Category Archives: Lifestyle

Reduce The Muffin Top by July 4th

Muffins with tape measure

You may not yet know what you’re doing on the Fourth of July, but you do know what you’re going to wear. You knew as soon as you saw the star- spangled, midriff – exposing two-piece that it would end up on your body on Independence Day. There’s only one problem. Your winter hibernation has left you with a rather unpleasant souvenir: a few extra pounds hanging over the waistline of your pants, a.k.a., a muffin top. How is that going to look with your patriotic ensemble? Never fear, here are some ways you can lose that muffin top way before the fireworks start.

No More Spot Reduction
You may be thinking that the best way to get rid of fat on a specific part of your body is by focusing most of your exercises on that body part. However, most personal trainers are now advising against spot training. Why? It seems some body parts lose fat more quickly than others. That means the body tends to retain a lot of excess fat around the stomach, and the fastest way to lose that fat is to perform exercises that help you to lose fat overall. While abdomen focused exercises may help you tone the area, more muscle mass will raise the metabolism, making it easier to burn fat.

Woman on stationary bike

More Cardio
Cardio is a great way to get your heart pumping, making your body work harder and burn more calories. Zumba is a great way to get in your cardio, as are swimming, hiking, cycling, and kickboxing. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, tends to work more effectively than long workouts at moderate levels of intensity and remember to keep walking. You should be taking about 10,000 steps a day, which can be monitored with a pedometer.

Strength Training
A great way to build muscle mass is by strength training. Women who engage in strength training for 25 minutes two or three times weekly can gain about two pounds of muscle and lose twice as much fat within two months.

Woman doing crunches

Abs Exercises
Although spot reduction is not the recommended way to reduce the muffin top, performing exercises which focus on the abdominal muscles can help you tighten up the area. However, you’ll get best results doing them in conjunction with cardio. Crunches and sit ups are probably the most common abs-based exercises.

Side Muscles
While you’re focusing on your waistline, don’t forget to work the muscles on the sides. Leg lifts are good for this: Lie on one side with your legs outstretched. Raise and then lower the top leg, keeping it straight. Turn over and repeat with opposite side.

Woman with jump rope

Intervals

    1. Pick Your Type of Cardio
      Running, swimming, jumping rope, and biking are all good choices.
    2. Warm Up
      Designate the first ten minutes to increase your exercise level from low to moderate. Easy means you can hold a conversation easily; moderate and you will only be able to get out three to four words at a time.
    3. Do Ten Sprints With Breaks For Recovery
      Your sprints should be 30 seconds long with 30 second recovery periods, or light exercise. Sprints should be done at full intensity, exerting enough energy to achieve breathlessness. It is important to keep moving constantly, even during periods of recovery.
    4. Exercise At Moderate Intensity For the Minutes
      Perform the exercise of your choice for a steady ten minutes at moderate intensity without pause.
    5. Do Ten More Sprints
      Repeat step 3.
    6. Cool Down
      Wind down with five minutes of low-intensity exercise.

Woman drinking water

Are you trying to eliminate that muffin top to get into that bikini? Let us know how you’re doing it? What are the best exercises for trimming your waistline?

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

Lifestyle May Be Your Skin Care Savior

Your skin will not lie. You can say you never ate that sugary food, didn’t go out in the sun without sunscreen, didn’t skimp on sleep; the list goes on, but your skin will give you away every time. You can lie all you want, but that blemish, sunburn, or wrinkle will be there to testify against you.

Face it, there’s only one way to prevent your skin from revealing your sins, and that is to stop sinning. It’s time to accept the fact that the only way to keep your skin quiet is by keeping it healthy. Here are some lifestyle changes to help you choose the right path to healthy skin.

Woman in nature

Protect Your Skin From the Sun
One sure way to prevent skin from premature aging is to protect it from the sun. There is no surer way to prevent age spots and wrinkles or to lower the risk of skin cancer. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and apply generously, repeating every two hours, or more, if you’ve been swimming or perspiring.

Try to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when its rays are strongest and do your best to stay in the shade.

Wear protective clothing. Tightly woven long-sleeved shirts and pants, and wide-brimmed hats provide the best protection from the sun. There are also laundry additives on the market which give clothes an extra layer of UV protection for a number of washings, as well as sun protective clothing with built-in protection from ultraviolet rays.

Stop Smoking
Smoking narrows the blood vessels in the outer layers of the skin, decreasing blood flow and depleting skin of nutrients and oxygen. The result is older looking skin and wrinkles.

Additionally, smoking is a danger to collagen and elastin production. Collagen and elastin are the fibers that maintain skin’s strength and elasticity.

Woman smoking

Also, the faces that you make from smoking? The pursing of the lips? The squinting? Also likely to cause wrinkles. How can you prevent this? Quit smoking. Ask your doctor for tips and treatment advice.

