Dizzy’s tips for helping to look after your mental health

Dinosaurs, Donkeys and MS

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week! And for the week Dizzy has been considering ways in which we can help to look after ourselves. 🙂

Dizzy’s found out that mental health affects a large amount of the population, with 1 in 4 people suffering from mental health problems every year. But when living with a chronic illness, such as MS, these statistics go even higher. It is estimated that 50% of people with MS will experience depression at some point during their lives. Mental health issues for people with MS can be due to a number of reasons:

  1. The emotional impact of living with a chronic illness
  2. Medication
  3. Damage caused by MS

Living with a mental illness can be really hard (me and Dizzy have it in the form of anxiety)! But there are things that can help, even if it’s just in a small way. 🙂 Dizzy has put together this little list…

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Discover Why You’ll NEVER Lose Weight Without Discipline


The first two things that the majority of people think about when they want to lose weight is diet and exercise. Most of them fail to realize that discipline is even more important that diet and exercise.
Discipline will ensure that you eat foods that are right. Discipline will keep you on a caloric deficit even if your stomach is growling and demanding food at night. Discipline will prevent you from skipping workouts and make you give your best when you do train.
Weight loss is a mental game and not a physical one. It’s all about staying on track and finishing what you started. It’s a slow process. Make no mistake about this.
You could be obese and struggling or you could be lean and trying to shed the last bit of stubborn fat to see your six pack. Whatever the case may be, burning fat takes time. That’s why it’s called a weight loss journey.
You must have discipline to stay focused and go through the motions even though it seems to be taking a long time. Most often, it’s the time that it takes to see results that is the biggest hurdle to get over. It’s the one obstacle that trips up most people who want results overnight.
They fail to realize that it’s a slow process but quitting will not speed it up. If you don’t want to start over in future, don’t stop now. It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
When creating a diet plan for yourself, keep it sensible so that it’s challenging but not torturous. You MUST have a diet plan to follow. Don’t try to wing it. When you have a plan, all you need to do is follow it. Like a horse with blinkers on, you’ll keep moving forward without being distracted.
The same applies to your training regimen. Plan your workouts at least 2 or 3 weeks ahead and train when you’re supposed to. Do not skip workouts just because you’re not in a mood to train. Just give yourself 10 minutes and get started. Most often, once you start, you’ll take the workout to completion even if it’s 30 minutes long.
If you lack the discipline and give in to temptation, you’ll end up skipping today’s workout. Once that happens, it will become easier to skip tomorrow’s training and the day after that. Next thing you know, you’ve not trained for 6 months and it all started from that 1 workout you skipped.
Discipline is all about doing what you need to do even when you don’t feel like it. There will ALWAYS be days when you do not feel like doing what you need to. In fact, this will generally be the norm. It’s the brain’s way of self-preservation.
It sees the difficult tasks as unpleasant and tries to cook up excuses so that you stay in your comfort zone. Discipline will make you stronger than your excuses. You know what you need to do to get to where you want to go… and you’ll do them. This is what separates the winners from the losers. Winners do what everybody else won’t so that they can get what everybody else can’t. It’s the discipline that makes people winners.
If you want a body that you can be proud of, practice discipline daily. It’s your best friend. It’s not just about the weight you lose but also the confidence and inner strength that you’ll gain in the process. Believe in yourself and know that your own competition. Use discipline to transform your body.



Top 5 Foods for Healing a Cold


The common cold is not a life threatening disease and often goes away in a few days after running its course. However, a running nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, persistent sneezes, or coughs can leave you feeling miserable. Although nothing can cure a cold, some remedies may ease your symptoms while the infection lasts. If you do not want to pump your body with over-the-counter drugs, the good news is there are home remedies that can be just as effective. Check out this list of top 5 foods for healing a cold without the need for medication.

1. Chicken Soup

This age-old remedy can work wonders when trying to recover from a cold. But, how does grandma’s old recipe work to relieve the sniffles? Well, at the basic level, a bowl of chicken broth will prevent dehydration, loosen up mucous congestion and may provide some relief for a sore throat. Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center took this age-old folk remedy from the kitchen to the lab to investigate its claimed therapeutic effects on colds. The study found that chicken soup mitigated movement of netrophils (white blood cells) in serum infected with the cold virus, indicating that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory effects that help shorten upper respiratory tract infections.

