Many people look forward to dining out because it’s an opportunity to enjoy their favorite foods, whether it’s a basket of french fries, a creamy pasta dish or cheesecake for dessert. You should enjoy them occasionally. If you dine out frequently, it’s important to learn how to make healthier choices a regular part of your restaurant experience.
Here are some tips to help you eat out more healthfully and limit calories while enjoying your favorite foods:
- Eat only half of your favorite food and save the other half for the next day. That way, you consume only half the calories and get to enjoy the food more than just once. Plus, you get more for your money by turning one meal into two.
- Share a dish with your dining companion (you’ll save money that way too!
- Limit foods that add extra calories, such as appetizers, bread, side dishes or high-calorie beverages. These can be sources of unwanted fat, salt and sugar.
- Look for ways to make your favorite foods healthier. For example, if your favorite dish comes with a rich sauce, you might ask for the sauce on the side. That way, you can control how much of it you eat.
- If you know that you’ll be eating out and consuming extra calories, increase your exercise for that day.
Challenge yourself to find new healthy favorites. A perfectly cooked fish and vegetables prepared by a skilled chef can be a real treat. Try to focus on enjoying the full experience, not just the food, the atmosphere, the social scene and the pleasure of being waited on. Over time, you may find that your favorite foods aren’t the real draw of dining out, and you can enjoy yourself while sticking to your healthy eating plan.
Sleep is a remarkably productive and critical part of life; it’s the time when the brain and body recharge for another day. Yet, most of us simply aren’t getting enough sleep. Stress, everyday demands and your smartphone are likely culprits negatively impacting your sleep.
Either too little or too much sleep can make it tough to function at your best. Sleep better and wake up feeling more rested with this advice.
- Eat dinner at the same time each day and at least two to three hours before bedtime.
- Limit naps to 30 minutes at least six to eight hours before bedtime.
- Stay active. Any activity is good. For best results, get moving 20 to 30 minutes most days, at least four to six hours before bedtime.
- Limit your caffeine intake and avoid it after noon. Also avoid stimulants such as decongestants and nicotine.
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up about the same time every morning even on weekends.
- A healthy amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours a night.
- If self-care techniques don’t help, talk to your health care provider.
Balance exercises can help you maintain your balance and confidence at any age. Nearly any activity that keeps you on your feet and moving, such as walking, can help you maintain good balance. You can also try balancing on one foot while waiting in line, or stand up and sit down without using your hands. Read on for more about what you should know about improving your balance:
- There are two main types of balance. Static balance is your ability to control your posture while standing still. Dynamic balance describes how well you can hold your posture when your body moves.
- If you’re an older adult, balance exercises are especially important because they can help you prevent falls and maintain your independence.
- Problems with balance can affect the athletic performance of younger people, too.
- You can improve your balance by doing progressively more difficult balance exercises at least twice a week. Tai chi has been shown to be helpful for improving balance.
- Standing on a balance pillow, foam square, balance disc or half of a stability ball can help improve balance.
If you have severe balance problems or an orthopedic condition, get your doctor’s OK before doing balance exercises.
There is a plethora of produce available in the United States, and yet most adults don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. In fact, dietary intake of several nutrients found in fruits and vegetables — including potassium and dietary fiber — is low enough to be a public-health concern for both adults and children.
Your goal is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Aim for a whole rainbow of colors, including dark green, red, orange, purple and white. Variety is vital to get all the different nutrients and their health benefits.
Try to buy fresh whole fruits and vegetables in season — they will be at their peak in flavor and at their lowest in price. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables can be healthy choices, too. Reach for low-sodium canned vegetables or canned fruits packed in their own juice or water, and avoid frozen vegetables with sauces, frozen fruits with added sugar and canned fruits packed in heavy syrup.
Make fruits and veggies the star of your daily diet with these ideas:
- Snack smart. Keep vegetables washed and cut in your refrigerator for quick snacks. Or reach for vegetables that require little preparation, such as baby carrots and cherry tomatoes. Keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter. Just be sure to limit your intake of dried fruits because they’re not as filling as whole fruits and they have a lot more calories in a smaller volume of food. For example, 1⁄4 cup of raisins has the same number of calories — about 100 — as almost 2 cups of grapes.
- Experiment with new combinations. Try mango or peach slices on whole-wheat toast with a little peanut butter and honey. Toss some mandarin orange or peach slices into a salad.
- Choose recipes that have vegetables or fruits as a main ingredient. Try pineapple-chicken stir-fry, tomato-basil pizza or vegetarian chili.
- Start your day with a fruit or vegetable. Sprinkle a handful of blueberries on your morning cereal or oatmeal. Saute red peppers, tomatoes or spinach into your scrambled eggs.
- Drink your fruits and vegetables. But don’t reach for prepared fruit juice! Instead, turn whole fruits and vegetables into a refreshing drink. Make a smoothie with plain low-fat yogurt and your favorite frozen fruits. Or puree together banana, berries, lemon, mint, ice and 2 cups of fresh raw baby spinach — this green concoction may look odd, but it tastes delicious!
