Say No To Stress Snacking!

Let’s admit it, as much as we love the holidays, they can be a stressful! Nothing quite challenges our healthy lifestyle like this time of year; we are constantly trying to balance it all: buying the perfect gifts while maintaining a budget, making everyones favorite dishes while trying to eat healthy, and working overtime to complete finals or projects, while also trying to spend time with family and friends. It can be a lot! Now more then ever, we are tempted to stress snack. Which can lead to unhealthiness, which can lead to guilt, which can lead more stress and so on!

Remember, it is all a balance and you can only do your best. But here are some tips to beat stress snacking (most of them eliminate stress in the first place –  because sometimes the best treatment is prevention!)

  1. Exercise. I know you’re thinking, “when do I have the time?!” But trust me, you will thank yourself for making the time. Go for a walk, turn on some music, and just get moving.
  2. Drink Something Warm. Holding a warm mug will help you decompress, curb your appetite, and hydrate you. Triple threat!tea
  3. Breathe. Simple yet, effective. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and exhale for 5 seconds. This relaxes you and boosts oxygen to your brain so you can make clear decisions.
  4. Take Ten. 10 minutes just for you. Set a timer and shelf whatever stresses you have for 10 minutes.
  5. Reach for Magnesium Rich Foods. Think leafy greens, nuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, and pumpkin seeds.
  6. And when in doubt remember, JUST SAY NO to stress snacking. o-NO-GOOD-GESTURE-570
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3 Stretches That Reduce Stress

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The following article was originally published on prevention.com

If daily stress has you literally in knots, taking a short break to do a few simple stretches can go a long way toward unwrapping some of that anxiety and tension. With each of these movements, stretch only as far as comfortably possible and focus on your breathing. For your healthiest stress-relief plan, combine these moves with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and frequent contact with friends and loved ones.

Wall Roll-Down
What it does: Relaxes neck, shoulders, and lower back
How to do it: Stand with your back against a wall, feet hip-width apart and about 12 inches from the wall. Inhale, pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your spine, and press your entire back to the wall. As you exhale, roll down until only your tailbone and buttocks are touching the wall. Relax your neck and shoulders, and let your head and arms hang. Take deep, slow breaths and circle your arms inward five times, then outward five times. Slowly roll up.

Cat With a Twist
What it does: Relaxes shoulders, chest, abdominal muscles, and back
How to do it: Kneel with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Exhale, pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your spine, round your back, and drop your head and tailbone toward the floor, stretching like a cat. Inhale and reverse the move, arching your back and lifting your tailbone and head toward the ceiling. Do the sequence five times. Next, with your back flat, twist and slide your left arm, palm up, between your right arm and right leg. Reach far enough with your left hand so that your left shoulder, arm, and side of your head rest on the floor. Hold for five to eight deep breaths, then repeat with right arm.

Up the Wall
What it does: Relaxes hips and back of thighs
How to do it: Lie on your back with buttocks as close to a wall as possible. Extend your legs up on the wall, keeping your feet relaxed and about hip-width apart. Using your hands, gently press your thighs toward the wall. Hold for five to eight breaths. Then slowly bend your knees out to the sides and bring the soles of your feet together, sliding them down the wall as far as is comfortable. (The sides of your feet should rest against the wall.) Gently press your knees and thighs toward the wall. Hold for five to eight breaths. Release.

To view more ways to stretch and similar exercise videos, please visit my YouTube Channel.

8 Weeks. 56 Days. You Did It!

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You have officially completed the 8 Week Challenge! Congratulations! I hope you have learned the benefits that changes to your diet, exercise regime and emotional health can bring: increased energy, greater sense of well-being, the ability to sleep better, and increased mental clarity to name a few. Some of you mentioned that the greatest benefits came from changing your diet. There really is no substitute for healthy eating. Energy bars, and nutritional drinks are mostly hype (and often, full of sugar) and their advertisements are more about making the nutritional company money than they are about making you healthy. Consuming whole, non-processed foods, with a renewed focus on vegetables and legumes is a key component to increased longevity.

Another part of the challenge that received much discussion was the notion of taking a cable news or talk radio holiday. While some of you found this particular challenge very difficult, most of you seemed to really enjoy the break and noticed a reduction in your overall stress level with an increase in your feelings of well-being. Wonderful!

I hope that all of you who participated choose to continue to incorporate some of these changes into your life. Most importantly, I hope you continue to share your stories of success with me. For those of you who may need a refresher course from time to time, or for those who did not participate these last 8 weeks but want to give our 8 Week Lifestyle Challenge a try, start with our Let’s Get Grocery Shopping post or use our practice’s website to get our grocery shopping recommendations and view a full list of all of our challenges, from week one to week eight.

Great job everyone!

Can a Healthy Diet Prevent Dementia?

Can a Healthy Diet Prevent Dementia?

The answer is probably yes. In a recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, those people who more closely adhered to a Mediterranean Diet, lived longer, were healthier and were much less likely to get dementia. Other factors associated with these same benefits include exercise, stress reduction and getting adequate sleep.