(CONFRONT YOUR FEARS) A friend reminded me of this recently and as he did I remembered a fear. It was fresh and still made my skin prickle with anticipation even though it started many years ago. It feels like yesterday and I’m sure you have those moments too, the ones that never left you even though you shoved them away for a long time. It starts with the 6th grade physical fitness tests. They were the worst things ever except for the talented few that got the bright blue patches. These tests traumatized me. Mostly, the timed mile. Even though we were children it was expected that we run it and everyone did- except me. There wasn't much kindness or compassion in the process and once I realized that, it was something that I dreaded, avoided and ultimately feared. It’s so easy to take ourselves out of even trying when there’s no encouragement to try. When your gym clothes don’t fit right and you’re afraid of the attention that coming in last place will bring you. Year after year this test happened and year after year I walked it & then cried, faked being sick and then ultimately stopped showing up. I’ve never run a mile without stopping and it’s always been on my list of things I want to do but didn’t know if I would. But I want to now. No matter how long it takes me and for no one else other than myself. And now, after being here I would rather try and fail than not try at all. Now’s the time to tackle the fears, all of them no matter how small or how big. So one day I started by asking my trainer if we could work on learning how to run in between strength training. My voice raised and I stumbled over my words and I felt self-conscious again like that chubby little 6th grader in too tight of gym shorts. I was nervous putting this out into the world. He said absolutely and then the next day we did. Just like that. He took me through some movements to work on my stride and made me feel like this was something that I could do. And step by step it was. Only 45 seconds this time, but 45 seconds closer to my goal and each step we take towards our goals away from our fears count. Not always the end result matters most, but the time it takes to jog there.
Eliminate sodium in diet tips # 2: Choose fresh, natural foods over fast, commercial or packaged foods. Instead of ordering french fries (265 milligrams of sodium), have a baked potato (8 milligrams). Instead of a pickle (1,730 milligrams!), enjoy a fresh cucumber (6 milligrams). And beware of cured meats: Three ounces of ham packs in 1,009 milligrams of sodium, compared to just 48 milligrams for the same amount of roast pork. Soups are also notoriously high in sodium; some canned varieties contain more than 1,100 milligrams per cup. Read labels carefully and stick with low-sodium brands like Healthy Choice.
Meatless Monday is more than just an alliteration; it’s an easy way to drop a few pounds. Numerous studies have shown that those who eat the least amount of meat are less likely to be obese, have lower BMIs, and lower body fat levels. Though it’s perfectly fine to eat meat a few times a week, these high-protein foods tend to fill you up before you can work your way over to the veggies, which possess fat-fighting, waist-trimming powers. Try spotlighting just greens and healthy grains in your meals a few times a month.
Even if you fill up on produce, lean proteins, and whole grains, according to British Journal of Nutrition findings, when you think about the quality of your diet, you’re likely forgetting about all the unhealthy food that also finds its way to your mouth. People tend to exaggerate the good foods they eat and underestimate the bad stuff, says study author, Kentaro Murakami, PhD of Japan’s University of Shiga Prefecture. While it’s not necessarily intentional, it’s likely one of the reasons why it’s so hard for people to lose weight. For example, you might grab a handful of candy at a co-worker’s desk or a sample at the mall and then forget about it altogether. Our advice: To get a more accurate overview of your diet, keep a detailed food journal on your phone—yes, that means you should include that food court sample, too. Whether you snap photos or keep a written log is totally up to you—both tactics will work. The more food records dieters kept over the course of 30 months, the more weight they lost, a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found.

If you find yourself craving something sweet during the day, ignore the impulse to eat a cookie and snack on a stone fruit instead. In addition to being more nutritious than a cookie, some stone fruits—plums, peaches, and nectarines—have been shown to help ward off weight gain. Studies by Texas AgriLife Research suggest the aforementioned fruits may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a fancy name for the combination of belly fat, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
You can blame biology for your sweet tooth. We’re hardwired to have a preference for sweets, and this drive is universal and begins early on, according to research on the subject. Sugar makes food taste good, so food companies add it to everything from breads to soups to salad dressings to cereals, yogurts and more. This adds up to way too much sugar!

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Instead of depriving yourself of all your favorite indulgences or meticulously counting calories to drop a size, simply consume at least 30 grams of fiber daily. This simple, no-fuss method fuels weight loss and improves health just as effectively as more complex diet approaches, University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers discovered. “Very few people reach the goals that are recommended,” said lead study author Yunsheng Ma, MD, PhD, adding that “Telling people to reduce this or reduce that is just too hard to do.” However, asking people to focus on eating more of a certain nutrient—rather than eliminating things from their diet–can help people reach their weight loss goals, he explains. Interested in giving the diet strategy a try? Check out these 11 Best High-Fiber Foods for Weight Loss and start slimming down!

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