5 Tips for Drinking More Water On the Reg {Guest Post}

During those teenage years, my mom (a certified yoga instructor) nagged me constantly to hydrate more often. But in my oh-so-mature, kinda rebellious state, I’d hear the advice, but not really listen.

Despite her knowledge of pranic healing and ayurvedic technique, she was still my mother—and hanging on her every word didn’t rank high on the priority list. Besides, I didn’t even like drinking water. It was plain and boring, with no real taste or texture. I much preferred a more flavorful thirst-quencher.

Only after studying nutrition and biology in college, have I realized that my mom was right all along—water is life. Therefore, consuming the required amount of 2-3 liters per day (as confirmed by most experts) does wonders. In fact, now I make a conscious effort to drink more water, using the pointers my mother tried teaching her stubborn teenage daughter.

Since then, I’ve definitely noticed a change in my well-being—from a healthier weight to a clearer complexion. So, now I’m passing along those tips which helped me include more water in my routine…without feeling like a chore!

how-to-drink-more-water

  • Down those Shots.

Ever played that drinking game with your friends during a movie where you all take a shot whenever a character says one particular phrase on-screen? Well, not only is that game effective for imbibing copious amounts of alcohol, it’s also a simple strategy for upping your H2O intake.

Next time you’re watching TV, reading a book, scrolling through social media or even attending a work seminar, play this game with yourself. Sip a couple ounces of water each time you come across a certain word, either in print or spoken aloud. This can help to supplement your hydration in manageable chunks throughout the day.

  • Go Au Naturel. 

As a devoted yogi, my mother was against zero-calorie vitamin water. And now I understand why—this flavored alternative claims to be healthy, but contains an absurd amount of chemicals or artificial sweeteners. In fact, a recent study found that most flavored waters exceed your recommended sugar allowance, as stated by the World Health Organization.

If you can’t handle the taste of plain water and use flavored water as your go-to substitute, this habit is derailing your own health. But fear not—there’s another solution.

Consider infusing that H2O with mint leaves, lemon slices or fresh berries. Adding these ingredients enhances the enjoyment factor with natural sweetness (or tartness), while providing nutritional benefits too.

  • Find an App for That.

Mobile apps exist for literally everything imaginable, and there’s no shortage of options to keep you on-track for meeting that daily hydration quota. If you’re tech-savvy, download these apps for extra accountability.

Most feature goal setting functions to input your desired intake, periodic alarms reminding you it’s time for a swig, and tracking technology to record your consumption for the entire week. They even come equipped with a database of statistics and “pro-tips” for boosting overall health.

  • Practice Interval Drinking.

Make a habit of drinking one large glass of water before each meal and after each bathroom break. Assuming you eat three meals per day, that’s three glasses down.

Couple that with another glass after every bathroom break, and you’ll consume at least eight servings total (most people urinate about 6-8 times in a 24 hour period). Also, drinking water before eating will curb your appetite, promoting healthy weight management.

  • Finally, Treat Yo’self. 

You know that feeling of a brand new coffee mug, when just you gotta use it ASAP? Well, the same goes for H2O. Splurge on a fancy-schmancy water bottle to keep on your desk or bedside. Whenever you glance at this new purchase, you’ll be motivated to take a gulp!

We’re naturally drawn to appreciate colors, patterns and designs, so adding this visual incentive can psychologically enhance your water drinking experience.

However you choose to fuel up, remember that 60% of the human body is comprised of water, so ensuring adequate hydration is vital. Take it from this H2O convert—the wellness benefits are hard to ignore!

glass-of-water

image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons


Akshata Mehta has a passion for traveling and exploring the world. She loves to write, and is especially interested in sustainability for everyday life. Being a foodie, she also enjoys cooking up healthy concoctions in her kitchen, recording these recipes and more on her blog With Love From Akshata.

Crunching the Numbers for Your Healthiest 2016

We’re 3 weeks into the New Year, people. How are those resolutions going?

