Stay Healthy on the Road: 3 Snack Tips for Long Distance Driving

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Going for a long drive by car? For business or pleasure, job or holiday? Then take care. Not only can driving, sitting for hours on end, (and the traffic) be harmful to your health. If you enjoy snacking in the car, this could lead to unwanted effects.


Apart from gaining weight, if you drive often, too much sugar too fast results in low blood sugar shortly after and this can lead to:

  • Fatique
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings

The first two very dangerous, when driving; should this happen, stop immediately and have a rest, a 5-10 minute power nap . The last could lead to anti-social quarreling, if you are on a drive together with others, family or friends, in the car …

For many people driving equals snacking as a nice passtime on the road. But it is all about habits and actually you do not need snacks for your drive.

Top snack tips for extended driving

  1. Put something nice without calories into your head instead:
    Listen to music or an audiobook. Play a word or numbers game. Talk/stories.
  2. Instead of chewing drink a water-based non-sugary drink: Water with added taste. Herbal teas with fruit flavour, liquorice- og chocolate tea a.o. It tastes delicious and satisfies your craving for sugar. Drink it hot or cold.
  3. Do you need to chew (have nutrients)? Make your own tasty whole-grain sanwiches filled with something you like (protein, e.g. eggs, meat, almonds or peanuts); should taste nice, satisfy you, and keep you full for a long(er) time.

Special tip for drivers

A special and important long-drive tip. A tip which may prevent you from eating too much or getting too tired. A tip which may help prevent blood cluts (which is a risk factor, especially for adults and the elderly, when you sit for too long).

Have a rest area rest every or every other hour. Get out and move about a bit..
Hop, jog, twist, shake your body. Or if you have time, do a short (7 minute?) workout.

Have a nice drive.

Slimming sensation: 100 % guaranteed weight loss with the 7:0 diet!

Af Marina Aagaard, MFT

Another one? Yes, I know, what I am thinking, but what do you think??? First there was the 5:2 diet and a multitude of 5:2-ripoffs, then cleverly came the 6:1 diet and just now the 4:3 diet. Oh no, what is left …. oh yes, my brand new 7:0 diet!

7 0 kur US ArtM shiny-brain-1254880-m

What is the 7:0 diet? A brilliant new ‘diet’; no aids required; no books, no bathroom scales, no kitchen scales, no measuring cups, no calorie tables and it works:

0 days a week do you follow diets, that stress, worry and harm you.

7 days a week do you listen to your body and use your head to make the right choices and generally eat healthy with room for less-healthy choices as needed (think strategic, eat slow and with maximal enjoyment)..
Combine with easy physical activity during the every day and internally motivated exercise (fun (and games) with friends) which gets the heart rate up 2-3 times a week.

Then you will get real results; lower body fat percentage, flatter abs and especially a much, much better mood (and life) – without side effects such as increased body weight, frustation and lots of disheartening diet failures!

Have your cake apple and eat it!

5 Wellness Ways to Weight loss or Weight maintenance

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Today I was interviewed by a journalist, who wanted to know, why it is so difficult to stick to your New Years resolutions (diets)?
There can be several reasons: One reason is, that old habits die hard. Another reason is, that most people aim way too high with I-wanna-lose-weight-and-I-wanna-lose-it-right-now goals!

Again and again it is proven, that the ‘small increment technique” is the way to long-lasting results for weight loss and weight maintenance.
In order for new habits to become old habits, they need to be manageable and ‘edible’; it is wise to start with just one or two small improvements at a time.

Healthy diet with vegetables and healthy oils for weight loss or weight maintenance

Here are five suggestions, that works well, whether you are at home or travelling:

1. Eat more vegetables (moderate amount of fruit). Begin by eating a vegetable in the morning, e.g. a big tomato, and a vegetable at noon and in the afternoon, e.g. red peppers or some sort of sweet cabbage. It is easier to get plenty of greens, when you eat them throughout the day. Note: Many vegetables taste (almost) like candy, such as organic carrots, beetroots or sweet peppers..
Do you find it difficult to eat enough vegetables each day? Then try ‘supplementing’ with your own vegetable smoothies (add a little fruit and yoghurt); like milkshakes, but healthy!

2. Go for whole grain products, e.g. when buying bread, rice and pasta; it tastes better, it is more filling and it is a sneaky replacement for all the unhealthy ‘white’ stuff…

3. Eat 10-12 raw almonds as a snack, if needed.
Chew many times, 35-50 bites (!) each; they last longer and taste like marzipan.
Only eat snacks, if you feel you need to, if you are often hungry between meals (and if you are, then check the quality of your meals).

