Monthly Archives: July 2012
Coffee has a lot of caffeine, juice has a lot of calories, soda has a lot of sugar. But they’re all fine to consume – in moderation. The important thing to remember is that you also want to make sure you’re getting enough water.
The Institute of Medicine determined that men should drink about 100 ounces of water per day, and women should drink about 75 ounces each day. To picture that, think of a two-liter bottle of soda. One two-liter bottle is about 75 ounces, so women need one of those, and men need about one and a half.
How much water do you think you drink in an average day? Is it enough? If not, my Just For Today challenge for you is to swap out just one of your drinks in the course of the day for a glass of water. If you usually have orange juice for breakfast, have a glass of water instead. If you normally like a diet coke with lunch, switch it – just once – with a glass of water.
I know it’s not as sweet or maybe even as satisfying as what you normally drink, but water is important. Every system in your body depends on water – to flush toxins, carry nutrients, to build muscle, to digest food, lubricate your joints, and on and on and on!
Will just one glass of water on one day make a huge impact on your overall health? Probably not – but it’s a good place to start! After you try this Just For Today, you might start to see other times in your day when water is the better choice for you.
I keep a 32 ounce refillable water bottle on my desk and sip from it all day long. Actually, I carry it with me everywhere – around the house, when I’m out running errands, even at the movies. The other day I asked my husband if he could wash it for me while he did dishes, and he said, “Sure, if I can just get it away from you long enough!” I started out just trying to increase my intake, and now it’s a habit.
So switch out your drink Just For Today! You’ll save some calories, nourish your body, and probably feel better too!
When someone criticizes you, whether it’s your boss or partner or friend, it’s hard not to take it personally or get defensive. Usually that’s because the criticism makes you feel threatened or judged by the person making the comment. But when you defend against the criticism without even hearing the person out or stopping to think whether it is warranted, you really are giving the criticism more power because you make it into a bigger deal than it is.
Of course, I’m not talking about someone who is constantly criticizing, always putting you down, or verbally abusive. Those behaviors need to be stopped. But if you immediately get defensive when someone gently points out an error or problem on your part, you might be interested in a couple of easy steps to help you put down your guard.
To overcome your defensiveness, just remember two things: (1) clarity, and (2) then act accordingly.
When someone gives you constructive criticism, think about getting clarity. Really understand what she is saying. Ask questions, and try to understand where she’s coming from.
If your spouse says, “You never have dinner ready on time,” it comes across as an accusation, and that might make you defensive. So you want to understand where he’s coming from.
- First of all, do you both have the same definition of “on time”?
- Why is it important to him that dinner be ready on time? Is his reason compelling? Does he have to be somewhere later, does he just like structure, or is it something else?
- Maybe he likes having dinner ready on time because to him that shows him that you care and that you’re taking care of him.
As you can see, there are all sorts of places where that criticism could be coming from, and if you just get defensive in your response instead of seeking clarity, you make the argument bigger, and you don’t find a solution – and you’re likely to have the same disagreement again.
At work, if your boss says a project you completed was done all wrong, resist the urge to get defensive or pass the buck. Instead, get clarity.
- Did you and your boss have a similar understanding of the nature of the project?
- What parts are right and what parts are wrong?
- Was there a miscommunication on his part? An error on your part? What really happened?
By getting more information when you receive the criticism, you can get a better understanding of what your boss is really saying, and you’ll know exactly what the problem is. But if you respond instead with, “I did my best!” and then stomp back to your desk, you’re likely to just make the same errors again.
Once you get a clear understanding of the criticism that was given to you, you can decide how you want to act – if at all. Maybe, now that you know where it was coming from, you do want to change your actions. And maybe you don’t!
In the first example, if you ask your husband several questions to try to see where his criticism is coming from, and the best you can determine is that he likes a rigid schedule and wants you to keep the same rigid schedule, but you really can’t find any reason for dinner to be ready at six on the dot, you can choose not to take any action. Or, of course, figure out a way you can both be happy with the dinner schedule. The point is that the criticism may or may not be valid, and now that you have gathered more information, you are better equipped to know whether it warrants your attention.
