The Christmas/New Year period is a notorious goal killer. Many people have good intentions, but then end up falling victim to high-calorie sugary drinks, fatty foods, and of course, alcohol. If you’re trying to get into shape, or just maintain your current body weight, learning how to make the right choices will go a long way in helping you survive the silly season relatively unscathed.
So, how do you avoid the common pitfalls that most people succumb to? We generally adopt the ‘it’s ok I’ll get back on track tomorrow’ attitude which can be a trap. It’s actually easier to stay on the horse and focused on your goals if you don’t fall off it in the first place, so don’t give yourself a reason to have to get back on track!
The secret to surviving the holiday season is really in knowing how to make the right choices when faced with an enticing array of food and drink.
1. SAY NO TO HIGH-FAT AND HIGH-CARB FOODS!
Always choose lean protein such as chicken breast and tenderloins over fatty cuts of meat such as lamb. Say no to bread and carb-heavy sides such as potato salad, and instead, load up on salad and veggies. Never ever go to a gathering HUNGRY! If possible, eat a small high-protein, high-fibre meal or protein smoothie beforehand so that you’re not as tempted to ‘let loose’!
2. SKIP DESSERT!
Dessert is also a potential killer. You can quite easily eat well over your required daily calorie intake with just a couple of trips to the buffet. Instead, enjoy some fruit, your hips will thank you in the morning!
3. CHOOSE YOUR DRINKS WISELY!
Who doesn’t like to let their hair down and enjoy a few drinks with friends and family? However, a few drinks can quite easily lead to a lot of drinks, which can then lead to a few extra trips to the buffet (and possibly a really bad rendition of an Ed Sheeran song)! Alcohol has the tendency to let our guard down, which in turn, can mean another slice of that lemon cheesecake that Aunty Doris makes once a year. Try to avoid beer, sweet wines, liquors and high-calorie mixers. Instead, opt for dry wines, spirits and low-calorie mixers such as vodka, soda and fresh lime. Yum!
You can still enjoy yourself and make the most of the holiday season, as long as you know how to exercise some self-control and self-discipline. This can often be the difference between feeling frustrated with your progress and edging closer towards your goals.
In a world where advances in technology aim to improve our connection with society, the result has been complete disconnection. We have become disconnected from one another, and more alarmingly, even disconnected from ourselves.
In numerous studies, our over-attachment to technology has been linked to health issues such as fatigue, stress and depression in young adults. New research out of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden reinforces this fact. Four studies were conducted by doctoral student Sara Thomée and her colleagues at the University of Gothenberg’s Sahlgrenska Academy. They studied the effects of heavy computer and cell phone use on the sleep quality, stress levels and general mental health of 4,100 young adults between the age of 20 and 24. Their studies found that heavy cell phone use, as well as regular, late night computer use, showed an increase in sleep disorders in men and an increase in depressive symptoms in both men and women. They also discovered that those constantly accessible via cell phones were the most likely to report mental health issues.
One theory as to why this occurs is that the blue light from TV and computer screens affects melatonin production and melanopsin stimulation. This in turn disrupts our circadian rhythm, thus interrupting or preventing deep sleep and causing an increase in stress and depressive symptoms.
Our unhealthy relationship with technology has also given rise to a condition known as Electronic Screen Syndrome. Electronic Screen Syndrome, or ESS, causes a sensory overload that over-stimulates our nervous system. It can also lead to eye-strain, blurred vision, headaches, neck/shoulder/back pain, insomnia, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. More alarmingly, excessive screen use has also been shown to damage the brain’s gray and white matter.
Brain scan research performed in China found gray matter atrophy, compromised white matter integrity, reduced cortical thickness, impaired cognitive functioning and impaired dopamine function in adolescents with internet addiction. In short, excessive screen time appears to impair brain structure and function.
Another aspect of excessive screen time that may be affecting our mental health is our addiction to social media. Is Facebook making you unhappy? University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross conducted research on eighty-two Ann Arbor residents over a two-week period to determine their happiness levels while using Facebook. Kross found that the more people used Facebook the less happy they felt - and the more their overall satisfaction declined from the beginning of the study until its end. The data, he argues, shows that Facebook was making them unhappy.
One reason that Facebook and social media contribute to our unhappiness is through social comparison. We tend to determine our personal self-worth based on how we compare to others around us. Unfortunately, this way of thinking only serves to strengthen our innate insecurities.
Scientists found Facebook usage can put women in a more negative mood where they make more appearance comparisons, giving them a greater desire to change their faces, hair and skin. This ties into the social comparison theory that centers on the belief that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations.
