Live Well Blog

When you think of Valentine’s Day, I bet you think of chocolate. When you think of chocolate, you just might think of laughter, but I suspect weight loss doesn’t cross your mind. Weight loss isn’t a laughing matter, is it? But a study from Vanderbilt University manages to weave together all three: laughter, weight loss AND chocolate. Vanderbilt researchers report that genuine laughter, the kind that lasts about 10 to 15 minutes, burns the same amount of calories found in a medium square of chocolate. This translates to about 50 calories, which, if done everyday, can result in about 4 pounds of weight loss at the end of the year (assuming everything else stays the same, of course). Considering that laughter also produces natural endorphins, those “feel good” brain chemicals that lower your blood pressure, decrease your stress and improve your mood, you have nothing to lose except maybe a little weight and stress, right?

But wait: choose a square of dark chocolate over milk chocolate, and you throw in the extra benefit of flavonoids, the immune boosting compound found in foods like berries, carrots, citrus fruits, and cocoa beans from which dark chocolate is made.

Dark chocolate adds the extra benefit of immune boosting flavonoids.

Dark chocolate adds the extra benefit of immune boosting flavonoids.

Flavonoids help reduce your body’s level of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation, which in turn is a major risk of heart disease. Flavonoids also help lower the “bad” cholesterol LDL, which can clog arteries, interfere with your blood flow, and possibly trigger a stroke. And that’s not all: flavonoids also increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which lowers your risk of diabetes. And it only takes 1 ounce (about 1 to 2 squares) to get all these flavonoid benefits.

So weight loss, laughter, and chocolate can have something in common. Laugh every day for 10 minutes and you burn the same amount of calories found in a square of dark chocolate. Can’t resist the chocolate? Keep your daily intake to no more than 1 ounce, AND add real belly laughter, the kind that takes your breath away and makes everyone else laugh with you, and you’ll even the calorie score. Choose one ounce of dark chocolate, with laughter on the side, and you add the extra benefit of immune boosting flavonoids without adding to your waistline.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

 

Welcome to the FIRST Live Well Wednesday post. Although I’ve blogged for others, this is my first for RevItUP! for Life (me!) and I’m a little nervous…a lot excited! Live Well Wednesdays will be new every week, and I hope to translate the latest nutrition buzz into real-people language and real-life motivation. I’ll share my thoughts, and hope that you will share yours – your comments, your experiences – and then share with your friends. Ready? Me, too!

It’s been exactly 36 days since the start of 2013. The “honeymoon” period for New Year’s resolutions is over by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around.

Is the honeymoon with your resolutions over?

Is the honeymoon with your resolutions over?

It’s easy to get discouraged if you look at where you thought you’d be and find that you aren’t anywhere close. But I think you are closer than you realize. Instead of concentrating on what you have NOT accomplished, what goals you have not even started yet, take a moment to look at what you HAVE done. I’m a big believer in the power of one – yes, one person, but also ONE small step, done ONE at a time. Compared to where you were 36 days ago, you are indeed stronger, healthier if you have made at least one change, no matter how small it may seem compared to the entire list of goals you may have. In fact, if you are simply more aware of your health, think about your goals more often, you are not the same person you were 36 days ago. Awareness is the first step.

Just like your shadow seems darker when the sun is brighter, the goals that you haven’t started or accomplished may seem darker than they really are right now, simply because of what you HAVE accomplished. Maybe you haven’t made it to the gym as often as you’d like, but you are eating more fruits than you were before (And “more” means one more than you were doing before – I’m all about looking for the POSITIVES!) Maybe you haven’t stopped dipping into that office candy bowl, but you are drinking more water than you were before. Stop and make a list of what you ARE doing differently. Every cup of water that you now drink that you did not drink 36 days ago is success. Every fruit or vegetable that you now eat that you did not eat regularly 36 days ago is success. Simply moving your body a few extra minutes a few times a week is success. We spend way too much time telling ourselves what all we haven’t done, and how many times we have failed. Decide today to renew your vows, your commitment to yourself and your health. When you hear yourself list the things you haven’t done, pull out your list of “Yes, I have…” and read it to yourself. You’ll find it’s a lot easier to now say “and today, I will…”. The honeymoon with your resolutions may be over, but the new relationship with your health will only get stronger as you stop to appreciate the small steps you’ve made and keep moving forward, one step, one day, one week at a time.

 

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