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Living Healthy-ish and What It Means for You

In the past year or so, a new health trend has hit the scene: healthy-ish.

Think of it as being healthy within reason. Despite being a less than intuitive term, healthy-ish was coined by Michael Pollan and has been covered in a PBS documentary titled “In Defense of Food, based on Pollan’s book of the same name, as well an article in The Atlantic. It’s also been snapped up by Bon Appetit, a media outlet known for decadent, gourmet fare, that’s adding its take on eating a balanced diet. But what does it actually mean, to eat “healthy-ish?”

According to Mindy Kurzer, a nutrition scientist, professor and director of Healthy Foods and Healthy Lives at the University of Minnesota, it’s actually not as complicated as it might seem. “The healthy-ish idea is actually consistent with what many nutritionists have said forever,” Kurzer says. What this means is “there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ food or a ‘bad’ food. The important thing to focus on is the dietary pattern overall.”

To Kurzer, healthy-ish is a health and wellness philosophy emphasizing a long-term approach rather than a set of harsh restrictions. When following a healthy-ish philosophy, “the thing to focus on is your diet over the course of a week,” says Kurzer. “Hopefully it’s good and healthy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally splurge on the treats you like. Foods that are high in fat and high in sugar aren’t necessarily bad, you just shouldn’t consume a lot of them.”

Because actually creating lasting changes can be tricky, Kurzer offers five tips to integrate the healthy-ish philosophy into your lifestyle:

1. SET GOALS

Kurzer is a proponent of getting clear about why you’re interested in the healthy-ish approach and what you hope to get out of it. “Each person needs to figure out what their goals are because each person has different goals. For some it might be to lose weight, for others it might just be to get fit in general — and it might involve speaking to a nutritionist or a personal trainer to figure them out.”

2. SCOPE OUT CHANGES

The next step is to figure out where you need to make lifestyle changes to achieve your goals. Again, Kurzer emphasizes individuality: “No one program is going to work for everyone. Vegans and vegetarians, for example, already have a set of restrictions that they need to work within. It also depends on what makes you feel best — some people feel better when they eat a lot of meat and others don’t. Figure out what you can do in your specific life to reach your goals.

3. FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY

Once you’ve sorted out the areas and practices where you can make modifications, it’s important to focus on sustainability first. “Figure out a program that will incorporate what you naturally like and that avoids what you don’t like,” says Kurzer. “It has to be reasonable for you because this is intended to become a lifelong plan.”


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4. STAY POSITIVE

“It’s a bit of a cliche,” Kurzer confesses, “but just take it one day at a time. Allow for slip ups and don’t beat yourself up over them. If you have a bad day, just wake up the next morning and note that yesterday wasn’t great, but decide that today will be a good day. Allow for imperfection — it’s the shame of messing up that really derails people.”

5. UNCOVER YOUR BARRIERS

“You have to figure out what your barriers to success are. What are your food triggers? Is it going to parties? For me it’s traveling. I travel a lot for my work and it’s difficult for me to eat and exercise the way I want to. I try to kind of allow it and do the best I can and, once I’m home, I can go back [to my regular routine].” Kurzer says, adding, “when it comes to gateway foods, as my trainer calls them — those foods that once you start, you just can’t stop — it’s probably best to try to avoid them altogether rather than tempt yourself with just a bit, and things like that.”

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Tips To Wake Up To A Happy Morning!

How To Wake Up To A Happy Morning?

Hello All!!!

Every dawn is a new beginning! It gives you the opportunity to fulfill your dreams. When you wake up excited, focus your mind, give your body the right nutrition, you are bound to have a pretty day! However, on the other hand, if the beginning of your day is rushed and filled with negativity, you are not building the foundation of success by any means.

Here are some handy tips to wake up to a happy morning!

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Wake up with a smile

As soon as your alarm rings in the morning, try to smile. Yes, it won’t be a natural smile and may seem awkward but it has been found that this fills your morning with a lot of positive energy. So, even if it is forced just go ahead and smile! Just think that the morning is a gift of happiness sent by the Almighty and accept it with gratitude

Start your with breathing right and meditating

As soon as you are up, it is suggested that you take 2 minutes for breathing properly. It can be as simple as inhaling through the nose for 3 secs and then exhaling through the mouth for 3 seconds. You will start feeling an energy awakening in your body. You can then start meditating. It can be a simple ritual such as chanting Om or playing a recorded mantra for 10 minutes. This will boost you with positive energy.

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Decide what you will do during the day

Place your left hand on your heart and set 3 to 5 things that you are going to do for the day. This way, even before your day actually starts, you will be all excited about it as you can see that you are going to utilize the day to do something constructive and creative.

Spend time for yourself

Yes, you read that right! Mornings should not be rushy! Take time out for yourself, you can take an hour’s time before you actually start the day! You would need to wake up early though. Your morning me time ritual can be a relaxing bath or making a healthy breakfast for yourself. Letting yourself do what you like and feel what is good for you without judging yourself can be self-curing!

Get rid of self-criticism

If you have decided to do something hereafter, like wake up early, it does not mean that you will do it every day without an exception. There can be days when this won’t happen and that is perfectly alright. There can be mornings when you want a little bit of extra sleep as you have had a long day or were traveling or are just exhausted. It is essential to give your body the amount of rest it needs. Remember that we are humans and not robots. You need to be patient.

Have a bedtime ritual

Like the manner you wake up orchestrates your day ahead, the way you wind up your evening dictates how you sleep and a get up the next day. It is all interlinked! Have bedtime ritual. You can probably write down one thing what you are grateful for before going off to sleep. Let it be the first thing you read when you wake up next morning. It will remind you of how good it is to be alive and wake up to enjoy what life has to offer.

