Written by Patrick Allan.
Charisma is one of those things that people assume you’re born with, but that’s not necessarily the case. Regardless of your personality type, it’s entirely possible to become more likable and develop your charisma. The key is to focus on certain traits you can practice and apply to your own behavior that can possibly make you seem more magnetic, trustworthy, and influential. Here’s where to start.
Charisma is something you learn
If you’ve ever met someone likable, yet you couldn’t explain specifically why you like them, they have charisma. You can learn to be charismatic too, and all it takes is some modifications to your behavior. Charisma is about what you say and do as opposed to who you really are as a person. Your subconscious, social cues, physical expression and the way you treat others all play a part in developing your charisma.
In the video above, behavioral expert and author Olivia Fox Cabane tells a story about Marilyn Monroe. During a very busy time of day, Monroe brought a photographer with her into Grand Central Station in New York City. People were everywhere, yet no one seemed to recognize one of the most famous people in the world. She boarded a train and quietly rode to the next station without anyone noticing. Cabane explains that Monroe was trying to prove a point:
“What Marilyn wanted to show was that just by deciding to, she could either be glamorous Miss Monroe or plain Norma Jean Baker (her real name). On the subway, she was Norma Jean, but when she resurfaced on to the busy New York sidewalks, she decided to turn into Marilyn. So she looked around and she teasingly asked the photographer, “So, do you want to see her? TheMarilyn?” And then, he said, there were no grand gestures, she just fluffed up her hair and struck a pose. And yet, with this simple shift, she suddenly became magnetic. An aura of magic seemed to ripple out from her and everything stopped. Time stood still, as did the people around her, who stared in amazement as they suddenly recognized a star standing in their midst…”
Make no doubt, Marilyn Monroe had beauty on her side, but she wanted to prove that charisma is something you create and emanate, not something you’re merely born with. Your goal here is to find the Marilyn Monroe inside of your Norma Jean Baker. It’s there, but you have to work to find it.
Master the art of presence
“Presence” is the most important aspect of charisma, with confidence being a close second. Presence is all about being truly engaged with others. Essentially, you’re showing the other person that they have your complete attention. Without confidence, you can seem like someone who is shy or uninterested in others, but without presence, you can come across as someone who is only interested in showing off. As with most things, neither extreme is ideal.
In fact, the art of presence highlights the most important thing to remember when you’re developing charisma: it’s not about you. Or, as Brett and Kate McKay at The Art of Manliness put it:
When you think of charisma, you might think of trying to make yourself seem super awesome to others. But the paradoxical secret of charisma is that it’s not about trumpeting your good qualities, but making the other person feel good about himself. Real charisma makes the other person feel important; when they finish an interaction with you, they feel better about themselves than they did before.
The truth is, we like ourselves and we like talking about ourselves. The people in your life that you find likable and charismatic, though, let you be yourself and let you talk about yourself. Be positive, shut down your ego, and give your full attention. It really is that simple.
Pay attention to every word that comes out of someone else’s mouth. Imagine you’re watching a movie or reading a book and you’re slowly learning about the main character. Invest your attention and your focus on them. Most importantly, do not sit there and think about what you’re going to say while they talk. It might seem like the proactive thing to do, but it only shows that you’re not really listening, just preparing to retort.
Also, it should go without saying, but pulling your phone out mid-conversation basically undoes any of the likability you’ve accumulated. Nothing demonstrates you’re not listening like firing off a “quick email” or scrolling through Instagram.
There’s a balance, of course. You can’t just sit and listen to people all day and night. Knowing how to talk and express yourself to others in a confident way is important as well.
Develop a sense of confidence
Having confidence will give you a huge foothold when you’re becoming more charismatic, but it’s not easy to build. You don’t want to be arrogant, but you also don’t want to come across as timid or scared. It all comes down to how you feel in your own skin. Working out regularly, dressing in clothes that make you feel good, and talking about the things you understand well can help you build and maintain confidence.
You shouldn’t only talk about what you know, though. You can be open with others and show that you’re curious too while appearing confident. Most of us get locked up when we get caught in a conversation about something we know nothing about, and suddenly, we’re looking for ways to defend ourselves instead of being okay with our ignorance. If you shift from “defensive mode” into “curiosity mode,” you’ll appear confident with the fact that you don’t know about something. On top of that, being curious maintains that all important presence. You’re not drifting off in your mind trying to come up with answers—you’re visibly involved in the conversation.
