Stretching: Focus on Flexibility

Stretching can help improve flexibility, and increase the range of motion in your joints. Better flexibility will improve your performance of physical activities and decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and enabling your muscles to work more effectively.

Use these tips to keep stretching safe:

Don’t consider stretching a warm-up. You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. So before stretching, warm up with light walking, jogging, or biking at low intensity for 5-10 minutes. Or better yet, stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warmed up.

Strive for symmetry. Everyone’s genetics for flexibility are a bit different, so rather than striving for that gymnast or ballet dancer degree of motion, focus on having equal flexibility side to side (especially if you have a history of a previous injury). Don’t bounce. Stretch in a smooth movement, without bouncing. Bouncing as you stretch can cause injury to your muscle.

Hold your stretch. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds; in problem areas, you may need to hold for around 60 seconds. Breathe normally as you stretch.

Don’t aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far.

Bring movement into your stretching. Gentle movement can help you be more flexible in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi or yoga, for instance, are a great way to stretch.

Keep up with it. Stretching can be time-consuming. But you can achieve the most benefits by stretching regularly, at least two to three times a week. Finally, don’t think that because you stretch you can’t get injured. Stretching, for instance, won’t prevent an overuse injury. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the most appropriate way to stretch if you have any health concerns.

(Article courtesy of the Mayo Clinic)


Stop Procrastinating for a Healthier You

Every day we have choices we make, whether conscious or unconscious.

Sometimes the most impactful choices we make, for better or worse, are the ones in which we choose to do nothing at all.

Many health problems we deal with in our lives, whether they be from unhealthy diets, lack of exercise, start with simple procrastination,

Most of us put off the hard things or things we don’t want to do until tomorrow, then tomorrow never comes because we grow accustomed to the idea that things should be easier than they are.

Today, any progress is made by yesterday’s efforts – no matter how big or small. The way we make continuous, positive, healthy changes, comes down to creating new habits and practicing self-discipline and taking action in the moment, even when it feels challenging.

We can choose to live a healthy lifestyle or we can choose to live a sedentary one.  When we wait or make excuses to get up and move, we essentially making a choice to embrace sedentary habits that are truly destructive to our health.

Your body and mind both need to be exercised to gain strength, flexibility, and balance. They both need to be worked consistently to grow, become healthier, and stronger over time. But the secret to creating a healthier lifestyle is to stop procrastinating and have a “do now” mindset.

You can accomplish many great things today, that don’t need to wait until tomorrow.  Getting started requires doing the smallest things.  Jump up and do 25 squats. Run up and down the stairs three times.  When you take positive action in these small ways you are plantings those seeds of discipline, exercise, and healthy eating that will continue to take root and blossom. What you plant today will harvest tomorrow.

Changing habits and learning to do things today that you typically put off is going to be challenging When you’re struggling to make progress, try not to overthink things..  That’s why Nike’s “Just do it” slogan is truly brilliant.  Making a deliberate decision to love yourself enough to make your health a priority can empower you in a way that builds strength and conviction you’ve never had before.

It’s not realistic to think you can change your entire lifestyle and eating habits all at once.  But if you take small but significant steps – one at a time, every day suddenly you realize you’ve become a new version of you. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and decide on one thing you need to improve on. Do you have a soda habit? Tell yourself you can have one a week, then over time, cut that to every other week, then monthly, and so on.  You will find that eventually, you don’t even crave it anymore.  Do you need to move your body more? Start with moderate or light exercise. Maybe you will walk around the block this week, then next week you will walk 2 blocks. Every small positive change will add up to significant changes.

I challenge you each day to take action in the moment before you talk yourself out of it. Over time you’ll be looking in the mirror at a whole new you!



The Importance of Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Heart Health

Being mindful throughout the day and consuming the right diet are vital pillars to having a healthy, beautiful body, but ‘movement is life’ and without it, it is impossible to achieve a true state of health. Numerous studies have long shown that regular exercise is vital to keep Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease at bay, but two new studies indicate that cardiorespiratory fitness in particular, is key if we wish to lower our risk of coronary heart disease. Read on to find out more.

What is Cardiorespiratory Fitness?

Cardiorespiratory fitness is the level at which one’s heart, lungs, and muscles work together during exercise for an extended period of time. Rather than being a fixed state, it is one that can be worked upon; indeed, by building this type of fitness, the lungs and heart use oxygen more optimally, which in turn enables one to last longer during workouts.

What do the New Findings Say?

Two new studies, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in November, 2017, highlight the importance of measuring and boosting aerobic fitness, both in adults and in children.

In the first study, researchers found that moderate-to-high fitness levels counteracted the effects of having a high Triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio (a high ratio indicates an increased risk of heart attack and stroke). For the study, researchers followed the progress of over 40,000 men for over 16 years, finding that those who were fit, had a lower protection from death owing to coronary heart disease, even when they had poor Triglyceride/HDL ratios.

The second study measured fitness in six- to ten-year-olds, and later in 8- to 12-year-olds, finding that cardiovascular disease actually has its origins in childhood. The scientists noted that the early detection of risk factors for heart disease in children could contribute to the development of effective prevention programs and changes in public health policy.They also stressed the importance of exercise to improve fitness levels.

Important Lifestyle Changes Include Exercises

Researchers stressed the importance of avoiding harmful habits like smoking, of following a healthy diet comprising plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, and of exercising regularly. Specifically, they stated that seven to 14 miles per week of moderate exercise such as running or brisk walking, can lower the risk posed by poor cholesterol levels.

The Importance of Injury Prevention

Those who are taking up exercise after a long time, or who have not generally been active before, need to be aware of the importance of stretching as a form of injury prevention. Before running or cycling, for instance, hip flexor exercises should be completed, since these muscles help us do everything from twist to reach, bend forward, stand, walk, etc. Without proper stretching, it is possible to feel stiffness in the hips, a general feeling of unwellness and even aching joints. who have a health condition, meanwhile, should obtain approval from their doctor before embarking on a new fitness routine.

There is no time like today to get active; if research has shown anything, it is that ‘movement is life’; to promote strength, flexibility, happiness and youth, we should ensure that fitness is part and parcel of our daily routine, backing up our workouts with sound nutrition and a positive mindset for success.

There are many powerful tools available to help you stop smoking.

Guest Post by Jane Sandwood


A Positive View Of Life Is Good for Your Health

Your outlook on your life – having a sense of optimism and purpose can make you healthier.

Do you focus on the good things in your life, upcoming events, and things that make you smile? Do you have a sense of purpose? If so, you may already have done a lot of positive things for your health.

Here are some quick tips on having a positive outlook:

Focus on what is important. Life experiences teach us what is important and what we shouldn’t focus on. As we get older, we become better at deciding what issues that demand our attention from those that may just be trivial or unimportant. The next time you worry about something you can’t control, it may help to view the situation through the perspective of your entire life’s experience.

Keep a sense of purpose. View your life and every day that you wake up as an opportunity to live your best you! You can learn a new hobby, start a new exercise routine, learn to cook, or begin volunteering. Do things that cause you to learn and expand your horizons.

Practice mindfulness. Start focusing on the moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings without judging yourself. When you learn to accept that you aren’t perfect (none of us are), and accept that there will be difficult days and easy days, your mind and your body will both benefit from the unnecessary stress.

Love yourself. If there is one person you will be with your entire life, it’s you. You are a continuous work in progress and you need to be easy on yourself. In the same breath, you need to push yourself to learn more, do more, and live more. Everything is about balance.

What are some of the things you do to maintain a healthy outlook on life? Please comment below.




Low Carb Chipotle Chicken Salad

We have a DELICIOUS dinner idea for you! Chiplote Chicken Salad! Low carb and packed with delicious flavor!

If you’re cutting back on carbs, this recipe will prove you don’t have to give up flavor when cutting out carbohydrates.

The ingredient that really makes this chicken salad a winner is the Chipotle in Adobo Sauce. it adds a smoky flavor to the salad that we just love. It also gives the chicken salad a little bit of a spicy kick but not too much.

Servings: 8
Author: Susanne Eagan
4 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 small onion diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 7 oz can chipotles chili in adobo sauce
1 teaspoons House Seasoning blend
Get Ingredients Powered by Chicory

Cook chicken breasts then shred using two forks, set aside in a medium sized bowl

In a blender or food processor mix mayonnaise, sour cream, and 1/2 to a whole can of the chipotle peppers (the amount of peppers depends on your personal taste and how spicy you want it to be) and blend until smooth.

Add the chipotle mixture to the shredded chicken and onion. Mix until well combined.

Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.

healthy recipe ideas

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



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