Secrets of Women Who Maintain a Healthy Weight but Never Diet

Every woman knows that person who claims that they can eat anything and never gain a pound. And in a few rare cases these ladies are actually blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird and are being honest. But in most cases, the women who never seem to diet but maintain a stable weight are the ones who have mastered a few simple secrets when it comes to their weight and how it impacts their overall health.

Hydration is Critical

Drinking a lot of water is very important to staying hydrated and giving all of the parts of your body the ability to function efficiently. And despite all of the creative marketing material for sports drinks and zero calorie drinks, there really is no substitute for water when it comes to hydration. Unfortunately, many ladies consume a great number of calories in their drinks and are still not getting enough water to remain hydrated. Experts point out that if you feel the thirst sensation, then your body is already in the early stages of dehydration. Keeping a water bottle handy or a pitcher of water to help remind you to consume the original zero calorie drink. In addition to hydration, the water will help you to feel more full and reduce your calorie intake from food.

Keep Special Occasions Special

When you see slim ladies enjoying a desert after dinner you are probably witnessing the exception and not the norm. Ladies who only indulge in a treat on occasion are much better at managing their weight. Making everyday a special occasion is simply an excuse to over indulge. In addition to helping with health goals, consuming treats sparingly actually increases your enjoyment of the reward. The law of diminishing returns applies to desert as well as finances. Anything that you do or eat regularly becomes a part of your routine and is then less enjoyable. Keep special deserts or calorie laden lattes for special occasions and you will enjoy them more and truly feel rewarded and indulgent.

There are No Bad Dogs or Bad Foods

Food is not a person and it doesn’t have a personality or desire to cause you harm. Yes, some foods have more calories just like some dogs have more energy and are more excitable. But the choice of how to handle each of these potentially “bad” things is solely up to you. All food is best consumed in moderation. There is no one perfect superfood that you should consume in mass quantities to guarantee good health and fitness. Managing your calorie and fat intake is more about the total number at the end of the day and not each tiny item. But when you do indulge in a high calorie item realize that you need to account for those calories for the rest of the day. So a tiny bite could leave you very hungry later in the day after consuming your regular calorie intake.

Be Realistic

For most of the world, managing calories and your activity level are going to have a huge impact on your weight. So accepting what your metabolism is and learning to manage it is the toughest part of the battle. Lots of water and moderation are the two best kept secrets in the “diet” world.

 

 

Tips for Women to Achieve Complete Fitness

Most women will agree that society places a great deal of importance on how women look and how much they weigh. There always seems to be pressure to drop a few pounds and hopefully a dress size, no matter how it makes you feel from a health perspective. Tiny is viewed as superior, better or more desirable. But the fact is that women need to focus on achieving complete fitness to find better health and happiness and not try to derive their happiness and strong self-image from a number associated with their dress size.

Make a Plan and Set Goals

Life is busy and without a plan and steps to follow, it is nearly impossible to reach any goal. Setting goals for your health and exercise is the most certain way to make sure that you set aside time for these important parts of your life. Plan your exercise, plan trips to the market to buy healthy foods and plan time to prepare and enjoy the healthy meals you are making. These are all investments in your health and yourself. Just as you set goals at the gym for increased weight or longer workouts on the treadmill, set goals for cooking more healthy meals or trying new healthy recipes. It won’t all happen overnight but small steps will get you to all of your goals.

Don’t Be Afraid to Build Muscle

We all know that muscle is heavy. But building muscle is not a bad thing even though it might slow down your actual weight loss. Muscle needs to be maintained and this happens by burning the calories that you consume. So by building more muscle you actually are going to be burning more calories simply for maintenance purposes. And this doesn’t mean that you will need to have bulky weightlifter looking muscle. Long lean muscle burns calories just the same and is more slimming and sculpted than the fat that you are burning to build it.

