Archive for the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Category

Health and Fitness Apps Worth Downloading

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to get a little overwhelmed with the amount of apps we can download for our smart phones. From games to healthy recipe apps to fitness apps, there are just so many to chose from! With that being said, there are few mentioned below that I find very helpful for those looking to better their health, wellness and fitness.

  1. Figwee Portion Explorer ($1.99)
    • You name any food and this app will show you the realistic and ideal portion for that particular food.  For example, if you were to type in apricots you’d have the choice of various apricot items (e.g., dried, fresh, in syrup).  From there, simply click and an actual picture of the food will show up.  Talk about managing portions through actual visuals!  Amazing! Great healthy recipe app!
  2. MyFitnessPal (Free)
    • This app has a huge database of foods as well as making it easy to log physical activity.  Keeping track of your meals, snacks, beverages and exercise can be extremely helpful for those that want extra accountability, as well as recognizing certain daily or weekly patterns. This is hands down my favorite fitness app.
  3. TED (Free)
      • Need a motivational talk? Trying to find what to listen to on a thermal walk?  Download the TED app so you can listen to wonderful TED talks.  If you haven’t heard of a TED talk then I would highly recommend watching Hilton Head Health’s TED talk—check it out:  Hilton Head Health TED Event.

  4. Paprika Recipe Manager ($4.99)
    • This app is great for creating weekly meal plans and managing recipes found on the internet.  Yes, it is almost too good to be true.  For example, I found a smoothie that I really wanted to try on a particular website.  I downloaded the recipe (using the app) then added it to my “Sunday- Breakfast.”  Simple to use and the added bonus is that it helps you create a grocery list! Awesome!
  5. Helium Video Booth Lite (Free)
    • At Hilton Head Health, we stress the importance of relieving stress and a having a  mind/body connection. This app is perfect for stress relief! It will completely feed your soul with laughter. Download this app and you will understand.  Once downloaded, practice on an employee that has a good sense of humor. icon wink Health and Fitness Apps Worth Downloading

We hope that you enjoy these great healthy recipe apps, fitness apps and health apps! Which one of these is your favorite?

 

10 Back-to-School Grab & Go Healthy Breakfast Tips

You know the summer is over when your alarm shrieks two hours earlier than it did last week and you’re standing by the coffee-maker nodding off while it brews, seemingly at a snail’s pace. Once the coffee is eagerly ingested, you start the perilous process of waking your kids for their first day back at school. The relaxed summer mornings are replaced with waking the dead, followed by chaotic bursts of panic, bickering, wishing you could get everyone fed and a final rush out the front door in order to avoid hearing the school bell ring. Leisurely fixing a healthy breakfast is unceremoniously canned.

When back to school sneaks up on you, breakfast is the first healthy habit to go. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s crucial for those little minds focusing on both good behavior and learning throughout the day. Kids who skip breakfast have trouble concentrating, under-perform in memory tests and have low energy. In contrast, kids who eat breakfast tend to keep their weight under control, have lower blood cholesterol levels and fewer absences from school, as well as make fewer trips to the school nurse with stomach complaints related to hunger.

At Hilton Head Health,we capitalize on nutrition as an essential component for wellness and weight loss for our adult Guests. However, health and wellness are just as important for our kids! Here are 10 tips for fitting in a healthy breakfast among the back-to-school bedlam:

