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All posts for the month February, 2013

photo credit: www.self.com

photo credit: www.self.com

Why does it seem that you only crave foods that are bad for you? Whether it’s chocolate, salty potato chips, or sweet candy, when that craving hits- you just have to satisfy it. Instead of reaching for your usual treat, packed with calories and regret, learn the secret to being satisfied and still healthy.

Craving candy? Try fruit. Forget that it’s healthy- and you’ll be surprised how sweet and satisfying it can be. There are plenty of fruits that have that sweet taste without all the extra, unwanted calories. In addition to curbing that sweet tooth craving, try adding higher fiber foods and whole grains.

Chocolate always seems to be the first thing we tend to gravitate towards to make ourselves feel good. It’s my number one go- to craving, and it’s almost impossible to fight. The good news- you don’t have to eliminate chocolate all together when that hankering hits. To satisfy that craving, choose dark chocolate. Chocolate with 75 percent cacao or higher is lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants. Chocolate is chocolate- why not make it good for you.

The craving for salty foods, such as potato chips or popcorn, is often linked with chronic stress affecting your adrenal glands. It is important to keep your stress under control. Some ways to get a handle on stress are meditation and breathing exercises. If you take a moment to meditate and breathe before reaching for that salty morsel, you will cut your binging in half.

The ultimate craving cure, and perhaps the easiest addition to anyone’s daily diet, is drinking water! Yes, water! Most of the time when we interpret our bodies signals as food cravings, we are actually just dehydrated. Research suggests that 80 percent of people are chronically dehydrated. Before reaching for that piece of food, try drinking a tall glass of water first. Wait 30 minutes after you finished your glass of water, and then decide then if you are still hungry. I’ve tried this… and it works!

It is important to distinguish between your body’s needs and wants. Of course everyone is going to indulge once in a while, and that’s okay. Making unhealthy snacks a habit is not okay. Try and be conscious of your decisions and think about what it is that your body is really asking for, and consider all ways to satisfy that need in the healthiest way.

 

From: Women’s Health Magazine

Image: collegecures.com

Image: collegecures.com

It’s no secret- college students are sleep deprived. Brown University has found that approximately 11% of students get a good night’s sleep, while 73% of college students report sleeping problems.  In addition, 30% of college girls report having insomnia for at least 3 months.  Sleep deprivation in college students has been linked to lower GPAs, since sleep affects an individuals’ concentration, memory, and ability to learn. There are many factors that make maintaining a regular sleep schedule difficult, such as living in a residence hall, studying for exams, late classes, and socializing. Your daily activities and habits may strongly effect how well you sleep.  Being able to balance out your life as a college student is very difficult, but here are some suggestions to improve your sleeping habits:

Spend some time outside. Being cooped up in your dorm room all day will make you tired.Time spent outside during the day helps to preserve your body’s sleep and wake cycles. Here are some campus options:

  • Walk to class
  • Study outside
  • Play an outdoor club sport
  • Relax in the sun with friends
  • Walk outside for exercise

Get physical activity. Most of think that we are too tired to work out, but in fact, exerting some energy will give you even more energy.  Exercise can promote more regular sleep and wake patterns as well as reduce stress patterns.  However, it’s important to avoid exercise or any other vigorous type of activity 3 or 4 hours before going to sleep.

Eat regular meals. Eat smaller meals and be especially careful to avoid heavy meals near bedtime.

Limit caffeine and Nicotine.  Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, which disrupt sleep. It is best to stay away from these after lunchtime. If you are up late studying or just need a little more energy, try a small, energy-boosting snack instead of a caffeinated beverage.

Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.  Alcohol is very disruptive to sleep.

Practice time management with your schoolwork. Worrying in bed about the next day or week can keep you from falling asleep. In addition, try to keep your school work up to date in order to decrease your overall stress and worry, and also to reduce last minute cramming.

Avoid naps during the day. Staying up late and napping the next day is a common practice for most students. Sleeping during the day for long periods of time will further disrupt your sleep pattern, leading to a vicious cycle. Stay awake!

 

For more information:  http://www.campusmindworks.org/students/self_care/sleep.asp

I am trying to lose weight, so I’ve been eating a lot less than I used to. If I eat too much during the day, I feel like I am cheating on my diet. What are some ways to feel full and still lose the weight? 

-Erica H., 21

Healthy is the new skinny. You shouldn’t want to lose weight to be skinny; you should lose weight to be healthy and fit. The first week is always the hardest out of any diet, so I took it slow and in moderation. My new discovery: GRAPEFRUIT.