The same is true with the situation with your boss. It’s not very helpful for him to just say you did a project all wrong. But when you ask more questions instead of getting defensive, you might find that actually most of it was done right and it just requires a little tweaking, or you misunderstood the project and now can do it right, or maybe the only part that’s wrong was someone else’s contribution and it had nothing to do with you. Regardless, asking questions and then acting is your key to dealing with the criticism.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t take criticism well, try practicing these two easy steps instead of getting mad, feeling hurt, or being defensive. You’ll probably find you can improve your relationships, even if the criticism wasn’t even warranted in the first place!
Have you ever eaten a whole bag of chips when you weren’t even really that hungry? Or maybe you’ve put on a few pounds lately, but you can’t figure out why. The reason might be mindless eating, which is defined as any subconscious eating habits that can lead to weight gain. You probably don’t realize you’re doing it, and it might be partly due to outside forces.
For instance, we are bombarded with TV ads and billboards that advertise food and we sometimes linger around (or socialize around) food. And when we are constantly seeing food in pictures and in person, that can be enough to make us snack mindlessly without paying much attention – just because of its constant presence.
But those calories add up, and if you pay closer attention to some of your habits, you may be surprised to realize how much extra you are consuming without even realizing it.
So how do you stop the pattern? Here are a few easy tricks:
Start with smaller plates
It’s so simple that it almost sounds silly, but it really works! Regardless of the size plate we use, we tend to fill it – and clear it. Countless studies have shown you can’t rely on your stomach to tell you when you’re full and most people think they are full when they clear their plates. So start smaller and then add more if you’re still hungry. Just making the switch from full size dinner plates to salad plates will give you a chance to pause for a few moments after fewer calories and then decide if you need more.
Create a barrier
Many people get the munchies when they see snack foods. So create a barrier between you and snacks. If you have cookies and chips in your house, store them in a cupboard. If you are likely to snack on whatever is most convenient, keep a basket of fruit on the kitchen table.
For some people, if they remain at the table after completing a meal, they will help themselves to a few more bites even when they are no longer hungry. If you are lingering at the table after dinner, remove the serving dishes, so the food isn’t right in front of you. Clear the dishes, make some tea for everyone, and then return to the table.
When you are eating, just eat. Don’t drive, watch television, chat on the phone, or read a book. Why? It’s easy to lose track of how much you are eating when you are doing other things at the same time. Before you know you it, you are full – or beyond full – and you realize you should have stopped much sooner.
Visual reminders won’t let you forget
You may have heard of the study where two similar groups of people were eating chicken wings, and one group regularly had the bones cleared from their table while the other did not. The group that kept their bones ate considerably less overall. The visual reminder of how much they had consumed helped clue them in when they had eaten enough and should be feeling full.
To dissuade yourself from eating or drinking without thinking, leave the reminders where you will see them. If you snack at work, leave the wrappers on your desk. At happy hour, leave the empty wine glasses on the table. Rather than having a visual reminder of what there is to eat, you have the visual reminder of what you have already eaten. Try it – it works!
These are just a few of many, many ways you can break the mindless eating habit. Start with these tricks, and you will become more mindful of what you are eating. Those extra calories won’t slip in, and you’ll start learning to eat only when you are hungry, and not just because you are distracted.
We all have disappointments. Some are big and some are small, but we don’t want to let them ruin our day, throw us off track of out bigger goals, or spend too much time dwelling on them.
I’m sure if you have tried to get over a disappointment, you may have tried the usual tactics of distracting yourself, counting your blessings, or simply putting it out of your mind. But if those things don’t work, you might like some new ideas, especially if you find yourself in a rut or unable to move beyond the disappointment.
4 Simple Steps
Figure out how to avoid the same disappointment in the future.
Whatever it was that was a disappointment to you, don’t assume you know all the facts that led to it. Gather information, ask questions, and try to understand the situation better. For instance, if a potential business client decided to hire a competitor instead of you, find out why. Without trying to change his mind, ask him the main reasons for his decision and what you might have done differently to win his business.
Also, examine your own actions and see if you contributed in any way. Sometimes it’s easier to accept a disappointment if you can pinpoint exactly where you went wrong. It puts you in the driver’s seat to know exactly how to avoid the same disappointment in the future.
