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How Meditation Can Improve Your Health

The most common image of meditation is one of a monk in a religious experience. However, meditation is actually a practice that anyone can do to improve mind function and overall health.

Meditation has been proven to reduce stress levels and it can even help with conditions such as high blood pressure. Once you’ve become more calm and peaceful through meditation, your life will open up to more opportunities and you’ll find it easier to make healthy choices.

What Exactly Is Meditation?

Meditation is a way of clearing the mind. Once you’ve gotten into a habit of meditating often, you’ll discover that it’s easier than you think.

Some people sit in a cross-legged position when they meditate, but this isn’t mandatory. Another sitting position might be more comfortable for you, but the key is to maintain a good posture. If you slouch, you’re more likely to get tired and feel like falling asleep.

To get started, find a quiet place and get comfortable. Then start taking deep breaths in and out. Pay attention to your breath. You might find it helpful to say a “mantra” to yourself as you breathe in and out. Your goal is to keep your mind clear of thoughts.

Thoughts are inevitable though. The best way to eliminate them is to recognize that you’ve had a thought and then focus on your breathing and clearing your mind again. This will get easier with frequent practice.

Stress Free

When you focus on breathing and clearing your mind, you’re actually centered on the present moment. On the other hand, stress arises when you think about something in the past or future.

Since you have little stress when you have a clear mind in the present moment, you exude calmness. When you practice this often, you can bring a calm, stress-free demeanor to your everyday life.

Stress And The Body

When you feel stressed, you put your body into overdrive. When it’s overworked, it’s more open to various diseases and disorders. Stress exists for a reason; you need to have the hormonal adrenalin rush and increased breathing and heart rate in order to escape threatening situations. It’s simply how you’re able to handle threats.

By always having your mind on past or future stressors, you keep your mind and body in a stressful state even when you aren’t enduring a stressful situation in the present. This is exactly why it’s important to give your body a much needed break from all the stress. When you learn to meditate often, you’re giving your body the energy and rest it needs to stave off exhaustion and disease.

Improving Your Health

The absence of overwhelming stress improves your health in many ways. You’ll likely enjoy lower blood pressure and a strengthened immune system. Stress can also lead to mental disorders, so when you strive to be stress-free, you’ll keep anxiety and depression away as well.

When you meditate, you place your body in a kind of sleep state. You’re still awake, but your body can begin to repair itself in the same way that it does when you sleep. If you meditate in the morning or at night, you can help yourself transition from sleeping to wakefulness and vice versa.

Meditation is the ultimate exercise for a healthy mind and body. You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated once you’ve given it a try. Who knew that “just sitting” could be so helpful!

Easy Weight Loss Tips for Achieving Your Weight Loss Goals

If you’ve tried to lose weight and failed, you’re probably thinking that it’s a mighty difficult task to accomplish. Do you feel like you’ve tried every diet out there and nothing works?

Don’t give up! Achieving your weight loss goals might be easier than you think!

Small Changes = Big Results

As you’ve no doubt noticed, weight loss isn’t a quick fix. You can’t go on a two-week diet, lose the weight, and then think that the weight will stay off for good. Even if you’re really good about following a diet at first, you’ll more than likely gain the weight back.

Why?

It’s because a two-week diet does nothing to alter your lifestyle. The best results come from changes that you incorporate into your daily life, and many of these changes aren’t drastically different from what you do now.

You can even continue to enjoy the foods you love as long as you do so with a wise plan!

If you make a series of small changes, one at a time, you’ll give yourself a chance to get used to them. It won’t seem like such a shock to your system when you introduce the changes gradually. Sooner than you think, you’ll lose the weight and gain the healthy body and lifestyle that you desire!

Here are some weight loss tips to implement into your new lifestyle:

1. Use low fat milk. When you use low fat milk, you’ll still get the nutritious benefits of milk, but without all the fat grams. Try substituting skim, 1%, or soy milk in your cereal, coffee, and cooking.

2. Cut out soda. Soda is a big offender when it comes to empty calories. The best thing you can do for your body is to replace the soda you’re drinking with water. Water is critical to your good health. It also helps fill you up and has zero calories, no matter how much you drink!

If you’re having trouble kicking the soda habit, try alternating soda and water each time you go to get a drink. This will gradually get you used to less soda and increase your water intake.

3. Start walking. If a regular exercise routine is difficult for you, strive to walk more often. Walking doesn’t feel so much like true exercise, but it is and you’ll be rewarded for it.

  • Park farther from the store so you have to walk a little distance.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Go for an enjoyable walk with your neighbor. You can visit, catch up, and exercise all at the same time!

4. Watch your portion sizes. Portion sizes just keep getting larger and larger. You may not even realize that you’re consuming a portion that’s much too large for you. Look up what a healthy portion size really is for the meal you’ve chosen. You might be surprised at the results!

  • Start your meals with a full glass of water.
  • Combat over-sized portions by using smaller plates.
  • Half your plate should be vegetables, a quarter should be protein, and the other quarter should be carbohydrates.
  • Give yourself the correct amount of food and then refrain from seconds.

5. Have desserts sparingly. Save desserts for special occasions or times when you deserve a nice treat. Avoid eating them every day, or you’ll be adding massive amounts of calories to your daily intake.

  • It’s a good idea to plan ahead for occasional desserts and only buy them for those certain meals. That way, they aren’t there tempting you the rest of the time.
  • Have plenty of healthy snacks available to curb hunger or cravings in between meals.

You can easily turn these tips into healthy habits by incorporating them into your lifestyle one at a time. Get used to one tip before you add another one. Most of them involve only small changes. However, these small changes will enable you to achieve your weight loss goals!