Recharge Your Diet: Our Secrets for a Healthy Lifestyle

Posted by Emily Guterres

TIME STAMP: 3 MINUTE READ

It seems like everyone’s talking about the real solution to weight loss. Every day it seems like a new diet craze is ready to make weight loss faster and easier than ever before. However, beware most fad diets generally go something like: “Take a few foods give them magic power and set a plan to convince people that eating this way and only this way will promote weight loss.” says Alexandra Caspero, R.D a nutritionist based in Sacremento, CA.ye_girl_eating_a_salad.png

In a society that is so image driven, it seems as though everyone’s talking about it, “THE secrets to get that summer body.” If you searched online for weight loss solutions you get 38 million results. How is anyone supposed to find the real solution? With this overwhelming amount of information it can be extremely difficult to get started on achieving your goals.

BUT WAIT – We’re here to help you break through the 4 most searched for diets of 2015 and discover whether or not they’re really worth it.

1. 20/20 Diet 

The Claim: Wait Doctor Phil? You have the answers to all of my life problems and now you want to help me loose weight? Even though he doesn’t promise you’ll loose weight, he says you “may” loose weight.

The 20/20 diet is a cycling diet plan and was online most searched diet of the year. It’s a 30-day cycling diet, with three phases every 30 days. The first two phases are 5 days long and the third is 20 days. The foods Doctor Phil recommends are supposed to help with thermogenesis, which is a state where the process of energy production in the body caused directly by the metabolizing of food consumed.

The 20/20 diet is about looking past your dieting efforts, failed attempts and what you can do to make up for it. He is trying to repent you from your dieting sins and tell you all of these failures are what eventually led him to create this plan.

Worth It? This diet requires you to stick to a rigid meal plan and eat every 4 hours, which could be time consuming. Be weary, of diets that have a start and stop date, after all there are no phases or end dates to a healthy lifestyle.

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2. Zero Belly Diet 

Wait but actually? Trying to take away my carbs? Sounds like a nightmare. They’re also telling readers they can magically turn off, their fat genes.

The Claim – You can lose up to 16 pounds in 14 days. This diet and fitness program includes a list of nine foods that supposedly target and melt your fat cells.

Worth it? There is no way to turn off your genes to fast track weight loss. While hundreds of genes affect your overall weight in small ways, this isn’t to say that you can’t learn new healthy behaviors to adapt your lifestyle.

 

3.Mediterranean diet – Not the see food and you eat it diet? Ugh.

This diet emphasizes a primarily plant based foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seafood and nuts – coupled with physical activity. It suggests avoiding a list of unhealthy foods and ingredients such as processed food and added sugars.

The Claim: This diet will help you eat your way to optimal heart and brain health. Additionally it claims increased longevity and living a longer and healthier life. When there is a reduction in developing heart disease or cancer, there is a 20 %reduced risk of death at any age.

Worth it ? YES, this diet can have positive long-term effects on your over all health. Benefits include keeping you agile, preventing heart diseases and strokes and reducing Alzheimers.

So what is the real solution?   Remember those days when you were 6 years old and you used to carelessly dance around? Imagine even what a minute or 5 minutes could do for your over all health.

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Who says adults can’t have a little recess during their workday?

Many business leaders often discuss the value of adding healthy habits into their daily routines. It could be as simple as setting stretch goals.

Don’t be too hard on yourself; life is demanding. Between jobs, kids and everything else, life can get difficult. Give yourself a break, dieting shouldn’t be about extreme weight loss, it should be about slow and steady implementation of healthier habits that will lead to an over all healthier lifestyle.

 

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5 ways to stick to your New Years Resolutions

TIME STAMP: 3 MINUTE READ

Posted by Jeff Cai 

A new year signifies a new start for a lot of people, and you have probably made a few goals or resolutions that you want to achieve by the end of 2019. These New Year’s resolutions always seem to motivate us during January, but can often be forgotten about come late February. Did you know that only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their resolutions? If you want to be a part of this small percentage, then see below for our top 5 tips on how to stick to your New Year’s resolutions.