In my job as a legal recruiter, I was recently working on with a client to place a paralegal in a new position. I was practically obsessive with preparing my candidate and I did everything I could do make sure my client would offer her a position and she would accept – or so I thought. Very late in the process (at the very last step before an offer would be extended), there was a breakdown, and the whole thing fell apart. What a huge disappointment! But when I found out the details of the breakdown, I saw exactly where I failed to take an important step. Instead of beating myself up for it, I realized immediately that this was a huge learning experience and a lesson I wouldn’t forget. It didn’t take me long to get over the disappointment and move forward with finding another candidate for my client because I knew exactly what I needed to do to avoid that problem in the future
Stop Going Over The Details
That’s right, in Step One I said to go over the details, and now I’m saying to stop! The thing is, once you get your best understanding of the situation, that’s all you can do. It’s okay if you want to talk about it once to someone who will sympathize or if you feel the need to vent – once. But then after that, stop repeating your story, and stop going over it in your head.
This is important even if you can’t get a good understanding of what happened. Sometimes there is no logical explanation to something that happened, and there might not even be a way to avoid it in the future.
We’ve all known someone in a new romantic relationship who thinks it’s going great, and then just like that – it’s over. Why? Who knows. Maybe there’s no explanation. Or maybe there are a million reasons. But if you can’t get a good read on what happened, and the other person isn’t forthcoming, let it go. Some things just can’t be explained, and going over every detail of the relationship in your head over and over again still won’t provide you with any answers.
Don’t make the situation worse once you have done your best to understand it, and don’t let it suffocate you.
Get Completely Engrossed In Something Fun
After you’ve done your best to understand the disappointment and you have put a stop to going over it in your head, think of something fun you can do for a short time that will completely absorb your time and energy for a bit. My suggestion? Plan a surprise for someone!
The thing about planning a surprise is that you have to be secretive about it, and you really have to pay attention to details, so the person you’re surprising doesn’t find out.
If you plan a simple surprise, it won’t take up too much of your time, it will completely distract you for a brief period, and you will lift your own spirits with the excitement of lifting someone else’s.
Go online and hunt for the perfect surprise bouquet to send to your mom, plan a surprise picnic lunch for your spouse in the middle of the work week, or even plan a surprise scavenger hunt for your kids!
Take It In Stride
When you suffer a disappointment in life, remember that it is NOT about you. A failure to get a promotion does not mean you’re a failure, it just means you have room to improve. If your brother lets you down, your friend forgets your birthday, or your child tells you a lie – that’s more about the things going on in their lives, and not about you.
Rather than thinking the disappointment highlights your own shortcoming, think about not letting it define you. Here are a few examples of people who didn’t let disappointments define them:
- Albert Einstein failed his first college entrance exam.
- John Canfield, author of the famous Chicken Soup For The Soul series, was rejected by 123 publishers before it was accepted for publication.
- Before he was Indian aJones, Harrison Ford was fired by Columbia Pictures and told he would never make it as an actor.
Remember success isn’t built only on previous success. It is also built by learning from past disappointments. Learn from them, put them behind you, and then use them as a step toward your next big goal!
You may know some people who seem like they always have to be right. Regardless of evidence to the contrary, they insist their opinion is correct. They may be close-minded, insecure, or needing attention. Regardless of the reason, people who always have to be right tend to alienate other people. Others might view them as needy or controlling or simply unpleasant to be around.
Do you sometimes find yourself insisting on your own ways or opinions or preferences without hearing what others are saying? Maybe you dismiss other people’s ideas before you hear them out? Do you roll your eyes or break eye contact or let your mind wander when other people are talking to and you don’t agree with them? If so, it may be time to take a step back and think about what you might gain if you let go of the need to be right.
What You’ll Gain From Letting Go Of The Need To Be Right
- When you let go of the need to be right, you open yourself up to learning a lot from others. Think about it – if your own opinions aren’t etched in stone, you will be more willing to hear other people’s ideas. You can learn a lot by listening to what other people have to say and asking questions about their opinions.
