All Articles Tagged "health"

Times You Shouldn’t Stress About Gaining Weight

May 25th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

When you’re concerned about your weight, watching the scale can become a stressful daily habit. You feel great when the numbers on the scale go down, and you feel okay when they stay put, but no one feels good when the numbers on the scale go up. Still, not every fluctuation in your weight should make you worry about the state of your diet and your health as a whole.

Sometimes gaining a pound here and there is not about you living and eating in an unhealthy manner. Life is full of ups and downs and the same thing goes for your body weight. Some days you weigh a little more, some days you happily weigh a little less.

Your body (and sometimes your life) is likely just going through some slight changes that are perfectly natural. More often than not, they’ll work themselves out sooner than later without you having to work harder at the gym or in the kitchen.

Amber Riley Has Some Words For People Fat-Shaming Her: “Let My Big A– Live!”

May 24th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

If there’s anything you’ve been wanting to get off of your chest but didn’t know how to, a few painkillers will definitely help you do so. Just ask actress and singer Amber Riley.

The former Glee star had some dental work done recently, and while she was feeling the buzz from her medicine, relaxing in her loungewear sans makeup, she decided to address people who had been making comments about her size on her social media pages. For all those showing faux concern about her weight, through her Instagram page she made it clear that she doesn’t want nor need you to care so much about her business–including her body.

“Why does me being fat offend so many people? Is it because I’m confident, and I’m fly, and I’m sexy? Do my thighs, offend? Does my stomach, offend? Does my big juicy ass, offend? Why? Why? Let my big ass live! I let y’all live! I love all colors, shapes and sizes. So, just so you know, when you come on here, and you call me fat, it’s not an insult, dummy. My a– is fat. And the fellas love it. And so do I. So eat it!”

But her clapback for her haters is no surprise. Back in 2010, when Glee was was all of the rage, Riley told People that while there are some things she works on changing, and that “I’ve gone up and down” in terms of her weight, she loved her body.

“I love my breasts, my face, my butt,” she told the magazine. “Most importantly, “I love myself.”

Check out what Riley had to say below and share your thoughts:

I got some things I need to get off my chest, and my thighs, and my stomach 🙄

A video posted by Amber Riley (@msamberpriley) on

A List Of Good Carbs For When Cravings Strike

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

Image Source: Tumblr

Cutting down on carbs sounds good in theory. But it’s all easier said than done if we’re being honest.  I mean, I think we all understand that overdoing it on potato chips all the time is simply bad for your health. But no matter how many times you throw the white bread and Double Stuf Oreos away, if you love them, your carb cravings are going to remain quite strong.

While eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast is probably never going to be a great idea, you don’t have to kiss all carbohydrates goodbye to stay healthy and at the weight that you want to be. These good carbohydrates don’t share the exact same drawbacks of their bad carbohydrate cousins. Not only will they not ruin your diet, but they also just might do you some good.

Working Hard But Still Not Losing Weight? Try This

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

Image Source : Tumblr

When you first started your diet, things were moving along smoothly. You changed the way you eat, started using your gym membership again, and your favorite pair of work pants that hug your curves fit better than ever. Then, out of nowhere, everything stopped. Even though you’re dieting and working out hard, the scale refuses to move. What’s up with that?

The problem is likely that your body is fighting back. It’s stalling because it’s become used to all the moves you’re doing in the gym and is programmed to hold onto pounds for dear life when you’re trying to lose them to help protect you from the “starvation” it thinks your new low-fat diet is putting it through.

Luckily, there are ways to work around your body’s natural defenses to help you actually lose the weight you’ve been working to get off. And you might be surprised at how easy it is. Eating more and exercising less could just be the answer to getting your metabolism back in high fat-burning gear.

The Snacking Struggle: Are You Addicted To Having Something In Your Mouth?

May 19th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Shutterstock

After I lost a considerable amount of weight last year, one of my colleagues whom I sing in the choir with asked for my advice on what she could and should do to drop a few pounds. After going for a checkup, she was told that she was prediabetic, meaning that her blood sugar was deemed quite high, but not high enough to necessarily make her a diabetic. Being prediabetic doesn’t mean that you will automatically find yourself with the condition sooner or later. With the right changes in your level of activity, some medication, and, of course, a major change in diet, you can avoid a diabetic diagnosis and improve your health altogether.

So, as she asked for tips on how to change up her diet, she told me that a certain addiction was causing her to feel like she needed to keep eating, all the time, which was holding her back.

“I’m like addicted to having something in my mouth all of the time,” she said. “Whether it’s gum or actual food, when there’s nothing in my mouth I always find myself preoccupied with filling it.”

When she told me that, at the time, I thought it just meant she was greedy. But after having to force myself not to reach for a snack just because the other day, I realized that this so-called addiction is more common than I thought.

