New Year, New You!

The new year is always a great time for a fresh start. We use this as a time to refresh both our mind and bodies and set good intentions for the upcoming year. Whether the goal is a promotion at work or to eat healthier, we plan on setting ourselves up for success starting January 1st. However, as determined as we are to stick to our goals sometimes they fall to the wayside as things pick up and life gets busy again. We all fall victim to this at some point; we are only human. While maintaining our new year resolutions may seem impossible at times, there are some tips to make transitioning to our newer and healthier selves seamless and easy. In order to succeed, we need to keep ourselves motivated and working towards these goals.

 

No matter how big or small your resolution may be, planning ahead is the key to your success. Planning helps to remind you of your goals and makes sure that you are able to fit everything into your schedule when life gets busy. Planning ahead can be anything from inputting calendar dates, using a hand held organizer, setting reminders or alerts on your phone, etc. These small tasks take only minutes out of your day and are such a small disruption to your daily routine. Even if these seem like a nuisance at first, you will not regret them once you are feeling confident and accomplished.

At the Workplace
Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to become more productive and active in your workspace. Use a 2016 planner to help achieve this in the new year. Write down all of your deadlines and meetings to insure that you don’t miss a beat. Use this planner to make timelines for any big projects or deadlines. You will enhance your productivity this way by setting specific times for tasks and avoiding cramming or anxiety right before something is due. Before meetings, write down potential questions for discussion in order to keep yourself more engaged and involved.

 

In the Gym
Whether your goal is to get strong and build muscle or just get to the gym at all, planning is important. Make sure to schedule your workouts into your week so you avoid skipping them at the last minute. Have you ever regretted a workout? Probably not. Have you ever regretted not working out? Probably. This mindset will help you stay motivated to go to the gym. Set multiple alarms for early morning workouts or nightly reminder alerts for late night ones on your phone. If you’re new to the gym start slowly and build up over time. Don’t overdo it right away. That is what causes injuries. Set a goal and schedule 2-3 times per week in your calendar. Plan your workout game plan for each day. If you have set intentions in mind, you are more likely to get a better workout in rather than wandering around the gym aimlessly deciding on an exercise. This keeps your time in the gym quick and efficient.

In the Kitchen
Eating healthier is a common resolution every year. However, it can be the most challenging to stick to. Foods of convenience are usually the unhealthiest ones; vending machine snacks, cookies, or candies. Meal prep is the answer to this problem. Plan for the week ahead by setting a menu and prepping recipes on Sunday afternoon. Once the food is prepared, portion them out into single servings in tupperware. Let’s be real- no one wants to cook late at night when they get home from a long day at work. Instead when you get home, your healthy meal will already be cooked and available. This leaves less to think about at the end of the day and keeps you from ordering unhealthy takeout or eating processed frozen meals. This makes sticking to your goal completely possible!

Even if your resolution for 2016 isn’t one of the few listed above, these tips are applicable to all types of resolutions and goals for the new year. Stick to these and you will feel like your new, refreshed self in no time!
 Brittany Ciavarella 

Healthy Gifts that Will Make Anyone Feel Great

If you’re anything like me, I love the thrill of buying presents for others. It’s even better when the recipients can utilize those gifts for their own well-being! I’ve concocted a list of five healthy gift ideas for those people who are in tune with their physique or for those who simply want to hop on board the train of healthy living!

1. Give the gift of yoga! There are some people who may be hesitant and there are others who want to try it out, but they do not know where to start. Shall I remind you that participating in at least 20 minutes of yoga can significantly boost your mentality and overall well-being? There are an array of kits that are available, but one of my favorites is Gaiam’s Yoga for Beginners Kit which is $30. Included in the package is a yoga mat, DVD, yoga block and a strap which increases your range of motion. The reviews are wonderful!

 

2. If you have loved ones who are caffeinated beyond belief, why not buy them a tea set which can relax their mind, body and soul. Maybe they can skip a few days at Starbuck too! Opt for the Artisanal Brewing Collection Kit from Teavana which comes with a plethora of tea flavors, a tea maker, rock sugar and reusable (and adorable) tin cans. You will not be disappointed!

 

 

tea

 

3. For those who love cooking, maybe you want to opt for a high-powered kitchen device which doesn’t take up too much room in the kitchen. I have to say- I love the NutriBullet for blending delicious, healthy smoothies or simply great sauce concoctions for meals.

 

Take the time this holiday season to give presents that can help stimulate the best possible beings among those you love. Happy shopping!

 

Anita Haridat, Ph.D

Are you a Coffee Drinker? Eliminate Bad Habits!

For most people who are trying to eat healthy and live a better lifestyle, it can sometimes feel like a tremendous task. There are rules to abide by, labels to read and who has time for all that? And sometimes there is negative research done on favorite products and they give up on healthy eating altogether. Let’s face it- we all have our preference when it comes to foods and beverages. For most of Americans, coffee is the one product that people just can’t do without. Bread can be eliminated, but if you touch their coffee, you’re going to have to face the consequences.


If you’re a coffee lover or not, I’m sure you’ve heard of all the health consequences that are faced if you consume too much. The excessive amount of caffeine can take a toll on your immune system and the substance can even cause you to have bone loss after a while. Not to mention, coffee places a ton of stress on your organs such as the stomach and kidneys. Realistically, yes, it’s not the best thing in the world for you.
It’s easy to continue on and on about these negative issues that arise with the consumption of way too much coffee, but are there healthier ways to still enjoy it? Most people will tell you that there isn’t, but with the right choices, you can definitely be on your way.
First of all, for those coffee drinkers who go overboard and drink about a pot a day, quit while you’re at it. There’s nothing wrong with a cup of coffee per day, but if you’re over-doing it, those health effects will creep up on you before you know it. Think of all the toxicity that’s entering your body. No one wants that!
For those of you who drink about a cup of day, it’s really not the end of the world. As long as you’re taking in wholesome foods such as your fruits, veggies and whole grains, you will be fine. My main concern is excessive sugar intake along with high saturated fat intake. This is why I’m so against processed and pre-packaged foods with all kinds of harsh ingredients. That cup of coffee is your vice and that’s perfectly okay.
If you really can’t give it up, I’ll give you some tips that can potentially make your experience a little healthier. First, if you’re going to consume coffee, opt for the organic brands. They are perfectly natural and there are no artificial flavorings, which is great.
Also, instead of buying coffee that is already ground or instant coffee, why not opt for the whole beans? Once they are ground and packaged, it is likely that they will become rancid and go bad. When you ground your own coffee beans, you can taste the difference in terms of flavor and freshness. Trust me; it’s the best way to go.
Another tip which I can’t stress enough is to lay off that sugar. Consuming too much sugar in your coffee puts you at risk for all types of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. If you need to add some sweetness in there, opt for raw sugar, if you can. Or get some low fat cream. There is a natural sweetness that you can’t miss. Just don’t forget to read those food labels for hidden ingredients that may take a toll on your health after a while.
Finally, when people tell you to quit coffee cold turkey, tell them it’s not necessary- unless you’re consuming too much! Opt for better choices and you’ll start living a healthier lifestyle.

 

Anita Haridat, PhD