Be Gentle
Even simply daily cleansing can tax your skin. You can keep the toll to a minimum by limiting bath time. Hot water can remove oil from your skin, and the longer you spend bathing, the greater the loss of moisture. Keep bath time down and try to use warm water, rather than hot.

Swap strong soaps and detergents for mild cleansers to keep skin better hydrated.
Shave carefully, using shaving cream, gel, or lotion prior to shaving. Use a clean sharp razor and shave in the direction in which the hair grows to ensure the smoothest shave with the least skin nicks and cuts.

Pat skin dry after washing to make sure some moisture is left on the skin and follow up with an SPF containing moisturizer that is suited to your skin type.

Eat well
Never underestimate the importance of a good diet for skin health. Eat your veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Research suggests that diets high in unhealthy fats and processed carbohydrates may age skin prematurely, while vitamin C-rich foods may promote younger-looking skin.

Woman meditating outdoors

Control Stress
Stress can increase skin sensitivity and lead to breakouts and other problems. You can manage stress by setting limits and decreasing overwhelming activity in exchange for things you enjoy, or doing low-intensity exercises like yoga and pilates.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone
According to Dr. Francesca J. Fusco, if you keep your head down often while scrolling or texting, you may begin to notice lines in your neck. She suggests hanging photos at eye level in rooms in which you text the most as an enticement to keep your head up during phone use.

Let us know how you have changed your lifestyle to improve your skin health. We want to know!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

Nutrients That You Should Get From Food

Healthy food

Nobody does it quite like Mother Nature, and Mother Nature does not make pills. Although no one can deny the vast contributions of science, try as man may, he has yet to manufacture a product, or pill, capable of healing and promoting growth in the same way Mother Nature can. That is why when it comes to seeking nutrition, there are some things science just can’t give us; and supplements don’t grow on trees. Here are some of the nutrients you should be getting directly from food sources.

Vitamin C
Citrus fruits are the best source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps your body absorb iron. One large orange contains 97.9 mg of the powerful stuff. That exceeds the recommended 90 mg a day for adult males and 75 for adult females. Other high C options include kiwi, tomatoes, and green and red pepper.

Kale

Calcium
Although not the most obvious source, Kale is a great way to get calcium to support nerve function and muscle movement. One serving of the leafy green contains 150 mg of calcium, which is a little over 10% of the recommended daily allowance. But rest assured, you can still get a good amount of calcium from dairy products, such as yogurt.

B Vitamins
Vitamin B 12 is one form of vitamin B usually taken in supplement form. It is important for the formation of red blood cells and neurological function. Eggs are a good source, and, while some shun them for their high levels of cholesterol, nutritional experts concur that this need not be the case. You can get 0.6 micrograms of B12 (about 10% of the RDA) from one large hard-boiled egg, and 3 oz of trout or salmon will just about do you for the daily intake.

B6, crucial for brain development and metabolism during pregnancy can be gotten for tuna, chickpeas, and nuts.

Vitamin A
We need vitamin A to maintain good vision and immune system function. It also plays a part in reproduction and supports the lungs, heart, and kidney.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are particularly high in Vitamin A concentration. Just one baked sweet potato with the skin on has a whopping 28,058 IU of vitamin A per serving. That’s 561% of the recommended value. The National Institute of Health reports that 28-37% of the population take vitamin A supplements.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant contain in the body which helps the immune system fight off virus and bacteria. Almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are all rich in vitamin A, with one ounce of dry roasted almonds containing 34% of the daily recommended value.

Magnesium
Consider trading your magnesium supplements for a handful of cashews. These nuts are rich in the nutrient which is important for maintaining nerve function and healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Cashews

One ounce of the cashews will provide you with a tasty way to get 74 mg of magnesium, 19% go the recommended daily amount.

Iron
Iron is a very popular supplement, especially for women who are at risk for not having enough. Men 19-50 should aim to get 8mg of iron each day, while women of the same age should get 18mg. You can get 3 mg of iron, around 17% of the daily recommended value in half a cup of drained, boiled spinach.

Vitamin D
Although most of our vitamin D needs to come from sun exposure, it is available in fatty fish like salmon and tuna. In fact, you can get 112% of the recommended daily amount from just three ounces of salmon, deliciously.

What about you? What supplements are you trading for foods? Let us know!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

What You Can Do About High Blood Pressure

Woman monitoring her own blood pressure

You go for a routine check up. The diagnosis: High blood pressure, a.k.a. The Silent Killer. It is asymptomatic. It sneaks up on a third of Americans without them even knowing it. High blood pressure does not make your head ache, it does not make you bleed, it does not make you break out in a rash, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s not deadly. It works against your heart and arteries and can cause kidney disease, blindness, brain hemorrhage, and, eventually death. Of the 29% of Americans with high blood pressure, only 54% have it under control. However, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you can keep yourself in that percentage. Here are some tips on doing just that.