I was literally sitting at my desk, typing away, when I felt an urge to snack on something. I knew that I was going to grab lunch within an hour or so, and had gone pretty HAM on a combination of peanuts and raisins just about 30 minutes before, so I was full. Stuffed actually. Still, I just needed to have something. Thankfully, one of my co-workers had some gum. But it was the kind that is more for teeth whitening than actual breath freshening or taste. So after about 15 minutes, nibbling on the gum was basically like chewing on silly putty. Minutes after spitting it out, that feeling arose within me again, and I was preparing to reach for some popcorn. It took everything in me to sit down somewhere. I literally let out a long grunt because I was so frustrated with my cravings.

My goodness, I thought. I am not hungry. Why can’t I stop snacking?!

“I’ve realized that two parts of the brain are largely to blame,” said Alex Korb, Ph.D., in a piece for Psychology Today, “the insula and the basal ganglia.”

Korb would go on to say that the insula is responsible for the process interoception, which makes you aware of your internal state, including what your stomach feels like.

“The problem is that it’s usually not a very specific signal, but more of a vague notion (e.g. ‘something seems to be a little off in my stomach area’). When we get a vague sensation about the stomach we often jump to the conclusion ‘Oh, I must be hungry’. But that’s not necessarily the case.”

As for the basal ganglia, it’s a combination of neurons in the brain that handle your habits.

“Snacking habits are ingrained in the basal ganglia through years of careful practice (those Pringles don’t eat themselves)” Korb said. “But your basal ganglia needs a trigger before it starts enacting a particular habit. In the case of snacking that trigger comes from the insula.”

We are out here convincing our own bodies that we’re hungry, even when that’s not the case. So that’s where that need to fill our mouths with something comes from. And while the idea of throwing a few things in your mouth here and there to appease your insula and basal ganglia seems harmless, those calories can add up pretty quickly.

What I’ve realized and what Korb pointed out in his piece is that you need to find a way to distract yourself from picking at and reaching for food for the sake of having something to chew on. Push yourself to eat for nourishment, not simply for enjoyment. Great alternatives to consistent snacking on the wrong things could include opting instead for water (infused water, with lemon or lime, is a must for me). If you feel that you really need to munch on something, sugarfree gum is low in calories and can satisfy a sugary craving. You might feel even more hungry after chewing, but if you can stall as you chew, when you finally spit your gum out, hopefully it will be time for lunch or dinner. And most importantly, when those cravings to snack are quite strong, avoid the foods that really get you in trouble. Once you see them, you’re likely to reach for them and feel disappointed later. The potato chips, the bowls of candy at the front desk, the entire cookie aisle, and the cupcakes you know they’re going to provide for your co-worker’s birthday should be avoided at all costs.

Incessant snacking definitely is somewhat of an addiction. At the base level, it’s a less than positive habit you’ve formed that makes you feel like you always need to eat, and can, in turn, contribute to weight loss struggles, an increase in your blood sugar and other health complications. But it’s also a mental thing, and if you force yourself to look into and integrate healthy habits like the alternatives mentioned above into your diet, you may finally be able to kick the unhealthy ones.

Which Type Of Gym Rat Are You?

May 19th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis

Corbis

The gym is filled with so many colorful characters. About 75 percent of the gym struggle is just trying to motivate yourself to get through the full 30 minutes to an hour that you swore you were going to stay. The other 25 percent is just trying to motivate yourself to deal with all the people sure to tap dance on your last nerves. From the pushy trainer looking to make you their newest pet project, to the women in your dance class who act like they can’t make space for you even though you were just five minutes late, it’s a jungle in there.

But we all have our moments when we hit up fitness facilities and know we could be nicer, get off of machines sooner, or know we’ve done the absolute most in the attempt to get a good workout. Still, if you had to classify yourself and your regular gym behavior, where would you fall? Check out nine different types of gym rats, and if you don’t see yourself on this list, (politely) tell us what mold you fit in the comment section.

The Right Way To Do Cheat Days Without Throwing A Wrench In Your Diet

May 17th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Everyone who’s ever been on a diet knows that you have to give yourself a cheat day or two. What experts don’t always tell you, though, is that most diets should come with cheat days.

“Cheating” on your diet doesn’t have to be all about uncontrollable urges for late-night candy bars or spending an entire day stuffing your face. There’s a way to work them into your diet and work them in with moderation in mind. Snack on extra calories the right way and you won’t ding your diet.

In fact, there are a few ways to cheat that won’t only help you stay on track, but they may also help you lose more weight than you would have without them.

So you can go back to following all of your favorite Instagram foodie pages, put your weekly lunch with your co-workers back on your schedule, and plan to cheat — the right way.

What To Do Before Bed To Lose Weight

May 16th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Did you know that whether or not you get enough sleep has a big impact on the success of your diet? Some studies say that you can increase your fat loss by around 50 percent just by making sure that you get enough zs. And just hitting the sack isn’t the only way to get your bedtime routine to help you do great things for your waistline.