Don’t Forget Water

As you work out and sweat your body is losing fluids, minerals and nutrients. It is critical to replace all of these with enhanced water, coconut water or other sports drinks with electrolytes. Water also helps to flush out the acids that are created when you are working muscles. Without enough water they build up in muscle and lead to the aching and stiffness you feel a day or two after exercising. A good rule for staying properly hydrated is to divide your weight by two. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you should be consuming daily. So a 150 pound person needs 75 ounces of water each day.

Complete Fitness = Better Health and Happiness

Women’s health is about more than a dress size or meeting unrealistic standards set by society. Achieving complete health is a complex process which incorporates a better diet, more exercise and a healthy mindset about your body. Finding your optimal weight and level of fitness for your body and age will help you feel your best, enjoy your life and have a positive outlook on your entire life.

The Top 5 Exercises to Relieve Anxiety-Related Issues

Anxiety disorders are becoming more and more common, possibly because more people are starting to recognize the signs of anxiety that go far beyond normal worry and agitation to indicate a full-blown medical condition. Doctors have plenty of treatments for stress-busting, including medications and therapies, but many medical professionals will tell you one of the best things you can do to beat anxiety-related symptoms is to exercise.

Don’t Worry; We Know.

Exercising can feel almost impossible when you’re paralyzed by intense anxiety and the serious problems that can occur with disorders like PTSD, GAD, and others. But physical activity is one of the best ways you can treat the mildest to the most intense symptoms of your disorder, and even a little bit of movement can be helpful. So bring on the exercises!

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  1. Yoga

Doing yoga is great for anxiety-related issues, simply because it asks the individual to slow everything down and focus on their breathing. No matter what pose you’re in and no matter how intense your practice is, the breathing should always come first. Even if your anxiety isn’t letting you get out of bed, you can practice yoga in its simplest form by closing your eyes, slowing your breathing down, and taking deep, calming breaths.

  1. Dancing

Dance classes like Zumba can actually be great to help relieve anxiety and to make you feel comfortable and healthy at the same time. Other types of dance classes—like salsa, belly dancing, and hiphop—are also great ways to get loose and exercise. If you don’t feel ready to dance with others, just put on one of your favorite jams in your bedroom and bop along to the music.

  1. Hiking

Hiking is a great alternative to an actual exercise class, plus it gets you out in the fresh air. Walking in places with lots of trees and flora will also lower the hormones in your body that produce the feeling of stress. Though it may seem like a cliché, there’s a reason why getting back to nature can help bust the cobwebs and help you find a calmer headspace.]

  1. Running

If you can get your body up to it, running is one of the best ways to bust calories, boost your mood, and generally improve your overall health. It can also be meditative for your brain, as it causes you to repeat the motion of putting one foot in front of the other to a rhythm. It can be hard sometimes for those struggling with mental disorders to engage in such a vigorous activity, though, so you can always start out walking. As long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other, you’re helping yourself.

  1. Cleaning

This is a low-key exercise you can take on that will also help you improve your living space, which in turn, will benefit your mental state. In some ways, cleaning is the ultimate exercise for anxiety! If you feel you’ll have trouble focusing, give yourself a specific task like “vacuum the carpets” instead of a broad one like “clean the house.”

3 Best Family Tips for Healthy Eating Habits

It has been said repeatedly that in order to form good eating and exercise habits that will a lifetime, good practices and techniques must be taught and learned at home. Use the following three strategies to help your family get more active and start choosing great-tasting, nutritious food instead of unhealthy, empty foods.

Bad Foods Shouldn’t Be Available

If you have the cupboards and fridge filled with unhealthy, bad foods then you and your family are much more likely to indulge in them versus ignoring the tasty temptations to eat a healthy snack instead. In order to get off the bad food cycle for the entire family at once, you have start at home. Pull out the paper bags and fill them up with the junk food to either toss out or give away.

If you are going to have unhealthy foods in the house, then make sure they are just for special occasions or on a moderate basis (such as weekly). This will go towards preventing old habits from creeping their way back into your lives. Stock the fridge and shelves with healthy, nutritious choices that your family actually likes and will eat. Reduced-fat dairy, lean proteins, fresh fruits, raw vegetables, oatmeal, and natural smoothies are all great choices to please your family’s taste buds.