1. Trail Blazers: Make your own healthy breakfast trail mix and portion in baggies. Slip the baggies in your kid’s backpack, keep a few in your car’s glove box and throw one in your purse. Voila! Hidden trail mix, ready to eat, everywhere! Let your kids help pick out the nuts, raisins and dried fruits so they’re invested in the choice. (P.S. You can also do this with granola.)
2. Nice Catch Kid!: Cut up mixed fruit and portion in baggies then sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to keep it from browning. Keep the bag in the fridge overnight for a great kids breakfast when you’re in a rush.
3. Smooth Move: Remember the fruit from tip #2? Use one of these bags for a smoothie. Throw the fruit from one baggie in the blender with some ice and Greek yogurt or a bit of peanut butter for some added flavor and protein. No child is going to refuse a smoothie! Nope, not gonna’ happen. Keep some disposable cups on hand so that you don’t have to buy a new set of glasses every month. If you want to take this one step further, you can actually put all the ingredients for your smoothie in the blender pitcher the night before and keep it in the fridge. Pull it out in the morning and blend it while you hover over the coffee-maker as it’s brewing.
4. Sandwiched for Time?: Purchase a loaf of zucchini or banana bread from your local healthy grocery store. Slice it thinly and make sandwiches using cream cheese or peanut butter. Portion into baggies and keep in the fridge. A yummy grab and go kid’s breakfast that they’ll love!
5. Unleash the Quiche!: Make muffin-tin frittatas or quiches early in the week and store in the fridge or freezer. Wrap one in a paper towel, warm it in the microwave, and stick it in your kid’s hands — as you’re signing that last minute permission slip. Garnish with a kiss on the cheek. (P.S. Leftovers are great for making frittatas). Here’s a video from Mom.me to get you started:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Speaking of leftovers: There’s nothing wrong with a non-traditional breakfast. Don’t be shy about microwaving some leftovers, especially if it’s a family favorite.
7. The Incredible, Edible Egg: The boiled egg is the original fast food. Always keep a few in the fridge for a shot of morning protein.
8. A Good-Day Parfait. Assemble a few yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits in disposable cups and store in the fridge. It looks, tastes and feels like a decadent morning treat that will send any kid off to school with a smile.
9. Stowaway Fruit. Stick an extra piece of fruit in your child’s lunchbox so they can eat it on the way to school. In the unlikely event that they actually ate breakfast before leaving the house, the fruit will make a great snack for later in the day.
10. Mamma Mia, Breakfast Pizza: Using a pre-made crust, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese (you are welcome to add marinara sauce as well as veggies), make a breakfast pizza and portion slices into baggies. Heat a slice in the microwave, give it to junior and then ask for a tip.

Wishing you all a wonderful school year with healthy and happy kids! What’s your favorite healthy breakfast recipe?

 

5 Steps to Wellness

Here at Hilton Head Health, we understand the difficulty of adjusting into a healthier, fitness oriented lifestyle. That’s why we encourage our Guests to use incremental changes to help them reach their fitness and weight loss goals and wellness objectives during our weight loss program and wellness program. These  small changes may not seem drastic, but they can feel like an adjustment from your normal, everyday routine. However, as those steps are continually taken, over time those small changes can lead to making bigger steps towards a healthy lifestyle. Here are 5 small steps that you can take to begin to achieve wellness, and live an overall healthy lifestyle:

5stepstowellness1 300x300 5 Steps to Wellness

1. Substitute water for carbonated and sugary beverages

  • Put fruit in your water to spice things up!
  • Compared to what you were drinking and what you add into the water, you could save 100-200 calories.

2. Meditate for 20-30 minutes a day

  • You should meditate in quiet place while lying down in a comfortable position. Clear your head of any thoughts and listen to your body inhale and exhale.
  • This will ease stress and anxiety, allow you to release the stress from your day and boost cognitive function.

3. Have fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks instead of chips, candy, etc.

  • Some great options are blueberries, bananas, peaches, apples, carrots, broccoli, peppers, and celery.
  • Fruits and veggies are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, which help your body fight off disease.

4. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.

  • Try to wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Adequate sleep enriches your healthy lifestyle because this helps your mind, heart health, weight loss, weight management and more.

5. Set fitness goals for yourself.

  • Encourage yourself to make SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. For example, I will work out 3 times a week this month then increase to 4 times a week next month.
  • Making SMART goals will help you slowly transition into new workout routines. This will help you sustain your improved, healthy lifestyle and help you continue to reach all your wellness goals.

