Posts By : Crystal Dwyer Hansen

Focus on Becoming a Happier, Healthier You in 2018

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of adults in the USA are obese and experience weight-related conditions such as cardiac disease, diabetes, and cancer increasing annually. Obesity is such a big problem in the US that it costs the country in excess of $147 billion in medical costs every year. Luckily it is a new year which means countless of people around the USA are embarking on health and fitness regimes as part of their 2018 New Year’s resolutions.

One of the most fatal flaws of New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting in general, is that we tend to bite off more than we can chew. By not setting realistic goals we end up disappointed and demotivated and generally forget about our good intentions by the time January ends. Realistic goals that are easily achievable within a year will eventually become second-nature and will leave you feeling happier, healthier and possibly even shed some unwanted weight by the time the festive season comes around again.

Make more time for you

Most of people tend to give a little too much of themselves to others and not enough to themselves. It is very easy to stretch yourself too thin and overextend yourself. While it may have been acceptable last year, you need to make more time for yourself in 2018. You can do so by doing a solo workout or enjoying a relaxing day at the spa. By making yourself a priority you will be able to focus on your health and well-being without a struggle which, in turn, will make you feeling happier and healthier throughout the year. Take the gym class you always wanted to attend, follow an individual training plan or buy the new weight set that you have had your eye on for a while. It is important to realize that you are important and deserving of a good life.

Stop doing the workouts that you hate

Make 2018 your year and focus on what makes you happy. You are not forced to run to lose weight nor do you have to eat lettuce daily to become healthier. Find alternatives that will better suit your lifestyle and will make you happier in the long-run.  Use the new year to find something that you do love that will have the same kind of healthy effects on your body and mind as the activities that you really do not enjoy.

Add 1 low-impact workout to your exercise routine

While running and HIIT are great for your health it is important to give your knees a break as well. You don’t have to stop engaging in these workouts altogether but aim to supplement your high-impact training with some low-impact strengthening exercises such as Pilates or yoga.  Mixing things up will benefit your weight-loss endeavors greatly and will also prevent you from becoming bored with your workouts. Boredom is one of the biggest reasons people give up on their good intentions to stick to a healthy lifestyle.

While it may seem empowering to aim high with your New Year’s resolutions it is imperative to keep them realistic. You did not pick up all the excess weight in a day nor can you expect to lose it overnight. Whatever your health goals are for 2018, make sure they are doable and don’t give up at the first sign of a roadblock. Your perseverance will pay off and 2018 will become your best year yet.

Written by our contributing writer: Jane Sandwood


New Awareness for 2018!

Goals that stick. Weight loss that stays off. A healthier you. Sometimes we fall short of our best intentions and resolutions. Unfortunately, there is not a magic pill, one food you can consume, or one exercise machine, that will create optimal health. Your daily routines are what are most important if you are striving to get healthy and stay healthy. To create a routine that serves your best health and to stay with it requires a higher level of awareness in all aspects of your life.

Here are 7 tips for a healthier you:

  1. Gratitude Awareness. Gratitude has been shown to lower stress, which prevents many other physical and mental consequences. Instead of focusing on how you wish you looked or what your body can and cannot do, express and feel gratitude for all you can do and all that you already have. We all have things about ourselves that we would like to improve.
  2. Movement Awareness.  Make a valiant effort to move more. Try to get in 30 minutes of exercise daily and find new ways to move your body. Drop down in a plank when you have a minute. Take the stairs. Walk to the market. Add those up and you’ll have a day of good exercise without taking a lot of time away from other things.
  3. Food Quality Awareness. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Forget the fad diets and focus on the highest quality foods possible. High quality means nutrient dense for the calories that you eat.  include a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. When you grocery shop, shop on the outside aisles. The inner aisles usually have most of the processed food, junk food, and other food your body would be happier without.
  4. Relationship Awareness. Building a community of people who can help you through life’s ups and downs is a vital step towards happiness and good health. Create and build relationships that provide encouragement and accountability to both parties. Find a new walking or workout partner. Attend a cooking class in your area for healthy cooking and meet other like-minded people with the same goals and lifestyle.
  5. Goal Awareness. General goals such as “exercise more” are not effective. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timely. “I will walk 20 minutes over my lunch break on Tuesdays and Thursdays” is a SMART goal. Why? Because you have made a definitive goal that is measurable and doable. What SMART goals will you make?
  6. Health Care Awareness  Many medical conditions can be stopped or slowed down if detected in the early stages by getting preventative screenings and yearly doctor checkups! Ask your physician what screenings you should be getting depending on your age group.
  7. Self Talk Awareness. Health goals don’t always go as planned. If you are overweight, chances are, you didn’t gain it overnight – so don’t expect to lose it that fast. When you run into obstacles, don’t degrade yourself with negative self-talk.  Focus on all of the positive changes you have made, no matter how small they seem. Treat yourself with kindness, like you would a good friend.

