Women's Wellness Series: Protect Your Heart!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Feb 14, 2019 12:19:14 PM

Fact: One in four American women will die from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The good news? You can take action to improve your heart health. This American Heart Month, let's work together to learn about how we can protect our hearts. 

You can take small steps to improve your heart health every day. Here are 5 heart health tips for women to help you keep your ticker in tip top shape:

1. Eat a heart healthy diet. Choose low sodium and salt foods; limit foods that have trans fat, like pastries and fried food; and cut back on sugar. Read tips from the FDA to learn how to maintain a heart healthy diet.

 

asparagus-barbecue-cuisine-361184

 

2. Manage your health conditions. Take your medicines as directed and get your blood pressure and cholesterol tested regularly. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar level on a regular basis.

3. Get the facts about aspirin. Some people take aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke, but it is not right for everyone. Ask your doctor if you should use aspirin.

 

heart-attack-warning-signs

 

4. Know the signs of a heart attack in women, including:

  • Chest pain (heavy ache or pressure)
  • Pain in your upper body (arms, neck, jaw, back or upper stomach)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Unusual or unexplained tiredness
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
  • The signs of a heart attack can be different for women than they are for men.

5. Join a clinical trial. Clinical trials help healthcare professionals learn about how women of different ages, races and ethnic backgrounds respond to heart health treatments. Visit the FDA Office of Women’s Health Women in Clinical Trials web page to learn more about how you can participate in a clinical trial.

Visit the FDA Office of Women's Health's website to learn more about heart disease and what you can do to improve your heart health. This month and beyond, protect your heart by making good heart health decisions!

 

 

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Topics: women's health, group exercise classes for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, group fitness classes

Women's Wellness Series:  The Resolution Solution

Posted by Trinity Perkins on Jan 3, 2019 12:16:54 PM

New Year New You image

Nearly half of us are making New Year’s resolutions, but less than 10% of us will keep them through February. Whether it’s lack of motivation, lack of resources or loss of interest, many of us will start off strong but lose the spark, especially when it comes to our fitness goals. It’s time to map out a fresh strategy for 2019! Here are 5 tips to help you stick with your New Year Resolutions:

  1. Be specific – Rather than aiming to “exercise more,” map out the exact days and times you’ll be hitting the gym each week.

  2. Buddy up – Reaching goals is better with friends! ‘Planners’ should pair up with ‘doers’ and people who like to research everything before making a move should pair up with those who like to jump right in! You might work differently but you can help keep each other motivated and focused.  

  3. Break it down – If your goal is to “lose weight,” break it down into bite-sized action steps you can take right away. A smaller goal of “lose 1 lb a week” is easier to measure and track as you work toward your long-term goals.

  4. Be realistic – Reaching the resolution finish line is as much about the journey as it is about the result. Be realistic with your resolutions so you’re not miserable along the way. If cutting out sweets altogether is a no-go, commit to eating sweets once or twice a week instead.

  5. Celebrate small wins – Sometimes we focus so much on the big goals that we don’t see all the awesome milestones we reach along the way. Celebrate the small wins to keep you motivated to reach your long-term goals. Book a massage or treat yourself to a healthy meal. You deserve it!

Need help setting goals or getting started? Book an appointment with one of our certified personal trainers or with our nutrition coach today!
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Topics: women's health, goal setting, Women's Wellness, health tips, fitness tips, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, new year's resoltuions

4 Easy Steps to Sticking to a Morning Fitness Routine

Posted by Stephanie Khan on Apr 3, 2018 12:31:32 PM

Lets face it, some days we have every intention of working out, but life somehow gets in the way. Between work deadlines, family obligations, and sick kids even the most dedicated exercisers  can get derailed. One way around this is to workout first thing in the morning. Sounds good, but getting out of a warm and cozy bed to exercise is hard! Follow these four steps to get yourself up and moving in the morning.

easy morning workout for women

unsplash-logoPhoto by:Christopher Campbell

 

START SLOWLY: Figure out how much time you will need for your workout and begin to gradually adjust your sleep schedule. Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier and waking 15 minutes earlier. Use that extra time in the morning to do a quick yoga or stretching routine, or any other short workout. This will help you get into the habit of doing something good for your body every morning. Continue gradually adjusting your sleep schedule by 15 minutes each week until you have enough time for your full workout.


SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS: Create an environment that is conducive to exercise. Start by packing your gym bag or setting out all of your workout gear the night before and placing them by the door so you are ready to go.  If you are having a hard time resisting the snooze button put your alarm clock across the room or set multiple alarms. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to get out the door in the morning! It also helps to have a plan B in place just in case. For example, if you are planning to head out for a run but wake up to a thunderstorm, try an indoor tabata or strength workout.


GIVE YOURSELF AN OUT: Sometimes we wake up and just don’t feel like getting out of bed to exercise! When lack of motivation strikes, promise yourself you can stop after 10 minutes if you are still feeling exhausted. Chances are that once you get up and moving you will want to keep going. Even if you decide to stop, at least you have done something for 10 minutes. Even 10 minutes of exercise is better than zero!


ENLIST HELP: An early morning workout buddy can work wonders in helping you stick to a morning workout routine. We are more likely to show up if we know we have someone waiting for us! If you can’t find a friend who is willing to wake up and workout, Try signing up for a class, hiring a trainer, or posting your intentions to social media. All of these thing can help create accountability and help you to stick to your plan.

 

Article Submitted by: 

Stephanie Khan, Director of Group Exercise and Personal Training at The Women's Club

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Topics: group exercise classes for women, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, personal training, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, Strength training for women

500 Foods Contain the Yoga Mat Compound?!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Mar 10, 2014 10:56:00 AM
    bakery-bread-breakfast-166021-944158-edited
Photo by hermaion from Pexels

Going, going, gone!

You won't find azodicarbonamide (the yoga mat compound) in Nature's Own products. And Subway is phasing it out, too. But lots of manufacturers are still using the additive.

That compound found in commercially baked bread — yep, the one that's in yoga mats, too — is in the news again.

report from the Environmental Working Group finds that the compound, azodicarbonamide, is found in close to 500 food products, from Pillsbury Dinner Rolls to Little Debbie products to Wonder Bread.

As you may recall, the sandwich chain Subway got a lot of attention a few weeks back when it announced its plans to remove the yoga mat compound — which is used to improve dough and maintain bread texture — from its bread.

And as we reported, the kerfuffle came in response to an online petition posted by the creator of the Food Babe blog. The online petition pointed to a range of possible health concerns linked to the compound — everything from asthma to cancer.

But what is the evidence behind these claims?

Let's start with asthma and other respiratory issues. The concerns about breathing problems stem from factory workers who have been exposed to high levels of azodicarbonamide. But it turns out, outside of this occupational exposure, there's no evidence that there's any risk at all to consumers.

It's good to "remind yourself to be more skeptical," says Justin Pagano, who has written that he'd like to see more scientific inquiry and reasoning used in thesewhat's-really-in-your-food campaigns.

He says there's a "generational zeitgeist" among his fellow millennials to "take back food" from the control of large companies and demand transparency.

And he agrees that it is important to be asking questions about how the food we eat may influence our health. Even if the questions are tough to answer.

Take, for instance, the tricky business of interpreting toxicity. John Coupland, a food science professor at Penn State, has blogged about the complexities involved.

He explains that small amounts of two compounds, semicarbazide and urethane, are formed as azodicarbonamide breaks down during the baking process. And it's possible that these compounds may pose a risk.

"The real question is whether these tiny concentrations in bread are toxicologically significant," Coupland writes.

Groups such as the Environmental Working Group argue that since it's not essential and it could pose health risks, the yoga mat compound should be removed from the food supply.

"This is an unnecessary chemical that's added to bread," says EWG scientist David Andrews. And there are viable alternatives, such as ascorbic acid, which is a form of vitamin C.

But the FDA considers small amounts of azodicarbonamide to be safe. The agency long ago set an allowable level of 45 parts per million in dough.

And food scientist Kantha Shelke of Corvus Blue, who works as an independent consultant to the food industry, says this is reasonable. After all, it's the dose that makes the poison. And "45 parts per million is very, very, very small," she says.

But in an era when social media can whip up a frenzy of concern, food companies are becoming quick to respond to get ahead of bad publicity — regardless of the science.

"No [food company or chain] wants to be associated with anything that can be remotely considered harmful," Shelke says.

Which may explain why, in the wake of Subway's announcement, several more manufacturers have also decided to drop azodicarbonamide from their products.

For instance, bread maker Nature's Own noted that it has already phased out the compound from its bread products.

