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Confessions of a Sugar Addict: How to Deal with Leftover Halloween Candy

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Real talk: Sugar addiction is real. I’m a sugar addict.

My fondest memory of Halloween is dressing up as a princess and competing with my brother and cousins to collect the most candy. When our ragged pillowcases and plastic jack-o-lantern buckets were filled, we’d empty our haul at home before embarking upon trick-or-treating, round two. We milked the neighborhood of its sweets before returning home to do a candy count, declare the winner and trade for favorites. (I always went for the chocolate.)

After my parents made sure our stash was free of needles, poison and other dangers, I was given free rein with my Halloween treats. And you bet I did. One creamy, chocolaty bite led to another and another. The first night I’d polish off half of my haul, the second day I ate the other 50% and, by day three, I was pleading my brother for some of his chocolate.

Years have gone by since that Halloween. I’m still excited to dress up, and I’m still a die-hard fan of chocolate. (Seriously, don’t get between me and chocolate.) When it comes to self-control on the sweet stuff, don’t tell me to just take deep breaths until my cravings go away. Believe me, I’ve tried all the prevent-a-sugar-binge tips you’ve probably heard of (get enough sleep, brush your teeth, take a walk, meditate, call a friend), to no avail. #FAIL

The Sugar Cravings…and Halloween

If I’m in the I-need-sugar mindset, there’s only one thing on my mind: sweet, sweet sugary delights. If you’re a sugar addict, you know that ravenous sugar craving I’m talking about, the one that whispers sweet nothings into every crevice of your mind and makes you gulp saliva in futile attempts to swallow your cravings.

Can you relate to this internal struggle of attempting self-control on the sweet stuff?  Like me, you may swear Halloween — especially the day after Halloween when there are overflowing trick-or-treat bags lying around and candy on sale everywhere — was created to taunt sugarholics like us.

How I Combat My Sweet Nemesis

After years of studying nutrition, I have come to terms with my sugar addiction and gained an understanding of how refined sugars work in our bodies. In short, I became scared of the detrimental effects sugar had on my body, and I made the conscious decision to limit my intake. Through time and practice, I have developed techniques to repel those sweet tempting voices in my head:

  • Feeling slightly hungry? It’s time to eat. This prevents me from overeating as well as being hangry. When I’m hangry, I don’t think straight, making it practically impossible to fight my sugar cravings.
  • Eat more whole foods. I load up on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts instead of the refined stuff. The combination of fiber, protein, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals helps me feel satisfied without intensely spiking my blood sugar. I can control my cravings easier because I have less room for sweets.
  • Get sweaty! Strenuous exercise that makes me sweat helps suppress my hunger and, therefore, my cravings. During my workout, I’m able to clear my head and pinpoint my thoughts. How hungry am I? Do I really need that candy bar? What is my body really craving? Usually, I’m able to tone down my sugar cravings enough to make and eat a post-workout meal. If I still have a sweet tooth after my meal, I’ll prepare a personal-size dessert like banana with peanut butter and honey. (Warning: This may not work for everyone, so listen to your own body.)
  • Drink water. Water alone does not help me beat back the cravings, but it is a vital inclusion. Water fills my stomach, making me feel fuller.

3 Tips to Deal with Leftover Halloween Candy

So you’ve had your fair share of Halloween candy, but there’s still a bucket full of it. As a fellow sugar addict turned health fanatic, here’s how I deal with leftover Halloween candy:

  • DIY Trail Mix. Grab your favorite trail mix recipe (like this one), and add your favorite fun-size candy! It prolongs the sweetness, and you’ll be getting fiber, protein, unsaturated fats, iron and an array of vitamins and minerals along with your sweets. (Note: Trail mix can be high in calories and fat, so eat in moderation.)
  • Bake it into an oat bar. Make this oatmeal chocolate bar recipe by subbing out the chocolate chips for your favorite chopped chocolate bar or M&M’s.
  • Get it out of the house. If the sugar cravings hit too hard, the safest route is to avoid a scenario with you left alone with a bucket full of candy. Bring the leftovers to the office, your dentist, a local charity (think: nursing home, food pantry, homeless shelter) or send it overseas. Sharing is caring!

What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Most importantly, be patient with yourself as you explore your relationship with sugar. For more ideas, here are 15 simple hacks for eating less sugar. (Number 14 is realize that you don’t have to go cold turkey!)

