Recipe: Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is a good source of vitamin A.

During the cold months, few things are better than a good cup of soup. This creamy and healthy butternut squash-based soup is filling, delicious and easy to make.

Butternut squash is a versatile vegetable and a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A. When bought in season, it’s budget friendly. Plus, butternut squash soup is easy to store. So what are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 lb. peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 package soft tofu, drained and diced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

PREPARATION

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and sauté for a few minutes until tender. Add the butternut squash and sauté a few more minutes, and then add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Add the tofu and ginger, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper to the pot, and simmer a few more minutes until the tofu is heated through.

Purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to the pan and reheat until the soup is very hot, but not boiling. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh thyme or thin strips of lemon peel, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Weigh Yourself: 10 Common Mistakes People Make

Weigh Yourself 101: 10 Common MistakesHave you ever looked down at the scale, wondering if it’s the correct number? It’s a common occurrence because you might be making one of these ten common mistakes when you weigh yourself!

Weighing yourself seems like a fairly straightforward procedure – you hop on the scale, see what it says, hop off, and get on with your day.  As simple as that sounds, there are some common mistakes that people make when they weigh themselves.  Here are a few tips to help you weigh yourself correctly.

Common mistakes when it comes to weighing yourself:

You weigh yourself too often

It’s normal for weight to fluctuate from day to day – by as much as a 5 pounds (or a couple of kilos).  Most weight fluctuations are due to fluid shifts, and may also have to do with what you recently ate.  For instance, if you eat a salty meal at night, your body might retain some extra fluid – and you’ll see an uptick on the scale in the morning.  On the other hand, cutting back too far on your carbohydrate intake can cause a temporary water loss, which may make you appear lighter on the scale.  Recognize these shifts for what they are, and try to weigh yourself less frequently – it will be easier for you to see how your weight is trending over time.  And, for women only: know that fluid retention during your menstrual cycle may give you the false impression that you’ve gained body weight – so you may want to avoid the scale during your cycle.

You don’t know how much your clothes weigh

When you don’t weigh yourself at home, you may not know how to adjust for your clothing – and, you may tell yourself that it weighs a lot more than it actually does. An article1 published last year actually shed some light on the topic. Researchers weighed 35 women and 15 men – wearing only their indoor clothing, but no shoes – four times during a one year period and averaged the clothing weight for each person. Men’s clothing (on average) was heavier than women’s, and – interestingly – the clothing weight didn’t vary all that much throughout the year. From their findings, it was suggested that women make a weight adjustment for clothing of about 1.75 pounds (0.8 kg) and men should make an adjustment of about 2.5 pounds (1.2 kg).

You focus only your weight, not your body composition

Keep in mind that your weight on the scale is only that – you may know how much your total body weighs, but what really matters is your body composition.  A person who carries a lot of muscle could be “overweight” according to a height and weight chart, but a body composition analysis would likely reveal a healthy body fat percentage – and that they’re actually at an appropriate weight.  On the flip side, someone who is “thin on the outside but fat on the inside” might have a “normal” weight on a height and weight chart, and yet be carrying an unhealthy amount of body fat.

You weigh yourself at night

If you’re one of those people who hops on the scale several times a day, you’ve probably noticed that your weight can shift quite a bit from morning to night. Among other things, the extra weight comes from foods and fluids you’ve eaten all day. Ideally, you should weigh yourself first thing in the morning, without clothing, after you’ve emptied your bladder.

You use more than one scale

You’d think all scales would give you the same reading, but that’s often not the case. (I can’t tell you how often I’ve weighed a client in my office, only to have them say, “I don’t weigh that much at home!!”). Scales do vary, so track your progress by using readings from only one instrument. The actual weight is one thing – what really matters is the direction in which your weight is moving. If you weigh on the same instrument all the time, you’ll get a more accurate sense for what your weight is doing over time.

You don’t have a decent scale

That said, if you’re going to keep a scale at home, do invest in a reliable instrument. Digital scales tend to be more reliable than the old-fashioned spring scales. Take time to read reviews before you buy.

