4 Healthy Foods That May Be Derailing Your Diet

You Don't Have to Give Up Chips and Guacamole!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that big plates of pasta and rich desserts can make the scale groan, but some of the foods that you always thought were healthy may also be keeping you from shedding those last stubborn pounds.

Here are four healthy foods that can derail your diet:

Avocado

I was excited to read in the Nutrition Journal that people who ate a half an avocado every day had less body mass and smaller waists. Avocados contain healthy amounts of fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium.

One of the popular ways to use avocados is in guacamole. Once you add chips to the mix, it’s easy to overeat. Just ¼ cup of guacamole contains 8 grams of fat, but nutritionists consider 1/5 of the avocado as one serving. That cuts the fat down to 4.5 grams.

Almonds

A big handful of almonds hits the spot when you’re starving between meals. I was surprised that a cup of almonds has a scale-busting calorie count of 529 calories and 45 grams of fat.

Keep calories down by measuring ¼ cup portions into zip lock bags, and when the snacking urge hits, you have a healthy serving ready to eat.

Egg Whites

I see so many breakfast sandwiches made with egg whites, but the ones I have tried don’t have much taste and are not a satisfying meal.

Eggs have received a bad rap in recent years with nutrition experts because they can raise cholesterol levels. However, the yolk contains choline, which is an essential fat-burning ingredient.

Now, nutritionists are chilling out, and recommending no more than 2 egg yolks a day.

Multi-Grain Bread

What could be healthier than a sandwich made on multi-grain bread? Before you pack that sandwich, read the nutrition label. Terms such as “whole grains”, “7-grain,” and “multi-grain” can mean that enriched white flour may be mixed in with some whole grains, but you don’t know how much. Multi-grain bread is often higher in sugar and calories.

Choose breads that are 100% whole-grain.

 

 

4 Tasty Super Bowl Treats

They're Also Good for You!

I am a big football fan and have attended quite a few Super Bowl parties. There’s every kind of dish available from hot wings and chili, to burgers hot off the grill. Nachos piled high with meat, cheese, and sour cream are so delicious you may devour the whole plate.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these lavish spreads are mighty high in fat and calories. But food and football do go together, and you can substitute healthier foods and not feel deprived.

Here are four tasty Super Bowl treats:

Baked Potato Bar

Who doesn’t love a piping hot baked potato? Potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C and potassium, and you can dress them up in so many different ways. Steamed broccoli, chopped tomatoes, onions, or chives add a lot of taste but not calories. You can also put out small dishes of bacon and cheese so that you have something to please everyone.

Barbeque Chicken Sliders

This juicy chicken cooks in a tangy tomato sauce. Small slider buns can be used to build sandwiches with your favorite toppings. If you like salad, serve the chicken with shredded cabbage tossed with low-fat mayo, cider vinegar, celery seed and a drizzle of honey.

Cauliflower Pizza Bites

These healthier pizza bites substitute cauliflower for white pizza dough, and are baked in mini muffin pans.  Add your favorite fillings, and serve with a bowl of warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Vegan Rice Krispy Treats

No party is complete without dessert, at least in my book. These tasty treats use brown rice syrup instead of marshmallow crème, and the addition of peanut butter bumps up the protein. Each serving is only 153 calories, so don’t feel bad about coming back for seconds.

 

When Life Hands You Lemons

Pick Yourself Up and Keep Moving Forward!

I blogged a few days ago about how everything seemed to be going wrong at once. We got the car fixed, the heat pump is in the process of being fixed, Mark is feeling better, and so I thought ok this was a financial strain, but we got through it and it’s time to move on with life.

Then, this week we had a massive storm and the fence blew down. It’s always something, and no one is immune from problems. The only thing you can change is your attitude.

Here are five tips to follow when life hands you lemons:

Accept Change

It may often seem like you are dealing with more than your share of problems, but if you can accept the fact that things in life never stay the same, it will be easier to find solutions when problems arise.

Keep a Positive Attitude

I will be the first to admit this is not always easy, but not all unexpected problems are negative. For example, if you lose your job it may seem like the end of the world, but often it can lead to better opportunities that you might not have been able to take advantage of before.

Have An Alternate Plan

It can be so exciting to put those life-changing plans in motion. Perhaps it’s looking for a new job, a new house, or you’ve decided to go back to school and train for a different career.

Unfortunately, things don’t always work out when we want them to, so it’s always good to have an alternate plan, so you don’t get depressed and not know what to do next.

Practice Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

There’s no better way to get used to change than getting out of your comfort zone. Introduce small changes in your life. Take a different route to work, invite a new friend out to lunch, or order Chinese and eat the whole meal with chopsticks.

Stress Doesn’t Solve Your Problems

Stressing out is not going to solve your problems, and you’ll just feel more flustered and confused. Put your thinking cap on and decide where you’re going to go from here. Decide what you can fix or improve. In some cases, you might have to make the best of your situation until you can put your plans into motion.

 

 

 

 

Does Winter Weather Make You Cranky?

5 Ways to Deal with Seasonal Depression!

We have had so much rain lately that I feel like building an ark and climbing in it. It’s too nasty to go outside and so cabin fever sets in, and the long cold nights seem like they’ll never end.

Does this sound familiar? You may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), otherwise known as seasonal depression. Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your dark mood.

Here are five ways to deal with seasonal depression:

Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This is particularly helpful if you find that you can’t go to sleep or can’t wake up. If possible, eat your meals at the same time each day. Following these good habits will keep your body in a more normal rhythm.

Let the Light Shine In

When the weather is  dreary and it looks dark outside, open your curtains and blinds and let in some natural sunshine, even if it’s just a small amount. When things are dark and dreary, it’s a temptation to just curl up in a corner. Spend at least part of the day in front of the window.

Purchase a Light Box/Dawn Simulator

If you’re having trouble getting out of bed, consider purchasing a dawn simulator. It works like your alarm clock but it gradually wakes you up with light. Many people who suffer from SAD get relief by using a light box for 30 minutes each morning.

Don’t Neglect Exercise

When it’s nasty outside, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising. However, getting some exercise in the fresh air will give you more energy.  Bundle up if you have to, and talk a walk or run. Visit your neighbors or play games with the family.

Keep a Journal

Writing down your feelings is a good way to relieve stress and isolation, and you may find that it’s not just the dreary season of the year that is bothering you. Maybe there is a problem at work or in your relationships with family and friends.

 

Can’t Lose Those Last 10 Pounds?

5 Ways Fidgeting Can Help You Lose Weight!

 

I had a friend when I was a teenager that just could not be quiet. If we were in the car, she would drum on the steering wheel, stamp her feet, and wiggle her hands till I was ready to smack her. When I would ask her to stop, she told me that she just likes a lot of noise.

Now, it turns out all that fidgeting may be good for keeping the pounds at bay, and when you’re in menopause you need all the help you can get.

You probably want to let your friends and family know what you’re doing, so they don’t think you’ve lost your mind.

Here are five ways fidgeting can help you lose weight:

Pace

Pacing works particularly well if you are on the phone, or waiting for commercials to end. If you’re in an airport waiting for your flight to leave, pace up and down the corridors.

March in Place

If it’s impossible to go outside for a break, march in place. How often do you stand in the grocery line waiting to check out? That’s a good opportunity to burn more calories.

Tap Your Feet

Put your favorite music on and tap along to the beat. If you really want to kick it up a notch, snap your fingers and sway your hips from side to side.

Make Multiple Trips

When you’re copying papers, do half and then walk back to your desk for the rest of the pile. Find the farthest bathroom from your office.

If you’re at home and folding clothes, make multiple trips to put them away. Sweep the driveway, and make a separate trip to get the mail. It’s all about creating extra steps.

Wriggle Legs

If you’re sitting at a desk, wiggle your legs. It not only helps burn calories, but can also improve circulation and sore muscles.

These are just a few ideas, and you’ll want to tailor fidgeting to your schedule and what works best for you.

 

What’s Going Right?

Things May Not Be As Screwed Up As You Think!

It’s been a crazy month and it seems like everything went haywire at once. One of us got sick, with multiple doctor and hospital visits plus medication, the car warranty that was supposed to cover everything didn’t, my glasses needed to be changed, and a breaker and the heat pump were in dire need of immediate attention.