Is your will-power a force to be reckoned with, or does your lack of motivation beg the question, “why even keep up this charade?”

Or, maybe you’re like me and would rather take a neutral stance on this whole “resolution” business. I believe in setting (and achieving!) positive intentions for self-improvement…but those stereotypical “must-fit-into-skinny-jeans-by-such-and-such-arbitrary-date” goals? Hard pass.

In order for any lifestyle change to have staying power, it’s gotta be 3 things—realistic,  fulfilling and sustainable. 

Exhibit A: “I will lose 15 pounds before bikini season.” Slim chance for long-term success. No action plan whatsoever…just wishful thinking, fueled by body shame. And, ultimately doomed to fail.

Exhibit B: “I will engage in regular physical exertion and choose whole foods over processed ingredients because my health takes priority.” Now, this meets all the requirements for success. A clearly stated initiative with tangible benefits and definitive follow-through potential. Ding…ding…ding. We have a winner!

So, in the interest of tackling realistic, fulfilling and sustainable (yep, those magic words are back!) wellness goals throughout 2016, I’ve teamed up with Chobani Simply 100ÂŽ Crunch and their “crunch the numbers” fitness campaign.

You don’t need an expensive gym membership or unlimited free time to add more movement into your daily grind. If you’ve got a body and about 30 spare minutes, these 100 calorie-burning activities will be right up your alley. Take that, New Year’s resolutions! (mic drop—optional.)

12 fun ways to burn 100 calories

Special thanks to Chobani for providing the infographic featured in this post. I’m proud to support their Crunch the Numbers campaign to “live life lighter” throughout 2016.

The Mindfulness Model: Why Listening to Your Body Trumps any Diet

Ever collapse on the couch with that “emergency” Doritos stash after a chaotic week, then proceed to finish every single crumb without noticing?

Yeaaaah…We’ve all been there. Once or twice.

In fact, the average person spends approximately 38,003 hours eating over the course of their lifetime. Talk about a feeding frenzy! So, give your choppers a break and practice the art of mindful eating instead. 

Because, let’s be honest, our “instant gratification” culture has reduced this to a lost art.

By deliberately pacing yourself and savoring each bite throughout a meal, you’ll become more aware of your body’s internal cues which send the brain “hunger” and “fullness” messages. If you tune into these signals, they’ll take the guesswork out of knowing when to drop that fork.

Anyone can cultivate mindfulness — just slow down and listen. After all, the human body is constantly communicating, even when we’re too hurried or preoccupied to get the memo.

The infographic below explains how replacing those absent-minded munchies with mindful eating habits will help you make permanent strides toward a healthier, balanced and physically empowered lifestyle.

How to Master Mindful Eating


Shout-out to Health Perch for providing the featured research and  infographic.

How to Trick the Kiddos into Curbing their Treat Intake

♫ This is Halloween. This is Halloween. This is Halloween. ♫

Well…as of tomorrow, anyway.

This bewitching occasion for both the young and young-at-heart is marked by ghosts and goblins, pirates and princesses, superheroes and starlets traipsing around the block together, chanting that quintessential phrase — “trick-or-treat!”

Undoubtedly, Halloween represents a childhood rite-of-passage, filled with excitement, fantasy, mischief…

And, of course, sugar.

Otherwise known as the kids’ main motivation for dressing up. That haul of Skittles, Twizzlers and Milky Ways, which they’ll triumphantly drag home then ceremoniously dump on the kitchen floor, might just be their favorite part of the whole evening. But, as a parent, excessive candy consumption is likely your biggest complaint.

So, how can you keep your children from wolfing down unhealthy amounts of refined sugar without squelching their innocent fun? These pointers will do the trick! (See what I did there?)

halloween treats without the tricks

1.   Sort the pieces of candy into small piles (about four–five apiece) and transfer each grouping into a snack-sized Ziploc bag. Store these bags out of reach until the weekend. Then, give your kids a sweet treat to enjoy on Friday movie night, or pass out individual “goodie bags” during their Saturday sleepover. If you associate candy with special occasions, they won’t crave the cavity-causing sugar on a daily basis.

