Dr. Phil Shares: How to Avoid Eating All That Leftover Halloween Candy

How to Avoid Eating All That Leftover Halloween Candy

Let’s be honest: We all say Halloween candy is for kids, but it’s hard not to reach for a piece — or seven — once it’s in your house. While we can’t come to your house and physically prevent you from housing the whole bag at once, we can offer you some tried-and-true tips to keep your candy binge in check.

7 Ways to Stop Yourself From Eating Halloween Candy

1. Hold Off On Buying Candy

Buy candy for trick-or-treaters as close to Halloween night as you can. “Having treats in the house is a huge temptation and can cost you extra money if you have to go buy more,” says Ann Marion Willis, a R.D. in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

2. Buy Less Candy, Give Out More

Willis also advises that you should “Buy less than you think you will need. This will help you avoid having leftovers hanging around the house. It’s better for you to run out of treats than to be left eating them yourself.” If you find that your Halloween candy bowl is still full as the night goes on, start handing out more candy to each costumed kiddo that rings your doorbell. They’ll be thrilled, and you’ll be saved.

3. Buy the Stuff You Like the Least

One simple way to prevent yourself from eating leftover candy is to buy stuff you don’t like, whether that’s candy corn, atomic fireballs, or Good & Plenty. “Buying what you don’t like will make you less likely to indulge and reduce the urge you have to sample treats as you hand them out on Halloween,” says Willis.

It’s not that I want to be cruel to others by feeding them waxy candy corn. Some kids love it. I just know I won’t eat a single piece.

4. Eat Well

Sugar cravings can strike when you’re hungry and haven’t consumed enough fuel to keep your blood sugar in balance. Eat protein and fiber-rich meals in the days before and after Halloween, advises Willis. It’ll make you feel less tempted to create a dinner out of mini candy bars.

5. Savor a Single Treat

Mindless eating is a good way to eat way more than you mean to — whether that’s nuts, chips, or candy. Rather than sitting in from of your TV munching your way through a bag of chocolate, try mindful eating.

Select the one piece of candy that you most want to eat. Tune out all other distractions and focus on savoring the experience of eating it. Chew slowly, let it melt in your mouth, enjoy the the sweetness, and notice how it makes you feel. Cutting that piece of candy into smaller pieces will make the experience last longer, and may even make you feel like you’re eating more. Make your piece of candy go even further by chopping it into tiny pieces and sprinkling the bits on top of plain Greek yogurt.

6. Keep Your Mouth Minty Fresh

I’ve had adult braces for months and my candy consumption — especially the chewy, sticky stuff like caramels and gummy bears — has drastically decreased. Installing orthodontic hardware just to avoid eating candy is a pretty drastic solution, but brushing your teeth can be a similar deterrent. When you get the urge to unwrap handfuls of Halloween loot, give your pearly whites a quick brushing and see if that curbs it.

7. Just Chuck It

This will likely put you in the running for Worst Parent Ever, but Wills says, “Ask your kids to choose their favorite treats and then donate or throw away the rest. The longer treats stay in the house uneaten, the more likely you are to give in to temptation.”

Some dentists now offer to buy candy off kids in exchange for cash. This way they get a little spending money and you’ll get that calorie-filled temptation out of your house and mind.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies

The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies
 

Everywhere you turn, there are bowls of Halloween candy that are full of spooky ingredients like sugar, fat, chocolate, soy lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleate, sodium metabisulfate, resinous glaze, and carnauba wax — yum!

OK, let’s be honest — a list of sketchy ingredients isn’t going to stop anyone from hoovering a handful of [insert favorite Halloween candy here]. We’re not here to rain on your candy parade; you can still enjoy the scary good sweet stuff — if you eat them in moderation and if you know which ones you really should avoid (or eat less of).

Use this guide to tally up your sugary treats and don’t let the “fun-size” options fool you: They may be smaller, but the calories, fat, and sugar content still pack a significant punch.

For reference, when it comes to added sugars, the American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) for women and kids aged 2 to 18, and no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Per day.

 

The Worst Chocolate Halloween Candies

Whether they’re stuffed with caramel, nuts or coating delicious crispy wafers, chocolate candies are hard to resist. Chocolate taps into our deep-seated love for both sweets and fats. Sadly, it’s not the good kind of fat since most chocolate candies are made with partially hydrogenated fat or palm oil. Beware of these top 10 offenders:

1. Whoppers (1 tube): calories 32, fat 1.2 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm oil, whey (milk), cocoa; malted milk (barley malt; wheat flour; milk; salt; sodium bicarbonate), resinous glaze, sorbitan tristearate, lecithin, salt, natural & artificial flavors, calcium carbonate, tapioca dextrin.

2. Milky Way (1 mini-bar): calories 38, fat 1.6 g, sugar 1 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, chocolate, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, skim milk, less than 2 percent milkfat, cocoa powder processed w/alkali, malted barley, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor.

3. M&Ms (1 fun-size pack): calories 67, fat 2.3 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate, sugar, cornstarch, less than 1 percent: corn syrup, dextrin, coloring (includes blue 1 lake, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, red 40 lake, blue 2 lake, yellow 6 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 2), gum acacia.

4. Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme (1 mini bar): calories 67, fat 4 g, sugar 1.6 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, vegetable oil, nonfat milk, corn syrup solids, enriched wheat flour, lactose, 2 percent or less of cocoa, whey high fructose corn syrup, chocolate, lecithin, baking soda, salt, natural flavor and artificial flavor, tocopherols, PGPR (polyglycerol polyricinoleate, a compound that reduces viscosity).

5. Kit Kat (1 fun size bar): calories 70, fat 3.7 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, wheat flour, nonfat milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, palm kernel oil, lactose, milk fat, contains 2 percent or less of: soy lecithin, PGPR, yeast, vanillin, artificial flavor, salt, sodium bicarbonate.

6. Snickers (1 fun size bar): calories 80, fat 4 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate, peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, milkfat, skim milk, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor.

