All Articles Tagged "health"

Great Things That Happen When You Stop Dieting

June 30th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Did you know that dieting makes some people gain weight? Anyone who has ever backslid, yo-yo’d or tried a dozen different ones knows that diets don’t always work. Sometimes it’s the fault of the particular diet, sometimes it’s our own missteps. And whether or not it’s working, being hungry all the time while you try and change your eating habits can make even the strongest of people a little miserable.

That’s why taking a break from your diet, whether it’s just briefly or when you’re done for good, feels so great. And those good feelings aren’t just based on the fact that you can stop feeling so restricted in what you consume. Coming off of a diet can do great things for your mood, your health and even your waistline. So if you’re thinking about it, there are lots of reasons why it might just be a great idea to give yourself a break from consistent food restrictions.

Are You Comfortable Wearing A Swimsuit On The Beach? Because A Third Of Americans Aren’t

June 29th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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According to a poll done by American fitness franchise Planet Fitness, one-third of Americans are so uncomfortable stepping out in public in a swimsuit, they’d rather go to the dentist instead. Was staying in the house not an available option?

After surveying 1,000 people this month, 33 percent of respondents made it clear that showing off their bodies in a itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie bikini is a major stressor. Around 46 percent of respondents admitted that they don’t feel confident about their body in a bathing suit, and a whopping 76 percent of people stated that they are a lot more critical of their own appearance in a bathing suit than that of others. In response to such results, Brian Zehetner, the director of health and fitness for Planet Fitness and the writer of Working Out Sucks (And Why It Doesn’t Have To), said that “People are often too hard on themselves when it comes to their body image, and it’s especially difficult for many during the summer and bathing suit season.”

Very true. Just this past April, Refinery29 shared the results of their own survey on body image called Take Back The Beach where they surveyed 1,100 of their readers. They found that 42 percent of women reported that they feel bad about themselves after they look at other people’s beach photos. And 60 percent of women who won’t take pictures on the beach said they weren’t here for it because it made them feel self-conscious.

So with all this data in mind, where do you stand in terms of being comfortable in a bikini on the beach? Are you okay with posing for pictures in a swimsuit and having them posted on social media? When you go to the beach, do you find yourself trying to cover up?

It’s definitely not the easiest thing to feel comfortable all out and about on the beach, but it’s sad to know that so many are allowing such anxieties to keep them from going altogether. While many of us say that we don’t have body image issues and that we’re comfortable with ourselves, it seems as though where we are at and who can see us determines just how comfortable we are.

She Tried It! I Finally Did CrossFit And It Was Absolutely No Joke

June 29th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I read an article earlier this month that attached horoscopes to the workout that fits them most. As a Leo, I was surprised to find that CrossFit was supposedly our go-to form of fitness. You see, I’ve been wanting to do CrossFit for more than a year now, but was always put off by the pricing for membership at a lot of the gyms in New York. Still, I always envisioned myself having the time of my life pushing tires around, doing deadlifts and swinging kettlebells around like it’s nothing. So when the opportunity arose for me to finally to try out a session, I was beyond excited.

I attended a WOD (Workout of the Day) & Wine event for the ladies at CrossFit Outbreak in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn late last week. It was an hour of extensive training, and then a cool down that included an array of bottles of wine that we were invited to consume after the fact. As a warm up, we played a light game where a group of women tried to walk around while balancing a small black cushion as the rest of the class tried to slap it out of their hand. If you dropped the cushion, you had to do 10 jumping jacks and then proceed to try and slap a cushion out of someone else’s hand to redeem yourself. I was pretty shocked by just how much sweat we all accrued from that 10-minute game, which also consisted of icebreaker moments where we asked each other about our favorite drinks and summer plans.

Eventually, we jumped right into the workout. Partnered up, we proceeded to do another warm-up workout, where we held planks, did high knees, and used barbells to do squats and deadlifts. Soon after, we brought out kettlebells of all sizes, wall balls (they look like massive medicine balls) and wooden steps. For the rest of class, we all did a circuit drill where we had to swing the kettlebells for a minute (I somehow ended up with a 25-pound weight), box jumps for a minute, and wall ball squats, lifts and slams for a minute, four times through. It started off pretty low-key.

And then sh-t got real.

By the last two rounds I was exhausted. No worries, though. I’m talking about the good kind of exhausted. I literally used my entire body during the event. My arms, my legs, my core, my back, my butt–every part of my body was engaged and worked out in the class, which was both fun and challenging. By the end, I was more enthusiastic about getting a free bottle of water than I was a glass of rosé (but you know I took that too!).