Why Confidence Is So Important (and How to Improve Yours)
“Have confidence!” is one of the most essential pieces of advice you’ll receive in life that makes…
Live with purpose
People with confidence and charisma also live with purpose. It’s noticeable when you don’t seem to have a mission or driving factor. You don’t need to wear your passion on your sleeve, but you need to be confident in the notion that you’re alive to do something. Jordan Lejuwaan at HighExistence suggests you pick something that motivates you and run with it:
Pick a cause, a goal, a vision and live it. People long to have a cause to rally around — something to believe in. You need to believe in it so strongly for that it animates your every gesture. Be self-assured in every scenario. Show that you don’t share the doubts that plague most people. Act as if you know where you are going, even if you aren’t 100% sure.
You may not really know where you’re going all of the time, but you should look like you know. When a scene plays out, act like you know your lines. We all have those moments where we do something and think to ourselves, “that was stupid.” Forget those moments. When you have those moments and take even a fraction of a second to think like that, your behavior visibly changes. You falter and people can see it. Confidence is about being okay with what you do and who you are, no matter what that means. People like confident individuals, even if their other qualities are less attractive. If you can be confident, being charismatic is a hop, skip, and a jump away.
Conquer the basics of conversation
Charismatic people know how to talk other people. They know how to start a conversation, steer it in the right direction, and make others feel comfortable. If you don’t know how to talk to people on the most basic level, you need to practice. It will be tough, but if you can be brave and step away from the wallflower mentality, it will be very rewarding. It will be uncomfortable at first, but being uncomfortable is how you get better.
If you don’t know how to start a conversation, get creative. First, think to yourself what you would and wouldn’t like to talk about. If there’s something that would make you feel uncomfortable, it will probably make them feel uncomfortable. It’s also much easier to get a conversation going by being nice, as opposed to trying to sound brilliant. Not to mention that being nice is a great charisma booster anyway. If you can’t think of how to start, or if you hit a lull, use the history/philosophy/metaphor rule. Do whatever you can to avoid awkward silence.
Good conversationalists also know how to get people on the same level. They share experiences and tell stories. Use humor as a tool and remember that it’s not what you say, but how you say it. If you’re not sure about a joke, hold off. No one will be worse off if you let it pass. Imagine a comedian bombing onstage. Nothing is more awkward and charisma-sucking as that, so don’t be that. At the same time, a comedian that’s confident in their jokes is highly charismatic. Humor, when used the right way, can make you the most likable person in the room.
Last, but not least, ask questions. People like to be heard, and, as Siimon Reynolds at Forbes puts it, questions give you the perfect opportunity to be likable:
The person who asks the questions usually controls the meeting. And those that ask reasonably smart questions usually come across as intelligent and even wise—two elements that help build the perception of charisma. I have always found it interesting that it takes a lot less knowledge to ask a good question as it does to provide a good answer, yet those who ask a lot of questions often end up giving the best impression.
Think about talk show hosts. They’re some of the most likable and charismatic people in the world—that’s how they get those jobs. They’re funny, but most of the time they do nothing but ask their guests questions, yet they come across as the lovable individual that’s in control. Charisma is more learning about others than it is about others learning about you.
Practice effective eye contact
Sometimes good eye contact can communicate more than any words could. Proper eye contact can express that you’re listening, that you care, and that you accept the other person as an individual. Looking down or constantly shifting your gaze shows that you’re uninterested and that your focus lies elsewhere.
Practicing eye contact can be tricky, though. Too much can be off-putting, but so can too little. You’ll need to experiment to find the right amount. Ramit Sethi, author and founder of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, suggests you test the waters a little:
…try holding eye contact for a second longer than you normally would. How do you feel? How does the other person react? Remember, you have MANY opportunities to try this out. Practice on your waiter, barista, or the person at the checkout counter.
Over time you’ll get a feel for what works and what goes too far. How you make eye contact is just as important as how long it lasts. If you’re not sure where to start without feeling like a creep, try focusing on the color of the other person’s eyes. Try to notice the color of each person’s eyes that you talk to and make it a habit. It’s the type of eye contact that makes you seem personable without seeming like a weirdo.
Be expressive with your body
Charismatic people express how they feel in a lot of different ways. Using your body to emphasize and enhance how you feel or what you’re talking about can go a long way. Nobody thinks someone who stands stiff as a board is magnetic or interesting. Above all else, remember to smile. Smiling people are more approachable and more likable than someone who looks angry or uninterested. If you’re not sure where to start with physical expression, Sims Wyeth at Inc. recommends you think of the people—or pets—you know and notice their physicality:
Think Kramer of Seinfeld fame when he slides through the door of Jerry’s apartment and discovers something surprising. Or your grandmother, who throws her arms in the air and bends her knees when she sees you after a long absence. Or my dog, Little Bear, who dances for joy when I come home at the end of the day.
People enjoy being around people (and animals) with a vocabulary of expressive gestures. Of course you don’t want to be clownish at work and act like Kramer, but gestures that are responsive to what’s happening in the moment and appropriate to the occasion are winning and appealing.
You also want to be aware of the bad types of expressive behavior. For example, nodding is a great way to visibly show someone that you’re listening, but nodding too much can look worse than not doing anything at all. Suddenly it’s obvious to the other person that you’re trying to show that you’re listening and they no longer feel validation. People can pick up on your expressions, no matter how slight, so becoming aware of your biggest offenders is only to your benefit. If you’re not sure what you do that reads poorly, ask your friends or someone you trust to be honest with you. It can be tough to hear the truth, but you can’t fix something if you don’t know about it.
Like a method actor becoming the role they’re playing, put yourself in the state of mind that keeps you aware of your behavior. If you start to lose awareness of your mannerisms, Cabane recommends you stop and focus on the feeling in your toes. This will give you a top to bottom assessment of all the things your body is doing. Are you slouching? Is your hand fiddling with something in your pocket? Become aware of and adjust.
When in doubt, practice mirroring
Mirroring qualities is an easy way to be charismatic in the moment. Match the other person’s physical mannerisms and energy level, and you’ll notice how well they’ll respond to it. You don’t need to agree with everything they say or do, but merely act the way they do to some degree. This can happen naturally, depending on the social setting, but it’s a simple way to increase your likability. And it goes without saying: don’t try to reenact Charlie Chaplin’s mirror scene and go overboard mimicking what the other person is doing. That’s just odd.
You can also mirror the qualities that you find likable in others. Observation is a major factor when it comes to charisma, and as Joyce Newman, the President of the Newman Group, suggests, you should look to the people you think are charismatic:
You don’t need to copy them, but learn their secrets, try them on and fine-tune them until they fit you. It’s a trial and error process.
Look to Hollywood, or wherever you notice charismatic people, and take notice to the way people carry themselves. Sure, some might be full of themselves, but you can still lift the effective, charismatic qualities for yourself and use them. Emulate the people you know are likable and you’ll learn a thing or two about how you can become more likable.
You have the ability be more likable and charismatic, and the changes you need to make in the process aren’t nearly as big as they may seem. Be present, confident, slowly become a master of your behavior, and watch as you mold others’ perception of you.
200 Couple “Must-Ask” Questions
200 Couple “Must-Ask” Questions.
Whether you are a new couple, or you’ve been a couple for years and years, we’ve got loads of
questions for couples that will be perfect for getting a great conversation going.
Some questions are more serious than others so have a look through and see which questions for
couples are right for you and your partner. Infact, with the valentine season fast approaching there’s no perfect time to get to know your partner better.
Getting to know your partner questions
One of the most important things in a relationship is learning about your partner. You can know what to
expect from them and can figure out if you two are a good match.
What’s your ideal way to spend a vacation?
What makes you dislike a person?
Do you think you are a confident person? Why or why not?
What about yourself are you most proud of?
What would the best version of you be like?
What life experiences did you miss out on?
When are you the most “you”?
How did you fall out with some of your previously close friends?
Are you happy with the people you surround yourself with? Why or why not?
What musical instrument do you wish you could play?
When has a mundane occurrence or chance completely changed the course of your life?
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received?
What age would you like to live to?
If you could travel to any country in the world for one month, where would you go?
What is your favorite memory of someone who isn’t in your life anymore?
How superstitious are you?
What has been a recurring theme in your life?
What was your most inappropriate or embarrassing fart?
What do you think happens after death?
What are your top 5 rules for life?
What’s your favorite thing in your / our house?
What book or movie do you wish you could experience for the first time again?
If you had a friend who spoke to you the same way you speak to yourself, would you keep them as a
What petty thing that people do really gets on your nerves?
What brings meaning to your life?
What is something you wish you could say to people but can’t?
What are some of the most attractive traits a person can have?
What’s a secret you’ve never told anyone?
What small pleasures do you enjoy the most?
Who is the most irritating person you know?
What has been your biggest screw up so far?
