Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A New Blog Home

Well, It is official! For all my health nut readers and fans this announcement is for you! I am in the process of moving all of my health related articles and new health related content over to my new website thehealthinfluencer.com . This blog will remain and will still have all sorts of fun blog updates, but anything health related will be moved and published over at the new site. I will be using this blog to continue doing product reviews and general life stories and anything else that comes to mind. I hope you will continue to read here and also follow the new site. A lot of exciting projects are in the works and I can't wait to share them with you. It is going to be an exciting new adventure. I hope you come along for the fun!

If you haven't checked out the new site yet, please stop by and see what is going on there at thehealthinfluencer.com . Thank you for reading and I hope you have an awesome day!

~Jessica~

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Importance of Putting "You" Back In Your Diet

On any given day and at any given time we are inundated with conflicting health and diet information. Each side touting the why's and how's of why their plan is superior to all others. Is Paleo the king? Is Vegan really the end all be all? Are vegetarians the middle ground? There is so much conflicting information and so many different points of view that it can be rather difficult in finding the right path for ourselves. The truth is, not one single plan will be right for all people. Some people will flourish on an all raw fruit and vegetable diet, while others will dwindle and have little success with that plan. Other people may do extremely well with the Paleo diet and see wonderful success while others will hit a wall and not attain the goals they were hoping for. The problem isn't lack of effort or that the plan or diet itself is wrong but rather that we are all so uniquely wired in DNA and gene structures that diets need to be tweaked and modified for our own unique needs.



So, in knowing that we are all different and have unique needs how does one go about creating a plan that is right for us? It all starts by really listening and getting in tune with our body and understanding what our body needs and our likes and dislikes when it comes to what we eat. If you are a person that LOVES to cook it might not be your best choice to take on the challenge of trying to eat and maintain a fully raw fruit and vegetable diet. That doesn't mean you can't take portions of that diet plan and implement it into your own plan, it just means that you wouldn't make your entire diet raw fruits and vegetables. You would tweak the plan to your unique needs by still implementing your love of cooking food and adding in elements of the raw fruits and vegetables. Essentially you would be adding "You" to your own diet plan by creating something that works for you individually and not what has worked for others. Again, I can't stress enough that what works for one will not work for everyone.

Having some common sense when creating a solid foundation for a diet plan is key to making it work for the long haul. Understanding that you can't drink soda all day and munch on chips and eat 4,000 calories in one meal is one aspect. But also learning how to properly prep and cook foods so they aren't heart attacks waiting to happen is yet another key to the puzzle. When creating a diet plan that is sensible, healthy and unique to individual needs some research and education is required. It isn't rocket science but it can get overwhelming and confusing if you are unsure of what a healthy diet foundation looks like. A varied diet full of lots of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables and good sources of proteins and good fats are great building blocks. Learning how to make healthier variations of some classic favorites is also another step in the right direction. The key to making your plan work for you is to keep the most important part of the plan at the center of it...YOU!

No matter how great a diet plan seems, if you are trying to force yourself to eat and do things you really aren't wanting to try it will not be sustainable. Learning and trying new things is important but not at the cost of yourself. By putting "you" back into your diet you essentially set yourself up for greater success then if you simply follow along someone else's diet plan.It is ok to take variations from other diets and implement them into your own plan. It is one of the points that makes having a varied diet so magical. It allows you to get a taste for other elements and learn what will work for you. So go ahead and experiment. Find out what you like and take the time to understand how your body reacts to certain foods. Take a sensible approach and take into account your personality, your food preferences and exercise options when creating a plan for yourself. But most of all, make sure you enjoy what ever direction you a wanting to go with your diet. Making the experience enjoyable is half the battle.

What do you do to make your diet individual to you? Any questions? Leave a comment and I will be sure to get back with you. And as always you can find more information at New Star Health Solutions 

  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quick and Easy Lunch Idea - Spicy Chickpeas with Lemon Water

I am always on the look out for fabulous quick and easy lunch menu ideas. The easier the better. I am always bustling around and trying to get so much done during my day that I don't want to take a whole lot of time to prepare lunch. That is one of the reasons why I love this Spicy Chickpea recipe so much. From start to finish the recipe takes about 6 minutes and the result is so yummy! It will please your taste buds and leave you feeling satisfied and full. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Don't be afraid to experiment with different variations of spices too. This recipe can handle a multitude of different flavor combinations and can also be made ahead of time if needed.