7. Twix (1 cookie): calories 80, fat 4 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (cocoa butter, chocolate, skim milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, PGPR, artificial flavors), sugar, enriched wheat flour, palm oil, corn syrup, skim milk, dextrose, less than 2 percent of food starch-modified, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, soy lecithin, artificial flavor.

8. Almond Joy (1 snack size): calories 80, fat 4.5 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: corn syrup, milk chocolate, coconut, sugar, almonds, 2 percent or less of vegetable oil, cocoa, whey, salt, hydrolyzed milk protein, lecithin, sodium metabisulfite.

9. Butterfingers (1 fun-size bar): calories 85, fat 3.5 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Corn syrup, sugar, ground roasted peanuts, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, cocoa, molasses, and less than 1 percent of dairy product solids, confectioner’s corn flakes, nonfat milk, salt, soy lecithin, soybean oil, cornstarch, natural flavors, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone, a preservative) and citric acid (to preserve freshness), annatto color.

10. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (1 cup): calories 67, fat 2.3 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ.

 

The Worst Straight Sugar Halloween Candies

Straight sugar candies are mostly made with sugar, sugar, and more sugar, and dressed up with artificial flavors and dyes. These types of candy provide a quick sugar rush since they’re uninhibited by fat or protein, which can slow down their digestion.

11. Smarties (1 roll): calories 25, sugar 1.5 tsp
Ingredients: Dextrose, citric acid, calcium stearate, natural and artificial flavor, color (red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, blue 2 lake).

12. WarHeads Extreme Sour Hard Candy (4 pieces): calories 50, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Corn syrup sugar, microencapsulated malic acid (malic acid, hydrogenated palm oil), citric acid, gum acacia, deproteinized soybean oil, ascorbic acid, artificial flavors, carnauba wax, corn starch, blue 1, red 40, yellow 5.

13. Sour Patch Kids (1 treat-size bag): calories 55, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, invert sugar, corn syrup, modified cornstarch, tartaric acid, citric acid, natural and artificial flavoring, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1.

14. Airheads (1 bar): calories 60, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, modified food starch (corn), partially hydrogenated soybean oil, less than 2 percent of: citric acid, water, artificial flavors, artificial colors, red 40, blue 1, yellow 6, yellow 5.

15. Apple Pops (1 pop): calories 60, sugar 2.5 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, skim milk, heavy cream, malic acid, whey, salt, artificial flavors, sodium caseinate, soy lecithin, artificial color (includes FD&C blue 1, FD&C red 40), turmeric coloring.

16. Skittles (1 small pack): calories 67, sugar 3 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, less than 2 percent of: citric acid, tapioca dextrin, modified corn starch, natural & artificial flavors, colors (red 40 lake, titanium dioxide, red 40, yellow 5 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6 lake, yellow 6, blue 2 lake, blue 1, sodium citrate, carnauba wax.

17. Candy corn (19 pieces): calories 140, sugar 7 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze (shellac), salt, dextrose, gelatin, sesame oil, artificial flavor, honey, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 3.

The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: Does Yoga Work for Shedding the Pounds?

Does Yoga Work for Weight Loss?

While there are some styles of yoga that can help one burn more than 500 calories per hour — such as Vinyasa (see below) — overall, yoga doesn’t top the list of calorie-torching weight loss workouts one can do to see relatively quick results. But research shows that practicing yoga may work for weight loss when combined with a healthy diet. And the more often you practice yoga, the greater the results you’re likely to see on the scale.

In a massive study of more than 15,000 adults, those who had been practicing yoga for at least four years clocked in at a lower weight than those who went without a regular session. But you don’t have to have do yoga for years to see results. A small study from South Korean researchers found obese women who practiced yoga for 16 weeks saw significant improvements in body weight, body fat percentage, BMI, waist circumference, and visceral fat compared to those who didn’t exercise. In addition, one study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that a short-term yoga program could reduce weight in overweight and obese men.

So how can yoga help you lose weight? Read on.

What Type of Yoga is Best for Weight Loss?

yoga for weight loss

“If you’re looking to burn the most calories, you want to find a class that incorporates a lot of strength positions and sun salutations, particularly chaturanga dandasanas [essentially, yoga push-ups],” says yoga instructor Seth Kaufmann, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Iron Lion Fitness Studio in Florida. “In order to burn calories efficiently, you need to be moving and using the most amount of mass and muscles.”

You’ve probably heard about people sweating like crazy in heated yoga classes like Bikram, which has to translate to a ton of weight lost — right? Kaufmann says, “In theory a hot yoga class would burn more calories than a non-heated room because anytime the external temperature is extreme (hot or cold), your body has to work harder to maintain your core temperature homeostasis, thus burning calories.”

However, a small study from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse found that yoga students in a non-heated yoga class showed the same increase in core temperature and heart rate than in a hot yoga class. Researchers found that the students’ perceived effort was higher than what their vital signs revealed, leading scientists to wonder whether students didn’t end up pushing themselves as hard during some poses to compensate for the added heat and humidity in the room.

Another study from the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found 30 minutes of just sun salutations is invigorating enough to qualify as cardiorespiratory training, and helps a 130-pound person burn an average of 230 calories. These studies point to the idea that your final caloric burn is tied more closely to how hard you’re working than how hot the room is.

Calculating Your Caloric Burn

As mentioned previously, the style of yoga you perform can play a significant role in the amount of calories you burn. But other factors such as your weight, gender, body composition, and effort level are also important. What follows are averages based on the Health Status calories burned calculator.

A 165-pound woman will burn the resulting number of calories during an hour of yoga:

  • Hatha Yoga: 207 calories
  • Ashtanga/Power Yoga: 386 calories
  • Bikram Yoga: 524 calories
  • Vinyasa: 653 calories

A 190-pound man will burn the resulting number of calories during an hour of yoga:

  • Hatha Yoga: 239 calories
  • Ashtanga/Power Yoga: 445 calories
  • Bikram Yoga: 604 calories
  • Vinyasa: 752 calories

How Slow Yoga Helps Burn Fat

OK, so should you do the most intense yoga possible if you want to lose weight? Not so fast. Even super mellow methods have their weight-loss perks. A small study at the University of California, San Diego, found that overweight women who practiced restorative yoga, which focuses less on increased heart rate and more on relaxation and stress reduction, lost around three pounds and about five inches of subcutaneous fat after six months.

