How to Stay Motivated to Be Healthy

Resources for motivation to be healthy

Staying motivated to be healthy can be tough, but there are resources out there to help you!
Image: Shutterstock

However good your intentions may be, it’s hard sometimes to work up the motivation to stick with healthy habits like workouts or eating well. But there are a lot of resources out there to help keep you motivated to be healthy!

  • Insurance perks. Some insurance programs actually reward healthy behavior with benefits like discounts on their services and prizes ranging from movie tickets to a free iPad! Be sure to check with your insurance company to see what they offer.
  • Health blogs. Of course you’ll want to research the claims and make sure they’re backed up with solid data, but blogs are a great way to connect with fitness and health professionals as well as others trying to get and stay healthy. The blog format also lets you ask questions, make comments, and maintain a community of like-minded folks who can keep your motivation going.
  • Health apps. There probably is an app for that—whether “that” is tracking calories, organizing a workout, or a cool way to gamify your healthy habits. Some of these apps will even reward you with real cash: The app Pact lets you set goals and, once you’ve achieved them, get financial rewards. And that’s not even counting all the apps that help you find bike routes (BikeNav), interpret nutrition labels (Fooducate), and more.
  • Social networks. Sure, you could use your Facebook account to kvetch about work…or you could use it to team up with other people who are trying to make healthy choices. Just like in the offline world, finding people who support your efforts means a better chance of achieving your goals.   In fact, Penn State has done the research: people who had the support of a friend, family member, or significant other logged more fitness hours than those who didn’t.
  • Find healthy habits you love. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it really works. When you love what you’re doing to be healthy, you’re more likely to do it. Try lots of activities and recipes until something really strikes your fancy.

Staying motivated to be healthy can be tough, but when your motivation is lacking, know you’ve got plenty of resources out there to help you get back on top of your game!

Girl Uninterrupted Launches New Look

Girl Uninterrupted's new look

Girl Uninterrupted is now available from Amazon.

On September 17, Girl Uninterrupted officially debuted its new look, along with its Amazon.com page, where it’s available for purchase.

Produced by Magpie, LLC, a wellness company founded by women for women, Girl Uninterrupted is an all-natural supplement designed to work quickly to relieve symptoms associated with menstruation, like cramps, bloating, and irritability. It contains five herbal ingredients:

  • Griffonia seed extract, a natural source of 5-HTP, an amino acid that affects serotonin receptors in the brain and allows for a sense of relaxation without fatigue;
  • Green tea extract, which contains antioxidants and relieves bloating by working as a light diuretic;
  • A blend of red clover, chaste tree berry, and saw palmetto, each of which support estrogen in the body and help balance female hormones.

A lifelong health enthusiast with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from Cornell, Magpie, LLC founder Mayling Kajiya wanted to create a supplement to deal with the symptoms of PMS without using acetaminophen and caffeine.

“For a syndrome that affects almost every woman at some point in her life, it’s about time for a product that doesn’t just numb the discomfort of PMS with the same medicine one would take to get rid of a headache or sore throat, but rather, one that provides relief in a safe, effective way by using all-natural ingredients,” said Kajiya.

Girl Uninterrupted is for women who can’t afford to have their lives interrupted by PMS symptoms every month.

Available on Amazon.com, Girl Uninterrupted is sold in a 1-month supply package of eight tablets for $14.99 and a 3-month supply of 24 tablets for $24.99.

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Prepare Before Bed

overnight oats in a glass jar

A quick, easy breakfast you can prepare in advance! Image: Shutterstock

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats have become a pretty “trendy” breakfast meal – and we understand why! Overnight oats can be prepared a few nights in advance and eaten the next day.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Directions

  • Mix oats, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla together. Put this mixture in a jar in the fridge overnight.
  • In the morning, add the peanut butter, banana, and any other fruit. We love adding fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries – or any other kind of berry. Enjoy!

Depending on your preferences, the peanut butter and vanilla can be substituted for ½ cup of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt. We recommend playing around with ingredients to find what you love!

