8 Foods To Avoid During Weight Loss

There are certain foods that you should avoid during weight loss. Whether they are filled with sugar or overprocessed with too much sodium, these snacks are the ones to steer clear of. I’m not saying all of these foods are bad, but they can make your fitness journey a lot more challenging. By the way, I am not a doctor or a fitness trainer. I’m just your average girl who has an interest in health and wellness.

Artificially sweetened beverages

Even diet sodas, are filled with sugar and will prevent you from seeing results. Energy drinks are also full of added sugars. These are meant for professional athletes who train hours a day. You won’t burn nearly as many calories as Ronda Rousey. Trust me. Your best bet is to stick with lots of water before, during and after your workouts.

Microwaved popcorn

Although popcorn is a yummy low-calorie snack, the bag it’s packaged in contains chemicals that can be harmful over time. Instead, make your own healthy popcorn!

White rice

White rice takes longer for your body to digest, which causes you to feel an energy crash. This spikes your blood sugar and makes you crave unhealthy foods. White rice also contains significantly fewer nutrients than it’s alternative. Eating brown rice will give you more energy and curve your sweet tooth.

Grapes

You may be surprised to find fruit on this list, but grapes contain a high amount of sugar, which can cause you to want sugary sweets. If you have to include these in your meal plan, pair them with a protein such as nuts or string cheese. This will bring a better balance.

Frozen meals

Microwavable meals are easy to prepare especially when you are pressed for time. But they contain high levels of sodium that helps preserve the meals. The added salt will cause you to eat more afterward because you won’t feel full very long. Make your own freezer meals at home if you need a quick to go meal.

Soy Sauce

It’s tempting to season your plain tasting veggies with something, but don’t reach for the soy sauce! Although it has very few calories, it’s high levels of sodium can still cause bloating among other health concerns. You can replace this with a little Worchester sauce for flavoring.

Alcohol

An evening glass of wine seems innocent enough, but do you know how many calories you are consuming every night? You may have heard the term “empty calories”, which are calories that provide zero nutritional value. A glass of wine contains an average of 100-200 calories, which are not giving you any nutrients. Limit your intake of alcohol or eliminate the habit during weight loss.

Salads

You kind of defeat the purpose of clean eating when you load your salads with cheeses, meats and salad dressings that are high in fat. Avoid using ingredients that are labeled “low fat” because these foods are hidden with added sodium. Try using avocado based natural dressings. I actually love red wine vinegar and olive oil on top of my salads.

 

 

 

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7 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers 

cold showers

The Benefits Of Taking Cold Showers

Before heating systems were created, people in ancient times had no choice but to take cold baths. Unless they lived near a natural hot springs, everyone was subjected to nippy waters. This may sound like a form a torture to some, but cold showers actually have health benefits and therapeutic properties.

Even after hot showers became available, people will chose to bathe in cold water because the rewards outweigh the comfortability. Cold showers not only can improve your health, but change how you view fear and handle challenges you face every day.

Most of us don’t like change because we’re afraid of allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable. The most effective way in breaking out of that comfort zone is by learning to be okay with feeling uneasy.

If you can’t stand to be uncomfortable when you are the only one being affected, what’s going to happen when the circumstance involves more than yourself. Taking cold showers is a great way to train your brain how to choose the path less traveled.

Improves Blood Flow:

The circulatory system transports nutrients throughout the body to organs, tissues, and cells. Good blood flow is essential for your overall health. Poor circulation can cause nerve damage, blood clots and even diabetes.

Cold water causes your blood to circulate quickly in order to keep the body warm. The instant your skin receptors sense the coldness, your heart pumps blood intensely throughout the organs to regulate your body temperature. This improves your blood flow over time.

Strengthens The Immune System:

You shouldn’t believe the myth that being cold and wet can make you sick. Taking cold showers can actually strengthen your immune system. Your body releases white blood cells in response to a cold or illness. Studies have found that people who take cold showers regularly have a higher count of these disease-fighting cells than people who take sauna-like showers.

Your body increases its metabolism and revs up the immune system under colder temperatures. Taking cold showers regularly can strengthen your immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells in the body, which helps fight infections.