4. Eat ‘healthy’ (mono and poly unsaturated) oils every day. E.g. make salad dressings with 2-3 spoonfuls of rapeseed oil (or olive oil) and balsamico, e.g. for a salad with cabbage with some pumpkin seeds.
Healthy fat is essential for your brain and bodily functions, so also eat some fat fish such as salmon, trout or mackerel for lunch or dinner several times a week.

5. Drink 2-3 liters of water every day throughout the day. Avoid all drinks containing sugar – they promote fatness – including alcohol (alcohol is not healthy, it is fattening and makes you ill, so enjoy it in moderation for the taste of it).
Tip: It you do drink alcohol, then drink slowly, (‘chew’) taste every mouthful and drink water as well. Enjoy alcohol together with food to slow down uptake.

Say no to deprivation. Say yes to better tasting options (habits).

Have A Merry Christmas: Christmas Food and Fitness Strategies

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Christmas is not just Peace, Joy and Happy hearts … it is also nice food and sweets. Accept this as a good thing. Abandon all worries about overeating and gaining weight. Instead: Be smart, prepare and stay in shape.

Christmas decoration on the fireplace photo Marina Aagaard

A green Christmas Heart on the fireplace.

Per Braendgaard Myth calendar 20/24 (quote): Myth: It is not what you eat between Christmas and New Years Eve, that makes you gain weight. It is what you eat, between New Years Eve and Christmas! So you might as well eat like crazy in December and then diet in January. Fact: What you eat between Christmas and New Years Eve can also make you gain weight, so you might as well be on (the right healthy) diet in December, not just January.

Marina Aagaard Mythbuster: Yes! I have completed thorough investigations! It is what you eat from New Years Eve to Christmas and what you eat between Christmas and New Years Eve, that makes you gain weight! That’s life … 1) make your choice, 2) enjoy it, 3) wipe your eyes, when the damage is done … or:

1. Initiate your Christmas meal with a drink of water (or just before the meal); Water is healthy and you won’t feel as hungry.

2. Continue to drink water (limit alcohol consumption, XXX calories!)

3. Eat slowly, so the great taste lasts much longer, mmmmmhhhhhhhh.

4. Have small portions – you can have two servings if needed (avoid wasting food).

5. Start with vegetables (and avoid white bread, which makes you hungry); high fiber foods makes you feel full and healthy – and you won’t overeat the less healthy stuff.

6. Enjoy your Christmas dinner(s), every bite of it, it’s only Christmas once a year. But ensure that your food is of good quality and savour it; mindful eating.

7. Make the right choices. If you are surrounded by candy, then choose wisely: Go for 2 home-made pralines with dark chocolate and marzipan, it is filling and satisfying, rather than 20 mass-produced pieces of sweets … think strategically.

8. Move more (as much as possible); walk the dog, the family or the trash. Even small amounts of movement count, e.g. after your meal, it is good for you and your digestion.

9. Be physically active during Christmas, this is a good time; you have time for it. Take a trip to the countryside or the seaside and go for a walk; it is wellness with a touch of fat burning … a  little is a lot better than nothing.
And: Work out, there are plenty of ways of working out properly between Christmas and New Years Eve. Do you own outdoor (or home) fitness program or go the fitness center, which offers exciting group exercise classes. It is also a brilliant time to kick off a new exercise habit (instead of January, when everyone else has the same idea).

Proper exercise is an effective means of weight maintenance during Christmas.

10. Think wisely. Apart from positive thinking in general it is a smart move to tell yourself: “I will never go on a diet and most certainly not in January” (a diet is an almost foolproof method of gaining weight over time). When you pass on that option, you will take better care of yourself during Christmas and the rest of the year.

A moment of truth: Any risk of uncontrolled over-eating; the big irresistable Christmas dinner (or buffet)? Then an option could be to neutralize the effect by having a day or two of fasting, e.g. the day before and/or after – or the intermediate solution of 12 hours of fasting (in the fast (5:2) diet; 1 small meal is allowed). Not just to save calories; but you get to know your body and appetite better, which is great.
Note: Do not skip eating two days in a row, as it results in muscle protein breakdown, and you do not want to lose muscle mass: The muscles are more metabolically active than fat!
In the fast diet you eat like you normally do for 5 days and fast (partially) for 2 days (not consecutive). In IF, Intermittent Fasting, you eat one day and go one day without eating. Note, there are different IF strategies.
In these types of diets you
retain lean mass, ie muscle, which is not seen with standard calorie restricted diets.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Cruise Ship Fitness: 10 Expert Tips for Fitness and Health

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

So you want to cruise? Enjoy a relaxing holiday at sea with sunbathing by the pool and all-inclusive dining … but worried about putting on weight and losing fitness? No need to worry, you can have your cake and eat it, too …


Depending on your general activity level and food intake, ashore and on board, you can maintain weight and fitness by following one or more of these excellent and proven strategies (most work at home, too).

