Along with choosing the right foods, your mealtime atmosphere also plays a part in a healthier diet. People tend to eat faster and more when there is fast-paced music playing, so opt for classical over rock. Also, using smaller plates will make your portions seem bigger, so reach for your kid's Pokémon dishware instead of your usual dinner platter.
Scientists say that the olfactory bulb (the bundle of nerve cells involved in the sense of smell) directly affects the areas in your brain that process emotion and memory. The next time you need a little pick-me-up, sniff something that reminds you of happier times, like your wedding bouquet or your backyard tree. Studies have shown that smelling the skin of an orange is a natural mood-booster.
Taking a walk is good, but walking backward might be even better. Studies have shown that while walking gives your skeletal muscles a workout and boosts bone strength, walking backward engages even more of your muscles and enhances strengthening benefits. Maybe your 3-year-old is on to something.
Writing is a great release and experts say that journaling can help some people with anxiety. To get the most benefit from it, they recommend recording not just the day's events, but your emotions and how you felt in reaction to what was happening.
Here's something easier to make than your morning coffee: lemon water! A glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice will not only hydrate you, but you'll also get a digestive aid and a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants. So, before you make that curd (or limoncello), set aside a few lemons for your new morning ritual.
Two things everyone complains about: not having enough time to exercise, and waiting. So why not combine the two? While you're waiting for your shower to warm up, fit in a few lunges or squats. Run in place while Netflix is taking forever to load or do a set of sit-ups before the kids get off the school bus.
Meal prepping on Instagram might be so 2017, but it's still a great way to maintain portion control and eat healthy. Take an hour or so at the beginning of the week to cook a few chicken breasts, hard-boil eggs, steam some vegetables and make a pot of brown rice or quinoa. (Or, all of these things can be bought at the supermarket already prepared.) Get creative with spices and healthy sauces, and you'll never want to eat fast food again. (Well, maybe sometimes.)
Flossing is essential, but dentists also stress the importance of cleaning your tongue. All the bacteria that live there contribute to bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay. They recommend using a tongue scraper (as opposed to just brushing it) to remove all of the toxins that are currently living and multiplying there. (BRB, off to clean my tongue now.)
While you're restocking your spice cabinet (see No. 8), add a shaker of cinnamon to put in your morning coffee. This might help you reduce the amount of cream and sugar you put in there, and you can reap some health benefits in the process: Cinnamon is a rich source of antioxidants and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Stop hating yourself if you can't fit in those 10,000 steps a day. (How many of us even can?) Instead, experts say that you can get the same health benefits by counting minutes instead. In a recent study, older men who took three 10-minute brisk walks a day cut their risk of dying (of any cause during the study) by 40 percent. Don't fret if you leave your FitBit at home.
We hear this all the time, but it bears repeating: Wear sunscreen! If you can't spare the 10 seconds it takes to cover your whole face, at least hit the most vulnerable spots: your nose, eyelids and lips. Your nose is the most common place on your face for basal cell carcinoma, and 5 percent to 10 percent of all skin cancers occur on eyelids. Also, take note: Wearing lipstick with an SPF really pays off—men are more likely to develop tumors on their lips.
Most everyone agrees that flossing is a pain, but what's the alternative (besides getting dentures)? Research shows that using dental picks are effective at removing food particles and are just as good as flossing to reduce plaque and prevent gum disease. Get picking!
Slouching not only looks bad, it's terrible for your back muscles and can zap your energy, too. Turn it around by bending over backward: Stand up, put your hands on your hips and slowly bend back. Experts say that doing this a few times every hour can reverse some of the damage done by all that hunching over your keyboard.
How about cutting out fast food for 2018? (Except for the occasional order of McDonald's fries. Who can quit those?) Studies show that people who eat fast food three or more times a week have an 81 percent chance of being seriously overweight over those who eat it less than once a week. Instead, cook at home more often, make healthier choices when you eat out and let bacon-cheeseburgers make only a rare appearance in the coming year.
Snacking gets a bad rap, but experts caution against getting too hungry. Your brain can go into "panic mode" when you've gone too long without food, and that will cause you to make bad food choices and overeat. Go ahead and stock your drawer with some healthy snacks. Your body (and your diet) will thank you later.
All that processed food is so unattractive! Replace that ugly jar of liquid cheese with some beautiful hummus, stock up on handsome low-fat string cheese and a couple of pounds of good-looking cooked chicken, and keep a bowl of gorgeous washed fruit on the first shelf. Now your fridge is ready for its close-up.
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