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How to stop hating your own body image: Tips from a Neuropsychologist

 

Diet

Psychologists use the term ‘body image’ to describe our internalized sense of what we look like. This can be thought of as a mental representation or map of our body, against which we judge our external appearance. For most of us, there is a relatively good match between what we think we look like (subjective appearance) and how we appear to other people (objective appearance).

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a Manhattan neuropsychologist. She says that, “To some extent our body image is idealized (based on how we would like to look). It is also based on a mirror image of our actual appearance. Other people see animated or moving images, whereas we view our own image mainly through photographs or mirrors where our expression is still. Body image also changes as we get older.”  As a woman Dr. Hafeez understands the perils that gals fall into in our Instagram, Facebook and Photoshop society.

The following are some tips from Dr. Hafeez on how to love yourself more.

Forget the diet hype.

People who constantly diet have a higher risk of developing eating disorders, are more likely to binge eat and cause a domino effect of physical and mental health issues that include depression, irritability, anxiety, digestive problems and metabolic syndrome. Looking and feeling good are common sense. Eating right, regular exercise and sleeping are your weight control keys to success! 

Put body image in perspective.

Instead of spending so much time obsessing over your outer self – consider focusing your attention on education, hobbies and socializing with your friends. Keeping your mind engaged will help you notice others with the same interests. Working to get fit and healthy is an admirable goal but it should never consume your life.

Know your body and accept it.

Perhaps you inherited your mother’s larger hips or your father’s height and broad shoulders. Our genetics are a strange cocktail that are unique to every person and learning to love your body is the first step in working with your particular body size and shape. Having the same size and weight goals of a person six inches shorter or taller than you is unrealistic and setting yourself up for failure. You may be the same height as a friend who is a perfect size six but may have a much larger build. Don’t diet to fit anyone else’s expectations. It is YOUR  body, YOUR  health and you are the only one who has the right to dictate what is “right” for you. 

Celebrities are not “average” people!

Remember that most celebrities are paid based on how they look on camera. They have an entire team of people who make sure they eat right, exercise and take care of their skin and hair. When they become pregnant or go through a tough time, they have a team of people who helps them drop the weight fast and get back to “camera weight” without the distractions the average person has. Many celebrities have spoken out about suffering for years with eating disorders, emotional problems and drug addiction to maintain their public image. 

Focus on what you have the power to change.

Rather than spending your energy on wishing you were taller, redirect your focus on something you can change, like toning up with a yoga or Pilates class, or honing one of your talents. Then celebrate with a new handbag. 

Surround yourself with beauty.

Creating a beautiful environment at home or in your work space will provide a greater sensual experience, which is what we all crave. Keep fresh flowers on your desk or table, add some silk pillows to your sofa, play your favorite music while cooking dinner, and drink mineral water out of a nice wine glass! 

Ask for help if you need it. Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up – who contribute to your happiness – and look to them when you falter in your goals. Whether you need help sticking to a healthy eating plan, a buddy to workout with, a personal trainer to show you how to do the exercise that is right for you or someone to discuss emotional issues with – ask.

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About the author

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City based Neuropsychologist and School Psychologist.  She is also the founder and director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C.  She is currently a teaching faculty member at Columbia University. 

Dr. Hafeez’s provides neuropsychological educational and developmental evaluations in her practice.  She also works with children and adults who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc.…) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert and expert witness by providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts.

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Ditch Sugar During National Nutrition Month

 

Sugar

Type “sugar” and “culprit” into your favorite search engine and you’ll find no shortage of health reasons to knock sugar out of your diet.

For example, three authors argue in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that, despite ample exercise, too much sugar consumption can still leave you fat. That’s in addition to new studies published earlier this year that indicate too much sugar triggers brain defects, liver disease and breast cancer.

“The toxicity of excessive sugar consumption is well-documented, yet it’s so prevalent in our packaged foods that we may be digesting it without knowing it,” says nutritionist and juicing pioneer Cherie Calbom, who is known as “The Juice Lady.”

But with vigilance you can ditch the sugar in your diet, says Calbom, who tackles the subject in her newest book, “The Juice Lady’s Sugar Knockout,” and she offers her Sugar Addiction Quiz at www.juiceladycherie.com/Juice/the-sugar-knockout. She says March, which is National Nutrition Month, is the perfect time to start. A few ways to begin include.