Increase Energy:

The feeling of bone-chilling water might sound horrifying, but it can actually increase your alertness and energy. The cold water shocks the body, which causes an increase in your heart rate. Your breathing deepens in order to try to warm the body. This helps your blood rush through your body and leaves you feeling energized for the day.

Improves the Appearance of Skin & Hair:

Hot water has a tendency to dry out your hair and skin by stripping them of their natural oils. If you have flakey skin or split ends try a cold shower. Using cold water at the end of your shower helps seal your pores and cuticles, which prevents dirt from getting in and clogged pores. Cold water also helps smooth and strengthen hair follicles for touchably soft skin and hair.

Relieves Depression:

Studies have found that cold showers can ease symptoms of depression. The direct impact of the coldness sends intense impulses throughout the body to the brain. The coldness stimulates the noradrenaline source of the brain, which helps fight feeling the blues.

Teaches Discipline:

It’s a radical transition for someone who takes steamy showers every day to switch to freezing temperatures. You want to automatically turn the water to warm, but when you turn the knob the opposite way, you are essentially training your brain. This habit will help you develop will power and discipline with all aspects of your life.

Improves Metabolism:

Your body is made out of two different types of fat. The bad fat is what we try to lose and the good fat is what warms your body in cold temperatures. The good fat or (brown fat) is stimulated and burns off calories when you’re in colder temperatures. This regulation requires a lot of effort from your internal organs, therefore you are helping your weight loss journey.
I’m taking up the challenge and am on my 15th cold shower in a row. The first day was the hardest. Like most people, I wanted to turn the water to hot automatically. As I slowly turned the knob in the opposite direction, I did everything to talk myself out of it. And once I did it, I wanted to scream and cry like a newborn…but I did it.

It’s not easy, but in my opinion, you get stronger every day. You might be in pain, but the point that you DO IT. Just remember you don’t want to shock your body, so take short cold showers. You can also take warm showers and then change it to cold for the last 5 minutes.

I challenge you to take a cold shower every day for 2 weeks. Let me know in the comments if you take cold showers and if you have noticed a difference in your health. As a disclaimer, people who suffer from certain conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, eating disorders, women who are menstruating and other issues should avoid taking cold showers because the temperature can shock your body and can even make your symptoms worse. I am not a physician, so please speak with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Resources

https://www.fastcompany.com/3043767/my-creative-life/the-scientific-case-for-cold-showers

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/benefits-of-a-cold-shower

https://weather.com/health/news/cold-showers-health-benefits

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8 Tips For Getting Energy Fast

Getting energy and keeping that stamina going all day can be difficult to manage. You might be like most people who wake up feeling tired or can’t seem to stay energized for the entire day. I can totally relate to lack of motivation and exhaustion some days. Stress and low energy levels can make it difficult for you to focus and be productive.

It’s tempting to reach for a Red Bull or a 5 Hour Energy by midday. However, there are more effective and healthier ways you can recharge. If you find yourself in an energy crisis, here are a few natural ways to relight your fire.

Eat Breakfast First Thing In The Morning

The best time to eat breakfast is within the first hour that you wake up. Since you’ve been asleep all night, your body is nearly starved. You need nutrients from a hearty meal to start the day as soon as possible. A balanced breakfast consists of proper fiber, protein and carbohydrates. Eating a healthy breakfast replenishes blood sugar levels from lack of nutrition from the night before and helps you concentrate on daily tasks.

Let Your Light Shine

The sun is not only a great source of vitamin D, but it’s also a natural mood enhancer. Seasonal depression usually occurs during the colder months when the sun sets earlier. This lack of sunlight can trick your body into thinking it’s time for bed and make you feel tired and even sad. Open a curtain the minute you wake up and let the natural light fill your room. You’ll feel instantly awake and refreshed. You can take a few minutes of your day to go outside and enjoy the scenery. Being outdoors can physically improve the quality of life by lowering your blood pressure. The sunlight can even make you happier!