This may surprise you, but it makes sense to the experts. “If you’re super stressed, your body may actually respond better to yoga than [high intensity] cardio,” says Pete McCall, C.S.C.S., personal trainer and adjunct faculty of exercise science at San Diego Mesa College.

Physical stress (as triggered by high intensity exercise) and psychological stress (caused by work, family, etc.) both activate the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the “fight or flight” response. When you go into “fight or flight” mode, your body increases its production of the hormone cortisol. In the short term, that’s a good thing; cortisol is a performance enhancer, increasing the concentration of glucose (your body’s primary fuel source) in the blood. But if levels never return to normal (e.g., because of chronic stress), cortisol can also promote weight gain. That’s why doing high intensity workouts might hamper weight loss efforts if you’re already (and chronically) “super stressed”—you’re layering stress on top of stress, and cortisol on top of cortisol.

To counteract that, you need to activate your parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system. “By going to a gentle yoga class during a stressful time, you’ll be surprised that you’ll come out of it calmer — and actually lose weight,” says

Kaufmann agrees, “There are many physiological benefits to yoga, including stabilizing our nervous systems, improving respiratory efficiency, stomach function, hormone production, and, of course, increased strength and energy levels. These benefits in turn lower stress, improve sleep, and help the body recover and run more efficiently.”

Plus, more than half of people who do yoga report that it helps them sleep better, according to a survey from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Scoring less than five hours a night is directly related to more abdominal fat and an increase in body mass index, according to a study performed over five years on adults younger than 40 and published in the journal SLEEP. It’s hard to deny the importance of sleep — not just for your quality of life but also for weight loss.

How the Psychological Benefits of Yoga Can Aid Weight Loss

yoga for weight loss

“The greatest benefit of yoga for weight loss is learning how to love and care for yourself more, which helps you make better lifestyle decisions when it comes to caring for your body,” says Kaufmann.

And the research agrees: A study in Qualitative Health Research found that practicing yoga helped people develop physical self-empowerment, and better awareness of the self and the present moment. The women who participated in the 12-week yoga treatment program for binge eating (in the study mentioned above) reported an overall reduction in the quantity of food consumed, decreased eating speed, and an improvement in food choices.

“The core essence of yoga is to teach us to live fully present in the moment, accepting what is, and letting go of anything that doesn’t serve us,” says Kaufmann. “When we can live our lives with more mindfulness we will make better decisions when it comes to what we do for our health.”

To most Westerners, yoga is more often associated with trendy fitness studios. But the practice originally began as a philosophy in India roughly 5,000 years ago, and incorporates so much more than merely the postures and poses it’s famous for today.

The true practice of yoga encompasses eight limbs: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). It’s the combination of all eight of those limbs (not just the one that stretches the limbs) that can lead to weight loss for men and women.

“There are many studies that suggest that stress and the hyper-palatable food supply filled with refined carbohydrates create an internal biochemistry that activates the amygdala of the brain and make us less thoughtful choice-makers,” explains Annie B. Kay, RDN, E-RYT 500 registered yoga instructor, and lead nutritionist at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. “Yoga helps reduce stress as well as provides movement, which helps change that internal biochemistry to one that supports a more balanced brain activation (the cerebral cortex or executive function), which makes us better choice makers.

“From my experience, the primary way yoga helps with weight management is through stress management, and with its philosophy of compassion and cultivation of contentment,” continues Kay. “With yoga, there is an entire philosophical guide for living in balance with yourself and with others that can be helpful from an emotional standpoint. It provides a framework through which to look at life issues.”

Yoga is a path toward a deep self-discovery, and the practice not only helps unearth the difference between physical and emotional hunger for those who practice, but it also stretches the mind and body in new ways to open students up for more active lifestyles. Because yoga operates on so many levels (physical, mental, emotional), it has a way of making following an overall healthful lifestyle more easily attainable.

If you’d like to give yoga a try, check out the 5-Day Yoga Body Challenge to burn calories while you stretch, or try 3 Week Yoga Retreat to learn the fundamentals of yoga.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @Forward Health

Thank you to Beachbody.

Dr. Phil Shares: How Cooking at Home Can Help You Lose Weight

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking for weight loss

But that convenience can come with a high-caloric cost. One simple — and usually less expensive —way to block those extra calories heading for your waistline? Cook at home.

Science backs it up, too: A 2014 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that people who eat more meals at home consume 200 fewer calories at meals than those who eat out on the regular. And when these home cooks do eat out, they pick healthier options.

Find why firing up the stove can help you lose weight, and tips to make cooking at home easy and doable.

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking to lose weight

 Why Cooking at Home Can Help You Lose Weight

It’s not good enough to just eat at home, though — you have to make those meals, too. And remember: Just because you cooked something at home doesn’t automatically make it healthy. (Sorry, but those “homemade” double-chocolate fudge brownies don’t count.)

But if you stick with healthy recipes, then you’re definitely giving yourself the home advantage. “The bottom line is that eating at home is healthier for you because it gives you so much more control,” says Meg Hagar, M.S., R.D., and author of Little Book of Kitchen Wonders. You know exactly how much salt or fat or sugar is going into your dish; you also have the power to swap ingredients in (and out) to fit your nutritional and caloric goals.

And eating healthy at home doesn’t have to cost more: A study from researchers at the University of Washington found that home-cooked dinners were lower in fat, calories, and sugar — but not higher grocery bills. The study also found that people who eat at home are more likely to meet U.S. government guidelines for a healthy diet.

The control you get with cooking at home extends to other facets of your health as well: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six Americans get sick from food-borne illness each year. Of course, food poisoning can happen anywhere, but when you’re preparing meals at home, you know exactly how food is being handled — and how clean the kitchen is.