Pick the right day to start.

A birthday or celebration dinner is not the best time to commit to a new diet. You’ll eventually develop the willpower to navigate through special events, but it’s not a good idea to start with an unusual challenge.

Go cold turkey.

Studies show sugar is as addictive as cocaine and heroin, so it’s not something you can ease into or pursue in half measures. If you eat a little less to gradually eliminate it from your diet, you’ll keep getting triggered into wanting more sweets. You have to completely let it go.

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Scrutinize every label.

We are naturally inclined to crave sugar, which is why manufacturers try to smuggle it into their products. The only way to root out sugar in all its forms – soups, condiments, breads, etc. – is to read grocery labels carefully. The sooner sugar is mentioned, the more that’s in there.

Make emergency snack packs.

Whether shopping, traveling or at work, you don’t want to be caught hungry without a healthy option. Plummeting blood-sugar levels will make it that much harder to resist sugar-laden treats. Nuts and seeds, veggie sticks, turkey jerky and apples are among the healthy options.

Take time to de-stress.

Stress causes spikes in cortisol, a hormone that makes you irrationally hungry, leaving you susceptible to sugar-laden snacks. When stressed, take a long, deep breath in for five seconds, hold, and then let it out to a count of five. Deep breathing is said to activate your vagus nerve, which properly regulates metabolism.

“There is much more you can do to break sugar addiction,” Calbom says. “It’s very doable, but you must commit to it!”

Sugar 2

About Cherie Calbom, MSN (a.k.a. The Juice Lady)

Cherie Calbom holds a Master of Science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University. Known as “The Juice Lady” (www.juiceladycherie.com) for her work with juicing and health, she is author of 31 books, with millions of copies sold worldwide. No stranger to healthy diet trends, Cherie joined George Foreman as nutritional spokesperson in the Knockout the Fat phenomena that forever changed grilling in America.

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Five Ways to Make Diet Resolutions Doable Any Time of Year

 

Weight Loss

While even the most well-intended health-seekers strategize their diet and fitness approach at the top of a New Year, far too many revert back to their bad habits and poor choices that sabotage their weight-loss endeavor and undermine their overall well-being. However, one need not wait until the next shiny New Year rolls around for a renewed resolve to shed those unwanted pounds, as there’s no better time than right now to make healthful, life-altering adjustments to the daily routine. No matter the time of year, even just a few simple, but key, considerations can make all the difference between a successful—and even profitable—weight-loss endeavor and a wellness pursuit that falls far short.

In seeking professional advice I connected with diet and fitness industry insider Jimmy Fleming who is the co-founder of HealthyWage.com – the industry-leading purveyor of corporate and team-based weight loss challenges and financially-induced diet contests for individuals. He offered these insights and perspectives on 5 critical elements needed for the best chance of success with a weight-loss initiative:

1. Map out specific goals & time frames.

You are far more likely to achieve your diet resolution if you spend a few minutes thinking it through.  Sit down at your desk and dedicate even just ten minutes of your life to strategizing your resolution.  Put pen to paper or, better yet, send an email to a friend or family member and make a list of the things you’re going to do to change your weight.  Simply stating that “I’m going to lose weight” is not nearly specific enough, but it makes a good headline at the top.  Write down a date when you will achieve your first goal.  This date should be in the near future–one month is a good bet.

Now, make a specific, realistic goal.  Most experts agree that you’re most likely to succeed if you don’t starve yourself, and plan on losing one to two pounds per week.  In fact, setting a modest goal — say, one pound per week — can spare you a lot of hunger and stress.  You might even forget you’re on a diet!  Suppose you choose 1.5 pounds per week and a one month goal date:  your goal will be about six pounds.  Piece of cake (so to speak)! Put your goal and goal date on your calendar (e.g., “Weigh 150 pounds” as an entry for January 30).

Go back to your piece of paper, or email.  Under your goal and goal date, write down the word “food.”  Ask yourself:  what exactly is your eating plan?  Are you going to follow a particular diet?  If so, when are you going to start?  Your answer should be “right now.”  Don’t be afraid.  This is going to be great!  If your diet requires that you purchase something or register on a certain website, go do that right now! What about exercise?  What specific days and times will you commit to exercising?  Who will you exercise with?  If possible, call a friend now and set something up.