What are some steps that you take every day to help you achieve wellness?

 

Wellness Wednesday: Everyday Wellness

Here at Hilton Head Health, our goal is to help you reach your weight loss and wellness goals and ensure that you achieve long lasting results through nutrition education and personalized programs. We believe that achieving your goals is not a process that happens over night. It involves squeezing small healthy habits into your everyday routine. Here are 5 healthy habits that will enable you to practice everyday wellness.

1. Start your day by eating a healthy breakfast.  This sets you up to be less hungry by lunch and dinner and stops your from potentially overeating at those times.

2. Plan on eating 2-3 healthy snacks a day. Healthy midmorning and midafternoon snacks keep your metabolism revved and this prevents you from feeling deprived.

3. Stay hydrated throughout the day.  Start off in the morning with a big glass of water when you wake up and repeat every 2 hours.  This will give you about eight glasses per day.  Dehydration can mask itself as hunger initially; instead of reaching for a snack, have a glass of water first.

4. Get extra steps in.  Park farther away from the building where you work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, plan a noontime walk after you have your lunch and when you get home at night, eat dinner and then go for a 10 to 15 minute walk or go outside and play with your children.  Instead of meeting friends for happy hour, meet for spin class or a run. Not only will you get more activity in your day but you will have a lot of fun doing it.

5. Get enough sleep. One of the most important factors in any wellness program is sleep.  Aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.  Try to keep your sleep times the same throughout the week.  Turn off the TV, cell phone and computer and keep your sleeping area cool, dark and quiet.  Your body needs to go through all the sleep cycles to regenerate itself so the fewer distractions in the bedroom the better.

With proper hydration, nutrition, sleep and motivation, any time is a good time to stay fit, lose weight, and practice everyday wellness! Remember, that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”-Confucious.

 

 

Nutrition: Men, Pay Attention to Live Longer

ManUp 300x300 Nutrition: Men, Pay Attention to Live Longer

This week is National Men’s Health Week. The purpose of the week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.

And boy do we need the help.

Women outlive men and have done so for many years. In 1920, women outlived guys by an average of 1 year; now it’s 5 years. Why? According the Men’s Health Network – www.menshealthnetwork.org, men die younger from: heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Probably because we are less likely to practice good health behaviors than women, more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors than women and are less likely to seek medical attention when we need to. In fact, men are 24% less likely to have visited a doctor in the last year; half as likely to make an appointment with a physician for preventative purposes and less likely to follow medical advice after a diagnosis.

The good news is that progress is being made, it wasn’t too long ago that women were outliving men by 7 years. But more can be done to narrow the gap even further. It starts, obviously, with practicing the fundamentals of good health – the things that have been the cornerstone of H3 since its inception:

  • eating well,
  • exercising regularly,
  • sleeping well,
  • managing stress,
  • avoiding tobacco
  • and drinking alcohol in moderation (for more specific guidelines, click HERE.)

But as men we have to do a better job of taking advantage of the health care system by following the recommended preventive and diagnostic screenings. Clearly, the sooner a condition can be identified, the greater the opportunity to manage it. For an updated list of screening tests and when men should have them, go to the Men’s Health Network.

While this article is about men’s health, it affects women as well.  To quote Congressman Bill Richardson,

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”  

Because men are less likely to take care of their health on their own, we need the help of the women in our lives. Theresa Morrow, from the support group, Women Against Prostate Cancer, put it this way,

“The role of women in keeping the men in their life healthy is invaluable. While it may pain you to nag your husband (or other men you care about) about one more thing, do it anyway. If you recognize unusual symptoms in your loved one, do whatever it takes to get him the help he needs; it may save his life.”

 

What Makes a Habit?

Habits5 14 300x275 What Makes a Habit?

According to Webster, a habit is “a usual way of behaving:  something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way.” A better defined explanation I found in the American Journal of Psychology is “a habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is more or less a fixed way of thinking, willing or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.”

