Valentine’s Day: 5 Tips to Love Your Body

Valentine’s Day: 5 Tips to Love Your Body


With so much emphasis on love around Valentine’s Day, we’d like to suggest that you turn your love inward and think about some ways that you can love yourself and your body. Whether you are just starting out with a healthier lifestyle or you’ve been at it for a while now, you likely know that the journey has its ups and downs.

But no matter what life throws your way, you deserve to treat yourself well. Oftentimes, that means not being so hard on yourself. When you make a mistake, accept it, learn from it and move on. Don’t dwell or allow yourself to spiral out of control. You can always get back on track.

It’s time to give yourself some credit and show a little love to the body that has gotten you this far in your journey. To help you shift your focus toward loving your body and doing good for you, we’ve rounded up some fun tips for a healthy Valentine’s Day.

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Show yourself some love this Valentine’s Day with these five healthy tips:

1. Crush Your Chocolate Cravings

chocolate cravings

While chocolates might be the quintessential Valentine’s Day treat, there is a way to get your chocolate fix without totally derailing your diet with a heart-shaped box of sugar-packed sweets. The Leaf Weight Loss Blog is filled with nutritious and delicious chocolate recipes, such as our Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cake. You could also satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthful way with one of these seven healthy chocolate snack hacks! >

Nutrisystem offers a variety of healthy chocolate treats that are both tasty and weight loss-friendly. We’re totally crushing on our Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcake. However, some of the other delicious possibilities include our Fudge Bar, Milk Chocolate Flavored Pretzels or Chocolate Brownie Sundae.

2. Cook Dinner at Home

valentine's

Instead of making a reservation with your V-day date, why don’t you consider cooking a meal together at home? It can be romantic and fun to prepare an entrée and share it cozily at the dinner table. You can still light candles and even dress up if you want. Take a look at the recipe section on The Leaf for a wide range of meals that fit into your Nutrisystem program.

By cooking at home, you’ll save money, fat and calories. Many restaurants tend to use more oils, sugar and salt in their food preparation. This can cause a single meal to provide most or all of your total recommended daily calories. The fact is, you could make a much healthier version of the same meal at home.

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3. Make Wise Choices

valentine's

Of course, if dining out is one of your favorite things about the holiday, there are ways to do it that won’t totally set you off track. For instance, you can plan ahead by researching restaurant menus online so that you’ll be able to make a smart choice. Look for veggie-based dishes or lean meats that are grilled or baked. Avoid fried foods and meals with creamy sauces.

Keep your portion sizes in check by splitting an entrée with your date or immediately boxing up half of it before you even start eating. You can find many other smart tips for dining out right here on The Leaf! Take a look at our Dining Out Guide so that a dinner out doesn’t derail your healthy eating plan.

4. Get Your Heart Pumping

valentine's

If you want to show your heart some love this Valentine’s Day, then you should get it pumping with a fun activity that you enjoy. Whether it’s cycling, going for a jog, doing yoga or walking with a friend, choose something that you love to do so that it’s fun and rewarding.

If you’re paired up this holiday, you might consider trying out a partner exercise. Just do a quick internet search for a “couple’s workout” and you’ll discover many great ideas to strengthen both your body and relationship. Of course, if you’re rocking it single this V-day, you can still love yourself and your body by getting that heart rate up and improving your cardiovascular health.

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5. Spread the Love

valentine's

Taking care of your mind and spirit is incredibly important and something that you might be thinking about this Valentine’s Day. Why not share the love this February by making a date with a local volunteer organization? Donating your time and effort to serve those in need is the perfect way to give back to others. Whether it’s handing out meals at a soup kitchen, organizing shelves at a local food pantry or even taking shelter dogs for a walk, you’ll feel good about spreading love to others in the community—and you’ll make a difference in their lives, too.