Review your resolution plan frequently as you work your way toward your goal.  When your goal date comes, call a friend to either brag about your achievement or confess that you didn’t achieve it and tell them what’s going to be different for the next goal date.  Now, sit down again (pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard) and set a new goal date and goal.  Keep going!

2. Set up financial incentives. 

After you’ve written out your specific goals and dates, your best bet is to build a little structure into them.  Enter:  prizes and rewards.  A significant amount of academic research shows that you are much more likely to achieve your resolution if you include a double financial incentive — i.e., money to lose if you fail and money to win if you succeed!  The reason money works better than the natural motivators of vanity and health is that money can be tied to specific, measurable goals and deadlines.  In other words, financial incentives help prevent procrastination by establishing a firm start date, and help prevent quitting by establishing a firm goal date.  Financial incentives also make weight loss a lot more fun and exciting by transforming the process into a game.

There are fantastic tools and resources available online for setting up financial incentives.  For example, my own company, HealthyWage, allows participants to make various kinds of personal weight loss “bets” and win payouts up to $10,000.  The double financial incentive is an incredible motivator and source of structure that most winners say is indispensable.

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3. Do one thing at a time.  

Trying to stick to more than one resolution creates a willpower diffusion that is almost always a recipe for failure.  Your weight loss resolution requires time, planning and lots of action items.  The winding road from plump to sexy is made of many cobblestones that you have to lay down one at a time with lots of small, frequent decisions (e.g., “this morning, I am going to skip that second donut”).  With all the good judgment and will power those little decisions require, you simply won’t have the time and energy for your other resolutions, too.  You’re booked solid!  If you think your weight loss resolution isn’t that big of a deal, you might be off track.

 4. Tell everyone.

Or, at least tell a few friends or family members about your endeavor.  If you’re not willing to tell someone about your diet resolution, you might not be committed enough to succeed.  When you tell other people about your plans, a magical thing happens.  You know that your supporters are waiting to hear news of your success, and you don’t want to let them down.  Some researchers believe that the social element is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
Plus, it’s important to have support — i.e., people to brag to when you succeed; people to talk to when you feel like overeating.  Talking is a great antidote to a desire to binge or eat things that could get in the way of your success. If you’re really determined to achieve your resolution, you should consider taking the social element even farther.  Try writing a blog about your progress.  Not only will your readers help keep you seriously accountable, but you may discover that being a great teacher is one of the best ways to learn and improve your own success.

 5. Seek fellowship.  

When you tell people about your diet resolution, be on the look-out for a dieting partner (or group of partners).  When you work on your diet resolution with a buddy or group of friends or family members, you are even more likely to accomplish your goals.  You get all the benefits of accountability plus the comfort and fun of knowing there’s someone waiting for you to exercise, compare food and restaurant experiences, and share the ups and downs of dieting.  According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Enlisting family and friends in the effort may help.”  One study shows that participants who do a weight loss program with friends are more than twice as likely to keep their weight off than those that try to do it on their own.

Statistics from Fleming’s company’s own financially-induced weight loss programs apparently substantiate the results of such studies. He explained, “we track the extent to which participants communicate with friends and teammates on their HealthyWage dashboards and there is a direct correlation between the extent of a participant’s social messaging and the participant’s success. Our company’s metrics have also proven that socially-oriented weight loss is much more likely to be successful.”

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*Freelance writer and two-time fitness champion, Merilee Kern, is a wellness industry veteran, consumer health advocate and influential media voice. Her ground-breaking, award-winning “Kids Making Healthy Choices” Smartphone APP for children, parents/caregivers and educators (iTunes) is based on her award-winning, illustrated fictional children’s book, “Making Healthy Choices – A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids” (Amazon). Merilee may be reached online at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

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Runtastic – Personalized Fitness/Health Training App

 

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Did you make any resolutions for the New Year?

The most popular New Year’s resolutions are to get healthy, eat better, exercise and lose weight. That is why weight loss products tend to be on sale A LOT during the month of January, and you tend to see more weight loss program commercials.

I know I need to lose weight, but for me, I am focusing more on getting myself up and moving. I’m used to sitting at my desk for several hours per day. Now that I work two part time jobs I find that I am standing on my feet for just as long as I am sitting at my desk – however I’m not really “moving.” I want to incorporate more walking, step climbing and other forms of movement into my daily activities.