 

SHARE YOUR GOALS

Achieving your New Years resolutions can be a lot easier, and more motivating when you have someone to experience it with. When you have someone to share your struggles, and victories it can make the journey a little less scary. Share your goals with your friends and family and find a buddy to accompany you. For example, if you and your friend both commit to attending 3 workout classes per week, you both have someone to lean on for support or motivation when one of you is feeling a little lazy. You could even join a support group to help you reach your goals. This will help you to stay accountable for your actions and set measurable steps toward your final goal.

 

KEEP THEM REALISTIC

If your goals aren’t realistic, then they can be hard to stick to. Keep them manageable and easy to start, then once you begin to form a habit, you can continue to build. If you have never been to the gym before, then creating a goal that says you are going to go 7 days a week simply isn’t realistic. Start with 3 days a week, and then after a few months see if you can increase it to 4. You need to believe that you can actually reach these goals, not be put off by setting the bar too high before you even start.

 

FOCUS ON YOUR PROGRESS

Nothing is ever perfect, so don’t get down on yourself because you have experienced a setback. You are bound to have ups and downs throughout the year, so learn from your mistakes and get yourself back on track as soon as you can. If your goal was to run 10km’s by the end of the year and you only got to 8km’s, that is still amazing! That is 8km’s more than you could run at the start of the year. Don’t forget to be grateful for what you can already do, whilst striving to do more.

 

BET ON YOURSELF

Research has proven that people who had a financial incentive to lose weight lost 14 more pounds than those who didn’t! You can use money to reward yourself for reaching certain milestones throughout the year. For example, if by the end of March you have stuck to your New Years resolution of attending 3 workout classes per week, reward yourself with $50 to buy a new pair of workout tights, or new top. Not only does this motivate you to keep going, but it’s a nice gift to yourself for hitting your targets.

 

KEEP YOUR GOALS DISPLAYED

It is so easy to write down your goals on December 31st and then leave them in a notepad under all your other paperwork to be forgotten about. Treat your New Year’s resolutions seriously and with respect. Write them out neatly on a nice piece of paper, or type them up on your computer and display them somewhere that you will notice every single day. They could go on your bed side table, or on your fridge. This gives you no excuse to forget about them and will be a constant reminder to keep working towards them every day.

 

What are your New Year’s resolutions this year and how do you plan on sticking to them? Remember, even if you do not reach one of your goals, the important thing is that you try, and keep going when you get off track.

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5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness for a chronic diseases that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s surprising how little people and companies knows about the condition, and how to prevent it, and how to incorporate diabetes awareness into in the workplace.

While diabetes costs an individual considerably higher health care fees, it can also cost a company more money to keep, and look after employees with the disease. Not only is diabetes a completely preventable disease, with about 9 out of 10 cases being easily avoided, but there are also some very easy ways to ensure you prevent diabetes effecting you.

Here are 5 simple steps you can take to prevent diabetes:

 1. WATCH YOUR WEIGHT

Although not everyone that develops type 2 diabetes is overweight, the majority are. The more visceral fat (fat around your midsection) you carry, the larger your risk of developing diabetes.

Studies show that losing a small amount of weight can help reduce your risk, and that the more you lose, the more benefits you will experience. Losing just 5kg over several years can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 50%!

There are many options for losing weight, but the easiest one is to simply watch your portion sizes and add more vegetables into your meals. Choosing a way of eating that you can maintain long term is the key to succeeding with weight loss.

2. CUT THE SUGAR

 Did you know that in 2001, sugar represented more than 10% off the calories consumed by Canadians? Imagine what it represents now, in 2017! This sugar can be hard to identify, as the industry uses so many different names for sugar in labels, so be sure to always check your food labels for hidden nasties. The names you’re looking out for are sucrose, dextrose, fructose-enriched corn syrup, glucose-fructose, malt syrup, etc. These are all different ways to say sugar, and the closer these items are to the top of the ingredients list, the more the product contains.