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How to Know if You’re Dehydrated │The Leaf Nutrisystem Blog

How to Know if You’re Dehydrated │The Leaf Nutrisystem Blog


More than half of your body—55 to 60 percent—is composed of water. When that drops by as little as 1.5 percent below your optimal level, you are mildly dehydrated, your energy level decreases and your metabolism slows down. You may not realize it, but you’re losing water all day—even when you’re not sweating, you exhale tiny amounts of water vapor in every breath. Surprisingly, feeling thirsty is not the only, or always the first, sign that you are mildly dehydrated. Here are seven other indications that you need to drink up.

Hunger. The signals your brain sends when you need calories and when you need fluids originate in the same place, and can be mistaken for each other. When you’re dehydrated, your liver holds on to its glycogen reserves, an essential source of energy for you. Your body begins to crave food when sufficient glycogen isn’t available to burn.

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Fatigue. As your metabolism slows, your body begins to conserve its energy, leaving you feeling tired. Mild dehydration also reduces the volume of blood in your body, forcing your heart to work harder to pump oxygen and nutrients to all of your cells. When your heart is working less efficiently, you may feel exhausted even though you haven’t exerted yourself very much.

Headaches. The reduced volume of blood caused by mild dehydration also means less oxygen reaches your brain with each beat of your heart. In response, the blood vessels in your brain dilate to bring in more oxygen. Dilated blood vessels may lead to a headache.

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Bad breath. Your saliva has antibacterial properties which prevent nasty microbes that are the source of bad breath from setting up residence in your mouth. Dehydration reduces the volume of saliva you produce, often resulting in unpleasant odors in your mouth.

Dark urine. The most visible sign of mild dehydration is evident when you go to the bathroom. Pale yellow or green urine indicates that you are well-hydrated. As your body’s fluid levels decrease, the color becomes noticeably darker, a sign that you need to drink more water.

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Constipation. Your digestive tract relies on fluids to help move waste through the system. If you’re feeling stopped up, dehydration may be the cause and more fluids can be the cure.

SOLUTION: To stay at your peak, you need to replenish your fluids throughout the day. Women need eight to 12 cups of water daily, men about 11 to 15 cups. Plain water is the best way to rehydrate—it’s quickly absorbed and calorie, fat and carb free. Ice water can feel refreshing, but it will sit in your stomach until it warms up. When you need to rehydrate in a hurry, go with fluids that are closer to room temperature.





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How to De-Seed a Pomegranate without the Mess

How to De-Seed a Pomegranate without the Mess


Pomegranate seeds (or, more formally, arils) aren’t just delicious, they’re good for you, too. At just 72 calories a cup, pomegranate arils go light on your waistline, and heavy on antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and fiber. Some research suggests that eating pomegranate seeds regularly may be protective against cancer and diabetes. Other research suggests that those little good-for-you gems may help reduce risk of heart disease as well.

The only trouble with this tasty superfood is that every time you try to eat it, you’re caught red-handed… literally! Reap all the benefits of pomegranate seeds without any of the mess with our simple kitchen hack.

 





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Motivated or Obsessed? What’s the Difference

Motivated or Obsessed? What’s the Difference


Even the most “perfect” weight loss program won’t work without one key factor: being motivated. If you aren’t at least a little into what you’re doing—choosing healthier foods, going for an evening walk or other healthy decisions—you just won’t do it. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, some researchers call this type of positive motivation “passion.”

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Positive Passion

motivated

We’ve all met someone who is into health and fitness in this passionate way; they’re into it and they talk about it! And they seem to enjoy their new lifestyle. It’s the kind of lifestyle change that many people who start losing weight are striving to achieve. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has defined this kind of passion as something that is “significant in their lives, something that they like, and something at which they spend time on a regular basis.”

This type of passion for an activity is called “harmonious passion,” and it’s the good kind. You enjoy the activity—in this case, eating healthy and exercising—and you’re motivated to do it and in control. You may read about weight loss strategies, look for healthy new recipes or chat with others about exercise routines. However, you have the ability to stop. Your passion for a healthy lifestyle is in harmony with the rest of your life.