Typically a person doesn’t notice a habitual behavior because while taking part in the habitual task, a person does not need to be mentally engaged.

Therefore these behavioral patterns are imprinted in our neural pathways, making old habits hard to break and new habits just as hard to form.

However, new habits, specifically healthy habits, are possible to form through repetition. As healthy behaviors are repeated consistently, there is an incremental increase in the link between the motive and the action. This increases the automaticity of the behavior. I have heard many people say that habits are formed by completing a task 21 days in a row. After those 21 days, abracadabra, a habit is formed. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Habits take time, mental dedication, persistence and work to maintain. There are three phases of habit formation: honeymoon, fight thru and second nature.

The honeymoon phase is where it starts. Characterized as the “easy phase,” the habit at this stage is something new, refreshing, and possibly inspired by someone or something. Starting something new gives us that renewed feeling; however, at some point this honeymoon phase must come to an end. The fight thru phase is when inspiration starts to fade and reality sets in. You find yourself struggling between the new positive habit and fighting the old habit which creeps back in. In order to move forward and make it to phase three, you have to fight thru this stage. To help get you to the fight thru, try these techniques.

1. Recognize: It is essential to succeed in stage 2 if you recognize the fight. To move past this stage, you need to enter and openly state you’re in the fight thru stage. Remember every fight thru you win will make the next easier, and every one you lose makes the next one easier to lose. Keep your determination. Push forward.

2. Ask yourself: “How will I feel if I do this?” and “How will I feel if I don’t do this?” Feel the positive emotion in winning the fight thru and the negative in losing. Having an emotional connection brings about a relationship, thus a further commitment to the fight thru.

3. Project your life: Imagine how your life will be like in 5 years if you didn’t make these changes. Make sure you are honest with yourself; let yourself feel what life would be like if the changes are not made.

The final stage is phase three, second nature. Entering this phase, you feel like you are getting into the habit or “getting in the groove.” Once you get to the second nature stage, there are still a few disturbances which could potentially send you back to the fight thru.

  1. Discouragement: Fight against negative results which discourage you and your new habitual thinking. Start to think “I can do it” and “this is working.”
  2. Disruptions: Be mindful and aware of individual experiences affecting your new pattern, i.e. vacation, illness, weekends and holidays.
  3. Success Seduction: Remember to not focus solely on positive results because this could decelerate progress. Gaining great results begins with a great plan and process.

Stages can indeed fluctuate; an experience may send you back to stage two or winning a few fight thru’s may move you to stage three. just remember that great habits are formed daily. Positive habits are not easy and they require time and hard work. Being great requires sacrifice, which may mean doing things that others won’t do or can’t. Positive habits require consistent commitment. Remember Bob’s saying:

Weight follows behavior, it just takes time.

Make the commitment to yourself, be dedicated to make it past the fight thru, even though you may go back to the fight many times, each and every time getting stronger and reaching new levels of success.

 

H3 Meal Plan Champ

While cooking for one, it’s just as important to create a nice meal for yourself as it would be to cook for two, three or more. Though meal planning can be challenging, it’s the key to weight management and weight loss. Here’s an example of meal planning from a past H3 guest’s perspective.

Guest Alicia, shows that meal planning can be done.  Alicia has been sending me weekly photos of her meal planning, thus far. These meals have left her more satisfied and as she puts it, “…and sitting down, eating a complete meal at once is reducing the urge to snack later in the night – so far seems to be helping!” I think this is pretty cool.

Check out her meal planning skills:

ALICIA DINNER BAKED EGGS WITH SPINACH AND MUSHROOMS 300x225 H3 Meal Plan Champ

 
BREAKFAST: Two baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms

 
GUEST MEALS ALICIA LUNCH 300x225 H3 Meal Plan Champ

 
LUNCH: Vegetarian burger with caramelized onions and mushrooms with a side of sautéed asparagus

 
ALICIA DINNER WHEAT BERRY SALAD WITH SALMON 300x225 H3 Meal Plan Champ

 
DINNER: Broiled salmon, wheat berry pilaf and steamed broccoli

Great job, Alicia!