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Put New Spins on Family Favorites & Eat Dinner as a Family

The best way to get your kids to explore their taste buds and try new foods is to eat dinner as a family. Put new spins on the foods your family loves that aren’t so healthy. For instance, bake French fries instead of frying or introduce baked sweet potato fries to the table. Use ground turkey for taco night. Get reduced-fat mozzarella cheese and pita bread for pizza night. Bake chicken fingers at home instead of buying the same ‘ole processed or fried chicken nuggets. When in the grocery store, have everyone pick out their favorite fruits and veggies they can’t wait to eat. Get the kids involved, and have them help make and cook the foods they are going to eat for dinner. The fun and pride of cooking makes them extremely excited and motivated to want to taste the foods they just helped to create.

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Cut Down & Control Snacking

Kids and adults alike find themselves snacking through the day and then not eating a proper meal when it is time to sit down for lunch and dinner. Being less hungry also leads to kids being less willing to taste new foods, get proper nutrition and eat their vegetables. Set guidelines for snacking in your home and try to stick to a consistent schedule for meals to ensure better habits. Space all meals and snacks at least two hours apart. Don’t eat more than 2-3 snacks a day. Control portion sizes for everyone in the family and make sure most all snacks are no more than about 150 calories each. Air-popped popcorn, apple slices and peanut butter, healthy homemade trail mix, and low-fat organic Greek yogurt with fruit are all great options for snack time at home or on the go that will satisfy everyone’s sweet and salty cravings in a healthy way! For a frozen and healthy treat your family will love, pour your yogurt blends and fruit into Popsicle molds and put in the freezer.

Now is the time to get your family on the right track when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. While more and more people are screaming for healthier options, we still live in a culture obsessed with convenient and processed fake food options to satisfy our hunger pangs and sweet tooth. Explore how delicious real food can be right now and have the kids help to layout a menu of healthy meals they want to cook and eat for lunches and dinners. Don’t be surprised when the kids grow accustomed to the new routine before you do as they are much more likely to get on board if they are involved in the process and decisions along the way. Come up with activities and outings that focus on the family moving and having fun together rather than only having family time with everyone plopped on a couch or in a theater seat. Your family will reap the rewards and benefits of a healthy lifestyle starting at home faster than you can ever imagine once you get started.

Why Many Doctors Recommend Ultrasound in Addition to Mammography

Mammograms are key to the early detection of breast cancer. They have saved countless lives over the past decades since the inception of mammography. These days there’s lots of talk about adding an ultrasound to a mammogram for the best means of detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages. Some women are confused by this and wonder if they should ask their doctor to add an ultrasound, too.

According to a recent report from BreastCancer.org, it’s important that women talk with their doctors about the density of their breasts. Previous mammograms will determine breast density, and will categorize it into one of four definitions: mostly fatty, scattered areas of density, consistently dense or extremely dense. You may need your doctor to request this information, however. As of 2015, only 24 states had passed the legislation that requires women be notified of their breast density along with their mammography results.

The report goes on to explain that breasts with less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue are deemed dense. Forty-three percent of women in the United States between the ages of 40 and 74 have dense breasts. The report recommends women who fall into the consistently or extremely dense categories talk with their doctors about adding an ultrasound or—in places where it’s available—the 3-D mammogram—to their yearly screenings.

So why is there so much concern over dense breasts? Research has shown that women (and men) with dense breasts are up to six times more likely to develop breast cancer. In addition, breast density makes it harder to find breast cancer in mammography because it appears white on the mammogram—just like breast density.

A study that began back in 2012 included more than 3200 women who had been classified as having dense breasts. Previous mammograms showed no cancer. Additional screening, using both ultrasound and 3-D mammography detected 24 cases of breast cancer among these women. Twelve cases were detected via the combination of ultrasound and 3-D mammography. One was detected by a 3-D mammogram. Eleven were detected by ultrasound alone. False positives—which occur in every study—were deemed “acceptably low.”

