Healthy Habits to Try in 2014 {A post by me from Today’s Woman Now}

Today’s Woman Now.


Not really into the whole resolutions thing? Try picking up these small healthy habits and you’ll see some good changes come about in 2014!

Incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine.
Even though it’s winter and you’re not outside as much or even if you’re not outside intentionally sunning yourself, you should always have some amount of SPF on. Why? Whether you realize it or not, sunlight is constantly hitting your skin- especially your face. Think about the sun coming in while you’re driving, or you’re outside in the fall or spring watching your kid’s soccer game. Your skin is always exposed to harmful rays even if it doesn’t feel like it. Now days, so many products make it easy to get the SPF you need without feeling like you’re wearing heavy, oily or goopy sunscreen. Most daily moisturizers and even most make ups these days include SPF. Make sure whatever you’re using has at least 15 or higher. You’ll thank yourself one day for this habit!

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
According to most studies, getting on a consistent sleep schedule is the single best thing you can do to affect your overall sleep quality. Getting on a schedule helps your circadian rhythms allowing your brain to know when it’s time to shut off and wake up, giving you a better night’s sleep. A better night’s sleep also helps to reduce the amount of stress hormones and helps to control your appetite-controlling hormones. Hint hint, it’s good for helping you stave off unwanted pounds.

Stop reading on the elliptical or treadmill.
Let’s be real ladies, if you’re able to follow along the lines of a book or a magazine, you’re not working out hard enough. Leaning on the handle bars or the arms of an elliptical to support your weight also means you’re not working intensely enough. Doing these things can reduce your calorie burn by 25 percent. Good form is key. Save the reading for your cool down stretch!

Swap one can of soda for water each day.
To start, a can of soda has approximately 40 grams of sugar. Most healthy diets suggest you try to keep your sugar levels under at least 15 grams. And if you haven’t noticed before, drinking lots of water will make you feel full- a can of soda won’t, meaning you’re more likely to snack while you drink it. You don’t have to quit your soda intake completely but by switching one soda per day with some quality, fresh water, you can drop more than a pound a month. Not bad right? If you are too bored with just plain water- add in some fresh lemon slices, cucumbers, mint leaves or other fruits to add some flavor.

Soak up fifteen minutes of sunlight a day (at least!).
It’s no wonder people feel more down and depressed in the winter. Getting a few minutes of sunlight each day helps to brighten your mood, relax your nerves and bring about good feelings. Not to mention, it helps to reset your body’s internal clock for the day which means that at night, you’ll rest better. If it is winter, just simply standing by a window while you have your morning coffee or sitting in the sun rays coming through the window while reading the paper is all it takes. Most importantly, your eyes needs to register the light- not necessarily your skin. So take a moment to soak it up and your days will be a little brighter and your nights more restful.

Limit drinking to only three days a week.
For most women (and even men) alcohol calories can be a major problem. By having a couple drinks a day, you can easily gain about a pound a week. Try to stick to only having a drink three days a week at most. Try just the weekends. If you need another reason, just think that an average glass of wine at a restaurant has around 250 calories and mixed drinks have even more calories plus generally lots of sugar. Having just one glass of wine four days a week can add up to 1,000 calories per week! Nixing all those calories (or at least half) can really save you some weight gain.

Healthy Snacks for the New Year and the New You

It’s that time of year again, time for New Years’ resolutions, new habits, new outlooks and of course new diets. Call me cynical but I’m not into the whole resolution thing. I think it’s great that people want to start the new year off right, but let’s be honest, if you’re one of those who waits until a certain day, or tomorrow, or after the weekend, chances are you’ll never start.

I don’t like New Years’ resolutions mainly because I find it silly- why not start today? Or right now? You don’t need to quit everything cold turkey or drastically change up your life in one day. That’s not realistic.

What is realistic though, is starting small. Make a few changes- maybe one per day- and you’ll be inspired to do more. For example, try to reach for more water throughout the day instead of soft drinks. With each small change, you’ll become more aware of how good it feels and you won’t feel like you’re completely depriving yourself. Also, when you do fall off the wagon, you won’t feel as bad and have the urge to say “to he’ll with it”.

To help you make small changes and become healthier this year, here is a list of 100 calorie snack ideas (that are actually delicious and nutritious). Who knows, maybe changing up those greasy potato chips for some fruit or cheese will inspire you to make even more or even bigger changes- making it easier for you to stay on track and stay healthy.

-celery with natural peanut butter or almond butter (I say natural because there are so many new brands out there that are much healthier. I love peanut butter and its not unhealthy but you can’t get away with eating too much of it. I like PB2 which is one of the most healthy out there right now. It’s powder form but it’s super easy to make -just mix with water- and tastes exactly the same. Look for peanut butter with no extra ingredients, just peanuts, especially none with hydrogenated oils! This is also a favorite snack of Olivia Munn who if you haven’t noticed, looks amazing…….)

-1 slice turkey breast with 1 slice Swiss cheese

-3 cups air-popped popcorn

-1 1/2 oz part-skim mozzarella and 1 tomato slice

-2 1/2 cups watermelon (Jennifer Love Hewitt’s go to sweets-craving snack)

-1 medium apple

-2 tablespoons hummus and 11 baby carrots

-14 almonds (Bethenny Frankel uses almonds in a lot of her Skinny Girl recipes)

-3 clementines

-Sliced rep pepper (a favorite energy booster of dance hottie Karina Smirnoff)

-1 cup chopped mango

-15 raspberries

-2 tablespoons of guacamole and 5 tortilla chips (VS model Alessandra Ambrosio is a huge guac lover- and we can all agree she looks amazing too…..)

-1/2 cup edamame

-2 bars fruit leather

Try swapping out some of your less healthy snacks for these yummy options and start feeling better about staying on track- not just for the new year, but for all year long. Small changes can make a big improvement.

xxx SSG