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Archive for December, 2009

Are you one of those people who maintain a steady weight throughout the year but then put on extra pounds once Christmas arrives in all of its splendor?

Perhaps your weakness is too much eggnog, or the sauce that accompanies the shrimp cocktails? Or maybe your eyes widen a little too much and your mouth begins to water whenever you see cookies in the shape of Santa Clauses decorated with red sprinkles?

Let’s be honest, the festive season is a wonderful time of the year for giving and for spending time with family and close friends. It is also a time for parties and overindulgence in food and drink. If the thought of an office Christmas party or a gathering among friends or loved ones has you worrying about going up a pant size then you need to learn ways to have fun but not take in too many calories. Read on for some ways to maintain your weight during the season of being merry!

When it comes to eating during the holidays, overeating is often par for the course. It is also not uncommon for people to eat foods that they might not be inclined to eat as much of at other times of the year. In avoid to prevent yourself from over consuming and taking in too many unwanted calories at a party or when going to someone’s house for a Christmas meal, eat a healthy snack beforehand. Arriving on an empty stomach is a recipe for an overconsumption disaster!

It is especially difficult to pass up food when it is brought around on trays or when it sits looking so appetizing on a buffet table. Look for snacks that are low in fat. Some examples of these include a selection of tasty fruit, rice crackers, pretzels and fat free biscuits. If you are a dipper at heart then look to a delicious and low fat dip such as ricotta cheese mixed with a sweet chili sauce.

Be wary of dipping too much however. Sometimes it is not the food at parties that is fattening and full of calories but the dips and sauces that are in accompaniment to them. For example shrimp is often served at Christmas celebrations. Shrimp on its own is not fattening but when you start dipping it the caloric count begins to rise.

Do not forget about the liquid calories you consume at this festive time of the year as well. A cosmopolitan in all of its glory is full of calories. Three ounces will have you consuming 179 calories. Compare that to a six ounce mimosa which comes in at 105 calories. Eggnog is one of the worst fat offenders- a half cup is equal to 186 calories. Mixed drinks are particularly high in calories as are anything that contains an abundance of sugar. Instead of Grand Marnier or Crème de Menthe, choose spiced tea (with a smidgen of rum) or mineral water.

Enjoy the holidays!

Samantha

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You know that you should exercise because it is an important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle.

The question you may ask yourself however is how much exercise is enough? Is the exercise you are presently getting (or are planning to start getting) enough to fulfill the necessary requirements to keep your heart strong and your muscles in proper working order?

In order to get the necessary health benefits you need to exercise at least 30 minutes daily. Individuals who get this amount of exercise on a daily basis are afforded a greater level of protection from a selection of cancers, artery disease, hypertension, type II diabetes and depression as compared to those who live a very couch potato like existence. Bear in mind however that 30 minutes is the bare minimum- the more you get the better for your health and your overall sense of well-being!

Get F.I.T. Today

When you begin an exercise program you need to learn about the meaning of fit (or more to the point what the acronym F.I.T. stands for).

F= Frequency

I= Intensity

T= Time

Put them all together and you get F.I.T! This is also sometimes called the overload principle. Here is the explanation of it:

In the beginning you should do your exercises slow and not push yourself to the extreme. Ease into the program. Once you have been at it for a while and your body has adjusted then push yourself a little bit harder. Keep doing this every time you work out. This helps you to achieve the results you are seeking. It helps you to lose weight, tone up and sculpt your body. It also improves the level of fitness you are at.

Frequency is the amount of time you spend involved in physical activity. In the beginning work out two to three times a week. Intensity has to do with how much effort and energy goes into your work out. This varies tremendously from person to person! The intensity of your work out refers to how high your heart rate reaches. It can also refer to other things such as the pace with which you walk the treadmill or the track or how much weight you lift. Finally, time can be twofold- it can refer to how much time you spend working out but it can also refer to the number of repetitions involved in an individual exercise set.