Working out by itself won’t cut it; we have to eat healthy as well. Not only does grapefruit have a refreshing and tangy taste, it has enormous health benefits as well. Grapefruits are loaded with vitamin C! According to Web M.D., just one-half of a grapefruit delivers 80% of your recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C and 6% of vitamin A. Vitamin C is essential for boosting your immune system so that your body can fight off diseases. Vitamin C also produces healthy collagen for smooth and radiant skin.  Consuming one grapefruit a day can actually help you shed some pounds. Since they are high in fiber and low in calories, it will satisfy your hunger longer and you will be less tempted to overeat.

I started incorporating grapefruit into my morning diet regimen and cut out unnecessary carbohydrates. For breakfast, I eat a whole grapefruit with a sprinkle of raw sugar, and a slice of whole-wheat toast with almond butter. By eating this for one meal instead of pancakes or waffles, I am already feeling healthier.

This week, try to incorporate a new healthy food into your diet.

-Julia

 

As college students, it’s normal to miss out on sleep. We wake up feeling exhausted, run around during the day feeling lethargic, and when we get in bed at night- we’re wide awake. This vicious cycle continues, and we hit the snooze button yet again the next morning.

Researchers from The University of Pennsylvania used data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help make the connection between the foods we consume and the sleep we get. They concluded that the people who slept the recommended seven to eight hours a night were the ones who ate the most variety of food and consumed the most nutrients. Those sleeping less than five hours consumed the least amount of variety and nutritious foods. The moral to this story is if you want to get more sleep, consume healthier and higher quality foods (seems simple enough). If that isn’t incentive enough, those who begin to engage in poor sleep habits ultimately develop even worse eating habits, as the hormones which effect hunger and appetite lead to unhealthy food choices. The pattern between eating and sleeping can be a perpetual cycle of either healthy choices, or unhealthy ones. You make the decision!

To help you get started in making wiser food choices here are some “super” foods to consider:

low fat cottage cheese, pumpkin seeds, arctic char, kale, sunflower seeds, whole eggs, orange cauliflower, tomatoes, hemp, walnuts, beef, broccoli sprouts, asparagus, grape juice (natural), dried plums, blueberries, kefir, ricotta cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.

 

From: Women’s Health Magazine

 

Under Armour is developing and preparing to release a technology that is going to compete heavily with the Nike Fuel Band.  It is called Armour39. Image Credit: Hypebeast

It is a monitoring system of athletes to track progress such as the amount of calories your burn, your heart rate, and a new term called, “Willpower.”  Willpower is defined by Under Armour as a measure to see how hard the athlete has worked, ranging on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0.  There are three pieces to this product. The module/chest strap appears to go across the athlete’s chest and serves as the monitoring device for the attributes stated above.  The second component, the smart phone app, is where the athlete can track their progress digitally.  Finally, there is a display watch that can serve as the replacement of the smart phone app, depending on what is more convenient for the user. It is Under Amour’s hope that this product will be able to give accurate readings and an in depth analysis of the athlete’s progress. The product is available for preorder, and should be on the market this spring.

 

A new study from Indiana University at Bloomington 94 % of couples who joined a fitness program as a pair were more likely to stick with it, than singles.

Image Provided by: Thinkstock / The Nest

Image Provided by: Thinkstock / The Nest

Couple Workouts seem to be the new “it” trend. Classes across the country range from intensities of cross fit to technique in Pilates and breathing in yoga. Gyms include Soul Cycle, Barry’s Boot camp and Pure Yoga.

We are always looking for a workout partner so who better than your significant other many gyms are now offering year round sweat sessions.

Couples fitness can help create motivation support and share a common interest in the gym. So switch things up this year put down the chocolates and pick up the barbells.

It’s great to be healthy, but healthy doesn’t always mean denying ourselves a reward.

After long hours of work, what better way to celebrate than by enjoying a cocktail?  Make it a skinny version! Here are a few recipes for cocktails under 150 calories:

photo credit: losangeles.cbslocal.com

photo credit: losangeles.cbslocal.com

I love a Cosmopolitan just as much as the next girl, but is it really, worth 220 calories per drink?  Make it worth your while by taking it down a notch.  Here’s how to enjoy 75 calories worth of a Cosmo!

  • Squeeze a wedge of lime and a wedge of orange into 1 oz. of cranberry flavored vodka
  • Fill the glass with club soda and serve over ice

Looking for something simple, delicious, and NOT fattening?  Check this out. Only 75 calories!

  • Pick a flavored vodka or rum
  • Add club soda, a twist of lime, and pour it on the rocks!

Mimosas without the feeling of regret afterwards:

  • 1 oz. orange juice and 3 oz. champagne

Margarita Monday just got even better. Enjoy a mini margarita for only 80 calories.

  • Squeeze a couple of lime and orange wedges into a glass.
  • Add 1 oz of tequila and a splash of sweet and sour mix (optional).
  • Blend with ice cubes or serve on the rocks, your choice!