 

Omelet muffins

Easy and customizable omelet muffins.
Image: Shutterstock

Omelet Muffins

Omelet muffins are a healthy and easy breakfast idea you can make on Sunday and enjoy all week. They are very customizable and can be made with tons of different veggie, meat, and cheese options. You’ll need a muffin tin to make these adorable and healthy breakfast bites.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs (for a larger muffin pan use 10)
  • ¼-1/2 cup milk
  • Any veggies, meats, or cheeses. Combine any of the following:
    • Tomatoes
    • Green onions
    • Spinach
    • Zucchini
    • Onions
    • Bell pepper
    • Diced ham
    • Diced bacon
    • Diced sausage
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Mozzarella cheese

Directions

  • Whisk together the eggs and milk. Add in any spices you’d like (pepper, salt, parsley, etc.)
  • Fill the muffin tin about 1/3 full of your veggies, meat, and cheeses.
  • Fill the muffin tin (almost) the rest of the way with the egg mixture.

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

Fruit and yogurt parfaits with extra fruit and spoons

Fruit and yogurt parfaits use just a few ingredients that lead to deliciousness!
Image: Shutterstock

Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

Fruit and yogurt parfaits are an easy, healthy, and yummy breakfast alternative. They can be customized with your favorite fruit and yogurt.

Ingredients

  • ½ vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt (or any yogurt of your choice)
  • Chopped berries (strawberries, blueberries etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup granola
  • Optional: Cinnamon, coconut flakes

 Directions

  • The night before, add yogurt, chia seeds, and cut up berries to a jar.
  • In the morning mix in the granola, and enjoy!

 

zucchini muffins

Make some on the weekend and enjoy all week!
Image: Shutterstock

Zucchini and Banana Muffins (recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Zucchini and banana muffins are an easy breakfast you can make on Sunday and eat all week!

Ingredients

  • Muffin tin
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • ½ cup mashed ripe banana
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowel, combine flour, brown sugar, flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add banana and zucchini. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, egg, and vanilla together. Combine.
  • Divide batter in muffin cups. Cook for 20-25 minutes.

We hope these recipes make your busy life a bit more simple and healthy in the mornings! Let us know if you make any of these in the comments below!

 

Does PMS Ruin Marriages? We Think Not.

PMS-MarriageA recent paper put out by Michael R. Gillings claims that PMS can ruin marriages. Problem #1?  The author can’t seem to properly distinguish between PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), which is like confusing a kitten for a lion.

Eighty percent of women just have PMS - which is a bunch of mild, annoying symptoms. Five to eight percent of women have PMDD, which is a serious and sometimes disabling disorder. He claims that PMS was made to drive off the infertile males and leave us to find fertile males - a typical male explanation. Not only does he assume that all couples are heterosexual, but he always assumes that they are all motivated by childbearing decisions as well.

PMS does not ruin marriages. This, again, reinforces the idea that we turn into crazy women every month. Women are taught to be hush-hush about their periods so they don’t make people uncomfortable. The reality is, we are trying to suffer silently and only have outbursts when it becomes too much. Women are very aware of the PMS stigma and do not want any man to attribute our reactions to this because it gives them a reason to dismiss our feelings.

Not to mention that every woman is affected very differently by PMS. I’m pretty sure if a man felt this way every month, he wouldn’t be too happy either!

While we don’t believe that PMS has any affect on your marriage or relationships, we do believe that it can inconveniently interrupt your life every month. Girl Uninterrupted is about PMS relief that is effective, natural, and discreet – and allows you to live your life without interruption. If you feel you’re your monthly flow is interrupting your life, check out how Girl Uninterrupted can help with your PMS relief.

What are your thoughts on Michael R. Gillings’ paper about PMS and marriage? Let us know in the comments below!

Only have a Few Minutes to Work Out? Try These Exercises!

Exercise-in-ten-minsWe all have days or weeks when work, school, family – or anything else – gets in the way of our workout time. With added stress and busyness often comes the tendency to be lazy or eat unhealthy, but don’t let that throw off your healthy game!

