The One Thing That Will Help You Lose Weight


If you’re on a recent or lifelong quest to get healthy there are several changes you can make to help you lose weight.  However I’ve discovered that there is one thing you can do starting today to help you lose weight.

Eat smaller portions

I started consuming less food, it’s that easy.  Originally I just cut out my morning and afternoon snacks which gave me more energy.  Then I cut down my Starbucks visits to once a week instead of once a day.  This is helping save money but also cutting back on sugar and calories as well as snacks such as banana bread.  I really love banana bread.

It took me two weeks to adjust to the lower calorie intake but if I don’t think about eating then I don’t want to snack.  After that I just became obsessed with everything I ate.  I started ordering my daily breakfast sandwich on an English muffin instead of a home-style biscuit, I started ordering smaller menu items at lunch and I started putting my at home dinner on small plates.  Smaller plates mean smaller portions and I don’t go back for seconds.  I feel lighter and healthier.  I still eat the same foods, just in smaller portions and I avoid binge eating.

Of course eating properly is only a portion (pun intended) of adopting a healthy lifestyle.  However I’ve heard experts say that what you eat accounts for 80% of your weight loss.  The other 20% is about exercising, staying active and trying to be as stress free as possible.

Here are some other things you can do to help lose weight:

Get a good night’s sleep

Cassie from Blogilates says a healthy lifestyle includes a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  If your body can’t rest then it can’t relax.  When your body is constantly going and always harboring stress it’s also harboring fat cells.

I know some of us don’t think there are enough hours in the day to get everything done and therefore we get up really early and go to be super late,  But that’s an unhealthy habit that could be prolonging our weight loss.

Exercise regularly

Lifting weights builds your muscle mass and keeps your bones healthy.  Getting your heart pumping with cardio keeps your heart healthy.  But exercising regularly also helps burn all of the extra calories you’re consuming.  Weight loss is very easy actually, it’s kind of like calculating your net worth.  When it comes to money Assets – Liabilities = Your Net Worth.  When it comes to your health Calorie Intake – Calories Burned = Your Weight Loss.

Keep in mind your body naturally burns calories with your normal daily activities such as walking and moving around, but exercising burns even more calories; more calories burned equals less fat stored and that equals weight loss.

Cut down sugar

Eating an excessive amount of sugar is never healthy because it leads to health risks such as diabetes and unbalanced sugar levels.  However did you know that sugar also causes you to gain weight?  That’s true.  Consumed sugar that is not burned off by exercising turns into fat and is stored by your body.  Sometimes our sweet tooth can be comforting, but it’s not always good for us.

Photo from Pixabay

In Your Face: Fruit Acid is the New Fountain of Youth

girl-781155_1280Acid is one freakishly potent chemical. If you’re a fan of the movie Aliens, you know firsthand how lethal doses of acid can punch a hole through steel and eat away human tissue. Lucky for us, these types of Aliens don’t exist, and blood really can’t be made out of acid. Right?

From Cleopatra, With Love

Cleopatra was probably the first documented case of someone who understood the anti-aging benefits of a mild chemical peel. History suggests that she used sour goat’s milk to refresh and rejuvenate her skin. Milk contains lactic acid, part of the alpha hydroxy acid family and a bit milder than glycolic acid, but still used in peel preparations today.

Elizabeth I of England and Elizabeth of Bavaria were also reported to take frequent “milk baths” to rejuvenate their skin. Lavender, honey and essential oils were often mixed in with the milk to enhance its effectivity, but the lactic acid content was usually enough because it dissolved the proteins holding dead skin cells together, promoting new skin growth.

My Acid is Better Than Yours

Not all acids are created equal. Before we go into detail, let’s take a gander at the two main acid groups: alpha hydroxy acids are exfoliants derived from fruit and milk sugars, which include glycolic, lactic and citric acid. There’s only one in the beta hydroxy acid group – salicylic acid – which is either biosynthesized or derived from the bark of a willow tree.

The main difference between the two acid groups are their lipid oil solubility. Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble only, while beta hydroxy acid is lipid oil soluble. What this means is, for oily skin that’s prone to blackheads and whiteheads, beta hydroxy acid should be used because it can penetrate deep into the pore that contains sebum.

It’ll then exfoliate all the dead skin cells inside the pore and dissolve the glue that holds the cells of the epidermis together. The dead skin cells will then fall off, promoting new skin growth. Alpha hydroxy acids on the other hand, are best used on thickened and sun damaged skin that’s not prone to pimples.

Big Acid, Small Molecule

In terms of effectivity, glycolic acid stands out as one of the most used (and most popular) in chemical peel preparations. This is in large part due to glycolic acid being a naturally occurring substance derived from cane sugar, and its effects are mild when compared to other acids.

Glycolic acid also has the smallest molecules, and the smaller the molecule, the easier it is for the skin to absorb it. That’s why glycolic acid is used in most anti-aging products and doctor’s peels. Used as a chemical peel, glycolic acid is one of the most effective peel preparations to date, and it’s effects are somewhat dramatic.

