Archive Monthly Archives: June 2018

4 Summertime Food Safety Tips

Make sure to cook food thoroughly
when barbecuing

Don’t spoil your summertime fun with the chance of getting sick from contaminated food. Here are some tips for maintaining food safety during warm weather.

Nothing says summer quite like backyard barbecues, picnics and camping. But nothing spoils a picnic more quickly than unwelcome guests—and I’m not talking about party crashers. These other unwelcome guests come in the form of food-borne bacteria, which can multiply quickly in hot summertime temperatures and make your picnic foods risky to eat.

The bacteria in foods that can make you sick grow quickly at room temperature, and even faster when the thermometer climbs to 90 degrees F (32C) or so. Keeping foods cold discourages the bacteria from growing, and cooking foods destroys them. So, the most basic rule is this: keep hot foods hot, and keep cold foods cold.
Here are four tips for proper food handling during those warm weather months:

Pack Your Cooler the Smart Way

If you’re going to carry raw meat to grill at the park or your campsite, pack your cooler carefully. Season or marinate the meat and put it in a tightly sealed plastic container or zippered plastic food storage bag, then keep it separated from any foods that are ready-to-eat in your cooler. You don’t want any of those raw meat juices dripping onto your fruits, veggies and side dishes. And pack your cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs, so that everything stays nice and cold.

Don’t Let the Outside Fool You

When it’s time to serve foods from the grill, check thick foods like bone-in chicken pieces to make sure they’re cooked all the way through before serving. Sometimes they cook quickly on the outside, but they’re still raw or undercooked in the middle. If you have a few hours before it’s time to grill, you can also partially cook chicken pieces in the microwave, then drop them in a zippered plastic bag with the marinade and refrigerate. Since the chicken is partially cooked, it takes less time to finish it on the grill; it tends to cook more evenly and it’s less likely to be dry.

Don’t Double-Dip

Once your fish, meat or poultry comes off the grill, it might be tempting to dunk it back in the marinade—but don’t. Since the marinade was in contact with raw or undercooked meat, it could harbor some harmful bacteria that could cause illness.

Follow the 2-2-4 Rule

When it comes to leftovers, an easy way to remember food storage guidelines is simple: two hours, two inches, four days. These numbers make up the “2-2-4 rule.”
Two hours is how long foods can safely stay at room temperature after you’ve taken them out of the oven or off the grill. In the case of cold foods, that’s how long they can safely stay out of the refrigerator or cooler. But there’s an exception to this rule: the limit drops to just an hour if the outdoor temperature is 90 degrees F (32C) or higher. Once the time limit is reached, the food should be refrigerated or frozen. So, if you’re away from home, be sure to pack up your food and place it back in the cooler with your ice packs to keep them at a safe temperature.

The two inch rule means that you should store leftover foods in shallow containers—no more than two inches deep—so they can cool down evenly and quickly. If containers are too deep, it takes too long for the food in the middle to cool down.

The last rule says that you should use your refrigerated leftovers within four days. Otherwise, you should toss them out. But picnic leftovers are pretty tasty, so chances are that they’ll be long gone before then.

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6 Tips to Start Your Family Fitness Journey Today

Make fitness fun for the whole family.

There’s no better time than now to get started on a family fitness journey and raise healthy, active kids.

If you’re looking to make healthier choices for your children and teach them how to make healthier choices for themselves, here are six essential tips to help you get started.

Consult Your Child’s Physician

Talk to your child’s pediatrician about what kind of fitness is right for them. Going from a low level of activity to an active lifestyle can be a shock to their system. All changes in physical activity should be gradual.

Create a Routine

The best way to start your family fitness journey is to create a schedule of activities for two days per week. Plan activities such as hikes, bike rides or indoor/outdoor sports to make them feel less like a chore and more like fun. The more you involve your kids in the planning process, the more enthusiastic they’ll be about the change.