Whether you are having a busy week or never seem to have enough time to work out, we believe that little steps can make a big impact. Doctors have even reported that regular exercise, regardless of how little, can have a lasting impact on your health and mental acuity.

Don’t have time to spend an hour at the gym or on a run? Here are a few options for ten minute or less workouts that work your arms, legs, butt and abs:

Ben Greenfield, a Fitness and Triathlon expert and Get-Fit podcast host recommends completing the following three times total:

  • 50 jump jacks
  • 15 push ups
  • 15 squats body weight squats
  • 15 dips (use two chair seats or something sturdy to hold onto)
  • 15 reverse lunges per side

Check out a video on reverse lunges here.

This is a 6-minute workout circuit by Lo Bosworth (the workout starts at 1:43), which shows a step-by-step for all of the exercises. Complete the following three times total, 60 seconds for each exercise (that’s just 18 minutes total!):

  • Plank balance for 60 seconds
  • Oblique blaster
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bicep Lifts
  • Warrior3 Lifts
  • Booty Lifts

We recommend adding some cardio as well, with 50 jumping jacks or butt kicks to really amp it up.

Anna Renderer, a fitness host, has created a 10-minute workout video for the “lazy girl” in all of us. This 10-minute circuit workout should be completed twice and requires a set of light free weights:

  • Trunk Twist
  • Bridge
  • Bird Dog Crunch
  • Alternating Chest Fly
  • Triceps Extension
  • Seated Bicep Curl
  • Mini Sidewinder

Do you have a short workout you have mastered? Share your quick workout secrets with us in the comments below!

 

Genetics Vs. Lifestyle – What is the Real Cause of PMS?

Genetics-LifeStyle-PMSMore than half of all women who menstruate have some form of cramping, and 15 percent of women have severe cramps. Menstrual cramps usually (but not always) improve, as a woman gets older, especially after giving birth. Of course, this doesn’t mean cramps go away as you age—they just often become a little more manageable.

Like many other things in life, genetics affect everything – even PMS! Unfortunately, if your mom and grandma had bad cramps, chances are you probably will too. Regardless of what runs in your family, don’t let nature rule your life!

Many women overlook the influence that their lifestyle and health has on the symptoms of their period. Being overweight and inactive can actually exacerbate symptoms of PMS. This is because high amounts of body fat indicate higher levels of estrogen, which can worsen your PMS. Being inactive also means that you aren’t letting your body help you out. Working out causes your body to produce nature’s painkillers, endorphins. Even though we don’t usually feel like it, it’s always a good idea to stay active during your period – and all other times of the month.

What you eat also has an effect on how good or bad you feel. Too much sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can worsen PMS. Too much dairy consumption can also worsen symptoms, due to hormonal imbalances. High stress levels can also worsen the symptoms of PMS.

The moral of the story: there’s a lot to thank our moms for – just maybe not the cramps! Luckily for us ladies, we have the personal power to stay healthy and active before, during, and after our periods. Not only will this help with PMS symptoms, but it will also produce a healthier you. What’s not to love?

Why Does PMS Cause Water Weight?

Water Weight During Period

UGH. Do you ever get that balloon-like feeling? PMS and other hormonal changes can really affect how your belly feels. Many women get cramps, headaches, back pain, and more during their periods – but your body changes before your period as well. That uncomfortable bloating around the abdomen, hips, and thighs that we disdainfully refer to as “water weight” is a product of an imbalance of magnesium and potassium in the body. This is due to a change in hormones.

While it may seem like a lot, it is common to gain between 1 to 6 pounds before and during your period. This can happen regardless of how healthy you are. Some women will have a noticeable weight gain, while others don’t. Remember not to panic either way - this is totally normal!

Some girls try diuretics to reduce the bloat, but in the long run, diuretics rob you of important minerals that your body needs to function. Here are a few options to reduce this water weight gain:

  1. Avoiding salty foods will reduce the chances of water retention.
  2. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium.
  3. Keep yourself hydrated. Drinking more water doesn’t mean you are going to gain more water weight!
  4. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
  5. Cut back on refined sugars.