As you can see from these suggestions, sneaking more fruits and veggies into your diet can be easy, convenient — and fun!
By Mayo Clinic Staff .
Sure, you want to lose weight, but are you in the right mindset to make it happen? Stop sabotaging your efforts with a self-defeating outlook and stay motivated to reach your goals with these effective techniques.
Negative beliefs and self-talk
The internal dialogue you have with yourself influences your actions. Thoughts such as “I’ll never lose weight” or “I’m no good at exercising” can weaken your self-esteem and stall your progress. Replace these thoughts with positive statements. Instead of: “I can’t stick with an exercise program,” tell yourself: “I can meet one realistic goal today.”
Many people imagine that losing weight will solve all their problems. Your life will likely change with weight loss — but probably not in all the ways you imagine. Losing weight doesn’t guarantee a better social life or more satisfying job. Keep your expectations focused on those very real benefits like more energy and higher self-esteem.
Words such as always, never or must place undue pressure on you. Telling yourself you’ll never eat chocolate again or you must walk two miles a day can lead to guilt-ridden lapses. Instead, treat yourself now and then in ways that make sense — when you’re out to dinner with friends, not when you’re feeling sad.
One setback doesn’t mean failure. If you eat too much one day, you haven’t blown your plan. Counteract this kind of thinking with moderation — no “good” and “bad” foods, for example, and it’s OK to have dessert once in a while. Remind yourself you can get back on track tomorrow.
Be flexible on your weight-loss journey. Don’t expect perfection. If you have a slip-up, learn from it and move on.
Most people can use an energy boost during the day. But instead of downing another cup of coffee, your best bet might be to get moving. Think there’s no way that moving more can do anything but leave you even more tired? Think again, researchers say. By being physically active instead of sitting and resting, you may cut your risk of feeling tired nearly in half. You may feel a bit fatigued after physical activity, but in a good way! Overall, regular exercise or just moving your body gives you more energy throughout the day, helps you feel focused and able to complete tasks more efficiently.
Another important benefit is that physical activity is a mood-booster. Exercise helps your body produce more endorphins, your brain’s feel-good chemicals. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, other types of physical activity besides running can give you this feeling, too. Physical activity can also improve how well you sleep, yet another benefit that will give you more energy during the day.
Ready to feel more energized? Start with these tips.
- Make it a daily habit to move more. If you’re not currently active, start gradually by taking a walk around the block.
- If you already have an exercise routine, think of ways to make it a little more challenging. Simply taking a short jog or bike ride at a low or moderate intensity can affect how you feel and perform.
- At work, set an alarm to remind yourself to stand up from your desk every hour and touch your toes, stretch your arms, legs and back. March in place for a minute. Make it a point to take short breaks when you can to go outside, or walk the stairwell up and down a few floors even if you have only a couple minutes. Small, consistent efforts like these will help you feel rejuvenated and focused.
Remember these tips when find yourself sitting too much throughout the day or tempted to skip a workout. Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing just start moving more and you’ll instantly feel the benefits physically and mentally!
You might be thinking that it’s hard to carve out time in your schedule for exercise, let alone stretching. But most cardio and strength-training programs cause your muscles to tighten. That’s why it’s important to stretch regularly to keep your body functioning well.
- Increases flexibility, which makes daily tasks easier
- Improves range of motion of your joints, which helps keep you mobile
- Improves circulation
- Promotes better posture
- Helps relieve stress by relaxing tense muscles
- Helps prevent injury, especially if your muscles or joints are tight
Keep these key points in mind:
Fit stretching into your schedule
As a general rule, stretch whenever you exercise. If you don’t exercise regularly, you may want to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. If you have a problem area, such as tightness in the back of your leg, you may want to stretch every day or even twice a day.
Think about ways you can fit stretching into your daily schedule. For example:
- Do some stretches after your morning shower or bath. That way, you can shorten your warm-up routine because the warm water will raise muscle temperature and prepare your muscles for stretching.
- Stretch before getting out of bed. Try a few gentle head-to-toe stretches by reaching your arms above your head and pointing your toes.
To be successful at losing weight, you need to figure out what will give you an ongoing, burning desire to succeed. You need to tap your inner motivation. By understanding what motivates you, you’ll be better able to follow through with your eating and fitness plan.
Consider the benefits of losing weight and staying fit listed below. Rank your top three reasons, with 1 as your most important. Rank more than three if you want, and add your own reasons if they’re not on the list. Post the list where you’ll see it often.
- Look better
- Feel better
- Feel comfortable in my clothes
- Improve my physical stamina
- Improve my self-image and self-confidence
- Improve my outlook on life
- Increase my energy
- Be a role model for my family
- Manage high blood pressure
- Improve my cholesterol
- Prevent or manage diabetes
- Reduce joint pain
- Prevent or reduce lower-back pain
- Improve my sleep
- Improve my quality of life
- Increase my life expectancy
Sometimes temptation to indulge in certain foods or skipping a workout will be greater than your desire to lose weight. During these difficult moments, reflect on the top reasons why you are making healthy lifestyle changes. It won’t always be easy, but keep in mind the important fact that you will never regret making good decisions!