Your scale sits on a rug

Scales are designed to rest on a hard surface, like a wood or tile floor. If your scale is sitting on a throw rug or carpeted floor, it may not sit evenly on the floor and you may get an inaccurate reading.

You weigh on Mondays

If you’ve been reading my posts regularly, you probably know that I often suggest that people weigh themselves on Friday mornings, not on Mondays. Here’s why: Most people have a more consistent structure to their eating during the week than they do on the weekend. If they’ve been trying to keep their calories in check, their weight is often at its lowest point for the week on Friday. I think this can really motivate you to stay on track over the weekend. But, if you “blow it” on the weekend, your weight could be at its highest point on Monday morning, and the damage is already done.

You weigh after you exercise

After a workout, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced some fluid losses, so your weight might be down. Since you’re not adequately hydrated, you won’t be getting an accurate body weight. The only reason to weigh yourself after exercise is if you’re trying to keep tabs on your fluid losses during exercise. Some athletes weigh themselves before and after exercise so they know how much fluid they need in order to replenish their losses (every 2 pounds – or 1 kg – lost during activity represents 4 cups – or 1 liter – of fluid that needs replacing).

You let the reading on the scale affect your mood for the rest of the day

If the reading on the scale is disappointing to you, don’t let it ruin your whole day. Keep in mind that whenever you weigh yourself, you’re simply capturing a moment in time. And – like your blood pressure or your cholesterol level – it’s just a reading that tells you where you are … it’s not a judgment of who you are. Keep tabs on your weight to follow the trend, but don’t judge your progress solely by what the scale is telling you. In the long run, the everyday healthy habits that you establish will bring you closer to your goal, so keep your focus on all the positive changes you’re making and let your weight take care of itself.

1Whigham LD et al. Int J Obesity. 37:160; 2013.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

10 Ways You Sabotage Your Diet—And How to Stop

10 Ways You Sabotage Your Diet—And How to StopDiet sabotage – the things we do to mess up our own diets. Here are ten ways we sabotage our own diets – and ways to turn yourself from your own worst enemy into your very best cheerleader.

When you sabotage your own diet – when you “get in your own way”– it can be really frustrating.   One minute you’re doing fine with your diet, and the next minute you’re allowing yourself to get out of control.  Then, you get upset with yourself for sabotaging your progress – and wonder why you can’t just stop this self-destructive behavior.

The reason diet sabotage can be hard to fight is because it has both a downside and an upside.   The downside, obviously, is that when you sabotage your own diet, you interfere with your progress – and you may also feel guilty afterwards, too.

But, the upside to diet sabotage is that when you do cave in to temptation and eat something you shouldn’t, you’re momentarily rewarded – the food tastes good, and you like how you feel while you’re eating it.

I bring this up because it helps explain why diet self-sabotage is such common behavior.  If it weren’t this double-edged sword, diet sabotage would be a lot easier to deal with.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to stop “getting in your own way”.  The first step is to examine the ways in which you may be sabotaging your own diet – and then practice strategies to stop yourself.  Here’s a list to get you started.

Diet sabotage #1: You skip meals or cut back too far.  It’s almost logical to think that if you skip meals or cut your food intake drastically, you’ll cut more calories out over the course of the day.  But it rarely works that way.  Skipping meals and cutting back invariably leads to uncontrollable hunger… and overeating.

The fix:  Plan out how you can distribute your daily calories over three meals and one or two snacks. It’s easier to practice portion control when you know you’ll be eating every few hours, and will help to break the “starve-then-binge” habit.

Diet Sabotage #2:  You overeat on the weekends. It’s not hard to undo a week of careful eating with just a few indulgences over the weekend.  Your weight isn’t going to budge if you’re constantly taking two steps forward and two steps back.

The fix:  Do your weekly weigh-in on Friday mornings rather than Mondays.  If you’ve had a good week, it will show on the scale, and will help keep you motivated throughout the weekend.  You can also “bank” a few calories during the week to spend on the weekend – but be careful and know the calorie content of your indulgences.  A margarita and a basket of chips could set you back several hundred calories.