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking to lose weight

Master the Art of Meal Prep

 One of the biggest reasons people eat out is for convenience. But that convenience comes at a hefty price: According to data from the USDA, Americans spend almost $3,000 a year eating out.

We get it: It’s easier to just pick something from a menu versus shopping, preparing, cooking, and cleaning, especially if you’re crazy busy. But if you arm yourself with some smart shopping tips and time-saving meal plans, you can lose pounds and gain some cold, hard cash.

“I’m a huge believer in batch cooking, or preparing multiple servings of a meal all at once,” says Hagar. “The best part is that I only have to cook a few times a week and I get to eat my own homemade meals all week!”

Sounds easy, but the reality of it can be overwhelming. Start slow, like cooking three dinners at home one week. Then, the following week, add two home-cooked breakfasts. Keep building on each subsequent week until it becomes a habit to cook at home, instead of eating out.

Pro tip: If you need a kick in the pants to get your healthy habits started, a fitness and nutrition program like 21 Day Fix can get you going.

How to Eat Healthy at Home

Restaurants use everything from color to music to influence what you eat — and how much you spend — at their establishments. Follow their lead by creating an environment at home that supports healthy eating and habits:

  • Put your meal on a plate before you sit down to eat; no eating out of bags or boxes of food.
  • Keep healthy foods like fruits and nuts easily accessible and tuck the less-healthy temptations in the pantry or cupboards.
  • Put away all electronics — be mindful of what you’re eating and how much. “At home, you can turn off distractions while eating, allowing you to really tune into our hunger signals and avoid overeating, ” says Hagar.
  • Use portion-control containers to make sure you’re eating a balanced meal. “Load up on veggies and lean proteins plus a small amount of complex carbohydrates to make your plate look more full of food,” she advises.

How to Eat Healthy While Eating Out

While we’re definitely fans of eating at home, that doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit who never enjoys a meal out. With a few tips and tricks in your back pocket, you can stay on track and eat out with friends and family with zero guilt:

  • Scope out the menu online beforehand to see which meals will fit your goals. Chain restaurants are required to list calorie counts and other nutritional info, making the search for the right dish a lot easier.
  • Read the fine print on the menu: Stay away from foods that are described as “crispy,” “pan-fried,” “buttered,” or “stuffed,” and stick with healthier preparations like “broiled,” “baked,” or “steamed.”
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions, or for dressings and sauces on the side — or not at all.

And don’t beat yourself up if you eat out more than you plan to. Just roll with the punches and know that making the switch to healthy cooking and eating, like with any new habit, takes time to master.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Dr. Phil Shares: Are You Fit to Drive?

Have you ever considered how fitness training could be beneficial to your skills as a driver? According to a new study, simple exercises

woman drivingcan enhance your ability to drive, keep you safe on the road, and extend the years that you are able to drive.

The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and the MIT AgeLab found some fascinating results in their research on the connection between daily exercise and driving. Drivers in the study reported benefiting from some of the most challenging physical aspects of driving:

  • Greater ease in turning their heads to see blind spots when changing lanes or backing up;
  • More rotation in their torsos to scan the driving environment when making right hand turns;
  • Increased ability to get into their cars more rapidly.

The participants ranged in age from 60-74. They followed an exercise program for 15-20 minutes a day over eight-to 10 weeks which focused on four areas:

If you include these types of exercises in your training program, you will surely have new confidence next time you need to parallel park!

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks For Sharing Joan Pagano

Dr. Phil Shares: 12 Food Storage Tips to Make Your Groceries Last Longer

 

12-Grocery-Storage-Tips-to-Make-Food-Last-Longer

We’ve all been there before — tossing fuzzy raspberries, wilted parsley, and mushy apples into the trash bin with a heavy heart thanks to subpar food storage.

It’s all too easy to forget about your groceries until they start stinking up your kitchen, but here’s the good news: knowing how to store them properly isn’t rocket science.

Not only does proper food storage prevent unnecessary waste (and sudden bouts of frustration), but it also lessens your grocery bill and minimizes the risk of a contracting a food-borne illness.

12 Food Storage Tips to Help Your Food Last Longer

These 12 simple food storage tips will help ensure your food stays fresh as long as possible.

Store dairy products at the back of the fridge
Take your jug of two-percent out of the fridge door. That location might make it easy to grab quickly for your bowl of cereal, but it might make it spoil faster because of the temperature. Ani Aratounians, R.D., says it’s crucial to keep your dairy products at the back of the fridge where it’s coldest.

Put meat on the bottom shelf
Nothing ruins a container of broccoli faster than a soak in pork juice. “Meats should be on the bottom shelf so juices don’t drip on other foods,” Aratounians says. If you’re out of precious lower shelf space, put the meat in a tray with a raised lip to catch any liquid that might try to escape. She also advises keeping cold cuts separate from other raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.

Treat herbs like flowers
Fresh herbs, asparagus, and green onions can all be stored upright in a tall glass of fresh water. Just trim the stems, cover them with a bit of plastic wrap, and place them in the fridge.

Know where to store fruits and vegetables
Not all fruits and veggies need to live in the fridge. Avocados, citrus, bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes can all be stored at room temperature or in a cool pantry. But don’t store onions and potatoes together. Because of ethylene gas that some kinds of produce release, they cause each other to spoil faster.

Wrap your greens in paper towels
To prevent slimy residue from accumulating in your bag of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy greens, stick paper towels inside to soak up excess moisture. You can do the same with leftover salad greens in food storage containers.

Use plastic wrap on bananas
Cover the crown of a bunch of bananas in plastic wrap to slow the release of ethylene gas. This will prevent them from ripening too quickly if you’re not going to use the whole bunch right away. But even if you find yourself with some bananas that are past their prime, that doesn’t mean you have to toss them into the trash. There are a number of tasty recipes that call for overripe bananas.

Wrap celery in foil
Wrapping the entire bunch of celery in foil helps it stay fresh and crunchy for up to four weeks in your crisper drawer. The foil helps to keep just the right amount of moisture in, and the ethylene gas out.

