Quick Tricks To Stay Stress-Free This Holiday Season

The Ikea-like crowds in non-Ikea stores. The food-heavy parties that start making it easy for your stomach to match Santa’s. The money tree that sometimes feels like it’s shedding its needles a little too quickly. Whew, sometimes the holidays can put you in a place where you’re not feeling too great. Luckily, you needn’t necessarily let the season take you there.

Instead, we’ve got a few tricks below that you can carry out in fewer minutes than it’ll take to get through the checkout line. And they’ll make the whole experience seem not so bad, either.

Below, five quick tricks for keeping away those holiday stress tears so you can ring in that holiday cheer instead! 

1. Sniff on this: Recent research out of Tel Aviv University shows that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. Either squeeze a spritz of lemon or orange, or dab a little of their essential oil on a handkerchief, and carry it with you in your purse or pocket. The next time you’re stuck standing in a line or feeling anxious, pull it out and give it a sniff!

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Spiced Oven-Baked Rutabaga Fries

Rutabaga Fries

“They’re like French fries but without as many of the calories and fat,” said LifeVest member Laura Meier.

Bingo. Laura’s description of rutabaga fries sounded great to us, and it didn’t take us long before we set out to discover its truth.

Rutabaga

Since joining the program, LifeVester Laura is over halfway to her goal of losing 50 pounds, and now has a new goal of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the long run.

“We’re going to keep encouraging each other and thinking smarter so we can remain feeling good,” says Laura who set out on her journey to health in partnership with her husband. “You have to think long-term. Otherwise, it’s all for nothing. Why go back when you could feel good for life?”

Laura told us she loves finding new ways to transform some of her favorite recipes into healthier versions. It keeps her feeling both satisfied and excited about continuing on.

She has always loved french fries, and we do too, so we were thrilled to hear about her latest version that enables her to remain on the right track toward her goals.

Rutabaga Fries

Rutabagas have just 1/2 the calories and 1/2 of the carbs that potatoes contain. So, inserting them into the standard oven-baked fry equation sounded like a genius idea to us.

Often mistaken for a turnip, the root veggie has that same sweet bite of a turnip with the starchiness of a potato. This makes them perfect for slicing up into flavorful fries, ones that luckily come without too much detriment to your diet.

Rutabaga Fries

At just 65 calories per cup, the winter veggie (in season Oct. – March) has become no small fry in our recipe book. Rather, thanks to Laura, it’s our new fry-making go-to.

We were thrilled with the crispy results upon our first batch, and are excited to experiment with other spices and herbs. We’d encourage you to do the same after first trying the chili powder version below.

Chili powder

As Laura shares, “It makes us, especially my husband, think we’re having a burger and fries.” She serves her ruta-fries alongside turkey burgers with lettuce swapped for the bun, a combo we can get behind.

Let us know in the comments, how do you make your favorite comfort foods healthier? We’d love to hear what you’re doing to transform some of your favorite recipes, and thank you to Laura for sharing this idea with us!

Click here for recipe…


5 Tips for Exercising Outdoors in the Dark

5 Tips for Exercising Outdoors in the Dark

We’re already competing with the sun as to who gets home from work faster. It’s doubtful we’ll ever win that race once the clocks roll back this Sunday. (If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for Daylight Saving Time on Nov. 2nd.) However, darkness doesn’t mean you need to take your evening workout indoors. In fact, preserving that fresh air facilitation could be the key to warding off any early winter blues. Research published in the Environmental Science & Technology shows outdoor exercise can significantly increase your energy while decreasing tension and depression. Plus, with temps beginning to cool down, there’s no better time to smile in the name of a mostly sweat-free workout.

From glowing apparel to safety tips and ticks, we’ve got your guide below for keeping your workout al fresco, so no need to head indoors just yet!

Run against traffic

1.  Move In the Right Direction

When you’re pumping those legs alongside moving cars, the general road rule is to bike with traffic and walk against traffic. This applies to all times of day, but is particularly important for non-daylight hours when drivers will have even more difficulty seeing you. Running against traffic allows cars to see you from afar, and for you to also see when they’re coming so you can move out of the way. To be on the safe side, you should wear reflectors on both sides of your body, but attach an extra one if possible to the front side of your shirt.  With biking, you’re generally moving a lot faster than you are when walking/running, so the reaction time for the driver to see you is shortened. This makes it better to move in their same direction, which means, be sure to have a reflector on your bike’s back side.

Running shoe reflectors

2.  Glow from Head to Toe
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5 Ways to Power Up Your Walk and Lose Weight Faster

Walking women

At LifeVest, we don’t take walking for granted. Requiring little else but our own two feet, walking helps us stay fit (burning about 100 cals/mile), smiling, thinking clearer, and feeling all around healthier. It has the lowest dropout rate of any exercise and can be an enjoyable and powerful tool for losing, or maintaining weight — especially with the tricks below.

We’ve got 5 ways for powering up your walk so you can get slimmer even faster, without needing to break into a full out run. So, ready to walk this way?