These meals were delicious, nutritious and easy for her to make. If meal planning seems overwhelming to you, use these tools to get started.

 

 

15 Positive Psychological Effects of Exercise

 

PsychoCise4 30 300x168 15 Positive Psychological Effects of Exercise

Photo Credit: www.kurzweilai.net

We have all heard that exercise releases endorphins, fights anxiety, increases stress resilience, and improves sleep. However, there are additional psychological effects exercise has on the mind. Check out these 15 effects:

1. Escape a Bad Mood: Exercise helps transform a bad mood into a good one. Ever gone for a run after a stressful work day? Chances are you felt better afterward. Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise, you get a mood enhancement effect. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with brain receptors (same receptors that bind some pain medicines) to reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling.

2. Reduce Anxiety: Both low and moderate intensity exercise has shown to reduce anxiety, however,

doing high intensity exercise, especially in women, has shown to provide the greatest reduction in anxiety.

 Regular workouts are even helpful for people prone to anxiety because it makes them less likely to panic. Exercise in many ways is like exposure treatment; therefore, people learn to associate the symptoms with safety instead of danger.

3. Stress Resilience: Exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine which can affect the brain’s response to stress. Exercise stops neurons firing in the region of the brain which is stimulated during a stress response. Studies in mice have shown exercise reorganizes the brain by resisting neuron fire and making the brain more resistant to stress.

4. Improved Sleep: Although it’s not necessarily accurate to say exercise makes you more tired, exercise does show to improve sleep over the long term. Moving around five to six hours before bedtime raises the body’s temperature and when your temperature drops back to normal a few hours later; this signals the body that it’s time to sleep.

5. Lower Dementia Risk:

Any type of exercise which gets your heart pumping lowers the risk of dementia.

Regular exercise in midlife is associated with lower levels of cognitive problems, helping to prevent dementia and mild cognitive impairments.

6. Fight Depression: Physical activity extends beyond the mood enhancing short term effects and shows to help alleviate long-term depression. Exercise provides moderate relief and can alleviate symptoms among those depressed and has even worked just as effective as antidepressant pills.

7. Speed Up Your Mind: After just 30 minutes of exercise, your working memory (what’s in your conscious mind right now and what you’re doing with this information) improves. Exercise improves spatial memory by increasing production of cells in the hippocampus (responsible for memory and learning).

8. Reduce Silent Strokes:

Exercise reduces the chance of silent strokes by 40%.

It has to be more than walking to experience these benefits so any moderate movement like jogging, biking, tennis, or swimming are great to get the protective effect.

9. Protect Against Alzheimer’s: Exercise provides a protective effect against Alzheimer’s by helping to produce chemicals which fight the damaging inflammation of the brain. As the most common form of dementia, the brain literally wastes away followed by the body. Alzheimer’s kills off brain cells which cause the brain to shrink, losing important brain functions. Although exercise cannot cure Alzheimer’s, it can help fight against cognitive decline. As mentioned in #7 above, there is a chemical boost in the brain which prevents degeneration of the hippocampus, an imperative part of the brain for memory.

10. Improve Children’s School Performance: Children who engage in more exercise do better in school. Cardiovascular exercise can improve brain performance and a tough workout (high movement and coordination) increases levels of brain-derived protein in the body which is believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.

11. Stimulate Brain Cell Growth: Connected to cardiovascular exercise, doing cardio can create new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis. Exercise actually helps new brain cells to grow, specifically the brain regions related to memory and learning.

12. Increase Executive Functioning:  Exercise reliably improves executive functioning, such as: switching tasks efficiently, ignoring distractions, and making plans.

13. Prevent Migraines: Although there is fear that exercise may create a migraine, exercise can actually help prevent migraines.

