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Fitness and health briefs

Fitness and health briefs, Aug. 12
Oklahoman Published: August 12, 2014

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Challenge your thoughts

Thoughts can profoundly influence our moods and even pain. Constantly telling yourself things like “I’m always in pain,” “I don’t know how much longer I can take this” or “I’m so stressed at work,” or “How can I continue to live this way?” can cause the “pain gates” in your nervous system to open. It’s a natural sensation to tense up and tighten muscles all over your body when feeling pain or stress. Such negative thoughts undermine your sense of control and keep you from taking positive action. Learn to monitor and challenge this negative self-talk. Try writing down your thoughts and feelings as part of a pain or stress diary. Practice belly breathing exercises and use guided imagery to get to a place that’s pain and stress “manageable.” You CAN make it better.

Source: Molly Ross, executive director, Integris James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit

Prepare your meals

and eat better all week

Eating healthy doesn’t start with a magic pill or protein bar — it starts with your kitchen. That’s right, homemade meals take a little extra planning, but you can end up cutting calories and adding more nutrients if you do it yourself. And don’t forget about the money you’ll save. Here’s the battle plan:

Set it up:

Designate one day as “Plan and Prep” for the entire week. (We’re partial to Sundays.) Make a list of your future meals and the ingredients required for the entire week, and then go grocery shopping. When you get home, it’s time to prep. Here are some suggestions:

Make sure you have plastic storage containers, an insulated lunchbox and even a slow cooker. These will make the transportation and preparation of food that much easier.

Grill or bake a week’s worth of chicken breasts.

Fry ground turkey or beef that you can throw in eggs and pasta sauces.

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