Quit Smoking

Some people believe that smoking tobacco can boost your energy. However, smoking cigarettes can increase stress and fatigue, which cause you to feel tired. Cigarettes contain harmful toxins that attach to the lungs. This makes it difficult for your blood cells to carry oxygen to the brain and other organs. When your body isn’t getting enough oxygen, you feel sluggish.
High carbon monoxide levels also cause oxygen in the blood to decrease. The best way to prevent these health risks is to stop smoking.

Don’t Skip Meals

Food gives your body the nutrients it needs in order to function properly. When you start skipping meals, you risk slowing down your metabolism and suffering from nutrient deficiency. This can cause a number of problems including fatigue, lack of concentration and exhaustion. You’ll find it hard to complete even simple daily tasks the longer you go without a meal. Even if you are not hungry, make sure you are eating the recommended amount of calories that your body needs.

Take A MultiVitamin

You might not be skipping meals, but sometimes you don’t get all of the nutrients and minerals your body needs to perform at its best. Multivitamins are formulated with the recommended amount of vitamins and are designed to replace any lack of nutrition. You must take supplements, like multivitamins daily in order to feel a difference. Although these supplements can aid in energy levels, they do not replace bad health. Avoid any misuse in taking vitamin supplements and incorporate exercise and proper diet along with a multivitamin recommended by your physician.

Start Exercising

As counterintuitive as this may sound, getting up and moving regularly can give you more energy. Your metabolism and blood circulation increases the more physical activity you do throughout the day. By exercising, you are waking up your body from the inside out. The increase of oxygen and blood flow to the brain gives your powerhouse the boost it needs.

Practice Meditation

Stress is a major reason why so many people feel tired all the time. With the regular practice of meditation, you can learn to slow down your thoughts and stresses. When you meditate, you aren’t putting all your energy into thoughts and worries. This allows you to put your energy towards important tasks. Meditation can improve many areas of your life such as sleep, which will increase your energy levels during the day.

Aromatherapy

While certain scents lull you to sleep, some keep you awake. Essential oils such as orange cinnamon and peppermint are great stimulants when it comes to the senses. You can rub a few drops of essential oils on your skin, add it to your bath or use a diffuser. Aromatherapy can heighten the senses and prevent an energy crash when you rather have a nap.

I hope this inspires you guys to do your part and make the best of your day. Each of us are in charge of our future, so let’s make the best of it. Let me know what you do to stay on track and keep energized in the comments section below.

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The Power of Meditation

What is Meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to calm and quiet your mind and achieve a state of mental awareness. In other words, to be in the moment. The average person has thousands of thoughts running through their head everyday. The majority of these thoughts, however are usually negative and do not contribute to your well being and success. While exercise trains the body for maximum performance, the practice of meditation allows you to train your mind to be at peace.

Happiness and bliss do not exist in the physical world, but can only be felt in the inner world. If you can achieve a peaceful mind, you are able to feel genuine happiness and free yourself from all emotional distress.The regular practice of meditation can help train your mind to be at peace in the most dreadful times in your life.

Everyone has heard that children’s minds are like sponges. On the contrary, everyone’s minds are like sponges. When things seem to be going well in our lives, we are overall content and happy. When external circumstances get in the way of what we want, we feel disappointed and unsatisfied. For example, a child picking out a lollipop in a candy store is looking forward to tasting the sour apple on her tongue, but after she eats it only wants another one.
It seems impossible to control our very busy mind because of the major changes in our mood. These fluctuations surface because of the close attachments we have to friends, family and possessions.
With the practice of meditation, we begin to create a balanced and stable mind despite worldly situations. You can experience a true inner peace and appreciate every aspect of your life.

Benefits of Meditation

Everyone has an idea of what meditation is, but why bother? There aren’t enough hours in a day as it is. Where do you find that extra ten or fifteen minutes? If you have enough time to like pictures on IG, you have enough time to meditate. In the present day, stress and anxiety are at high levels. Meditation helps to free you of worry and allow you to experience true inner calmness. Improved concentration and communication, a sense of healing and energy and relaxation are among numerous benefits of meditation. You can enrich your life with the regular practice of meditation.
Meditation doesn’t have an end goal, but produces powerful results including mental and physical wellness. The practice of meditation increases happiness and improves your well being. But on a deeper level, it’s about getting to know your own mind.

