Here are some helpful ways to deal with a momentary diet lapse.
You’re having a day that starts out great and the next thing you know something stressful happens at work and you’re grabbing a donut from the break room.
It only takes a moment for your diet to go from terrific to terrible. No matter how good your intentions, you can’t expect to follow your diet perfectly every minute of every day. There will be those times when you have something you shouldn’t. So, the trick is to figure out not only what gets you into trouble in the first place, but also how you can talk yourself back down.
If you’ve fallen off your diet––and everyone does––here are some tips to help you get back on track.
Everyone makes diet mistakes from time to time. What you don’t want to do is beat yourself up about it, because you’ll feel as if you’ve failed—which could lead you to just give up and lose control completely. A single event—eating something you shouldn’t, or exceeding your calorie limit for the day —is simply a lapse. It happens. Recognize it for what it is, but don’t let things get out of control. String enough lapses together, and you’ve got a relapse—and you’re back where you started.
Most people can identify what triggers them to eat when they shouldn’t. Stress, for example, is a big one. When people eat in response to stress, it’s because they think a treat will make them feel better. And it might—at least momentarily. But then the guilt sets it, which stresses you out, which causes you to eat more—and the cycle continues. Fatigue, loneliness, frustration, boredom—there’s a whole host of emotions that can trigger you to eat. Sometimes there are people in your life that are the problem—like the ones who are always urging you to have something ‘just this once.’
If emotional eating is a problem for you, work on finding other ways to deal with your emotions that don’t involve food. It’s been said that people eat to ‘stuff down their emotions’ in order to avoid feeling sad, lonely or frustrated. But many people also say that it’s really the fear of experiencing the emotion that makes them eat. When they simply let the emotion happen—and learn how to deal with it —it’s never as bad as they thought it would be. When your emotions are getting the best of you and food is calling to you, try writing your thoughts down, calling a friend or turning on some soothing music instead.
If you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t and the little voice in your head is saying, “You’re such a failure, you’ll never lose weight!” you need to be a little nicer to yourself. Instead, say the same thing to yourself that you’d say to a friend if you were offering support. “So, you got stressed and grabbed a donut—it’s not the end of the world. Let’s take a walk at lunch to burn off some extra calories and stop for a salad on the way back.”
Delay tactics can work really well when you’re feeling tempted to eat something you shouldn’t. If you’re keeping a food diary, take a look at it before you indulge. Considering what you’re about to eat, and why, can be enough to stop you in your tracks. It also helps to tell yourself that you’ll wait 10 minutes once the urge strikes, to see if you still feel the need to indulge. Most of the time, you’ll get busy doing something else and just forget about it.
Don’t let the day get away from you. A slip is one thing—just don’t let it turn into a fall. If you ate something you shouldn’t have, just get over it and pick right back up at the next meal. It’s too late to do anything about the last meal you had—focus instead on the one you plan to have next.
Sometimes after a slip, it helps to do a little ‘system reset.’ Think about what motivated you to make changes in the first place, about how far you’ve come, and the accomplishments you’ve made. You have the know-how and the commitment—and you know you can achieve your goals because you’ve been making progress. Remember that progress is measured in many ways —not only by what the scale says. Every time you make the best choice in a restaurant, pack a healthy lunch, turn down an offer of food you don’t want—or skip the donut when you’re stressed and take a deep breath instead—you win.
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You can avoid hitting an exercise plateau by learning to listen to your body and increasing physical challenges.
Your exercise routine should be progressive in nature. As your body adapts to the increased demands that you place on it, you should respond by slowly increasing the workout intensity. Training in this way will help you to continually build on your results over time.
Athletes train in cycles that involve increasing their intensity, duration and load. This method has proven to be a very successful way to keep your body improving. In fact, everyone can benefit from training in cycles and adapting their exercise routine every few months. Each workout cycle should be based on your response to an exercise program.
Our bodies all respond to a new exercise routine differently. In general, you may start to notice some changes after following a plan consistently for 6-8 weeks. When you first start to exercise, the physical changes that you go through and indicators that you’re physically improving tend to be quite pronounced. As you become more fit, knowing when it’s time to switch up the challenge becomes a little harder to notice.
Sometimes, a routine that used to be challenging no longer is. If you find yourself able to simply go through the motions without too much effort, it’s time to increase the difficulty level.
Tip: If you’re only a few weeks into a new routine, increase the difficulty level by adding a balance challenge. This will provide you with an opportunity to work the small, stabilizing muscle groups in your body. Try using an upside down 1/2 ball for your squats. It will keep you focused throughout your routine.
If your time on the treadmill or cardio equipment used to get your heart rate up and feeling out of breath—but in recent days you seem to have a stable heart rate and can easily talk through your workout—it’s an indication that your cardiovascular fitness has improved. In order to push yourself and burn additional calories, you need to increase the challenge.
Tips: Increase the duration of your cardio workout to work on your endurance level. Increase your speed or incline to improve your strength and maximize your calorie burn.
Safety tip: Monitor your heart rate and be sure to keep it within the safe guidelines for your age and current fitness level. Your overall aim should be to push yourself to improve, but not too hard too soon. Most cardio equipment has a chart that will help you to understand the correct heart rate range for your age and your goals.
