Taking care of yourself shouldn't be complicated. We talk to the experts for practical advice to live a long and healthy life, based on science. Subscribe to get episodes from Life Kit on health and wellness.
So many food labels proclaim their eco-virtues these days — organic. Pasture-raised. Cage-free. Non-GMO. What do they actually mean? Here are six ways to make sense of it all.- "Natural" or "sustainable" labels have no legal standard.- "Organic" means it's better for the planet, but may not be better for you.- Non-GMO is not organic. The food was still grown with pesticides.- Labels like "Animal Welfare Approved" mean the animals got to live outdoors.- "Fair Trade" products deliver a little extra money to small farmers in cooperatives.- Don't let labels stress you out. When it comes to solving the world's problems, your shopping decisions aren't nearly as important as your political decisions.
The way many of us think about weight loss is totally counter-productive. Focus on healthy habits you can sustain instead of the numbers on the scale. Here's what to remember:- Forget goal weights. Instead, focus on behavioral goals. - Start with small changes and let them snowball.- A loss of only 3% of your body weight can meaningfully improve your health.- Remember that your best weight is the one you reach when you live the healthiest life you can actually enjoy.
Our biology makes it hard to lose weight. In this episode, we won't tell you how to lose weight — or whether you even need to. We will give you five realities about biology, and they might even help you be kinder to your body. Here's what to remember: - Metabolism slows when you lose weight.- Hormonal changes that come with weight loss make you hungrier. - What you eat is more important than how much you exercise.- Exercise seems to play a big role in maintaining weight and preventing further gain.
We all can feel the effects of weight stigma, no matter what our size is. In this episode, we help you feel good about the body you're living in and give strategies to improve your health without obsessing about your weight. Here's what to remember: - Recognize that weight stigma can actually harm your physical health. - Remember that weight and body mass index are imperfect indicators of your health. - Focus on well-being, regardless of your weight. - Even if you don't experience weight stigma in daily life, ask yourself: Am I helping to perpetuate it?
When you can't sleep, your thoughts can be your worst enemy. In this episode, we explain five key strategies to help break the spiral, based on what many believe is the most effective treatment out there: cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I. Here's what to remember:- Log your sleep time to get a reality check on how much you're actually sleeping. - Write down your anxious thoughts; then replace them with more rational ones.- Restrict the amount of time you spend in bed based on information from your sleep log.- Find a relaxation technique.- Make it a rule: The bedroom is only for sleep (and sex); no electronic devices, no lying in bed, ruminating.
From mediation to melatonin to putting on a pair of socks, we all have routines to help us reach that blissful state of slumber. These are the ones that work:- Forget sheep. Instead, use mental imagery — picturing a walk in the woods or a stroll on a beach — to help relax. - Relaxation and meditation apps can help you unwind. - Melatonin supplements might ease your way into sleep, but too much melatonin could disrupt it. - Over-the-counter sleep medications may knock you out, but they won't result in effective sleep.- If young kids wake you in the wee hours, don't react in a way that increases their stress — but do find strategies that make it no fun to be up.- Sleep rituals are personal. If you believe in yours, that might be all you need.
From the moment you wake up, your body starts to prepare for sleep. We show you how to adjust your daytime habits to get the best possible night of rest.Here's what to remember:- Start the day with natural light — from an east-facing window, or even better, go outside — to put the brakes on melatonin. - Cut the caffeine off by late morning. Even if it doesn't keep you up, caffeine impacts how much deep sleep you're getting. - Get moving during the day. Exercise can increase the quantity and quality of your sleep.- Avoid the nightcap. Alcohol makes you feel sleepy but disrupts deep sleep.- Ban the smartphone and TV from the bedroom. Too stimulating, when you should be letting go.