Mhm, Bellini? Don’t mind if I do! Enjoy a Basic Bellini for only 105 calories:

  • Blend 2 oz white-peach puree with 4 oz Prosecco

Feeling guilty about your love for daiquiris? Not anymore! 135 calories of deliciousness by following this recipe:

  • Puree 1 cup of strawberries in a blender with 1 oz. light rum and a handful of ice cubes and a sprinkle of sugar

Pina Coladas are the perfect summer drink! Unfortunately they are 700 calories! Not worth it. How about enjoying a refreshing Nada Colada?

  • Mix 1 oz. coconut rum with 4 oz pineapple juice
  • Top with a splash of club soda
  • Serve over ice

Enjoy and reward yourself, while still living a healthy lifestyle, sans the extra calories.

Recipes taken from: http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=10_cocktails_with_150_calories_or_less

As college students, time management is crucial. We need more hours to study, to get to the gym to make time for our friends, and in many cases- time to eat. When time is limited, many college students choose to drop by the drive-thru instead of stopping by the salad bar. We’ve all done it. It’s easy, and you get more for your money, right?

We have to keep in mind, as with anything in life, the “easy” choices come with consequences.

photo credit: wisefoodstorage.com

photo credit: wisefoodstorage.com

Federal Health Officials claim that 11 percent of Americans caloric intake is contributed to the fast food industry. In 2006, it was reported to be at 13 percent according to the U.S Center for Disease Controls and Prevention. As a country, we are making healthier choices slightly more often but it still is not enough.The studied compared age groups, and noted that the older participants were, the less the ate fast food. Clearly, college students are at a higher risk than most adults. Late night drinking leads to late night drive-thru’s. Here are some things to consider before stopping for fast food:

Your body will feel lethargic after the meal, you won’t get some of the essential nutrients you need, and your body will be working overtime to digest and store the excess fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.

A cheat meal once in awhile is okay, but don’t make fast food a habit. The damage done to your body over the long term isn’t worth is. Next time, make a smarter opinion. Your workout and body will thank you later.

 

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/02/21/fast-food-makes-up-11-percent-of-calories-in-us-diet-cdc

There’s nothing like the feeling after a good workout, right? Right. Well, there is one thing that adds to the fun of working out — new gadgets. Looking for a new fitness tool. Fitbit’s new wristband, Flex may be your answer. This new wireless activity & sleep wristband uses it’s sleek design to help you keep track of your goals.

www.fitbit.com/flex

www.fitbit.com/flex

The wristband tracks:

  • Calories Burned
  • Hours Slept
  • Distance Traveled                                          
  • Active Minutes
  • Quality of Sleep 
  • Steps Taken

Once paired though Bluetooth with your smartphone, Flex tracks the goals you’ve set for yourself for each day. It keeps record of your progress by using its led lights. This new workout accessory makes it fun & easy to reach your goals. Flex also has an alarm feature to wake you up for those morning workouts, and it’s water-resistant, so don’t be afraid to work up a good sweat!

To Pre-Order or learn more about Flex check out their website: http://www.fitbit.com/flex

Question: I often experience soreness from the gym, but sometimes I realize the pain is more than just muscular soreness. Sometimes the bottoms of my feet hurt, my legs ache, or I wake up to a stiff lower back. What can I do to take care of my body in between workouts?

Answer:

Classmate,

Lower body pain is extremely common, especially in people who are active! You’re already a step in the right direction by realizing that you need to take care of your body when you’re NOT working out. How you treat your body in the time outside of the gym is as equally important as your workouts. Think about it- running on the treadmill, jumping up and down, lifting weights, and building strength- blatantly, your body takes a pounding. We need to be good to our bodies, so they’re capable of working out to their full capacity. Hot showers/baths, massages, chiropractic adjustments, and stretching can help your body, combined with giving it the proper nutrients. However, there’s a key tip that many people overlook:

ARCH SUPPORT

How many times have you walked through the mall, on the way to class, around the house, or out on the weekends- wearing flip flops, ballet flats, or flat fur-lined boots such as UGGs? If you’re like me, I live in these types of shoes, and found myself wearing them almost everyday. They’re quick and easy to throw on, and very comfortable. What we don’t realize: They’re not providing the proper support to our arches, often throwing off our body alignment, causing pain.

Walking extensively without the proper support can do serious damage to our lower body. Try wearing sneakers, or a shoe with a built in arch, to class, or to go shopping. Your feet will feel better, and your walk to class will be FASTER (I swear, it works- what a quick fix when you’re running late). When our feet are given the proper support, we can propel our bodies rather than shuffling along with flat feet.

You can still wear your favorite flat shoes, but wear them in moderation. Try switching out these shoes for ones with proper arches for a few days, and see how it affects your body! Hope this helps.

-Julia