All Articles Tagged "health"

End Gym Dread: How To Fall In Love With Working Out

April 29th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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When you secretly (or not so secretly) hate going to the gym, getting your health where you want it to be can be a serious obstacle. It’s really hard to get the recommended more than two hours a week when you hate every minute of it. And putting in extra hours to get added weight off? Forget about it.

If good health and consistent exercise are things on your agenda that have been escaping you for too long, it might be time to change the way you look at working out. There’s a way to look forward to getting a workout in most days of the week.

And it’s not all about focusing on the positive. Work out the right way and you can trick your brain into loving it when you work up a sweat.

 

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Get An Exercise High

Don’t stop your daily cardio until you feel that runner’s high that people are always talking about.

Those endorphins not only feel great, but they’re also addictive. Give yourself a daily dose and you’ll soon be craving it enough to make going to the gym a serious habit.

Why Does My Breath Stink When I’m Dieting?

April 28th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis

Corbis

During our morning conversation about life struggles and triumphs over Coke Zero and fruit snacks, a colleague of mine was telling me about the success she was having with a new diet. After making a commitment to bringing more lunches than buying them as well as generally watching her intake of calories daily, she had triumphantly lost four pounds in a little over a week. But with the success of shedding a few pounds towards her goal came one thing she wasn’t expecting: bad breath.

Over the past few days, her husband made mention consistently of her breath smelling a bit on the sour side. Just this morning, after giving him a kiss on her way to work, he couldn’t help himself: “Maybe get some sugar-free gum on the way home?”

She asked me if I had experienced less than fresh breath while working on my own weight-loss goals over the past year, and when I thought back on it, I actually had. While fasting at the beginning and the end of 2015 for 21 days (Daniel Fast: no meat, no sugar, no bread–pretty much nothing but fruits and veggies), my breath was kicking like Bruce Lee and Bruce Leroy combined. And because sugar-free gum has sugar substitutes that I was afraid would put me in violation of the fast’s rules, I decided to avoid it and breath mints altogether. Safe to say, lemon water was not helping my hit breath. But thankfully, my fiancé, who eats a lot of fish and onion, knew better than to say anything…

So what’s the deal? Why do some diets cause some of us to have harsher breath than we normally would?

According to experts, you can blame it on ketones. They’re a chemical released through the breath and the urine when your body is burning fat, and can cause both your urine and breath to be a bit on the strong side. And many popular diets, like the Atkins diet, are all about easing up on carbs. Ketogenic diets encourage your system to get its energy by burning fat instead of relying on your consumption of heavy carbs.

Kenneth Burrell, DDS, of the American Dental Association told WebMD that scrubbing your tongue, and going hard with hydrogen peroxide won’t fix your oral issues as you diet. And while low-carb diets are great for helping people to lose weight, introducing some carbs back into your diet is pretty much the only way to avoid a smelly mouth altogether–according to him.

But other experts say that drinking water throughout the day (don’t forget to put some lemon in there) and keeping some sugarless mints or gum in your bag is the way to go when you want to stick to a low-carb diet that has been working, but not emanate a sour odor from your mouth.

It’s interesting. People tell you the big ways in which your body goes through changes when you decide to commit to losing weight, but they rarely say anything about the small — and stinky — ways.

Surprising Signs You’ll Live Longer Than You Think

April 27th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

The honest truth? Most of us secretly want to live forever. The economy is getting better, we might be getting a woman president, and we can’t wait to see what Blue Ivy Carter and North West will grow up to look like. (Our guess? Fierce fashionistas.)

Lucky for us, people are living longer than ever. Your chances of living until way past your 65th birthday are ten times more likely nowadays, and that’s great news. And some folks are going to live even longer than that.

Why is that? Well, if you so happen to fall into one of these categories, chances are you’re going to live even longer than you think. So start putting your extra long-term retirement plans in order, put together an extensive bucket list and read on to find out some surprising reasons why some people are going to be around for quite a long time.

Ways To Cut Calories Without Really Trying

April 26th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

They key to losing weight is supposed to be simple: Eat less and you’ll lose more. But going on a diet isn’t always that easy. Between meal prep and calorie counting, following a diet plan can feel like doing too much. Luckily, losing weight doesn’t always mean you have to get rid of all of your favorite foods.

If you don’t have the time or patience to go on a traditional diet, there’s a better way to cut calories that happen to be easy to fit into your lifestyle. Instead of changing what you eat, try changing how you eat. These quick diet fixes will help you to cut calories from anything you eat.

Whether you’re out at a restaurant with friends or making smarter decisions at the grocery store, follow these guidelines, and you’ll cut down on how much you eat every day. Cut down by just a few hundred calories every day and you’ll be losing weight in no time.