Wash produce as you go
If washing fruits and veggies is the first thing you do when you come home from the grocery store, you might want to switch up your routine. Unless you plan on freezing your food, Aratounians advises only washing things you’re ready to eat right away or soon after. That lessens the chance of mold growing on damp produce. And if you’re going to chop up your food in advance to save time, just wait to wash it right before you eat it.

Soak berries in vinegar
If you don’t eat all the berri quick soak in a three-parts water, one-part vinegar solution will kill bacteria and prevent molding. Rinse the berries thoroughly then pat dry once you’re done.

Roast veggies
Nutritionist Jodi Geigle recommends roasting vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower to extend their shelf life. “It’s also a great meal prep tip to have cooked veggies on hand that you can quickly throw in as an addition to any meal,” Geigle says.

Store grains in air-tight containers
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money when grocery shopping, but you want to store it correctly so the extra food doesn’t go to waste. “If you buy grains in bulk, be sure to transfer them to an airtight container to maintain freshness, as well as keep bugs away,” says Aratounians.

Go a step further and label your containers with the purchase dates so you know how long you’ve had your grains.

Double-check your fridge’s temperature
Finally, after you’ve wrapped and placed all your perishables in the refrigerator, be sure that it’s set at the right temperature. “Make sure your fridge thermometer is working correctly to prevent spoilage and reduce the risk of food-borne illness,” says Geigle. The temperature should be set to at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit (five degrees Celsius), or a few degrees lower.

Food Storage Tips to Help Your Groceries Last Longer

Dr. Phil Shares: 4 Exercises for Knee Pain That Will Strengthen and Protect

4-Exercises-for-Knee-Pain

Even the fittest of us can experience knee pain during activity and exercise. If you’re feeling discouraged about getting back into shape because of knee pain, you’re not alone: The Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly half of all North Americans will suffer from knee arthritis at some point. That includes two out of three obese Americans.

But don’t let a little discomfort push you off track. Sometimes targeting the area, gently and safely, with some basic exercises for knee pain is the best recourse—as long as you check with a doctor first.

 

Why Do Your Knees Hurt to Begin With?

Many factors can contribute to knee pain—bad posture, certain shoes, and excess pressure on the joints are all possible culprits. But there are also a number of diseases and conditions of which knee pain may be a symptom. According to chiropractor Josh Axe, D.N.M., these include—but are not limited to—chronic knee pain including rheumatic arthritis, Lyme disease, lupus, and even psoriasis. Because of this, we recommend seeing a doctor or physical therapist instead of guessing at the cause of your pain—and potentially exacerbating it.

 

How to Exercise When You Have Knee Pain

Once you’ve met with a doctor and have been cleared to exercise, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following three strategies that may help alleviate and prevent future knee pain.

  1. Strengthen the muscles around your aching joints to help brace them for the load.
  2. Maintain strength in your bones. One of the reasons why you’re in pain may be because the joints aren’t used to being exercised.
  3. Lose excess body weight, removing one potential source of stress from your joints with consistent exercise that’s safe for your knees.

Assuming you get the go-ahead from your doctor, here are some basic exercises for knee pain you can most likely do without causing discomfort or further injury.

 

Stretches for Knee Pain

Stretching, warming up and cooling down are particularly important when training through discomfort like knee pain. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has an insightful guide to stretching out the knees before a workout, including:

Basic Exercises for Knee Pain That Will Protect and Stabilize standing quad stretchSTANDING QUAD STRETCH
You’ve probably done this a zillion times without knowing the benefits: Stand up, bend your right knee so that your heel nears your right butt cheek, and grab the top of your foot. Keep knees close together, press your hip forward, and stretch the front of your hip and knee for 30-60 seconds before you switch sides.

Basic Exercises for Knee Pain That Will Protect and Stabilize hamstring stretchHAMSTRING STRETCH
Stand with your right foot extended about a foot in front of you, heel flexed upward. Hinge at the hip and bend your torso toward the right thigh. Square your hips and straighten the right leg, flexing the toes up. Aim for 30-60 seconds of stretching around the back of the knee. (These will get you ready for a more strength-oriented knee rehabilitation program too.)

 

Leg-Strengthening Exercises for Knee Pain

You might find that the mere act of daily stretching goes a long way toward soothing your achy knees. Weekly strength training will also help you to go an extra mile toward stabilizing the muscles and joints around those precious patellas.

Basic Exercises for Knee Pain That Will Protect and Stabilize half squatHALF SQUAT
For those experiencing knee pain, the half squat—going halfway down and holding the squat for five seconds—can be the best place to start.

• Stand with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart

• Keeping your back flat and core braced, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body to a comfortable depth.

• Pause for five seconds, and then push yourself back up to the starting position. Do 10-15 reps.

If it gets too easy, hold five- to 10-pound dumbbells. Three sets of 10-15 perfect squats ought to do the trick.

 


Basic Exercises for Knee Pain That Will Protect and Stabilize leg pressRESISTANCE BAND LEG PRESS
You’ll need a strong resistance band for these.

• Lie down and hook your right foot in the band like a stirrup, with the left foot extended on the floor.

• Slowly bring your right knee to your chest, fighting the resistance of the band and keeping your pelvis square, until it’s bent at 90 degrees.

• After a beat, slowly push out to full leg extension. Do 10-15 reps and switch sides for three sets.

Performing these gentle moves and soothing stretches under a doctor’s care may potentially help rehab any minor knee problems without surgery, while allowing you all the benefits of healthy exercise and continued weight loss. Once your health practitioner gives the OK, don’t quit some of your favorite workouts because they can actually help stabilize and protect your knee from pain.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

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Dr. Phil Shares:5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Shed The Pounds

 

"Home made loaf of white bread, sliced.Similar:"

Losing weight can seem like an uphill slog at times. It doesn’t help that food companies use targeted marketing and packaging to make unhealthy foods enticing to us from the minute we start eating solids.

As an adult trying to lead a healthy (-ish) lifestyle, you may be able to resist the flashy cereal boxes and giant bags of chips. And probably know your way around basic nutrition facts.