2.   Start a rewards system, so candy becomes a sweet incentive rather than TV-watching “junk food.” Let’s say your kids received stellar report cards in the classroom, or completed their chore charts with minimal protest. Recognize these achievements by handing over a chocolate bar as positive reinforcement. Use the treats to motivate exemplary behavior — both at home and school.

3.   Combine a handful of candy with healthy snack alternatives. Add M&Ms to pistachios, pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes for a wholesome trail mix. Bake dark chocolate into zucchini bread, or serve alongside sliced apples and almond butter. Drizzle melted caramel chews over whole-grain oatmeal or poached pears. Therefore, kids can satisfy that sweet tooth, while you sneak nutrients in their diet.

4.   Avoid stockpiling the Halloween candy stash over a long period. Cut down on those trick-or-treating leftovers by purging your house after a couple weeks. Surprise co-workers with a peppermint jar in the break room. Include Hershey squares in care packages for a neighbor or the kids’ teachers. Sweeten up holiday get-togethers with party favors for each guest. Chances are, as the Halloween novelty wears off, your little ones won’t even notice the missing candy right away.

Of course, sugary indulgence is part of childhood, so I’m not suggesting you deny them altogether. Parents should encourage kids to be…well, kids. The key word is MODERATION.

Provided your children aren’t over-stuffing themselves on Halloween goodies, there’s no reason to micromanage. Simply offset those empty calories by serving balanced nutrition at meal times.

After all, even the youngsters will probably concede that fresh vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains are more substantial in the long-run than a temporary sugar high or quick-fix craving. So, let ’em have their thrills. Just make sure it’s within predetermined boundaries.

happy halloween

On Turning Your Body Image from Naughty to Nice

The holidays are a challenging time of year for me.

I won’t even bother pretending otherwise.

So, with Christmas just 2 days around the corner, that telltale anxiety has begun creeping up on me.

In T-48 hours, the festivities will commence. I’ll be plied with cut-out cookies, green bean casserole (whose appearance at the buffet table always makes me wonder: why is this even a thing???), and every sugary beverage imaginable. I’ll spend Christmas dinner inwardly squirming because there’s no socially acceptable reason to escape “family time” for a stress-relieving workout.

And — most cringe-worthy of all — I’ll nod and *fake* smile as the table conversation invariably shifts to, “I reeeeeeally shouldn’t eat this, but…”

Don’t give me wrong though, I still love the holidays.

No, seriously. I do.

I’m a sucker for seasonal traditions. I can flawlessly quote Elf, and I know the lyrics to every musical sequence in White Christmas (that’s right…not just the title song!). I’m always convinced reindeer can fly upon watching the “Santa Tracker” with my younger cousins. In fact, I’m even listening to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” while typing this post.

Yep. There’s no denying it. Christmas is magical.

Too bad the magic often takes a backseat to my “holiday weight”-centric neurosis.

Negative body image seems grossly intensified during this time of year, and I sure wish Santa would fill my stocking with manuals on getting through the season, unscathed by those pesky insecurities. All gift-wrapped and foolproof because I am on the Nice List, don’tcha know.

Right. If only.

Instead, I’m left to my own devices when faced with excessive eating, thoughtless comments, and degrading voices inside my head. And — if you’re anything like me — you’ve likely experienced the exact same struggle.