- Another benefit of letting go of the need to be right is that you will have less conflict in your life. If you don’t have to always be right or always have things your way or always have people see things your way, you are bound to have less conflict and more peace in your life. Even if it’s an issue that you KNOW you are right about, you can ask yourself whether it really matters if the other person agrees. Probably not! Accept that you both have different opinions and leave it at that.
- When you lose the need to be right, you will also find that you have less anger in your life. If you always feel like you have to convince others that you are right, and if they are resistant to your opinions, that’s likely to cause you to be angry with them. The more people you are trying to convince of your own truths, the more anger you build.
And, when you have more anger, you usually have less empathy. Empathy has to do with being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they are feeling. But how can you do that when you are angry and right about everything? You can’t. Empathy is important in your ability to build bonds with other people. Don’t jeopardize that by insisting on your own ways.
How To Let Go Of The Need To Be Right
If you’re ready to let go of your need to be right, there are a few things to keep in mind and a few simple exercises you might try.
Where to start
- Know who you are – What’s special about you, and what contribution do you make to the people around you? When you know the true you and your value to others, you’re less likely to feel the need to assert your every opinion on them. Everyone brings something to the table. Know what you bring, know your strengths and what people rely on your for, and then let go of everything else.
- Remember that being wrong isn’t always a bad thing. You may be wrong about something, but you learn from your mistakes. And you may be right about something and have a hard time convincing someone of your opinion, but remember that he will also learn from his error, so there is no need for you to prove you are right.
- Instead of needing to be right, try embracing the idea that everyone is different. People have different experiences, knowledge, and opinions. Nobody is more right or wrong than someone else. Know your truth and allow others to know theirs.
Try these steps
- When someone is talking, really listen. What are they saying, and why is it important to them? Pay attention with both your mind and your body language. Be engaged, and don’t formulate a response until you’ve heard them out. This is a great exercise that really gets you in the mindset of letting go of being right, and you can use it all day every day to get a lot of good practice! Just listen.
- When you do disagree with someone, before stating your objection, verbalize your understanding of the other person’s point of view. Start with, “I think what you’re saying is…” and then listen to her response. That will give you clarification on her opinion, and it also helps her feel like she is heard.
- Try paying closer attention to your feelings. Is it really that gratifying to convince someone you’re right, or are you actually more at peace when you let go of that need and consider that they might be right too? Pay attention to your feelings in both scenarios and see which one leaves you feeling more calm.
- Practice letting go of your need to be right. Do this by practicing keeping your truth to yourself and resisting the urge to tell people what you think or know. Pay attention to the degree with which conflict and negativity in your life decrease, and then consider if that isn’t really the better way to live!
Remember that when you learn to let go of things that really don’t matter, you continue to move in the direction of contentment. And more contentment will always lead you closer to inner peace.
What would our world be like if we ceased to worry about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘good’ and ‘evil’, and simply acted so as to maximize well being, our own and that of others? Would we lose anything important? ~ Sam Harris
Think about that quote, and then start living it!
This week I have another Healthy In A Hurry recipe that is very quick to prepare (10 minutes!) and very healthy too. It’s a salmon dish with just a hint of spice. Salmon is high in Omega 3 Fats and rich in vitamins, especially vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Salmon has a mild flavor, so for those of you who don’t like your fishes to taste tooo fishy – this one’s for you! 🙂
This dish is served with a yogurt sauce, and you can add a side of lightly steamed broccoli for a full meal. This is one of the dishes on my menu this week, so I hope you’ll try it too!
Salmon with Curry Yogurt Sauce
4 (6 oz.) salmon steaks or fillets
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 cup fat free plain yogurt
2 T. chopped cilantro
2 T. sliced green onions
1 T. honey
1 T curry powder
1. Heat broiler. Line a baking pan with foil. Place salmon on pan.
2. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and then brush with olive oil.
3. Broil 10 minutes or just until cooked through.
4. Combine remaining ingredients to make sauce.
5. Serve salmon and top with yogurt sauce.
Per serving: 369 calories, 42 gm protein, 10 gm carbohydrates, 17 gm fat. *Adapted from a recipe I found years ago in Woman’s Day magazine.