If you’re lifting weights as part of your workout and they feel too light, you may need to increase the weight you’re using. Lifting light weights for a high number of reps doesn’t provide your body with an effective challenge.
Tip: Select a weight that you can use to perform 10-12 reps while maintaining good form. The last 3-4 reps should feel like a challenge. I like to follow a simple rule: no more than 10% weight increase every 3-4 weeks. Repetition is essential for mastery and muscular change, so carefully select the right weight when you first start out. Then you can work on increasing intensity as needed.
If your workout has you feeling bored, then it’s definitely time to change it. It’s hard enough to stay motivated and stick with a plan in the first place. If you’re dreading your workout or can’t wait for it to be over, you risk falling off the fitness train altogether.
Tip: Try a new fitness class to get some new ideas. Choose exercises that challenge your mind and keep you mentally engaged. Exercises that work two or more muscle groups at once, or require you to put together complex movement patterns, will help to strike down boredom.
In general, a fitness plan will only fail if you quit. Make an effort to keep your results evolving by listening to your body and knowing when it’s time to change things up.
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Makeup brushes feel so soft and plush when they’re new. Over time, wear and tear on your brushes can take that feeling away. Caring for your brushes doesn’t have to be a chore, and it can extend their life for years.
Good quality brushes turn ordinary makeup application into something almost magical. When I have that special brush in my hand, I just feel like I know what I’m doing—like a true makeup artist. If you’ve ever bought a good quality makeup brush, you know just how expensive they can be. And they won’t last long if you don’t take care of them.
The one thing that all makeup brushes have in common is that they’re a breeding ground for bacteria. Yuck! Think about the oils and germs that gather on your face. And then think about how those undesirables get transmitted onto your brushes every time they come into contact with your skin. If that’s not enough to make your skin crawl, nothing is.
High quality makeup brushes are designed to last for years, but only if we take care of them and clean and store them properly.
If you wear makeup all the time, then clean your makeup brushes once a week. Wear makeup less regularly? Clean them at least monthly.
I find that it’s best to wash makeup brushes at night before you go to bed, so they’ll have the opportunity to dry before you next use them. Be sure to lay them flat to dry. If you dry them standing up, water will seep into the brushes at the ferrule (the fancy name for where the bristles meet the handle). When this happens, the water can weaken the glue where the bristles are bonded and your brush will start to lose its hairs.
There’s no need to waste your hard earned money on special makeup brush cleansers. You can give your brushes a really great cleansing with plain old unscented white soap. You can also use gentle shampoos that are sulfate free, or even baby shampoo. The gentler the better.
If you really want to get a special makeup brush cleaner, then be sure to read the label and don’t purchase any cleansers that contain alcohol. Those will only dry out the brush hairs and eventually cause breakage. In my opinion, it’s just not worth it when a little old bar of soap will do the same trick.
1. Get your brush completely wet using lukewarm water.
2. Once your brush is saturated, swirl your brush onto a bar of soap until it lathers, or apply shampoo to a sponge and simply swirl your brush on the sponge until you create a nice lather. It’ll totally gross you out when you see all of the makeup colors coming out of the brushes.
3. You may have to rinse the brush and continue the same swirling technique a few times to clean all the old makeup off your brush.
4. Once you think all of the makeup, oils and gunk have been removed from the brush, rinse it in lukewarm water. If the bristles feel slippery or slimy, then you’ll need to continue rinsing to ensure all of the soap or shampoo has been removed.
If your brushes have a metal band on them, try not to get this area wet. It can lead to rust and eventually may destroy your brush.
5. Give your brush a gentle squeeze to remove the excess water and leave to dry flat on a clean towel. Your brushes should dry in about 6 to 8 hours, so cleaning them before you go to bed is the ideal time.
You can simply clean the handles with a soapy cloth. If you’re a real germ freak, use a bit of rubbing alcohol. This way you can clean and disinfect in one quick step.
If you really want to keep your brushes in tip-top shape, put a bit of clear nail polish over the name or number on the brush handle. Names and numbers will eventually wear off, and with regular washing you’ll notice them starting to disappear. A quick coat of polish will definitely protect the brush information, so you won’t forget just which brush is used for what.
If you notice that your brushes are feeling a bit stiff over time, try massaging a tiny bit of hair conditioner into the bristles and rinse in warm water. Dry them flat as you normally would to bring back that soft, luxurious feel.
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If maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is a struggle for you, or if you keep falling off the fitness wagon, then forming or joining an existing fitness team might be the ideal solution for you.
Maybe it’s time to switch it up and try a team fitness approach.
Simply put, joining forces with others who share similar health and fitness goals can help you in a multitude of ways. If you want to be fit for life, not just a few weeks, then a team approach to fitness can be an invaluable resource. Becoming part of a group will help on days when you feel like you want to quit. Your fitness team, or fitness buddy, will give you the support you need and help you stay accountable to your activity goals. Not to mention, working out with others can be far more fun than on your own!