What have you struggled with your entire life?
What is the most significant change you would like to make in your life?
What do you want out of life?
What calms you down the most?
What are kinds of things do you find repulsive?
What would your perfect life look like?
If you received a salary to follow whatever passion you wanted to, what would you do?
What’s your most embarrassing story about being sick?
What friend have you not thought about in a long time?
What’s the craziest thing that has happened at a job you worked at?
Who do you act nice around but secretly dislike?
If money was no object, and with no input from me, how would you decorate your / our house?
How good are you at reading people?
Are you hopeful about your future?
Who do you want to be more like or who do you look up to most?
What were the healthiest and unhealthiest periods of your life?
What’s the worst emotional or mental anguish you’ve endured?
What do you like most about where we live?
What do you worry about?
What’s something you screwed up and then tried to hide?
What’s the scariest / creepiest place you have ever been?
Do you think the world is improving or getting worse? Why?
How do you think society is changing? Do you think we’ll change with it?
What’s the worst thing that people are proud of?
What’s the biggest betrayal you have ever experienced?
What would be the greatest gift to receive?
What is something that you are dreading?
What makes you feel super fancy?
What would you want your obituary to say?
What has taken up too much of your life?
What’s the most disheartening and heartening realization you have come to?
What was the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
Would you take 3 million dollars if it meant that the person you hate most in the world gets 9 million?
What part of you as a person still needs a lot of work?
What are some words of wisdom that have stuck with you all these years?
How well do you know yourself?
What is your best (not worst) flaw?
How forgiving are you?
Tell me about a time you almost died.
Are you ashamed of anything you did in the past? If you are comfortable talking about it, what was it?
Do you prefer living in the countryside, in a town, or in a big city? Why?
What’s your fondest memory of a tree?
What are some of the most pleasant sensations for you?
Are you happy with the career path you chose or do you wish you had chosen a different career?
What’s the most unethical thing you do regularly?
What is way more difficult than it sounds?
What job do you think you were born to do?
What’s the biggest financial mistake you’ve made?
What makes you lose faith in humanity when you think about it?
What was the most painful thing to hear?
What biases do you think you have?
What are you battling that you don’t tell anyone about?
What luxury do you enjoy treating yourself to?
What do you most like to do when you have alone time?
What is normal now that will be considered unethical and barbaric in 100 years?
When you’re gone when you want to be remembered for?
If there was a horrible accident and you were unconscious and on life support, how long would you
want to be on life support?
Do you believe in good luck and bad luck? How about things that are lucky or unlucky?
If you had a million dollars to give to any charity, what type of charity would you give it to?
What’s something that a lot of people are afraid of, but you aren’t?
If you could open a business what type of business would you open?
What can someone do that makes them immediately unattractive to you, no matter how attractive they
What untrue thing did you believe for an incredibly long time?
What were the three most important turning points in your life?
What animal are you most afraid of?
What scandal happened in your neighbor or town when you were growing up?
How well do you think you would handle prison?
What’s the most awkward social situation you’ve been in?
What is something that scares you on a daily basis?
When was the last time you cried?
What’s the most peaceful/restful night of sleep you’ve had?
What’s the most dangerous, thrill-seeking thing you would consider doing?
What’s your biggest regret?
Is it better to trust people or not trust people? And why?
What do you think your best and worst personality traits are?
Who do you miss the most?
What is the hardest life lesson you’ve had to learn?
What do you take for granted?
What’s the most stressful situation you’ve been in? How did you handle it?
What’s the most ambitious thing you’ve attempted?
How often do you change your opinions or how you view the world?
What’s the biggest opportunity you were given?
What is something we should enjoy more because it won’t be around for long?
What’s a question you wish people would ask more often?
What is the saddest thing about your life that nobody knows?
What are you most sentimental about?
Do you think people more people look down on you or up to you? Why?
What question do you most want an answer to?
What are some of the telltale signs of a shallow person?
What do you look forward to most in the day?
If you could instantly learn a talent or skill, what would you want to know how to do?
When is your favorite time of day?
What are the best and worst things about the period of history we are living through?
What’s the most rewarding thing in your daily routine?
What weird thing stresses you out more than it should?
When do you feel like you are really in your element?
How likely are you to believe in conspiracy theories?
What are some alcohol-induced stories of your younger days?
What’s the best way for someone to improve themselves?
What was the most productive time in your life? How about the least productive?
What three words best describe you?
How well do you function under a lot of pressure?
What is your weakness?