3. ADD SPICES

An easy and interesting way to prevent Type 2 diabetes is to add more spices in to your diet. Spices such as cinnamon can actually improve glucose tolerance and even has the ability to restrict the amount of glycation products that damage the blood vessel linings.

 Other spices that can be instrumental in the prevention of diabetes are seasonings such as black pepper, thyme and turmeric. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory activity helps to reduce the damage caused by a sugar surplus in the cardiovascular system. So instead of using sugar or salt in your meals, opt to use spices and seasonings to add flavour in to your cooking.

4. NOT ALL FATS ARE THE SAME

Fat is not all bad, but there are definitely different types of fat that should be consumed less to prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes. Certain saturated fats are known to promote inflammation, indirectly causing insulin resistance, but the main fat in olive oil actually has an anti-inflammatory action, provided that you’re having it cold and not heating it in a pan.

Don’t avoid fats all together, instead, include fats like nuts, avocado and any omega – 3 fats to keep you healthy.

5. DITCH SMOKING

Apart from the fact that smoking, and even second-hand smoke can be linked to type 2 diabetes, smoking has also been proven to contribute to many health conditions, including heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema. In a study of over 1 million people, smoking was proven to increase your risk of diabetes by a massive 44% in average smokers and 61% in people who smoked more than 20 cigarettes per day.

Researchers have found that even though people can gain weight after quitting smoking, after a couple of years off of the cigarettes, their risk of diabetes was considerably lower.

As an employer, you play a huge role in the lives of your employees. This presents a great opportunity to promote the awareness of the risks associated with diabetes. By supporting your employees in leading a healthier lifestyle, everyone benefits.

 

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The Benefits of Eating Pumpkin this Fall

Now that the Fall is in full force, pumpkin has made its long awaited comeback, and while you may only be familiar with delectable pumpkin treats such as pumpkin pies and pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin has far more to offer that just its sweet desserts. Its vitamin-rich flesh also has an abundance of health benefits, including better quality sleep, weight loss, and increased vision.

If cooked correctly, pumpkin is actually one of the healthier foods of the season, which is why we’ve noted some amazing health benefits of pumpkin to kick start your obsession this fall.

 

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Weight Loss

Mashed pumpkin has only 50 calories per cup and 3 grams of fiber, whilst pumpkin seeds have about 1.7 grams of fiber per ounce. Fibre helps you to feel fuller for longer which will assist in the prevention of over eating.

 

Increased Vision

Just one cup of pumpkin contains almost twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Vitamin A improves your vision and has also been found to slow the decline of retinal function in those with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that can eventually lead to blindness. Vitamin A has also been proven to help maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones.

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Better Sleep Quality

Have you ever wondered why you feel so sleepy after a big slice of pumpkin pie at thanksgiving dinner? Well, pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan, which is the amino acid that contributes to sleepiness. It also helps the body make serotonin, which assists in feeling a sense of relaxation. So not only will you be sleeping better, you will also experience and improvement in mood.

 

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With pumpkin’s high fibre content, it also helps to protect your heart. A recent Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals found that those who ate a diet high in fibre had a 40% lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who ate less fibre.

 

                                                      Boosts your Immune System

boost-immune-systemPumpkin can help you fight off that pesky cold or flu that often comes hand in hand with fall. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20% of the 60 milligrams the IOM recommends women need daily, whilst men should aim for around 75 milligrams.

 

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Trista Chan is a Client Services Associate at Optimity.  She leverages her education in nutrition and experience in corpoate health to guide organizations in building healthy, engaged employees.  Her “me-time” activities include yoga, reading health blogs, cooking….did she mention she likes wellness?  Her passion for all things health-related shines through in both her work and personal life.  

