Category: Motivational Issues

How liquid calories are ruining your diet

How liquid calories are ruining your diet

That delicious pumpkin latte can top 400 calories, while fruit juice often has empty sugars.

Now that it’s starting to feel like fall, I can’t wait to get my hands on a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. But a grande made with whole milk and topped with whipped cream has a whopping 410 calories—crazy, right?

Even if you go “skinny” (made with non-fat milk), your Pumpkin Spice Latte is still 260 calories. That’s not a ton of calories, but ordering one just a few times a week when I need an afternoon pick-me-up adds more than 1,000 calories into my week—and that’s just from coffee! When you factor in a morning glass of juice and a couple of happy hour cocktails, those weekly drink calories sure add up!

But no way am I cutting out my caffeine fix. Instead, I’ve implemented some rules so I don’t overload my diet with beverage calories. Here’s how I think before I drink.

I drink in the morning

I drink most of my caloric beverages, like iced coffee and juice, early in the day when I’m most active and more likely to burn off the calories throughout the rest of the day.

I stick to 100% fruit juice

Some juices are packed with sugar, so I make sure to read labels and select ones that are 100% fruit juice to cut out empty calories from extra sugar. Plus, 100% juices are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.

I savor each sip

I just can’t say no to whipped cream on top of my Pumpkin Spice Latte so I make sure to enjoy ever single sip of this diet splurge. But I also take steps to whittle down its calorie count. I order mine made with soymilk, which retains the creaminess of the drink without all of the fat of whole milk. I also order my fancy latte all by itself; if I had it along with a meal or a snack I wouldn’t realize how many calories it has in it.

I pace myself

When it comes to a glass of wine or a beer, I try to drink a glass of water between rounds. This way I consume fewer calories without missing out on any of the fun. Plus, I stay hydrated at the same time.

I add some zing to plain water

I drink a lot of water throughout the day, but it can get really boring. To spice up my H2O, I experiment with adding fresh ingredients, such as cucumber and orange slices, or even fresh herbs, like basil and mint.

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Five top secrets to looking younger

Five top secrets to looking younger

Apply sunscreen to the neck, chest, and hands, where aging skin is most telling.

Fabulous hair, a great plastic surgeon, personal trainers, stylists, and chefs who make house calls—when it comes to maintaining a youthful appearance, it’s true, celebs have it easier than the rest of us. But, never fear, our panel of experts revealed a surprising number of ways to defy your age, and none of them require red carpet access.

The Cosmetic Dermatologist

Who: Heidi Waldorf, MD, associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital’s department of dermatology in New York.

Top Secret: Diligently apply sun protection. (You knew that was coming.) “Most women miss the jawline, neck, chest, and hands, and they’re all very telling of aging skin,” says Waldorf. Beyond that, if you’re not planning to get pregnant, use topical retinoids a few times a week. You can get them in OTC products or in higher concentrations from a dermatologist. “Studies show they help aged skin look more normal microscopically,” Waldorf says.

Next Best Tips: Once you hit 40, regular, gentle exfoliation helps keep the complexion lustrous. Of all the anti-aging products on drugstore shelves, Waldorf recommends RoC Deep Retinol Correxion Wrinkle Serum and SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, which she calls, “chicken soup for the skin.”

The Image Consultant

Who: Kelly Machbitz, certified image consultant in Tampa, Florida, and author of All About Face.

Top Secret: Soften the eyeliner. “Women tend to go too heavy, which drags the eyes down and makes them look older,” says Machbitz Instead of black, try a slate or grey. “Then, with your pencil or brush, just dot along the rim where your lashes are, and lightly connect the dots without drawing a harsh line straight across.”

Next Best Tips: Lose the dark-outline lip trick. “You can create a much fresher look by using a nude lip liner to define the shape, and then filling in with a clear or subtle gloss,” says Machbitz. And when it comes to choosing the right foundation it’s worth a one-time splurge at the makeup counter to have a specialist help you pick the right foundation so it looks like you’re not wearing anything. Before buying, let the product dry on your skin (the color can darken) and check it outside in the daylight. Once you have the perfect shade, you can always match it with a less pricey product.

The Dating Coach

Who: Rachel Canis, professional matchmaker and president of Best Foot Forward, a Chicago dating service.

Top Secret: Downplay. “Make sure you’re not going into dead-on cougar attire,” says Canis. “I’m talking about wearing really tight clothes that show it all. I don’t care how great your body is. After a certain age, it looks like you’re trying too hard, and you just come off older.” Then again, she says, “dressing super corporate can age you too.” Young women have a sense of feeling comfortable with themselves, which is why Canis recommends mixing in some softer fabrics. “Try a structured piece with a flowy piece, or a tight tank top with a fuller jacket,” she says. “I always seem to meet people when I’m wearing a cocktail dress and a pair of funky flip-flops.”

Next Best Tips: Err on the side of less makeup, versus more. Peachy colors and a little shimmer are all you need for a young and dewy appeal, says Canis. Also trendy can be tricky. “The short, sculpted hairdos are great in your twenties, but when you’re older, they frumpify you. And at a certain age, you really don’t want to be doing green nails.”

The Photo Director

Who: Katherine Schad, director of photography at O, the Oprah Magazine.

Top Secret: If you’re posing for a photo, “black and white film is more forgiving than color,” says Schad. “And shoot outdoors—an interior flash can be glaring if the photographer isn’t a pro.” The key to projecting “young”, she says, is being relaxed. One tried-and-true trick: Look away from the camera and then turn back so the “click” will capture your spontaneous energy.

Next Best Tips: Schad, who often shoots real women for her magazine’s makeovers, re-dresses her subjects in a classic look with a fun little twist: “Maybe a cute black dress with a pair of great red shoes, or jeans and a crisp, white shirt, with an unusual appliquéd jacket,” she explains. As for hair? Overly-fussy updos are a little dated, she adds. When in doubt, get a blowout.

The “Real Age” Doctor

Who: Micheal Roizen, MD, author of RealAge: Are you as young as you can be? and coauthor, with Mehmet Oz, MD, of You: Staying Young.

Top Secret: Above and beyond everything else, the No. 1 key to looking younger is a healthy attitude, says Roizen, who chairs the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “And the trick to that is re-focusing on how fortunate you are. Instead of griping, that jerk cut me off, you want to be thinking, At least I’m not as obnoxious as he is—or, in as much of a hurry.”

Next Best Tips: Number 2 on the list (take Roizen’s test to determine your “real age”) is avoiding cigarettes, including second-hand smoke, which is “amazingly detrimental to your skin and health.” Number three is exercise. To get maximum youth benefit for minimum sweat, find 30 minutes each day to walk, and every week do the following: a half-hour of resistance training plus three 21-minute bouts of cardio in which you go as fast as you can for the 10th and 21st minute. Not only will these interval blasts boost your metabolism, says Roizen, “but they’ll increase the size of your hippocampus, which will keep you remembering long into the future.”

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Mastering the Art of Persuasion

Mastering the Art of Persuasion

You aren’t likely to get your way with strong-arm tactics or guilt trips.

Everyone has little tactics for getting what he or she wants. Some use seduction, others beg, while there are those who use plain-old intimidation. But you don’t have to resort to unseemly methods to get your way. According to Michael Lee, author of How to Be an Expert Persuader in 20 Days or Less, “The power of persuasion rests on getting people to do what you want willingly, resulting in a win-win scenario for everyone involved.” Can’t get your employees to meet deadlines or your husband to walk the dog? Then these 10 secrets are for you.

1. Start things off on their behalf.

“People are more likely to be persuaded to complete a task if it’s already been started for them,” says Steve Martin, coauthor of the bestselling book Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. Next time the dishes need to get done, try cleaning the silverware, then asking if your partner wouldn’t mind finishing the job.

2. Use the magic word “imagine.”

I know it’ll be a late night, but can you imagine how relieved we’ll be if we get the job done before going home? This tactic paints a vivid picture in the person’s mind of the pleasure if she/he does—or the pain if she/he doesn’t—do what you asked, says Lee.

3. Stress their losses.

Can’t pry your hubby away from Sunday sports for a trip to the beach? No problem. Rather than guilting him into it with complaints about needing more “quality time” together, remind him that he’s passing on one of the last days of summer. “We’re more persuaded by the thought of losing something than the thought of gaining,” says Martin.

Read more

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How long it takes to get out of shape

How long it takes to get out of shape

If you take off two months — or two weeks — are you back to square one?

As we move into the dog days of August, that going-to-get-my-best-body-ever summer motivation starts to wane, and we’re more likely to skip a few days or weeks worth of workouts. This often leaves us wondering just how much damage we’ve done. I mean, if we take two weeks off, are we (gulp) back where we started?

For a little morale boost and a dose of reality, we called on Craig Rasmussen, a fitness coach in Newhall, Calif. Obviously, just how quickly you lose fitness depends on your starting fitness level, as well as other factors such as age and genetics. But Rasmussen’s general take is this:

After two weeks off… “We will probably start to see a decline in general fitness levels,” says Rasmussen. “These can occur at different rates in the muscular and cardiovascular systems.” At this point, it’s probably safe to jump back in at the same intensity you were cranking at before the hiatus.

Secret shortcut: Cardio levels decrease faster than strength–the magic of muscle memory. To take advantage of this phenomenon, during hellish work weeks, do just one set of five strength exercises–studies show that 50 to 90 percent of your strength gains come from your first set (though when your schedule eases up–to build muscle and ward off bone loss–go back to 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 exercises 2 or 3 days a week).

After more than two weeks off… “The longer that is taken off, the more you need to scale back,” says Rasmussen. “I would recommend scaling volume and intensity back a bit, but you do not have to start back at square one.” The good news: Assuming you had a solid foundation already in place, “you will regain fitness levels back at a faster rate than someone who has never had them in the first place.” Phew.

Secret shortcut: No time for recommended dose of 5 to 7 days of 20 to 60 minutes of cardio this week? To preserve heart and lung strength and prevent waistline creep, cut that amount in half and seriously ramp up the intensity. We love this simple interval workout.

Could a break actually be good for me? Totally. If you’ve been going all-out, working out HARD for months, you probably deserve and need a training vacay. “For many people who are stuck in the more is always better mentality, they have accumulated so much fatigue that a week off is just what they need,” says Rasmussen. This allows your muscles to recover fully so you can continue making strides whether you’re training for a race or trying to lose those last five (stubborn!) pounds.

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