2. Garlic

Garlic is believed to possess antiviral, antibacterial and immune boosting properties. These purported therapeutic effects were put to the test in a 2014 study that split 146 volunteers into two groups receiving either a garlic supplement or placebo. The trial lasted three months and found that test subjects taking a placebo had 65 colds while the garlic group only recorded 24 occurrences of the common cold. When using garlic to treat colds, you can add it to chicken soup for a more potent cold tonic. Alternatively, grate garlic and add it to daily broths.

3. Ginger

Ginger is believed to be popularly useful for the common cold. Nutrition experts suggest that it contains compounds called sesquiterpenes, which specifically attack the rhinoviruses that cause common cold. Ginger is claimed to have immune boosting, antibacterial, antiviral and expectorant properties as well. Some studies suggest it fights inflammation too. Adding a couple of tablespoons of grated ginger to your tea or drinking up a strong cup of ginger ale can provide some fast relief for a scratchy throat. Much like garlic, you can also include ginger in chicken soup recipes to prepare a strong cold remedy.

4. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, the vital nutrient that helps to maintain proper immune system function. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties make it an excellent nutrient to fortify your body’s defenses against the common cold. Drinking some lemonade or eating whole citrus-fruits like oranges and tangerines can therefore help to speed up recovery.

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms help ward off colds thanks to the presence of Beta-glucan , a biological response modifier known for boosting immune system function. As a result, consumption of these edible fungi has been associated with increased production of cells that fight off infection. When it comes to mushrooms, your choices are plenty. However, the most popular cold fighting mushrooms in traditional Chinese medicine are the reishi, maitake and shiitake varieties.

In addition to eating cold fighting foods, you should also get plenty of rest to speed up the recovery process. A common cold typically last for about one week. If your symptoms persist for much longer, you may have a bacterial infection that will require treatment with antibiotics. In such cases, it is best to check with your doctor to find out if you have developed a sinus infection that may require different treatment approaches.

4 Common Types of Foods to Avoid When You’re Cutting Carbs


If trying to lose weight, your carb intake should be no more than 35% of your total daily calories. For a 1,200 calorie per day diet, that is 105 grams; for 1,600 calorie meal plans, it’s 140 grams.

Not all carbs are bad and we need some for energy, however some foods are high in carbs and should be cut out of a diet, if on a weight loss program:

Refined grains

Just as not all carbs are bad, neither are all grains. The ones to stay away from are products make from white enriched flour, white rice, plain bagels and regular pasta.

Instead focus on eating products made from whole grain, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta. Not only do they have fewer carbs, but also contain fiber and protein which keep you feeling fuller longer, thus reducing the urge to snack between meals.

Processed fruits

Fresh is always the best, but if you have to use canned fruits, look for ones packed in their own juices and without added sugar. Read the nutrition label and look for anything that might be an added sugar like high fructose corn syrup. Also, dried fruits might look like a healthy choice, but the drying process can concentrate natural sugars making them higher in carbs than eating fresh fruit. When not in season, frozen (without added sugar) is the next best.


Studies have shown sugar is addictive. In 2008 the Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review classified it as a substance that can be abused. When trying to cut calories, stay away from cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream, doughnuts and candy bars as these are made with sugar and also loaded with saturated fat and calories.

Sugary drinks

Along this same line, sugary drinks are loaded with sugar. For example, one can of regular soda has 136 calories but also 35 grams of carbs of which 33 grams are from sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sugar consumption to 100 calories or less for women and 150 per day or less for men. Just one can of regular cola uses up 1/3rd to 1/5th respectively, of the daily limit. Diet varieties aren’t much better as the artificial sugars are not good for the body either. Your best beverage bet – pure water.

As noted above sugar and refined grains are the biggest two categories to watch when trying to cut carbs for weight loss. These things can be hidden in foods, so it is important to read nutrition labels and know what to look for.


Why Willpower Is Never The Final Answer To Permanent Weight Loss


Many so called health experts chalk up weight loss success to willpower. Not only is this a false belief, but also a way to sabotage yourself. The fact is most people are not able to maintain their willpower for an extended period of time, simply because of the chemistry of the brain.

Willpower is a false prophet; one forged in our minds to “impress” others, even though at the core of it all we know it’s just a pile of lies.