What are two of the most important events in your life?
What is something you know is bad for you but you can’t seem to get away from it?
What’s the biggest favor you’ve done for someone?
How does your current morning routine compare to your ideal morning routine?
What brings you the most joy?
What are you purposefully ignoring even though you know you should probably deal with it?
What do you wish you were better at?
Is there anything you did wrong for years and years, only to discover later that you were doing it wrong?
Questions about their family and childhood
When you are looking for relationship questions, it’s always important to ask about family and
childhood. Knowing where your partner came from can help you understand how they are now.
What is something your parents did or used to do that really embarrassed you?
What small seemingly insignificant thing did your parents, or someone else say when you were a child
that has stuck with you all this time?
What is the best or worst thing you inherited from your parents?
What made you realize that your parents were just human like everyone else?
What habits do you still have from childhood?
What family vacations did you take as a child?
How traditionally “normal” was your family?
Children are often very similar to their parents. How do you want to be different than your parents? And
how do you want to be similar to them?
What school subjects did you like and hate most when you were in school?
What unique game of pretend did you frequently play as a child?
What movie seriously scarred you as a child or as an adult?
What irrational fears did you have as a child?
What toy played the most significant part in your childhood?
What are some of your earliest memories?
Here are the main questions for couples that deal with the relationship itself. It’s important to be nonjudgmental when asking and answering these questions. It’s not about telling your partner the things
they do wrong or the things you want from them. It’s about working together as a couple to build a
What is something I did that you thought was exceptionally kind or thoughtful?
What new hobbies or activities would you like to try together as a couple?
What’s our greatest strength as a couple?
What could we do to make our relationship stronger?
What is something small that we can do daily for each other to make our lives better?
How much space / alone time should people in a relationship give each other?
What questions should partners ask each other before getting married?
What do I do that makes you the happiest?
How important is it for individuals in a relationship to maintain their own separate identity?
What makes our relationship better than other relationships?
What do you think our life will look like in 10 years?
What do you think would bring us closer together as a couple?
What kind of memories do you want to make together?
What do you think the most essential thing in a successful relationship is?
What’s your favorite way we spend time together?
What’s your favorite gift I’ve given you?
Where do you want to live when we retire?
In what areas do you think our personalities complement each other? (i.e. One is too reckless, and the
other is too cautious, and it balances out to a happy medium.)
How well do you think we communicate?
What adventure would you like to go on with me?
What’s the best relationship advice you’ve received?
What are some things you really like about me?
What do you think the hardest thing about marriage/being in a relationship is?
What can I do to most help us?
What do you see as your role in our relationship?
What would be a deal breaker for our relationship, something you couldn’t forgive?
What makes us different than other couples?
What do you think would be the best way to strengthen our relationship?
What are some of your relationship goals?
How realistic do you think couples in movies and TV are?
What does a happy and healthy relationship look like to you?
Couple questions about sex
Sex is an important topic to talk about in any relationship. It’s important to know what each of you
considers a healthy and enjoyable sex life.
How well do you think our sex drives match up?
How important do you think sex is in our relationship?
What are you into, but haven’t told me about?
What do I do in bed that drives you wild?
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done sexually?
Besides orgasms, what is the best part of sex?
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you while having sex?
When am I at my sexiest?
What would you like me to do in the bedroom to spice things up a bit?
What’s better than great sex?
What do I do outside the bedroom that turns you on?
Couple questions about having kids
It is vital that a couple is on the same page when it comes to kids. There can be a lot of strife and
heartache in a relationship if one partner absolutely wants kids and the other doesn’t, or if you both
have wildly different expectations for raising children.
Do you eventually want to have children? How many children do you eventually want? Why?
What’s the worst parenting mistake a couple can make?
What is the best way to raise children?
How would we know if we did our job as parents well?
Do you think it is more important for a couple with kids to focus on the kids more or each other more?
How do you think having kids will / has changed our lives and relationship?
14 Ways to Eat Less Sugar Without Missing It
This article was made available courtesy of eatingwell.com
A life without any sugar is a life we don’t want to live. And thankfully, experts say you don’t need to eliminate it from your diet. But shaving off some grams here and there is something most of us should be doing. “I’m not of the view that we should be draconian about this,” says Mattes. “Sugars do add palatability. And the most nutritious diet, if it’s not palatable, will have no health benefit—because people won’t eat it.” These strategies can help you find that balance.