Download the recipe here: One Move Forward’s Healthy In A Hurry Salmon with Curry Yogurt Sauce
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that simple email reminders to choose healthier habits actually has an impact on the health choices a person makes each day. It may sound crazy, but the short emails that made easy suggestions to eat more healthfully or boost physical activity had a significant effect on the recipients’ behavior.
People that were receiving emails about physical activity increased their exercise by one hour per week, and those who were reminded to eat more fruits and vegetables increased their intake by about 1/3 of a cup per day. One of the senior research scientists from the study, Barbara Sternfeld, suggested that the emails serve as “quick alerts [that] remind your brain of the goals you’ve set for yourself. So instead of standing around talking to a co-worker for 10 minutes, you may decide to take a lap around the parking lot and back.”
So my Just For Today challenge for you is to sign up for a healthy newsletter that will serve as a little reminder about your health-related goals!
If you want to learn more about healthy eating and choosing the best foods, Shape magazine has a great newsletter called “SHAPE Your Diet” that I highly recommend. The weekly newsletter has a variety of articles about eating well, healthy recipes, and food news.
If you’re looking for some exercise and fitness motivation, Jillian Michaels has an awesome newsletter with fitness tips and new workout ideas that’s delivered five days per week. You also might like Men’s Health magazine’s “Exercise of the Week” newsletter, especially if you tend to get in exercise ruts or get easily bored with the same routines.
I think the same theory – that daily reminders really make a difference – could also apply to other areas of your life besides physical fitness. If you want to get better at being financially fit, you might like stretcher.com’s Dollar Stretcher Tips newsletter that’s delivered twice each week and contains tips on saving money and time on a variety of expenses.
Email newsletters are really just gentle reminders. When you get reminded each day of your goals – and get new ideas on how you can achieve them – you’re more likely to keep thinking about them and also act on them. So Just For Today, sign up for one – or two! If you have some favorite newsletters, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
It’s free, easy, simple and fun. It will strengthen you physically, mentally, and socially. It’s (you guessed it) laughter. Did you know it had so many positive health benefits? And – more importantly – are you getting enough of it in your daily life?
Physical Benefits of Laughter
- Boosts your immunity by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
- Helps guard against heart disease, since it increases blood flow and blood oxygenation.
- Physically relaxes the body.
- Exercises countless muscles, including your abdominal, facial, and even your back muscles!
Mental Benefits of Laughter
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the “feel good” hormones, making you feel happier.
- Reduces the intensity of negative feelings or just gives you a break from them. It’s hard to be mad or sad when you are laughing!
- Reduces stress and decreases levels of stress hormones, helping you to relax and recharge
Social Benefits of Laughter
- When you share a laugh with someone else, it helps you increase the bond you share.
- Regularly spending time with people you like to laugh with strengthens your relationships with them.
- You are more likely to be able to diffuse conflict with the people that you enjoy spending time with.
- Laughter also helps you feel less defensive, be less inhibited around others, and express your feelings more openly.
Need A Quick Fix?
If you’d like a quick dose of laughter in the course of your day, I have a few fun suggestions for you!
Text From Dog is a silly little blog written by a man who says, “My dog sends me texts. I post them here. Yeah. It’s weird.” The dog texts about the postman, the neighbors, and (of course) dog treats. Some of the texts are rated R, but if you (like me) think your dogs would have a lot to say if they could speak, this site will give you a good laugh.
If you like a little more sophistication in your humor, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is a collection of columns by a variety of authors. They essays are sarcastic, smart and funny. Another website described McSweeney’s as “Highbrow comedy articles, essays and works of satire,” which is probably pretty accurate. You’ll find comedy lists, funny short stories, and satirical essays. Be warned, though, it’s easy to lose track of time once you start digging around on that site!
Another site that’s always good for a quick laugh is Awkward Family Photos. This site is updated pretty regularly with mostly older (and cheesy!) family pics. The poses and wardrobes and hairstyles alone will make you laugh,and it might just remind you of your own awkward photos from back in the day.
