugar at home on a regular basis, be sure to bring all those results with you.
47 Exercise Shower Warm-up — While waiting for the shower water to get warm; stretch arms up one at a time reaching for the ceiling. Start slow and continually speed up. (Improves circulation)
48 Stress Management Gratitude is the power of being thankful.  Gratitude is recognizing and concentrating on the good things in life and being thankful for them.  Start and/or end your day by noticing what you have or what you are grateful for.  There are positive emotions linked to being grateful.  Write down three things daily you are grateful for and watch your mood change.
49 Cooking Try an all-vegetable stir fry over whole grain rice. The taste may surprise you. The key to a crispy stir fry is very hot oil—your veggies will cook quickly instead of soaking up unneeded fat. 6. Pack a lunch instead of buying one every day. You will help your waist line and your pocket!
50 Financial Wellness Prepare to brown bag.  Eating out is expensive and so are vending machines. Plan your lunches ahead of time by making several meals you can freeze. Buy your snacks at the grocery store, then place snack portions in plastic bags to grab and go. You could easily save 0 per month if you implement both suggestions.

Provided to HAP by Robin Thompson, the Money Coach for WXYZ-TV Channel 7, president of Budget Wise Consulting (www.budgetwise.net).

51 Exercise Twist and shout! Did you know that you were designed to twist when you move? Twisting is what allows people to be the best athletes. In fact, reminding your body to twist at the hips is one of the most important things you can do. It’s easy – try this exercise. Begin walking and on each step place your food down on the opposite side of the centerline of your body. Another exercise is to stand and reach your arms across your body, alternating with your right and left arms. Or, do the “Twist” dance of the early 1960’s.
52 Self Care Happiness is a choice. You can choose to live in the moment and enjoy what you are currently doing, or wish you were doing or enjoying something else. What’s your choice?

New Year Resolutions, Thinking About The “Why”

muliaHappy New Year Everyone! Have you thought of what you would like to accomplish in 2016? You may have though of the”what” and “how” for your resolutions, but have you thought of the “why”? Thinking about the “why” for your resolutions will motivate you to stick with your goals because you know the purpose for your resolutions. Below is a great article that describes this in further detail. Happy New Year!

Three Words for the New Year

21 hours ago | Updated 20 hours ago

  • Susan Fowler Author, ‘Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…and What Does’

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/8900412

 

At the beginning of each New Year my step-daughter, Lisa, encourages us to proclaim three words that represent our aspirations for the upcoming year. The catch is that the words need to be alliterative–they all need to begin with the same letter. For example, my past trios included:

  • Compassion, Courage, and Curiosity
  • Purpose, Passion, and Pluralism
  • Gratitude, Graciousness, and Generosity

Keeping with the theme of trios, here are three reasons I encourage you to embrace this seemingly simple New Year exercise.

1. Begin with one noun that truly reflects your values-based intention for the New Year. If this is as far as you go, it is an important step in declaring an area for focus and improvement. I began with my priority for this year: JOY.

In the process of examining the word JOY, I came across words that were worth considering or just plain interesting:

  • Jeu d’esprit–a witty comment or composition
  • Joie de vivre–a feeling of happiness or excitement about life
  • Jovial–full of happiness and joy
  • Joyance–an archaic word meaning an experience of delight
  • Randomly, I learned that a jolie laide is a good-looking ugly woman; a woman who is attractive though not conventionally pretty (and made me wonder about the origin of Angelina Jolie’s name)

Each of these words encouraged me to explore a different aspect of what I wanted JOY to reflect in my life. I didn’t want a synonym for happiness. To me, happiness lacks a dimension of quality. Someone might be “happy” that something awful has happened to a rival; that she won and someone else lost; that he got the big promotion or received some other external validation. These reasons for being happy reflect suboptimal forms of motivation that I am eliminating from my life.

I want JOY to signify a deep and profound state of delight that comes from acting on my developed values, fulfilling a noble purpose, and experiencing intentional inherent motivation.

2. Begin exploring other words that begin with the first letter of your primary word. This fascinating process leads you down paths you might never explore if you picked three words that begin with any letter. I almost gave up on JOY because positive “j” words are scarce! But I found words that pushed back on my values and intentions in surprising ways. Juncture took on a symbolic meaning beyond its dictionary definition. I liked the idea that juncture represented “an important point in a process or activity: a place where things join.” Could I embody a point where people joined in an important process or activity? Experiencing my JOY was one thing, but sharing it with others was another thing.

This led me to JUBILANCE: expression of joy; rejoicing.

3. One reason most resolutions don’t work is because they are too general. (I wrote a blog that you might want to revisit).

But, resolutions fail for a more deadly reason. Most resolutions are statements about “what” you want (to lose weight, or more healthy) or “how” you’re going to change your behavior (stop eating empty carbs, work out weekly, drink a green shake every morning).

The most important aspect of a resolution is often the least considered: why. Declaring what you want and how you will do it cannot sustain your efforts without clarity about why you want to do it in the first place.

Why do you want to lose weight, be thinner, or more healthy? The answer to why lies in your values and purpose. Linking your values and connecting your purpose to resolutions elevates your intentions. Expressing your developed values and noble purpose through three compelling words makes you more resolute. (Family, Fitness, and Facile, maybe?)

One word reflects a value connected to my life’s purpose to be a catalyst for good and permeates my thinking every time I watch the news, listen to a political candidate, or discuss world events: JUSTICE. I long to be fair, open-minded, loving, compassionate, and to seek harmony between diverse points of view. What a glorious “J” word.

Beginning the year with JOY, JUBILANCE, AND JUSTICE is almost as optimally motivating as ending the year with GRATITUDE, GRACIOUSNESS, AND GENEROSITY. The most thrilling realization from the three-word exercise is that the you give, the more you receive. This has been a year where I received touching expressions of gratitude for my work; where people were gracious in light of my foibles and failings and amazingly generous with their bountiful gifts.

What are your three alliterative words for the New Year? I encourage you to share with us as you embark on a year of living intentionally