Exercising in the Fall

Keep up your exercise routine when the weather gets colder

Posted by Jeff Cai

TIME STAMP: 2 MINUTE READ

The summer months make exercising enjoyable and definitely a lot more motivating, but as soon as the weather start to plummet we often just want to head inside in front of the fire and curl up. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best for our health or exercise routine.

Exercising in the fall isn’t all bad, and can actually be a nice change compared to the warm summer months. The fall is the perfect time to ramp up your exercise routine with the holidays approaching, which can be perfect for your motivation levels. To inspire you to keep up your exercise routine in the fall, here are 4 tips to help.

1. Start walking everywhere

Fall weather, whilst a little colder is the perfect time to take in the scenery, colours and smells of nature. If you’re only a few blocks away from your destination, opt for taking a walk rather than driving. Once you start walking, you’ll not only warm up, but you will be so distracted by your surroundings that you’ll forget you’re even exercising. You could even carry around a spare set of shoes for if you choose to walk to or from the office.

2. Dress for the weather

When the weather gets colder it can deter you from going outside, let alone exercising! But there’s an easy fix for this. Invest in some new, warmer exercise clothes and dress in layers. The new exercise clothes will motivate you to exercise more frequently, and keep you warm at the same time. Items such as gloves or a scarf work wonders in keeping you warm, and are easy to take off and carry when you start to work up a bit of a sweat.

3. Turn your house work in to a workout

According to a study done by Harvard Health, a 155-pound person can burn 149 calories just by raking leaves for 30 minutes! By turning your indoor and outdoor chores in to a workout, you can burn fat without even knowing it. Put on some music, some workout clothes and start cleaning!

4. Exercise Inside

If you really don’t want to go outside in the cold, or you have a few rainy days, why not bring your workout inside? There are so many fat burning exercises and workouts you can do from the comfort of your living room. Invest in a set of workout DVD’s or search YouTube for a workout that interests you. There are so many workouts available online that you can do in a small space, you just need to find what you like.

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3 Refreshing ways to EAT your way to a better mood!

Woman eating healthy salad near the river

Being in a positive mood is always ideal for everyone, you work better and feel better and the people around you really react to the positive energy you give off. It really helps with all the decisions you make in your everyday life, so it’s important that you’re feeling your best when making these decisions.

Did you know that food can actually help boost better moods? Well, it’s true! Food helps with better moods, providing you with more energy and it helps you think clearly! Below are my top 3 food tips to help you get into a better mood.

1. Raise your vitamin D levels with food 

When you eat your wild salmon, bake it don’t fry it; when salmon is baked, almost all of the vitamin D content remains, but when fried in vegetable oil almost half of the vitamin D content is lost. Other good food sources are trout, ahi-tuna, mushrooms, and egg yolks, and, our favourite, plain Greek yogurt.

Another cool fact: if you lose just 5 percent or more of your body weight, your vitamin D blood levels will shoot up. Vitamin D likes to stay in fatty tissue, so when you lose fat, the D levels in your blood go up! Marvels of vitamin D: heart health, skin health, immune health & mental health!

2. Enjoy Your Bananas (and other fruits)  

Fruits have amino acids in them and bananas are surprisingly high in tryptophan, that along with its natural sugars makes an ideal situation for creating serotonin. Dates and papaya are also high in tryptophan, but most fruits have enough to make a difference.

Any food with a sweet taste will have a calming effect on the nervous system beyond its carbohydrate content.This is not why monkeys seem so happy but it sure doesn’t hurt!

3. Eat Your Greens

The University of Kuopio in Finland conducted a study with 2,313 men for more than 10 years and they found that leafy greens are good for your brain.

Greens are high in almost all vitamins and minerals but they are particularly high in folate – a B vitamin that has been shown to reduce depression. Kale, collard, and spinach will all contribute to boosting your mood!

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Top 3 Health Issues Facing Employees Working with Heavy Machines

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

With the annual CMPX expo that happened down the street from us this year, it came to a reminder that a lot of employees whose job requirements entails a lot of heavy lifting, and transporting of heavy equipments to new locations, are an overlooked population.  

Because they’re not the average 9-5 office worker, there isn’t much focus surrounding their health and wellness needs. Companies focus a lot of attention on workplace safety and how to prevent physical injuries on the job, but there isn’t a huge focus on these employees other wellness needs.

Employees who work for companies that require them to work around big and heavy machines, face many health outcomes that could have been easily prevented had there been more of a focus on a proactive wellness approach targeted for their needs. The following are the top 3 health issues these employees face who tend to be on the go, working around heavy equipment:

 

Musculoskeletal

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Musculoskeletal disorder, or MSD for short, is a condition that affects the human body’s movements, so that includes, but not limited to the following parts: muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and more. MSD is the leading cause of pain, and disability in all workplaces, especially amongst employees who have to transport heavy equipment. In North America, MSD’s direct cost is estimated to be $20 billion, and their overall indirect cost are to be between $45-54 billion. These are unnecessary cost, associated to an issue that can be easily prevented had employers implemented a wellness initiatives that focused on these needs. Heavy loads require higher muscular force, and this constant repetitive impact can lead to or promote the development of degenerative disorders. To learn more about posture and movement, check out this webinar, co-hosted with Dr. Kleinberg.

A tip to decrease the likelihood of developing a musculoskeletal disorder is through stretching. Stretching helps improve an individual’s flexibility, essentially the range of movement around a skeletal joint. It allows for that muscle to grow, strengthen and lengthen, leading to its ability to better adapt to the amount of force put upon that muscle. Meaning it’s ability to stretch becomes stronger and longer, which decreases the chances of the muscle tearing, because it will now need a lot more force for it to tear. These small changes, of implementing stretching into your daily routine will decrease the chances of one acquiring a musculoskeletal injury.

Occupational Safety

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When it comes to working with big and heavy machinery, injuries are bound to happen, often even leading to disabilities. the biggest concern for employers of this industry is injury prevention. If the organization’s culture values the importance of injury prevention, and provides wellness initiatives for this, then fewer injuries are less likely to occur. There needs to be thorough training occuring in order to keep information up to date and relevant for employee. In addition to these extensive training, providing constant tips and reminders to employees is an effective thing to do.


Mental Health

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Occupational safety and mental health, work hand in hand. When under stress you put yourself at risk of getting injured. Working around big and heavy machines can become a stressful environment for workers who have to work around them daily. When it comes to handling machines, it requires a lot more work and attention in order for the task to get completed without any injury. These responsibilities and workload can become stressful, and as we all know constant stress can lead to unfavourable health conditions. The best way to minimize these outcomes is by providing early intervention. Employers need to implement a wellness initiative that fosters  proactive approach to mental health. Be sure to join us for our stress management webinar where we’ll go into more depth on the topic of stress management: what it is, and how to prevent it.

 

With a digital wellness platform it can make make getting wellness to all employees easier. The Optimity app is loaded with hundreds of health topics, some of them even relating to occupational safety and injury prevention. Having access to a coaching tool that have activities and information related specifically to occupational safety is important to have. This eliminates the concern that employers have about employees neglecting the importance of occupational safety. With more emphasis put onto this, employee’s overall health is bound to increase, with injuries decreasing, resulting in more productivity and lower injury related cost for employers.

Optimity

We can help make the wellness needs for your employees easier to manage. Optimity’s platform is scientifically supported to provide health content and micro activities that are 30 seconds to 2 minute long in order to prevent chronic health outcomes. The proactive approach will produce better workers, who are more healthier, happier and more productive, while bringing down health care costs for the employer. If you want to learn more about how Optimity can help your employees and your organization, reach out to engage@myoptimity.com and request a demo.

Or sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

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