Your metabolism doesn’t just run during the daytime when you’re up and moving, working on a meal, or resting after a meal. Nighttime is when your body does some of its most important fat-burning work. So it really pays to ensure that you’re focusing not only on what you’re doing during the day but on what you do at night as well.

Do these things before you go to bed and you can do a lot to boost your diet and increase the rate at which you lose weight. So turn out the lights, hit the sack, and dream about lower numbers on the scale tomorrow.

Women’s Health Week: Could Your Issues With Your Weight Be A Symptom Of A Thyroid Condition?

May 13th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Shutterstock

In the middle of your lower neck, at the base of it, sits the thyroid. It’s a small gland that makes the thyroid hormone. If you relay that information to some people, I’m sure they’ll say, “Oh, okay. Good to know!” But the thyroid is more important than most of us realize. If you have issues with your thyroid or some form of a thyroid disorder, your thyroid could make either too much of the hormone or too little of it. In either case, going above or below the normal amount can have a drastic impact on your health.

As we round out Women’s Health Week, we end with a conversation on thyroid conditions. It’s something, according to the American Thyroid Association, that around 20 million Americans are dealing with some form of. And up to 60 percent are unaware that they have any type of condition. What they also don’t realize is that a thyroid disorder could have a lot to do with certain issues they may be brushing off as normal, including problems with weight gain, or being the only person in your office who is always freezing.

If you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), that means your thyroid isn’t making enough of the hormone you need.

“Clinically, a mass or thickening of the front of the neck may represent a goiter, which means thyroid function is low,” said Prudence Hall, MD of The Hall Center in Santa Monica, California. She stated that the symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, depression, dry skin and hair, hair loss, excessive sleeping, constipation, a heavy period, as well as leg cramps or carpal tunnel syndrome.

On the other side of the fence, Hall said that an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) includes symptoms like a racing heartbeat, rapid weight loss not due to exercise and healthy eating, shaking hands, being very nervous, anxious, and/or having thoughts that are all over the place.

If not diagnosed, those with an overactive thyroid gland could be at great risk, and even end up with Graves’ disease. As pointed out by Hall, “Individuals with hyperthyroid problems face tremendous health problems and need diagnosis and treatment. A hyperthyroid individual is at higher risk for a heart attack, arrhythmias, bone loss and rapid muscle wasting.”

As for hypothyroidism, according to the Mayo Clinic, if left untreated, those with an underactive thyroid can and up with an enlarged one that can cause you to become forgetful and even depressed. And if things advance quite far, you could develop myxedema that can be life-threatening. The condition can cause your breathing to be stagnant, your blood pressure to drop, your body temperature to sink and you could even slip into a coma.

In much less severe cases, an overactive or underactive thyroid can play a big part in one’s struggle with weight. “The thyroid gland runs the body’s metabolism,” said Hall. “Low thyroid function lowers the body’s metabolic rate and causes weight gain. High thyroid function causes a more rapid metabolism causing weight loss.”

So now that you know what thyroid disorders are and what effect they can have on your well-being, how can one possibly avoid them? It’s not always up to you, as the actual cause of a malfunctioning thyroid is still hard to pinpoint. However, Hall said there are things you can take and avoid to lessen your chances of struggling with a thyroid condition.

“Iodine is essential for thyroid function so an iodine supplement helps keep the gland healthy. Iodine doses ranging from five to 12 mg are standard. Selenium is also important for thyroid health. Four to five Brazil nuts a day or 200 mcg of selenium are standard supplements. Toxicity due to mercury, lead, and other heavy metals causes thyroid problems, so avoid too much fish consumption, smoking, dental amalgams and other sources of heavy metals.”

If you have any of the symptoms previously mentioned at a less than normal rate (like your weight is ballooning or decreasing drastically), or you feel a swelling in your neck (a goiter), be sure to see your doctor. As one woman in eight will likely develop a thyroid disorder in their lifetime, it’s a more common condition than ever. And women are more likely to deal with it than their male counterparts. But with the right treatment of medication, radioiodine or surgery, you could not just get better, but thrive.

 

How To Keep Your Diet From Ruining Your Mood

May 13th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Corbis

Has anyone else noticed that going on a diet can put you in a really bad mood? Cutting calories and hitting the gym are great for getting on that summer body before the weather warms up. But sometimes, it can be terrible for your attitude.

Some of us are more bothered by it than others. Cut too many calories a day, and you might find yourself snapping at your boyfriend, feeling “up to here” with your boss, and struggling to keep yourself from going HAM on the next co-worker who leaves a mess in the community microwave. (They know better!)

A crabby diet mood can get so bad that it could make you mad enough to say “forget it” and head to your nearest McDonald’s to feel better with a burger, some fries, and an apple pie. To keep your diet from ruining your mood (and keep your mood from ruining your plans to eat healthier) try these diet tricks.