And intuitively, it just feels better to know that a compound used to make yoga mats is being removed from breads.

But maybe I'm just being closed-minded here.

For a different perspective, I reached out to bakery industry consultant Theresa Cogswell. She pointed out that "there are many things used in industrial uses" that cross over into food use as well.

"And the assumption that it's bad for you," she says, is just not accurate.

Take, for instance, sheet rock, or gypsum. It contains calcium sulfate, which is also used as a food additive. In fact, it's used to make tofu.

Hmmm. A vegan favorite contains the same compound that's used to make drywall. Who knew?

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on the NPR health and fitness blog: The Salt
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Topics: nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, healthy eating for women, nutrition

What You Don't Know About Your Shades Could Hurt You

Posted by Angie Quehl on Oct 30, 2013 5:08:00 PM

As we roll into fall, the last thing on your mind might be wearing your sunglasses. Even when the sun's strength fades as far as the air temperature is concerned, you still need to protect you eyes from the harmful effects of it's rays. 

Any health savvy person knows by now that one of the best ways to protect your body from harmful UV rays is to slather on the SPF -- but you might be forgetting one important part: your eyes.

"Obviously you can't put sunscreen on them," says Anne Sumers, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology who is in private practice in Ridgewood, New Jersey. "[Sunglasses are] the only way to protect your eyes."

Exposing your peepers to the sun could trigger a host of serious health problems, including painful sunburns and cataracts. What's worse, buying sunglasses can be a complicated, cryptic process (what do those labels mean, anyhow?). So we asked Sumers and William Brown, O.D., Ph.D., of the department of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic, to help us break down what's happening to the naked eye when it's exposed to the sun -- and exactly how to choose the right sunglasses to protect it.

 

2013 08 EyeSunglasses 3 resized 600

Infographic by Jan Diehm for the Huffington Post.

Both experts caution that wearing sunglasses is particularly important for kids, who still have a whole lifetime of UV exposure ahead of them. Plus, even more UV light reaches children's retinas compared to older people, according to Brown.

It's also important to note that this graphic looks at how the sun affects eye health, not indoor tanning booths -- these beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times of that of the sun. They're best avoided (for reasons beyond eye health), but if you're going to use them it's imperative to sport protective goggles (closing your eyes won't do the trick).

And no matter how good your eye protection, never look directly into the sun, especially during an eclipse. "It's much the same effect as taking a magnifying lens and focusing the sun onto a piece of paper," Brown says. "You can actually set the paper on fire."

Article by Laura Schoker, "What You Don't Know About Your Sunglasses May Hurt You," originally appeared in The Huffington Post

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Topics: Women's Wellness, health tips

Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Posted by Angie Quehl on Sep 20, 2013 3:28:00 PM

Mom On-the-Go = Mom In the Know

Emily Stone knows a ton about being a busy mom with lots of challenges to maintaining her fitness and wellness routine. Since so many of our readers find themselves in the same boat with plenty of things pulling them in all different directions, we have invited her to share some personal advice with you on how she keeps herself going throughout the day and how you can boost your metabolism. Enjoy!

 

Boosting Metabolism and Energy Throughout the Day

When I get to the afternoon, sometimes I want to get the license plate of the Mack truck that ran over me. Often it’s just burnout from the day. But when I’m struggling to get myself going from the morning onward, there are a few things I like to do that help me out. These tips boost my metabolism and energy so that I’m still kicking when school’s out.

Sleep

beautiful-beauty-bed-914910-658632-edited

Did you know that adults who get less than seven hours of sleep each night do not do as well on complex mental tasks? We need more sleep. But as a mom, it’s so hard for me to get a good night’s sleep. There’s the repeated begging for an extra story or song in the evening, and the 3 a.m. nightmare. I’ve had to prioritize my life around getting enough sleep. I usually get 9-10 hours from the time the last kid goes to bed and the first one waking up. I aim to spend 8-9 of that time sleeping, and 30-60 minutes getting ready. If I can’t get quality sleep, at least I can usually get quantity sleep. And I’ve found that the more I sleep, the more active I am and the more I can accomplish during the day.

Exercise

My metabolism is slower than a tortoise. My best defense against this is to exercise. The cool part is that it stretches me out and gives me a ton of energy, too. Sometimes I sneak in a run after walking the kids to school. Otherwise, I work out at home. I can wake up 10-15 minutes early and do some interval training for a high-powered workout in hardly any time at all.

Breakfast

cottage cheese

Skipping breakfast is a terrible idea. Better to make it quick and healthy. If I plan ahead, eating before I’m out the door can be pretty easy. And no, I’m not talking about donuts and pastries. If I have five minutes to sit and eat, cottage cheese is my go-to. I get a healthy amount of fat, decent calcium, and tons of protein. If I don’t have five minutes, I love smoothies and protein shakes. I find that protein is the best source of continued energy for me throughout the day. Instead of starting the day with a coffee, I actually start my day with a whey protein shake. I personally buy my protein from Beachbody, but you can find whey protein everywhere, even at the grocery store!

Natural Energy Boost

I also try to stay away from coffee in general—too much caffeine (particularly on an empty stomach) can make me feel crazy, so I try to take other routes. Most natural supplements that are touted as alternatives to caffeine actually have caffeine in them. If I’m looking to avoid caffeine or cut it down, I load up on B vitamins and amino acids like taurine, which are both known to boost energy and metabolism. I really love the liquid B complex from GNC, you just add a few drops to a bottle of water and you’ll feel continuous energy throughout the day!

Relax

Above all, I think it’s important to periodically pull myself off the canvas and look at what I can do to feel happier. This can be as simple as getting up from my desk for a few minutes to stretch and walk around every hour. l set up some music playlists on my computer and phone that I can listen to when I’m home cleaning, out running errands or working. This makes work and chores less exhausting.

learn to relax


In my busy day, I could get exhausted and overwhelmed easily. But when I try to get enough sleep and exercise, eat well and relax, I find that I end the day happier and excited for what’s to come.

 

Article written by: Emily Stone

Ms. Stone is a full-time mom, health freak, fitness enthusiast, and wannabe chef. She is the proud momma of two girls and a loving wife. Emily is in the process of starting up her own blog, but in the mean time you can follow her at @FitMommaEm.

 

 

 

 

The opinions and advice expressed by  Ms. Stone are not necessarily that of The Women's Club or it's agents.

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, healthy eating for women

What Every Woman Should Know About Hormonal Imbalance

Posted by Angie Quehl on Sep 12, 2013 10:08:00 AM

Can You Really Achieve 'Hormonal Harmony'?

Hormonal transitions occur throughout a woman’s life. The two most dominant are puberty and Menopause! But let’s give credit where credit us due: Perimenopause is no “walk in the park” either. Regardless of where you are in the Perimenopause /Menopause continuum, the normally occurring hormonal shifts can precipitate an onset of complex physical and emotional health challenges. 

Currently, there are nearly 50 million post menopausal women in the US. Are you one of them?  If so, take heart. You’re in good company and probably well-versed on the symptoms most commonly experienced by your peers. However, in some ways every woman’s menopausal transition experience (this includes perimenopause) is unique. So, how is it possible for women of all ages to achieve Hormonal Harmony

There is no “one size fits all approach” but, there are solutions for nearly every woman’s menopausal transition issues. The first step is to identify where you are in the menopausal transition continuum by answering the following questions.  

Has your menstrual cycle become irregular or have you missed your period for twelve months?Hormonal Harmony resized 600 Do you have hot flashes? Are you fatigued? Is your sleep interrupted? Do you have difficulty getting up in the morning? Do you have night sweats, vaginal dryness, breast enlargement or tenderness before your period? Have you experienced unexplained weight gain and muscle loss even with proper diet and exercise? Are you irritable? Do you have mood swings? Do you find it hard to concentrate? Have you experienced periods of forgetfulness? Have you lost interest in sex? Have you experienced hair loss, dry skin, and brittle nails? Do you crave sweet and salty foods? 

If you haven’t missed your period for twelve months, but have any of these symptoms, you may have entered the stage of perimenopause during which, the hormonal “ups and downs” and natural progression of hormonal decline gradually lead to postmenopause.  

Whether you are peri or postmenopausal, you may want to learn about or confirm your understanding of the following:

 

  • The most common hormonal imbalances and symptoms associated with each phase of the menopausal transition.
  • How a menopausal transition hormonal imbalance affects the thyroid and adrenal glands and often lead to age-related chronic diseases
  • How hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue can be misdiagnosed and symptoms can be mistaken for those associated with menopause
  • How underlying or under-diagnosed conditions can sabotage your menopausal treatments, physical fitness program and lead to weight loss resistance
  • What tests accurately diagnose underlying conditions 
  • How personalized wellness approaches  prevent or reverse unwanted symptoms and disorders caused by menopause-related hormonal imbalances 

Advances in Anti-aging medicine have made it possible for most women of all ages to overcome the challenges of a hormonal imbalance. Self empowerment encourages today’s woman to seek the answers she needs to improve her quality of life at any age. So, get the answers you’re looking for! Please join me on June 19th for an informative lecture on how you can experience “Hormonal Harmony” for life.  

 

Article submitted by: Dr. Eva Coleman of Harmony Medica, Reston VA

Dr. Eva ColemanDr. Eva Coleman is a Board Certified M.D. with more than two decades of experience in Internal Medicine; specializing in prevention and treatment of Diabetes, Cardiovascular and chronic systemic diseases. She has held affiliation with INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia and completed a fellowship with the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.  

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Topics: women's health, Women's Wellness

5 Myths about Cholesterol Busted

Posted by Angie Quehl on Aug 2, 2013 1:21:00 PM

The Good, The Bad, The Whaaaaat?!

Did you know that American people overall have the highest cholesterol in the world...Pretty sobering when you look at it that way isn't it? Most people know that high cholesterol is a dangerous problem but many are not sure of the why's and the how's or what the heck is a LDL or HDL and what all of those the numbers mean. In addition, there are a lot of myths out there about the causes, symptoms and prevention of high cholesterol.  The first step to fighting high cholesterol is to sift them and search out medical fact on both high and low cholesterol in order to make the best determination about what is good for you and subsequently good for your health!

cholesterol

Cholesterol Myth #1

You will experience high cholesterol symptoms if there's a problem.

Cholesterol Fact: Most people can't tell when their cholesterol is dangerously high.

About 20 percent of Americans have high cholesterol and don't know it. There are no real medical symptoms associated with high cholesterol. In fact, most won't find out their high cholesterol status until after they suffer a medical event like a heart attack or stroke.

If you would prefer to find out whether or not you have high cholesterol before such an event, you should begin having your high-risk cholesterol checked in your 20s and then once every five years. Your risk for high cholesterol rises with age, so men over the age of 45 and women who are 55 and over should be tested more often. Those who struggle with high cholesterol or have numbers close to the danger line should be tested more often, as well.

Cholesterol Myth #2

A prescription is the only way to lower dangerously high cholesterol.

Cholesterol Fact: Medication is one way to lower cholesterol, but you can do it without a high cholesterol prescription through dietary changes and exercise.

cholesterol medication

It is in fact recommended-as long as your cholesterol numbers are not too high-that you start fighting the dangers of high cholesterol issue by making changes to your diet and beginning to exercise regularly. If your cholesterol numbers are borderline, you may be able to avoid medication altogether. If your high cholesterol is already in a danger zone, then you may be able to stop taking your high cholesterol medication after some months of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Here a few goals that diet and exercise can help you attain:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise, even if gently, for about 30 minutes a day 5 to 6 days per week
  • Cut out trans fat from your diet (hydrogenated oil)
  • Reduce your saturated fats to under 7 percent of your calories
  • Reduce your cholesterol intake to 200 mg per day or less
  • Increase your soluble fiber intake to at least 10 gram per day
  • Increase your fish intake or take omega-3 supplements each day

Cholesterol Myth #3

All cholesterol is bad cholesterol.

Cholesterol Fact: There are different kinds of cholesterol and some are not only not bad for you, but necessary for your body to function properly.

There are three different kinds of cholesterol: high density lipoproteins (HDL), low density lipoproteins (LDL), and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). HDL is good because it serves the purpose of helping your body transport waste to the liver, maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, clear extra cholesterol from the bloodstream where it otherwise would collect and block your arteries.

LDL are also responsible for carrying cholesterol from the liver to where it needs to go in the body, but it is much lighter and breaks more easily. This means that they hover in the bloodstream, often attaching to the blood vessel itself, collecting and causing a blockage that often results in a heart attack. VLDLs are even lighter than LDLs and affect the cardiovascular and circulatory systems just as negatively.

Cholesterol Myth #4

High cholesterol is only a problem for men.

Cholesterol Fact: High cholesterol is a problem for both men and women.

Estrogen is a hormone that helps monitor and maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, so women who are experiencing a regular menstrual cycle are less likely candidates for high cholesterol than are men of the same age. However, after menopause when a woman's estrogen level plummets, her chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke due to high cholesterol significantly increase. It's important that women maintain low levels of cholesterol throughout their lives to prepare for the loss of estrogen later.

Cholesterol Myth #5

You should get your first cholesterol test after the age of 45.

Cholesterol Fact: You should start getting tested for high cholesterol in your 20s.

HDL - 60+ mg/dLGetting tested for high cholesterol is easy: a blood test done after fasting called a fasting lipid profile. You can have it done in conjunction with a batch of other blood tests to simply the process. The test will show your cholesterol levels in terms of HDL, LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol. If you have any questions about how to get a test or your test results, ask your doctor. In general, your goals should be:

  • LDL - 100 mg/dL or less
  • Triglycerides - 150 mg/dL or less
  • Total cholesterol - 200 mg/dL or less

Don't Know Your Numbers?

know your cholesterol numbers

If you live in Northern VA in the Chantilly area, you are in luck! We are hosting a women's wellness event on August 12 which is open to the public where cholesterol screenings will beoffered. Our screening will feature a simple "finger stick" test that will give you the results in minutes! If you are intereseted in learning where you are and what you can do to lower or even prevent high cholesterol in the future, get more details on our upcoming event.

 

 

Sources:
WebMD

About.com Cholesterol

Yahoo Health

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness

Alcohol and Weight Loss -- Does Drinking 'Really' Sabotage My Diet?

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jun 28, 2013 3:46:00 PM

To Drink or Not to Drink

So you are super pumped and committed to making some changes in your eating habits. Or perhaps you are trying to shed a few pounds to fit into that perfect outfit for a special occasion like a summer wedding or a class reunion. Buuuuuut you also still like to enjoy a drink two socially. What IS a girl to do?! What the heck is the realtionship between alcohol and weight loss and will drinking even a glass of wine socially affect your diet and weight loss plans? 

The Down Low

Alcohol does have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss, and rightfully so. But the consumption of alcohol in some form or another has been around since the cavemen, so imbibing is not likely to go away any time soon. The question then is if an occasional drink has a place in a healthy lifestyle. The answer...yes, but we should have a strategy about how to consume. 

alcohol and weight loss


First ThingsFirst

It is important to understand how alcohol affects your body. Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and fluids. With a normal diet, of carbs, fats, and protein your body gets the energy it needs. These foods are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system. This digestive process drastically changes when alcohol is consumed. The alcohol now gets immediate attention (because it is viewed by the body as a toxin) and needs no digestion.When the body is focused on processing alcohol, it is not able to properly break down the foods containing carbohydrates and fat. So what happens? These calories are converted into body fat and stored permanently on your body.

So I Should Save My Calories then Right?

WRONG. Skipping a meal or two because you know it will be a night out on the town or just knowing you will being drinking is a terrible idea for a few reasons. Since alcohol actually stimulates the appetite and then you go out on an empty stomach you are more likely to munch on those salty bar snacks (which makes you want to drink more), or more likely to overeat—especially greasy or fried foods—which can add to your waistline.

A Better Strategy-- Research shows drinking an alcoholic beverage before or during a meal reduces you inhibitions and willpower. Wait to order that drink until you're done with your meal! To avoid over-drinking, sip on a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage and, if you're planning on drinking later, eat a healthy meal first. You'll feel fuller, which will stop you from over-drinking. If you are worried about a looming night out with friends, include an extra 30 minutes of exercise to balance your calories—instead of skipping a meal.

Tip: To prevent post-drinking noshing you’ll regret the next day, prep some healthy, low cal options before you go out. If they’re ready to eat and right in front of you when you get home, you’ll be less likely to reach for chips or cookies. Good options include pre-popped popcorn, raw veggies with hummus, or cut fresh fruit.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Drinking before bed will keep you from having a deep, restful sleep, thus leaving you tired the next day which can trigger you to feel like you need to eat more. Alcohol can also increase the amount of acid your stomach produces giving you an inflamed stomach lining. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol has more calories by volume than both carbs and proteins and slightly lesscalories in alcohol resized 600 than fats. More importantly, these calories have no nutritional value. None! A 12 ounce beer is about 150 calories. How many calories in a glass of red wine? About 88. And if you reaching for a shot of liquor that number can range from 85 to 115 calories. And who usually has JUST ONE? It only adds empty calories to your diet. Why not spend your calorie budget on something healthier? 