Lose weight
Blood pressure can increase with weight, and, if you suffer from sleep apnea, as a result of excess weight, your blood pressure can increase even more. Losing just 10 lbs is enough to bring about a significant reduction in blood pressure.

While you are slimming down, you may want to pay special attention to your waistline. Men with a waist measurement greater than 40″ are at risk for high blood pressure, as are women with waist measurements exceeding 35 inches.

Exercise
If you have high blood pressure, you can reduce your blood pressure by 4-9 mm of mercury by performing at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. But, it’s important to keep it up. A lapse in consistency can cause blood pressure to go back up.

Woman jogging

The Dash Diet
The Dash diet, also known as the Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertension is the suggested diet for lowering hypertension. It consists of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and is low in cholesterol and saturated fat and high in potassium.

Limit Alcohol Intake
Although small amounts of alcohol can lower your blood pressure, too much alcohol can reverse the effects. Women and men over 65 should not drink more than one drink a day, while men under 65 should not exceed two drinks. Twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor constitute one drink.

Reduce Sodium
Although a reduction in sodium can reduce blood pressure in all people, the amount of recommended intake varies. Sodium should generally be limited to less than 2,300 mg per day; however, an intake of 1,500mg a day is more appropriate for higher-risk groups, including African Americans, people 51 or older, and anyone diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease.

Man cutting cigarettes in half

Quit Smoking
Each cigarette increases blood pressure for several minutes after you smoke it. Quit smoking to reduce blood pressure and increase life expectancy.

Monitor Blood Pressure and See Your Doctor Often
It is important to keep track of blood pressure levels and home monitoring can help you make sure that your lifestyle changes are effective and alert you to complications. Monitors are widely available and do not require a prescription.

See your doctor every six to twelve months to keep your blood pressure under control.

Do you have high blood pressure? How do you keep it under control? Let us know! Your advice could make a difference!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

Tasty Low Calorie Snacks

If you are a consumer, you may have noticed the recent popularity of prepackaged 100 calorie snacks. They seem like a great idea. One hundred is a perfectly rounded decimal number, and seems relatively inconsequential when compared with the recommended 2000 calorie per day recommended allowance. At that rate, we an eat them every day an still have room for another 1,900 calories! And, on top of that, the snack companies have already done the hard work for us. There’s no measuring required, and no uncertainty about serving size. Plus, the individual packaging helps curb the temptation to eat more than one serving. Genius!

So what’s wrong with this? Well, a few things. Firstly, you’re paying for that individual packaging and really not getting that much food. After all, 100 calories is one hundred calories. Secondly, a good deal of what’s on offer is highly processed and not really that filling. But don’t worry, the party’s not over! Here are a few more satisfying and healthier one hundred calorie options that you may not have considered.

Baked Potato
Microwaves have revolutionized the preparation of the baked potato. For a quick snack, pierce the spud with a fork and nuke on high for five minutes. Eat plain for the full hundred calories or top half with 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt and one tablespoon of salsa and save the other half for later.

Frozen grapes

Frozen Grapes
Grapes are great frozen or fresh, but the frozen kind do tend to last a bit longer. One cup, or about 28 of these babies, will equal about one hundred calories and are also a great source of antioxidants.

Protein Shake
To make your own, less processed version, add a scoop of vanilla whey protein to a cup of unsweetened almond milk. It makes a delicious post -workout snack that will help muscles recover after exercise.

Dark Chocolate
Three squares of dark chocolate or five chocolate kisses will provide 100 calories of stress-free, endorphin-raising bliss.

Dark chocolate

Healthy Ice Cream Bars
Not only a low-calorie way to nosh, enlightened ice cream bars actually contain five grams of fiber, eight grams of protein, and no artificial sweeteners!

English Muffin with Fruit butter
Go for a whole wheat muffin, as a more nutritious alternative to white. Also, choosing apple or pumpkin butter over jams will save you around 20 calories per serving.

Coconut and Kiwi
Hear this, orange and grapefruit, there’s a new player in town! One large kiwi has all the vitamin C you need to meet the daily recommended allowance. Top with one tablespoon coconut for a refreshing tropical sensation.

Baked apple

Baked Apples
If you want to satisfy a sweet tooth, core a medium sized apple dusted with cinnamon and bake it at 350 for 20 minutes. Leave off the oats and nuts to keep it at the 100-calorie mark.

Kettle Corn
Make a healthy version of this snack by topping 2 cups of freshly popped popcorn with a teaspoon each of stevia and cinnamon. Or, swap the Stevia for one teaspoon of honey mixed with one teaspoon of water. Thin out in a microwave for 20 seconds for best results.