How do you meditate?

It’s important as a beginner to start with 2-5 minute sessions. At first, it will be difficult to sit still with an empty mind for a long period of time. You can gradually increase the number of minutes and even practice meditation multiple times a day. Remember to use this time to forget your worries and stress. You can practice by focusing on your breath, or repeating a word or mantra. How you go about it, doesn’t really matter. It simply involves turning your attention away from your thoughts and be present. Understand that there are no set rules for meditation.

You may choose to close your eyes or keep them open. You might prefer lying down instead of sitting. Meditate however you feel is the right way. Besides, this practice is suppose to help you connect and work with your inner mind. If your thoughts begin to arise, simply imagine them as balloons floating through the sky. You see it and now it’s gone. You shouldn’t obsess over whether or not your mind is free from thought. It’s completely natural for the human mind to not shut off.

Meditation is all about the mind and body connection. Whichever position you choose to be in, remember if you’re body is balanced, your mind will also be balanced. Notice your breath without trying to control it. You can meditate in the dark or light your favorite candles. The location where you decided to meditate should make you feel comfortable and further ease you into a relaxed state of mind. Relax all the muscles in your body, including your face. Try meditating with a gentle smile to remind yourself to be happy.

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5 Tips To Boost Your Immune System

So, my roommate caught a cold a few weeks ago. As careful as I was, I still ended up with a sore throat and runny nose. I couldn’t understand how I got the bug when I did everything to avoid it. Never underestimate how contagious a common cold can be. No matter how healthy we are, sickness can still hit us right in the sinuses. Everyone’s immune system can use an improvement, so here’s a list of the best tips to keep you out of bed.

Probiotics:

The majority of your immune system is located in your stomach. So, common sense or a quick search will tell you to keep that gut and intestines clear of toxins. You can prevent illness and even improve your digestion by keeping your stomach and intestines clean and healthy. Yogurt contains billions of bacteria per serving, but don’t worry it’s the good kind. Your body needs these live and active cultures to help fight off disease. I love the Whips! By Yoplait. I try to eat ½ cup of yogurt as part of my breakfast.

Cold Showers:

Studies have found that people who take cold showers fall ill significantly less than those who take warmer showers. The immune system increases the amount of white blood cells when you’re taking a cold shower because your body naturally tries it warm up. Try taking a cold shower or bath for 30 days straight and tell me that you don’t feel invincible. I took a cold shower every night for two weeks straight and my body and mental thanked me for it!

Vitamin D:

People who don’t get enough sunshine are at a higher risk of illness. As you can imagine, many children, as well as adults don’t get enough sun or vitamin D thanks to modern technology. You can get your daily dose of vitamin D by eating chicken, salmon, and eggs. Spending at least half an hour outside will not only give nutrients to your body but will also give your mood a boost.

Yoga:

Stress can become chronic and cause severe health issues overtime such as depression, weight problems, and life-threatening diseases. The hormones that are released when you’re body is under stress can decrease your white blood cell count, making you more susceptible to illness. If you have worries and stress that run your mind, learn to de-stress by practicing yoga a few times a week. Yoga helps me organize my mind and priorities, which takes a lot of the stress and anxiety out of my life.

Turmeric:

Most diseases are caused by inflammation. Consequently,  turmeric is jammed packed with anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Curcumin is the active ingredients in turmeric, which has been linked to improving cell health and immunity. Turmeric has been used to heal infections, digestive problems and much more. You can incorporate this herb in your diet by adding it to your tea or smoothies.

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How Yoga Can Change Your Life

yoga

Yoga Benefits Everyone

Hey, gorgeous! So, I’ve been practicing yoga off and on the past few months. Needless to say, I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if I practiced on a regular basis. The high I get after a session is so inspiring, I have to share it with you guys.

You don’t have to be incredibly flexible or attend a pricey yoga class every week to reap the benefits. In fact, I just search for yoga videos on YouTube to follow along and practice a few times a week.