Embrace Technology

If you have children that rely on computers, phones and tablets, you might face a rebellion if you try to swap gadgets for family fitness time. Instead, you can embrace technology and ease them into an active lifestyle with fitness games and challenges. There are many dance, fitness and activity games available that combine technology with simple tasks that motivate kids to get active.

Go Back to Basics

Remember how much fun it was to play a simple game of catch with your friends when you were younger? As you move towards more traditional fitness-based activities, focus on coordination and body awareness moves. Kids have developing nervous systems and will benefit from engaging their motor skills. Related activities include kicking, catching and hopping.

Be Smart about Weight Training

There are differing opinions on the age at which children should start lifting weights, and it’s a decision that should be discussed with your child’s physician. As an alternative, body weight exercises are a great way for kids to build strength. I started lifting weights at the age of 15 and I am raising my children to have fun with squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises until they are well into their teens.

Lead by Example

The greatest gift you can give your children is to lead by example and practice healthy habits. Try popping in a fitness DVD or follow a fitness routine on the computer to set an example. If your young children want to join in, you should let them. Just make sure they stay away from potentially dangerous equipment like weight machines and treadmills.

We can all make healthier choices to lead our children down an active lifestyle path. If you keep the activity fun, you can set them up for a lifetime of being active. However, if you do it with force, they may build a negative opinion of exercise forever. The above tips are ones I use successfully with my own family, but make sure to experiment with different activities so you can find the ones that your whole family will enjoy doing together.

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Your Best Eyebrows in 3 Simple Steps

Your eyebrows express so much.

Your eyebrows say a lot about you and when it comes to caring for them, it’s all about enhancing their natural shape and keeping them well groomed. No matter what kind of natural eyebrow shape you have—thin and wispy, thick and bushy or anywhere in between––waxing, tweezing and threading will be part of your routine.

So, get ready to impress and express your beauty with this quick guide to achieve the perfect eyebrows.


Any time you exfoliate your face, take a few extra seconds to exfoliate the skin under your eyebrows. Dead skin tends to build up underneath and around your eyebrow hairs. Gently rub your fingers in a circular motion around both brows and rinse. When you follow exfoliation up with moisturizer, it softens the eyebrows and primes them for grooming.

Know Your Eyebrow Shape

An esthetician can help you define and enhance your eyebrow shape. Then you can keep the shape up yourself in between appointments. Here are a few things to consider when shaping your eyebrows yourself:

– First things first, comb eyebrows straight up using a brow comb or brush so you can see where they may need to be filled in. Start combing from the front of the brow, near your nose, and work out towards the ends.

– Determine where your inner eyebrow starts. This can be done by holding a ruler vertical to your face and aligning it with the outer most edge of your nose and the inner corner of your eye. Mark that spot with an eyebrow pencil so you know where your brow should begin. Your best brow usually aligns with the inner tear duct.

– Determine the arch of your eyebrow. This is usually slightly right of the center of your brow. Mark that with an eyebrow pencil so you know where your eyebrow should be at its highest point.

– Mark your eyebrow end point with the help of your straight edge. Make a line with your straight edge going from the bottom of your nose to the outer corner of your eye.

– Decide the thickness that you want by marking your eyebrow pencil in a line just underneath the fullest part of your brow. You can decide the shape you’d like with this line.

– Once you’ve marked your eyebrow shape, you are ready to remove excess hair with your chosen method of hair removal. Waxing, tweezing and threading are the most common methods for keeping eyebrows in shape.

Keeping Your Eyebrows Looking Fresh

Once you’re happy with the overall look of your eyebrows, here are three things you can do yourself in between eyebrow appointments:

• Trimming and Tweezing

This is a quick way to keep your brows looking well-groomed. If they require heavy tweezing, follow the steps above to determine the best brow shape for you and then tweeze away. A good tip is to shape your brows after a shower when your hair follicles are more open and hairs come out more easily.

To keep eyebrow hairs in place, brush the brows upward with an eyebrow brush and trim any hairs that are too long with small scissors. For really unruly brows, consider investing in clear mascara to keep your eyebrows neat all day.