22 Pistachios
Higher in protein and lower in saturated fats than most other nuts, 22 pistachios are a filling and flavorful hundred calorie option. Go for the in – the – shell type, if possible. The extra work will save you 41% of the calories as compared to the unshelled. Well worth the effort.

If you still prefer your pre-packaged options, let us know! Or if you’ve decided to try a few of our suggestions, or have any of your own, we want to hear about your experience!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

Couple’s Pamper Day In

Couple at a spa

If you’ve about given up on getting your other half to telepathically receive the message that what you really want is a pamper day in this Valentine’s Day, why don’t your try suggesting it as a joint venture? A day of pampering is sure to be on your wish list, and there are plenty of options for including your favorite partner. A couple’s pamper day might be a great way to have fun while turning on the sparks.

Tub for Two
If you’re looking for sexy, cozy way to “relax muscle tension” fill up the tub. If you’re envisioning your partner and yourself surrounded by bubbles, a bubble bath formula may be in order, but if you’re looking for something more opaque, try a milky bath oil for increased lubrication. Recreate the “spa feeling” with spa-tinis for two: hot green tea spiked with sake.

Prep your towels by rolling them together to keep the heat from the dryer in and they’ll be all set for snuggling. End by slathering one another in a yummy moisturizer that you’ve heated in the microwave.

Shower
If you’re not really the bath type, you can get cozy in the shower stall. Set the stage by turning on the shower to get things steamy. Steam softens your skin, which makes the task of exfoliation easier. Then get ready for a dry scrub. Choose a self heating scrub and rub it on while you wait for the shower to heat. After you’re both soaped up, use a moisturizing cleanser to help each other soap away the exfoliants.

Woman getting a massage

Massage
Recreate the warmth of the heated massage table with an electric blanket and plush towel. You may want to experiment with candles that melt into massage oil. Light the candle, let it liquify, blow out the flame, oil up, and start rubbing. For a great rub, spend at least 15 minutes on the upper back because that is where you usually hold the most tension. Be sure to massage your partner’s upper shoulders and use your thumbs to knead out the tight spots. Then you can move to pressing down on the vertebrae and running your fingers under the shoulder blades.

Foot Massage
No matter what your take on feet is, there is no doubt about the fact that a foot massage is a great way to boost pleasure. There are specific points in your feet which are connected to the rest of your body. Wrap feet separately in damp hot towels. Unwrap the left foot after two minutes and work in some pre-heated glycolic acid moisturizer. Make sure to use circular motions, especially on the balls of the feet.

The rest is up to you. Let us know how it turned out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

Fun Winter Date Night Ideas

It’s cuffing season. For those unfamiliar with the term, cuffing season as defined by the Urban Dictionary, refers to the fall and winter months when “people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves, along with the rest of the world, desiring to be “cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship.” It is the time when the cold weather and indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.” If you’re among those “cuffing it ” this season, you should know, there are alternatives. Although the winter weather may make a trial out of leaving the house, there are a few fun winter date night ideas.

Couple at spa
Couple’s Spa Date
Now this sounds ideal! Fight the chill in a steamy sauna followed by a couple’s massage. A date like this may guarantee that this will be the last cuffing season you will have to experience.

Take a Sleigh Ride
You can pretend you’re Charles and Diana on the way to their wedding. It will also give you a good excuse to cuddle up under a blanket while you see the sites.

Take A Hike
Literally! It will give you an excuse to wear your work boot and furry hat. It’s great exercise and, just think of all those endorphins it releases!

Go To The Ballet
Winter is the peak season for ballet and “The Nutcracker” and “Swan Lake” are great seasonal choices. Take the opportunity to take in some culture and wear your evening gloves and fur stole.

Netflix
Movies are always a great go- to date night idea. Pick something romantic to get in the mood, or pick a horror film so you can hold him when he gets scared.

Couple skating
Ice Skate
Yes, seriously. Have you ever seen John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale in “Serendipity?” If you have, you know that beautiful things can happen at an ice skating rink. And just think how cute you’ll look in that little skirt!

Make Smores
A couple that cooks together, stays together, and just think of how lovely you will look feeding him smores. If it seems a bit juvenile, you can always throw in some adult hot chocolate, and watch the fun begin.

Game Night
If you are over the age of 12, you may have forgotten the pleasures of Twister and Connect Four. Or, if brainier pursuits are more your speed, there’s always Chess and Scrabble.

Go to the Farmer’s Market
The Farmer’s Market is a great place for exotic snacks and fresh ingredients. You can plan your lunch or dinner menu and head back home to work on a culinary creation.

Let us know if any of these ideas helped you get “cuffed” this season. And if you have any ideas for fun winter date nights, we love to hear it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle