All Articles Tagged "health"

You Can Decrease UTIs, Improve Your Mood And Other Reasons Your Doctor Wants You To Masturbate More

February 1st, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr.com

Image Source: Tumblr.com

Quick question: Do you masturbate? Chances are, that question made at least some of you reading this just a little bit uncomfortable. When it comes to women, masturbation has always been somewhat of a taboo topic. Most of us don’t even like to talk about it with our closest girlfriends. And for some, the subject is so out of the question because they don’t masturbate at all. But that may not be the healthiest course of action.

Not only should women feel comfortable talking about masturbation, but they should also get comfortable doing it: doctor’s orders. As it turns out, there are lots of health reasons all women should be masturbating more. And it’s not just a question of feeling good. Regular DIY exploration can improve your physical health, your mood, and your relationship. It can even help you lose weight!

So feel free to read on to find out how self-love does the body good.

North Carolina A&T’s Black Women’s Swim Team That Went Viral For Defying Stereotypes Is Losing Their Program

January 29th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Kevin L. Dorsey

Kevin L. Dorsey

I learned about the North Carolina A&T swim team this past weekend.

A colleague shared a story about them on her Facebook page, and I clicked, taking me to ForHarriet. Little did I know, quite a few people had already circulated the images, shot by photographer Kevin L. Dorsey, that would go viral of the ladies’ creative team pictures. The women were celebrated by many, primarily for the fact that these young college students, these beautiful Black women, defy the stereotypes and statistics about Black people not being able to swim, as well as stereotypes that Black women won’t mess with the water because of their hair concerns.

Well, psych your mind and make your booty shine as they used to say because these women are doing just that and a whole lot more.

As I grew more and more excited about the ladies and their story, after doing some digging, I was sad to see stories out of North Carolina about their program being on the rocks. A team that exemplifies such a positive image and message has literally been recommended for ousting time and time again. And according to head coach Shawn Hendrix, who has been with North Carolina A&T as the women’s swimming coach for 17 years, their 2015-2016 season really will, unfortunately, be their last. They will continue to swim until the end of February.

“We actually announced three years ago that the program was going to be discontinued,” Hendrix said. “So this is the actual last year. They’re replacing our sport with golf.”

According to Hendrix, since she’s been at the school, each athletic director that has come and gone has wanted to replace swimming. She’s fought long and hard, as have members of the swim team, but things didn’t turn out as they hoped.

“When the new AD came in, after his first year, he decided to bring golf in and let swimming go,” Hendrix said. “That year, I had recruited like nine swimmers. So I said to him, it’s going to take you a while to A) get a coach, B) have that coach recruit if you’re going to be competitive, so why not allow us to finish out these three years? So we were able to finish with a high graduation rate with the sport. These kids have committed to us, and they don’t have to transfer because they were here on scholarship. So he agreed to it, and he kept his word. That’s kind of how it went.”

And no it’s not a funding issue as one might assume. According to Hendrix, it’s just the nature of the game in college sports these days, especially at HBCUs.

“It just happens in athletics,” Hendrix said. “No sport is really safe anymore. We have universities that have lost football. It’s an administrative decision, the powers of above, what they decide, what direction they want to move athletics into, whatever they think fits. Howard will be the last HBCU women’s swim team, and we actually swim against them on February 6, so that’s going to be a big meet.”

To be clear, Earl Hilton III, director of athletics at North Carolina A&T said in a statement in 2013 that the move was based on the fact that the school’s sport’s conference doesn’t sponsor swimming.

“Our swimming program has produced great athletes and outstanding citizens in our society,” Hilton said. “Many of our swimmers have been tremendously successful after graduating from North Carolina A&T. We must, however, move our department to where every athlete has the opportunity to compete for a conference and NCAA title. I don’t see a scenario where the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will sponsor swimming in the foreseeable future.”

So men and women’s golf it is.

swim team II

According to Hendrix, after initially fighting to get the program to stay through petitions, news stories and more, the ladies, who will continue to have their scholarships honored, are actually handling the dissolution of their program well.

“They did everything they could the three years we had to be active and they tried to find support to keep it,” Hendrix said. “But what I’m most proud of is them accepting that, okay, this is it, but not having the ‘poor me’ syndrome and just really working hard and being positive. They call themselves ‘The Last of a Dying Breed,’ I call them my ‘Legacy Ladies [laughs].’ They’re holding their heads high. They’re going out determined to break school records, so it’s been a lot of fun to coach them.”

So despite the not-so-happy ending to the story of a team who just had everyone talking online, Hendrix says she’s proud of her girls and has even learned a lot from them. As can others.

“There’s the saying, I think it’s ‘God grant me the wisdom to know the things that I can change and the wisdom to know the things that I can’t.’ That rolls off of the lips really nice and sounds good, but to apply it? That’s a different story. And I think these ladies were really good at that,” Hendrix said. “In a very positive way, they really fought for the program. But when they realized that we’d done all we can, they didn’t just give up. They accepted it, but they accepted it with the pride that if this is it, they wouldn’t have one single regret. And as a coach, that is a pleasure.

She continued, “For them to have the tenacity that they’ve had, I’ve learned some things from them. I’ve been here 17 years and I’ve fought every year to keep the swim program. Every AD came in and told me they were taking it. So, I think they kind of helped me with that as well, to kind of accept that this is it. And if this is it, the best thing you can do is leave them with a powerful message of, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.'”

 

Safe Not Sorry: The Smell, The Shape And Other Surprising Things To Watch Out For On A Man’s Junk

January 26th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

If we’re honest, it can be awkward to stare “it” in the face when you first meet. But it’s best to get a really good look at what a man is working with before you get too close and engage in anything with a guy. We know you’re just thinking about size (hey #EggplantFriday) but sometimes there’s far more going on down there than meets the natural, distanced eye, especially if you see or smell the following things…

Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

There’s Something Funky

If it smells “off,” he could have an infection that’s really easy to share. Don’t just assume it’s just a case of sweaty balls, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt if your boo hopped in the shower before you got intimate. If an odor remains even after a good lather, do not pass go or collect anything he might be carrying. It’s time for a conversation and a trip to the doctor.

13 Winter Beauty Tips For Healthy Hair, Skin And Nails

January 21st, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Winter can wreak havoc on your hair, skin and nails. From year to year you may remember some tips to keep these things in order — from slathering on Vaseline to being sure that your hair is covered with silk before throwing on that warm wool hat. Still when the degrees drop, you may need a little extra help to make sure that your beauty regimen is always on point. Household items like brown sugar, honey and avocados can help keep you right until it gets warmer outside your front door. If you need a little extra help we have 13 tips here on how to maintain your beauty even in the winter time.

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Keep Hair Moisturized and Seal It In

Figure out which leave-in conditioner works for your texture and seal that moisture in with intensive creams or shea butter. Apply the leave-in first then start distributing the butter to the ends on up.

Could Your House Be Making You Fat?

January 20th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

You’ve been working it out, but your house could be doing a better job of helping you stay on track. Check out these ways that your house, yes, your house, can make you fat to see if your crib is guilty.

The Modern Chef: When Dealing With Overweight Kids, Is Fat Shaming Just Tough Love?

January 20th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

“You can’t have more cookies until you work off that pudge!” Your sister already lost hers. But you…you think you’re going to sit around here and get fat.”

The little girl puts her head down. She’s seven years old. Her sister is three. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard your friend blasting her girls about their weight. The first time was right after Thanksgiving, and the difference was that both your friend and her husband were calling them ‘Pudgy.’ The crazy part is, you think they’re a normal size for kids. But even if they were pudgy or obese, what’s with the fat shaming?

When you ask your friend about it she says that it’s tough love. “I don’t want them to get fat and teased out there because kids can be way crueler than me.”

“But don’t you worry that calling them names will have a negative effect?”

She tells you a story about a family friend that went from an active eight year old to a fat 14-year-old who takes depression medication.

“That would be worse than anything I’m saying to them.”

In a weird way, you get what she’s saying. You remember getting called names like “Big Bertha” and “Thunder Thighs,” growing up, by some people in your own family. It was as cruel as when the big sister of your best friend slapped your thigh and pointed out how the fat jiggled in front of a bunch of people.

So you get why your mom would tell you things like, “You better lose that weight because they don’t make cute clothes for fat people.” While today she admits that it was a horrible way to shock you into losing weight, you can’t say that it didn’t help. It did prompt you to eat two plates of food at dinner instead of three, but on the flip side it made you feel bad. The fact that fat people weren’t worthy of someone making them cute clothes left you feeling unlovable in the world. Like your value as a person was connected to your weight. Now that’s good if you lose it, which you eventually did, but unfortunately weight can fluctuate so when it’s good, you’re good; when it’s not, you’re back to feeling like sh*t again.

Statistics even show that no matter how well intentioned parents, shaming kids about their weight actually increases their chances of developing negative body image, which can lead to an eating disorder (something you struggled with in high school and beyond), which is increasingly putting more kids under the age of 12 in the hospital. It can also lead to depression.

With these odds, fat shaming is too tricky. So what’s a good alternative?

According to fitness expert Tarik Tyler, who regularly works with kids, “The first thing to change is nutrition. And that starts with the parents. Seriously, kids don’t have access to credit cards. So how does the junk get into the kitchen in the first place? The parents.”

It’s true. In your friend’s case, tater tots and chicken nuggets are a dinner staple. And they have enough sweets to open a bakery. As for you, it was customary to eat a whole sweet potato pie in one sitting.

The problem is a lot of parents don’t want to change their own eating habits, let alone that of the whole family. Tarik says it’s imperative: “Kids will eat whatever you put in front of them, so it’s important to feed them the right things.”

He also stresses the importance of getting kids involved in an activity that is fun and interesting. “But you have to let them know why the activity is good for them. You gotta be encouraging.”

His words are coming at a good time, because with two young daughters whose weight could easily fluctuate, at least you know to focus on nutrition and fitness at the sign of weight gain. It’s so much better than calling them, “Blubber Butts.”

Check out Erickka Sy Savané’s column, Pop Mom, right here on Madamenoire. Before Erickka became a writer/editor, she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Working It Out: I Regained Weight

January 20th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Manging Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy. Follow more of her story on BrandeVictorian.com.

January 2016 vs September 2015

January 2016 vs September 2015

There’s a reason I haven’t written a Working It Out column in a while: I haven’t been working it out. In fact I’ve been doing the opposite of what I should be doing — skipping workouts instead of pushing myself to go to the gym; buying high-fat (not to mention high-priced) lunches when I should be making my own food at home, and struggling to find the motivation to continue on my fitness journey.

I haven’t stepped on a scale in a while, but the last time I did the numbers weren’t pretty. Between September of last year and this month, I’ve regained about 15-20 of the 92 pounds I was so proud to have lost in one year. I feel the difference. My pants are a little more snug, the definition that was just starting to form in my arms has just about dwindled, and there’s no more confusing quadriceps for tumors. I’ve gone far off the deep end and I know I have to quickly get back on the boat if I don’t want this weight loss success to turn into yet another relapse where I regain all, if not more, of the weight I worked so hard to get rid of for, what I thought would be, forever.

A series of unfortunate events led to my regaining. For starters, when I returned from the wedding I attended at the end of September (which was during the time the picture above on the right was taken) I found myself without a personal trainer for the first time in a year. Though I was ready — or so I thought — to not have to answer to someone else about every move I made or every piece of food I ate, I obviously failed to create a personal plan of attack for how I’d pursue my fitness goals on my own and, most importantly, hold myself accountable. A week after my last session, my family from Australia came to visit which meant hanging out with them after work every night and on weekends instead of going to the gym and introducing them to the finer delicacies of the states — like chicken wings. A week after their departure, I headed off to Manila and Beijing for a week where McDonalds and KFC were my daily fixins’, and by the time I returned near the beginning of November, my discipline was as good as broken.

I’ve mentioned before I’m an all or nothing person. When I’m on, I’m exceptional — hence the successful weight loss from October 2014-October 2015 — but when I fall off, I fall off. Hard. So here I am four months later, about 20 pounds heavier, but oddly enough, a little happier. I needed a break from obsessing over food measurements and calorie intake versus output, not to mention belly fat. Instead of weighing myself every morning (because I never broke that bad habit) and eyeing back fat and seeing if enough progress was made from week to week — sometimes day to day — most days I get dressed and think, wow, I look pretty good. This dress hugs me nicely. I like my body.