While these are great tips, we also just recommend a “roll with it” approach. Help your body out with these tips, but don’t feel bad if you occasionally give into that chocolate bar. Whether it’s yoga pants to the library or a flowy dress to the office, wear something loose and comfy so you don’t feel miserable all day. Plus, remember that the mind tends to blow the actual appearance of bloating waaaaaay out of proportion. You still look great, and the bloating will go away as soon as your period comes!

Is PMS Cramping Your Style?

cramping

What is actually causing the pain of cramps

It’s that time of the month. Like a snake shedding its skin, the lining of your uterus must contract to bring the uterine lining down and out of the body. The uterus is made of smooth muscle tissue, and just like any other muscle in your body, doing hard work can cause it to cramp. Unfortunately, this muscle movement must happen for your period to occur. For most women with moderate cramps, an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medicine works well.  If the pain is unusually severe, please see your doctor just in case there is something else causing that pain.

Though getting up and moving around may be the LAST thing you feel like doing during your period, exercise helps manage the discomfort and pain of cramps. The endorphins released during and after exercise are natural painkillers that help alleviate the pain of cramps.   Go for a walk or a quick bike ride so you can take your mind off your misery and put all of your muscles to good use.

Guilt-Free Smoothie for PMS

Did you ever think your blender could help alleviate PMS discomfort?   There is some science behind these ingredients, but this GirlU smoothie is not only enjoyable but also incredibly healthy.  PMS is a challenge, but at GirlU we like to find natural and plant based solutions!  Here are a few of the ingredients and the reason why they are important for lessening PMS symptoms.

Main Ingredients:

  • Bananas are sweet and creamy when blended and they have a high potassium content that can help reverse the water retention often associated with PMS.
  • Cocoa powder is rich in anti-oxidants, but we put it in the smoothie as a healthy alternative for sweet and chocolaty cravings.
  • Maca powder is rich with vitamin C, D and E and is used for making those cramps, body pain and mood swings less painful and annoying.  Maca Root is a “superfood” that most people have not discovered yet, but it definitely enhances your energy level so it’s best consumed early in the day.

Here’s a #GirlUTip, for frosty, refreshing results, use frozen bananas. The easiest thing to do is to peel a banana, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer so it is ready to go.  The last thing you want to do is wrestle the peel off when you are already in a bad mood!

Throw all of your ingredients in the blender and then sit back, drink up and enjoy!

For the full PMS smoothie recipe and nutritional content check out the video below!

A Happy, Healthy 4th of July BBQ

fireworks

Who doesn't love a day off in the middle of the summer to get together with friends and family to celebrate? BBQ’s usually start early in the day but the party never ends until after the fireworks so the number one tip is to pace yourself!  Don’t show up hungry and start stuffing yourself with the chips and dips the moment you get there.  Two reasons why you should offer to bring an appetizer to the BBQ.  First of all, you get the “good friend” credit with the offer and second, you ensure there will be some healthy snacks available.

The 4th of July is the ultimate hang out and play holiday, so be sure to join in a beach volleyball game or lead everyone in a game of tag football.  Throw a frisbee in your bag, or pick up one of those bean bag toss games...just don’t turn it into a drinking game because it all goes back to tip #1, pace yourself.

Remember, a can of beer has about 150 calories and 13 g of carbs and they go down pretty quickly on a hot day!  But, three of those and “BAM,” you've loaded yourself up in more ways than one. That heavy, bloated and gassy feeling is from the carbonation and that sloppy drunk thing in the middle of the day isn't worth it either.

Use common sense and stick to the 4th of July “food pyramid!”  Vegetables can be eaten in unlimited amounts.  Add your protein during a reasonably sized meal as you settle into the celebration, like, a burger, some ribs or chicken from the grill.  Go easy on the chips, pretzels, cookies and brownies that are always in abundance at these parties.  Drink a bottle or a glass of water in between those cocktails, helpful hydration in more ways than one.

Be safe, have lots of fun, eat for your health and HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!