Wondering why willpower is not the definitive factor that will determine your weight loss? Read on to learn more:

Willpower Doesn’t Play Well With Goals

Ever wondered why willpower doesn’t help you achieve your goals? It is because willpower is impossible to maintain at the same intensity for a period of time. Take for example you make the goal of losing 10 pounds in a month.

This is great, but how will willpower help you get there? Maybe it will remind you to look at the days going by, and realizing that you’re no way closer to achieving your goals.

That won’t change your life. Instead, write down what you want and develop consistency, as in building healthier habits and work on making them stick. Do a bit every day and build on it. That approach trumps willpower any day of the year.

Willpower Can’t Change Your Environment

Sure, you may tell yourself today that you will run a mile every day, but then when you go outside today, you are in no way motivated to do so tomorrow. The reasons can be plentiful; rain, snow, maybe you just don’t want to?

The fact is that willpower is fragile, and won’t beat your environment. Willpower will try to elevate you above the environmental deterrent, but the environment will win regardless of how hard you try.

Willpower Doesn’t Equal Accountability

Willpower is your own internal resolve. This is fine, but how will you be kept accountable? When you are the judge of yourself, the verdict will always be biased. Get a training or diet buddy, somebody who will hold you to your word.

Plus, if resolve is what you are after, nothing can give you more willpower than good old competition. The competitive nature of mankind is to be better than his fellow man. This can work out in your favor, as rivalry sets up a win-win scenario for everyone.

Willpower Focuses On A Variable

Take for instance, if your resolve is to stop drinking soda. This is fine, but the problem is that you will be thinking of soda all day, as you struggle to remind yourself to avoid it. This is the ugly trick human nature often plays on us; we want what we can’t have.

A better approach? A diversion. Find something to replace what you will be eliminating. Trying to forget soda? Find a healthier beverage that you have no problem using in place.

A great substitute would be fruit infused water- and best of all? No fighting with willpower!

Willpower Prioritizes Starvation

You must reduce calories to lose weight- that is a fact. However, the real battle with willpower begins when you are hungry. Willpower dictates that you eat the bland chicken, but will not tell you that you can overindulge many veggies.

Why should you feel hungry? By deliberately knowing that you can freely munch on low calorie veggies, you will be happy to forego some things knowing that you can fall back on something else. That is the strategy of a permanent weight loss plan.


Willpower sounds great in theory, but the most successful weight loss stories know that it is not sexy. You do not need to be on a constant high, but develop real systems that keep you working at weight loss day after day, forever, one day at a time.




The Health Benefits Of Red Wine


Have you been looking for more reasons to enjoy red wine? There’s good news, because it really does provide you with a host of health benefits. Just remember to limit yourself to no more than five glasses of week (and certainly no more than two glasses a day).
Just look at the following incredible health benefits of red wine.
Heart Health
Red wine contains a variety of active compounds that contain properties to protect your heart health, including quercetin, polyphenols, and resveratrol. There have been numerous studies looking at how moderate enjoyment of red wine can be beneficial to various aspects which relate to heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, resveratrol can prevent blood clots from forming, raise healthy levels of cholesterol, and help prevent the damage that bad cholesterol causes arteries.
According to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, found that Quercetin promotes heart health through reducing inflammation, and regulating blood pressure.
Fights Bad Cholesterol
A study from Copenhagen’s Royal Veterinary and Agriculture University found that the level of wine consumption was directly related to the level of good cholesterol, with participants seeing an improvement of 5% after enjoying red wine in moderation. Additionally, Australia’s Curtin University completed a study that discovered that regularly drinking red wine could reduce the level of bad cholesterol, specifically in postmenopausal women.
Free Radical Fighting
Free radicals build up in your system and cause a variety of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular problems, arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, and more. Red wine contains antioxidants that counteract the stress that is caused by free radicals. These antioxidants bolster your immune system, and reduce the risk of a variety of serious health problems.
Diabetes Management
Red wine can reduce the speed with which glucose passes into the bloodstream through the small intestine. This helps with the prevention of blood sugar spikes that type 2 diabetes causes. When consumed in moderation, red wine can form part of a diet plan for those with type 2 diabetes. The reason that red wine is so much more effective than white wine is because red wine contains over ten times the number of polyphenols.
Prevents Weight Gain
The grapes that are used in red wine contain piceatannol, and this is similar in structure to the compound resveratrol. However, what piceatannol does is block immature fat cells from growing. Where it is present, it prevents cell development from progressing. It’s so effective at this because it can destroy these fat cells early on in the process, thus preventing the accumulation of fat cells and gains in body mass. How? By binding to the insulin receptors that are located in the fat cells, and then blocking insulin from controlling the cycle of those cells. Additionally, it blocks the activity of insulin to activate fat formation genes.
Dementia Preventing
The Mediterranean diet has long been known for its vast health benefits. Red wine is central to the diet, and according to the National Institute on Aging, those who follow it reduce the risk of dementia by 48%.
There has been more research completed on red wine as an effective preventative measure for Alzheimer’s. It is resveratrol that is highlighted as the key compound in red wine that can prevent or slow down the progression of dementia. This is because of its ability to reduce inflammation, and serve as a protectant to neurons.
Red Wine Ingredients
The reason that red wine is so beneficial to health is due to its ingredients, it’s the flavonoid content which boosts your health.
Quercetin is known for its ability to impact heart disease, chronic disease, allergies, high cholesterol, diabetes, skin disorders, gout, stomach ulcers, eye issues, cancer, and cognitive impairments.
Resveratrol is another key compound, and it is known for its ability to support the health of cells and tissues, protect against diabetes, promote circulation, fight oxidative stress, protect against cancer, prevent premature aging, and improve energy.