• Tinting

This technique helps create an eyebrow with depth. Choose from a powder, which is applied with an eyebrow brush, or a tinted gel, which is applied like mascara. Use careful strokes, following the natural direction of the eyebrow hairs.

• Filling in Bare Spots

The idea here is to create the illusion of individual eyebrow hairs, not a solid dark splotch. Using a thin eyebrow pencil in a color closely matching your eyebrows, re-draw the borders just around the inner 1/3 portion of each eyebrow. Draw slightly within the hairline so that it’s not obvious. Using the same pencil, identify the bare spots and apply feathery strokes going in the direction of the eyebrow hairs. This is essential to avoid looking like you have dark splotches on your eyebrows.

Eyebrows can be a beautiful frame for your eyes, if they’re well groomed. So, invest a little time to keep them looking fresh. It might take a little practice but the results will be well worth it.

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Want to Build Muscle? It Takes More Than Just Protein

Eat high-quality carbs to build muscles.

Protein is important for building muscle, but other nutrients play an important role as well.

If you were to ask most people what it takes to build muscle, they’d probably say that you just need to eat protein, protein and more protein. Protein is important, to be sure. After all, your muscles are made of protein, and your body requires adequate protein in the diet in order to have the building blocks it needs to build up muscle mass. But protein alone won’t do. You need to pay attention to the rest of your diet as well.

Essential Nutrients to Build Muscle

A lot of men who are trying to bulk up are also trying to lose body fat at the same time. But sometimes the approaches they use to meet those goals are at odds with each other. They’ll take in plenty of protein, which, when coupled with a strength training routine, should lead to more lean mass. But they may also cut their total calories back too far in an effort to get “shredded.”

That can be a problem. If you cut your calories too much, some of the protein that you eat is going to be burned for fuel, rather than being used to support muscle development. So, to effectively build muscle mass, you want to ensure that you have enough calories to support your activity, and the right balance of nutrients, too.


    Many bodybuilders see carbs as the enemy, and that can be a mistake. Yes, highly refined carbohydrates and sweets hardly do the body good. But the right carbohydrates found in whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables help to fuel activity, including working muscles. Without adequate carbohydrate to fuel your exercise, some of the protein you’re eating might get burned for fuel. So, to avoid “burning the candle at both ends,” make sure to include enough high-quality carbs in your diet.


    Dietary fat is sometimes underappreciated by some athletes. Like carbs, fats may have an undeserved bad reputation. Small amounts of the right kinds of fats are really important. That’s because certain fatty acids, the building blocks of dietary fats, are essential because the body can’t make them. Fatty acids are a vital structural component of every cell membrane, including muscle cells. The body relies on fat to fuel moderate intensity, longer-term exercise. That’s just the type of exercise that might be coupled with a strength-training regimen to build mass and lose body fat. Focus on the “good” sources, like nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil and avocado.


    Eating the right amount of protein is important for stimulating muscle development, and so is the timing of protein intake. The process of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is stimulated by strength training activity. But it’s also stimulated when you eat protein. This is one reason that strength-training athletes should aim to spread their protein intake fairly evenly over meals and snacks throughout the day. MPS is greater under these conditions than it is under a more typical pattern in which little protein is consumed in the morning, a bit more at lunch and then a large amount at dinner. And a bedtime snack containing about 25g of protein can help to stimulate MPS during the night.

Both plant and animal sources provide the necessary building blocks for MPS. “Fast-digesting” proteins are high in the amino acid leucine, found in a range of both plant and animal proteins. This includes soy, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds and beans, all of which stimulate MPS. And more slowly digested proteins, such as egg and milk proteins, may help to prolong the MPS process.

At this point, there’s nothing to suggest that “fast” proteins are better than “slow” proteins, or vice versa. What’s more important to know is that protein needs can be met from both plant and animal sources. With careful planning and attention to total intake, even vegetarians or vegans can consume enough protein to support muscle development.

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Men’s Skincare: Here are the Facts

Men need a cleansing skincare routine, too.