After speaking to the instructor, the owner and other women who were members of the gym, I felt really encouraged. Not only did the women say that they grew stronger through classes at the gym, their bodies changing and toning in ways they didn’t forsee (the evidence was quite visible), but they also were always excited to come to the gym to see such motivating people.

If you want to try out CrossFit Outbreak and you’re not a Brooklynite, the cost to drop in is $28 for a class or $78 for a week of classes. As for membership, they have three options. You can do about two classes a week, for a month, for $189. You can also do three classes a week, for a month, for $199. And there is the option to do unlimited classes each week, for a month, for $225. They have month-to-month plans so you’re not trapped in a membership if things don’t work out as planned. But I have a feeling that they will go better than planned if you try out CrossFit Brooklyn, and you will leave feeling like a beast when you walk out of the gate. A sexy beast that is.

Whole30: I Cut Bread, Sugar, Legumes, Dairy, Alcohol And Grains From My Diet For 30 Days

June 29th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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In my quest to lose 10 pounds in two months, I decided to give the Whole30 diet a try. I’ve never been really good at dieting and will admit that I lack discipline when it comes to food. I eat what I want, when I want, so I decided it was time I challenge myself and assert more control. I wanted to change my relationship with food because as you get older, your body just doesn’t bounce back the same way it used to.

The Whole30 diet was created based on the theory that digestion and good health begins in the gut. If you can reset the bacteria in the gut by removing foods that you consume on a regular basis that aren’t good for you, you will have more energy, clearer skin, less inflammation in the body, and you might even lose weight in those areas that won’t seem to budge. The plan is 30 days because according to creators Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, it takes 30 days for your system to reset. Before starting the diet plan, I researched what it actually consisted of. The plan requires the removal of sugars, legumes, baked goods, dairy, alcohol, and grains from your diet. There are no cutting corners or loopholes, so sugar also includes agave nectar, honey, as well as organic brown sugars and artificial sweeteners. I had to cut out breads, pastas, hummus, cereals, oatmeal, quinoa, beans, nuts, nut butters, wine, cakes, brownies, cookies and the like. It left me wondering, what the heck can I eat? I knew this was going to be a long 30 days.

Week One (Days 1-7)

The first week was the absolute worst. I had failed to plan, therefore I had no idea what to eat. Meal planning wasn’t exactly my thing, but I learned quickly. I went through an intense withdrawal process where I was actively craving all of the things I couldn’t eat. I experienced fatigue and had a hard time completing daily tasks. I suffered from extreme headaches and my stomach was a bottomless pit. No matter how much salad, vegetables, grilled chicken and fruits I ate, I was still really hungry, so I filled up on water and went to bed early to avoid late-night munching. I had to constantly remind myself of what I couldn’t eat because it’s so easy to forget when you’re used to something. I didn’t want to risk exercising because I was feeling drained all of the time. Since I started the diet in the middle of the week, I marked out 30 days on my calendar and began crossing them out with each successful day completed.

Week Two (Days 8-14)

By the second week, my body had gotten accustomed to the Whole30 plan. I started buying and organizing what I could eat rather than focusing on all the things I couldn’t eat. Not to mention, people were getting tired of me telling them what I couldn’t consume every time they offered me something. It’s amazing how creative you will start to get when you’re limited. I created so many different salad recipes, chicken recipes, etc. to keep myself healthy. I lost two inches from my waist and I wasn’t experiencing that bloated feeling you get an hour after waking up. I had more energy throughout the day and I was waking up earlier than usual. Still, my junk food urges were strong.

Weeks Three and Four (Days 15-30)

I continued my routine and managed to drop five pounds in total. I realized that I had developed a lactose intolerance before the plan. After cutting out dairy, I immediately noticed a difference. I also noticed that my body didn’t do well with certain carbs such as breads and pastas without leaving me bloated, and I learned that after eliminating them from my diet. The sole purpose of the Whole30 is to reset your digestive system in order to make identifying foods that don’t agree with you easier.

After the 30 days, you can ease back into eating those food items that were removed, but in moderation, keeping in mind how your body responds to them. Overall, I learned that even foods that are considered healthy can be unhealthy to someone whose body doesn’t digest them well. I switched from foods with refined white flour to whole wheat and grains, but that didn’t matter because my system still didn’t respond well to them. And even though I love me some baked macaroni and cheese, and ice cream, those foods don’t love me back.

The Whole30 diet taught me how to be more disciplined and active in my eating habits. Usually when we’re hungry, we just grab something that will fill us up, but this diet taught me to be more conscious of the things I’m grabbing. I’ve lost a few inches and pounds thus far, so I don’t think that I will be reintroducing those removed foods back into my diet anytime soon. Whole30 has also given me a sense of accomplishment. I finally followed through with something related to my health.

