Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

How to Make Resolutions That Really Stick

At the start of every new year, people feel inspired to make changes in their lives. For some, it may be a smoking habit they want to kick; for others, weight loss may be at the top of their list. Maybe you want to use the new year to motivate yourself to start that business you’ve been dreaming of or perhaps your goal is to spend more time with family. Regardless of what personal or professional change you are aiming for, how you go about setting your goals and measuring your milestones can have everything to do with how likely you are to succeed. Read on for tips on how to stick with your resolutions this year.

  1. Be Realistic: Maybe your doctor has told you to lose weight or perhaps you’d rather give healthy eating and exercise a shot before committing to a lifetime of prescription drugs to manage high blood pressure or cholesterol. The key to any big lifestyle change is to make it doable. If you never work out, pledging to hit the gym 6 days a week is an unrealistic goal. Instead, commit to going to the gym 3 times a week, and then add in a long bike ride or walk on your “off” days. Try out a class you’ve never taken before, you just might find you enjoy it. Whatever exercise you choose, make sure it is mainly activities that you enjoy, or you won’t be excited to do them. This same logic applies to eating healthier—don’t go cold turkey on all of your favorite foods at once. You will feel deprived and will be more likely to binge. Start by having oatmeal for breakfast 3 times a week, a salad for lunch 3 times a week and meatless meals a few times a week. Cut back on your portion sizes and you can still enjoy the foods you love. As your new lifestyle becomes a habit, add in more healthy meals or longer or harder workouts.
  2. Hold Yourself Accountable: Find a friend who has the same resolution as you. When your alarm goes off early on a cold winter morning, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed to workout. If you know someone is going to be counting on you to meet them at the gym or in the neighborhood for a walk, you’ll be less likely to skip it. Online support groups are everywhere and can offer encouragement and a place to ask questions and raise concerns as you work through whatever personal journey you are on towards a better you.
  3. Reward Yourself: Celebrate your successes, no matter how small! If you made it to the gym a few times this week, reward yourself with positive thoughts and encouragement. Non-food rewards make sense when you are trying to be healthier or lose weight. When you lose 20 lbs you might treat yourself to a new workout outfit or pair of running shoes. If you’ve made healthy food swaps for a few weeks and are shedding a some pounds, have friends over to showcase your healthy cooking or reward yourself with a new cookbook or magazine subscription to Cooking Light. Equally important to rewarding yourself is forgiving yourself when you slip up. It is unrealistic (there’s that word again!) to think that you will exercise or eat healthy or give up smoking without any lapses in behavior. The key is to acknowledge that you’ve experienced a setback (notice I didn’t say failed!) and that it isn’t helping you get to where you want to be as a person. Try to figure out what triggered the lapse and plan for how you can deal with it differently in the future. Stressful day at work? Take a walk as soon as you get home or hit the gym on the way home to relieve stress instead of having a cigarette or binging on junk food. Planning ahead for bad days is key, and sometimes just accepting that you really want that chocolate ice cream but will only have a small scoop is ok too!

Fresh Start

New Year's Resolutions written on a note pad.

Regardless of whether you are sad or relieved to see 2016 go, the New Year is nearly upon us. And after a month and a half of over indulging and skipping workouts due to a jam-packed social calendar, January offers a great time to slow down and regroup. Making resolutions is a tradition that many people embrace as a way to kickstart healthy habits or accomplish goals they’ve lost sight of. Resolutions can either be an effective tool for positive self-change or something you later beat yourself up about. Make your resolutions stick this year by following these helpful suggestions:

  • Set realistic goals and timelines. You didn’t develop your bad habits overnight and it is unrealistic to assume you can break yourself of them in the course of a few weeks. Persistence and patience are necessary to succeed.
  • Find an accountability partner. Whether it’s your spouse, best friend or just someone from the gym who’s also looking to drop a few pounds, having someone to share your struggles and successes with can help keep you on track.
  • Don’t let a slip up or setback completely derail your progress. You are human and will make mistakes. The best thing you can do is to learn from them and move on with more knowledge and willpower. Try to identify any triggers—a stressful day at work, a busy schedule with little time to cook healthy meals or exercise—and come up with a game plan to overcome these obstacles. Maybe you have to prep your meals or make and freeze them on the weekends, or you have to fit in two shorter workouts a day (15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening) instead of one longer workout. Be flexible and creative when it comes to reaching your goals and you will be successful!

Making Nutrition a Priority for Your Aging Loved One

Senior man eating healthy salad for lunch.  White background.

People of all ages can struggle with healthy eating, but for the elderly, proper nutrition can make a huge difference in their physical health and well-being. A healthy diet can help prevent constipation, weight gain or loss, reduce the side effects of certain medications, and so much more. If your loved one suffers from a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, monitoring sugar or salt intake is a crucial part of managing their disease. Understanding some of the struggles your loved one is facing when it comes to healthy eating can help you help them make better choices.

Wondering why your aging loved one isn’t that interested in food? Anything that can affect your sense of smell can affect your appetite, and according to NIH Senior Health, many adults over age 60 experience some loss of smell as a normal part of aging. In addition, certain types of medications and some cancer treatments can disrupt a person’s sense of smell or taste. Try making food more flavorful by using spices rather than more salt or sugar.

Many elderly spend mealtimes alone, which can lead to loneliness and a lack of desire to cook. Dentures or other dental problems can make eating certain types of foods difficult, and having a very restrictive diet because of a chronic health condition are additional reasons your loved one may be losing interest in eating. Whenever possible, invite your loved one over for dinner or treat them to a brunch or lunch out at their favorite restaurant. You will be able to keep tabs on what their food choices are as well as provide loving companionship, which can help stave off depression.

If you are worried that your loved one isn’t eating as well as they should, schedule an appointment with their physician. Their physician can provide recommendations based on the various medications or treatments your loved one is receiving and help monitor their health.

The Right Way to Make Resolutions

People put a lot of pressure on the transformative powers of the New Year and its ability to change them into a better version of themselves. Inevitably willpower wanes and the pressures of life come into play, and the reality is that change is hard. I’m not trying to say resolutions are a waste of time; in fact they can be great motivators when approached correctly. Avoid making sweeping lifestyle changes all at once, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your resolutions this year.

If your resolution is to be healthier in the New Year, you need to decide what that means to you. Do you need to start an exercise program, change your eating habits, quit smoking or all of the above? Attack your “get healthy” resolution with baby steps. People often fail to stick to their resolutions because of the simple fact that it is hard to deprive yourself of things you enjoy. The solution is to make small, incremental changes so it doesn’t feel like your life is miserable all of a sudden. Being realistic is important to success as well. If you never workout, don’t make a resolution to go to the gym every day for an hour. Instead, meet a friend and go for a bike ride or walk 4 or 5 times a week, or join a gym with the goal of going 3 times a week for 30 minutes. As you get used to the commitment, you can slowly ramp up your workouts and time.

If your “get healthy” resolution involves eating better, small changes are best. Going cold turkey on all of the foods you enjoy will make you more likely to give up after a week. Try switching out your normal breakfast for oatmeal or eggs and have a salad with grilled chicken for lunch a few times a week instead of getting fast food. Choose smaller portion sizes of your favorite foods or choose single-serving sizes of treats to help with portion control. Understanding how many calories are in the foods you eat and exactly how much physical activity you have to do to offset the caloric load can help you bypass temptation. Before you know it, you’ll stop craving the unhealthy choices and actually look forward to healthier fare.

Most importantly, be patient with yourself and accept that you are going to slip up every now and then. Pick rewards that motivate you—new clothes when you lose the weight, a vacation when you give up smoking—whatever it is that will inspire you to make the change you wish to see in yourself. Happy 2016!

Thyroid Problems: Know the Signs

Close-up of smiling mature woman holding flowers at park

If you are an older woman, you should be aware of the signs of thyroid disease. According to Womenshealth.gov, one in eight women will have thyroid problems in their lifetime. What are some of the symptoms? Hyperthyroidism can cause unexplained weight loss, trouble sleeping, anxiety or irritability, and more frequent bowel movements while hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, fatigue, constipation, and dry or thinning hair. Having a family history of thyroid disease also increases your risk, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience any unexplained symptoms! For more information, visit womenshealth.gov.

