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Making the transition from winter blues to summer fun

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On April 10, 2014, Manalapan health Examiner Stacey Chillemi researched a variety of ways to help individuals make a healthy transition into spring and plan for some amazing summer fun at our fabulous Jersey Shore. Here are some tips, techniques and strategies to help you get out of the winter blues mode and start getting your body ready for our warm weather that is right around the corner.

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Seasonal transitions are not always easy even for the healthiest of people. During the winter, the days are getting shorter, Vitamin D is in short supply and we tend to hide in our homes and experience less socialization all because of the cold winds and snow that evades us during the winter months.

Maintaining balance through these transitions is critical to our health and wellbeing. When we let winter get the best of us and we avoid caring for our bodies the way we should then, an imbalance in our body can occur and physical symptoms like colds, the flu, coughs, skin problems, insomnia, seasonal allergies, or aches and pains can occur or worsen. More frequently, imbalances during these transitions also bring about psychological and mood disorders like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). SAD is a type of depression that affects a person during the same season each year. If you get depressed in the winter but feel much better in spring and summer, you may have SAD.
Why are many people affected by negatively by winter?

Many people are affected negatively by the cold and dampness that surrounds us on a daily basis during the winter. Many experience aches and pains that are associated and instigated by the cold. In addition, many are affected mentally and emotionally by the cold as well. Many individuals become depressed. One of the reasons for this is that during the winter months many individuals tend hibernate and confine themselves in their homes. The lack of heat and sun causes cause many to experience a lack motivation and sadly, many people indulge in food, which causes weight gain another factor that causes depression and low self-esteem.

What you can do about it

Now that winter has ended and spring has begun it’s time to focus on the present and plan for lots of summer fun. If you're like most of us you probably put a few pounds on, but don't sweat it. Don't let it get you down. Here are a few tips to help you lose a few inches quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be digging through your closet to pull out your spring and summer clothes, especially that great looking bathing suit of yours so you can head down our famous Jersey shore.

9 Tips on How to lose weight, feel great and plan for lots of summer fun

Tip # 1 - Eat a healthy breakfast with lots of protein

A high protein breakfast keeps you feeling fuller longer and you tend to eat less throughout the day. Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers do.

Tip # 2 - Plan ahead

Before you shop, decide on the meals and snacks you want. Think about how much time you have to prepare your meals, and then choose recipes that fit that time frame. For example, you may need to make most of your meals in less than 20 minutes, but maybe you have time to make one recipe that takes longer. When you decide on your menu, check to see which items you already have. Then make a list of the ingredients you will need to buy at the store.

Here are 2 healthy recipes to get you started:

Spinach Salad (great for lunch or dinner)

Fresh organic whole leaf spinach
Quarter cup of sliced almonds
1/2 cup of vanilla granola
1/2 cup Ocean Spray dried cranberry craisins
1/2 cup Ocean Spray dried blueberry craisins
2 Tablespoons mustard Dijon Light

Place the spinach then all the ingredients on top of the spinach, mix well and wha-la you’re done.

Pineapple Spinach Smoothie created by nutritionist JJ Smith

2 cups fresh organic spinach
1 cup of pineapple chunks
2 cups of frozen peaches
2 bananas, peeled
1 1/2 packets of stevia
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

Place spinach and water into the blender and blend until the mixture is a green juice-like consistency. Stop blender and add remaining ingredients. Blend until creamy.

Tip # 3 - Don’t shop when you are hungry

Never shop when you are hungry. Research has shown that many individuals buy unnecessary and unhealthy foods when they are hungry. Eat a snack or a meal before you go grocery shopping. This way you won't be as tempted to buy less healthy ready-to-eat foods, such as candy, chips, or fast food, to satisfy your hunger.

Tip # 4 - Make smart choices

Buy smart, and be realistic. Include some healthy snack foods and special treats on your shopping list. Remember to include some healthy convenience foods, such as cut-up, bagged, fresh vegetables or lower-calorie or lower-sodium frozen foods, some granola and low sugar fruits.

Tip # 5 - Create a healthy list before you go

At the store, use the shopping list you created from your menu plan. You may notice that the items on the outer aisles of the store are mostly fresh foods, such as meat, produce, and dairy. As you shop, pay attention to how much you buy from the outer aisles compared to the inner aisles where you find the more processed foods, such as canned soups, packaged cookies, chips, and soda.

Tip # 6 - Exercise

You don’t have to exercise like a maniac in order to lose weight and look great. If you exercise 15 minutes three times a week I guarantee you will see a difference in your body structure. Consider walking around your block too for exercise. Walking is one of the most effective exercises for weight loss and body toning.

Tip # 7 - Create goals

The best way to make your dreams turn into a reality is to get a journal, sit down and construct a list of short and long-term goals for yourself. Start out with five short-term and long-term goals. This will help you organize your thoughts and gear you toward creating a constructive plan, so you can achieve the goals you set out for yourself.

After you created, your short-term and long-term goals create a daily list of things you can do each day to help you get closer to accomplishing your goals.

Tip # 8 - Positive attitude

Positive attitude is more important than fact. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstance, than failures, than success, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, intelligence or skill. It will make or break you.

Tip # 9 - Celebrate Success

Reward yourself. Whether you lose weight of not make, sure you reward your efforts. Just trying is an accomplishment in itself. Ways to reward yourself: book a show, go for a massage or treat yourself to a day at the spa.

By planning for the future and focusing on the positive anything is possible, but one thing you must remember is that positive change can only occur if you are willing to put forth the effort. If you feel like you have the seasonal blues and you can’t seem to get yourself out of it try mediation or yoga. It can be very effective. As with meditation, studies find that regularly doing downward dogs and warrior poses can help manage depression, stress and anxiety. There’s even some evidence that yoga can help ease chronic pain, especially joint pain. Studies by the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle found that after several weeks of taking yoga classes, subjects reported fewer backaches and greater lower-back mobility.

Remember summer is around the corner, so there is no time to lose. Start focusing on summer and all the accomplishments you’re going to achieve, along with all the great things headed your way!

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