Think before you snack.

In my last article, I said that a little etiquette goes a long way. In the same regard, we can also apply this principle to so many other areas of life – take for instance, snacking on junk food. Not only are these seemingly small portions bursting with flavour but they’re also packed with a lot of hidden calories. And until we’re aware of just how many calories we’re consuming, we won’t have any inclination to stop munching. It’s okay to nibble here and there but make sure you also exercise here and there. So if you’re a snacker like me, here’s a little chart to keep those calories in check and balance:

©2015 Susie LeeThinkThink2

Choose to be present. Everyday.

dadThis is one of the most powerful videos I’ve seen that reflects my sentiments on social media and on our electronic gadgets: Can We Auto-Correct Humanity? by Prince Ea .

The message is clear: We have a choice everyday – let’s make the choice to be present.

©2014 Susie Lee

You are what you eat – so don’t be fast, cheap, and easy.

fast cheap and easy

I’m not a dietician but neither am I a rocket scientist to know that what we eat on the inside will show on the outside. One of the ways to living our best is feeling our best. And a part of that is taking care of our bodies through exercise and what we put into it. Fact is, eating healthy takes work – it takes time, energy, planning, and preparation. That’s why it’s tempting to eat out or heat up already-made processed foods. Eventually what we eat will catch up to us, for better or for worse.

A general rule of thumb to eating healthy is to consume food in it’s simplest form of being unprocessed, and if you do consume processed foods, make sure it has very few ingredients in it, ones that you can pronounce. Every little bit helps, so try not to add unnecessary salt to dishes or sugar in beverages but if you need to, a tasty substitute sweetener would be honey (or agave) and a good substitute for salt would be salsa. Another way to cut needless calories from your diet is to replace your soda and juice with water and non-caffeinated tea. And unless you’re an athlete in training, I’d stay away from energy drinks and protein shakes, all of which have an absorbent amount of calories. A little always goes a long way, this applies to both losing and putting on the pounds.

Another way to watch what you eat is to make your own meals and desserts. This way you can control what ingredients you’d like to put into it. Yes, this takes time and who knows, you might find you have a natural knack for cooking and baking. In my spare time, I enjoy baking as it helps me to decompress and I’m electronic-free for a few hours. The plus side is that I’ll have delicious treats on hand for the rest of the week. Yes, baking and cooking takes time and effort but the health benefits far outweigh the work.

I guarantee you’ll have those days where you’re going to want to sink your teeth into sweets or into the deep-fried food with a gulp of pop, and that’s ok, the key is moderation. Actually, this can apply to all aspects of our lives. It’s fine to have a cheat day, just don’t make that everyday. In the beginning, it’s mind over matter – you have to discipline your mind to re-condition your body but as the weeks and months go by, it’ll become second nature.

Along with watching our diet, it’s also important to take our vitamins and get plenty of exercise daily. Overtime, even our work out routine can become a bore and our bodies can become stagnant. So don’t be afraid to change it up. Sign up for a dance class with a friend, or take advantage of the free swim or skate sessions at your local community centre. The trick is to make exercise fun, so go for a hike, run, or bike in the great outdoors with some buddies. If you can’t find the time in your schedule to sign up for a class or get a gym pass, then move your body in simple ways like parking the car further from your final destination, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking the bus instead of the car. I’m not saying we should be obsessed with the health of our bodies but we do need to take care of them because it’s the only one we’ve got. Taking these simple steps will make us feel better. And ironically, energy begets more energy.

On top of eating healthy and regular exercise, it’s important to increase the happiness, decrease the stress, and get plenty of sleep. We need to take care of our bodies now, so our bodies will take care of us later. This applies to any age.

©2014 Susie Lee

chart 3chart 4chart 2

If I Don’t Start, I Don’t Have a Problem

I love reading books especially the ones that are filled with pockets of wisdom for everyday living.  Today, I’d like to give you a simple and practical tool from Magic Words – 101 Ways to Talk Your Way Through Life’s Challenges.  Thank you to my good friend, Nisha, who recommended this book to me!

(Magic Words #31)

Betcha can’t eat just one: that old potato chip commercial definitely hits a very deep nerve.  Think Ben & Jerry’s, M&M’s, whipped cream, French fries, triple chocolate-chip cookies…even pickles.

Jeri, a newspaper reporter, was working on an important investigative piece on a labor racketeering project.  Since she was on a tight deadline, she found herself getting takeout lunches from the gourmet shop next door to her office.  For the first week she stuck to her usual turkey sandwich or tuna-from-a can with Diet Dr Pepper, but then she spied a row of large round glass self-service containers of nuts and dried fruits behind the deli area.  Knowing she had a weakness for unsalted cashews, she stayed away.  But one day, just as a special treat, she scooped a handful of jumbo nuts into a plastic bag.  The next day she was back, snapping up some more.

A week later, she was eating cashews for afternoon snacks and popping a few on the subway ride home.  Two months passed, and she’d gain seven pounds plus a couple more from overdosing on morning Danish and wolfing down chunks of Taleggio cheese with an evening glass of wine.

We told her about Dr. Stephen Gullo, a well-known weight control expert who would be able to help her quit the cashew habit.  She made an appointment with him for the following week.

Jeri’s problem is a common one.  Many of us, according to Dr. Gullo, have “trigger foods” that activate a “can’t resist” process.  Potato chips are a great example.  Ice cream, bread, cake, and cookies are all culprits, as is almost anything that contains chocolate.  How do you stop the process?  Dr. Gullo prescribes these magic words: If I don’t start, I don’t have a problem.

Jeri wrote them on a piece of paper, which she Scotch-taped to her change purse.  If she surrendered to her urges and loaded up on cashews, when she reached the checkout counter she’d give them back to the cashier.  If she was at a party and a bowl of nuts came into view, Dr. Gullo advised that she move out of range immediately and repeat the magic words to herself.  At the end of three weeks, Jeri had shed half a dozen pounds and was well on her way to zipping up her Levi’s again.

Dr. Gullo’s magic words also work for problems that don’t involve food.  For instance, it’s easy to start complaining in today’s stressful employment climate – the boss is inaccessible, the hours are excruciating, the pay is unfair, blah, blah, blah.  Complaining begets more complaining and inevitably the boss finds out who started the griping, so it’s bad for the complainer – and for general morale.  A lot of people have a tendency to air grievances around the water cooler.  If you’re one of those who sets up a negative situation, do yourself a favor and say “If I don’t start…” and you and your co-workers will steer clear of a common problem.

Nagging is another prime area where “If you don’t start” has a positive effect.  Unfortunately, women have been stereotyped as naggers, though in many cases they nag for a good reason.  Men nag too.  We think it can easily be stopped by changing the magic words slightly, to “If I don’t start, WE don’t have a problem.”

From nachos to nagging, cashews to complaining, the best approach to stopping something you shouldn’t be doing is not starting in the first place.

-Magic Words – 101 Ways to Talk Your Way Through Life’s Challenges
by Howard Kaminsky & Alexandra Penney (pg. 87-89)