Similar to lactic acid, glycolic acid penetrates the skin and breaks down the cement that holds each layer together. It’s applied evenly on the skin using a sponge and left for a set amount of time, depending on the concentration. Once the desired effect is reached, the acid can be washed off safely with water. Red skin and peeling follows for several days.

Which Peel Should You Go For?

This really depends on a lot of factors: your skin type, your location on the globe, what you want to accomplish and how far you’re willing to go. People in South East Asia have problems with open pores because of the hot and humid weather conditions, while people in the Baltic States don’t have the same problem because it’s cold.

The best thing you can do is go to a good dermatologist. Avoid the fancy salons. They may have people trained to do the procedures, but they aren’t doctors and won’t be able to diagnose any underlying conditions you may have. Skin doctors will also be able to determine which peel is right for you and how deep they should go to see results.

Over the counter “overnight peels” are OK, but always consult your doctor first before playing dermatologist on your face. After all, you only have one, and if you accidentally melt it off with acid, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

3 Money Lessons Every College Student Needs to Know


Every fall students around the country leave home to attend college for the first time.  It’s definitely an adventure, some students are ready and some aren’t.  That’s not harsh, it’s just reality.  I don’t think anyone can ever be fully ready to change their entire life, yet every year a lot of students do it.

College life is definitely an adjustment.  There are new people to meet, new living habits to form with complete strangers, new surroundings to get used to and of course new financial responsibilities to learn.  If being good with money has never been your strong suit then there’s no time like the present to learn how to manage your money.  After all you are a grown up college student now.

Use these three tips to get your financial life off on the right foot:

Wait until next year to get a credit card

Learning how to be financially responsible with credit is an important lesson to learn early on in life because it will help set the tone for your post college life.  Using credit responsibly will help build a credit score which will help you rent an apartment, be approved for a mortgage and obtain other types of financing such as car loans.  It can also be the deciding factor in whether you get a job offer.

With all that being said I don’t think the right time to get your first credit card is during your first year of college.  So much will change in your life and you need time to settle into your new routine before you start applying for a credit card.

If your first year of college is a little chaotic it’s best to stay away from  using credit cards so you don’t form bad financial habits.  When you are more comfortable and settled in during your second year you can visit your bank and apply for your first credit card.

Find a part time job

Working during college is a great way to meet new people, gain valuable experience and put some extra cash in your pocket.  There are a lot of job opportunities for college students right on campus from the college bookstore to the administration of your department.

However you can also look off campus at local restaurants and retail stores.  Employers in college towns are often very flexible with schedules because they understand students have to juggle classes and their work load.  US News says that creating a realistic budget is an important part of college life and having a regular income from your part time job will make the adjustment that much easier.

Volunteer for a local non-profit

Just like finding a part time job, volunteering your time can help make valuable connections, enhance your resume and possibly lead to a full time job after graduation.  It won’t put any extra money in your pocket, but it can definitely lead to bigger and better things.

Do you have any advice for college freshmen?

Photo from Pixabay

4 Unusual Ways to Use Coffee Grinds


After you brew your coffee at home what do you do with the leftover coffee grinds?  If you’re like me (or like I used to be) you probably throw them in the garbage.  But did you know that coffee is actually eco-friendly?  I didn’t…until recently.

I was lucky enough to receive a Keurig 2.0 K200 from Influenster as part of the Keurig and Van Houtte campaign.  I had the chance to try my very first at home brewing machine and be one of the first to taste the new Van Houtte specialty coffee flavors such as Vanilla Latte and Cappuccino.  On top of all that I actually got to learn about all the benefits coffee has after you stop drinking it.

It turns out that coffee is so much more than just a warm beverage.  You can actually used coffee grinds in some very unusual ways such as in your garden, on your body and on your face.  According to Keurig “Gardening with coffee is a very popular practice and an environmentally friendly way to divert used coffee grounds from being thrown in the trash.”

Try these unusual ways to use your leftover coffee grinds:

Start a compost with your coffee
Coffee grinds are rich in nitrogen and bacteria which are two ingredients that help turn organics into compost. Add used coffee grinds to your compost along with all your biodegradables such as eggshells and unwanted fruits and veggies.

Mix an exfoliating body scrub

Coffee grinds seem, well grimy.  But apparently that’s good for your body.  After learning all about the ways coffee can be eco-friendly I took to Pinterest to find other ways we can use coffee.  It turns out that coffee is a natural exfoliate.  All you need is coffee + coconut oil + cinnamon and you have a lovely body and face scrub.

Create a liquid feeder
No only can coffee grinds be used as a fertilizer and an exfoliate they can also be used as a liquid plant enhancer.  Yes that’s right.  The next time you want to water your plants, vegetables, flowers or garden throw some leftover coffee into the watering can.  All you need is a handful of coffee and a bucket of water, let it sit for two days and then water your plants.

Coffee can be used as soil
Mixing leftover coffee into your soil helps plants and veggies grow because it acts as a natural fertilizer.  Who knew that unwanted coffee was the new Miracle Grow.  Mix coffee into your pots or sprinkle it on top of your gardens.  Then sit back and watch your greenery grow.

Photo from Pixabay