Components of an Exercise Program

To get everything out of your exercise program that you need to get out of it you need to be doing three different types of exercises. These include aerobic exercise, strength training and stretching.

Aerobic exercise is a form of cardiovascular exercise because it is beneficial for the healthy functioning of the heart and the lungs. Aerobic exercise builds endurance.  Examples of aerobic exercise include walking at a brisk pace, riding a bike, swimming and running.

Strength training builds muscle mass which we all tend to start losing after we pass the age of 35. Strength training involves working out with weights or resistive bands. For optimum benefit do strength training two to three times a week for a period of 25 to 30 minutes at a time.

If you’re in doubt about the right program for you then check out the trainers at a local gym and ask them to set a course for you. Alternatively you can use a workout like the PACE Exercise Interval Program to get you up and running – or jogging!

Stretching is necessary in that it improves your flexibility and it reduces the worry over strains or injuries occurring while exercising. Stretching warms up the muscles and prepares them for what is to come. Do this before you work out and then again at the end of a work out to cool down your muscles. Do stretching exercises for a five to 10 minute period. Stretching is by far the most overlooked and under used part of a healthy exercise program but it should be utilized every time you are planning to do aerobic exercises or strength training.

Samantha

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Free writing is a form of relaxation and an excellent form of therapy that you can indulged in from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

You can let your mind wander and take you to whatever happy place you want it to. If your happy place is a beach then let it take you there! If it is a pleasant childhood memory then let it take you there! Free writing gives you the permission to relax, be at peace in your personal haven and to visualize whatever positive scenario most appeals to you.

If you have never attempted free writing then you are in for a treat. Here is the technique:

The Free Writing Technique

Sit down in a comfortable chair with a pen and a pad of paper and allow your mind to wander in whatever direction it chooses. Close your eyes for a minute and revel in the mental picture that is conjured up. What do you see, feel, hear, smell and taste? Whatever it is your senses have provided you, now you can open your eyes and write it down. Anything that comes to mind that is. It doesn’t have to make any sense, nor does it have to be in sentences or even be written across the page in an orderly fashion. Just write.

Healing Writing Therapy

It is called free writing because it is all about being free. It is an excellent way to relax yourself. You are taking the time to free yourself from all worries and to do as you please. So go on, give it a try! Not only is it relaxing, free writing can also be fun to do.

Free writing is a restful and soothing activity but it is so much more than that. It is a way to help discover something new, or learn something about yourself that is buried deep in your mind. It is a portal to your innermost thoughts and feelings. Try it yourself and see what you can release in your psyche and also what insights you can glean about your inner life.

Basic Guidelines for Free Writing

Free writing follows a few basis guidelines. They are as follows:

• Write nonstop for a set period of time. For example 15 to 25 minutes is a good allotment of time. As a beginner you might want to start with 10 minutes.
• Write whatever comes into your head, no matter how strange it might seem.
• Don’t make corrections as you write as that would defeat the purpose of the exercise.
• Write even if you don’t know what to write or think you have nothing to say.
• Don’t make any judgments about what you are writing and don’t censor yourself. If something inappropriate passes through your mind, don’t hesitate to jot it down.
• Don’t cross anything out on the page. Write the new idea down but leave the old idea in place.
• Don’t concern yourself with proper spelling or punctuation and your free writing will be quicker and more fluent.

If you discover that your free writing is neat and coherent then you probably haven’t loosened up enough to grasp the logic behind the exercise. Remember that the process of free writing is what is important, not the end result. You will always be successful if you follow the guidelines listed above.

The Benefits of Free Writing

Free writing has so many benefits. The most obvious include:

• It can be a valve to release inner tensions.
• It is freeing to the psyche.
• It opens you up to explore new and special things about yourself such as your feelings, thoughts, dreams, goals, etc.
• Free writing can be fun and soothing.

Free writing can be done by anyone. You do not have to be good at writing to make this healing exercise work for you. Give it a try and see how it is done!

Becca

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