Given this important information, women of mammogram age, or those with a history of breast cancer in their families, must learn whether or not they have dense breasts. Their next step is to talk to their doctors about adding either ultrasound or 3-D mammography to their routine tests.

Unfortunately, insurance companies often balk at paying for the additional testing. In many cases, however, they will approve an ultrasound or 3-D mammogram if the initial mammogram shows an area of concern. This isn’t acceptable for women with dense breasts. Those areas that show up for women with fatty or non-dense breast tissue stand a great chance that breast cancer will be easy to see on their regular mammograms. Not so for those women with dense breasts.

It’s still well worth the conversation with a doctor. It’s also worth a conversation with legislators. The best thing women can do, though, is to determine breast density and be prepared to advocate for themselves every step of the way.

 

 

All About Mammograms

Women often shrug off having mammograms done despite being reminded every October during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Studies have actually shown that more than half of women who should have the yearly screening done, women age 40 and above, do not follow through with it. This statistic is surprising when another study shows that four out of five women agree that mammogram screening is important for women’s health.

Why are mammograms so important for a women’s health? What can they detect? Simply put, mammograms save lives. They can detect breast cancer when it is in the early more treatable stages, before a woman even has any symptoms or a lump can be felt. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram. A screening mammogram takes two or more x-ray pictures of each breast. These images can detect tiny deposits of calcium that can sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer or they can pick up small tumors that cannot be felt with the hand when doing self-examination.

Another type of mammogram is called a diagnostic mammogram. These specific mammograms are performed after a lump is found or any other symptom of breast cancer is experienced. These symptoms may include nipple discharge, breast pain, change in size or shape of the breast, or an inverted nipple among other things. A diagnostic mammogram can also be used in special situations where obtaining a screening mammogram is difficult, such as with women who have breast implants.

Are there potential harms associated with mammograms? Yes there are, and they include but are not limited to: false-positives, false-negative results, radiation exposure, and unfortunately not reducing a woman’s chance of dying by early detection.

False-positives results happen when abnormality is seen by a radiologist but there is no cancer present.  This happens more often with women who have denser breasts or younger women. This leads to unnecessary stress and anxiety. False-negative results occur when no abnormality is found. This happens in 20% of screening mammograms. The result of this leads to a false sense of security in women and a delay in treatment. As with false-positive results, this tends to happen with younger women and with women who have denser breasts. Abnormalities can easily be missed because of the dense tissue that is found in younger women.

While the risk of harm from radiation exposure is low, the risk is there after having x-rays done repeatedly. While mammograms can detect breast cancer before a tumor is felt, it does not always mean proper treatment will stop an aggressive form of cancer from spreading to other parts of the body quickly. This is usually undetected and a woman’s chance of death has not changed due to early intervention.

The top reasons women state they do not receive a yearly mammogram is the high cost and lack of health insurance. A woman’s health is vital to living a normal life, so always find a way to have your mammogram done every year. It could save your life.

5 Ways Women Can Improve Their Mood During PMS

PMS—or Premenstrual syndrome—affects as many as three out of four menstruating women. The symptoms most of these women experience include breast tenderness and swelling, food cravings, extreme fatigue, irritability, depression and serious mood swings.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of PMS is unknown, however there are three factors at play that likely cause women to experience these symptoms. The first—cyclic changes in their hormones—disappears during pregnancy and menopause, meaning it probably contributes strongly to PMS. Fluctuations in brain chemicals like serotonin might also be to blame. And finally, many researchers believe that some women who experience PMS symptoms actually have undiagnosed depression. It’s likely that some women exhibit all three of these causes. This means their symptoms are of greater severity.

Probably the most frequently discussed symptom of PMS—by the women suffering from it, as well as those who live with them—is the mood swings. Some women lash out at others. They rant and rave and even curse at the people they love. Others withdraw from their loved ones. They cry a lot and don’t want to engage with others. They often neglect some of their work and household duties. The children of women who suffer greatly from PMS symptoms can have lasting emotional scars.

There are some things women can do to improve their moods during bouts of PMS. Many of them, such as the following five, are natural.