Healthy Food Choices for Budget-Conscious Seniors

Paper bag filled with groceries and banknotes

Eating well as you age is important on so many levels. Many chronic health conditions that plague older Americans, including heart disease, diabetes, joint pain, cancer, and even digestive problems, are the result of poor eating habits and excess weight. The National Institute on Aging’s article Eating Well As You Get Older delves into the many health benefits of healthy eating and the benefits it offers to aging seniors. So how can you balance the need for quick, affordable meals while making sure you are eating nutritious, balanced food that can give you the energy you need to be active and healthy? With a little planning ahead you can save money and time, both at the grocery store and hopefully on future doctor’s visits!

Why do so many Americans turn to fast food? It’s convenient, it’s cheap and you probably think it tastes good. The problem is that fast food is often packed with unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar while it lacks fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats, and whole grains. So how can you make cooking at home more appealing and affordable? Write out your meals for the week, making note of which ones use the same ingredients. A store-bought rotisserie chicken can be used for tonight’s salad and tomorrow’s chicken fajitas It’s ok to make your favorite fast foods at home—just make healthy substitutions like baked (frozen) sweet potato fries, turkey or veggie burgers instead of beef, chicken sausage instead of pork, whole wheat buns instead of white, etc. Plan on at least two “leftovers for dinner” nights or bring leftovers in to work for lunch. Frozen fruits and veggies are often cheaper than fresh and can be steamed in minutes, don’t require the chopping and cleaning, and are great in smoothies for a quick breakfast. Buying frozen also means you don’t have to worry about wasting money on produce that goes bad before you have a chance to eat it. Apples and bananas are great to have on hand all the time—top either with some peanut butter for a quick breakfast or snack. Check out Choosemyplate.gov’s Steps to Healthy, Economical Meals for more tips and recipes to make cooking at home easier and more affordable.

It is a great idea to peruse your favorite grocery store’s weekly ads, but don’t fall into the trap of buying something just because it’s on sale. Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry as you will be more likely to stray from your list. Another trick that healthy shoppers use—stick to the outside perimeter of the store and avoid the middle aisles as these typically contain the more processed, less healthy food choices. Aim for small changes (eat out two less times per week, try one new recipe a week) rather than trying to overhaul your entire eating habits at once—and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, budget-conscious lifestyle!

 

January Newsletter: New Year, Same You–Only Better!

Composite image of this year i am going to

Our January newsletter has tips for helping your resolutions stick this year, advice for making small, healthy diet and lifestyle changes, warning signs of caregiver burnout, how in-home senior care can help and much more! Click here to read our newsletter.

Do Your Heart A Favor…Take Yoga!

Recent research (European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, Dec 15, 2014 ) has found cardiovascular benefits, including a reduction in weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, from a regular yoga practice. This is good news for individuals with physical limitations or who otherwise shy away from higher impact cardio workouts. For more information on how yoga can help your heart, read the Healthday News’ article “Yoga May Cut Heart Disease Risk Factors” on healthfinder.gov.

Cases of Diabetes on the Rise

The number of people with prediabetes and diabetes is on the rise. It is striking people at younger ages and is closely linked to obesity. Adopting a healthy lifestyle including exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods, and losing weight can greatly reduce your chances of getting diabetes. Complications from the disease can be serious and include heart disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney failure, limb amputation and early death. For more information on the diabetes epidemic, read Healthfinder.gov’s article   “U.S. Diabetes Cases Jump to 29 Million: CDC.”

Walk Your Way to Better Health

Seniors Walking the Beach

What better way to enjoy the warmer temperatures and longer days that come with spring than going for a walk? Walking has numerous health benefits and is a low impact exercise that you can do almost anywhere. According to the American Heart Association, moderate physical exercise such as walking offers the following health perks:

·  Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

·  Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels

·  Improve blood lipid profile

·  Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity

·  Enhance mental well being

·  Reduce the risk of osteoporosis

·  Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer

·  Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

Walking with friends or a spouse is also a great way to socialize and can help keep both parties accountable. You won’t want to miss a walk for fear of letting your buddy down! If you are trying to lose weight, consider investing in an activity monitor such as the Jawbone UP or Fitbit. These fitness bands help you keep track of how many steps you are taking a day (the general recommendation is for 10,000 steps a day, or roughly 30 minutes of physical activity). But start small—if you currently only walk a few thousand steps a day, aim to increase your distance each week rather than try to set an unrealistic goal when you are starting out.

Still not convinced you need to lace up? Researchers have found that time spent outdoors can actually improve mental performance, which translates into better memory and attention span. What are you waiting for? Grab a friend and hit the pavement!