The social comparison theory was initially proposed by social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954. Festinger believed that we engage in this comparison process as a way of establishing a benchmark by which we can make evaluations of ourselves. The more you compare yourself to others, especially via social media, the more negative headspace you create for yourself.
Disconnecting from technology, especially from social media, allows us to reconnect with the people around us. Feeling socially connected is a basic need that improves both physical health and psychological well being, as well as reduces feelings of anxiety and depression. As human beings, social connectedness is crucial to our health and survival.
Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, once said in an interview, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” Creating and nurturing close relationships with others is one of our most fundamental human needs.
Studies have even suggested that stress due to conflict in relationships leads to inflammation levels in the body.
Look at your current relationships, could they be better? Are you putting in the time and effort needed in order to strengthen them? Or are you taking your relationships for granted? Don’t make the mistake of unwittingly allowing important relationships to dissolve right before your eyes. Families break up as a direct result of neglect. Just as new plants need to be watered and fed regularly, your relationships must be nurtured with adequate love and care in order to flourish.
In recent years, there have been many studies documenting some incredible emotional and physical health benefits as a result of human touch. From a handshake to a sympathetic hug, physical contact allows your body to produce ample amounts of the “love hormone” oxytocin. The neuropeptide oxytocin, released by your pituitary gland, is a naturally occurring hormone in your body with incredibly powerful, health-giving properties. The simple act of hugging is a great way to boost your physical and emotional health.
According to one study, a 10-second hug a day can lead to biochemical and physiological reactions in your body that can significantly improve your health. It can also lower your risk of heart disease, reduce stress, boost your immune system, fight infections, fight fatigue and ease depression. Do you need any more reasons to make sure you hug someone everyday? Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, also known as “Dr. Love”, recommends at least eight hugs a day to be happier and enjoy better relationships.
Take a close look at your online habits. Do you find it easy to switch off? Or are you up late at night reading your emails, surfing the net or checking Facebook? Look at ways that you can implement “online times”, for example, dedicate only 20-30 minutes a day to checking social media. Do you think your relationships are negatively affected by your online use? Are you kids online while at the dinner table? Is checking your cell phone the last thing you do before you go to sleep and also the first thing you do when you wake up? Be sure to set some ground rules and stick by them. Even if you don’t have an over-attachment to technology, learning to develop and nurture your relationships is still a crucial practice.
Today, look at one important relationship that you value and think of ways that that relationship can be improved. Don’t discount your relationship with yourself either, as all relationships are a reflection of how you feel about and treat yourself. Can you spend more quality time with that person? What ‘gift’ can you give that person to enrich your relationship with them? Think beyond money. Of course you could always buy them a small gift to show how much you appreciate them. How about the gift of time, or love, or support, or even knowledge? Can you help them through an issue or help them to move forward in some way? Perhaps a hug is all that is needed to deepen your connection with them?
In our home, we have the ’10-second hug’ rule. When we hug, we make sure it lasts for at least 10 seconds! Nothing feels better than a loving hug from your five-year old daughter! The longer the hug, the more time you allow oxytocin to work it’s healing magic! Is there someone you can hug today for at least 10 seconds?
When it comes to weight loss, stress plays a significant role. Whether you suffer from physical, emotional, mental or psychological stress, learning to manage your stress can often be the difference between reaching your weight goals and stagnating.
When our bodies are under stress, certain hormones such as cortisol are elevated which can lead to a condition known as adrenal fatigue. Elevated cortisol and insulin levels can also increase our food cravings and appetite, disrupt our sleep patterns and encourage our bodies to store excess glucose as fat, especially around our waist.
Learning to manage any stress in your life is an extremely vital practice to focus on.
If you feel under pressure at work, are you able to ask for help? Can you manage your time better? Do you need to turn your phone off after 8pm?
Are you exercising too much? Too much exercise can cause what’s known as overtraining syndrome, a condition caused by chronically elevated cortisol levels.
Are you sleeping well? A lack of good quality sleep is another stress for our bodies. It can lead to an increase in levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, a decrease in levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, as well as disrupting glucose and insulin metabolism. It affects our performance, concentration, energy levels, mood, immunity, and has been shown to contribute to weight gain. It can also lead to making the wrong food choices. When we are tired, we are more likely to opt for take-out or a frozen meal.
Do you go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day? It’s important to develop a consistent sleep schedule as your circadian rhythm (internal body clock) functions best when you have a routine.