  1. Acupuncture: Studies show that veering away from some Western practices is key when trying to treat mood swings during PMS. Acupuncture is an Eastern practice that has been very beneficial to sufferers. It is believed that the practice increases circulation and elevates endorphins. Treatment once per month, one week before your period is due, is recommended.
  2. Herbs: Herbs including chaste berry, evening primrose and valerian root have alleviated some of the mood swings caused by PMS in countless women. Evening primrose is believed to stimulate the endocrine system. Evening primrose can alleviate anxiety. And valerian root serves as a muscle relaxer.
  3. Exercise: Exercising before and during your period releases endorphins and triggers dopamine. The combination of the two curbs depression and anxiety and eases pain.
  4. All-natural diuretics: As another glance toward Eastern medicine, all-natural diuretics have been known to curb bloating and that in itself has improved the moods of many women who tried it. Don’t rely on coffee as your natural diuretic, however, as it will also increase anxiety and thus not help your mood. So what are some natural diuretics? You’ve probably got some in your kitchen right now. Try tomatoes, celery, bananas, citrus fruits, watercress and fennel. Simply snack on small portions of these foods throughout the day.
  5. Meditation: Women who meditate before and during their periods have fewer mood swings than those who don’t. The emotional changes that occur when meditating on positive, loving and trusting feelings result in more positive feelings during PMS.

Try one or more of these five ways of improving your mood during PMS. Start a week before your next period and continue during as well. See if you don’t notice some significant mood improvement as a result.

7 Great Exercises for Women Over 60

You can—and should—always make an effort to stay fit no matter what your age is. While there are plenty of workout routines and videos you can find that will highlight the best exercises you can do after 60, there are plenty of options you can utilize on your own to stay fit and rejuvenated no matter where you are in your life.

  1. Swimming

Swimming is always a perfect option for keeping in shape, especially for women. It’s a wonderful aerobic exercise that asks you to move and engage every part of your body, and it is also very safe physically if you haven’t been exercising much before now.

  1. Walking

Walking is a great aerobic exercise you can also start with if you haven’t been too fit before. You can start by just walking for 30 minutes a day, whether it’s through your neighborhood or at the gym. Remember, though, there’s no need to push yourself too hard, so don’t worry about breaking into a run unless you really feel like it.

  1. Strength Training

It’s incredibly helpful to do some strength training at this point in your life, especially because, as you age, you will continue to lose muscle mass and toning. Again, start out slow by lifting small dumbbells or using ankle weights. You can do leg or arm lifts with these in order to give your muscles some toning.

  1. Yoga

Yoga is helpful at pretty much any stage of life for women. Pregnant women are encouraged to try yoga, as are children and adults. You can find a class that is especially designed for women over 60 or start doing yoga at home with a video. Remember that yoga is about building flexibility and learning to be comfortable in your own skin, so there is no need to tug or pull in order to get yourself into the positions.

  1. Joint Stretches

One of the problems you may begin experiencing soon is stiffness in the joints that will make it more difficult to perform everyday tasks. Just making small arm circles or rolling your shoulders can help you avoid this issue and make for a minimal, low-impact exercise.

  1. Rowing

A rowing machine is a great exercise tool that can get your arms and legs moving in a safe environment. Many individuals utilize this type of exercise after the age of fifty, most notably Kevin Spacey’s television character Frank Underwood from House of Cards.

  1. Anything Aerobic

Aerobic exercises can be a great way to get your heart rate up and get you moving. Anything you feel comfortable with that qualifies as an aerobic exercise—like biking, stepping, and even dancing—can be a healthy and beneficial addition to your workout.

Remember…

When you decide to take on a new workout routine, it is always best (no matter what age you’re at) to talk to your doctor about it first. This will help you ensure you are exercising safely and effectively.

5 of the Healthiest Exercises to Practice During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, it’s important to stay fit and to keep yourself in a healthy state both mentally and physically. Daily exercises can help with this, but because of your current condition, you’ll want to make sure you’re exercising in a way that is healthy for your body and your baby. Here are 5 of the healthiest pregnancy-related exercises.