Exercising at least three days a week shows improvements equal to taking the most current anti-migraine drugs.

14. Stop Smoking: Taking a brisk walk or doing a similar exercise can help someone give up smoking. Taking that walk creates an experience of less stress, less anxiety, and fewer withdrawal symptoms and helps by making the cigarette seem less attractive.

15. Reduce Motivation to Eat: Contrary to what is believed (eating more after exercise to replace lost calories) after exercise, people have lower motivation to eat food. Exercise helps to suppress hunger by decreasing the body’s levels of ghrelin (hormone that stimulates appetite). Additionally, exercising in the morning makes us more health focused for the day, choosing healthier food and movement options throughout our day.

Exercising has several positive effects which go beyond the gym. Which effects could you benefit from by exercising every day?

 

The Perfect Healthy Gift for Mom

With Mother’s Day coming up start thinking outside the box and think inside the bag. A well-stocked, stylish, gym bag is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Every little motivational tool is a blessing when looking for reasons to workout. A gym bag with all the essentials is just what Mom needs to psych herself up to sweat. Here’s a few suggestions for this awesome gift idea:

First Things First…Find a Great Gym Bag:

GymBagMom 300x300 The Perfect Healthy Gift for Mom

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

Mom needs a gym bag that is both stylish and practical. A duffle bag with extra compartments, both inside and out, is desirable for storing gym bag essentials. Also, make sure the gym bag you select is either machine washable or has coated fabric that can be easily wiped down. Leather just isn’t going to do. Ideally you want a gym bag that has both a handle strap and a shoulder strap. On days when she is loaded down with groceries and other sundry packages, Mom needs different carrying options for her gym bag. If shopping online, Zappos.com and Amazon.com have a great selection. I also like HadakiShop.com because you can select from many fabric choices as well as purchase matching accessories like a cosmetic bag.

Speaking of Cosmetic Bags…

A bag inside a bag? Yup, that’s a necessity for the ultimate gym bag. Mom will need a few essential toiletries like deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and a brush. Look for her favorite brands in trial sizes, which can be purchased at most drug stores, and gather them in a small cosmetic bag for inclusion in her chic, new gym bag.

Hydration Station:

Every gym bag needs a great water bottle and Mom needs to stay hydrated during her workout. Look for a water bottle with an opening big enough to easily fill with ice (my favorite is the Nalgene Tritan Wide-Mouth http://store.nalgene.com/), and try to find one with a carrying strap. H2O with a hint of fruit can be very quenching so you might consider one of the cool new infusion water bottles like the Define Bottle which has both a wide opening and carrying strap (http://www.definebottle.com/).

DefineBottleMom 200x300 The Perfect Healthy Gift for Mom

Photo Credit: www.definebottle.com

Fashionable Fitness:

Mom will feel better about sweating if she looks good while doing it, so why not help her out with a cute, new exercise outfit (or a gift certificate to buy one)? For the fashionista, Lululemon.com is the way to go. For comfort and style try Athleta.com and for fashion on a budget, TJ Maxx is the best!

A Few Extras:

You know Mom best so consider if she will need any of these items in her gym bag as well; hairbands, weight-lifting gloves, a towel, an extra pair of socks and a few on-the-go exercise accessories like a jump rope or resistance bands.

 

Health Benefits of Walking a ½ hour a day

My favorite health YouTube video of all time is 23 ½ Hours.

In fact we have featured it a couple of times in past blogs. It is a brilliant short video that makes a compelling case for the health benefits of walking a ½ hour a day. It has been so well received (almost 4 million views) that man behind the video, Dr. Mike Evans has his own You Tube channel now. Evans, an associate professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michaels Hospital, has a very engaging and convincing way of communicating health information. This video introduces Dr. Evan’s new channel, some of the topics being covered include: managing stress, low back pain and the concerns associated with sitting disease. I encourage you to check out his video, I think you will find his approach as interesting and informative as I have.

 

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