Walking

1.  Small strides make big differences:

While it might seem counterintuitive, the best way to boost your speed is to shorten your stride. Taking smaller steps enables you to take more of them, which results in an increased momentum and calorie burn.

MoveTip: The next time you’re out on a walk, time yourself for 50 steps. Then, see if you can fit 100 steps into that same amount of time by shortening your stride.

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How to Fight Sugar Cravings This Holiday Season

Holiday Sugar Guide

First it’s Halloween. Bowls of candy begin to cloak your office’s kitchen counters like a captivating costume. As you’re working through a tough project or a mundane weekly task, your mind is thinking candy, and perhaps your hands start to follow.

Then comes November. Aunt Jane, Cousin Joey, coworker Christy – they’re all making pie. There’s apple and pumpkin, soon to be followed by December’s 12+ days of cookies. Pretty soon, you feel your pants are fitting a bit snugger, and you’re energy is flying up and down like a reindeer sleigh running out of steam.

As sugar season (aka, the holidays) nears full swing, temptations are bound to show up frequently, which is why we’re bringing you a game plan to keep your health on track. Remember, a healthier you = a better feeling you = a happier you. Avoid reaching for the candy bowl, and you’ll keep your energy levels from crashing and all those empty calories from packing on the pounds.

sugar_holidays copy

We’ve got 5 sweet, sugar-free escapes in the printout* above, so whenever the sugar fairy tries to cast its spell, you can turn away towards an even better alternative. Print it out and hang it by your desk or kitchen.

When temptation arises, turn to this guide and choose the option that feels most appealing to you. Go in with the mindset of each being a pleasant experience (or “sweet escape”, as we at LifeVest like to call it). This will set yourself up to enjoy each choice, and also make it so you won’t feel deprived.

Click here to keep reading…


One-Minute Tips to Help You Lose Weight

Have a minute? Good. Let’s use it to slim down in 60 seconds or less.

Lack of time is no excuse for letting your health step out onto the perilous Slippery Slope. In fact, someone who is busier than you is lacing up this very second for a run.
Iterating you “don’t have time” for something as important as maintaining good health is simply a statement that reflects where you’re arranging your priorities. Health, however, is something we should all be moving up to the top. Without it, you’re not going to get as far as you could be (and we mean that quite literally). So let’s get to it, and maybe drop a few pounds while doing so! It’s time to make diet, fitness and wellbeing all life priorities, and we’ve got ten 60-second-or-less tips to get you started. Don’t even think about telling us you don’t have time for that.

FIdgeting

Twist and wiggle, fiddle and FIDGET.

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3 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving

Give thanks and stay healthy.

By Lizzie Meyers

Ah, Thanksgiving: A time to be with family, reflect on what you’re thankful for, and of course, chow down on some delicious home cookin’. Because the holiday only comes once a year, the feast of special dishes on the Thanksgiving table feels nearly impossible to resist. Unfortunately, this table tends to hold a ton of calories and fat.

“I love that bloated, uncomfortable feeling after a second helping,” says no one, ever. This Thanksgiving, avoid the post meal food coma by being aware of your eating habits. While you can still give in to your favorite indulgences, there are plenty of simple tricks to keep you happy and healthy long after the meal is over. Remember, overindulging for even just one day can lead to that dreaded holiday weight gain, so be smart as you gobble up.

1. Don’t Fast Beforehand

The myth: If you starve yourself all day until the Thanksgiving feast, you’ll balance out the calories consumed at dinner and walk away with a clean slate. Wrong! Render this technique, and you’ll be ravenous by the time dinner is ready, upping your inclination to overeat. This also puts your body in starvation mode, which causes your metabolism to slow down and your body to store more food as fat than it typically would.

The takeaway: Make sure to fuel up on a protein-packed breakfast. This way, come dinnertime, you won’t feel the desire to devour everything at once, and you can instead walk happily and healthily away with leftovers. Two (moderately-portioned) Thanksgiving dinners are better than one, don’t you think?

2.  Create a Healthy Plate

The Harvard School of Public Health has devised a guide for what a healthy meal should look like known as the The Healthy Eating Plate. Roughly use these guidelines for your Thanksgiving meal, and you’re guaranteed a better experience. Sure, stuffing may not usually be considered a whole grain, but the idea is to balance your meal. Make sure the lean proteins and green beans take up the majority of your plate. Then, stay satisfied by plating a small portion of other dishes, like stuffing and marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole.

HealthyPlate_9.9.11

3.  Pace Yourself

Did you know that it takes an undivided 20 minutes for your brain to register that you feel full? Because of this, eating too quickly can cause you to keep plowing through, even after your body is ready to quit. Try to savor your Thanksgiving feast by chewing slowly. Savor each bite to the fullest, and consider laying your fork down every three bites. Another trick to pace yourself is to take a sip of water between each bite. Let yourself register whether you’re still hungry or not before downing that fateful second serving

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Keep these tips in mind this year as you survey your savory Thanksgiving spread, and give thanks to the day for bringing a healthier, happier you.