Niki O’Brien, a litigation support consultant and mom in Winter Park, FL, seeks help for exercise, meal planning, skin care, and how to get a better night’s sleep.
Ask any working mom, "How are you?" and you're likely to hear "Tired!" That's certainly true for O'Brien, mom to toddler Avery. "I am always tired no matter how much sleep I get," she says, "and I never wake up feeling refreshed."
O'Brien and her husband, Paul, also have two other sweet but unruly "kids," dogs Finnegan and Diesel, who keep the couple on their toes. There's just not enough time in the day to get everything done, she says, especially when it comes to cooking and working out.
"I'm always running out of ideas for healthy meals (and exercise routines) that don't require a ton of time." But perhaps one of the most nagging health issues is her skin. "I still get breakouts regularly!" O'Brien says. "On top of that, my skin is starting to lose elasticity."
Here's expert advice to help her.
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is not just about quantity but also quality. Stick to a sleep/wake schedule. Go to bed and wake at the same time every day, including weekends. Your body will like the consistency. And eliminate caffeine by 2 p.m. Caffeine has a half-life of up to 10 hours and can keep you in a lighter sleep stage at night without your knowing it.
Michael Breus, PhD, author, The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan.
Making Time for Healthy Meals
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate nutrition icon is what a healthy meal should look like: Half the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter with grains, and the other quarter with lean protein. When you're planning meals, think of filling in the blanks. And remember: If your pantry and freezer are prepared, you don't have to be. Shop for healthy basics such as canned beans and tomatoes, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and canola and olive oil.
Carolyn O'Neil, RD, co-author, The Dish: On Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!
1. Sunscreen. For acne-prone patients, I suggest a mineral blocker sunscreen in a light gel formulation.
2. Vitamin C. It helps neutralize free radical damage, brightens skin, and is vital to collagen synthesis.
3. Retinols. They stimulate exfoliation to prevent blocked pores and encourage collagen and elastin production.
Mohiba K. Tareen, MD, founder, Tareen Dermatology, Roseville, MN; clinical assistant professor of dermatology, Columbia University.
Create a weekly exercise plan. Write down which days of the week and what time of day you'll exercise, the minutes of activity, and the activity you'll do. Then, check in each week and modify as necessary. Keep it realistic so you'll commit and do it.
Richard Weil, exercise physiologist and weight loss program director, New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
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