The holiday season was not a good time to start any kind of a fitness routine. Somehow it didn’t work well with all the cookies and candy canes I inhaled over the holiday season. I was holding off my fitness plans until the start of the New Year. Unbeknownst to me, I was offered a job at the last minute, so my New Year’s have been thrown off a bit until I can figure out how to balance two part time jobs, my blog, my family and everything else I need to do.

I do have one program I am going to be putting into place once I get everything planned out. For the time being I have been giving it a “test drive” to see how well it will fit into my plans.

Runtastic Results

The program I am going to get for the iPhone (it’s also available for Android devices). It’s called Runtastic Results. It’s the lastest app in Runtastic’s line of applications.

Runtastic – a leader in the digital health and fitness space that offers a comprehensive ecosystem of apps, products and services for tracking and managing health and fitness data – announced the release of the Runtastic Results app on iOS and Android. The Results app features a dynamic set of personalized training plans focused on building strength, decreasing body fat and increasing muscle definition. The app is designed to put users of all fitness levels on a 12-week path to success through a variety of workouts utilizing instructional bodyweight exercise videos and a comprehensive Health & Nutrition Guide. Bring your body and the Results app – no other tools required!

“Runtastic Results is an app made for the motivated user looking to jumpstart their health and fitness routine,” said Florian Gschwandtner, CEO and co-founder of Runtastic. “The easy-to-follow training plan doesn’t require any additional equipment and is proven to show results. I couldn’t believe how much stronger, happier and healthier I felt after just 12 weeks!”

Runtastic Results has many special features to not only help you to keep on track, but also to see the results you are looking for.

App Features & Benefits

In the Runtastic Results app, Premium users begin their 12-week transformation by first completing a simple fitness test. Based on the results, a personalized training program is assigned to each user which includes more than 120 step-by-step instructional exercise videos and week-by-week health and nutrition tips to maximize total body transformation. Over the course of three months, workout plans are adjusted per the user’s feedback and experience – making the plan flexible and tailored to individual needs.

Each 15-45 minute workout varies in focus area – boasting common bodyweight moves like push-ups, sit-ups and burpees, as well as lesser known exercises that utilize the user’s bodyweight to generate optimal impact. For those not yet registered for a Premium Membership, Runtastic users can still make use of Standalone Workouts without committing to a 12-week program.

Walking

The app was developed by experts, and even tested by Runtastic employees.

The Runtastic team was determined to prove that customized, equipment-less workouts could be done anywhere, at any time and generate incredible results. In a massive employee (plus family and friends) test, 293 Runtastics opted to test the app first-hand and share their results. There was nothing to lose, except a lot of sweat and body fat. The team put in 3,000+ hours of training and lost an average of 5.2% body fat in order to tweak and help develop the perfect bodyweight training app for users. Together, the test group completed two workouts per week and individuals were required to complete an additional one to three on their own – depending on their fitness level and weekly fitness routine.

Advantages of Bodyweight Training

Bodyweight training, using an individual’s own weight to provide resistance for exercise movements, is 2015’s top fitness trend, beating out last year’s No. 1, high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Simple, straightforward exercises have proven to increase strength, jumpstart metabolism and boost an individual’s entire fitness level in less time than many other training methods. A key element that makes bodyweight training so popular is that an individual or group can do the exercises anytime, anywhere with no equipment, gym or trainer required. The training improves agility, stability and endurance, and also prevents injuries. Learn more about bodyweight training in Runtastic’s recent infographic.

“I have been an advocate of strength training for over ten years,” continued Gschwandtner. “Now with Runtastic Results, users can achieve total-body transformation, anytime and anywhere, with little guesswork. There’s sometimes great value in getting back to the basics!”

You can check out the app on the Apple App Store or on Google Play. You can also learn more about the app at www.Runtastic.com/apps/Results.

The app is free to download, but the plans do cost money. The plans range from $9.99 for one month to $49.99 for 12 months.

It sound like you get A LOT with just one app.

Orbit

There are several other Runtastic apps available, including free ones. In addition, the brand also sells products to aid in your healthy endeavors including the Orbit. Orbit is a bracelet-like device that tracks your activities, fitness and even your sleep cycles. My sleep cycles have been awful the past month. I barely get any quality sleep anymore.