Spicy Chickpeas

1 15 oz can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garlic sea salt or regular sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or less if you don't want too much heat
1 tablespoon coconut oil


Directions: 

1. Drain and rinse chickpeas in colander. Pour into small serving bowl and set aside.
2. Combine all spices and sea salt into a small bowl. Stir until spices are well blended. 
3. Add seasoning mixture to chickpeas. Stir well to evenly coat all the chickpeas with the seasoning mixture.
4. Place coconut oil in small frying pan and set on medium high heat.
5. Add chickpeas to frying pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes turning chickpeas frequently to cook evenly on all sides until golden brown and seasonings have begun to caramelize. 
6. Remove from heat and serve immediately. 
7. ENJOY!

This dish is great served with some ice cold lemon water. Just add ice to a glass. Fill with water and cut a lemon into wedges and place one or two lemon wedges in your glass and enjoy. And there you have it. A complete, satisfying lunch in under 10 minutes. What are you waiting for. Give it a try. It is super tasty!

What are some of your favorite quick and easy go-to lunch recipes? Share them in the comments below. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How to Stay Motivated for Weight Loss When Everyone Around You Is Sabotaging Your Efforts

Losing weight at times can seem like an uphill battle and extremely hard. Trying to lose weight while hanging out with people that aren't very supportive, even harder. As you begin to try and change your bad habits to good, not everyone around you is going to be ready to commit. It is a problem many people face during a weight loss journey and one that must be overcome to reach success. The situation can become even more complex when the people we love the most (significant others) aren't on the support train. It seems like saboteurs are lurking everywhere but it doesn't have to be that way. With a little bit of planning and standing firm in your mission you can reach success without sacrificing the relationships you have in your life and still manage to keep sane. 



 In the grand scheme of things, saboteurs can come in all different forms. It could be a well  intentioned co-worker or friend that has seen the effort and hard work you have put in and want to give you a cheat day of doughnuts, bagels and pizza. After all one day of indulgence won't set you back, right? Or it could come in the form of a stubborn spouse or child that refuse to look at any of the new foods you have prepared and are ready to try. Whatever the face of the saboteur and for whatever reason they aren't yet willing to be 100% supportive it is important to learn how to deal with this successfully. It won't help the situation by becoming defensive and angry. Even if you are trying to do what is best for the health of you and your family and those in your inner circle, if they aren't ready to make that change, forcing them to change will only end in disaster. As hard as it may be, try to be understanding and openly talk about why these changes are important to you and what struggles you are having. Be open and responsive to what they have to say. Keep in mind, a weight loss journey is a very personal thing. Something inside of you had had enough and you were ready to make changes. If someone had tried to force you before you were ready, it would not have gone very well. Try remembering this when you run into obstacles within your inner circle. You made the choice to change. Lead by example and don't worry about the rest. If you don't find support in your inner circle there are plenty of ways to fill that gap that will help you stay on track and be a shining beacon of good health. 

A good way to find the motivation, support and understanding that you need to get through the challenges of a weight loss journey, is to find a support group of like minded individuals going through the same situation as you are. This could come in the form of an online support group that is conducted totally online. Or you can even find a local support group that meets once a week to really focus on supporting each other and keeping each other accountable and motivated. It all depends on what you are looking for and what will help feed your needs through your unique situation. Just by doing a simple google search you will find hundreds if not thousands of different groups available. If you can't seem to find what you are looking for it is quite simple to form your own support group for a specific purpose. You could put an ad in your local paper or on craigslist and facebook to form your own group and connect with others that have the same mission, 

If you are looking for something a little more structured and something that pushes you both mentally and physically then you may want to look into hiring a health and fitness coach. This type of coach will not only be able to support you and listen to your needs but they will also be able to help tailor a program specifically designed for your unique needs. It is an excellent way to get the support you need, motivation to keep you on track and a listening ear when you are having struggles. Health and fitness coaches are able to easily adapt your program to your situation and are able to help hold you accountable for the results you are looking for.



By connecting with individuals and groups that are aimed at being supportive and motivational you are already heading in the right direction. This will help keep you grounded and on track and help to also keep you sane. It is very helpful to know others have and are going through some of the same struggles we are facing. Stay positive and focused on your goal. Surround yourself with positive affirmations. Create a visual board of what success looks like to you and hang it in a place where you can easily see it when you need a bit of motivation to stay the course. Find a reliable workout buddy. Studies have shown that having a reliable and consistent workout partner have more than doubled weight loss success rates. Listen to positive and motivational speeches and shows that will help lift your spirit and keep you in a positive frame of mind. Take time to let yourself relax and pamper yourself. Taking care of yourself both inside and out is a very good and nurturing thing. It often is overlooked and swept aside during the business of our day. Try not to do this. Pampering and nurturing yourself is a wonderful way to express love to yourself and in turn becomes a great expression of love to others.

A weight loss journey will have its ups and downs but by taking a few steps to overcome some of the saboteurs that may pop up you are setting yourself up for success. Stand strong in your commitment to yourself to get healthy and the rest will fall into place. It may not always be easy but by finding support through other sources and keeping motivated through all circumstances, anything is possible.             