Do you watch television or use electronic devices just before going to sleep? The blue light emitted from televisions, iPads, etc. suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone produced by your pineal gland that regulates your sleep/wake cycle.
Do you get plenty of sunshine or natural light during the day? Being exposed to fluorescent office lights for long periods of time can also suppress melatonin production.
Do you spend time in nature? Being in nature is a natural anti-depressant and can help increase feelings of calmness and serenity.
Do you exercise each day? You don’t need to run a marathon, simply going for a brisk 20-min walk, especially in a park, can do wonders for your stress levels.
Do you need to learn to let things go? If you dwell on your problems or any issues you may be experiencing as soon as your head hits the pillow, then it may be time to learn how to change your thinking or perspective. If you can’t improve a situation or walk away from it, perhaps you need to learn to accept it. Most of the time it’s our own negative thinking that can be our worst enemy and can contribute to increased stress in our lives.
Do you meditate everyday? Many people think that they need to join a monastery in Thailand to be able to reap the benefits of meditation. In reality, focusing on your breath in a quiet place for just 5-10 minutes each day can significantly reduce your cortisol levels while increasing your feelings of well being.
Do you live a balanced life? Does your life consist of all work and no play? Do you take regular holidays? Even spending a few days away from home can help to contribute to a less stressed you. Do you have any hobbies or engage in any activities that you really enjoy? Finding the time to switch off and to immerse yourself in an activity where you can ‘lose yourself’ can make a tremendous difference to how stressed you feel.
Ensuring that you maintain a high intake of vitamin C can help your body combat the effects of stress by reducing your body’s levels of cortisol. Consider supplementing your diet with an extra two grams during times of increased stress, and as vitamin C is water-soluble, any excess that your body doesn’t need will be excreted not stored in your body.
Vitamin B, magnesium and omega-3 fats are also great nutrients that can help reduce cortisol levels.
Eating well is a big piece of the weight loss puzzle, however, make sure that you give yourself every chance of reaching your goals by learning how to manage your stress hormones.
Many of us want change in our lives but we aren’t really prepared or willing to change things. If you keep doing the things you have always done you will keep getting the things you have always gotten! It’s a simple concept really.
If you keep talking about starting an exercise regime but never do, or you talk about wanting to eat healthy yet you still hold onto unhealthy eating habits, how is your body going to improve? Through wishful thinking or by throwing magical fairy dust into the air?
Our dysfunctional, negative and destructive habits can cause us a lot of pain, grief and unhappiness, and unless we are willing to do things a little (or a lot) differently, it’s impossible to move towards a life that feels better.
Do you often complain about your finances, your relationships or your health? What things are you actively doing to change your current situation?
The great thing about change is that you only need to make small gradual changes in order to help propel you forward towards your goals.
For example, if you normally drink a cup of coffee as soon as you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water first in order to rehydrate your body and kick start your metabolism.
If you normally eat a muffin or something sugary to help get you through your afternoon slump, perhaps choose an apple and a small handful of almonds instead to help stabilise your blood sugar levels.
You don’t need to become a new person overnight. Slowly starting to change your habits and embracing a new way of living is the secret to creating a new life for yourself.
Most people are so afraid of change that they make excuses and come up with all sorts of reasons as to why they can’t achieve their goals. Why would anyone not do what’s needed to move forward? It’s because change can often feel uncomfortable and sometimes even painful.
If you’re used to getting up at a certain time and having a particular routine, getting up one hour earlier to go to the gym or to go for a run can be uncomfortable.
If you’re used to grabbing take out or a packaged meal when you get home from work late, preparing a quick, healthy meal can seem like too much effort.
The clients that get the best results from my meal plans are the ones who take full responsibility for their lives and are open to doing things differently. They don’t complain about having to change their routine or having to eat in a way that they perhaps aren’t used to. They know that change is inevitable if they are to enjoy the type of body that they want.
We are creatures of comfort and tend to become conditioned to act and think in certain ways, even if those actions and thoughts hinder the realisation of our goals.
If you haven’t already read my previous post about motivation, you can read it here: www.onelifeonebody.net/blog/how-to-discover-your-motivation-for-success as without motivation you will be missing the catalyst needed to begin the process of change in your life.
The first step to change is to find YOUR motivation and the second step is to embrace change.
Stay tuned for the third step!
My expertise lies in nutrition, however, I am always fascinated by the psychology behind weight loss and why some people struggle with their weight their entire lives. Why do some people lose weight and keep it off while others seem to be trapped in this never-ending cycle of dieting?