About The Time My Personal Trainer Sexually Harassed Me

April 26th, 2016 - By Patia Braithwaite
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Deciding to go back to the gym wasn’t an easy decision for me. I’d damaged a tendon in my knee during the Philadelphia half-marathon, and the pain sent me to the couch (where I decided to stay for about three years).

To get back on track, I needed help. I loved my hardcore lady trainer, and we’d become friends over the years, but I grew up with a brother and have always thrived in competition with guys. I decided, this time around, I’d work with a man.  I’d been through this with my friends: scouring Instagram to find beautiful male personal trainers who looked like they could crush me with their arms, but they weren’t for me. I didn’t want to be distracted by a good-looking personal trainer. I didn’t want to worry about sweating too much or feel embarrassed if I farted during my ab workout (it happens).

This was a gift I was giving to myself. I wanted to focus on me.

With all of these thoughts, I went to my local gym and picked the trainer with credentials that seemed perfect. We’ll call him Frank, a former football player who specialized in rehabilitating runners with knee injuries. He was significantly older than I and looked it. The front desk woman told me everyone loved his Southern hospitality, and a quick Google search uncovered that he was also an off-Broadway actor who’d been happily married for over 20 years.

He felt right, but I discovered I was wrong…

Almost every woman I know is subjected to some form of harassment daily. Whether she’s being cat-called on the street or stared down in the supermarket, we often have to ignore the unwelcome advances of men. As a result, the hairs on our neck are attuned to the subtle (and not-so-subtle) advances of strangers.

When Frank’s texts became one too many smiley-face emojis before our first session, I grew uneasy. When he complimented my body and told me I didn’t need to lose any weight, I tried to convince myself that he was just attempting to be encouraging. When he tried to help me lift the weights, I became irritated because that’s just not beneficial (and also because I was struggling to lift 30 pounds by myself). When he slid his hand a bit too low while helping me into a stretch, I became confused.

By our third session, which he closed with a hug, I was weirded out.

“My trainer is a bit too touchy,” I told a friend. “You know I don’t like to be touched.”

“You should say something,” she said in response.

“Nah, I’m probably tripping. You know how I just hate being touched.”

It wasn’t until the phone calls, and text messages started, that I understood what my gut already knew.

“I try to keep it professional,” he said in a text message, “but if I wasn’t married, I think we’d be together.”

I searched my mind: Was I too friendly? Did I send the wrong message? The truth is, I should be able to joke and laugh with my personal trainer. So, at that moment, while he was waiting for a response, I owned the fact that there was nothing I could’ve done to avoid the situation. If I’d worn sweats instead of leggings, if I’d smiled less and been a little colder, the result would’ve been the same.  I’m also not stupid enough to think I am special. I’m sure he’s done something like this to all his female clients.

I waited a few days before responding:

“Hey, just wanna give you a heads up. I’m terminating our training.”

He apologized, and I informed him that I wouldn’t accept.  Instead, I told him that during the five block walk that it takes to get from my apartment to the gym, I’m propositioned by men between almost daily. I informed him that while men will accost me everywhere, I won’t bite my tongue in the presence of someone in my employ.

“Is there anything I can do?” he asked.

“We’re done here,” I texted back.

He had proven what I sensed from his first text: He was a creeper who exploits the trust of his clients.

Ultimately, it was enough for me to terminate my relationship with my trainer without coming for his job.  Trust me; I thought about it several times. Maybe I’m a punk, but in the end, I felt that if I lodged a formal complaint, I’d have to switch gyms. I didn’t want that. I like my gym. Maybe this was an inherently selfish choice, but I felt like it was enough for me to remove myself from that situation. I felt like karma would do the rest of the work. And in the end, that proved to true. He was only in the gym for a few more weeks before he up and disappeared from it.

There’s no moral to this story. I’m not entirely sure I even did the best I could do in this situation, but I wanted to tell my story because I want anyone who has dealt with this to know that it’s not okay. Whatever course of action feels right for you, take it. And know this: If your trainer tries it, you don’t have to let it slide.  Of all the quietly destructive things we do on a daily basis, getting your health together is such a positive step. You deserve to feel safe as you work toward inner and outer transformation.

Fertility Myths We Can All Stop Believing

April 18th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

When it comes to fertility myths, there are a lot of stories out there. Girlfriends, grandmothers, and well-meaning co-workers all seem to have something to say when it comes to the subject of pregnancy. They tried it, they think you should try it, and they believe that you should try it much sooner than later. You know, before it’s allegedly too late.

And sometimes, pregnancy myths stick around for so long that even doctors think that they’re true. So how are you supposed to separate the fact from the fiction? Oh, the struggle.

We’ve rounded up some of the most common fertility myths out there and gotten down to the truth of the matter. And even baby experts might be surprised at the pregnancy facts that we all thought were true but turned out not to be — at least not according to all of the research and findings on the subject.

10 Things To Eat When You Can’t Stop Snacking

April 18th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Some days you order water instead of soda, have a healthy salad and hit the gym at night. Other days, things don’t go quite so well: You’ve hit the vending machine three or four times before lunch, and you’re already thinking about your next snack.

Sometimes it’s hormonal, emotional, stress related or some bad day combination of all three. But while all-day snacking happens to everyone, there are ways to keep binge eating from dialing your diet progress back.

The trick? Always keep some of these foods around. Stash them in your purse, in the refrigerator at work (with your name written clearly on it), or on the kitchen counter where they’re easy to grab.

Snack on these before you go HAM at the corner store that stocks your favorite salt and vinegar chips. With these options, you can snack away without feeling bad — or even stop your all-day snacking in its tracks.

No More Cankles: 5 Exercises To Strengthen Your Calf Muscles

April 15th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Have cankles? Just want to give your calf muscles some definition before it’s time for summer shorts and skirts? Well, then you have to get to work, folks. The Misty Copelands and Serena Williamses of the world didn’t get their taut lower legs overnight. But with the right training, your calf muscles will be popping in no time. Try these five exercises on for size to get started on transforming your calves from basic to brawny.

Assisted Pistol Squat

The original unassisted pistol squat takes time (and a strong core) to perfect, but the assisted pistol squat version is also a great move to execute for those calves. Stand in front of whatever will hold your weight (maybe a pole or door). Hold onto that object and lower yourself with one leg squatted, foot flat on the floor. The other leg kicked straight out. Use the pole to pull yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.

Stair Climber

Okay, maybe don’t stomp on the Stairmaster like this woman–unless your playlist is just oh so stomp-worthy.

If your gym doesn’t have a Stairmaster, don’t be afraid to use whatever stairs are available to you–at work or in your home. If not in your workout facility, tilt your upper body over and step up from stair to stair using the balls of your feet. Once you get to the top, run back down and repeat.

If at the gym, I wouldn’t recommend not holding on to the side bars, so utilize those. I would also recommend trying a fat-burning setting or interval setting that changes speed and resistance so you can get the most bang for your buck. And wear tops that are good for wicking sweat. Trust me; you’ll need them.

Mountain Climbers

It’s a time warp back to elementary school gym class. These are not fun, I know, but they are great for a little bit of everything, including your calves.

Get yourself in plank position with your shoulders over your hands and your weight back on your toes. Bring your knees up to your chest, one knee at a time, with toes coming up slightly off of the ground as you hop back and forth. Keep switching and making sure your weight is on your toes.

Calf Raises

I recommend standing calf raises. If you don’t feel up to using weights just yet, get on a stair, step or use a chair (the latter for support) to lift up to the balls (almost the toes) of your feet, as high as you can. Return to the starting position.

If you want a challenge, get some dumbbells in your hands to help with resistance.

Lunges

Traditional forward lunges, as well as backward lunges, go a long way, ladies.

Keep your upper body straight up and your shoulders back and engage your core. Step forward, one leg at a time, and then lower your hips until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. But ensure that your front knee is directly above your ankle and not sitting out above your toes. Step back into the starting position and keep your weight on the heels. If you want an extra challenge, when you step forward, you could lift your front foot up onto the ball with your heel up. Or, you could always just use dumbbells as you go through the move.

No Scale Stigma: Signs Your Weight Is Perfectly Fine

April 13th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

It’s 2016, and people are finally letting go of a very controversial myth: That anyone who is over a certain weight has to be unhealthy.

Now there’s new research out there that says that not everyone who is overweight is necessarily unhealthy — or even more prone to being unhealthy in the future. In fact, some people who are overweight are even likely to live longer than their thinner counterparts.

It turns out that a fair amount of social bias found its way into scientific data. And as science takes a step back from popular opinion, it’s time for some of us to re-evaluate our health!

How can you tell if you’re healthy no matter what the scale says? If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions, chances are your health is in pretty good condition — no matter what the scale (or even an old-school hater) may have to say.

Surprising Cancer Warning Signs That Could Save Your Life

April 12th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

We’ll be honest with you: Cancer is really scary to think about. It’s the “big C,” the diagnosis you don’t want to hear from your doctor. But in 2016, most forms of cancer are highly treatable — if you catch them early.

And looking out for these surprising early warning signs of cancer can help you do just that. But even if you think you have one of these symptoms, there’s no reason to slip into a WebMD and Googling down spiral. We’ve got the information to point you in the right direction, and then you can take it and do with it what you need to.

Take any concerns that you have to a doctor that you trust and have (or want to build) a relationship with. Chances are, you’ll hear that you’re perfectly fine. Some of these symptoms can be a sign of other illnesses that aren’t as serious. But they should still be checked out with your doctor just to be on the safe side.