Diet Sabotage #3: You reward yourself for exercising…with food.  Many people fool themselves into thinking they’ve burned off a lot more calories during exercise than they actually have – and use that as an excuse to indulge.

The fix: Be aware of how many calories you actually burn when you exercise (you can find lots of resources online) and compare that to the calories you’re tempted to take in afterwards. Keep a log of the type of exercise you do and the amount of time you spend doing it – that’s the feedback (and the reward) you need.

Diet Sabotage #4: You don’t weigh and measure your food.  Many seasoned dieters think they can “eyeball” portions and estimate calories without weighing and measuring.  But it’s easy to get out of practice, and if your estimate is off, you could be eating a lot more calories than you think.

The fix:  Weigh and measure as often, and as accurately, as you can.  Know how much your bowls and plates hold, too – they can act much like measuring cups to help you accurately gauge your portions.

Diet Sabotage #5:  You fall for label claims without reading the nutrition facts.  Don’t be swayed to eat something simply because it has a healthy-sounding label claim.  Foods that are “low fat”, “made with whole grain” or “gluten-free” aren’t necessarily low in calories or better for you.

The fix:  Read the nutrition facts carefully so you know how many calories you’re getting per serving – and what nutrients you are (or aren’t) getting.

Diet Sabotage #6:  You don’t give new habits time to get established.  It can take weeks for new habits to take hold.  But if you don’t acknowledge that, you might give up after just a few days – and call yourself a failure.

The fix: First, make sure that the new habit you’re trying to establish is reasonable and something you can actually do.  Acknowledge that changing behavior is a process – and that you’re going to slip into old habits from time to time.  And give yourself credit for each and every time you perform a new habit in place of the old one.

Diet Sabotage #7:  You let one dietary slip ruin your whole day. Your diet gets derailed and you eat something you shouldn’t – so you just pig out for the rest of the day and promise yourself you’ll get back on track tomorrow.

The fix: You can’t change what you’ve already done, but you certainly have control over what you do next.  If you’ve done some unplanned eating, put it behind you.  Remind yourself that – if you’re careful – you can probably still keep your calories in check for the rest of the day.  Just get yourself back on track at your next meal.

Diet Sabotage #8:  You try to do too much at once.  If you’re a “couch potato” who never cooks, do you really think you can suddenly commit to running every single morning and cooking healthy lunches and dinners every day?

The fix: Set reasonable goals for yourself and prioritize them.  Maybe you want to work on your exercise regimen first, and seek out healthier choices in restaurants for the time being – and tackle the home cooking later on.

Diet Sabotage #9:  You weigh yourself too often. Jumping on the scale several times a day isn’t a reflection of true weight loss. Weight naturally fluctuates throughout the day, and from day to day.

The fix: Weigh yourself once a week – preferably first thing on a Friday morning and without any clothing on.  You’ll see your weekly trend that way, and you’ll be motivated to behave yourself over the weekend.

Diet Sabotage #10: You’re too hard on yourself.  If you think you should be perfect – that you’ll “always” exercise every morning or “never” eat another piece of candy– you’re setting the bar awfully high.  When the day comes (and it will) that you just don’t feel like exercising, or you eat something you shouldn’t, you’ll probably berate yourself.

The fix:  Practice positive self-talk – offer the same support to yourself as you would to a friend.  You wouldn’t tell your friend who’s struggling with his weight “you just don’t have the willpower – guess you’ll just be fat for the rest of your life!”  So why do you say that to yourself?  Practice talking nicely to yourself, and offer yourself support – instead of “this is too hard!” think to yourself, “I can do this!”

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

3 ways to help your fruit and vegetables pack a nutrient punch!

3 ways to help your fruit and vegetables pack a nutrient punch! Herbalife nutrition adviceThe way you select, store and prepare your fruits and vegetables can go a long way towards locking in the most nutrition – and will help you get the most nutritional benefit from the fruits and vegetables that you eat. This week, I’m looking at how you can lock in the nutrients in fruit and vegetables.

In order to keep the most nutrients in your fruits and vegetables, it’s sometimes helpful to understand how those nutrients can get lost in the first place. Fruits and vegetables can lose some of their nutritional value if they’re not properly handled.

For example, exposure to air, light and water can cause the loss of some nutrients, while short cooking times at moderate temperatures helps to keep nutrients in. And, in some cases, the way you prepare your foods can even make nutrients more usable by the body.

How to Shop for Fruits and Vegetables to Keep Nutrients In

Choosing the freshest fruits and vegetables is the first step in making sure the nutrients are locked in. The freshest fruits and vegetables are easy to spot – they’re free of blemishes and soft spots, they’re firm, and their colors are bright rather than dull. And, the freshest fruits and vegetables will have had the least exposure to air, light and water – all of which can cause nutrient losses.

Buying fruits and vegetables in season is a good idea, too. When you buy fruits and vegetables out of season, they’ve had a long way to travel from the farm to your fork – time in which valuable nutrients can be lost. If you’re fortunate to have a farmer’s market available to you, try to take advantage. In most cases, the fruits and vegetables are fresher and more locally sourced, which means less chance of nutrient losses.

When fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t available, keep in mind that frozen fruits and veggies actually retain their nutrients quite well – in some cases, frozen produce may actually offer more nutrition than fresh. For one thing, fruits and vegetables that are headed for the freezer case are usually picked at their peak of ripeness – a time when they’re most nutrient-packed. And they’re processed very quickly after picking and then flash-frozen, which locks in freshness and nutrients.

How to Prepare Fruits and Vegetables to Keep Nutrients In

When it’s time to prepare, lightly wash – but don’t soak – your fruits and vegetables. If the first utensil you tend to grab is your peeler, you might want to reconsider. The skins and peels of fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. There’s no need to peel foods like apples, potatoes, carrots and cucumbers – and even foods that we usually do peel, like eggplant or kiwifruit – have edible skins. With citrus fruits, grate some of the tangy zest into salads and cooked vegetables to get a healthy dose of antioxidants, and don’t pare away the spongy white interior of the citrus peel – it’s full of water-soluble fiber.

Watch what you cut away, too. There’s more vitamin C and calcium in broccoli stems than the florets, more nutrients in asparagus stalks than the tips, and the hard center core of a pineapple has the highest concentration of bromelain, a natural enzyme which aids digestion.

Some nutrients – particularly, a group of antioxidants known as carotenoids – are more available for the body when foods are lightly processed through chopping or cooking.

The carotenoid lycopene for example – which gives tomatoes their red color – is more readily usable by the body when it’s obtained from cooked tomatoes than it is from raw. And your body will take up more lutein (a carotenoid that gives the yellow-green color to foods like spinach and kiwifruit) from chopped spinach than it will from whole spinach leaves.

A tiny amount of fat helps with the absorption of carotenoids, too, so a few slices of avocado in your spinach salad, or a little olive oil in your tomato sauce will boost your uptake.

How to Cook Fruits and Vegetables to Keep Nutrients In

When it’s time to cook vegetables (or fruits), the key to retaining nutrients is to use methods that require the least water. Steaming is one of the best techniques. Since the food never comes in contact with the water, steaming helps to preserve precious water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C.

Microwaving also uses very little water and – despite popular misconception – microwaving does not destroy nutrients. With either method, use as little water as you can. The other advantage to these methods is that they’re quick – shorter cooking times help preserve nutrients. For this reason, stir-frying your vegetables is also a good option to lock nutrients in.

Pairing your seasonings with your vegetables can boost nutrition, too, since the thousands of different antioxidants in plant foods work together to protect your health. So add garlic to your broccoli, lemon peel to your green beans, or parsley to your carrots. Along with a flavor boost, you’ll get more nutritional value from your vegetables, too.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Want to Eat Better? 6 Quick Fixes to Improve Your Diet

Want to Eat Better? 7 Quick Fixes to Improve Your DietA few simple steps can help you eat better and improve your diet overall.

When your diet isn’t as good as you’d like it to be – and you know you’d like to eat better -  it’s sometimes hard to know where to start.  There’s so much information floating around about what constitutes a ‘healthy diet’ – but sources may not always agree.  Does eating better mean you should go gluten-free? Or vegetarian?  Will you have a better diet if you eat only raw foods? Or should you eat like a caveman?  There will always be trends in diets and diet advice, but just because “everyone is doing it” doesn’t mean that the latest diet fad is the one for you.  The trick is finding ways to eat better from now on – not just until the next trend comes along.

Eating Better – Make it Personal

When you break it down, the basic components of a healthy diet are really pretty simple – lean protein, plenty of vegetables and fruits, some starches in the form of whole grains or beans, a bit of “good” fats for flavor, and fluids to keep you hydrated.  Then, you put all of that into a meal pattern you can live with, and you’re good to go.

The key in all of this is to find foods that you truly enjoy eating that are also good for you. They’re out there – trust me.  With literally thousands of foods to choose from, you should be able to find – with a little experimentation – plenty of things to eat that fill the bill.

Just because everyone is eating kale (and you simply can’t get it past your lips) doesn’t mean you need to eat it.  There are plenty of other leafy greens you can try that offer up a similar nutrition profile.  Choking down something that you hate – just because it’s good for you – is hardly a habit in the making.

Six Tips for a Better Diet

Make Healthy Protein Choices

One problem in choosing which proteins to eat is that -  if you’re not careful – you can end up eating a lot of fat, too.  If fatty cuts of meat, sausages and ground beef are your go-to proteins, start thinking about what you would be willing to eat instead.  An easy first step is to ditch the ground beef and replace it with ground poultry breast – in most recipes, the difference isn’t that noticeable.  When you’re ready to try adding more fish to your diet, you might try starting with something familiar – maybe for you that means shrimp or canned tuna.  Look at your everyday recipes and see where you might substitute these for fattier meats – maybe in a pasta sauce, a wrap, or in tacos.  Canned beans are convenient, mild in flavor and very low in fat – you can make a vegetarian stew, add them to soups, or whirl them in the blender with a little olive oil and garlic for a healthy dip for raw veggies.  Tofu is worth a try, too – it’s got a very mild flavor that works well in soups and stir-fried dishes, or you can try roasting it.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Those who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables often say it’s not because they don’t like them – it’s just that they don’t always have them on hand, or that these foods simply spoil before they get around to eating or cooking them.  The easiest work-around here is to stock your freezer with loose pack fruits and veggies – frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh – and you don’t have to worry about spoilage.  Then, it’s  easy to add fruits to your morning protein shake or your yogurt, or to add veggies to soups, omelets, pasta dishes, and stir-fries.  Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter, and cut up veggies in the refrigerator –having them visible and ready-to-eat will encourage you to eat more.  Make a goal to have a fruit or veggie with every meal or snack.  When you go out to eat, order double veggies and skip the starch, or start your meal with a colorful salad or veggie soup.  And get in the habit of having fruit for dessert.  If taste is what’s stopping you from eating enough vegetables,  find some new ways to season them.

Swap in Whole Grains for Refined Grains

This is probably one of the easiest ways to improve your diet.  When you switch from refined grains (like white bread, white rice, refined pasta, flour tortillas) to whole grains, you get a big boost in nutrition and fiber, too.  You can find whole grain counterparts for all your usual refined grains, so start experimenting with whole wheat pasta, brown rice, corn tortillas and 100% whole grain bread.   For side dishes, you might want to experiment with other grains, like quinoa or wild rice.

Eat Healthy Fats in Small Amounts

Fats – even the “good” ones – pack quite a few calories.  That’s why you should focus on reducing your overall fat intake – by steering clear of high fat snack foods, desserts and fried foods – and allowing yourself small amounts of healthy fats to supply necessary fatty acids.  Nuts, avocado, olive and canola oils are considered healthier than other fats, so find ways to incorporate these foods into your diet.  Avocado makes a good replacement for mayonnaise or butter, and nuts – in small amounts – can contribute healthy fats to salads, vegetable dishes, hot cereal or yogurt.  Rather than grain-based oils, switch to olive or canola oils when you cook.

Drink More Water and Tea

Good nutrition and plenty of fluids go hand-in-hand. Water serves many functions in your body, not the least of which is that it helps you digest your food and it helps transport nutrients to your cells.  If you don’t drink as much liquid as you should, try to foster the habit by keeping a water bottle nearby during the day.  If you don’t care for plain water, have tea instead, or make your own spa water by adding some fresh fruit or cucumber slices or herbs to flavor your water.

Eat Healthier Snacks

Snacking is not a bad thing if you do it right.  A well-chosen snack can help keep you from getting overly hungry between meals (which can lead to overeating when you finally do sit down), and having a snack means an opportunity during the day to sneak in some extra protein, vegetables, fruit or even some calcium-rich dairy. Ideally, you’ll want a combination of protein and carbohydrate to get the most staying power from your snack.  You can get really creative or you can rely on quick and easy fresh fruit, raw vegetables with hummus, nuts, edamame beans, protein bars and cartons of yogurt.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Beauty and Stress: Chill out to look and feel your best

Beauty and Stress: Chill out to look and feel your best | Herbalife Beauty AdviceWork overload, family obligations, overbooked social calendar, stand still traffic… life can hand you many reasons to stress out. But there’s one important reason to keep your cool: stress is beauty’s biggest enemy!

We’ve all had times when life and busy schedules get overwhelming. Sometimes it’s good to stay busy, but when it starts to feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, that’s when it gets stressful. It’s important to stay calm during times of stress because it can affect us emotionally and physically. Aside from causing cranky moods, stress can actually have a negative impact on your looks.

Stress and hair:

It’s been said that stress can cause graying and hair loss. This is because stress tends to speed up the aging process. We’ve witnessed global leaders go gray before our eyes, and it’s natural to wonder if stress had anything to do with it. Many factors can contribute to how fast hair ages including genetics, stress, and lifestyle choices. Even though stress can’t exactly be pinpointed as the culprit of gray hair, it sure doesn’t help it!

Hair loss can come in a few forms. Depending on the type of hair loss you experience (which can only be determined by your physician), hair loss could be stress related. Happily, in some cases, stress related hair loss is not permanent— at least that’s one less thing to stress over!

Stress and skin:

Have you ever had a huge blemish appear right before an important social event? I know I sure have! It was because I would stress out to the point where I had a few visitors on my face when the big day came!  Anyone who has been under pressure will notice that it’s common to get blemishes during times of stress.

Another effect of stress on the skin is wrinkles. Stress causes the body to produce a hormone called cortisol, which many believe causes the breakdown of collagen. Skin needs collagen to help keep it firm and supple.

What can you do to minimize stress?

Chronic stress can have a toll on your looks, so it’s important to take some steps to chill out! Here are some things you can do when you start feeling the pressure:

Book a spa appointment

Not only will this help you relax, but you will be beautifying at the same time! Clear your schedule for a few hours and go get that facial or massage you’ve been putting off. Many spas offer massages specifically designed to relieve stress. Aromatherapy can be a great option to help you relax; lavender in particular is supposed to have a calming effect.

Spend time with friends or family

I’m not telling you to add events to an exhausting social calendar; I mean spend time with loved ones doing the things you really love to do. Maybe it’s connecting through conversation, doing something active, or taking up a new hobby. Time flies when you are doing something you love, enough to the point where your mind won’t be focused on whatever is stressing you out.

Get some exercise

My friend Samantha Clayton always tells me that exercise is a great stress reliever. Exercise releases endorphins, which ultimately make you feel good! If the very idea of exercise stresses you out, start with small changes—go for a brisk walk in fresh air. Any activity that gets your heart pumping will not only make you feel better, but will also promote healthy circulation which can contribute to radiant skin. Even if it’s just a quick walk or a few stretches, the idea is to just get moving!

Get a good night’s rest

When you feel like there are not enough hours in the day, put your to-do list aside early and get a good night’s sleep. With adequate sleep, you will be able to tackle all your tasks with renewed energy the next day. Getting into a habit of good sleep hygiene will help you look and feel your best. Let’s face it, we look fresh and have better moods after getting a full night’s rest too!

Try yoga or meditation

The mind-body connection is a powerful one. Many yoga practitioners will tell you that they believe it’s one of the best ways to relieve stress. Yoga involves stretching and holding poses while keeping the mind still. If the idea of bending your body doesn’t appeal to you, meditation is a great option to calm your mind. Deep, controlled breathing is a great way to calm down after a stressful day.

Make healthy food choices

It’s in times of stress that you need good fuel the most! It’s so easy to reach for comfort foods, but that won’t necessarily help your stress levels. It’s all about enjoying a healthy, active life. Instead of reaching for unhealthy snacks that are loaded with sugar, think about how much better equipped you’d be to handle life’s curve balls with a healthy diet. A balanced diet will benefit your overall appearance and mental outlook.

Take a time out

When office deadlines and busy schedules are getting the best of you, take a small time out for yourself. Just a 10-15 minute break to get fresh air can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle looming deadlines. You could also try some stretches at your desk or a take water break with a colleague to calm your mind.

Make your home a sanctuary

When you have a chaotic day, the last thing you want to do is walk into more chaos at home! Block out some time when your schedule permits to work on creating a stress-free environment at home. This is especially important because sometimes there’s no way to control stressful situations at the office or on the road, but your home is one place where you can take control and make it into a place that makes you happy. Surround yourself with positive images and happy memories and watch your outlook change.

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Life’s too short to stress over the small stuff! Small changes can make a big difference in your outlook and appearance. What are some of your favorite stress relieving tips? I’d love to hear from you!

Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter. Jacquie is Director of Outer Nutrition at Herbalife.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

6 Tips to Start Your Family Fitness Journey Today

Make fitness fun for the whole family.

There’s no better time than now to get started on a family fitness journey and raise healthy, active kids.

If you’re looking to make healthier choices for your children and teach them how to make healthier choices for themselves, here are six essential tips to help you get started.

Consult Your Child’s Physician

Talk to your child’s pediatrician about what kind of fitness is right for them. Going from a low level of activity to an active lifestyle can be a shock to their system. All changes in physical activity should be gradual.

Create a Routine

The best way to start your family fitness journey is to create a schedule of activities for two days per week. Plan activities such as hikes, bike rides or indoor/outdoor sports to make them feel less like a chore and more like fun. The more you involve your kids in the planning process, the more enthusiastic they’ll be about the change.

Embrace Technology

If you have children that rely on computers, phones and tablets, you might face a rebellion if you try to swap gadgets for family fitness time. Instead, you can embrace technology and ease them into an active lifestyle with fitness games and challenges. There are many dance, fitness and activity games available that combine technology with simple tasks that motivate kids to get active.

Go Back to Basics

Remember how much fun it was to play a simple game of catch with your friends when you were younger? As you move towards more traditional fitness-based activities, focus on coordination and body awareness moves. Kids have developing nervous systems and will benefit from engaging their motor skills. Related activities include kicking, catching and hopping.

Be Smart about Weight Training

There are differing opinions on the age at which children should start lifting weights, and it’s a decision that should be discussed with your child’s physician. As an alternative, body weight exercises are a great way for kids to build strength. I started lifting weights at the age of 15 and I am raising my children to have fun with squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises until they are well into their teens.

Lead by Example

The greatest gift you can give your children is to lead by example and practice healthy habits. Try popping in a fitness DVD or follow a fitness routine on the computer to set an example. If your young children want to join in, you should let them. Just make sure they stay away from potentially dangerous equipment like weight machines and treadmills.

We can all make healthier choices to lead our children down an active lifestyle path. If you keep the activity fun, you can set them up for a lifetime of being active. However, if you do it with force, they may build a negative opinion of exercise forever. The above tips are ones I use successfully with my own family, but make sure to experiment with different activities so you can find the ones that your whole family will enjoy doing together.

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