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Consistent Sleep Patterns and Good Health - How the Two are Related

Sleep. We all need it. Some of us are a little more serious than others about getting enough sleep, but we all know that we need good rest in order to function properly. The role that sleep has in maintaining optimal health is rather large but is often overlooked. It should be one of the first things we turn to when things start to get out of whack but is often one of the last areas we examine when it comes to our health. Getting enough sleep in our daily routine should be right up there with consuming enough water. Sleep plays an extremely important role in maintaining good health and the two are closely intermingled and should be implemented in a consistent manor.



It is recommended that the average person get between 8-10 hours of sleep per night. That being said, if you are extremely active and physically demanding on your body on a daily basis your sleep needs could be more. But a good place to start and aim for is getting a good 8 hours of restful sleep per night. This time frame has been shown to have the most benefit in maintaining good health. The reason why is quite simple. The body needs time to repair and reset itself. Giving it a good range of restful sleep will allow the body to repair itself and get you ready for the next day. Have you ever tried to be at the top of your game on only 3-4 hours of sleep from the previous night? You might be able to function with the help of some caffeine and sugar overload but what happens when that wears off? You crash and crash hard. The body is simply too tired to continue on and you end up feeling groggy, fatigued and out of it.



Mind clarity is also an area that gets drastically affected by too little sleep. When we try to operate on too little sleep all the time we start to forget things, feel fatigued, lightheaded and confused. It is a symptom of exhaustion and a sign that your body is getting ready to shut down in order to rest. Maintaining consistent sleeping patterns will help alleviate this from happening and keep your health on track.

If you are trying to lose weight getting enough sleep is extremely important. If you are not allowing your body the time it needs to rest and repair itself you are ultimately setting yourself up for failure. All the new demands and challenges you are putting on your body means that your body needs time to repair and build muscle and burn fat. The body needs good rest in order to do all of these things properly. A well balanced diet should consist of eating a healthy diet, getting in physical exercise everyday and getting enough sleep every night. If you can do those three things, you are well on your way to good health.

As much as we like to push ourselves and say that we can go on less sleep the truth is our bodies simply can't handle it for extensive periods of time. Making sleep a priority and trying to get in at least 8 hours a night will not only set the stage for good health but will also keep us running at the top of our game both mentally and physically. So, give yourself permission to rest up and get some good sleep. Your body will thank you and so will your mind.

Do you get enough sleep? Have any tips or tricks on how you maintain a good sleep schedule? Share them in the comments. Have any questions?? Please feel free to ask in the comments as well. I love hearing from you all and love hearing what you have to say!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to Create a Workout Schedule

One of the many keys to success to obtaining a happy healthy lifestyle is learning how to incorporate exercise into your everyday life. Sounds easy enough. But the truth is, this is where many people get confused, frustrated and lost. How much exercise is enough? What types of exercise should I incorporate? The list of questions can be endless. It can even make the task of working out seem overwhelming. It doesn't have to be. With a few good plans, a course of action and knowing how much time you realistically have available each day, working out can be easily incorporated without all of the frustration.



One of the first steps in creating a workout schedule is knowing how much time you have available. The easiest way to accomplish this is by getting out your calendar and actually writing out your schedule. Include all of your appointments, work schedules, school schedules, meetings and anything else that needs to be included. Now look at what time slots are left and utilize these time frames to get your workout done. Keep in mind that a good workout doesn't have to take hours. 30 minutes of good cardio, three to four times per week is plenty, which leaves three days left for strength training. Again, no need to spend hours at the gym. A good strength training routine should last about 30 to 45 minutes. Altogether if you planned four 30 minute cardio sessions and three 45 minute strength training sessions your total for the entire week would only be 4.5 hours.

The next step to creating your workout schedule is figuring out your workout routine. Do you like hiking? Biking? Treadmill? Running? Dance classes? Yoga? Figuring out how to get and incorporate your cardio workout doesn't have to be some boring daunting task. It is what you make of it. If you feel compelled to do 30 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical machine at the gym, by all means schedule that in. If you get more joy out of changing things up everyday and being outdoors then incorporate those types of activities into your schedule. Just make sure you are including activities that you enjoy doing so you will stay motivated and on track. The more varied you make your routine the less likely you are to become bored. Be specific in scheduling out your time and what you plan on doing during that time. This will help eliminate the "guessing game" of what your workout is going to consist of and also allow you to plan out your day better. Apply this technique to your strength training days as well. One day work on upper body, the next day work on your legs and of course the next day work on your core. By scheduling your workout out in segments it allows your muscles to rest properly in between strength training days. This will help create a lean and sculpted muscle mass.