There are three things that you need to know if you are to be successful in achieving the kind of body that you want. This is the first part of a three part series on the psychology behind weight loss and how you can access the tools you need to facilitate change in your life.
Most people who struggle to lose weight are stuck in their comfort zone where it feels good and it feels safe. Change can often be more painful than the actual pain of being overweight and unhealthy, and it sometimes takes reaching rock bottom before any real change is acted upon. At that point, it’s sometimes too late, as so much damage has been inflicted from years of abuse and unhealthy eating.
Each person’s motivation to achieve a goal is different. Whether you want to have more money, better relationships or a sexy, healthy body, you need to really ask yourself WHY you want that goal to become a reality. Your reasons need to inspire you and help propel you forward. They need to develop in you a strong determination and drive that will push past any adversity or challenge that comes your way.
As we are creatures of habit, you must develop a burning desire to change. If you don’t take the time to ask yourself why you want to change, your goals will never see the light of day. Initiating positive change in your life requires some effort on your part, but it will only happen if you have cultivated a strong desire and sense of purpose.
So how do you find your motivation? Spend some time visualizing your desired goal and ask yourself why it would feel good to be able to experience that outcome in your life. Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to feel more confident? Perhaps you want to be able to fit into an old pair of jeans or dress that you wore years ago? Or maybe you just want to confidently wear a swimsuit and enjoy going to the beach?
A powerful way to help keep your motivation strong is to use visual cues. If there is an item of clothing that you wish to be able to wear again, hang it on your bedroom door or leave it someplace where you will see it often. Buy that dress or shirt that you would love to wear and use it as a reminder of why you want to lose weight.
If you would love to have the kind of body that you once had, carry an old photo of yourself with you in your wallet or stick it to your bathroom mirror where you will see it often. Keep reminding yourself why you want to change and use that as powerful motivation, especially during those times when you may feel like giving up or feel that it’s all too hard.
The people who are successful in achieving their goals are the ones who constantly keep their eye on the prize. If you aren’t motivated and aren’t able to maintain that motivation, how can you expect to enjoy a lean, healthy body?
Motivation is the key to change. If you feel as if you are spinning your wheels without much progress, ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and whether or not it’s a goal that truely inspires you.
Stay tuned for the next installment to this article where I’ll discuss change and how being open to change and being open to doing things differently is the catalyst to creating a new life for yourself.
The concept of fasting is definitely not new; its benefits backed by scientific studies have been around since the 1940’s. However, over the past couple of years the popularity of fasting has had somewhat of a resurgence. It’s something I have experimented with over the last couple of years with quite positive results.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, reduce blood sugar levels and also reduce insulin resistance. These are all important factors relating to effective weight loss. It is also suggested that fasting optimizes insulin, human growth hormone (HGH) and norepinephrine (noradrenalin), key hormones involved in the fat-burning process. The reason as to why intermittent fasting is so effective at burning fat has a lot to do with insulin. Insulin is primarily a fat-storing hormone. It inhibits the breakdown of fat cells and stimulates the creation of body fat. Insulin tells the body to stop burning its fat stores and instead, absorb some of the fatty acids and glucose in the blood and turn them into more body fat. Every time you eat, insulin is released. Intermittent fasting helps to keep your insulin levels low, forcing your body to use its stored body fat for energy. Apart from helping you to lose weight, keeping your insulin levels low and steady can also help you to avoid chronic health problems such as type 2 diabetes.
One of the biggest myths and misconceptions touted by the food industry over the years is that we need to eat often in order to lose weight. Studies now prove this information to be incorrect. Of course it makes sense that the giant food companies want us to eat more, not less. How do they benefit from us eating less? They don’t. There have been numerous examples over the years of the food industry influencing scientific research. Can we really trust them? After all, it’s all about maintaining their profits, not your health.
When it comes to fat burning, insulin is the key. Keeping this hormone under control is the real secret to allowing your body to effectively burn fat, and the best process in which to achieve this is through intermittent fasting.
Our ancient ancestors never ate as much or as often as we do. They went from periods of abundance to times when they had no food at all. Humans evolved and thrived on an irregular meal schedule long before modern food preservation made regular meals possible.
Whether you are aware of it or not, you are actually fasting every day. If the last thing you ate was at 9 p. m. and you eat breakfast at 8 a.m. the next morning, you have just fasted for 11 hours. The idea here is to extend that fast so as to optimize your fat-burning hormones. If you find it difficult to skip breakfast in the morning, then another approach would be to ensure the last thing you eat at night is as early as possible.
