When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, it’s always best to start off small! I remember a few years ago I tried an elimination diet, which was a recipe for disaster. Not only did it not last very long, but I was cranky and it led me to overindulge.
We might be approaching the middle of January, but that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t time to set healthy New Year’s resolutions that will not only give you a fresh start, but help you look and feel great, too! Registered nurse and nutrition expert, Sharon Liao was kind enough to join me for an interview yesterday morning to share healthy weight loss methods, tips for eating healthy in 2015, beauty tips and tricks, and much more!
Candace Rose: What are some weight-loss methods and programs that won’t leave people feeling deprived?
Sharon Liao: “Well, that’s a great question, Candace. I think that the biggest mistake people make when it comes to New Year’s resolutions is they’re often overzealous when it comes to their diet resolutions. They have these really rigid diets and that can leave them feeling deprived, which can lead them to overeat, binge, and toss those diet resolutions out the window once it becomes February.
My solution for you is to make sure you have some better for you treats on hand, something like this Weight Watchers Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss. I really like it because it’s made with real caramel, so it tastes indulgent. It has a wonderful salted sweet flavor, but it has just 90 calories and a points plus value of 2. It’s available in grocery stores in a number of decadent flavors like triple chocolate, mint chocolate, and peanut butter. What I like about this is that they’re individually packaged for built-in portion control.
What’s so important when it comes to eating snacks and desserts and sweets is to make sure you eat the right amount. Something that I recommend is pre-portioning snacks out in advance. Just divvy them up into little baggies that way you won’t be tempted to eat the entire box when you reach for a snack.”
Candace Rose: How can we improve our overall confidence through our skin and hair?
Sharon Liao: “Well, of course we all want to start the new year off looking our best from head to toe, but for millions of Americans that means dealing with less than lush locks. Whether that’s caused from thinning hair or due to damage or over-styling. An easy solution is to make sure that you’re using the right hair products. Biota has a line of herbal shampoos, conditioner and hair serum that has been clinically shown to combat thinning hair. They’re made from all herbal ingredients so they’re safe to use in conjunction with anything else that you might be using and they can help your hair grow stronger and faster. That’s really so important because how you look can affect how you feel.
In fact, one survey from Invisalign found that 47% of women said that their confidence is directly related to their physical appearance. If you want to make 2015 the year that you have a more confident and beautiful smile, the good news is that you don’t need to go the braces route. There are a lot of options there and I really like Invisalign because it has clear liners that straighten your teeth so discreetly. They don’t involve any of the metal brackets or wires involved in traditional braces, and frankly can cause a lot of embarrassment, especially in professional situations. Invisalign is also surprisingly affordable. It’s covered by most orthodontic insurance plans, and payment plans start as low as $99 a month.”
Candace Rose: What are some quick ways to add flavor to foods without undoing your diet?
Sharon Liao: “That’s a great point, Candace. I have a couple of tips when it comes to adding flavor to foods, one is a spice rack is a dieters best friend because they’re full of flavor which can make your meals really satisfying and they’re low in calories and contain a ton of antioxidants.
Another way to increase your flavor is to use the right dressings and sauces. I really recommend people load up on fruits and vegetables in the new year, especially if they’re looking to lose weight because they’re so low in calorie. An easy way to get to that recommended five to nine servings a day is to eat more salads, that’s a recommendation from the Association of Dressings and Sauces.
What I like to do is stock my fridge full of my favorite leafy greens, vegetables and then mix that with some fruits, some whole grains – maybe leftover from dinner the night before, as well as some nuts and maybe a tiny bit of cheese and then pouring a little bit of my favorite dressing on top. It not only adds flavor, but it also has healthy fats that help your body process important vitamins like vitamins A and E. It can even help you feel fuller for longer.
Mayo is also a great source of these healthy fats because it’s made of healthy oils like olive, canola and soybean oils. There’s never any trans fats. I like to add mayo on my sandwich, as well as in my sauces. It has a great rich flavor that can help you feel satisfied so you eat less overall.
Another thing that I do to increase my produce intake is that at the start of the week I chop up my favorite veggies into little crudites, that way whenever I’m hungry I can just reach into my fridge and snack on some fresh veggies, along with my favorite dressings as a dip. I also like to pair them with salsa too, that makes a great dip as well. By having that ready to go and on hand, I have a low calorie snack that prevents me from snacking on chips or candy or anything that may derail my diet.”
Candace Rose: What are some fast ways to blast away stress?
Sharon Liao: “Well, one of the ways to blast away stress, which I think is one of the most fun tips to do in the new year is to make sure that you laugh every day. Laughter has been shown to instantaneously lower your stress levels as well as your blood pressure, which can have a beneficial effect on your heart. I recommend taking time to goof off, maybe watch a funny YouTube video or call a funny friend. That’s a great way to buffer against stress.”
Candace Rose: How can people get better quality sleep?
Sharon Liao: “One way that people can get better quality sleep is actually to power off all the electronic devices that we use at least an hour before bedtime. Studies have shown that the blue light that’s emitted from our favorite gadgets like our iPhone and our e-Readers can actually interfere with the brainwaves associated with sleep and causing you to stay up later and have a more disrupted sleep. I like to set a little alarm an hour before bedtime just as a reminder to power down all my devices and to help me start to unwind.
It’s also important that you go to bed and wake up around the same time everyday. The reason why is because our bodies love to have a routine, so if you go to bed around the same time everyday (I recommend within an hour everyday) that actually teaches your body to start getting tired around the same time, so falling asleep is super easy. You aren’t going to toss and turn and you’ll have a more solid night’s sleep.”
Candace Rose: Thank you for the great tips, Sharon. Where can we go for more information?
MORE ABOUT SHARON LIAO
Sharon Liao is former senior health and nutrition editor with Shape magazine. She edited and wrote many of the magazine’s health and nutrition pages, including various features and the Eat Right, Live Healthy, and Weight Loss Workbook columns. Her stories have won National Health Information Awards and a Gold Eddie Award for their consumer health reporting. Prior to joining Shape in 2006, Liao served as an associate editor at Prevention magazine. She has also been on staff at Fitness and Reader’s Digest magazines. Liao has many television and radio appearances to her credit, including health, nutrition, home, and relationship segments on NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Eyewitness News, GMA Now, and WPIX11 Morning News. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.