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6 Tips for Hosting a Healthy Party 6 Tips for Hosting a Healthy Party


Hosting a Healthy Party

Mindless eating and drinking as you mingle at a party can send your caloric intake through the roof. When you are the host, lead by example. Follow these tips to throw a party that is healthy without sacrificing the fun.

Serve a meal.

Offering a variety of finger foods encourages people to try a little of everything, which can lead to overeating. By having guests sit down to a full meal, you can help them avoid the temptation. A meal around the table will encourage conversation, and define a beginning and end to eating for the event.

Offer smaller portions, and more courses.

A meal spread over four courses feels elegant, and allows you to serve smaller portions. Try cucumber cups filled with shrimp salad for an appetizer, a chilled gazpacho soup, an entrée of fish or chicken with fruit salsa and roasted vegetables, and a small portion of a decadent cake for dessert.

Have guests make their meal.

Take some of the pressure off yourself and let your guests assemble their own meal. Create a fun taco, pasta or salad bar with grilled meats, vegetables, and fresh toppings. This approach encourages creativity and mingling, and provides the benefit of having a meal instead of snacks. With lots of healthy toppings, your guests will have the option to make nutritious choices.

Offer a variety of drinks and mixers.

Fancy, signature cocktails are fun, but all of those juices and mixers are high in calories. You don’t have to cut out the alcohol, but provide a variety of light beers and use club sodas and flavored waters as mixers.

Don’t get overwhelmed.

Keep each course simple, and choose foods you can prepare ahead of time. Stressing out over the event could lead to overeating.

Make health a side note.

While your goal is to keep your party as healthy as possible, don’t make that the focus for your guests. The goal is to make fun parties with healthy foods the norm, and not the exception. After a party like this, guests will realize they aren’t missing out on anything, except for the calories.

6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem


6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem

Harboring a poor body image can do more than just hinder your weight loss efforts. It can make you downright miserable. Your journey to becoming a healthier person will benefit greatly if it is preceded by self-love and self-respect.

Step 1

Start by recognizing that the only opinion that matters is your opinion. Self-respect originates from the self – not from others.

Step 2

Break the vicious cycle of dieting. In order to do this, you need to first recognize the cycle, which typically follows this pattern:

  • You have feelings of inadequacy and discontentment with your body.
  • You start a crash diet in an attempt to lose weight.
  • You are not able to maintain the unrealistic requirements of your crash diet.
  • You regain the weight that you lost (and oftentimes surpass your original body weight).
  • Your feelings of inadequacy and discontentment with your body are worse than when you started.

Sound familiar?

There is one simple secret to avoiding this trap: Do not crash diet. Crash diets are not sustainable and they do nothing to teach you healthy habits. Instead, try to convert your existing lifestyle into a healthy one. Luckily, you are already on the right path by using

Step 3

Chronic dieters who have experienced repeated failure commonly bash themselves with negative self-talk. Re-wiring those negative self-talk tapes is the first step in learning self-love.

A good place to start is with positive affirmations, which are statements that affirm positive characteristics about you. This can provide a gateway to achieving self-love. We don't fully understand how positive affirmations work, but we know that they do.

Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day and repeat the saying out loud to yourself -- preferably while looking in the mirror. Affirmations should use words and phrases such as respect, cherish, care for, love, dignity, beautiful, treasure, worth it, whole, complete, esteem, confidence, health, acceptance, and responsibility. Create your own uplifting affirmations that have meaning for you. An example may read something like this:

"I am beautiful, complete, and whole. I respect and cherish my body and its amazing and miraculous functions. I love and care for myself at all times."

Repeat them throughout the day, especially when you recognize negative self-talk replaying in your mind. Affirmations gently remind you of your focus, and help you dismiss destructive thoughts.

Step 4

Start journaling your thoughts and feelings. This is another powerful tool for identifying negative self-talk, and challenging it. Each day, commit to writing something in the Personal Notes section of your account. You do not need to write about anything specific -- just write at least 3 paragraphs a day. Sooner or later, ideas and feelings will start to surface and you can confront them in writing. Always end your journal entry with a positive affirmation.

Step 5

Be patient and gentle with yourself. Take special time out on a daily basis, and allow yourself to decompress. Remind yourself that you are more than what is on the outside and that people come in different shapes and sizes. Refuse to succumb to the shallow criteria often put forth by society. Explore your interests and talents, and focus your energies on experiencing life through those channels. Instead of concentrating on how you look, direct your energy and thoughts to how you feel when you eat well and move your body. Always view your dietary intake and exercise as ways in which you are caring for and nurturing your body -- not as a way to simply lose weight.

Step 6

If you continue to struggle, consider finding a counselor or a therapist to help you work through some of these issues. Oftentimes, having an objective party to challenge your self-defeating beliefs can be helpful. Know that each of us has a purpose and a reason for being here, and rarely does it have anything to do with how we look.

3 Tips for Ending Negative Self-talk 3 Tips for Ending Negative Self-talk


end negative self-talk

Negative self-talk is that little voice inside your head telling you that you can’t do it. These self-defeating thoughts are not only inaccurate, they limit your potential. Take control of your negative self-talk, turn it into positive affirmation, and start reaching your goals!

Identify the type.

The Mayo Clinic identifies four types of negative self-talk – filtering, personalizing, catastrophizing, and polarizing.