Hope you liked reading this post on Tips To Wake Up To A Happy Morning!

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The Window of Opportunity for Post-Workout Nutrition

After you work out, there’s a certain amount of time in which you are able to replenish the calories burned as a way to boost recovery. Find out the ideal way to do this and why it matters.

When it comes to post-workout nutrition, the window of opportunity is the time immediately following exercise when your body is extra-responsive to nutrition. Think of it as your muscles being like a sponge, quickly absorbing nutrients needed to rebuild and repair. Research indicates that this response occurs in the 30-45 minutes following exercise and can last up to 2 hours.

Exercise activates several factors that promote this “sponge-like” response:

  • It triggers activation of the enzyme that stimulates the production of glycogen, the stored form of glucose that is used during intense exercise. While glycogen can be formed and stored long after exercise, it happens most quickly during this initial period of time. This is important for loading muscles and the liver with stored energy for future workouts.
  • Muscle membranes become more permeable, allowing needed nutrients to flow into them more easily.
  • Body cells become more sensitive to insulin, the key that unlocks the door to allow glucose to enter. 

There are two main reasons why recovery nutrition is important. First, it replaces energy and nutrients needed to maintain performance levels during subsequent workouts. Second, it provides nutritional building blocks required to repair and build body tissue after your most recent workout.

WHO NEEDS RECOVERY NUTRITION?

The window of opportunity is most important for athletes who train at a vigorous level, including endurance athletes. Others who can benefit include those who exercise hard for at least an hour or more, those looking to improve their body composition through challenging resistance training and anyone having a difficult time keeping their weight up while exercising. Some research also suggests that older adults may benefit from post-workout nutrition to help maintain lean muscle tissue.

Those who exercise at a low-to-moderate level of intensity and/or for less than an hour may not benefit from immediate post-exercise fuel. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of total calories consumed versus the impact on recovery.

WHAT SHOULD I EAT AFTER A WORKOUT?

Research has shown pairing carbohydrates and protein is the winning ticket if you want to maximize the benefits of nutrition. Carbohydrates help replace energy and accelerate protein synthesis in the muscle, while protein provides amino acids to repair and rebuild tissue throughout the body.

You can consume carbohydrates and protein together in a variety of ways. Whole foods are always a great choice, but supplements are convenient. If you use supplements regularly, mix in whole foods as often as possible to offer your body a wide array of nutrients.

What that can look like:

  • 2 cups low-fat chocolate milk
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt with a serving of crackers
  • Nutrition bar containing both carbs and protein
  • Smoothie with fruit and source of protein
  • Small meat and cheese sandwich
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1 cup fruit
  • 3 ounces lox (smoked salmon) on 1/2 bagel

As a general rule, try 1–1.2 g carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight, starting with 15–25 g of protein.

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How to Have a Social Life Without Wrecking Your Healthy Life

Myth: You can’t stay on track with your health goals and still maintain a fun social life.

Fact: Balancing a healthy life and a healthy social life is actually completely doable — if you’re smart about it.

Hanging out with the crew or taking a much-needed vacation doesn’t have to take a backseat to kale and cardio — nor do you have to sacrifice your health goals to accommodate a little fun in your regular routine. Check out these six tips for maintaining an awesome social life without wrecking your healthy habits.

1. SIP SLOWLY

One of the biggest social saboteurs to your health goals can be found at the bar. Alcohol not only quickly racks up your calorie count, but a Saturday night of too much drinking can also derail the best of intentions for a Sunday a.m. spin class. You don’t have to abstain completely, but if you’re going out with friends, try to limit yourself to one drink. If you want to have a few brews, follow the one-to-one rule: For every alcoholic beverage you have, drink one glass of water. This will help you stick with your normal plans in the morning.


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2. PREP YOUR EATS

Eating healthy is a piece of cake when you have total control over your meals — but not so much when you walk into a party full of indulgent treats. To stay on track without staying home, prepare an eating plan beforehand. Before you go, make sure you’ve fueled with a healthy meal so diet derailers like baked Brie and guac will be less tempting. In a pinch, you can even bring along your own healthy snacks, like almonds or edamame.

3. RETHINK BRUNCH

Saturday morning mimosas with the crew can seem like a tough ritual to give up. And you don’t have to! Just add a healthier spin. Rather than skip the squad time you love so much, swap brunch for a healthier group activity like morning yoga and green juice. All of the social time, none of the guilt.

4. ASK FOR SMALLER PORTIONS

Your fear of fettuccini Alfredo doesn’t have to keep you from checking out that new Italian restaurant. When you go out to eat, you can do damage control by asking for smaller portions since restaurants have a tendency to overserve. If the restaurant doesn’t offer a more manageable lunch-size portion, ask your server to box up half of your meal before they bring your plate to the table.

5. GET YOUR GYM TIME IN EARLY

We’ve all set out with the best of gym intentions only to get derailed by a spontaneous post-work happy hour. To keep you from feeling guilty for either skipping Spinning or ditching your co-workers, commit to being an a.m. gym-goer. That way, no matter what your day throws at you, you can feel good about not forgoing your fitness routine.

6. UP YOUR TRAVEL GAME

Rather than book your beach time at an all-inclusive resort where you’ll laze around, drink all day and get your money’s worth at the buffet, book a vacation that includes activity on the itinerary — think yoga retreats, hiking treks and ski trips. By the time you come in for a hot toddy, you’ll have more than earned it.

Written by Macaela Mackenzie, a writer based in New York City with a passion for all things active. To see Macaela’s latest work, visit macaelamackenzie.com.

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