Obsession

motivated

A passion to be healthier may seem like a positive quality. However, there’s a potential dark side to passion: Obsession. This isn’t the kind of “obsessed” that characters in teen comedies feel about their crush. It’s the kind of passion for an activity that’s out of your control. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, your passion may be an obsession when you start prioritizing your new activity over other important things in your life. It typically develops when there is some sort of internal or external pressure connected to the activity. “Obsessive passion” creates conflict, both with others in your life and within yourself. You also might begin to feel like you need to punish yourself for not indulging your passion or for not being “perfect.”

Perfection is another pressure that can get dangerous: When the idea of doing something “perfectly” is based on a self-created idea of what perfect means for you, it may be healthy. However, it can be dangerous when you’re motivated by society’s ideas of perfection, says research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

The pressure to eat or act “perfectly” can actually lead to disordered eating, even if that obsession seems “healthy.” According to the journal Eating and Weight Disorders, orthorexia nervosa is a relatively new disorder focused on “clean eating.” It is typically associated with people who score highly on a desire for perfection and shares similar qualities to other eating disorders.

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Are you Motivated or Obsessed?

motivated

Being motivated to get healthy is great. However, letting that motivation turn into an obsession can dangerous. So, check in with yourself: Do you get more pleasure or pain from your weight loss journey? If you’re making sacrifices in your life to achieve your weight loss goals, are they big sacrifices that can have negative consequences? Or small ones that still allow you to thrive? Do you feel like you can take a break from your weight loss program for a day or two?

If you’re ever feeling like you can’t control your drive to eat healthy and lose weight or that your weight loss plan has started to infringe on important events and appointments in your life, talk to your doctor. You should also speak with your physician if you feel like you need to punish yourself for not eating “perfectly.” Passion is crucial but keeping it—and you—healthy is far more important.

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Low Impact Exercise For Beginners

Low Impact Exercise For Beginners


Yoga’s health benefits seem endless, making it a great low impact exercise to keep you healthy and lean. Not only does practicing yoga help you drop pounds and build muscles, it can also reduce pain, boost mood, lower blood pressure and encourage sleep.

What makes yoga so effective and simple is the fact that it’s a low impact exercise, manageable for people of all ages and body types—those with different ailments, aches and pains, as well as varying levels of stress or motivation.

Anyone can perform basic yoga poses, even if it requires making minor adjustments. If you are just starting out, don’t push yourself too hard to go deep into your stretches to start. You can work your way there. Yoga should be soothing and nurturing to your body. It definitely shouldn’t hurt.

On the Nutrisystem program, we recommend 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Consider adapting a yoga practice to shed some pounds, take care of your body and create some peace in your life. We know once you give it a try, you will become a believer just like us! There are so many options when it comes to yoga for beginners. It’s as simple as breaking out the yoga mat and running through these yoga videos on The Leaf. Every move has step-by-step instructions on how to execute the low impact exercise.

Seven yoga moves you should try for your low-impact exercise:

1. Butterfly Pose >


For the ultimate hip stretch in a soothing and peaceful move, look no further than the Butterfly Pose. This is a great pose for deep stretching in the hips, thighs, groin and knees. Sink into this simple stretch with feet pressed together and knees pointing out to the sides, creating butterfly wings with your legs. Make it a go-to pose for hitting those areas of your hips that are often overlooked, nurturing fatigued muscles, relieving stress and even potentially reducing pain associated with PMS and menopause! Try it here >

2. Cobra Pose >

Snake into this low-impact exercise to strengthen the shoulders, abdominals and glutes. It can even open and stretch the chest and back. Cobra Pose may help sufferers of asthma and sciatica, provide comfort for overworked and stressed muscles and improve flexibility. Breathe through the elongating and soothing stretch, with care not to overextend your back, which can lead to injury. Try it here >