  • Filtering – You focus on the negative. Scenario: You gained one pound this week. You focus on this, and ignore that you have already lost 25 lbs.
  • Personalizing – It’s all your fault. Scenario: Your workout partner cancels at the last minute due to a sick child. You think the real reason is because she doesn’t enjoy exercising with you.
  • Catastrophizing – The worst will always happen. Scenario: This weekend you have to attend a birthday party and a cookout. You believe it will be a weight loss disaster before it starts – there will be no healthy options, you’ll have no will power, and you’ll have to skip your workout.
  • Polarizing – You must be perfect. Scenario: You felt sluggish during your workout and didn’t push as hard as usual; therefore, you failed the entire week.

Determine the source.

Does someone in your life approach situations with negativity? Has this rubbed off on you? Sometimes negative self-talk doesn’t originate with us. It is difficult to be around negative people and not adopt the same attitude. It is also difficult to overcome negative comments from others that may stem from their insecurity. Don’t allow their comments to become your negative self-talk. Discuss the issue, and try to get to the source of the negativity. If that doesn’t work, you may need to spend time away from this person so that you can change your outlook and approach your goals in a positive way.

Change your outlook.

Changing your outlook and attitude means you have to stay on top of negative thoughts. Pause and check your thoughts regularly throughout the day. Did you just criticize the way you look when you saw your reflection? Stop the negativity, and replace it with something positive.

When you are tempted to react with a negative comment, access the situation. Is your negativity based on fact, or are you jumping to conclusions? Giving in to a cookie at the office may not be the healthiest choice, but it will only add 200 calories to your week. You can cut back the next day, or push harder in your next workout. One slip up is not going to ruin all of your efforts.

Talking to yourself in the mirror or repeating a mantra in your head may make you feel silly, but it does help. Practice positive self-talk when you glance at your reflection or when you choose a healthy option. Saying to yourself, “You look great in this new shirt,” or “Great job choosing the apple. You are going to have a lot more energy this afternoon!” will have a huge impact on your overall attitude and determination.

How to Keep the Weekend from Ruining Your Fitness Plan How to Keep the Weekend from Ruining Your Fitness Plan


weekend fitness plan

The structure provided by your weekly schedule makes it easier to stick to your plan. The weekend is when you are likely to relax your rules, and spend a little too much time on the couch. These tips will help make your weekend as active as your week days!

Be a weekend warrior.

Reserve the weekend to do activities that are more challenging. Take advantage of any extra free time. Play in a sports tournament or sign up for a tennis lesson. Team sports, hiking, indoor rock climbing, biking, an organized race, or a racquetball match are perfect for an active weekend.

Stay out of the seat.

If your weekend is full of seated activities, get moving! Are you a spectator at the sports complex? Walk around the field during the game, or climb the bleachers during halftime. Ask your friend to take a walk with you before or after you meet for coffee. Catch up on your favorite television shows while you are on the treadmill, or do a set of push-ups, squats, and crunches during each commercial break.

Complete a project on your to-do list.

You can torch hundreds of calories while doing household chores. If you have to choose between a lengthy workout and checking something off your to-do list, pick an active project and get it done. Rearrange the living room furniture, wash the windows, or organize the boxes in the garage. We often don’t think of these as workouts but, as long as you are moving, you are burning more calories than while sitting on the couch.

Stretch and relax.

A break from high-energy exercise is a good thing. Quiet activities such as stretching, progressive relaxation, and meditation are beneficial to health. Get the break you need, but use the weekend downtime for a stress-relieving activity that gets you ready to start a productive week.

Get seven to nine hours of sleep.

It is tempting to stay up late or sleep in on the weekends, but the more closely you stick to your regular sleep schedule, the better you will feel. Late nights disrupt sleep cycles, and leave you too tired to exercise. If you feel like you need more sleep, incorporate a nap. The National Sleep Foundation states that a 20-30 minute nap improves alertness and performance without interfering with normal sleep patterns.

4 Ways to Reduce Stress 4 Ways to Reduce Stress


4 Ways to Reduce Stress

When you are craving foods because of a stressful situation, take a few minutes to relax, gather your thoughts and reflect on your fitness goals.

Go for a walk

Walking provides a simple way to take a mental break, and the physical activity eases tension. While all exercise has benefits, an outdoor walk in a quiet setting will be the most effective for gathering your thoughts. Choose a route through a park or quiet neighborhood that is free of traffic noise and other distractions. Bring your focus to how good it feels to get moving and the peacefulness of your environment.

Repeat a word or phrase

While sitting quietly, think of a positive word or phrase. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and repeat the affirmation in your head. It takes as little as 5 minutes of sitting quietly and reflecting on something positive to help ease stress and refresh your outlook.

Use guided meditation

If your thoughts tend to wander while meditating, listening to guiding words can be helpful. Guided meditations offer cues to help you refocus your thoughts and get the most from your meditation time. You can find guided meditations in the form of podcasts, apps for your smartphone, CDs and community classes.

Muscle relaxation

Muscle relaxation eases tension throughout your whole body. It can be done while seated or while lying on your back. Begin at your feet and tense your muscles. Next breathe deeply as you relax the muscles. Repeat this process for each set of muscle groups, and work your way up your body.

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