There are many different options with fasting. You can fast for an entire day once or twice a week, or you may wish to follow my practice and stick to eating between noon and 8 p.m. Invariably, you will be ingesting fewer calories by shortening the window in which you eat, another reason why a lot of people lose weight through intermittent fasting.
If however, you find it difficult to skip breakfast and you want to try the fast, a great tactic is to gradually extend the time in which you are fasting. For example if you normally eat breakfast at 7 a. m., then perhaps wait until 8 or 9 to eat; then keep moving your meal forward until you are having your first meal at noon.
An example of incorporating intermittent fasting into your day is eating between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. or even 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. How you actually structure the eight hours in which you eat is totally up to you. What really matters is that it needs to revolve around your own schedule and lifestyle.
A lot of people who want to lose weight and become healthier are actually standing in the way of their own success. Why would anyone want to prevent themselves from achieving the results they desire? It all has to do with how we see ourselves.
In his talks, neuroscientist Dr. Joe Dispenza reveals that in order to change our circumstances, we literally have to become somebody else. We can only be, do and have what we want based on how we see ourselves. If you see yourself as an overweight person who struggles with their weight, then it’s no surprise that no matter what you do, you will always be an overweight person who struggles with their weight!
So how do we sabotage ourselves?
We make excuses and we procrastinate. Do you make the following excuses or are guilty of indulging in the following behaviours:
So what’s the difference between someone who always seems to struggle with their weight and someone who seems to effortlessly achieve their goals? The person who achieves their goals sees themselves as someone who can lose the weight and change their life. They don’t make excuses. They get up earlier, they manage their time better, they make time for exercise, they take responsibility for their lives. They do the things that they need to do to get results, but more importantly, they manage their thoughts and the way they feel. They literally see and feel their success. They do the things that they need to do because they already see themselves as they wish to be. There’s no resistance, there’s no self-sabotaging. They know that they deserve success and deserve to enjoy that success. They are also gentle on themselves. They know that changing their life is a process and so they celebrate their successes and learn from their failures.
If you can see yourself as a healthy person with a beautiful body then you will start to behave like a healthy person who has a beautiful body. But it must start in your mind first!
So how can you change yourself on the inside so that you can start to make changes on the outside?
The first thing that you need to do is closely look at your excuses and start to find solutions. You also need to be more conscious of your self-talk and how you speak with others about yourself.
No time to eat well? How about you mange your time better? Can you get up a bit earlier? Can you go to bed a bit earlier? Can you spend less time watching TV or scrolling through your social media feeds? Can you spend a little time preparing your meals for the following day or the following week? Can you shop more efficiently at the supermarket? Can you organise yourself better?
Can you stop telling people how dieting is so hard and how much you dislike your body?
Can you start to graciously accept compliments?
Can you start a healthy eating plan and exercise regime, no matter what the activity may be?
Can you start to act and feel as if you already have the kind of body you want? (This will take some time and effort so be patient!)
Can you stop comparing yourself to others?
Can you accept the fact that even though diets have never worked for you in the past, there exists a way of eating that your body will respond to?
Can you start to enjoy the journey and not obsess over your results?
Can you learn to detach from those results?
Can you ask yourself why you want to lose weight and use that answer as a powerful motivator?
Can you stop criticising yourself and start to view your goal as a process?
Can you be more patient and focus on your daily activities?
Can you learn from your mistakes and failures and just keep moving forward?
Eating well and exercising is a big piece of the weight loss puzzle, however, there are a lot of people who seem to be doing all the right things but for very little reward. Remember that unless you can see and feel your results right now, you will always be fighting an uphill battle that will only serve to cause you much frustration!
I highly recommend that you watch this short interview with Dr. Joe Dispenza on why we self-sabotage: www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=gmdpdokIdYU
Coffee, especially the organic variety, is a great source of antioxidants. In moderation (1-2 cups per day), the phytonutrients found in coffee can help your body to regulate fat metabolism, improve its regulation of insulin and glucose, and reduce its tendency towards fat storage. Taken before exercise, coffee can increase your exercise performance and output, as well as increase your focus and mental clarity. Too much coffee, on the other hand, can overstimulate your brain and adrenal glands, revving up your sympathetic nervous system and creating an autonomic imbalance. This imbalance results in an increase in your body’s levels of cortisol – a stress hormone that reduces fat burning and increases fat storage, especially around the abdomen.
Just one average-sized latte can contain as many as 168 calories, so you can see how drinking just a few coffees a day can add significant calories to your diet. In order to minimise the damage, always choose the smallest available option, choose skim milk over full-fat milk, or even better, choose a dairy alternative such as almond or macadamia milk, and always drink your coffee without any sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you typically add more than one teaspoon of sugar to your coffee, you can gradually reduce the amount of sugar you use by half a teaspoon each day. Your tastebuds WILL adjust to it. Also, don’t be tempted to use any artificial sweeteners such as Equal or NutraSweet. The aspartame found in artificial sweeteners messes with your hormones and has been shown to increase cravings for sugar, as well as contribute to an increase in weight gain.
Alternatively, try using a natural sweetener such as stevia or xylitol. Stevia is a plant-based sugar substitute that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It contains zero calories and won’t spike your blood sugar the way that other sweeteners do. Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener that looks and tastes just like sugar, minus the harmful effects. It has a low glycemic index (GI) of 7 and contains 40% less calories than sugar.
If you normally drink black tea instead of coffee, and you have it with milk and/or sugar, then the above rules that apply to coffee also apply to tea.
You can also drink unlimited amounts of herbal tea. Green tea is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants. They can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to speed up the ageing process and can lead to all sorts of diseases.
Studies have found that a type of catechin prevalent in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), can actually help increase resting metabolism and stimulate fat burning. This is why you often find green tea extract in many fat-burning supplements.
White tea contains even more cell-protecting antioxidants than green tea (and less caffeine), but there are fewer studies to support its role in fat burning.
Be sure to steer clear of all soft-drinks/sodas and fruit juices, especially the diet varieties, as they contain too much sugar and synthetic chemicals.
People who drink alcohol in moderation tend to be healthier than those who are teetotallers, although drinking the wrong type of alcohol or using high-calorie mixers won’t exactly help your weight loss efforts. It isn’t just the excess calories that contribute to unwanted weight gain, it’s also the poor food choices that are often made after having a few drinks. In order to still be able to enjoy alcohol, be sure to stick with the following recommendations:
Just be aware that every drink you have is adding extra calories to your diet. Alternatively, you can remove or reduce the carbohydrate component of your dinner in order to enjoy a drink or two without affecting your calorie intake too much.
*Stevia liquid concentrate can be found at most heath-food stores.
As technology advances and our lives become seemingly easier, depression and anxiety have become more prevalent than ever. More and more people feel unsatisfied in their jobs and unhappy in their relationships. We want bigger homes, nicer cars, slimmer bodies and more money. No matter what we have, there always seems to be more that we want in the hope that it will enable us to feel better. As a consumerist society, happiness will always elude us.
Globally, depression is growing at an alarming rate. It is estimated that 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and the number of people diagnosed with depression increases by approximately 20% every year.
There are many factors that can contribute to our unhappiness. Unemployment, divorce, gender-related issues, old age, failing finances and poor health can all contribute to an unhappy life. Does this mean that circumstances beyond our control are preventing us from living a happy and satisfying life? Definitely not! Science has proven that what we do and how we think on a daily basis can have a significant impact on our happiness levels.
About six months ago, I started writing a book which so far has a working title called "THE HAPPINESS PROJECT". The idea for the book came about one day when I was writing my own list of things that I felt I needed to do on a regular basis to help keep myself positive and optimistic. It had then occurred to me that I needed to share these twenty-one principles with others in the hope that it would also help others cope with whatever mental health issues or mood disorders they were faced with.
Most of our problems tend to stem from our negative thoughts about the present, past and future, as well as certain lifestyle factors. Eating too many processed foods, spending too much time indoors, failing to nurture close relationships, allowing stress to accumulate and not making enough time for ourselves, are just some of the things that can contribute to our increased feelings of depression and anxiety.
There's plenty that we can do that doesn't involve prescription medication or spending hours on a psychologist's couch. If my book can help even just ONE person to feel happier and more optimistic, then I'm happy to say that I've achieved my goal in making a difference.
Here's a excerpt from my new book...
We often unconsciously and unwittingly become caught up in our daily roles. Whether you’re a mother, a father, a schoolteacher or a business owner, no matter what roles we play in life, there are certain responsibilities we need to take on. If you are a mother, you are most likely the one responsible for making sure your kids don’t go to school hungry or that they have completed their homework. As an employee, there are specific responsibilities you must carry out and roles you must fulfill in order to keep your job, and therefore continue to pay your bills. For the vast majority of people, life can often be described as a boring, monotonous repeat of yesterday.