Although this plan isn’t solely about weight loss, it’s still good for helping you reset your body once in a while and letting it rebuild itself up in a healthier way. So even if the Whole30 diet isn’t for you, detoxing from time to time is very necessary.

How Traveling Affects Your Period

June 29th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Traveling And Jet Lag


Have you ever planned a romantic getaway with your partner and suddenly feel like the evening might turn into a “Red Light Special” — the bad kind? Or traveled to a new country without tampons or pads, only to find out you’re spotting? Well, Anna Druet, a scientific researcher for the period app, Clue, has an explanation for why Aunt Flo may appear during your travels when she’s not scheduled to.

In her latest article, Travel, Jet Lag, and Your CycleDruet notes that menstrual cycles are influenced by your hormones and their relationship to your circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are your body’s daily cycles which center on changes in your appetite, sleep, immunity, body temperature and even heart rate. “The circadian rhythm and menstrual cycles are influencing each other all the time. If you picture a spinning top moving in a big circle, each little spin of the top is the circadian rhythm, and each big circle is the menstrual cycle. If the spinning top gets out of balance, the size and shape of the big circle may change. The top also spins a little bit differently depending on where in the big circle it is at any given time,” Druet writes.

Circadian rhythms also tell each bodily function when it should slow down, speed up or take a break. Because your circadian rhythm can be thrown off by jet lag or traveling across time zones, your hormones are influenced greatly. When you travel to different time zones, your body is exposed to light at times it’s not used to (even if it’s artificial light for late night cell phone users). This will trigger your body to have hormonal changes.

When it comes to periods, menstrual cycles that are longer will usually come late and cycles that are shorter will come earlier when under the influence of jet lag. If these changes don’t occur, you may skip a cycle or periods may become heavier or lighter. After your body adjusts to the time zone you’re in, your menstrual cycle may adjust within two months. But if you travel constantly for work, have sleep problems or work night shifts your cycle may consistently be irregular.

Outside of period problems you may also experience other issues. According to Druet, when you combine jet lag with light exposure, you can experience also insomnia, disorientation, fatigue and loss of concentration. If you’re traveling east, your jet lag symptoms will last twice as long because your body will have a difficult time adjusting to a shorter day, since you lose time. Not exactly something to look forward to when it comes to traveling, but it’s small price to pay for adventure.

For more information on menstrual cycles or how to track your ovulation, visit

Signs That You Need To Change Your Diet

June 28th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

How can you tell if your diet is working for you? A good rule of thumb is that if you’re happy with it, it’s working. When you’re healthy, happy and feeling good, it’s a sign that you’re getting everything you need out of what you eat.

But not every diet is good for you. And if you’re feeling off, the food you eat could be to blame. Whether you’re eating to lose weight or cutting out foods just to eat better, switching up what’s in your refrigerator can have quite the impact on your health.

If you’ve experienced one of the struggles on this list, it might be time to change what you eat. But if the issues and symptoms you’re dealing with keep getting worse and worse, make an appointment with your doctor to make sure everything is OK.

Breakfast Beverages That Will Keep You Full Until Lunch

June 24th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And if you do breakfast right, it will help you fuel through your day and make better diet decisions throughout it. If you need to start your day with something that won’t leave you hungry by the time you finish your first assignment of many, it’s time to make some space in your fridge for these breakfast beverages.

Whether you’re on a diet, tired of being tempted by the vending machines in the break room or just don’t have time to snack, these drinks will do the trick. Really pressed for time? Make any of these drinks the night before and pop them in the fridge. They’re all easy to grab on the go when you’re rushing out of the door.

Do you have your own signature breakfast beverage that you swear by? Give us the recipe in the comment section and we’ll give it a try.

For The Last Time, Please Stop Looking To Waist Trainers For A Weight-Loss Miracle

June 24th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I don’t know how many more waist trainer ads on Instagram and Saran wrap with Vaseline recommendations I’m going to have to see and hear about before people get the memo: for one, you’re wearing a corset. Secondly, there is no quick fix for weight loss.

And yet, there are still women who are buying waist trainers and expecting weight-loss results, and successfully suing the companies who sell them when they don’t work as hoped.

As reported by The Daily Mail, Waist Gang Society, the company behind waist trainers that have been promoted by the Kardashians, recently settled a lawsuit with a customer. Sara Hawes of California filed a $5 million lawsuit stating that the Florida-based company, which is quite successful (allegedly raking in $2 million as of last year), has been out here selling people a bald-headed lie. As The Daily Mail pointed out, “The lawsuit goes on to explain that women, like Hawes, who want a smaller waist are targeted but the marketing is being done in a deceptive manner. The company’s website even quotes its founder, PreMadonna, who says ‘it’s a unique and efficient way to help women shed unwanted inches and feel good about themselves — no diet and exercise required.'”

Well, Ms. PreMadonna just shot herself in the foot now didn’t she?

And while it was an incredibly ridiculous idea to tell the public that you could drop pounds without having to eat better and work out in order to sell her products, I was more bothered by the fact that people actually believed her. I mean, as the saying goes, “if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.”

An agreement was made between both parties on Monday, settling the case out of court.  Hawes may deserve money to at least teach folks a thing or two about the consequences of false advertising, but really, can you expect anything less from someone looking to make money off of revamped corsets? The reality is, there are many women who sit on the Waist Gang Instagram page asking “How much?” They believe that binding their stomach in one way or another will help them lose weight, no frills involved. They see the Kardashians, Amber Rose, Porsha Williams and more wearing trainers, knowing good and well that these stars aren’t putting those things on for more than an Instagram picture. Have you ever seen video of Williams or Khloe Kardashian (who both post many workout clips and pictures), going hard in the gym with a waist trainer on? I doubt it. They’ve slimmed down and toned up because they work out extensively, and with trainers.

But you can wear whatever you want. You still won’t slim down without a change in diet and some exercise. You might alter your waist, but it won’t have anything to do with pounds falling off around your stomach. Wearing a tight corset for a long time can cause your natural waist size to be reduced, but only because you’re pushing your body to tolerate uncomfortable constriction of that area. However, the idea of losing weight in your waist solely just isn’t tangible. We don’t really have control of where we lose weight. You may want to slim down in your stomach or thighs but actually find more of a loss in breast weight or arm fat instead. When you work hard enough, you eventually see results all over — even in your feet.

As Christopher Ochner, Ph.D., a weight loss and nutrition expert at Mount Sinai Hospital told Marie Claire, you might lose consciousness from wearing a waist trainer too tight and for too long, but that’s about all you’re really going to lose. “You can’t reduce the collection of fat in any one particular area of your body. If you push your stomach in, all the fat will go right back to where it was no matter how long [you wear the corset] for.”

You could even end up with acid reflux. And as certified fitness enthusiast Lita Lewis told me last year about waist trainers:

“We like that quick fix. We like how we look when that waist trainer is tucking us in and now we have hips and an hourglass figure. I get that, I really do. But personally, I stand for and promote a healthier lifestyle for longevity. Therefore, I could never be associated with something like that because it is a quick fix, and it does play on misconceptions of weight loss. And really, all it’s doing is distributing body fat in different places.”

I’ve literally watched people enter into women-only gyms and sell waist trainers to women who happily buy them. I’ve even watched a woman show others how she puts petroleum jelly on her stomach and wraps it with Saran wrap to slim down at the same fitness center. It’s ridiculous. Because no matter what you’re sold or told about these trainers, teas and the like, the fact of the matter is that working on your diet and exercising are the best way to see results. Some of us aren’t lucky enough to have the genetics to look like a Barbie doll, and in that case, it’s best to just work on toning and accentuating what you have. Spending $20 and upwards of $100+ on a quick-fix corset will just leave you uncomfortable and a little bit broker. It can give you a certain look when you wear it, but when you take it off, it’s time to figure out Plan B, sis.

“Fattening” Foods That You Should Never Cut From Your Diet

June 23rd, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Finally, some good diet news: You don’t have to cut all of the fat from your personalized menu. This is especially true if you’re on a diet.

We’ve all been encouraged to grab the non-fat option when we have a few pounds we want to shed. However, recent studies have found that cutting out all of the fat in your diet isn’t always necessary. In fact, if you skip out on these foods, you could be missing out on some of the healthy stuff that keeps your skin beautiful and your hair strong.

The even better news? Some fatty foods are so good for you that they actually help you lose weight by keeping you full. So if you’ve been kicking these foods out of your fridge or saying “Thanks, but no thanks” when they’re offered to you at family gatherings, it’s time to give them another shot. Your taste buds and your waistline will thank you.

Fewer Partners Means More Divorce? Interesting Things To Know About Your Number

June 22nd, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Serious question: how do you feel about your number? Do you keep the real digit to yourself or does your BFF know too? Have you told your significant other the real truth or the number you arrive at when you divide by two? And how do you feel about someone after they’ve told you theirs?

Well, whether you think your number is big or small, share it or take it to your grave, you’re not alone. We’ve researched everything there is to know about your number and found out what most of us already guessed: some of us lie about it, some of us are proud of it, and other people judge you for it.

We also found out some things we never would have guessed. Like how your number affects your marriage prospects, and how it isn’t the only thing that can put your sexual health at risk!