Top 5 Post-Workout Recovery Foods


One important part of a successful exercise regimen is post-workout nutrition. What you eat after a grueling and sweaty exercise session is responsible for restoring the body’s energy and nutrients. During exercise, the body breaks down muscle protein structures and glycogen. You also lose a lot of water through sweat. Therefore, the key to any great post workout meal-plan revolves around replenishing glycogen levels, rehydrating the body and providing essential nutrients that aid tissue repair. You should avoid snacks and foods that are high in fat content and empty calories since they only negate all the hard work of your exercise efforts. Instead, opt for a nutritious post-workout meal plan that helps the body to recover. To help you get started, here are some suggestions for top 5 post-workout recovery foods and beverages.

1. Fruit Smoothie with Protein Base
A fruit smoothie will not only hydrate the body after a workout, it also allows you to pack plenty of nutrients in a single beverage. Another advantage about liquid meals is that they are quick to digest and absorb. A smoothie recipe that combines carbohydrates and protein provides the primary food sources required after a workout. Try blending frozen fruit with Greek yogurt, whey protein shake, or soymilk. You can also add a natural sweetener for a better flavor.

2. Dried Fruits and Nuts
If you don’t have the time to whoop up a full meal after your workouts, dried fruits and nuts are a convenient snacking option with plenty of beneficial nutrients. Dried fruits will provide a healthy dose of simple carbohydrates plus you will get a quick injection of protein from the nuts.

3. Grilled Chicken Mixed with Veggies
When your body is in recovery mode, you will need a good supply of proteins and carbohydrates. A dish containing grilled chicken and vegetables makes a healthy full meal to help your body recover. Grilled chicken will nourish the body with low-fat lean protein to repair muscle tissue while the vegetables shall ensure you get complex carbohydrates to replenish your muscle glycogen.

4. Tofu Veggie Scramble
If you are a vegan, it is still possible to get a health protein and carbohydrate meal for post workout recovery. Tofu scrambled with spinach, green onions, sweet corn, roasted potatoes and red peppers makes a colorful and nutrient rich dish that you can whoop up for your main meal after hitting the gym, track or treadmill. You can add a dash of garlic for some flavor to your tofu veggie scramble.

5. Chocolate Milk
This fantastic recovery drink contains everything you need after a workout. It has carbs and proteins for muscle recovery, water to replace fluids lost through sweat along with electrolytes like sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Chocolate milk is very easy to prepare since there are whey protein powders that come fortified with this flavor. All you need to do is take a scoop of your favorite whey chocolate powder, add to milk and mix thoroughly with a shaker bottle. You can even take this convenient drink with you to the gym and rehydrate immediately after a workout.

When Should You Eat After a Workout?

Foods and drinks have different time frames for consumption after a workout. For example, fluids can be taken during and even immediately after a workout in order to keep hydration levels up throughout the exercise session. Nutrition experts recommend snacking 30 minutes after a workout. Snacks can have 0.5 to 0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. A full mean is best taken within two hours of your workout to ensure a fast recovery.