In my experience as both an athlete and a mom to four kids, I can tell you that nothing beats a team approach. They say it takes a village to raise a child. So, you can imagine that in the first two years of raising my triplets, my army of friends and family really helped keep me afloat. Nothing beats a group of people who motivate you to do better. It’s why some studies suggest that people may lose weight more easily (and have an easier time keeping the weight off) by enlisting the help of a friend or loved one.
Why, then, do we so often struggle and go at it alone when trying to get fit and stay fit? A number of factors could be at work. We’ve been taught from childhood to try and be as independent and self-sufficient as possible. At times, we consider our journey to fitness intensely personal, and it’s difficult to open up and let others become part of that journey.
Well, banish those thoughts right now! While it’s important to be self-motivated, disciplined and hardworking, it’s also important to focus on lifelong fitness. And if your friends and family are part of your life, why not also make them part of your fitness team?
Here are a few of my favorite tips for being a great team player when it comes to fitness.
Pick your fitness goal
This is the most important step on your journey to becoming healthy and active. If you don’t know exactly what you want to achieve, how will you ever get started? Write down a list of specific goals and get to work!
Find a fitness team or create one
In a perfect world, you will immediately find a group with the same fitness goals, abilities and availability as you. In the real world it may not be that simple. Your group can be as small as two people or as large as several hundred, but you must pick the style of team that fits with your schedule. There are many options, from a fitness buddy to an online support group, a fit club, a nutrition club or a simple get-together with family members or friends.
Give more than you expect to receive
You may be joining a group because you need help, but I believe that if you join a fitness team and give 100% effort to helping others, you will benefit greatly in turn. Volunteer your skills and always offer a helping hand when your team needs support in any form.
Be organized and on time
If your exercise group meets at a set time, you must show respect to your fellow group members by being punctual and having everything you need to participate. There is nothing worse than waiting for a fitness team member to show up for a run, only to find that when they finally arrive they have forgotten their running shoes! If you want to get results, being committed and accountable are two very important qualities.
Maintain a positive attitude
Always show up with a positive attitude. Yes, it may be cold, you might be tired, and maybe you’d be happier lazing on the couch, but don’t let that affect your teammates! People feed off energy. When you’re positive, you increase the likelihood that your fitness team will be positive too, which is critical for making fitness fun. Make a commitment to creating a fun, healthy environment for your teammates.
Set some rewards
Think up some fun ways to reward yourself and your fitness team for working hard. Yes, improved health and fitness are the ultimate and most incredible reward of all, but trust me when I say that looking forward to a monthly treat or get-together will help to keep all of you motivated and working hard!
Listen to your group
A great team player knows when to talk and when to listen. If you make a commitment to being mentally present and in the moment with your fitness team, you may learn something new and create lasting friendships.
I can’t emphasize enough how much fun working with a group can be, especially when you’re committed to being a great team player. Good luck putting together your fitness team, and don’t forget to be creative. You can include your coworkers, your kids, and even the family dog! You don’t have to tackle fitness alone. You can add the Discover Good network to your team too – because Susan and I are committed to helping you achieve your healthy, active life.
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Here’s how you can manage stress levels for your overall health and your appearance.
It’s Stress Awareness Month—a great time to focus on managing stress levels for your overall health and appearance. Stress can impact the health of your heart, digestion, weight, memory and even your ability to sleep. Stress and lack of sleep can also negatively impact your looks, causing blemishes and breakouts, as well as dehydration, which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Stress can also negatively impact your hair, resulting in graying and hair loss. So, in the name of beauty, here’s how you can learn to de-stress.
For some people, relaxing can be quite difficult. However, if you can set aside just a few minutes a day to meditate, it will serve your mind, body and spirit well. By entering into a relaxed and peaceful state, you release chemicals into your body that help to counter the stress hormones you’re creating. Practicing yoga or deep breathing exercises can help you find calm. As you do, you can reduce stress-related symptoms that negatively affect you. Set aside 5 to 10 each day to help you relax.
If you can dedicate even more than 10 minutes, do it. A few extra minutes out of your day will only help you to further alleviate your stress levels.
Exercise can be the ideal stress reducer. It not only improves your circulation, which is great for your skin, but it also releases endorphins that can make you feel both energized and calm at the same time. So, take a brisk walk, join a fitness class or go on a bike ride. It’s the perfect way to reduce stress, clear your mind and achieve that healthy post-exercise glow.
There’s nothing worse than feeling (and looking) frazzled. Rather than becoming completely overwhelmed by what the day has in store for you, try to control it by prioritizing. I love to write my daily tasks down in a notebook or you can also download an app for this. For me, just being able to see the different tasks that I need to complete gives me more clarity. I can see what must be done, versus what I hope to get done. And sometimes I realize that I can push some tasks to a different day. This not only reduces my stress, but it also allows me to be more productive. And I love crossing off my completed tasks.
Learning to manage stress can be difficult. But we all need to take advantage of every opportunity we can to keep our stress at a manageable level. Once you’ve gotten better at relaxing, you’ll definitely notice a change in your demeanor and your appearance. Say good-bye to brow furrows and stress lines, and say hello to a revitalized you.
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