But, since we’ve established the Big Guy won’t be bringing any “Body Image Survival Guides” on his sleigh anytime soon, I’ll leave you with this:

3 strategies, which have empowered me to sidestep feelings of inadequacy, so I can actually enjoy the festivities. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, as well. Just sayin’…

  1. If you want a cookie, have a cookie! Depriving yourself  is counterproductive and will frequently lead to a binge. Instead of suppressing a sweet tooth or restricting your regular intake to compensate for said sweet tooth, only to lose control and devour the whole damn cookie jar when nobody’s looking, allow yourself some wiggle room. Don’t overindulge, but listen to those internal hunger cues. If your body is craving chocolate chip goodness, for instance, feed the urge.  Eat 1 cookie. Taste it. Savor it. Then, walk away from the remaining dozen. Sweet tooth satisfied. Anxiety alleviated.
  2. Enough already with “good” vs. “bad” foods! There are no bad foods (unless they’re loaded with artificial preservatives…then, they can’t really be considered food). Only bad eating habits. Example: I might avoid green bean casserole, but my sister loves that shit. Therefore, green bean casserole is neither “good” nor “bad.” Regardless of our individual taste buds, it’s still just food. How food is consumed, though, can be detrimental. Whether you’re obsessively counting calories or mindlessly munching until nausea ensues, you fall into the disordered eating category.  So, eliminate those labels. If you like something, just eat it.
  3. You can be social while staying in shape! Rather than sneaking away from the crowd to sweat off Christmas dinner, turn exercise into a family bonding activity. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood together, while enjoying holiday lights. Organize a backyard touch football scrimmage. Even play Wii Sports with your cousins (that’s what I do!). By all means, get moving! Just don’t let fitness take precedence over relationships. Strike a healthy balance. Instead of turning your desire for physical exertion into a covert mission, invite others to join in the action.

Oh, and (because…randomness) here’s a picture of some cookies.

Christmas cookies Yes, I baked them. I also — gasp! — ate them.

Guiltlessly.

If I can, anyone can.

You’re welcome (and Merry Christmas!).

Healthy Habits for the Working Girl {Guest Post}

The following is a guest post from my twin sister, Victoria. She eagerly offered to lend some pointers – based on firsthand experience – regarding how to stay active in the workplace.

So, without further ado…here’s Victoria!


About three months ago, after spending the majority of my final semester of college fretting that I wouldn’t be employed after graduation, I was offered the opportunity I’d dreamed about to launch my career in the fashion industry.

I work for a buyer of a department store called Bealls located in southwest Florida, and so far, it has been a very positive and rewarding experience. However, sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen for 40 hours each week does not allow for the amount of physical activity I would prefer to integrate into my daily routine.

So, if any of you are like me and work in office environments that cause you remain sedentary for long periods of time, you might be concerned with your body’s decline in fitness and, therefore, looking for ways to combat this problem before packing on those pounds you miraculously managed to avoid in college.

Sure, you have a busy schedule, and your fast paced lifestyle in the corporate world may not leave much extra time to join a gym and devote a couple hours to exercising. Besides, your paycheck might not be substantial enough to afford a membership at a fitness center. I’m fortunate enough to have access to a free gym at my apartment complex, but to be honest, I’ve never taken advantage of it.

I mean, let’s face it, after 9 hours of attending meetings, answering phones, and trying to make a dent in my ever increasing list of projects and responsibilities, all I want to do upon getting home is change into my jammies, pour myself a glass of wine, and settle down on the couch for an evening of TV.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t exercise. In fact, I definitely recognize the importance of it, especially for people in my position. But if I’m being realistic, it’s not something I want to do religiously. So, I’ve decided to focus on ways I can stay active and not sacrifice my health and physical wellbeing, while at the office.

For starters, and I can’t stress this enough, if your office building is multi-leveled, don’t rely too heavily on the elevator and use the stairs whenever possible. Of course, if you work on the top floor, it’s not necessary to climb 10 or more flights of stairs, but even this seemingly insignificant form of activity can make a considerable difference.

Also, every 30 minutes or so, get up from your desk and take a walk around the building, just to get your blood circulating and prevent your body from being idle for too long. If you have to talk to a colleague or your boss, instead of calling them on the phone or shooting them an email, walk over to their office and converse with them in person. Not only will you be providing yourself with an opportunity for movement, but you’ll also benefit from face-to-face communication, which is unfortunately becoming more and more infrequent these days.