Orbit can also be worn on your clothing, belt or another discreet location in case you don’t want people to see that you are monitoring your activities.  I’ve been wearing mine as a bracelet and no one has ever commented on it or asked me what it was. I guess most people see it as a watch or a bracelet. It even fits on my thick wrist (not fitting was a concern of mine).

It’s comfortable enough to wear too. I don’t even realize I am wearing it most of the time.

I use Orbit to track home many steps I take and the distance I go for the most part. I want to be able to reach 10,000 steps per day. So far I have been averaging in the 4,000 range. How pathetic is that? I’m on my feet for most of the time at both of my jobs, I just don’t walk around much. I have been challenging myself to beat my previous day’s step/distance count each day.

Orbit also tells you how many calories you’ve burned.

With Orbit you monitor your daily progress. You can also integrate Orbit with Runtastic apps such as Runtastic GPS and Runtastic Me.

Orbit is even waterproof up to 100m. That is great in the event you plan on wearing it if you go swimming.

Orbit is available in a variety of colors too.

If you would like to learn more about Orbit, or other health/fitness devices sold by Runtastic, visit www.Runtastic.com. Look for the brand on social media too. All of the links are found on their website.

Color Orbit

Kimberly

*I received a free Orbit in order to do it’s review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

 

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Five Mindless, Harmful Eating Habits to Avoid in 2016

 

Diet

Once upon a time, the word “diet” was only associated with weight loss. Thank goodness, times are finally changing. In recent years, science and technology have taught us so much about all of the ways that nutrition and specific foods can alter the entire function and overall health of our human systems. We now know that the foods we choose to put in our bodies can positively or negatively affect so much more than just our weight, metabolism or cholesterol levels. We are quickly learning that we must view diet as an individualized, life-long health plan, rather than just a means to lose weight.

Of course most of us have experienced the feeling of wanting to shed a few extra pounds, especially after the holiday season. Unfortunately, many look to a quick, fix-it diet, creating a shock to their bodies. This often results in putting the lost weight right back on, confusing the healthy metabolic functionality of the body. To avoid this so-called yo-yo dieting and negative consequences to our health, let’s make 2016 the year to focus on a proper long-term nutritional diet that is right for our individual bodies by avoiding the following harmful eating habits that so many of us fall victim to:

Skipping breakfast – Talk about mindless! The mornings can be chaotic, whether we’re trying to get more zzz’s or we have children to feed, dress and get off to school before embarking on our adult responsibilities. Forgetting our own health needs can be very easy and skipping the most important meal of the day is a common one. Why is breakfast so important? This is the meal that ignites our energy, gets our metabolism going and kick starts our brainpower. Without it we can feel weak, tired and sluggish, all the while depriving our bodies of vital nutrients.

Breakfast

Eating out of the package – We live in a packaged food society. Rushed eating or eating on the go can mean skipping the actual purpose of a meal, eating real food. Eating fake processed, packaged food heightens the possibility of eating more than one serving or consuming foods we didn’t plan on eating. Even if we are snacking on something healthy, like mixed nuts, eating more than a recommended serving can translate to consuming too many calories or too much fat (even if it’s the good kind). The best options for snacks and meals are to choose foods that actually exist in nature with minimal processing. Here’s a grocery store secret: Shop mostly around the perimeter of the grocery stores where all the fresh food is, instead of in the middle where all the packaged stuff is.

Eating foods that make you feel bad – Because our bodies all work differently, we each have different sensitivities to certain foods. Some foods make people gassy, some cause acid indigestion, some can lead to acne breakouts. While there are easy to identify reactions caused by certain foods, others can be harder to identify and can often lead to more serious reactions or damage to our bodies. Scientific research over the last few years has shown that foods such as gluten-containing grains, dairy and genetically modified foods (GMOs) to be among a few that are negatively affecting masses of people. In fact, studies have proven that there are dietary-related triggers of autoimmune reactivity, resulting in neurological, behavioral, dermatological, and gastrointestinal symptoms that can lead to autoimmune disorders.

greasy food

Rather than continuing to eat foods that your body reacts poorly to, get to the root of the problem by learning what your specific triggers are. There are tests that can identify these triggers and reactivity to foods that your body should not consume. Cyrex LaboratoriesArray 3 accurately identifies gluten reactivity, measuring antibody production against nine wheat proteins and peptides and three essential enzymes. Cyrex Laboratories’ Array 10, a unique, revolutionary panel, measures reactivity to 180 food antigens in the cooked, raw, modified and processed form and monitors the effectiveness of customized dietary protocols. If you suspect you may have sensitivities or reactivity to foods, or you’d like to learn more about Cyrex’s Arrays 3 and 10, all you need to do is consult your doctor about how to get tested.