The ugly truth is that most of us are guilty of falling off the fitness train, but yoga really helps me stay active. The longer you go without exercise, the harder it is to get back into shape. I think yoga has gone so mainstream because it welcomes literally all levels of fitness and ages.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not as active as I was in high school. But since I’ve been practicing yoga, I feel energized and content from the inside. I don’t feel like tiny monkeys are always banging drums in my head. If anything, it’s a few minutes of quiet time to clear my mind of stress.

I remind myself that just because I can’t perfect a certain pose one day, I know I will get there in my own time. Practicing yoga teaches you how to be patience and learn things at your own speed thus building confidence in yourself.

Yoga not only strengthens your mental health but also improves your physical strength. The older we get, the more fragile our bones and joints become. But by practicing yoga a few minutes a day, you can strengthen your vertebrae and prevent weak bones.

Many people think that you can’t use yoga as strength training because it doesn’t involve lifting weights. However, I’ve even noticed my arms toning up over the past several weeks. My muscles definitely feel the burn after a few minutes of chaturanga.

I wanted to write this post to maybe inspire someone to roll out a yoga mat or towel and let yoga take over troubles. It’s beautiful to see yoga become so popular because it’s such a powerful tool. I hope this gives you enough reasons to give it a try or maybe a second try.

I’d love to hear your experience with yoga and what your favorite “go to” pose is. Let’s chat in the comments below! Check out this post if you are interested in reading about meditation.

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Fitness Motivation to Get Started

Everyone needs a little weight loss and fitness motivation to keep on their journey. I don’t know about you but I start feeling less motivated to workout during this time of the summer. It’s hot and it’s in the middle of the year. Who wants to get sweaty? The truth is working out a few minutes a day and taking care of your body can give your health a maximum boost. I’ve put together a few tips I use to stay focused.

Keep a Journal

Writing your goals down will help you focus on exactly what you want to achieve. Whether it’s weight loss or trying to live a healthier lifestyle, you can customize your journal according to your objective. Recording workouts and diet is a great way to stay on track. Everyone has days when all they want to do is sit on the couch and binge eat on sweets. Use your notebooks as a diary and write when you feel these cravings. It’s also a good idea to document how you feel after exercising. Reviewing past entries will remind you how great your mind and body felt afterward.

Accountability Buddy

When you struggle to get off the couch, schedule a date with a friend whose fitness level is near your own. Days when you feel unmotivated to put your running shoes on, call on your workout partner. You can motivate each other and surely thank the other one later. Having someone to push your limits will help you reach your goal that much faster.

Before and After Photos

Take a full body photo or several before you start your fitness journey. (Remember, you’re not comparing yourself to others, but only yourself) This should be about your transformation. Take progress photos every week. You will be able to visibly see the improved results of your health, which will help you keep going!

Reward Yourself

You should reward yourself after each milestone you accomplish. For example, if you complete a week of ab training, buy yourself a new pair of running shoes, or a new beauty product you’ve been wanting to try. This is an incentive to give it your all every week.

Make Exercise Fun

Although working out sounds like excruciating work, it should be fun. Enjoying 30 minutes a day to yourself to be one with your body and mind is refreshing. You can put on a cute workout outfit and favorite pair of Nike’s. Your athletic wear will make you feel like you are running a marathon. Turn on some music that makes you want to dance and viola! Instant body motivation. If you’re trying to catch up on binge watching on Netflix, press play on your show and begin your workout.

Work With A Well Rested Body

All your hard work will only go to waste if you do not properly rest and hydrate your body. Typically, you need 8 hours of sleep every night and drink plenty of water. However, you don’t have to force yourself to drink 8 glasses of tasteless H2O. Try adding natural flavors to make it bearable. Fresh fruits like strawberries, cucumbers, and lemon can turn any glass of water into a tropical paradise.

 

We can all use a little motivation to get moving and stay active. If you don’t have health, what do you have? I hope you guys enjoyed the post and found some inspiration along the way. I’d love for you to share any tips for fitness motivation you have found helpful to you in the comments below.

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