More than that, when I look back at pictures of myself at the time of my friend’s wedding in September, I finally recognize how good I actually looked then as well. I’d put so much pressure on myself to get into a particular dress for the event, that even when I did I couldn’t stop scrutinizing the rolls and folds I still had and fantasizing about getting to the next weight loss goal instead of appreciating my body in the far slimmer and healthier state it was in at the time. While I’m a little disappointed in my lack of self-control for the past few months, I’m grateful for the setback because it’s served as a reminder to stop being so anxious about the destination that I don’t even enjoy the journey and each milestone along the way. I still want to get to my ultimate goal weight because I know I can, but I also know that being stronger and slimmer then shouldn’t take anything away from being healthier now and looking better than I did a year ago. Sometimes part of working it out is working out your mental demons so you can apply the appropriate attention to your physical self.

Bet You Didn’t Know: The Most Toxic Products At The Dollar Store

January 15th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Every bargain lover knows that getting good finds at the dollar store can be a big hit or a major miss. But a new report on dollar store products found that there are some products you should always skip — because they’re toxic.

Ways Your Bathroom Could Be Making You Sick

January 15th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Keeping on top of the bathroom should be the primary cleaning priority of anyone trying to maintain a tidy, sanitary home. But even in a spotless bathroom, these easy-to-overlook problem areas could be making you sick.

Giving Up My Weight Loss Goals Has Given Me Peace

January 15th, 2016 - By Martine Foreman
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Shutterstock

Another year, another chance to jump on that treadmill and fit into those jeans I wore before I got pregnant with my son five years ago, right? I don’t think so. Frankly, I am sick of it. Every year I pick a number. Sometimes it’s 20 pounds, sometimes 30, and as the year progresses, I find myself either at the same weight, or so far from my initial goal that I get a bit discouraged and frustrated. This year, I say no more.

I have vowed to stay off the scale for all of 2015. That’s right, I have no interest in weighing myself this year. Even at the doctor’s office I will have to close my eyes and ask the medical assistant to keep the number to herself. I’ve decided that I have better things to focus on this year.

Do I plan to eat cookies until all my pants don’t fit? Of course not. I care about my health and even if I didn’t, I have two small kids to raise. Saying to hell with being healthy would just be foolish. But being healthy has nothing to do with some stupid number. I finally realize that it’s measured in my actions.

In 2014 I completed a half marathon and two 5ks. Did I reach all my fitness goals? No, I didn’t. Did I reach my weight loss goal? Nope, didn’t do that either. But I think I did something meaningful, so I had to ask myself why I was ending the year feeling disappointed instead of giving myself props for throwing on running sneakers and hitting the pavement. Most people I know won’t run unless it’s for their lives, and here I am mad about my weight. Come on. I means sure, I fell off with my running towards the end of the year because I let life get in the way, but stuff happens.

So what has giving up on the weight loss goal done for me? Right now, I feel at peace. I am not pressed about the scale or the number on it. I recently started my Couch to 5k program because I might do a few more 5ks this year. I asked my older brother if he would go hiking with me when it warms up and this dude actually said yes. I also plan on taking a few dance classes this year because it seems like fun and I actually need them (not all black girls can dance).

In addition to these fitness goals, I have cut back on juice and I’m drinking a lot more water. Next on the list is saying goodbye to candy for a bit and cutting back on the late night snacking. I have also found that just a few green smoothies a week make me feel good—and my kids love them too. And notice I said a few. I can’t drink smoothies all day, every day—much respect to the women who do.

So this year, no diet, no eating salads all day long, no weight loss program, no working out 7 days a week, and no obsessing about my thighs and the number on the freaking scale. This year I am focused on wellness—mental, spiritual, and physical. I am praying more, working out, having fun, and eating more healthy meals (sometimes with a cookie or two on the side).

This is new for me, but something about it just feels right. If you have struggled with your weight, I hope you think about joining me. It really is liberating. Make this a year that you focus on getting your mind and your health right. If you do that, the number on the scale won’t matter much. I think you’ll feel too good to even care.

Martine Foreman is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, speaker and coach. To follow her journey as a busy mom, wife and honest chick from Brooklyn, NY (now living in the burbs), check out her personal blog, CandidBelle.