Too much dining out – Even when we think we are ordering smart, there are often hidden ingredients that can be counterproductive to our overall health. For example, you can order vegetable soup without really knowing what kind of flavor enhancers they included or how much salt was added. Don’t lose sight of the fact that restaurants want their food to taste good and keep customers coming back for more, so they tend to pack in excess amounts of sugar, salt, fat, and even synthetic coloring and flavoring agents. Cooking at home ensures you have a more complete understanding of what you’re putting in your body.

Buying no-no foods – Everybody knows that you should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. That’s a recipe for disaster. Everything sounds good when we are hungry, thus making us more inclined to buy things that we know we shouldn’t. Out of sight, out of mind. If it’s not available to us, we can’t eat it. Try grocery shopping on a full stomach and focus on buying foods that are good for you, on your shopping list, and that you need—rather than the more indulgent items that catch your eye while you shop.

Today’s busy lifestyle makes it very easy to fall into a pattern of mindless eating habits that can be harmful to our health. Awaken yourself to your patterns and how your body might be reacting to different foods and eating habits. Let 2016 be the beginning of a healthier you!

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About the Author

By Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories.

Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally-induced chronic disease.

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Eat This, Not That – Holiday Edition

 

Holiday Food

For many, the Holiday season is synonymous with indulgence (or overindulgence!), which leads to feeling sluggish, poor sleep habits, and weight gain. Coming to the rescue – healthy lifestyle gurus and founders of the Health Coach Institute, Stacey Morgenstern and Carey Peters. After coaching over 8,000 individuals across 27 countries, the duo is sharing their inside secrets for making it through the holidays, healthfully.

Go for it! Pumpkin Seeds – Healthier than the mixed nuts, seeds pack a punch with protein, zinc and antioxidants.

Pass please! Eggnog – A Holiday staple, eggnog is seriously delicious. But it comes with a hefty amount of calories and saturated fat—around 280 calories and 9 grams of fat, to be more precise.

Go for it! Baked Apples – Sprinkled with cinnamon and roasted, these delicious and seasonal treats are a great replacement for the sugar-laden holiday cookies and pies!

Pass please! Dark Meat Turkey with Skin – Basted, often butter-covered, skin on a turkey can taste pretty good, but when it’s covering the already higher in calories dark-meat turkey it can be a less than healthy choice. Try to stick to skinless white meat portions, or at the very least take off the skin, which cuts the calorie count significantly.

Go for it! Holiday “mocktail” – Kick alcohol to the curb (if only for a few nights) and replace with this seasonally appropriate holiday mocktail. Soda water and a splash of pomegranate or cranberry juice with a sprig of mint is refreshing and had a festive hue to get you in the spirit!

Pass please! Fried Foods – This is a no brainer. Avoid anything on the table that has been deep fried. Chicken fingers, coconut shrimp, and other foods that have been dredged in breading and cooked in oil are never going to be good for your heart, body or waistline. If you’re after a little crunch, seek out options that are lightly coated in gluten free breadcrumbs and baked instead.

Go for it! Roasted Root Vegetables – Ditch the mashed potatoes and kick stuffing to the curb. Instead, replace with simply roasted root vegetables that are high in antioxidants and other nutrients. Butternut squash, carrots, and even parsnips are delicious when tossed with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Pass please! Meat Plate – Processed meats have been getting a lot of buzz lately due to their unhealthy and potentially cancer-causing characteristics, add to that the fact that these snacks are often high in salt and fat, and you’ll find more than one reason to stay away!

And remember, should temptation take over, don’t beat yourself up. Start fresh the next morning with new goals in mind, and turn to an expert (like a health coach) if you need a jump start or little extra support.

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