1. Utilize the new added sugar line on labels
“Always check the Nutrition Facts panel to see how much added sugar is in a product—like cereal or yogurt—and compare it to other brands,” says University of Thessaly nutritionist and epidemiologist Renata Micha. “Between two or three options, you can aim for the one that has less added sugar.”
2. Target your weaknesses
In the U.S., most added sugar comes from the following five sources: sweetened beverages; desserts and sweet snacks; sweetened coffees and teas; candy and other sugars (jams, syrups, toppings); and breakfast cereals and granola bars. Figure out which category you tend to get the most added sugar from and start cutting back there. You’ll get the greatest reduction in overall sugar and boost in health benefits, says Ewoldt.
3. Look for high-quality carbs
Many packaged products—tortillas, granola bars—fall into a nutritional gray zone. They may be made with whole grains (good) and still contain lots of sugar (not so good). Even more stealthily, the front of the package may declare “no added sugars,” but the manufacturer has replaced this nutrient with something else, such as refined starches that have no fiber and affect your body in ways similar to added sugars. “So it’s important to assess overall carb quality, not just sugar alone,” says Micha.
One simple way to do that: use the 10-to-1 metric. This means for every 10 grams of total carbohydrate that a product contains, 1 gram or more should be fiber. (It’s based on the ratio of total carb to fiber found in whole wheat.) Micha and her colleagues discovered that when they applied this trick to U.S. supermarket foods, it quickly identified items with higher-quality carbs that also happened to be lower in sugar. And they were healthier in general—lower in sodium and higher in protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B , vitamin E, zinc and iron.
4. Don’t drink your sugar
You know that soda is potum non grata, but other sugary beverages may slip past your nutritional radar. Coffee drinks like a bottled Frappuccino can have 34 grams of added sugar, and one 20-ounce sports drink packs as much as 48 grams—which is just about 100% of your daily limit. (For comparison, a can of Coke has 39 grams.) “Sports drinks serve a purpose for elite athletes, or let’s face it, when we’re sick with the flu or prepping for a colonoscopy. But for everyone else, just choose water,” says Nancy Farrell Allen, M.S., RDN, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And let’s not forget cocktails. Alcohol itself contains no or very little sugar, but when you add the coffee liqueur to your ‘tini—that’s when the grams can go through the roof.
By eliminating even one sugary beverage a day and instead sipping water with a squeeze of lime or orange for flavor, you can dramatically reduce your sugar intake—especially given that sweetened beverages are the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet, says Micha. You could also try drinking seltzer in fun flavors, infusing your water with fresh fruit or eating an apple or orange alongside a glass of ice water. We love the Strawberry, Basil & Lime Infused Water pictured above.
5. Take your time
All of our experts recommend weaning yourself off sweetness slowly. Do you add sugar to your coffee or tea? Then use a little less tomorrow. A few days later, dial it back a bit more. Studies show that reducing sugar by 5 to 20%—equivalent to deleting about 4 to 12 grams daily—is not noticeable, and that over time your perception of sweetness intensity changes. In one trial, people who limited their sugar intake for 2 to 3 months rated pudding as much sweeter than those who did not.
6. Be wary of packaged bars
We love the grab-and-go convenience of them, but granola and energy bars supply a lot of the added sugar in our diets. So scan for ones that are low in sugar and as minimally processed as possible (short ingredients list of recognizable whole foods). They often taste just as good and can save you 5 to 15 grams of added sugars (that’s between 1 and 4 teaspoons of sugar) per bar! Even better, put a handful of nuts, seeds and oats, plus some unsweetened coconut flakes and a few dark chocolate chips (11 of them only have 2 grams of added sugar) in a travel container for a snack that’s packed with nutrients, protein, fiber and very little sugar.
If you want to go above and beyond, make your own. It’s a great way to keep sugar in check and customize the flavors to meet your preference.
7. Swap your yogurt for skyr
This Icelandic-style yogurt is made using different types of cultures than the standard kind you may be used to, giving it a thick, creamy consistency and less sour taste. And even the flavored varieties of skyr tend to have about one-third less added sugar than other flavored yogurts—which can be quite high in them.
8. Get enough sleep
The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours a night—yet more than 35% of Americans get less than that. Missing out on zzz’s can monkey with your hunger hormones, making you crave sugary foods (and salty ones too). However, in a review of seven clinical studies published in the Journal of Sleep Research, participants who increased their sleep duration—by anywhere from 21 minutes to 3 hours a night—had better insulin sensitivity as well as reductions in appetite, sweet cravings and sugar intake.
9. Trick your palate
Studies have shown that sweetness can be amplified by concurrently stimulating your other senses, says experimental psychologist Qian Janice Wang, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University in Denmark. One strategy to try: Sniff cinnamon, vanilla, cherry, almond, caramel, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry or banana before a meal or with your food. It can make you think what you’re eating is 5 to 25% sweeter than it would taste without one of these aromas. “The smell-taste interaction together form this perception of flavor. And that’s because when we smell something, the mind is already forming expectations that it’s a sweet food,” explains Wang. “So if you have cinnamon-vanilla oatmeal every day, and you gradually reduce the sugar, by the end it may be enough to have the cinnamon and vanilla without the sugar.”
10. Avoid sneaky sources
Sugar isn’t just added to make foods taste better. It also acts as a preservative that extends shelf life and prevents staleness, makes pastries tender by preventing gluten formation and encourages fermentation by providing food for yeast, allowing breads to rise, among other qualities. For these reasons, food manufacturers add sugar not just to traditionally sweet foods, but to tons of savory ones, as well. “For example, the other day I picked up a tofu, broccoli and brown rice frozen meal—can you get much healthier than that? But when I looked at the label, it had 17 grams of added sugar, most of it from the sauce,” says Andromalos. Check out our list of sneaky sources that can easily add up. Another reason to read and compare labels!
11. Use less sugar in your baking
“Recipes for things like cookies and cakes often call for more sugar than is necessary— so you can play around and see how much you can simply leave out,” says EatingWell recipe tester and developer Laura Kanya, who suggests removing a small amount and going from there. She was able to use one-third less sugar in the Raspberry Swirl Brownies here compared to a typical brownie recipe. The cocoa and pureed raspberries add richness and natural sweetness. “Sugar does impact the moistness, texture and browning of baked goods, so you may notice a difference there,” adds Kanya.
12. Roast your veggies
Rather than steaming or sautéing vegetables and relying on dressings and sauces (which often contain added sugars) to jazz them up, pop them in a 450°F oven. It caramelizes the natural sugars and makes them taste sweeter and more intense, says sensory scientist and dietitian Sungeun Choi, Ph.D., RDN, an associate professor in the department of family, nutrition and exercise sciences at New York’s Queens College.
13. Add it on top of baked goods
Sprinkling a small amount of coarse sugar on homemade, lower-sugar muffins, quick breads and cookies “delivers that extreme burst of sweetness and crunch with each bite, so you’re less likely to miss the sugar within the cookie or muffin,” says Andromalos.
14. Bake with natural sweeteners
Replace some of the sugar with mashed bananas or other fruits, unsweetened applesauce or blended dates, cooked sweet potatoes or prunes. This will also add moisture. “It’s a great way of getting some extra vitamins and minerals as well,” says Andromalos. “We used pineapple to sweeten our Pineapple Morning Glory Muffins—slashing the sugar content in half compared to similar muffins,” says Kanya. “And grating it incorporates the fruit into the batter.”
15. Trade flavor for sugar
The more taste you’re able to eke out of every recipe, the less sweet stuff you’ll need. “Our Cider-Sweetened Apple Pie contains less than half the added sugar of a typical recipe,” says Kanya. “How did we do it? By reducing already-sweet apple cider into a concentrated syrup.” It counts as added sugar, but the difference is we don’t need to use as much sweetener overall because the syrup’s intense flavor fools your taste buds into thinking the pie is sweeter than it actually is. You can apply this same technique to other recipes—and experiment with reducing different juices.
This article first appeared in EatingWell, September 2021
Grief and Loss, How to Cope with Them
Losing anything of value is never easy. Coping with grief and loss must be done your right way. Sadly, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Regardless of the type of loss you are faced with, the only thing required is that you understand the stages of grief and where you currently are on them. This understanding will provide you with healthier coping options.
WHAT DOES GRIEF MEAN?
When you lose something of great importance, your natural emotional and painful response to it is grief. Sometimes it comes with various reactions such as guilt, disbelief, deep sadness, health disruption, insomnia, inability to eat amongst so many things. Everything i mentioned here is normal when you are faced with grief. Your grief could come as a result of losing your health, a job, a relationship, a loved one, a miscarriage, a career dream, a friendship, a safety net after infidelity or even moving homes amongst many other reasons.
I see many couples and individuals sit across me and narrate their experiences with grief. Despite the many responses to grief, one thing that you cannot take away is that the intensity of your grief is always directly proportional to the significance of your loss.
Due to the personal nature of loss, i do not expect you to grieve like any other person. This means that there is no shame with how you decide to grieve. The only thing i want you to understand is that there are stages to grieving and you must understand what stage you are in to enable yourself transition from that stage, get a new perspective on the matter and then begin to move on from the heaviness you feel.
The Sad Honest Truth About Grief
Be it the loss of a parent, child, partner, spouse, relative, friend or colleague at work, It’s all pain and you may not ever get over this loss. However, time is what truly does the magic for you because your sorrow eases, you face the loss and then gradually begin to move on from that point.
Now that you understand how unique grieving is to every individual, you must also know that what separates everyone in grief are their beliefs, their faith, previous experiences with grieving, their coping styles and lastly their personality. Do not expect to recover immediately with actual loss of a loved one, or try to heal after replacing the job, house or opportunity you lost with a new one. It takes time. While some start to feel better in weeks and months, the measurement for others grieving is usually in years.
THE PROPER WAY TO GRIEVE
You must understand somethings about grief as this gives you an edge;
A) IF you feel pain, do not pretend it does not exists simply because you want to appear strong. This act will keep you trapped in one stage of grief longer than expected. Weakness or Strength are not the consideration at this point. Pain is.
B) Do not try to grieve the way you have seen a sibling, spouse, parent or someone else go about it. That is their own way. Trying to emulate them in this regard may not work for you and could end up doing more damage than good.
C) It’s not time to be alone with yourself and misery. Get the support of your loved ones and others who truly care about your well-being. Staying alone is not the solution to numbing the pain.
D) The feeling of grief will make you laugh, cry, smile, talk to yourself and so on. In extreme cases, clients have mentioned that grief made them romanticize with thoughts around death and suicide. Especially for individuals who lost a spouse.
E) Your emotions are not stable when you are grieving. This is what grief does to you. Forcing yourself to stabilize your emotions is not the key. Recognizing the emotions you feel is the real solution.
Available on Podcast:
Learning about the 5 stages of grief
Denial: This is the phase where an individual hasn’t yet come to terms with what has happened. The associated shock or emotional overwhelm dissociates the victim in such a way that the circumstances look like an unfolding movie plot with them as spectators.
Anger: At this point, a realization dawns on the individual. This comes with an intense anger that has the individual lashing out angrily and questioning a lot of things.
Bargaining: The need to have this happen to distance oneself from the flurry of negative emotions suddenly triggers an emotion that wants to pass on the grief to some other person, place etc. With this comes a negotiation where depending on the spiritual beliefs of the individual sees them bargaining , going on a spiritual deep dive all in a bid to reverse the situation.
Depression: This is a phase characterized by intense sadness that comes once you start to understand the situation isn’t particularly going anywhere or changing.
Acceptance: After healthily negotiating the first phases of grief, the individual now understands that the situation truly occurred. At this point, you come to terms with the pain and truly start to own the emotions you are feeling. It is from this stage that healing starts.
Despite the fact that I have listed these phases, it would be important to note that not everyone navigates grief by following these exact steps. Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist who first intimated us with these stages of grief never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework applicable to anyone mourning. I have seen clients who went straight to acceptance from the denial stage and just when everybody else affected was struggling with denial, these individuals were already available to assist their spouse, partner, siblings or friends with their own grief.
Grieving and loss is a bespoke experience for everyone. The circumstances may be similar but the effect on the mourner is unique. Hence for younger therapists, there is a need to make clients identify what stage they currently find themselves in. As important as this is, it is better to allow them speak first, tell a story, relive their experiences with the deceased and as you listen with your ears and observe with your entire being, you are bound to start discovering for yourself, where exactly they are with the grieving process (even if it doesn’t quite tally with any of the stages.
I truly hope this piece throws a lot more clarity on your current struggles with navigating loss. We are here to support you through your loss and believe that your complete healing is not too far away.
Advertising Market Leaders Give 5 Marketing Musts for 2023
Learn from your experiencesPerhaps the final word goes to Soyoung Kang, chief marketing officer at beauty brand eos. As marketers start to think about the trends that will define their 2023, she urged them to also remember the lessons of the last few years. “As we try to understand how to navigate this macroeconomic climate, it’s really important for us as marketers to continue to push forward,” she said. “We have to stay agile. We’ve built all of these muscles during the pandemic where we needed to be able to shift investments as circumstances changed. It’s time to exercise those muscles again.”
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