3. Downward Facing Dog >

This is a classic pose that even non-yogis know and love. It’s a great standby to slip into for a quick midday stretch at the office, an unwinding routine after a long day or post-workout relief. Targeting the back, shoulders, arms, hamstrings and calves, this simple and blissful pose is a finger to toe stretch that has the power to help relax your entire body, calm anxiety, increase energy, soothe digestions, improve your mood and more! Try it here >

4. Cat and Cow Poses >

The cat and cow pose combination is a fabulous stretch to soothe and strengthen the chest, back and neck, while helping to reduce stress and aid in the flow of the digestive system. Performing these poses together is also associated with improved posture over time and lengthening of the spine. Once you get your groove of smoothly transitioning from one pose to the next, you’ll slip into back, neck and chest soothing heaven. Try it here >

5. Chair Pose >

Spending all day in the car… or at a desk? You need a low impact exercise that will undo this burden on your body. Add Chair Pose to the routine. This yoga for beginners move will reactivate those leg muscles without any rapid movements or heavy weights. Just squat and rise to your toes. You’ll better your balance over time, so don’t feel silly if it takes awhile to ace the pose. Try it here >

6. Warrior II >

Welcome a low impact exercise that actually has an impact, because this pose might have you feeling a bit like a warrior. Warrior II is a fantastic way to ignite and stretch all of the muscles in your body. Legs to arms, you’ll definitely feel it. Extend one leg back and bend the other forward, as if performing a lunge. Just remember to keep your knee at a right angle to the floor to avoid straining your joints. Stretch out your arms, and keep your gaze forward. Try it here >

7. Modified Side Plank >

Want to tone your tummy? Modified Side Plank it is! Yoga for beginners is turned on its side with a low impact exercise that targets your belly regions. As the name implies, Modified Side Plank is a pose that requires raising off of the floor and balancing on one side. Our quick video demonstrates it all in less than a minute, but you’ll feel yourself hitting muscles you’ve forgotten you even have. Even if you do crunches all day (a massive strain on your neck by the way), you’re not getting that laser focus on your sides. If you’re targeting a whole muffin top region, you’ll want to get it all! Try it here >*Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise routine.





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Men: Why You Should Try Nutrisystem

Men: Why You Should Try Nutrisystem


Men don’t eat the way women do. Their nutritional needs are different and they don’t lose weight in the same way. That’s why Nutrisystem has plans designed specifically to help guys become leaner and stronger while satisfying their man-sized appetites. If you’re ready to lose weight, get more energy and enjoy delicious food, keep reading to find out why Nutrisystem for Men is for you!

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Here are 10 reasons why you need to try Nutrisystem for Men today:

1. Real Food

real food

Hamburgers, barbecue chicken, meatballs and so much more. A weight loss plan for guys has to include hearty, filling meals like these. Nutrisystem lets men choose from dozens of delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks that are better-for-you versions of the foods they love most.

2. Fast Action

men

Men tend to be goal-oriented in everything they do. With Nutrisystem, you start losing weight in your first week and see meaningful progress toward your goal month after month. In your first seven days, you will follow the Body Reboot week and enjoy specially selected meals to help jumpstart your weight loss.* Going into week two, you will choose from the rest of the meals in your order and can add in some of your favorite grocery additions. By following your Nutrisystem for Men meal plan, you can drop up to 18 pounds and 8 inches overall in your first month.** And that’s just the beginning—you continue to shed extra pounds and get closer to your ideal weight while looking and feeling better each day.

3. Exercise Isn’t Enough

men exercise

Working out helps to tone your muscles and improve your overall health. However, exercise alone won’t get you to your goal. A team of researchers studied overweight men and compared the weight loss results of those who only exercised versus those who only ate healthier. According to their report, published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, study subjects who followed a healthy diet lost significantly more weight than those who strictly exercised. The best results were achieved with a healthy diet and regular activity—exactly what Nutrisystem recommends for men who want to drop extra pounds.

