Category : Health


Finish the Year Feeling Accomplished

Check-off Those Final Goals

image2It’s essential to acknowledge your need for feeling accomplished. When we don’t truly feel like we are achieving our goals, burnout is definitely on the horizon. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, it’s important to pullout that old list of goals. While reviewing this list, there are several things to reflect on – not just what we have not accomplished.

First of all, it’s vital to remember that there will always be items on your goals list. This is good, as it keeps us aspiring for greater things! It might be helpful to consider your goals, not as a list, but as an “inventory.” Inventory simply referring to the fact that goals will be added and goals will be removed.

Here are three simple things to consider when assessing you goal inventory:

CELEBRATE (what you accomplished)image3

Take some time to acknowledge and celebrate all the things that you accomplished so far this year – I’m sure it was no easy task! By taking a moment to celebrate your accomplishments, you are building a sense of pride and self-confidence. According Psych Central, pride and self-confidence “come from feeling dignified and important in what we do or have accomplished. It’s not about having an overwhelming sense of self-satisfaction, but having accomplished something that is valued and feeling proud about this. It may come along from a sense of purpose and meaning in our accomplishments, and offers an increase in confidence to expand the belief in our potential to do greater things.” (Read the blog “Celebrate You” for ideas on how to honor your accomplishments.)

image4TAKE STOCK (what is still obtainable)

The year is not over with yet! Take a moment to evaluate your goal inventory and determine which ones are still obtainable. Remember to be realistic and don’t set yourself up for failure with too many goals. (Read more about goal-setting in the blog “Put the spark back in your weight-loss.” Although this is specific to weight-loss, the principles can be applied to any goal.)

EVALUATE (what worked and what didn’t)


Do not beat yourself up over any unaccomplished goals! It’s crucial to simply evaluate what worked, and what didn’t. What enabled you to accomplish the goals that you did? Equally as important, what prohibited you from accomplishing other goals? Be sure to be completely honest with yourself, as this will be paramount to not repeating encountering the same obstacles every time. It could be unrealistic goal setting, too many goals, not enough time, or simply that you did not make it as important as you had wanted to. Whatever the reasons may be, simply keep these in mind while you continue to move through your goal inventory. Remind yourself that unaccomplished goals are not failures. “True failure is when you fail and don’t learn your lesson.” Every unaccomplished goal is merely an opportunity to check, adjust and try something different. Repeating the same process over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Avoid the insanity, make changes, accomplish your goals, and feel proud and self-confident!

running woman

Supplements for Exercise

bad_supplementsOften times when we hear supplements and exercise, we tend to think about “body-building” or “fat-burning” pills or shakes. Actually, supplements that increase your workouts and increase results start with your daily vitamins and nutritional supplements. For example, taking an antioxidant daily helps your body deal with metabolic stress, like exercising.

Supplements for Exercisevitamins_and_exercise

When thinking about adding nutritional supplements or vitamins to your routine, always ensure they are good, clean, reputable, and quality guaranteed, as well as, check with you physician. Supplements should be used to aid the body in improved performance, boost exercise intensity, or help muscles to recover. Supplements should never be used to push your body to extreme conditions; resulting in major health risks, increased risk to injuries, and unsustainable results. According to Jason Machowsky, Board Certified Sports Dietitian and Performance Specialist, “supplement use is the last two to three percent of performance.” Although vitamins are necessary to transform the potential energy in food to chemical energy for work, they are not direct sources of energy.

lady_with_protein_shakeHere are THREE supplements to consider adding to your daily routine to help maximize your workouts:

  1. Protein: (like a protein shake)

Helps repair muscles post-workout, and increase muscle strength and size when consumed within two hours of your exercise routine.

  1. Antioxidants:

Vitamin A (beta carotene)

Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Benefits performance by reducing skeletal muscle damage and enhancing some aspects of immune function.

  1. Calcium:

Beneficial in achieving optimal peak bone mass, resulting in lowered risk for stress fractures, and reducing bone loss in the elderly.



Artificial Sweeteners

Imagine you are at your coffee house with a great cup of freshly brewed coffee. You find yourself in front of the condiment bar faced with a wide assortment of sugars and sweeteners. Which one to choose? Artificial-sweetenerWith the best intentions, you reach for the artificial sweeteners; I mean you are watching your sugar intake right? Although you may not be spiking your blood sugar, you may be creating additional obstacles on your path to health and wellness. Let’s explore the $10.5 billion industry of artificial sweeteners and how they compare to table sugar.

Aritificial Sweeteners vs. Sugar

According to studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, “Artificial sweeteners may affect the body’s ability to gauge how many calories are being consumed.” One study found that those who drank artificially sweetened beverages had a 47% higher increase in BMI (body mass index) than those that drank regular sugar beverages.

weight_scaleAdditionally, recent studies have shown how sugar and artificial sweeteners affect the brain in very different ways. Our brain responds to sweetness with signals to consume more calories, in addition to increasing your craving for more sugar. However, when we consume artificial sweeteners, it provides a sweet taste without any calories and our brain continues to signal for more. This leads to increased cravings for more sweet foods and drinks, which adds up to additional “nutrient-less” foods – empty calories.

The University of California – San Diego conducted MRI scans on the brain activity of volunteers after sipping sugar-water and artificially sweetened-water. What they found is that sugar activates particular regions in the brain associated with “food reward,” or that feeling of satisfaction. However, artificial sweeteners did not trigger the same “reward” response in the brain. The University concluded that “sugar signals a positive feeling of reward, while artificial sweeteners may not be an effective way to manage cravings for sweets.”brain-activity-2

Here is a quick breakdown of some artificial sweeteners and their taste comparison to sugar:

Sucrose: (table sugar)

Calories: 16 per teaspoon

*Should make up no more than 5-10% of your diet

*Provides energy

*No nutritional value


Calories: 20 per teaspoon

*tastes sweeter than honey, in theory, can use less

*contains more fructose than table sugar, which is less likely to spike your blood sugar than sucrose

*more likely to reduce your metabolism and increase insulin sensitivity

*same calories as honey (per teaspoon), but with very little antioxidants

Aspartame: (Equal, Nutrasweet)

Calories: 0

*180 times sweeter than table sugar

*Approved by FDA in 1981

*is constantly being evaluated for possible links to weight gain and cancer; no evidence to support claims

Stevia: (Truvia, Pure Via)

Calories: 0

*300 times sweeter than table sugar

*the FDA has allowed companies to use an isolated chemical from stevia as food additive, calling the chemical “generally recognized as safe.”

*in large amounts, may cause low blood pressure, which would be of concern to some taking blood pressure medications

Saccharin: (Sweet ‘N Low)

Calories: 0

*300 times sweeter than table sugar

*Studies in early 1970’s revealed a link between saccharin and bladder cancer in lab rats, mandating a warning label in 1981

*Later studies showed that the link between saccharin and bladder cancer may only occur in rats, thus being removed from the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens in 2000 (effectively removing any warning labels.)

Sucralose: (Splenda)

Calories: 0

*600 times sweeter than table sugar

*Received approval by FDA in 1998

*one study was published showing its negative impact on the immune system – this study was later dismissed as follow-up studies did not find a correlation

i_can_i_will_quoteThe important thing to remember is that natural and unprocessed is always better when it comes to your foods and moderation, moderation, moderation! You must be your biggest cheerleader for your health and wellness goals, and the rest will fall into place.