Here are some things to pay attention to when it comes to a daily skin care regimen just for men.

Make no mistake: men need to care for their skin as much, if not more, than women. However, men and women have different types of skin with different needs. Here are some factors to consider when determining the best skincare regimen for you.

Thick or Thin Skinned?

How thick a person’s skin is depends on many factors, including their sex, age and the area of the skin in question. For example, skin on the eyelids is very thin, while skin on the palms is very thick. On average, a man’s skin is approximately 25% thicker than a woman’s. This is primarily due to testosterone. Men’s skin will gradually thin with age, while the thickness of woman’s skin remains steady until around the age of 50 when it will also start to thin, especially after menopause. Because men have thicker skin, they also tend to have more elastin and collagen than women, making their resistance to the signs of aging greater than women’s. Unfortunately, women show the signs of aging faster than men, and they are much more vulnerable to the damaging UVA rays of the sun.

Oil Slick or Dry as a Desert?

Because men have thicker skin, they also have more sebum-producing glands. Women’s oil production starts to decrease a lot sooner than men’s, on average by about 20 years. It’s these natural oils that help to protect the skin, keeping it feeling softer and smoother. So, while a woman may experience more skin dryness, men may experience larger pores and be prone to more blackheads and whiteheads. Women also experience increased skin dryness during menopause.

Rough and Tumble or Baby Smooth?

When it comes to skin texture, men have skin that’s rougher, primarily due to the fact that the outer protective layer of their skin is thicker. Throw in differences in hormones, oil and sweat production, facial hair and shaving, and there are inevitably textural differences. Men tend to have acne that lasts longer; they experience more skin irritation and suffer from a condition called rhinophyma, which is only found in males with extreme cases of rosacea.

Shaving: Super Sensitive or Ultra Resilient?

Because most men shave, they’re prone to shaving bumps, ingrown hairs and skin sensitivities, primarily brought on by daily shaving. Shaving damages the hydrolipidic film on the surface of the skin, which erodes the skin’s natural lubrication and protection. Shaving can also cause nicks and scrapes on the skin, allowing for a man’s skin to become more sensitive and easily irritated than a woman’s.

So, what should every man do when it comes to his daily skincare regimen?
    Use a Facial Cleanser

    You may have gotten used to using regular bar soap, but that isn’t doing your skin any good. Bar soaps can contain harsh detergents and deodorizers that aren’t meant for the face. They can also disrupt your skin’s pH balance and strip it of beneficial oils. Choose a facial cleanser that can target excess oil, thoroughly remove dirt, oil, sweat, debris and provide much needed hydration. Look for formulas that do not contain sulfates or parabens, but do contain antioxidant vitamins and Aloe vera for added hydration.

    Start Exfoliating

    Due to the thickness of a man’s skin, exfoliation is necessary and can be done more frequently than a woman. Scrub away that dead skin buildup on a regular basis, which will help clear out your pores and ease the frequency of white and blackheads.

    Skip the Aftershave

    Most post-shave products contain alcohol, hence the burning and stinging effect when applied to the skin. It’s time to ditch those irritating products because they just aren’t healthy for your skin. They can cause dead skin cell buildup, which causes hair strands to get trapped in the skin, leading to ingrown hairs and irritation. Invest in an antioxidant-rich facial skin toner that is alcohol-free to help soothe the skin post-shaving. No more stinging and burning for sure.

    Apply Sunscreen

    Applying sunscreen every day before going outdoors is especially important for men. Men tend to spend more time outdoors than women and are more exposed to environmental factors. There’s also a greater risk of incidental sun exposure just from walking the dog, doing a bit of yard work or simply driving a car (the sun’s rays can penetrate through glass). So, men should always apply a moisturizer containing SPF 30 sunscreen to help fend off the signs of aging.

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Healthy Digestion, Healthy You

Fermented foods are important for digestive health.

To keep your digestive system running smoothly, focus on fiber, fluids and regular exercise.

If more people really thought about how much their digestive systems do for them every day, they might be more inclined to take better care of their digestive health. Your digestive system has a huge job – it breaks down the foods that you eat in order to make nutrients and energy available to the body, and it is responsible for steering unwanted waste out of the body, too. On top of that, your digestive tract is a key player in immunity – the cells lining your digestive tract help protect your body against bacterial and viral invaders that could make you sick.

And, your brain and your digestive tract are in constant communication with one another. An incredible amount of information travels between your gut and your brain – so much so, that the nervous system that resides in your digestive tract is often called the body’s “second brain”. This system alerts the “first brain” if you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have, and also keeps tabs on your hunger level and your mood.

And yet, many people abuse their digestive system – by filling it with highly processed foods, or eating too much, or eating too fast – and pay little attention to it until something goes wrong.

Key Components to Digestive Health

In the most general sense, what you eat and the way you live your life influences the health of your digestive system. A nutrient-rich, balanced diet helps to nourish all of your body’s cells, including those in your digestive tract. Fiber, fluids and regular exercise all help to keep you regular, and taking care of your “second brain” by keeping your stress levels in check can also help to promote digestive health.

Fiber and Fluids Support Digestive Health

Perhaps one of the most important dietary components for digestive health is adequate dietary fiber.

Most people think of fiber as the substance that helps to keep the digestive process moving. And certain fibers do just that. But not all fibers function exactly the same way, which is why we often talk about two types of fiber – insoluble and soluble fiber – both of which contribute to digestive health, but in different ways.

Insoluble fiber – sometimes called “roughage” – isn’t broken down by the body but it absorbs water, which adds bulk. This type of fiber – found in vegetables, bran and most whole grains – helps to speed the passage of waste through your digestive system, which helps keep you regular.

Soluble fiber– found in foods like apples, oranges, oats, barley and beans – thickens and swells up when it comes in contact with liquid. So, when you eat these foods, they swell up in the watery environment of your stomach and help to fill you up. But another important feature of soluble fiber is that it functions as a prebiotic – which means that it encourages the growth of the good bacteria in your digestive tract.

Your digestive system houses tens of trillions of microorganisms – made up of thousands of species – taken together, this bacterial colony is sometimes called the “gut microbiome”.

These bacteria help your body extract nutrients from your food, they help with the production of certain vitamins, and they protect the health of the digestive tract by keeping out dangerous foreign invaders. But this mini ecosystem residing in your gut appears to do even more – there is evidence that your gut microbiome may also influence your body weight, memory and mood, too. So, it’s important to provide these bacteria with their preferred source of fuel – in the form of soluble fiber.

You can also introduce beneficial bacteria into your system directly – in the form of probiotics found in certain foods. Fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, pickles and sauerkraut, miso paste and olives are all natural sources of beneficial bacteria.

Since soluble fibers dissolve in water – and insoluble fibers trap it – it should come as no surprise that adequate fluids are important in keeping your digestive system running smoothly. But you also need water to produce saliva and digestive juices, and to transport nutrients to your cells, so taking in adequate fluids every day is vitally important to your digestive health.

Exercise and Stress Reduction Support Digestive Health

Regular exercise also supports digestive health in a couple of ways. As your muscles contract and your breath deepens during activity, the natural contractions of your intestinal muscles are stimulated, too, which helps to move food through your system. Exercise is also a well-known stress reducer, so it can help reduce digestive upsets that can occur in response to negative emotions.

The connection between your brain and your “second brain” in your digestive tract is something you’ve probably experienced in the form of a “gut reaction”. When stress or anxiety strikes, your brain sends a signal to your gut – and the next thing you know you’ve got a churning stomach.

The signals travel in the other direction, too – from gut to brain. When something in your digestive system isn’t quite right, an alert is sent to your brain, often before you even notice anything is wrong. Either way, this brain-gut connection suggests that keeping your digestive system in tip-top shape is vital to your sense of well-being.

The diet and lifestyle steps you take to keep yourself healthy are the same ones that promote digestive health, too. A diet that includes plenty of fiber from colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains, adequate hydration, and regular exercise are all key factors. And take time to
enjoy your meals – you’ll be more relaxed, and less likely to overeat, too.

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Fitness Motivation for Men of All Ages

Add weights to build muscle

Getting fit and staying fit requires hard work, discipline and being committed to achieving your personal goals. At different stages of our lives, certain fitness goals may feel like they are harder or easier to achieve than others.
However, your health and well-being should be a priority regardless of age, and we should learn to train smarter, not harder.

For instance, men in their late teens and early 20s find that building and maintaining their muscle mass comes easier to them, and they notice results pretty quickly after starting a new workout plan.
However, men in their 40s and 50s may take a little longer to see results, and many find that building muscle takes more focus and dedication than it did when they were younger. This could be due to the fact that in the latter part of their teenage years, and well into their late 20s, testosterone levels are at their peak, which makes building muscle easier for the body. Not to mention the extra energy and free time we have during the younger phases in life that make getting to the gym and staying motivated easier to accomplish.

The good news is that regardless of what stage of life you’re in, your body has the ability to adapt and improve; and even if you’re busy, you can find ways to train and get the best results from your fitness plan.

Here are my three tips to help you get the best results on your journey toward achieving your personal fitness goals.

  1. Be specific: It is important to adapt your training and your mindset to match the specific goals you wish to accomplish. If you want to build muscle, you must train in a way that places significant stress on your muscle fibers in order to stimulate growth. This means that, as your workouts start to feel easier, you must increase the amount of weight you lift. If you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, you must follow a similar approach – when it feels too easy, up your game.
  2. Set your expectations: We are all unique individuals with varying genetics, physical skills, personalities and unique levels of achievement motivation. Achievement motivation can best be described as a way of considering how a person is driven by their need to succeed, what lengths they are willing to go to, and what obstacles they are willing to overcome in order to achieve their personal fitness success. Setting goals that you know are within reach will help you stay motivated and push through those tough training days. So, in my opinion, it’s important that you set realistic expectations.
  3. Stay accountable: Consider re-evaluating your expectations and motivation as you train each week so that you can keep striving forward. This will allow you to adapt your training routine based on your results, or lack thereof. Having an accountability partner or training buddy will help keep you honest at the gym and, hopefully, provide you with a little competitive drive to perform at your best. So try to find the perfect gym partner or coach to train with you.

Remember to celebrate your ‘mini victories’ each step of your journey toward achieving your ultimate fitness goals.

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4 Simple Steps to Keep Men’s Skin Healthy During Summer Months

After shaving use a product that is alcohol-free.

Taking care of one’s skin during the summer months isn’t just for women. Keeping men’s skin healthy is as important, and we will show you what to do in four simple steps.

We know that movie stars are not the only ones who want to have perfect summer skin. Men also look in the mirror and sometimes see things they want to change, but with so many different products in the marketplace, it can be overwhelming. The reality is that you don’t need 100 products to have great skin during the summer. What you need are the basics; those might include a product that helps address facial hair, a product that doesn’t smell like flowers yet helps with wrinkles, and something to prevent excess oil.

Most issues with men’s skin revolve around facial hair. It can start with what they use to shave and how they take care of their skin after. Instead of using a bar of soap, use a product that is smoother and less abrasive. Bar soaps are tough on your skin because they can sometimes contain perfumes and harsh detergents that may strip the natural oils that are needed to keep your skin balanced. Look for products that contain invigorating ingredients like orange, citrus and grapefruit oil. After shaving, use a product that is alcohol-free. There are many great toners in the marketplace that are alcohol-free and come in a mist form for easy use. They help provide hydration without irritation after shaving.

Flowers are a great gift, but no one likes smelling like one. A sweet-smelling moisturizer can sometimes deter men from hydrating their skin properly. Look for a moisturizer with hydrating properties and additional benefits like SPF and antioxidants. These properties are going to keep your skin soft and hydrated, which means less visible fine lines and wrinkles. Antioxidants will combat free radical cell damage, and a daily SPF will provide UVA/UVB protection to prevent premature skin aging.

There are advantages to having oily skin, like aging well. Drier skin tends to show fine lines and wrinkles quicker. Even though this might be true, most men don’t necessarily like to look as shiny as the sun on a daily basis. In addition to using the right cleanser, toner and moisturizer, a weekly mask is a must. Using a facial mask once or twice a week can help with the removal of buildup and impurities. Look for ingredients like bentonite clay, which is known for its powerful ability to remove dirt and absorb excess oil. Masking on a weekly basis can help regulate your skin’s oil production. You can put a mask on after a run, the gym or while paying online bills.

During summer months, using the correct cleanser, alcohol-free toner, moisturizer with SPF and a weekly mask will help your skin look exceptionally healthy. If you don’t know how to get started, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Also, rely on a dermatologist for information on what is best for your skin. Your skin is the first thing people notice about you, and you only have one opportunity to make a first impression. So, this summer or any time throughout the year, invest in caring for your skin. It only takes minutes, and you deserve it!

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Lost Your Diet Mojo? Get Your Motivation Back!

Pack a healthy lunch.

When you’re having trouble sticking to your diet, it helps to remember what motivated you in the first place. Here’s how to get back on track.

One of the hardest parts of a weight loss journey is staying motivated. When you first start out, you’re all in – your intentions are great, you aim high, and you’re ready for the challenge. But then something happens. Maybe your weight isn’t coming off as quickly as it did when you started. Maybe your regimen is just too intense and you can’t stick to it. Maybe the “newness” and excitement of the first few weeks has worn off, and you’ve simply lost interest.

What Motivates You to Lose Weight?

When your motivation takes a nosedive, it sometimes helps to revisit your reasons for wanting to lose weight in the first place. Most people focus on the positive – “I want to have the energy to keep up with my kids” or “I want to look better in (or out of) my clothes.” Others take the opposite approach and focus on moving toward the negative – “I don’t want to avoid the mirror any more” or “I don’t want to feel so tired all the time.” Everybody is different; there’s no right or wrong reason. So take a minute to remind yourself why you embarked on this weight loss journey in the first place.

How to Get Your Diet Motivation Back

Let’s face it. Change is hard, and it can be tough to stay motivated. You’re probably trying to give up one or more bad habits – and you may not be ready to do so. Or, if you’ve suffered some inevitable setbacks, you may have lost confidence or feel like a failure. Maybe the rewards just aren’t outweighing all the sacrifices you’ve had to make, or the results aren’t happening fast enough. Here are some ways to help you get your motivation back.

  • Learn from your mistakes: Roadblocks and setbacks happen to everyone, don’t let them derail your plans. Many of the behaviors you’re trying to change have been with you for a long time. Try to figure out what causes you to fail and make a plan for how you can deal with the next slip-up.
  • Get back to keeping track: Did you stop keeping track of what you’re doing? Many people are good for the first few weeks – keeping track of what they eat, how much activity they’re getting, how they feel, changes in weight, measurements, mood, etc. And the feedback is really helpful. But after a time they figure, “I’ve got this” – when, clearly, they don’t. Have portion sizes gotten bigger? Are you eating more when you’re stressed or tired? Are you consuming too many liquid calories? It takes time to replace old habits with new ones, and keeping track is a great way to know that you’re making progress.
  • Be flexible: When you started on your weight loss journey, it’s likely you set some goals for yourself – like taking a brisk walk for an hour a day, or packing a healthy lunch three times a week. But just because you set that goal, doesn’t mean that it’s carved in stone. Sometimes we get overly ambitious, and we believe we can take on more than we actually can. If you set the bar too high, it’s better to lower it a little bit, rather than giving up altogether. What’s important is that you still make progress, even if you do it a bit more slowly.
  • Focus on behavior change, not just your weight: When you’re thinking about your ultimate goal, you may be too focused on achieving a particular weight on the scale. Instead, think about the behaviors that are going to help you reach your goal – more home-cooked meals or fewer cocktails, for instance – and give yourself credit for every time you practice this new behavior. After all, the positive changes you make in your diet and lifestyle are really what drive you toward your goal. The fact that you also get healthier and fit is just “icing on the cake.”

Reward small achievements: Many people make plans to reward themselves in some way once they’ve reached their goals, which is great – but you don’t have to wait until you’ve reached your ultimate goal in order to reward yourself. Think about ways to reward yourself when you’re a quarter of the way to your goal or halfway there. And find ways to reward mini-accomplishments too – drinking eight glasses of water, or exercising every day this week, or cooking three dinners at home. There’s no reason not to reward progress!

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Start Running: A 4-Week Beginners Guide

Sign up for a 5K

Are you ready to get running but don’t know how to get started? Use these running tips and training guide to start working toward your goals today.

Put a spring in your step and start training for a local race. Signing up for a race is a great way to get a jump start on a new fitness routine. Having a purpose and a deadline is ideal for keeping you accountable, motivated and dedicated to your overall health and fitness goals. In case you don’t know how to get started with a training program, I’ve put together a simple 4-week plan for you to use.


Before you start training, there are a few things you need to do to prepare. This way the only thing you have to think about each day is your running routine. Being prepared in advance will help you on those days when you have a busy schedule.

Flex your think muscle

The first step is not a running step, it’s a mental one. Make a mental commitment to get started. If you’ve failed to stick with a plan in the past, put it behind you–– today is a new day to get started with an “I can do it” attitude.

Find a training buddy

It’s much easier to complete a training program when you have a partner who’s going for it with you. Recruit an eager friend or family member so you can start the program together.

Find a race to set a date

Having a time-specific goal that you’re working towards is incredibly helpful. It’ll help to keep you on track with your fitness goals, and you’ll know exactly how much time you have to get yourself prepared.

If the shoe fits…

Running in poorly fitting shoes will interfere with your progress and your success. And running with sore feet and blisters can really set you back. Make sure that you have a lightweight shoe that offers you both the comfort and support that you need.

Wear the right clothing

Invest in a few tops that have wicking and quick-drying properties. And make sure you have a visor or hat to keep the sun off your face. If the weather is cold, start by wearing a few layers which you can remove and tie around your waist as you go.

Go with a full tank

Once you start running for more than an hour, it’s important to have easy access to fuel and hydration. A handheld water bottle or a running belt that holds your bottle is a great accessory to have.

Be flexible and focused

In order to progress with your running fitness, you need to find time to run. But don’t be too strict with your training and stress yourself out. Instead, have a flexible attitude, try your best to stick with your plan, move around the days and timing to suit what’s happening in your life. And, finally, listen to your body. Tuning in to how your body feels each day, and adjusting your training accordingly, is an important part of the training process.

4-Week Training Program

Run on 3 days of the week—all steady pace runs.

Cross-train (x) on 2 days of the week.

Rest on 2 days of the week.

  Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Rest 1 mi. X 1 mi. Rest 1.5 mi. X
Week 2 Rest 1.5 mi. X 2 mi. Rest 2 mi. X
Week 3 2.5 mi. Rest 2.5 mi. X 3 mi. Rest X
Week 4 3 mi. X 3.5 mi. Rest X 3.5 mi. Rest

Options for x (cross-training)

Work out 30-45 minutes doing any of the following:

Riding a bike, swimming, Pilates, yoga, boxing, dancing, low impact aerobics or any activity you enjoy.

Rest days don’t mean sitting on a couch all day. You can enjoy being generally active, but be sure that you rest from running to allow your body time to regenerate and recover.

If you’re new to being active, you can simply start by doing the three running/walking days and slowly add in cross-training when you feel ready. If you prefer to use time as your guide, go with 10 minutes as the average time it takes to run one mile.

After Week 4 of this program, running a 5k race should be an achievable goal. If you want to run a 10k race, continue working with this chart to increase your running distance each week by a half-mile. This progression is nice and slow, which will give you time to adjust and get used to running longer distances.

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