But what other foods, besides the obvious culprits, should take a back seat? Read on to learn what you should keep out of your pantry and refrigerator if you want to lose weight.

A Calorie Is a Calorie (or Is It?)

First things first: Cutting back on calories can result in weight loss, says Katy MacQueen, a senior bariatric dietitian who specializes in weight management. But that doesn’t mean all calories are the same.

“100 calories of potato chips and 100 calories of almonds have very different effects once they hit your digestive system,” Alissa Rumsey, RD, says. The almonds have protein, fat, and fiber — all of which help keep you fuller longer than a handful of potato chips.

It’s best to choose nutrient-dense foods — meaning they have plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthy nutrients for their calories. A smart, healthy way to cut calories — and shed some pounds — is to cool it on foods that have little nutritional value associated with them, such as added sugars, fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, and alcohol, MacQueen says. And it all starts with your grocery cart.

5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight

Shop Smart to Lose Weight

For most people, the food in your refrigerator and pantry dictates what you’ll be eating for most of your meals. While a little treat (hi, Nutella!) here and there isn’t going to completely sabotage your weight-loss efforts, having a shelf full of unhealthy foods can.

“Seeing junk food is a cue to your brain to eat it,” MacQueen says. Her suggestion? Keep less healthy foods out of the house (or hidden) and putting healthy foods at the front of the pantry or fridge so they’re the first foods you see.

Rumsey says this is especially important if certain foods are “triggers” for you, meaning you tend to lose control and overeat them. Moral of the story: When it comes to junk food, practice the adage “out of sight, out of mind.”

5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight

Tips to keep healthy food top of mind:

  • Keep a stocked fruit bowl on your counter.
  • Wash and prep some fruits and veggies so they are ready to eat.
  • Prep snack boxes that you can grab and go.
  • Keep refrigerated produce front and center.
  • If you live with someone who doesn’t eat that healthy — or has a year’s supply of Girl Scout cookies on hand — ask if it’s okay to store your healthy food at eye level and the junk food out of immediate sight.

5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight

Foods to Keep Out of Your Kitchen

1. Refined Grains

This category includes: White bread, white rice, many baked goods

For many people, white pasta, rice, cookies, cereal, and bagels make the world go ’round. But refined grains have been processed in a way that removes fiber and important nutrients, and taking the fiber out means you’ll feel less full, making it easier to overeat.

Since there’s no fiber, refined grains are digested much more quickly than unrefined ones. This can result in a spike in your blood sugar, which can then cause the body to over-secrete the hormone insulin. “A surge of insulin can then result in low blood sugar, which makes you hungry again,” she says. “Insulin is a storage hormone, so when a lot is released, we end up storing most of those calories as fat [if not used for energy],” Rumsey adds.

Whole grains, on the other hand, aren’t stripped of fiber and key nutrients. They’re digested much more slowly, which leads to more stable blood sugar levels and less “I WANT MORE PASTA!”

The good news: Plenty of refined grain favorites have healthier unrefined versions. Try swaps like brown rice for white rice, and nutty, whole-grain wheat bread for white bread.

2. Foods and Drinks With Added Sugar

This category includes: Pasta sauce, fruit juice, yogurt, condiments

Sugar can sneak into your daily diet in some of the most unlikely foods. Manufacturers often add sugar (in the form of cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, and more) to foods and drinks like yogurt, fruit juice, sports drinks, pasta sauce, granola, and condiments.

Research suggest that a diet high in excess sugar can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Don’t overlook drinks, either: Sugary drinks — whether soda or happy hour margaritas — also play a role in obesity and obesity-related health issues.

Even the natural sugars in fruit may lead to weight gain if you go overboard — depending on how you consume it. Fruit juice no longer contains the filling fiber and pulp of the whole fruit.

But if you’re eating whole, fresh fruit, then you’re also consuming water and fiber, which helps slow your body’s absorption of the sugar. “The benefit to having natural sugars versus added sugars is that with natural sugars, you get other beneficial nutrients at the same time,” MacQueen says. Take fruit, for instance: One large apple contains 23 grams of natural sugar, but you’re also eating fiber, as well as vitamins A and C.

Milk is another good example: One cup of 2% milk has 13 grams of natural sugar. But each cup also has almost 10 grams of protein, and important vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, D, and calcium and potassium.

3. Processed Foods

This category includes: Processed meats, packaged snacks, canned foods packed in syrup

“Some foods undergo a low level of processing that doesn’t affect their nutrition, like freezing fruits and vegetables. Other foods are more highly processed and have sugar, salt and/or fat added,” Rumsey says.

Ultra processed foods” can include sweeteners, emulsifiers, preservatives, colors, and flavors, many of which are artificial. The unnecessary salt, sugar, fat, and artificial additives in this type of processed foods can promote weight gain. Even worse? “Highly processed foods appeal to our taste buds and make it hard to eat just one serving,” adds Rumsey.

5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight

4. Greasy and Fried Foods

This category includes: Burgers, fried chicken, pizza — namely fried foods made outside of your own kitchen where the oils are lower quality and potentially less healthy

Research suggests that eating fatty fried foods on a regular basis could raise your risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But while we do suggest ditching greasy fried food, don’t forget that healthy fat is an essential part of a balanced diet. Just aim to get most of your fat from unsaturated sources, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna, Rumsey says.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, it’s a good idea to avoid many low-fat or nonfat foods. Manufacturers often add more sugar or refined grains to reduced-fat foods to make them tastier.

5. Alcohol

This category includes: Beer, wine, liquor

“People often overlook the role that caloric beverages — especially alcohol — have on weight, as many dieters solely focus on food choices,” MacQueen says. While moderate alcohol intake doesn’t appear to be linked to obesity, “heavy drinking and binge drinking” are associated with increased body weight.

We’re not saying you can’t ever have a glass of wine or a celebratory mojito, but a drink — or more — each night can make it harder to lose weight, both because of the extra calories and because getting boozy can lower your inhibitions.