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4. No Hunger

hunger

Nutrisystem for Men doesn’t leave you feeling weak from hunger for hours on end. After the Body Reboot week, our meal plan encourages you to eat six times a day. That’s right! You get to snack every day and enjoy all of your favorite treats. These include savory options like our Sweet and Tangy Meat Stick and Honey Mustard Pretzels and sweet selections like the Chocolate Brownie Sundae and Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies. Whatever flavors you crave, you can satisfy your hunger and stay focused on the demands of your busy day.

5. Protein Power

protein power

One of the differences in nutritional requirements between men and women is in their protein needs. According to Harvard Health, guys need more of it. The macronutrient directly involved in muscle-building, protein is essential for men to maintain their strength and vitality. That’s why Nutrisystem offers men a wide selection of protein-rich meals and smooth, creamy Nutrisystem Protein and Probiotic shakes that fuel you up with 15 grams of protein. The delicious drinks come in chocolate or vanilla, so you’ll feel like you’re getting a treat while giving your body the protein it demands.

6. All About Convenience

men

The biggest challenge for many guys who want to lose weight and eat healthier can be just having good food around to choose from. When hunger strikes on busy days, stopping for fast-food or picking up takeout meals may feel like the only option available. With Nutrisystem for Men, you get a month’s worth of delicious and satisfying meals and snacks delivered directly to your door. You can decide on the fly what you want to eat and it’s right at your fingertips when you’re hungry.

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7. No Skills Needed

men

You don’t need to learn to cook or spend hours preparing healthy food with Nutrisystem for Men. When you’re hungry for a filling meal like Roasted Turkey Medallions or Lasagna with Meat Sauce, you can have it hot and ready to eat in minutes. No fuss, no mess, no waiting! With our Uniquely Yours Ultimate option, you get our most structured, foolproof plan that doesn’t require any Flex meals in your weekly rotation.

8. Personalized for You

men

Not every guy is alike, so Nutrisystem for Men has introduced plans that are designed specifically for your body type, food preferences and activity goals. The Uniquely Yours and Uniquely Yours Ultimate plans have the option to be personalized. Choosing a personalized plan will guide you to the exact foods that work best for you and keep you feeling satisfied and strong. If you have diabetes, Nutrisystem also has a Diabetes program just for you, too.

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9. Flexibility

men

Want to join your partner or your buddies at a favorite restaurant? You don’t have to pass just because you’re trying to lose weight. Nutrisystem for Men does more than supply you with healthy food to eat at home or at work. As you follow along with the program, you’ll learn about PowerFuels, SmartCarbs and proper portions, so that you can make informed choices wherever you go. We also have an amazing Dining Out Guide right here on The Leaf to help you with ordering.

10. Works for the Pros.

dan marino

Not only do real guys like you lose weight with Nutrisystem for Men, the program has even helped professional athletes, such as a Hall of Famer, former NFL great quarterback Dan Marino. He’s been maintaining his sleek but strong, post-career look for years and enjoying great food that keeps him feeling good, too. Follow his lead and you’re sure to be a winner!

What are you waiting for? Get started with Nutrisystem for Men today! >

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*In a study, avg weight loss was 5.4 lbs in the first week. The avg weight for the study participants was 207.3 lbs. Results vary based on starting weight and program adherence.

*Usage of this kit for more than one week in any consecutive 4-week period may lead to health complications and is not recommended. Please be sure to eat all of the food recommended for this program. Failure to follow the program protocol and eat all of the food recommended may involve developing serious health complications. If you have diabetes, are under 18 years of age, are pregnant or a nursing mother, or following a specialized diet for health issues, you may not use this kit. Please consult your physician before purchasing (or beginning) this kit.

**Results vary based on starting weight and program adherence. Average weight lost in a study was 15.5 lbs. and 8 inches total. Inches lost from hips, waist, chest, thighs and arms in first month.





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