It's human nature to put things off, but chronic procrastination can get in the way of work and life. In this video, psychologist Dr. Tamar Chansky, who specializes in anxiety, offers tips for breaking the procrastination habit.
Want to reduce your risk of disease by a whopping 78 percent? (Who doesn't?) Following just four little rules could do it for you. They are, in order of importance, (1) watch your weight, (2) say no to cigarettes, (3) take a daily walk, and (4) stick to a produce-and-whole-grains-focused diet. Sounds so simple.
And according to a large European study, it really was just that straightforward. People in the study who had a body mass index (BMI) under 30, had never smoked, got at least 3 1/2 hours of physical activity each week, and ate a relatively healthy diet—meaning a little meat and lots of fruit, veggies, and whole grains—enjoyed major risk reductions for all sorts of diseases, from diabetes and cancer to heart disease and stroke.
If you're finding it tough to lose weight, lower your blood pressure or reach another health goal, here's a way to see results: Start watching success stories.
In a study, people with high blood pressure did a better job of improving their own numbers if they watched DVDs documenting the treatment successes of other people with the same health problem.
In the study, some participants were given the DVD success stories, while others watched videos on unrelated health topics. And in the people whose high blood pressure was not effectively controlled at the start of the study, their systolic pressure was about 17 mm HG lower three months later if they were in the success stories DVD group. And their diastolic blood pressure had dropped seven mm HG.
Researchers think the blood pressure videos may have helped motivate people to get more serious about treating their own blood pressure problems. Not surprisingly, it can be highly encouraging to hear someone whose been in your shoes say "I did it, and you can, too!" So, whatever health hurdles you face, find people who've "been there, done that," and learn from them.
When we polled women about their most clever health and beauty strategies, most said they do the same things over and over again. The message? Find what works for diet and exercise, and stick with it. In one study, less food variety was associated with successful weight-loss maintenance. Mehmet Oz, MD, vice chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University and the Emmy-winning host of The Dr. Oz Show, explains: "More and more research is showing that putting a cap on the variety of foods and tastes you experience will help you control your weight. Find a healthy lunch you like -- salad with grilled chicken and olive oil, turkey on whole-grain bread -- and have it every day. Every day. Yes, every day."
Choose two workouts that you know you can stick with -- even when you're tired. Commit to doing one or the other four or more days a week. For example, choose walking and hula hooping. If you can't talk yourself into walking, hula hoop in front of your TV for 30 minutes. If you don't want to hula hoop, walk instead. Just do one or the other. Pick a healthy meal that you love, too, and try eating it every day for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
One of the best ways to weave healthy, body-shaping exercise and eating habits into your life is to put them right in front of your face. Leave your running shoes by the front door, park your hand weights and balance ball next to the TV, and put your treadmill in the middle of your living room, where you can see it.
According to Susan Koven, MD, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, and author of Chicken Soup for the Soul's Say Hello to a Better Body: Weight Loss and Fitness for Women Over 50, the same goes for food. "Few things make people more anxious -- or more likely to overeat at the first opportunity -- than a scarcity of food. So replace an abundance of unhealthy food with an abundance of healthy food."
Stock your kitchen with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein. Don't forget to include salsa, herbs, spices, and other healthy indulgences (e.g., low-fat yogurt, dried cherries, 76% cacao dark chocolate). Next, buy yourself a pair of hand weights and a balance ball. Put them next to your TV and allow them to lure you in.