Do you struggle with sugar addiction? How do you control your sugar cravings, and how do you deal with excess Halloween candy?

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Fall Back into Fitness Day 2: Steady-State Cardio

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Our second day of the Fall Back into Fitness is focused on steady-state cardio, performed at a moderate intensity. Your goal is to keep your heart rate at endurance training level, at around 60–70% of your max heart rate — an effort of 5–6 on a 1–10 scale, with 3 being easy-breezy and a 9 being all-out effort that’s not sustainable.

In the workout video, we’ll do a low-impact, moderate-intensity cardio workout together in a small space, with no equipment. We’ll use moves like skaters, side steps and other basic coordination and agility patterns to help keep your heart rate steady but strong.

Prefer to do your own thing? Awesome! Schedule 20–60 minutes of your favorite steady-state cardio workout (like power walking, jogging or cycling) at 60–70% of your max heart rate.

Log this workout in your MyFitnessPal app as “AEROBICS, GENERAL”

Hey, Team! Let us know once you’ve completed your workout today! Tell us about it in the comments below, or tag us in your social media check-ins #MFPFallIntoFitness @myfitnesspal so we can cheer you on!

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Fall Back into Fitness Day 1: Total-Body Strength Training

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Welcome to the first day of our Fall Back into Fitness Event! Today’s workout video is all about total-body strength training.

What you’ll need:

  1. Dumbbells
  • A heavier set for larger muscle groups (legs, chest and back)
  • A lighter set for the arms, shoulders and upper back
  1. Sturdy chair
  • The chair will help target your major muscle groups with exercises like squat sits, chest presses, bent-over rows, overhead presses, biceps curls, lunges, triceps extensions, planks and standing cross crunches.

Instead of using a specific rep count, we’ll focus on time under tension during the exercises, so feel free to adjust the amount of repetitions based on your current fitness level. The goal is to hit muscular fatigue while still using proper form and alignment during each rep.

Prefer to do your own thing? Awesome! Schedule 20–60 minutes of your favorite strength-training workout that targets the whole body. Be sure to hit every major muscle group and aim to work to muscular fatigue. Check in with us here or on social media once you’re done.

Log this workout in your MyFitnessPal app as “CIRCUIT TRAINING, GENERAL”

Hey, Team! Let us know once you’ve completed your workout today! Tell us about it in the comments below, or tag us in your social media check-ins #MFPFallIntoFitness @myfitnesspal so we can cheer you on!

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Monday Mindfulness: Take This 5-Minute Walk to Unclutter Your Head

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Welcome to Monday Mindfulness, brought to you by Stop, Breathe & Think.

Going into a new week is tough. We believe the best way to start it off right is with a little peace of mind. Here’s one quick and simple way to establish emotional wellness, every day.

A mindful walk is an excellent way to clear your mind of clutter and restore your sense of focus. It’s also a great excuse to get out into nature. Several studies have shown that taking a break to look at or be in nature can have a rejuvenating effect on the brain, helping to free up your mind when you feel stuck and boosting levels of attention.

Incorporate mindful walking into your daily life in as little as 5–10 minutes a day by using all of your senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch — to bring awareness to your body and surroundings.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. As you walk, notice how your body feels.
  1. Pay attention to how your legs, feet and arms feel with each step you take.
  1. Feel the contact of your foot as it touches the ground, and the movement of your body as you move into your next step.
  1. If you become lost in thought as you continue to walk, use the next step as an opportunity to start over.
  1. Now, using your sense of sight, look around and try to notice every detail.
  1. Using your sense of smell, notice any aromas or scents.
  1. Are you able to notice any tastes as you walk? Can you taste the air?
  1. Now, using your sense of touch, notice the solidity of the earth beneath your feet.
  1. With openness and curiosity, notice any sensations, thoughts or feelings that arise, without lingering on anything in particular.

You can mindfully walk anywhere — outside while walking to work or school, for example, or inside while walking through the grocery store. You might find it helpful to use a guided audio track to get started. Try this five-minute mindful walking track by Stop, Breathe & Think, or download the app to access mindful walking activities anytime, anywhere.

Life is a journey. Enjoy a little peace of mind on the path toward your destination.

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