  1. Swimming

Swimming is one of the best exercises to practice while pregnant. Most health experts agree that this is the safest and most beneficial option at nearly every interval in a pregnancy, as it engages the muscles of the legs and arms, minimizes issues with swelling, and works the same as any other cardio exercise. What’s more, it will allow you to feel weightless, which is soothing and enjoyable especially during the later stages of pregnancy.

  1. Walking

Taking a calm, brisk walk is a good option for those exercising while pregnant. It gets the heart rate up and provides the benefits of cardio while not placing you in a position where you have to run or push yourself too hard. Make sure to get a good pair of sneakers that fit you and won’t cause your feet to hurt when you walk.

  1. Dancing

Dancing is another great option, one that can make you feel cute and sassy as well as happy. Any time your mood is down, dancing is a great way to exercise and get it back up again, especially when you put on some of your favorite jams. You can also take a beginner’s dance class if you want to get out and meet more people. However, it is important to avoid dances that call for any potentially dangerous moves like jumps, leaps, and spins.

  1. Yoga

Many pregnant individuals choose yoga as their go-to exercise. There are a large number of classes and videos created with specific yoga routines designed for those at different points in their pregnancies, so the sky is really the limit when it comes to this option. Make sure you don’t push yourself to get into the positions and remember that the whole point of yoga is to become more flexible, more open, and more relaxed, as well as more comfortable in your own skin.

  1. Weight Training

Weight training is another great option for pregnant exercise, as long as you make sure you have good form and that you move slowly. Start out with small weights that you can handle, and then you can start to build yourself up to a larger amount. Remember, though, you never want to take on more than is safe. Aim for being comfortable lifting the weight of a baby, which you’ll certainly be doing a lot of soon!

There are plenty of exercises that are safe to do during pregnancy, and as long as you talk with your doctor beforehand and make sure you are taking care of yourself and your little one, you should be fine.

Why It’s Healthy for Women to Own Pets

Owning a pet is a healthy choice for you and for your furry friend. Whether you’re a single gal or you’ve got a partner and a family, whether you work late nights or you like to cuddle up at home, having a pet has a number of great health benefits that could really make a difference in your life.

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Decreasing Stress

Having a loving pet to come home to every night will actually provide you with less stress in your life, even though it seems at first that it would cause you more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can actually decrease your blood pressure just by being near you. Pet owners are also less likely to react intensely to stressful situations if their pets are nearby (similarly to parents with children). And of course, just petting a dog or a cat has been scientifically proven to reduce stress.

Reduces Pain

People who have pets experience less pain because they experience less anxiety and stress. It’s true; those with chronic pain issues such as arthritis or a history of migraines are often told to get a pet because of these benefits. In addition, having a pet nearby to cuddle when you’re experiencing cramps can also help.

Boosts Moods

According to Mental Health America, approximately 12 million US women experience clinical depression every year. Depression, as well as other mood disorders, is an issue that disproportionately affects women, and at least 1 in 8 women will experience some sort of clinical depression in her lifetime.

Having a pet obviously cannot cure depression or other mood disorders, but it can help women cope with them. Those who have pets often report feeling less lonely than those who don’t, and since having a pet reduces stress and anxiety, those who have them often feel fewer negative emotions from day to day. And when you come home to a pet who has missed you all day and shows you how much they love you, it’s hard to feel sad.

Aids in Child Development

Having a pet as part of a household can actually help children develop more easily and more quickly. Children learn to love their pets, build attachments, and relate better to others. Pets can also reduce children’s risk of allergies; those who are around pets more often as a baby are less likely to develop allergies later in childhood.

Providing a Much Needed Laugh

Have you ever just cracked up at something your pet did? If you haven’t, you probably don’t own one. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine, and having a pet surely provides plenty of chuckles, especially when you and your pet are able to build the kind of bond that lasts.

So no matter what kind of pet you choose—be it a dog, a cat, a turtle, a fish, or a ferret (if it’s legal in your state of course)—enjoy the benefits you’ll gain by bringing home your new best friend.

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