Naturally, when 12:00 rolls around, you are desperate to escape the office and recharge those batteries for an hour on your lunch break. While it may be pleasant to relax at a cafe with some coworkers and catch up on the latest watercooler gossip over burgers or sandwiches, you might want to consider the healthier and more economical alternative of packing a lunch. You can still enjoy social interaction with your peers outside of a professional setting, but you don’t have to worry about the additional calories that even a restaurant salad would likely inflict upon your waistline.

On the weekends, choose an activity you genuinely take pleasure in, such as biking, swimming, hiking, kayaking, or yoga. This way, you can incorporate some exercise into your leisure time and, as an added bonus, you won’t really feel like you’re exercising at all.

Finally, since you spend so much time in your car during the week as a result of morning and evening commutes, when you’re off the clock, make an effort to walk where you need to go rather than driving. If you need to make a deposit at the bank, and it happens to be just a few blocks from home, skip the car ride, take a stroll, and indulge in some fresh air.

I’m not saying that you need to train for a marathon in your off time to counteract the effects of sitting at a desk all day, but adding movement into your regular routine will improve overall wellness and make you feel more refreshed. This will, consequently, enable you to perform your job at an optimum level. You may not think you are making much of an impact, but trust me, every little bit counts in the long run.

Out of the Mouths of {Total Bikini Body} Babes…

Today, I’m gonna shut up and let 3 of my favorite actresses – not to mention, ultimate fitness role models – do the talking (’cause they just don’t get enough exposure already!).

Say what you will about Hollywood’s superficial, image-obsessed agenda (which I won’t deny exists), but I truly believe that these ladies are the real deal. So, hear them out. Practical advice. Undeniable results.

Hell, if you don’t feel motivated to apply these pointers to your own daily routine…I’ll retire as celeb-health-tip-stalking-extraordinaire!


Jennifer Aniston 

jennifer aniston work out   

(image courtesy of examiner.com)

  • On Nutrition: “I eat really well, but I also indulge when I want to. I don’t starve myself in an extremist way. My advice: just stop eating shit every day.”
  • On Fitness: “Mixing it up is always always fun because that way, you know you’re excited, and it’s muscle confusion. It keeps your body awake. If you just say, ‘Okay, I’m going to get on some machine for 10 minutes,’ you just start to get the endorphins going. Then you feel great, and you just keep going. So sometimes you can actually override the ‘I don’t want to work out.'”

(source: Women’s Health)

Gwyneth Paltrow

gwyneth paltrow work out   

(image courtesy of hellomagazine.com)

  • On Nutrition: “It is easy to get distracted by junk food when you are hungry, so keep healthy snacks on-hand. Also, keep your cupboards well stocked with fresh basics to stay inspired to eat healthily. Stay away from processed foods, though cutting them out completely is no fun and can ultimately lead to a binge. Allow yourself programmed treats. That balance keeps you vibrant. You have to live your life, after all.”
  • On Fitness: “Think of exercise as an automatic routine, no different from brushing your teeth, to avoid getting distracted. I’d also recommend concentrating on moving more – we sit for so much of the day. Choose to walk or take the stairs, or briskly climb a hill in the evenings. It creates good muscle tone and boosts your metabolism.”

(source: The Telegraph)

Cameron Diaz

cameron diaz work out   

(image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk)

  • On Nutrition: “I don’t think of anything as depriving myself. I think of it as, ‘Well, if I am not having this, I am giving myself something that I want even more than that.’ I think that is a good mental tool for women.”
  • On Fitness: “You have to figure out your own needs and fitness level. I think it’s important to get a workout in, even if you only have 15 minutes. And some days, I go to the gym for literally 10 minutes. But the fact that I got up and got there matters to me. Because at the end of all of this, I want to be able to say, ‘I did the best I could.’ It’s not about having a ripped stomach. It’s about taking care of myself. If you don’t have your health and if you’re not in a strong, capable body, you don’t have anything.”

(sources: InStyle & Self)