April 2019 Newsletter

The 5 Do’s & Don’ts of staying motivated in your healthy routine

The 5 Do’s & Don’ts of staying motivated in your healthy routine

The hardest part about getting into a healthy and fit groove is getting started. And when you’re already trying to maintain your work-life balance, it gets even harder. As you embark upon that journey towards a healthier you, there will be times when you’re not sure what you should and should not do. Keep these 5 dos and donts in mind to stay motivated for good.

  1. Don’t Count Calories

Sure, being aware of calories is important for portion control—but you don’t need to do it to lose weight. What’s more important is the nutritional value of your foods. Plus, counting calories isn’t fun, and it might just make you anxious. Instead, focus on having protein and fiber at every meal. I’m talking leafy greens, apples, healthy fats. Enjoy eating five times a day—three meals and two snacks.

  1. Don’t Cut Back on Sleep

Skimping on sleep causes numerous problems. Short-term, it impacts your alertness and energy levels, and can even result in weight gain. Longer term, it weakens your immune system, increases anxiety, and increases risk of high blood pressure. To make sure you’re sleeping longer and better, limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and computer screen time 4 hours before bedtime. Avoid highly-spiced, heavy and sugary foods late at night. And consider treating yourself to a nice sleep mask. The reduced exposure to light can improve sleep quality and increase REM time.

  1. Do 5 Minutes of Resistance Training Daily

This doesn’t mean you only need to move five minutes per day. But, at the same time, if you’re not into working out, don’t worry about going on an hour-long run. Research shows short, intense workouts can be more effective than longer workouts, and variation is as essential as intensity for the most efficient workout. Pick one exercise per day—a different body part each day of the week! Don’t worry about overdoing it by exercising it every single day. Just be sure you’re continuing to eat well.

  1. Don’t Be Efficient

It makes sense that you would take the elevator or that you would choose the closest parking spot if it’s available. But you’re depriving yourself of effortless ways to add more movement to your day. Instead of setting aside time for an afternoon walk, try little things like parking your car at the end of the lot or walking up two flights of stairs. Make lunch dates at places within walking distance of your office. Or get off the the bus or sktytrain one stop earlier on your commute to and from work.

  1. Do Treat Yourself

Feeling deprived has sabotaged many a diet. And there’s nothing worse than forbidding yourself to eat that slice of birthday cake, and then feeling guilty when you eventually cave in and have a portion. Give yourself two guilt-free meals each week where you can splurge a little. Enjoy a scoop of ice cream for dessert, or a hot dog at the ball game!

5 Energy-Boosting Secrets

North Americans are working longer hours than ever but sleeping less.  According to a study, out of the 124,000 people surveyed, those who slept six hours or less worked over an hour and a half more on weekdays and nearly two hours more on weekends and holidays. Work was the main activity that was subbed in, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

In a world where we’re inundated with non-stop smartphones buzzing and encouraged to be plugged in at all hours of the day, it’s not surprising that many of us are running with our tank on empty. It’s time to stop accepting being tired as the new state of being. Here are five essential areas we can improve upon to boost energy, all without increasing coffee intake. 

Sleep
Try to get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. That means a mix of deep sleep, which should generally take up 10% to 25% of your sleep, REM sleep which should take up 20 to 25 percent, and light sleep, which should take up about 50% to 60% of your night. 

Some go-to tips for stepping things up when it comes to sleep: no caffeine after noon, turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed, and use blackout curtains to make sure there’s no light peeping into your room in the early morning. I’ve also found that having a white noise sound machine has really helped me drown out an ambient sounds, allowing me to sleep deeper and longer.

Move
Movement is the best medicine for lethargy and fatigue! Physical activity gets the blood pumping, and triggers a release of chemicals known as endorphins that can actually energize you. Exercise can also help boost sleep and concentration to leave you sharp throughout the day. Try to hit at least 12,000 steps a day, though 10,000 steps is a great goal, too. Outdoor walks when possible. In addition to boosting your mood and clearing your mind more than indoor workouts, outdoor workouts can also up the calorie burn since you’re facing factors like wind resistance head on.  

Unplug
Our phones are exhausting us.  Between all the alerts, screen time, and blue light, were tricking our brains into thinking it’s day when it’s night, disrupting sleep cycles by causing our brains to stop the production of melatonin, the hormone that cues our bodies for rest.  Being tuned into technology doesn’t have to come at such a steep cost. First, turn the blue light mode off on your phone after 7pm. Apps such as “Twlight” can help neutralize blue light as the sun goes down. Next, put a limit on your daily screen time, aiming to spend half the time scrolling that you do now. Lastly, take a break and step away (or, better yet, turn off) all of your tech gear for at least one hour a day. 

Food
Eat three meals and two snacks a day.  Each meal should combine at least a hand size of lean protein, unlimited veggies, up to a palmful of whole grains or hi fiber fruit, and approximately a thumb size of healthy fat.

Hydrate
Many of us are in a constant state of dehydration, and this can lead to exhaustion.  Drink an electrolyte beverage when you get to the gym. Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride are lost through sweat, so replenishing them after working out in the gym or on the track makes sense. Then, try to drink at least 3 liters of fluids throughout the day to help flush out toxins. 

Healthy Transformations

Chopped Mediterranean Chickpea Power Salad

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 19 oz can of chickpeasdrained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 3 ribs celery finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup radish finely chopped
  • 1/4 of a red onion minced

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Cook bulgur according to package directions and allow to cool.
  2. Shake together all vinaigrette ingredients.
  3. For Meal Prep Containers: Toss together all salad ingredients in the vinaigrette and divide amongst 4 2-cup capacity storage containers.
  4. To Store In Jars: Divide vinaigrette evenly amongst four 1-pint/2-cup glass jars.
  5. Add the chickpeas to the bottom of each jar, and top with bulgur, celery, bell pepper, feta cheese, radish and red onion.
  6. To serve, shake the salad out into a large bowl and stir up to distribute the vinaigrette.