Cruise ship pasta dish

Too much of this?

Cruise ship dance lesson

You need much more of this!

10 Cruise Ship Fitness Tips

1. Enjoy! Get the most out of your cruise. Think happy thoughts (stress and worrying is very bad for health and weight maintenance) and relax; breathing deeply and slowly (inhale through the nose) helps.

2. Eat with mindfulness. Do not feel ‘guilty’, rather savour every mouthful. Eat with all of your senses, eat slowly and with maximal enjoyment.
It is better for your digestion and you will be satisfied sooner.

3. Stand and move about more. If you plan to do a lot of sitting by the (ice cream) bar or lying around in deck chairs, get up and walk about at least once every hour. Grab every chance to ‘run an errand’. It all adds up to more calories expended.

4. Walk (or run) more. Go to shore and do some sightseeing. Walk every where you can and see more (it will shape up your cells, grey and others, too). On board; walk around the ship to see all of it, the passageways (corridors) go on for miles: Not only exercise, an adventure.

5. Dance. Most cruise ships offer many different styles of dance lessons every day, from fitness ‘dance’ aerobics and ZumbaFitness over disco, latin and salsa to ballroom dancing. Dancing is an optimal way of exercising; it does not feel like exercise, but fun.

6. Take the stairs. Large cruise ships have endless flights of stairs. Use them at every opportunity. Do not take the elevators. Stair walking is excellent for cardiovascular fitness, tones your legs and will help maintain weight.

7. Participate in sports games. Large cruise ships have tennis and basket ball courts, table tennis and more. Find something you enjoy at home or try something completely different. Playing a game is great for mental and physical (and social) fitness and health.

8. Do some fitness exercise. It is holiday, so make it fun! Usually there is a dance exercise floor, where you can do bodyweight or free weight exercises. Or use the cardiovascular and resistance training machines; if you are not used to exercising, it is a good chance of trying something new, if your are a fitness buff, work out in a new way with different exercises for variety.

9. Do high intensity training. If you really want to keep fit, while on your cruise, interval training and circuit training gives you maximal results in minimal time … so you can spend more time holidaying.
Perform total body exercises and lift heavier weights for functional fitness.
Video below show a couple of exercises as basic preparation for this.

10. Get quality rest. Recovery is all-important after workouts, but also after long periods of working hard. Using the wellness facilities, the jacuzzi, sauna or steam bath or even having a massage, will increase fitness, health and wellness.
Recovery tip # 1: A good nights sleep is paramount for fitness and performance and weight loss or weight maintenance.

A short video with a couple of workout suggestions for beginners:


Top 5 Expert Anti-aging Tips: Look Younger and Healthier Now

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Who does not want to stay in shape, have nicer skin, hair, nails and radiate health and power … and have a longer, healthier, happier life … without spending a fortune.
Fortunately the very best anti-aging means are the least costly! Try them today, they work: Feel the effect here and now and onwards.

Anti-aging via clean air and daylight

Fresh air and daylight does wonders for you.

Sound Sleep
Research has shown, that good sleep aids weight loss and weight maintenance, improves health, energy level and performance.
You live longer with more energy and look younger, when you get 7-8 hours of good sleep every night.

Sleep problems? Do: Exercise (no later than three hours before bedtime), drink calming herbal tea, avoid food, coffee, tea, alcohol and violent stressing films or tv-programs just before bedtime.
The bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool.

Super Strength training
Strength training is the most effective method for preventing muscle cell aging! Strengthen you muscles with resistance training 2-3 times 20-30 min. per week.
Strength training gives you physical and mental power and improves performance; one study showed, that 80-year olds after a period with strength training had the same functional age as 60-year olds!
You will look younger and get more out of your life with a stronger body.

No time or desire for training? Your body needs it, so you have to do something. You can do a super short program of 5-10 minutes to get started with the healthy habit as soon as possible; it is easier than you think. Here is an easy home workout.
Supplement with cardiovascular training, e.g. jog, run, cycle, as part of your warm-up.

Delicious Diet
There is no way around it; Health, fitness, life quality and a youthful look is fed by healthy eating. However, this does not have to be less tasty or boring!
Eat whole grain produce, vegetables and healthy fat and oils (in fish, olive oil, organic eggs etc.) and keep skin, hair and nails strong and youthful.
Vary your meals, try different foods, so you experience new and exciting tastes.