After a few drinks, you may lose the drive to stay on the healthy eating track and eat more (and maybe less healthfully) than you intended.

But Don’t Eliminate Entire Food Groups

Now that we just spent the bulk of this article telling you why you should keep bagels, cookies, packaged snacks, and booze out of your home, it’s time to play devil’s advocate. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to eliminate an entire food group.

Here’s why: Completely restricting certain foods or entire food groups can increase temptation or lead you to miss out on important minerals and vitamins.

“Each type of food, or food group, provides certain nutrients that the body needs to carry out specific functions,” MacQueen says. “If you eliminate an entire type of food, you jeopardize your health in various ways depending on the nutrient you avoid.”

In addition, an overly restrictive diet — let’s say super low carb, for instance — can leave you feeling deprived. “Making something off limits increases the chance you want to eat it, which can lead to restriction followed by a binge,” Rumsey adds.

Focusing on healthy habits that are sustainable and realistic, on the other hand, will likely be more successful over the long haul.

The Bottom Line

You don’t necessarily need a long, detailed list of specific foods to ban from your kitchen. By prioritizing healthy, whole foods when you’re stocking your fridge and pantry, the foods that you should avoid will naturally disappear from your shelves.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

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Flourish Your Flora

When the bacteria and yeasts in the gut, also sometimes referred to as microflora, micro biome or simply “flora”, are imbalanced, it can not only promote gassiness and bloating, it fails to provide the front line defence needed to prevent disease.  A healthy microflora will mean a healthy person! 70-80% of our immune system is in our gastrointestinal tract and the microbes in there play a big part in many aspects of our health.

What affects Flora in a Bad Way?

  • Antibiotic use
  • NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Aspirin, Celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac and indomethacin)
  • Birth control pills
  • Chronic stress
  • Sleep deprivation—even a single night of significant sleep deprivation can affect intestinal permeability and other aspects of digestion and gut function.
  • Overeating – even overeating in a single meal can affect the micro biome
  • Physical inactivity or excess physical activity
  • Hypothyroidism, (T3 is required for intestinal motility, less T3 leads to constipation)
  • Hyperthyroidism  (Too much T3 leads to diarrhea and loose stools).
  • HPA axis dysfunction -changes in cortisol secretion can lead to flora changes through a number of different mechanisms.
  • Excess alcohol intake (increases intestinal permeability)
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Environmental toxins such as mold, biotoxins, and heavy metals.

Good Flora Provides

Protective, Structural and Metabolic Function.

Protection.

  • Pathogen displacement
  • Nutrient competition
  • Receptor competition
  • Antimicrobial compounds

Structure.

  • Barrier fortification
  • Induction of IgA
  • Apical tightening of tight junctions
  • Immune system development

Metabolic function.

  • Aid in absorption of energy and minerals from food
  • Production of some vitamins
  • Help reduce inflammation. 

Flourish Your Flora

Fermented foods provide naturally occurring probiotics to the human through diet and have a long history of safe use. It is important to feed the gut micro biome with the right microbes every day in order to maintain beneificial protection, structure and function.

Yogurt: Fermented milk product. Slightly tart, varying thickness and creaminess. Yogurt is abundant in calcium, zinc, B vitamins, and probiotics; it is a good source of protein; and it may be supplemented with vitamin D and additional probiotics associated with positive health outcomes. Traditional yogurt contains: Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii (bulgaricus), and Streptococcus thermophiles. For best nutrition, opt for yogurt with no added sugar or flavours and one that states “live and active cultures”.

Recent studies have shown that yogurt consumption is associated with a healthier diet and metabolic profile in adults. In children, frequent yogurt consumption is associated with a lower fasting insulin level, reduced insulin resistance and increased insulin sensitivity.

Kefir: Fermented milk. Taste is tangy and smooth. Much like a liquid yogurt with about three times the amount of probiotics per serving. Kefir typically contains the following beneficial bacteria: Lactococcus lactis (lactis, cremoris, diacetylactis), Leuconostoc mesenteroides (cremoris), Lactobacillus kefyr (thermophilic)and Saccaromyces unisporus.

Kefir is also a reasonable source of phosphorus and protein, vitamin B12, B1, and Vitamin K. It is an excellent source of biotin, a B Vitamin that aids the body’s assimilation of other B Vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and B12. Kefir can be calming with its calcium, magnesium, and tryptophan.

Also good news for people lacking lactase, the enzyme required to break down lactose (sugar in milk products). Not only does fermentation reduce lactose content in kefir from 5% to 3.6%, the beta-galactosidase in kefir additionally breakdown lactose. For this reason, Kefir is good to help re-build tolerance to lactose, especially those with Candidiasis. Generally, it is suggested to start with two shooter cups of kefir in the morning (about 4oz) on an empty stomach. Every other day increase the amount by an additional shooter cup (2 oz) until you are able to drink a full 8oz (236ml).

Kombucha: Fermented black tea. Look for ones that are raw and do not have sugar listed on the list of ingredients. Gluten free, dairy free and vegan. Craze started 2,000 years ago in the Orient. It’s tart, fizzes and is somewhat acidic: a bit of an acquired taste. Kombucha received some bad rap based on the home preparations fermented in lead-glazed ceramic containers (what were they thinking!). Any fermentation process is best done in clean glass, in conditions away from the risk of possible contaminants. Follow clean fermentation practice if brewing at home. Kombucha tea can contain up to 1.5% alcohol, vinegar (acetic acid), probiotics, B vitamins, and caffeine. If left unrefrigerated, the alcohol will continue to build. If pasteurized, the probiotic content will be killed. Probiotics are grown from a “scoby” which is made of Acetobacter xylinoides, Acetobacter ketogenum a Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Saccharomycodes apiculatus, Zygosaccharomyes species, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Schizosaccharomyces pombe: Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, Gluconacetobacter kombuchae, and Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis. In animal studies, kombucha has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels.

Note: Too much kombucha can be toxic to those with weakened immune systems. A moderate serving is about 4oz a day, more increase risk for metabolic acidosis.