Two more I will mention are Ugliest Tattoos (self-explanatory and definitely worth checking out!) and Funny India. The latter is a facebook page with various photos of crazy/odd/hilarious things you see in India. It doesn’t make fun of India or Indians, but just shows some of the scenes and signs you won’t see anywhere else.
What are your favorite humor sites? Do you have a couple of go-to pages that always make you smile? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Do you know the value of your own thoughts? Have you ever stopped to think about how powerful your own thoughts are? You may not realize it, but the reality is that what you think is what you create.
Now that doesn’t mean that if you daydream about winning the lottery, it’ll happen. And it’s probably unlikely that if you only think about your dreams without any corresponding actions, that you’ll get any results.
But, it’s important to know that your thoughts have a huge influence on your life. If you focus on the things you don’t have or what’s lacking in your life, that’s what you get. But if you instead think about what’s going well, what you do well, and what you want to achieve…that’s what grows.
How does that work? Well, the truth is that you can only achieve what you believe is possible. And when you spend more time thinking about your dreams and the positive things in your life, you really create the circumstances and experiences that make those things multiply and grow.
As an example, let’s say you want to earn more money, because you feel like your budget is too tight right now. If you spend your time thinking struggling to pay your bills, envisioning your tiny bank account, and always being short on cash, then it’s almost like you get stuck living that life. That’s all you expect from yourself, so that’s all you achieve.
On the other hand, if you think about your financial goals and what it would mean for you to achieve them, that causes you to change your focus. You envision yourself being able to spend more freely, having enough money at the end of the month, and being able to splurge a little.
When you picture those outcomes, you automatically start thinking about how to get there, even subconsciously. Your focus shifts and you start doing things – almost without realizing it – that will get you to your goal, like supplementing your income, cutting expenses, and curbing spending.
When you focus on the positive, you start to believe you can create that outcome, and it starts to happen without you even having to try that hard. It just becomes natural, because that’s where your thoughts are focused. And you always live up to what you believe you can do, whether you are selling yourself short or setting astronomical goals.
Your brain can hold only one thought at a time, so you need to decide which thoughts you will allow and which one you won’t. Will they be thoughts that help you reach your goals, or will they be ones that hold you back?
Believe in yourself, know what’s important to you, and then keep your focus on positive outcomes. That is how you start living your life with intention – by knowing your goals and knowing you will get there.
I have another Healthy In A Hurry recipe that you will love! It’s simple and easy and superdelicious! 🙂 A while back I was craving the Ginger Basil Chicken from Blue Koi here in Kansas City, but I thought the dish seemed simple enough that I could probably make it myself.
After a little trial and error, I didn’t come up with the same dish as Blue Koi’s, but it definitely cures the craving, and I think it’s a little healthier than the restaurant dish too!
This Thai-inspired recipe uses just a few ingredients, but each one adds a unique punch of flavor, so the whole dish comes together nicely.
Thai Basil Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T. canola oil
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. minced fresh ginger (available in your grocer’s produce department)
1/4 tsp. hot chili flakes
2/3 cup chicken broth (skim any fat)
1 T. Asian fish sauce (also available at your grocer, usually among the soy sauce and stir fry sauces)
2 tsp. corn starch
3 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
Salt to taste
1. Rinse chicken, pat dry, and cut in 1-inch cubes.
2. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add oil, garlic, ginger, chili flakes, and chicken.
3. Stir constantly until chicken is cooked, about 5 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, mix broth, fish sauce, and corn starch until smooth.
5. Add broth mixture to pan and cook until sauce is boiling (about 1 minute).
6. Add salt to taste, stir, and remove pan from heat.
7. Top with basil leaves just before serving. Stir once or twice, just until leaves are mixed in.
Per serving: 202 calories, 5.7 gm fat, 6.5 gm carbohydrates, 30 gm protein, 3.2 gm. fiber
Because this recipe contains a lot of nutrient-rich basil, you won’t need to add a vegetable. If you do want to add more greens, though, either steamed broccoli or snow peas would go well in this dish.
Thai Basil Chicken is great as a one-dish balanced meal, and it also pairs well with brown rice. Give it a try!
Download the recipe here: One Move Forward’s Healthy In A Hurry Thai Basil Chicken