Lastly, make sure to write your workout schedule down in your calendar and actually follow through with your plans. Writing out your workout schedule will help hold yourself accountable for your time and also help you track your progress and see areas that might not be working as well as you thought they would. Finding a reliable workout buddy is also a great idea if you have problems staying motivated and holding yourself accountable. Workout buddies are great for bouncing ideas off of each other and keeping each other motivated and on track. The best piece of advice I have for anyone just starting out is to keep it fun. This has to be enjoyable for you in order for you to stick with it. Plan it out, write it down and stick with it!

New Star Health Solutions - Coaching

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

3 Mindless Eating Habits You Need To Ditch Now to Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

Mindless eating habits. Admit it, at some point and time we have all dealt with or are in the process of dealing with mindless eating habits. Whether it be, late night snacking, convenience of vending machine junk food temptations, or just mindless nibbling throughout the day, it happens to the best of us. We start the day off with the best intentions and as soon as the first craving comes we are rounding third into junk food mania. These little trips to mania land soon end up messing with our health and fitness goals and suddenly the scale is moving up instead of down. Here are three mindless eating habits to ditch now to get back on track and how to cope with them.



Mindless Eating Habit #1 - The Convenience Snacker:  

Ahhh, convenient snacking is an inevitable slippery slope of temptations from vending machine candy bars, chips and crackers, to the office offering of bagels and doughnuts. The convenience and ready availability of these foods and the temptations and cravings they can cause can derail any weight loss journey before it has even had a chance to get going. To combat the convenient snacker trap, it is best to plan ahead to keep temptations at bay, your appetite appeased and your waistline thankful. Try eating fruit or cut up vegetables in place of the processed, fat loaded convenience foods. Make yourself up a batch of homemade trail mix to indulge your sweet tooth once in a while. Hunger cravings can hit at all times of day and what we reach for to appease that appetite has the greatest impact on our success or failures. Sticking with whole unprocessed foods will not only help your overall health but it will also retrain your body in what to crave. It is ok to snack throughout the day in between meals but breaking the convenience snacker habit is a must.


Mindless Eating Habit #2 - Not Staying Hydrated:  

Now, you might be asking yourself, what does staying hydrated have to do with mindless eating? The answer is everything! Keeping your body hydrated is one of the best ways to make sure you are actually fueling your body when it needs food. When the body is dehydrated it will start looking for ways to rehydrate. The rehydration signals could come in the form of overwhelming dry mouth, cramps, food cravings, and hunger pains. In many cases we mistake a rehydrate signal for being hungry and start reaching for food instead of good ole water. Staying hydrated throughout the day helps combat mindless eating on many levels. It will not only help keep your appetite in check but will also keep your body running smooth and efficiently. Always keep a glass or bottle of water nearby and when a craving hits, drink up and wait 10 minutes. If the craving dissipates, chances are you were just thirsty.  If the hunger cravings continue after rehydrating it might be time to grab a nice healthy snack. Stay hydrated my friends!

Mindless Eating Habit #3 - Portions, Portions, Portions!: 

In today's day and age portion sizes have gotten out of control. When you actually properly portion out your food it is pretty easy to see where all the access calories and fat are coming from. Most people don't realise that the snack option might only have 160 calories per serving BUT the package usually includes more than one serving and we usually eat the entire package in one sitting. This can easily double or triple that 160 calories we thought we were eating. When starting out it is a really good habit to weigh and portion all of your food so you can start to easily identify what an actual serving of what you are eating looks like. Eating out is especially tricky since most restaurants servings are double or triple what a real serving is. It is hard to imagine mindless eating coming into play during your dinner time rituals but if you are used to eating more than double what you should be eating it can become a slippery slope. Refueling your body throughout the day is key to not binge eating later. If your body is sending signals that it is "starving", chances are a big binge-fest is about to happen and before you know it, you have polished off your entire plate and a second or third is on its way. Take the time to really enjoy your meals. Eat in a slow and controlled manner. This will allow your body to assimilate your food properly and also give signals from your brain when you are no longer hungry. The average size of a stomach is about the size of a balled up fist. It doesn't take massive amounts of food to fill it.

Mindless eating habits can come in many forms but these three areas are common areas that many people struggle with when trying to lose weight. Remember that losing weight is about 80% diet and about 20% fitness and exercise. Fitness and exercise play a crucial role in any weight loss journey but the biggest impact will come from what you are feeding your body. Feed your body right and it will treat you right and get you to your goals that much quicker. Balancing out food and exercise together will get you there even quicker. Enjoy the journey and start breaking those mindless eating habits and start replacing them with new healthy habits and you will be amazed by the results.

New Star Health Solutions