Fermented Vegetables: Pickles, Beets, Kimchi, Sauerkraut…pretty much any vegetable can be fermented. Traditionally, the vegetable is soaked in brine (salt) that kills off harmful bacteria. In the fermentation stage, the naturally remaining Lactobacillus bacteria convert sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them their unique, tangy flavor. Think of combining prebiotics in your fermented vegetable recipes for added goodness.

More at: https://chriskresser.com/become-a-fermentation-ninja-without-leaving-your-pajamas/ 

  • Feed the flora! Just like fish in an aquarium, your need to feed your flora. You need prebiotics to feed the colonies of probotics (Lactic Acid producing Bacteria). Prebiotics are non-digestible plant-derived carbohydrates. Not only is it important to supplement with fermented foods that provide beneficial bacteria, it is important to also provide the food that stimulates probiotic growth and further fermentation in the colon. Diets complete with prebiotics and probiotics have shown to reduce reactive oxygen species and markers of inflammation. Prebiotics include fructans like inulin or fructo-oligosaccharides which in English means chicory root powder or as it is labeled, FOS (Fermenting Oxygen Species). Inulin is also naturally found in asparagus, bananas, burdock root, dandelion root, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks and onions.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown ND. 

Dr. Phil Shares: 5 Non-Scale Victories That Prove You’re Making Progress

 

5-Non-Scale-Victories-That-Prove-You're-Making-Progress-header

You’ve been trying to lose weight for weeks. You’re dieting. Working out. Making mindful choices about everything you do, from the amount of sugar you stir in your coffee to skipping that extra glass of wine at dinner. But then you step on the scale and your heart sinks: The number is the same as last week. Or maybe you’ve lost a couple of pounds, but you feel like you’ve worked so much harder than that. What gives?

When you’re on your weight-loss journey, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game. But there are plenty of non-scale victories indicating that your hard work is, well, working. So instead of focusing on that flashing number on the scale, look for signs that you’re moving in the right direction, even if the scale’s not budging.

“Chances are, positive changes are happening that you’re not noticing if you’re obsessively checking the scale,” says Devin Alexander, a weight loss coach, cookbook author, and chef for NBC’s The Biggest Loser. “There are other ways to see results.”

So how do you tell if you’re achieving those non-scale victories? When it comes to improving your health, the following five signs reveal that you might be doing better than you think.

Non-Scale Victory #1: You Feel Stronger

That endless set of stairs in the subway station that you dread climbing? Well, after a couple of weeks following the workout and eating plans, you’re walking up them with a lot less huffing and puffing. “If you feel less winded after exercise or have more energy as you go about your day, that means your heart is getting stronger,” says Alexander.

It’s also a sign that it may be time to up your fitness game even further. “Your body is amazing and has the ability to maximize performance and minimize energy expenditure,” says Dr. Ralph Esposito, a men’s health expert and functional medicine practitioner at Armonk Integrative Medicine in Armonk, New York.

The more you perform an exercise, workout, or fitness program, the more efficient your muscles and nervous system become at doing it. That’s why you might notice your progress start to stall if you always do the same workouts — and why you need to regularly switch things up to continue to adapt.

Non-Scale Victory #2: Your Clothes Fit Differently

That bodycon dress isn’t as, uh, revealing as it once was. Or maybe there’s a little more room in the waist of your jeans, or you notice they’re getting a bit saggy in the seat. If your clothes are looser or fit differently than they did a few weeks ago, that’s a non-scale victory.

If you want more concrete evidence that your efforts to lose weight are working, break out the measuring tape. Each week, measure your natural waistline (just above your navel). If you see that number shrinking, then you’re losing fat mass. “Sometimes instead of losing weight, we lose inches,” says Esposito. And those lost inches might not be reflected on the scale as dramatically as they are on the tape. The reason: You are gaining muscle as you lose fat, and muscle weighs more than fat by volume. So even if your dimensions are shrinking, your bodyweight might not follow suit as quickly.

Non-Scale Victory #3: You See More Muscle Definition

You might not have six-pack abs or bulging biceps, but look for clues that your muscles are more defined than before. A simple way to do this? Go into selfie mode. “Take pictures of yourself from week to week. Keep them in your phone so you can quickly compare each picture,” says Alexander, who suggests striking various poses, like flexed biceps, shots of your stomach, or profile views of your midsection and backside. “You should be able to see some subtle changes in the photos that you wouldn’t necessarily notice while you’re staring in the mirror.”

Non-Scale Victory #4: People Are Noticing

A couple of colleagues have mentioned that you look slimmer. And then you bump into a buddy who asks if you’ve been working out. Chances are, they’re not just being nice: They’re being honest. “Other people can often see subtle physical changes in you before you see them,” says Alexander. “If someone compliments you, embrace it. It’s a sign that you’re doing the right thing.”

Non-Scale Victory #5: You’re Happier

nonscale victories

We tend to focus solely on outside appearances, but there’s a lot to be said about the shape of your inner self, too. Take a step back and analyze how you feel as you go through your day. Is your mood lighter? Are you more confident? Are you getting better sleep? These factors are flashing indicators that positive changes are happening.

“When you get in the habit of making better, healthier choices, it becomes easier to replace all of that negativity you tend to pile on yourself with happier thoughts,” says Alexander. “Plus, the release of endorphins from exercise are a proven way to combat depression and stress.”

Your Health: More Than Just A Number

Sure, the weight you’ve lost is an obvious way to track success, but it’s not the only — or even the healthiest — way to measure progress. “What people usually forget is that you’re really only supposed to lose one to two pounds a week, which may seem insignificant. But that can add up to 52-plus pounds a year,” says Alexander. “Dropping 15 pounds a week is just not realistic in a normal setting.”

Instead, appreciate other milestones you reach along your journey, and celebrate the efforts you’re making to improve your overall health.

“Use the scale as a general guide, but don’t let that weight define you,” says Alexander. “There’s so much more to what makes us healthy than that number.”

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

By Sarah Wassner-Flynn @ Beachbody