Do at times – in moderation – enjoy less healthy foods, but then do enjoy it.
Focus, be present, eat slowly, chew 30-50 times and be conscious of the taste.
Mindful eating can help you lose weight or maintain weight and improve quality of life.

Does healthy eating seem difficult? It is easier than you think, if you start gradually. Take one step at a time; e.g. start by eating whole grain variations of your favourite foods, they taste better and are more filling.

Fresh Air and Daylight
Come outside. There is more energy in the fresh air outdoors (unless you live in e.g. LA or Beijing) and the sun provides light and life.
Get out as often as you can, preferably at least ½ hour a day, but be careful of too much sun, protect your skin.
Breathe deeply through your nose; all of your body needs oxygen, your brain and muscles liven up, you become healthier and more energetic, when you breathe deeply, slowly and regularly … clean air.

No time or possibility of getting out? Take time. If you only have a few minutes, open the door or window and stick your head or body out. Take 10 deep inhalations, feel your lungs with air. Do it as often as you can.
During weekends, take time off to go to the countryside to get more fresh clean air. Try it, it makes your feel better and younger.

Soothing Sauna
Sauna is very effective for stress reduction, recovery, reducing general soreness in muscles and joints, skin rejuvenation and strengthening your immune system.

A true sauna experience is hot-cold therapy with 10-20 minutes of high temperature followed by 1-3 minutes of (is)cold bathing repeated e.g. 3-5 times. This stimulates blood flow, enhances health and well-being and boosts body and mind.

No time or money for spa-activities? Your body loves it, so take the time and give it a try. You will be surprised at just how relaxing and stimulating it is.
And it does not have to be costly. Many pool and leisure activity facilities offer sauna facilities at low or no cost.

Apart from the above physical tricks, remember the three Long Happy Life social and emotional strategies: Social activity (family and friends), laughter and love (safe sex)!

Top 20 Tips: How to Slim Down and Up Your Health With NO Dieting

Af Marina Aagaard, MFT

Are you as healthy and toned as you want to be? If not, here are 20 proven methods for improving health, wellness, fitness and body composition.
In the early days of the New Year morale and willpower is high, however, after 4-6 weeks motivation drops. So be ready with new strategies!

Healthy habits diet and exercise

1. Think positive
Forget about previous negative experiences, unhealthy habits and what you want to escape. Instead visualize the new you, having health habits and the body shape and the weight you desire. Positive thinking facilitates the process.
Tip: If you are on the cross trainer and your weight is 155,6 lbs, do not enter 156 lbs, but 155 lbs and keep that thought in mind.

Positive thinking may not come all that easily, you need some ‘practice’: Start by smiling, this radiates inwards and outwards in all directions.

2. Focus on the important things
Think about feeling better and having fun. Forget about counting, measuring and weighing – the food and you!
Exception: It is a good idea to perform a small test: measure and weigh yourself today, so you have a starting point.
Write down one or more smaller goals and some target dates, the first date in 2-3 months time. At that time repeat the test, measure and weigh. But not on a daily basis!

3. Think before you eat
Be conscious about your choices in food; consider why, what, how and how much you eat? Do you need to eat right now? What is a healthy (sensible) choice for health as well as pleasure?
E.g.: Decide to have one serving of moderate size, before you fill the plate.

4. Think when you eat
Concentrate on your meal. Be present in the now. Do not work, read or watch television at the same time; it is stressful and disturbs enjoyment and digestion. Do sit down – by a dining table – so you sit comfortably with a good posture. Avoid slouching … physically and mentally.

5. Think after you have eaten
Reflect: pay attention to how you feel after you have eaten a meal. Are you full, satisfied and energized – or are you overfull, queasy and tired?
Listen to your body and gradually design meals to make you full, happy and energetic.

6. Enjoy your meals
Enjoy every bite – even the unhealthy ones! And enjoy your meal with all of your senses; sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Let it be an experience, a feast; make meal time appealing with napkins, flowers and candlelight (avoid too much CO2, though!).

7. Eat slowly
Eat slowly, chew your food 35-50 times per bite. Oh yes, it is easily done, when the food is coarse (versus soft, white bread). You also get an extra sensory experience by chewing more, eating slower.

Remember: It takes some 15-20 minutes, from you start eating, to the brain registers satiety . If you eat too fast, you eat way too much.
Bonus: Eating slowly reduces anxiety and stress.

8. Choose small plates
Using large plates leads to eating more without thinking about it.
Choose a smaller plate (the serving will look bigger); it will automatically reduce serving size and help you lose weight.