I hope these tips help you live longer, live happier, and reach the goals you desire.

Have a great Skinny Life day!

New Year, New You

Are you excited for a new year and new you?

New Years resolutions don’t have to be about losing weight.|

You can also incorporate other healthy resolutions into your 2018 plans.  Researchers have found that people who deliberately balance all areas of their lives also have better health!

Of course, if losing weight is important to your health, you should incorporate weight loss goals into your 2018 plan of action. But make sure you round out your physical fitness goals with some life-balancing commitments that will make you feel more wholeness and happiness.

Here is a list of healthy resolutions for you to vow to do this year.

  • Prioritize sleep. If you have trouble sleeping seven to eight hours, look into non-drug therapies. There are fabulous mind-rebooting technologies, like NuCalm that can help train your brain for better sleep.
  • Reduce your sugar intake. Cut back on sodas and high sugar fruit juices. Start reading labels and if you see the ingredient “high fructcose corn syrup” try to find an alternative product. Eat whole fruits and fruit smoothies with the entire fruit to get the benefit of the sugar balancing fibers.
  • Go on a trip. Planning a vacation increases happiness and who doesn’t want to adventure around a new city, sandy white beach, or explore a new destination? Exploring the world also can help you appreciate what you have at home!
  • Read more. Give your brain some mental exercise and escape into a good book. It’s another great way to explore the world without leaving home.
  • Give up soda and diet soda. Yes, your diet soda may have “zero calories” however, the ingredients in diet sodas can hurt your health and they don’t aid in losing weight. Opt for sparkling water with flavored stevia. Try root beer flavored stevia!
  • Practice gratitude. Find things throughout your day that you are grateful for. When you appreciate the things you have and the things around you, it will improve your mental well-being.
  • Volunteer and donate your time to people in need. Not only does it feel good to be kind and help others, it also benefits receiver by putting your own problems into perspective.
  • Forgive someone. Holding onto anger and resentment is poison to your soul. Life’s too short to live in the past. Move on. Everyone is doing the best they can from their own state of consciousness.
  • Wear sunscreen. Your skin will thank you as you age.
  • Love yourself. If there is one person who is guaranteed to be in your life from your date of birth to the end . . . it is you. Learn to forgive, love, and be yourself.

I hope these resolutions will help you in 2018!

To your healthiest year yet!

Have a Skinny Life year!


Study Suggests Home Cooking is a Main Ingredient in Healthier Diet

People who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.

“When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study.

The findings also suggest that those who frequently cooked at home – six-to-seven nights a week – also consumed fewer calories on the occasions when they ate out.

The study is to be presented at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., on November 17, and appear online in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

Wolfson and co-author Sara N. Bleich, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, analyzed data from the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from more than 9,000 participants aged 20 and older.  The survey asked detailed questions about what participants ate during a 24-hour period as well as other eating behaviors such as fast food in the past 30 days. The researchers found that 8 percent of adults cooked dinner once or less a week and this group consumed, on an average day, 2,301 total calories, 84 grams of fat and 135 grams of sugar. Forty-eight percent of participants cooked dinner six to seven times a week and they consumed 2,164 calories, 81 grams of fat and 119 grams of sugar on an average day. The researchers also found that those who cook at home more frequently rely less on frozen foods and are less likely to choose fast foods on the occasions when they eat out.

The research found blacks are more likely to live in households where cooking occurs less frequently than whites; and individuals who work more than 35 hours a week outside the home cook less, as well.

“Obesity is an escalating public health problem that contributes to other serious health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease,” says Wolfson. “The evidence shows people who cook at home eat a more healthy diet. Moving forward, it’s important to educate the public about the benefits of cooking at home, identify strategies that encourage and enable more cooking at home, and help everyone, regardless of how much they cook, make healthier choices when eating out.”

Wolfson says there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to getting people to cook more. “Time and financial constraints are important barriers to healthy cooking and frequent cooking may not be feasible for everyone. But people who cook infrequently may benefit from cooking classes, menu preparation coaching or even lessons in how to navigate the grocery store or read calorie counts on menus in restaurants”

“Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?” was written by Julia A. Wolfson and Sara N. Bleich.  Funding for the study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (grant number 1K01HL096409).