"Dry" 

Another big reason not to mix alcohol and exercise is because alcohol is a diuretic. It causes water loss and dehydration. You also lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation.

Sip on This

So, to drink or not to drink? I say “In moderation." Limit your intake and take the occasional time off from drinking altogether to give your systems a much needed break. Also, consider swapping out some of those high cal choices like fruity mixed beverages (even as cute as the little umbrella is) with some of these lower calorie "fit chick" options.

goodchoices resized 600

What do you think?

How do you feel about alcohol? Does it tend to get in the way of your weight loss goals? Did any of this info surprise you? Please share your thoughts by dropping a comment in the box below or tweet them to us @Womensclub_va.

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, weight loss for women

5 Surprising Things You Don't Know About Sun Protection

Posted by Angie Quehl on May 14, 2013 3:21:00 PM

Fun in the Sun

Summer time is comin' and that means more hours of daylight and more time spent out in the sun. You slather on sunscreen and hope for the best, but are you doing right by your skin? Since burns, premature wrinkles, not to mention the big C -- skin cancer, are things that we all want to avoid, we’ve compiled a surprising list of items many people don’t know about sun protection. Read, and your skin will thank you.


1. Your washing machine can help protect your skin. The latest trend in sunscreen isn’t something you rub into your skin; rather, it’s something you throw in with the laundry. While clothing does provide a barrier between the sun’s harmful rays and your skin, many fabrics pack a pretty puny punch. Take clean-cleaning-funny-2371lightweight cotton, for instance. Don’t count on getting more than sun protection factor (SPF) 5 protection. However, a new product called SunGuard, endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation, can simply be added to your washing machine load along with detergent to add an extra level of sun protection to your clothes. After your favorite T-shirts and pants are washed and dried, the protective coating is said to block more than 96 percent of the sun’s rays from permeating the fabric. Best part? The product is very affordable. One package, just $1.99, gives a load of laundry sun protection for up to 20 washings. That’s an entire summer’s worth of tees!

2. Chocolate may protect your skin from the sun. No, don’t ditch your sunscreen in favor of a 

chocolates-close-up-cocoa-65882

chocolate bar, but researchers say there may be something to our favorite treat’s sun-protecting effects. According to a recent study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate may increase your own UV sun protection. The researchers suggest eating little bits of chocolate—preferably dark chocolate, with 70 percent cacao content or higher—throughout the day to increase your body’s natural sun protection. Hey, we’re not arguing with that!

3. Apply sunscreen everywhere—melanoma likes to crop up in strange places. “One of the most common places melanoma has been detected is between the toes, an area most women neglect,” says Brian Bonanni, MD, a dermatologist practicing at the New York City spa Gotham Skincare. “Sunscreen should be applied to scalp, ears, hands and feet.” And don’t forget your lips, too. “A physical sunblock with micronized zinc and titanium should also always be applied to the lips. There are now formulas of sunscreen for women that do not leave white residue on the lips, which women are more likely to use.”

juja-han-149998-unsplash-885962-editedPhoto by Juja Han on Unsplash

4. You should never leave your sunscreen in a hot car. We’ve all done it—left our sunscreen in a bag inside a car on a hot summer day. But this may weaken its potency, says Dr. Bank. Instead, treat sunscreen factsyour sunscreen like you would prescription medication and keep it away from extreme heat. “Most preservatives in sunscreens are designed and tested in a range of temperatures close to room temperature,” he explains. “If you leave it in a hot car, there is a reasonable chance that the preservative and active ingredients may to some degree degrade so it won’t be as effective.”


5. Sunscreen can’t protect one vital area of the body, so take extra precaution. The one place that’s visible to the sun’s pelting rays yet can’t be protected by sunscreen? That’s right—your eyes. According to reports, 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers appear on the eyelids. While you can apply sunscreen to your lids, it’s your eyes that sunglasses can really protect. The sun’s rays may play a role in eye degeneration and the development of cataracts. A pair of shades can go a long way in protecting your peepers. The American National Standards Institute requires that all shades (even the cheap drugstore varieties!) provide at least 95 percent UVB protection and 60 percent UVA protection. More about SPF, UVA and UVB

 

Article Source:  Blog post by Sarah Jio for Women's Day Magazine

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Topics: Women's Wellness, health tips, skin care for women

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