9. Avoid buffets
Buffets in general increase the risk of overeating; you eat too much; too large and too many servings. Even if you try to be good, a buffet is a risky choice.
If it is unavoidable, then 1) choose small plates, 2) have lots of vegetables and soup for starters and 3) eat slowly, so you are full, before you get to wanting dessert!

10. Eat dietary fibres
Vegetables, whole grain produce and fruit are good sources of dietary fibres; they improve digestion, satiety, weight maintenance and reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
This healthy habit is easy; you just have to choose coarser foods.

11. Avoid candy and cookies
Sweets are like drugs, they are addictive, so stop eating sweets and cookies every day. Save it for parties. When you do not eat sweets on a daily basis, the desire to eat them diminishes. So avoid them for a couple of weeks and notice the positive improvement.
As a snack during weekdays eat a handful of almonds or walnuts; they are healthy, they taste good and they are filling.

12. Avoid all sugary beverages
There are large quantities of sugar in soda, coke, juice, fruit syrup and alcoholic drinks. By reducing consumption of liquid sugar, you cut out a massive amount of calories and will quickly become healthier and better looking without any special effort.
Bonus: You avoid cavities and save a lot of money on dental care. Sugar is addictive, so you may feel you cannot do without it. But do cut it out for a couple of weeks, then you will notice, that you can go without it without (hardly) missing it.
Strategy: Go from soda to diet soda (still bad for you) to mineral water with lemon or other taste to mineral water to plain water. And from day one, drink water before you drink any other drink.

Instead of orange or apple juice, eat 1-2 oranges and apples. Fresh fruit tastes better, have less sugar and more vitamins.

Spirits (including wine)? No, it is not healthy. Alcohol is a.o. cancer-causing. So enjoy spirits in moderate amounts for the taste of it. Pay attention to every mouthful, ‘chew it’ so you prolong enjoyment and reduce/keep your intake at a healthier level.

No matter if you are young, adult or senior, take good care of your health – and maintain a healthy weight: Enjoy spirits in moderation.

13. Drink water throughout the day
Start by drinking two large glasses of water in the morning. It wakes you up. Drink 2-3 litres of water during the day and more, if you sweat a lot, e.g. during exercise.

14. Avoid temptations at home
Do not stock up on sweets, cookies, chips, bread a.o. for potential guests. If you keep temptations away from you, you minimize the risk of thinking about them and eating them!
Also: Find healthier alternatives – for you and your guests.

15. Minimize temptations away from home
Bring a lunch pack (and extra snacks) for work or school to keep you full and happy during the day. If you are hungry, more often than not it results in impulse buying of unhealthy foods and snacks.

16. Make a meal plan and a shopping list
Make a plan for the meals of the week, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 1-3 snacks if needed, so you have a strategy for healthier eating. Then make a shopping list to follow, so you avoid an impulse buying.
A meal plan is also advantageous from an economical point of view and helps in reducing wasting food.

17. Do not shop, when you are hungry
When you are hungry, you also fancy something less healthy, and it is too easy to buy too much and too unhealthy foods.
See to, that you are full and health-motivated, when you do your shopping. It does make a difference.

18. Enjoy fun recreational activities
Engage in sports and exercise, that motivate you. There are so many fun activities, opportunities for getting stronger physically and mentally, all while becoming more healthy.
Choose something you like. And do include activities with a moderate to high level of exertion 2-3 times a week, for at least 20 minutes. This improves health and performance and increases fat burning.

19. Move about and maintain your weight and good health
Keep moving during the day. Move at any opportunity, get up, stand up, use the stairs, ride your bike. Avoid sitting down for more than an hour at a time.
Research has shown, that any kind of extra movement during the day improves health and fat burning.
Increase your NEAT: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis: The energy consumption during all kinds of activity apart from sleep, eating or exercise. E.g. tapping your fingers, moving your feet, gardening, riding a bike to work etc.

20. Sleep well
Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Relax for one hour, before you go to bed. Avoid coffee, tea, soda and alcohol before bedtime. Do not go to bed hungry or overfull.
Sleep in a dark, cool room with no noise or distractions. Daily exercises improves your sleep, but avoid exercising within 3-4 hours of going to sleep.

If you sleep too little, it will increase hunger. Poor or minimal sleep slows down fat burning, diminishes insulin secretion and increases blood sugar level, all of which increases the risk of diabetes and gaining weight.
Too little sleep also impairs concentration, performance, during work, every day life and sports and results in a bad mood and stress.

Be positive. Look forward. Do it now; do yourself some good.