Full article can be found here: ARTICLE



It can be a challenge to stay physically fit during the holidays. Between family parties, work parties, and last minute shopping, getting your workouts in may get delayed or completely crossed off your list.

Make the most of this holiday season with these tips and strategies that will make fitness a part of the celebration.

Here some fun tips to help you stay physically active:

  • Set a goal: Would you like to walk a certain number of steps daily? Improve your pull-up count, or learn a new yoga pose? You have plenty of time during the holidays to master a new goal or new technique! 

  • Is the weather outside keeping you indoors? If the weather outside is more frightful than delightful, find a fun workout on TV or YouTube and get moving your body! 

  • Is it snowing outside? Keep the snow blower locked up in the garage and shovel your snow. It’s a great way to get your heart pumping and builds major muscle groups. 

  • Be a kid again! If you enjoy going ice skating, playing in the snow, skiing, snowball fights, or sledding, put on your mittens and head outside for a workout that will feel like fun! 

  • Have a long list for Santa and heading to the mall? Lace up your shoes and power walk between errands or take a few extra laps through the mall before starting your shopping. 

  • Going to a holiday party with a dance floor? Grab a partner and get out there and dance! 

  • Ask Santa for a new workout outfit or new fitness equipment if you aren’t a member of a gym! It may just give you an extra boost to workout during the holiday season. 

  • Most important: Move. Snuggling under warm fuzzy blankets with a cup of hot cocoa sounds relaxing, and that is fine, as long as you’re creating balance with your fitness.

I hope these fun tips help you to stay motivated and fit during the holidays!

Remember: Santa is watching who is naughty and nice. Make the nice (healthy) list.

To your holiday cheer and physical fitness . . .


holiday health

Fitness Failures: Where Your Weight Loss is Going Wrong

We’re all trying to be healthier, even if we don’t know exactly what that means or how to get there. ‘Healthy’ looks different on every person, but we all fall into the same slumps and make the same mistakes. When you start living a healthier lifestyle, there are some common pitfalls that can get in your way. Understanding these mistakes and working through them can be the key to seeing long-lasting results.

Realistic Goals

Making moves in the right direction, no matter the size is always important, but setting specific goals can give you a sense of accomplishment that keeps you motivated to make even bigger changes. Set goals that are specific and realistic, so you can reach them regularly and know when you’ve made progress. If you make mistakes on the way to losing weight, you’ll be better able to see what’s getting in the way of your success if you have a clear goal in mind

Pace Yourself

Making changes in your life can take time, and taking things too fast isn’t healthy or sustainable. Your body can only lose weight so quickly, and you run the risk of hurting yourself if you push things too fast. Enthusiasm is a key part of weight loss, and if you burn out early on, you’ll only shock your system and make it harder to start again.

Finding Support

You can’t rely on other people to make changes for you, but you can lean on them for support or motivation when things get tough. Having a gym buddy, or a personal trainer can keep you on track. Someone to be accountable to, even a pet you take for a walk every day, can distract you from the pressure to do everything right all the time.

The Plateau

When your body is going through changes, it’s because it’s adjusting to a new way of living. At some points, it will get used to the changes you’ve made and you might see your results slow or even stop for a while. This plateau can often lead people to believe that they’re doing something wrong, and either give up, or start doing things at an unhealthy pace to keep seeing results. If you want to work through the plateau, pick one thing and work harder at it at a time. Walk a mile longer, or commit to one more salad instead of pasta. Taking on too much at once won’t help you, especially when you’re already making progress.

The Right Reasons

If you’re working towards a goal you’ve set, it’s critical that the goal you have set is for a reason you can feel good about pursuing. It’s easy to get caught up in doing things for superficial reasons, but pay attention to the ‘non-scale victories’ you see like having more energy, or clearer skin. Losing weight just to be skinny sometimes isn’t enough to keep you committed, so reminding yourself of the success you’re seeing, no matter how it shows can keep you engaged and help you keep your good habits up.

Taking steps to lose weight and live a healthier life is an admirable and wonderful thing to do, and making sure that you do it in a healthy and happy way is the best way to see results from your hard work. Avoiding or preparing for these common mistakes is an important part of safe and sustainable weight loss journey.

