STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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Replacements and Substitutions


Besides avoiding refined sugar, HFCS and simple carbs, substitute these foods with others that are full of natural sugars and complex carbs. The main sources of dietary-fiber-rich complex carbs are vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains and fruits such as apples, berries and bananas. High-starch foods include whole wheat bread, cereal, corn, oats, peas and rice. Grains are good sources of fiber, as well as potassium, magnesium and selenium. In practical terms, this means choosing whole grains over processed white ones and whole wheat breads and pastas and brown and wild rice over white and refined bread, pasta and rice. Fiber-rich vegetables include leafy greens, broccoli and carrots. In addition to fiber, beans are good sources of folate, iron and potassium. Starchy vegetables include potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and pumpkin.

When it comes to weight loss, what you eat is a far more important factor than exercise. The benefits of exercise can be obliterated by a poor diet. What foods should you eliminate from your diet to ensure you lose weight and keep it off?


Refined Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup


Naturally occurring sugars are found in fruit as fructose and in dairy products as lactose. These sugars provide essential nutrients to the body. Refined sugar comes from sugar cane and sugar beets that are processed to extract the sugar. Refined sugars are typically in food in the form of sucrose, a combination of glucose and fructose. Additionally, food manufacturers add chemically produced sugar, typically high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), to beverages, crackers, yogurt, spaghetti sauce and salad dressings. Low- fat foods are usually even more laden with HFCS to compensate for flavor. The body metabolizes sugar in fruit and milk differently than it metabolizes refined sugar and HFCS. Reducing your refined sugar and HFCS intake is vital for losing and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as for optimal health. Avoid processed foods; most of them have added sugar and calories with little nutritional value. Instead, eat whole foods that are low in refined sugars. Whole foods are either unprocessed (fruits and vegetables) or minimally processed, such as whole grains.

BEST FOODS TO ELIMINATE FOR WEIGHT LOSS

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

Simple Carbs


Carbohydrates are sugars that come in two main forms: simple and complex. The difference between a simple and complex carb is how quickly it is digested and absorbed. Simple carbs are broken down quickly by the body to be used as energy. They are found naturally in some fruits and milk and other dairy products. Simple carbs are also found in processed foods because the majority of simple carbs are added to foods. These include refined sugars in candy, table (white) sugar, syrups and soft drinks. They can also turn up in something seemingly healthy such as certain cereals and white bread. Complex carbs pack a punch nutritionally compared to simple carbs. They are higher in fiber and digest more slowly, which makes them more filling. They’re also ideal for people with type 2 diabetes because they help manage post-meal blood sugar spikes. There are two types of complex carbs: fiber and starch. Of the two, fiber is especially important because it promotes bowel regularity and helps control cholesterol. Starch is often included in foods with fiber, although some foods, such as potatoes, are more “starchy” than full of fiber.