All this chaos reminded me of a session I had with my life coach.  We met on Skype and this one particular day I had a laundry list of complaints about life, and couldn’t wait for our session to begin. I was going to get things off my chest come Hell or high water.

I was about halfway through my complaint list of things that were going wrong, when my life coach stopped me. That was highly annoying since I was only halfway done.

“Ok, let me ask you, what’s going right?”  Wow, I’d have to give that some thought. Who knew he was going to throw that kind of curveball at me?

I was still  above ground so that was a plus, I had a warm house to live in, my marriage was good, we weren’t flat broke, and I had pizza for lunch (always a plus in my book).

Once I got started it was hard to stop, and I could have filled part of a notebook with all the things that were going right.

My cranky mood lifted, and we decided that each night before bedtime I would list three things that went right, and why. Now, when those frantic days come, this simple exercise helps me keep things in perspective.

Let me give you some examples:

I was tempted to eat too much cake, but chose fruit instead. Why? I want to watch my weight and eat healthier foods.

I kept calm when the heater repairman said I owed $500. Why? Getting upset won’t solve anything and I knew the repairs would be expensive. Now I am toasty warm instead of freezing cold.

Try this simple exercise before bedtime and see how many things are going right in your life.

Tired of Trotting to the Bathroom?

Foods to Avoid with An Overactive Bladder!

 

According to the Urology Care Foundation, 33 million Americans have an overactive bladder. Symptoms of overactive bladder include an uncontrollable urge to use the bathroom. When you feel that urge, it’s a race to get to the bathroom before you leak urine on your clothes. Skin problems and infections can result from leaked urine that touches the skin.

It’s hard to be a social butterfly and participate in your favorite activities. What if there is not a bathroom nearby? You may stay home more often which leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Talking to your doctor can be very helpful, as well as avoiding certain foods that may trigger overactive bladder symptoms. Here are four foods to avoid when you have an overactive bladder:

Carbonated Drinks/Sparkling Water

When it’s a hot day, an icy cold Coke hits the spot. It will also irritate your bladder, so you can stop drinking sodas or limit yourself to a few a week.  If you’re planning to toast the New Year with champagne or sparkling water, be aware that the fizz and/or alcohol can trigger overactive bladder symptoms.

Tomato-Based Foods

Reducing your intake of tomato-based foods is difficult because it includes popular foods such as pizza, spaghetti made with meat sauce, and condiments such as ketchup. Skip those yummy chips with salsa at your favorite Mexican restaurant, or eat them plain.

Coffee/Chocolate

Caffeine causes your bladder to fill rapidly. You may be able to tolerate a few cups a week or have to go cold turkey. However, you don’t have to give up your Starbuck’s fix if you switch to Decaf.

Who doesn’t love chocolate, especially those chocolate fountains at certain buffets? If you find chocolate aggravates your overactive bladder, switch to white chocolate.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit can send your bladder into overdrive, but you don’t have to give up eating healthy fruits such as bananas, apples, pears, and berries.

Is Sugar Wreaking Havoc With Your Waistline?

4 Easy Tips to Get Back In Your Jeans!

Did you know that the average American eats 82 grams of  added sugar a day? According to the Centers for Disease Control that equals out to 19.5 teaspoons of sugar. A healthier limit is usually six to nine teaspoons.

I have to be honest with myself and say that I have eaten way too many sweets in the last couple of months. Cookies, cake, pie, Cracker Jacks®, and mini candy bars tasted good, but now my stomach is revolting and Pepto-Bismol is my new best friend.

My clothes feel tighter, and I am not in the financial position to buy a whole new wardrobe. Of course, I can blame a lot of it on the holidays, but I am determined to eat healthier without depriving myself.

Here are four tips to reduce sugar in your daily diet:

Start a Food Diary

Before you start reducing your sugar intake, it’s a good idea to write down everything that you eat for three days. Be honest. If you ate three scoops of ice cream with hot fudge and all the trimmings, or apple pie with whipped cream and ice cream, write it down. This will help pinpoint your biggest sources of sugar, and help you think of some healthier substitutes.

Learn to Read Food Labels

It’s amazing how many ordinary foods have added sugar. Salad dressings that you thought were so healthy, soup, tomato sauce, and condiments like catsup, have added sugar for better flavor. Food labels list ingredients in order, and the nearer an ingredient is to the top of the list the more sugar it contains.

Beware of Low-Fat Foods

It’s been my experience that foods that are low-fat are not as tasty as their full-fat counterparts. How do manufacturers make it taste better? That’s right, add more sugar. It’s better to buy full-fat foods and eat less.

Cut Down Gradually

You don’t need to go cold turkey. For example, if you like two packets of sugar in your coffee, cut down to one. The next week have half a packet, until you feel comfortable drinking your coffee black.

The holidays are a particularly tough time to reduce sugar, so have a smaller portion of your favorite dessert. Pumpkin pie can be lightened up by rolling pie crust thinner, using light butter, and substituting egg whites for egg yolks.

Do You Look Like a Raccoon?

3 Easy Tips for Puffy Eyes

 

Menopause is the gift that keeps on giving. Now, in addition to menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and weight gain, you may have to cope with puffy eyes. The make-you-feel miserable symptoms include redness, itchiness, watering, and swollen eyelids.

Fluctuating hormones can cause fluid retention in menopause. Other causes may include allergies, sleep deprivation, hangover, or crying your eyes out over some sappy movie.

Here are 3 easy tips for puffy eyes:

Ice

Your skin is inflamed, and applying ice can quickly reduce inflammation. Some words of caution: skin around the eyes is very sensitive, so wrap the ice bag in a clean moistened towel. The trick is to keep it on your eyes until your skin feels cool. Don’t leave on too long or you may damage the capillaries.

Chilled Cucumbers

You probably have some cucumbers on hand to toss into a salad, so this is a very cost-effective remedy. Cucumbers have good enzymes and astringents that not only reduce inflammation, but also tighten the skin.  Here are the simple directions:

  1. Cut thick slices of cucumber
  2. Put into the refrigerator for 10 minutes
  3. Lie down on a bed, couch, or floor and place the slices on your eyelids. Leave on for 10 minutes or until cucumber is warm.
  4. Repeat several times a day.

Cold Spoons

I had never heard of this remedy for puffy eyes, but it does make sense since cold reduces inflammation.   Follow these steps:

  1. Put 4-5 metal spoons in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Place the back of the spoons against your eyelids.
  3. When the spoons feels warm, replace with cold spoons.

These remedies only offer temporary relief, so consult your doctor if puffiness persists.

How do you deal with puffy eyes?

How to Achieve Work/Life Balance in Menopause

You Don't Have to Drive Yourself Crazy!

It’s getting a lot more difficult to balance work obligations with family life. Companies are keeping later hours and workers may find themselves scheduled for different shifts.

The trick is to use time more efficiently and free up extra hours for activities you enjoy. Here are some tips on how to achieve work/life balance in menopause.

Work with Your Body Clock

What time a day are you most productive? Do you prefer working in the morning or are you a night owl? If you’re a morning person and your company allows flex time, start work earlier, and avoid the worst of the commute home. This will free up more time in your day.

Start with the biggest projects first while you’re the most energetic. After lunch, you may feel less energetic, so this is a good time to do simpler things like returning phone calls and answering emails.

Bring Your Lunch

It’s a nice treat to sit down to a good meal away from the office, but if you count up how many minutes it takes you to get there and back, order, wait for the food to be prepared, and eat, you’ve wasted a good chunk of time. As an added bonus, bringing your lunch allows you to pack in nutrition and keep an eye on portion size.

Relocate Nearer to Work

It isn’t easy to just sell your house, and buy another one. Plus, you may be happy right where you are, and the kids may be in a good school district. It’s also nice to be closer to your church and shopping.

However, relocating has its benefits, and cutting your commute time down to 10-15 minutes, will free up another hour or two for things you enjoy. Add up this savings by the week, and you can come up with an extra 10 hours.

Schedule Family Time

As the old saying goes, there is a time for work and a time for play, so schedule time to do family activities. If you have weekends off, put away your phone and tablet, and take a family trip. If the budget is tight, trips to the park, beach, or a children’s museum let kids work off that energy without breaking the bank.

If you work weekends, plan family game nights. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it together.

How do you achieve work/life balance in menopause?