Written by our contributing writer: Jane Sandwood


Tips for Healthy and Happy Holiday Eating

Is it possible to enjoy the traditional holiday meals and still eat healthy? Most of us have embedded warm and wonderful memories associated with the delicious tastes and smells of the holidays.  It can be challenging when you’re bombarded with creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, and homemade rolls to stay disciplined and deliberately healthy in making your eating choices.

Denying yourself with your favorite holiday foods isn’t necessarily the best answer, but neither is finding yourself in a food coma, feeling bloated and tired. You can still enjoy yourself but the important thing is to stay mindful and appreciate the food you’re eating.  When you do decide to splurge make sure it’s worth every calorie and it’s something you’re really looking forward to. Often when we’re in the holiday social mode, we eat something that tastes so-so just because it’s there. If we really think about the choice, it may not be worth the excess calories.

Try to load up on healthy foods and fill your plate with healthiest choices. Fill your plate with fresh cooked vegetables, lean turkey, and small servings of the things you want to taste. Have a small serving of pumpkin pie and other high calorie, sugar laden dishes.

Here are some quick holiday dinner tips:

  • Watch your portion sizes. Fill your plate with fruits and veggies.
  • Don’t try to diet during the holidays. Instead, focus on maintaining your current weight. Now is not the best time to start a diet.
  • Eat something  healthy and filling before the holiday meal (apple, orange, something high in fiber).
  • Be mindful how many times you reload your plate. Go for extra salad and green beans if you’re still hungry.
  • Eat slowly and chew your food well.
  • Drink sparkling water with flavored stevia for a sparkling, sweet beverage.
  • Focus more on the company you are enjoying than you do on the food you could be consuming (if you weren’t being mindful).
  • Focus on some funny jokes, stories, or memories you could share.
  • Stick to your exercise routine. If the gym is closed, take a walk with family and friends!

Remember, your main focus should be on family and friends. Not on how much food you can consume! Most of all the holidays should be a time for you to feel thankful and appreciative for every good thing in your life.  Reflecting on those things will create a feast of happiness for you to enjoy!

Have a healthy, Skinny Life, Holiday Season!




Quick Workouts to do at Home During the Holidays

Need to burn some extra calories and don’t want to leave the house?

These quick workouts will help you burn calories and stay fit! No gym required!

Do as many reps of each exercise as you can in one minute, moving from one to the next without stopping. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat the circuit a total of three or four times.

1. Jumping Jacks
2. Squat Jumps
3. Burpees: Squat and place your hands on the floor. Jump back into a plank position and do a pushup. Reverse the motion to return to standing, jumping off of the ground to finish eat repetition.
4. Side-to-Side Hops: Keeping your knees slightly bent and feet together, imagine you’re jumping back and forth over a line on the floor.

Write down on your calendar how many you were doing at the beginning of the month, then every Sunday night, track your progress on your calendar. Let me know how many reps you were able to do after 30 days!


Curried Pumpkin Soup – Healthy and DELICIOUS!

When the cold water settles upon us, soup seems to comfort the soul and warm the heart.

This is one of our favorite recipes and you’ll love it too. Not only is it delicious, it’s healthy too because pumpkin is a good source of potassium and vitamin A.

Step 1:

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in ginger; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pears and cashews; cook, stirring often, until pears have softened, about 2 minutes.

Step 2:

Sprinkle in curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and chili powder; cook until fragrant and spices are beginning to toast, about 1 minute. Whisk in pumpkin and 3 cups broth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 30 minutes.

Step 3:

Working in batches, transfer soup to a high-speed blender. Remove center piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape; secure lid on blender and place a clean towel over opening in lid. Process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Return soup to Dutch oven over medium-low heat; stir in 2 cups broth and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. (Stir in up to 1/2 cup additional broth, if needed, to reach desired consistency.) If desired, garnish servings with pepper and coconut yogurt.

pumpkin soup

Original Recipe and Photo found here:

A November Favorite! Spicy Pumpkin Hummus Recipe

Looking for a spicy, fun, appetizer for one of your November get-togethers?

We found this delicious recipe, tried it and LOVED it, and just had to share it with you!
Give it a try and tell us what YOU think!

Step 1:

Place garlic and 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over low heat. Cook until garlic begins to sizzle, about 30 seconds; transfer to a food processor.

Step 2:

Add chickpeas, pumpkin, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, harissa, honey, and 2 tablespoons oil to food processor. Process until smooth, about 10 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Add additional harissa for more heat, if desired.)

Step 3:

Transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to develop. To serve, drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with pepitas and paprika, if desired.



Original Recipe and Image Found Here: