Monday, December 28, 2009

Exercise: Resolve not to make ridiculous fitness resolutions

Keeping goals attainable can up the chances of success at the gym

Going to the gym everyday is an unrealistic fitness goal for someone who has been sedentary, but stretching and going for a walk outside three times a week could be an attainable one that reinforces success. Going to the gym everyday is an unrealistic fitness goal for someone who has been sedentary, but stretching and going for a walk outside three times a week could be an attainable one that reinforces ...

New Year's resolutions: We make them, we break them, we make them again.

So it's no surprise that "Get Fit" tops many of the same lists year after year.

Fitness experts say if you're serious about shaping up this time, start by trading in your impossible dreams for some attainable goals.

"People will say, "I'm going to lose 30 pounds,' when 10 pounds would be more doable. They'll say, "I'm going to exercise every day,' when three times a week may be more likely," said Shawn Talbott, spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

The researcher and program developer, advises people to set realistic expectations.

"Compliance is the big sexy thing in fitness research: How do we get people to comply with their program?"

He suggests seeking out that sweet spot of balance between too much exercise and too little.

"Not so little that there are no benefits, and not so much that you can't do it."

And he says exercise loves company.

"I recommend making that resolution along with a buddy. Very good research shows that having someone you're accountable to can double, even almost triple, your effectiveness. Then stick to your plan," he said.

"Make gradual, graded workout goals, say twice a week for two months, then up your goal to three times a week for two months."

One ACSM study showed that motivation to be physically active was higher when sports - instead of just exercise - were involved.

"Competitive is good," he said. "You feel like you've got some skin in the game."

The history of New Year's resolutions dates back to ancient Rome and the mythical King Janus, from whose name January derives. He became a symbol for resolutions because he had two faces and could look simultaneously back on the past and look forward to the future.

Janus was also the guardian of entrances and doors.

Carol Espel, director of group fitness for the Equinox chain of health clubs, says every January resolution clients enter health clubs with high hopes and no plan.

"They might have the best intentions but not the right tools," she said. "People say, "I really want to start exercising but I don't know what to do.'"

She said it can be daunting.

"But if you've decided to take that New Years resolution seriously, and you're upset that it comes up year after year, commit to the resources you need," she said, "whether it's a day-to-day planner, group classes or a personal trainer to keep you in line."

Espel said even those without the will or the funds to join a club can achieve their fitness goals.

"Just get off the couch. When you come home from work, go out for a brisk walk," she said. "Studies document that three 10-minute bouts of exercise a day can be very practical."

Espel says it comes down to establishing a routine that you enjoy and sticking to it.

"A little soreness shows that you've done some pretty effective work," she said. "Well exercised muscles burn calories more effectively."

Then, of course, nothing succeeds like success.

"When people start to feel differently, when their clothes fit better or they have more energy," she said, "that's the most powerful motivating factor."

© Thomson Reuters 2009

Men's Health Eat This Not That: Worst Food in America 2009 | Worst Super Bowl Foods

Worst Salad in America 2009
On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef and Chipotle Honey Mustard
1,700 calories
124 g fat (37.5 g saturated)
2,620 mg sodium
The dismal dawn of the 1,700-calorie salad is upon us. With as much saturated fat as 37 strips of bacon and more calories than 11 Taco Bell Fresco beef Tacos, this abdomen expander earns a well-deserved spot on our list of the Worst Foods in America.

Eat This Instead!
House Salad with Fat-Free Mango Citrus Vinaigrette
255 calories
12 g fat (3.5 g saturated)
280 mg sodium

Trans-Fattiest Food in America 2009
Jack in the Box Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges
13 g trans fat
760 calories
52 g fat (16 g saturated)
960 mg sodium
It's no surprise this side dish is bursting with fat and calories-it's a plate of fried potatoes topped with bacon and melted cheese. To be fair, Bob Evans also offers 2 items with 13 grams of heart-hammering trans fat (Slow Roasted Chicken Pot Pie and the NSA Apple Pie)-but Jack's is so thoroughly swaddled in the junk that they truly have earned the bottom slot, and the troubling title of Trans-Fattiest Restaurant in America. The good news is that not all of Jack's items are filled with the bad stuff-a smarter appetizer or side dish would be the Grilled Chicken Pita Snack.

Eat This Instead!
Grilled Chicken Pita Snack
310 calories
13 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans)
640 mg sodium

Worst Burger in America 2009
Chili's Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
1,901 calories
138 g fat (47 g saturated)
4,201 mg sodium
Any burger whose name is 21 syllables long is bound to spell trouble for your waistline. This burger packs almost an entire day's wroth of calories and 2 ½ days' worth of fat. The Chili's burger menu rivals Ruby Tuesday's for the worst in America, so you're better off with one of their reasonable Fajita Pitas to silence your hunger.

Eat This, Instead!
Fajita Pita Beef
489 calories
21 g fat (4 g saturated)
1,543 mg sodium

Worst Frozen Coffee Drink at Starbucks
Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino® Blended Crème – whip (grande)
570 calories
15 g fat (9 g saturated fat)
83 g sugars

This afternoon pick-me-up is a clandestine delivery system for 30 teaspoons of sugar. To top this sugar load, you would have to munch through three sticky orders of cotton candy.

Drink This Instead!
Espresso Frappuccino® Light Blended Coffee
110 calories
0.5 g fat
13 g sugars

The Worst Super Bowl Foods
Don’t become a buffet linebacker from overeating on Super Bowl Sunday

Worst Frozen Appetizer
Worst Frozen Pizza
Worst Popcorn
Worst Party Mix
Worst Chip Dip
Worst Potato Chips
Worst Super Bowl Light Beer
Worst Super Bowl Dessert
Worst Cheesy Bread
Worst Breadstick Dip
Worst BreadsticksWorst SubWorst PastaWorst WingsWorst Delivery Pizza

Super Bowl Sunday may not be an official holiday, but gathering with your buds to watch 22 burly dudes chasing pigskin is as much an American ritual as lighting the tree or carving the turkey. And like most holidays in this country, the sporting event's also one of the worst waist-offenders.

According to the Calorie Control Council and the Snack Food Association, Americans eat 30 million pounds of snacks on Super Bowl Sunday. That's 11.2 million potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, 4.3 million pounds of pretzels, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn, and 2.5 million pounds of nuts. And this doesn't include the grub that's prepared at home or ordered in!

Stick to your 2009 fitness or weight loss goals by avoiding caloric blindside tackles and making the chow-down craze work for you.

Exercise-induced urinary incontinence (leaking urine while running)

Run Oregon - -

Ladies, this post is for you.
30%-40% of women are bothered by exercise-induced urinary incontinence.
A topic that I have long wanted to write about is exercise-induced urinary incontinence, aka, leaking urine when you run. Why? Because it’s more common than you might think, and if even one runner gets treatment and enjoys running more because of this post, I will be happy. It's a health problem. No pee jokes or pelvis jokes - this is serious stuff.
Dr. Virginia Smith, an OBGYN with Kaiser Permanente, was kind enough to answer my questions about the condition for our blog. She explains that the term “stress urinary incontinence” is the medical term for urinary incontinence that occurs during physical stress, which includes not only running but even actions as common as sneezing. “Exercise-induced urinary incontinence” is simply a descriptive term for urinary incontinence that happens specifically when exercising.
First of all, you should know that 30%-40% of women have problems with urine leakage while exercising, to the point where it bothered them. That is a very high percentage, if you think about it. For example, in the 2009 Pints to Pasta race, there were 1,239 female finishers. If 30%-40% of those women had exercise-induced urinary incontinence, that would mean that somewhere between 371 and 496 women felt uncomfortable due to urine leakage. However, the number was probably not that high, because “The main problem [with exercise-induced urinary incontinence] is that is often limits women from doing activities that they would otherwise participate in, because of the worry and inconvenience that the incontinence causes.” So, there were probably many women who wanted to run a race, or even just run with friends, who didn’t because of exercise-induced urinary incontinence.

Aging and childbirth can increase the likelihood of exercise-induced urinary incontinence.
Second of all, you should know that there are treatments –things you can do yourself, as well as both surgical and non-surgical options that you can talk to you doctor about - for exercise-induced urinary incontinence. All women are encouraged to do Kegel exercises, which strengthen the female pelvic muscles. Women who are significantly overweight may find that losing weight will make a difference. Dr. Smith also warns against being “over hydrated,” which is something your doctor can help you determine:
“It is certainly important for athletes to be well hydrated, but it is not uncommon that incontinence is the result of being “over hydrated." Studies show that most women are “full” and need to empty their bladder when there is 8-12 oz of urine in their bladder, and a woman is adequately hydrated when she makes about 70 oz of urine in a 24-hour period. Obviously how much someone drinks in a day in order to make 70 oz of urine varies a lot with their level of activity, how hot it is, etc. But the point is if someone makes a lot more urine than this in 24 hours then they are over hydrated."

"This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that it is possible to urinate and empty the bladder and then have it be full again in a short period of time. Anyone who leaks with straining activities when their bladder is full (more than 8-12 oz) needs to drink less and void more; it is an excess fluid problem, not a bladder problem. When consulted about incontinence issues, we have a patient complete a 'voiding diary' which asks them to keep track for 24 hours about their fluid intake and output. It is a tedious chore, but often is very revealing and helpful to learn that they can improve their bladder function by making simple adjustments in fluid intake.”
Talking with your doctor is also important because, according to Dr. Smith, “There are women who leak only with prolonged exercise, or perhaps with persistent coughing with a bad cold. These individuals may be helped by using a support device to provide some additional support to their urethra during these occasional situations. Wearing a tampon, a diaphragm or an incontinence support device called a pessary that can be inserted when needed and then removed can be a big help.” She adds that exercise-induced urinary incontinence is more common as women age, and also more common in women who have given birth.
Kristin, a Portland-area runner since 1995, is a 41-year old mother of two children who recently talked to her doctor about her exercise-induced urinary incontinence. Kristin was willing to be interviewed as well, because "I think the more women that talk about it will help others wondering why they can't be more active."
Kristin recounts her experience: "I tried to start running a few years after my (now 16-year-old) daughter was born but had issues with leakage right away. I mentioned it to my mom and she said 'that is what happens' after having a child. I figured it was too soon to try running and talked myself out of it. I did the same thing again after my son was born, but again had problems and at that point was too embarrassed to discuss it with anyone including my husband. I decided in 2001 to learn how to cope with it. I should have bought stock in panty liner companies! That is when I started learning what I needed to do to deal with it."

For Kristin, exercise-induced urinary incontinence was at the forefront of her mind every day and during every run. "I had to stop any liquid intake at least eight hours before running and use the restroom at the very last minute before running. Even then if I kept the pace over 10 minutes per mile, I could only go for maybe 2- 3 miles before it would start leaking. If I was closer to a 9 minute per mile pace I would feel leaking with every step."

The constant symptoms cause Kristin to change her running program. Even though she was used to the leakage, she was still embarrassed to run around others. "It was what made me stop coming to track workouts with the group."

At first, she was embarrassed to talk with her doctor about it, because she's spent years talking herself out of bringing it up. "I finally decided to suck it up and mention it, as I really hadn't heard many other runners saying they had problems with it. I had started to think that maybe something was wrong with me." But she did finally muster up the courage to ask her doctor about it, and the response was better than she could have imagined.

"When I brought it up, my doctor was great! She said there was a test we could do that would determine if it was something that could be fixed with Kegels or if the bladder hammock (a surgical option) would work. I figured that since I did Kegels all the time, maybe the other option would work for me." At her next appointment, a test was done in which she had to fill her bladder and then was monitered for signs of leaking. In Kristin's case, it was determined that she had stress-induced incontinence, but that surgery would be beneficial in this particular case. (Note: Each woman should talk to their own doctor to find out which options are best for them.)

A few months after her surgery and follow-up treatment, Kristin is ecstatic and wants other women to talk to their doctors if they have exercise- or stress-induced urinary incontinence.  She says, "I feel great! It was so worth it!" Kristin was also sure to follow the post-operation directions to the letter, which meant less physical contact (her husband was very supportive, she says) and to wait until she was healed before starting to run again. "I've started back slowly with my training - slowing things way down and really watching my total miles by increasing mileage very slowly. I don't have any leakage." This includes a long run of 8 miles (with a drink of water only 45 minutes before the run) and two speed workouts.

Kristin urges other women with leakage to seek medical help. "It was worth every bit of it. I encourage any woman that is having issues to talk to their doctor. It isn't normal for leakage to happen and I think a lot of times women are too busy to put themselves first."

You don't have to hold back - talk to your doctor if you have urine leakage while running!
The bottom line is that women should not be embarrassed or ashamed if they have exercise-induced urinary incontinence, and that any woman who is concerned about this or experiencing any symptoms of urine leakage should definitely contact their primary care provider. At Kaiser Permanente, physicians are encouraged to ask their female patients about it, instead of waiting for the woman to bring up what she may see as an embarrassing condition. It’s important, too. “A study done at Kaiser Permanente in Portland Oregon (Olsen, A et al. Obstetrics and Gynecology 89: 501-6,1997) shows that 1 in 11 women have incontinence with or without pelvic organ prolapse severe enough to require surgery over the course of their lifetime,” says Dr. Smith.

Your 7-Minute Guide to Natural Menopause Survival

By Dr. Mercola

“Men-o-pause” may be a funny play on words but it’s no laughing matter to millions of women. When hot flashes, mood swings and memory changes are affecting your life, you want help fast. But where can you find it when the “newest” science says the old science is wrong -- or even harmful?

An understanding of how and why science went astray, plus a simple, strategic plan can get your life back in balance.

What Happens During Midlife’s Pause?

Menopause is nature’s way of signaling the end of child-bearing years. When you stop having your periods naturally -- usually when you’re around 50 years old -- the slow-down tends to be gradual.

But menopause can occur before or after age 50, and it can also be surgically induced.

For instance, if you have your ovaries or uterus removed, you’ll skip the “peri” part and advance straight to full-blown menopause. When that happens, symptoms often intensify because there’s no gradual downshift: estrogen and progesterone production simply stops.

When menopause occurs, the primary symptoms you’re likely to experience are:[1]


Hot Flashes

Vaginal Dryness

Menstrual Irregularities (natural)

Depression, Mood Swings

Weight Gain (natural or surgically induced)

Short and long-term strategies can help you control these symptoms. The best approaches are preventive and involve diet and exercise. That’s not surprising because the most obvious manifestations of menopause have emerged in the last 75 years.

With a return to what’s been natural for centuries, it’s possible to minimize even the most frustrating night sweats and weight gain.

Menopause is NOT a Disease

As I mentioned, menopause occurs when you stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and your periods cease. So, it seemed sensible to scientists that replacing those hormones would alleviate menopausal symptoms.

One of the problems with this approach was that it looked at menopause as a disease to be treated with medication, as opposed to another life stage. The other: it turned out that synthetic hormones don’t act like the real thing.

I’ll detail the problems with hormone replacement later, along with information on the “new” science of bioidentical hormones.

For affordable symptom-relief right now, here are the simplest, heart-healthy ideas, followed by longer-term solutions.

Heart-Healthy, Symptom-Ease

We all hope for a quick fix. That’s not what healthy lifestyle changes are all about, but for those who want the short-list, here’s an easy way to determine if you’re in menopause, along with the “to-dos” that put you on the right track fast.

First, ask your physician for a blood test called an FSH test. It determines if your pituitary gland thinks your ovaries aren’t fully functioning, and as a result, is secreting “follicular stimulating hormone” or FSH. There is no need to do this if you have had a surgically induced menopause, as you are menopausal by definition and your FSH will be elevated.

The higher your FSH level, the more likely you’re in menopause. Peri-menopause begins the process a few years in advance; once you haven’t had a period for a year, you’re considered post-menopausal.

Just a few diet and lifestyle changes can have a dramatic effect on how you experience menopause -- especially if you start making them at the “peri” stage.

Three Surefire Strategies to Start

Phytoestrogens. Taking Phytoestreogens or plant-estrogens before menopause can moderate day-to-day estrogen levels, so that when menopause comes, the drop won’t be so dramatic. Weak estrogens that block stronger forms, phtyoestrogens are found in licorice and alfalfa.

Royal Maca also seems to be an amazing adaptogenic herbal solution for menopause that has helped many women. Be sure to avoid the inexpensive ones, as they typically don’t work. Get the real deal from Peru.

Omega-3. Take high quality, animal-based omega-3 fats. A high quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, such as krill oil, can be far more effective and beneficial than fish oil. Balance omega-3 and omega-6 by eating foods rich in these oils.
Green tea. Polyphenols are associated with a lowered risk of heart disease, and green tea like Royal Matcha has polyphenols that can be more effective than those in red wine -- plus 17 times the antioxidants of wild blueberries.
One study shows green tea can also reduce the risk of breast cancer in younger women under 50, and now, certain polyphenols have been shown to have some HRT-like benefits, without the drawbacks.

If you noticed soy isn’t on the list, it’s because non-fermented soy can damage your health.

There are also musts-to-avoid, some of which you may be aware of already. They include refined carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

What to Follow Up With

Once you’ve covered the three musts to start with, add the following to your lifestage regimen:


Black Cohosh. It may help regulate body temperature and hot flashes.

Locally grown, organic food

Exercise! Start a program that you know you’ll do at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day to start.

Vitamin D. Please review my one-hour video lecture for the latest on this essential vitamin.

The Smartest Long-Term Solutions

If you’ve developed healthy habits that support your lifestage and invested a little time exploring the web links highlighted here, work on these long-term adjustments next:


Add low-to-moderate intensity and variety to your exercise plan

Optimize your health with my easy Nutrition Plan

Avoid These DANGEROUS Solutions

It has been overwhelmingly proven that conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which science once touted, is in fact, dangerous. The following prescriptions now have black box warnings and need to be avoided:

Premarin. Premarin is an estrogen extracted from Pregnant Mare’s Urine. We now know it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Estrogen Therapy. Estrogen, which is extracted from Premarin, was effective in combating some menopausal symptoms but proved to have serious, negative side effects, such as the increased risk of breast cancer and an increase in insulin levels.

Provera. This drug is a progestin or a synthetic form of progesterone, which probably makes it even more toxic than Premarin. Its well-documented, negative side effects include blood clotting.

In addition, long-term usage studies revealed many other negative side effects of HRT, including high blood pressure and vaginal bleeding. A year after millions of women quit taking hormone replacement therapy, incidents of breast cancer fell dramatically -- by 7 percent!

No wonder women now know to avoid dangerous, conventional estrogen replacement.

The “New” Science: Bioidenticals

Recently, there’s been tremendous excitement about Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), which was even discussed on the Oprah show in a television breakthrough.

When diet and lifestyle changes are not enough, bioidentical hormones may be able to help.

However, the FDA has recently attacked BHRT, specifically estriol, effectively banning it. Ironically, the FDA is simultaneously attempting to create natural-substance knock-offs. Here’s what’s happening:

Bioidenticals, unlike synthetic hormones or natural ones from animals, are natural hormones that are bioidentical to your own.

The bioidentical that is prescribed 80 percent of the time is estriol. It’s natural, not a drug, and you get it at compounding pharmacies. The FDA is trying to require physicians who write prescriptions for it to fill out an Investigational New Drug (IND) application. It’s no simple form; it’s 40-pages long and expensive to file. And, the FDA admits it’s unaware of any adverse effects of bioidentical hormones.

The inside scoop: Estriol has been used safely for decades, and I believe it’s particularly useful when your ovaries have been removed or you’ve had a hysterectomy. Dr. Johathan Wright, who I’ve interviewed many times for my Expert Inner Circle program, is a pioneer in bioidenticals.

The attack on bioidenticals comes just as the FDA is advancing drugs that are synthetic knock-offs of natural estriol. Talk about an upside down world!

Note on Bioidentical Delivery Methods

As for administering bioidentical hormones, you need to know that some delivery methods are clearly superior to others.

Oral supplementation is perhaps your worst option, as your liver processes everything in your digestive tract first, before it enters your blood stream. Any method that bypasses your liver will therefore be more effective.

Hormone creams are one common alternative that achieves this. However, since progesterone is fat soluble, it can build up in your fatty tissues and lead to having too much progesterone in your body. This in turn can disrupt other hormones. It’s also near impossible to accurately determine the dose when using a cream.

Sublingual drops offer the best of both worlds, as it enters your blood stream directly and will not build up in your tissues like the cream can. It’s also much easier to determine the dose you’re taking, as each drop is about one milligram.

So you know exactly how much you’re taking. The direct delivery system also means you can oftentimes take a lower dose than you would need if you were taking it in pill form.

Knock-Off Naturals: Don’t Be Fooled

Natural estriol can’t be patented, so there are no huge profits to be made on it.

I’m not surprised its availability is being threatened. In fact fake, profit-generating versions of the real thing are mushrooming.

Omacor (an FDA-approved, Omega-3 fat fish oil), Trimesta (a knock-off of natural estriol, now Lovaza) and already FDA-approved Prestara, a pharma version of the natural hormone DHEA, will all soon be competing against what you can get cheaper. Some believe these natural knock-offs could even be dangerous.

For instance, Trimesta is taken orally, even though this is known to be a greater risk factor for endometrial cancer than taking hormones transdermally (through the skin). Prestara is taken in doses of 200 mg daily, which is too high for women -- even 50 mg daily may cause women to experience undesirable side effects, including facial hair.

To support physicians’ rights to freely prescribe bioidenticals and your right to have access to them, go to the Health Freedom Foundation’s website. You’ll find updated information and a letter you can send to Congress and the President.

One Small Step Toward Lifelong Serenity

Menopause is one of those instances where what’s easiest and natural is also best. Because prevention is always the smartest medicine, start making changes in your diet and lifestyle during peri-menopause.

Sticking to the perimeter supermarket aisles, where vegetables and fruits dominate, puts you on the right path.

By the time menopause comes, you’ll have developed healthy nutritional habits that you can build on for every life stage.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Menopause herbal remedies

Menopause herbal remedies

Your 12 diet days of Christmas - You can put on as much as 5lbs over the festive season. But with more parties - and the big day - still to come, you don't have to resign yourself to looking like a Christmas pudding by New Year's Eve. Instead try our great diet and start 2010 feeling trim...

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

A partridge in a pear tree..

Over-indulging at Christmas leaves many of us more pear-shaped than we'd like. Squats really give results, says Joanna Percival, who specialises in women's fitness. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your arms by your sides. Slowly stick your bottom out and gently bend your knees to no lower than 90 degrees. Raise your arms in front to. help you balance and squeeze your glutes as you come back up to standing.

2 Turtle doves..

A close relative of the dove is the turkey - and you usually end up with plenty of leftovers from your Christmas roast. The good news is that without the skin, turkey is one of lowest-fat sources of protein around - there are about 186 calories in a 120g serving. But leave the sauce and gravy out this time. Instead stick a thin slice on top of a slice of wholemeal bread and smear with mustard for a healthy 250-calorie open sandwich.

3 French hens..

Like turkey, chicken is a great source of protein and will leave you feeling fuller for longer. A chicken drumstick contains about 230 calories and you can save another 50 calories by removing the skin.

But say no to chicken nuggets, which are packed with around 26.5 grams fat per nine-piece serving, and often contain very little meat. Fried chicken should also be off the menu as it has double the fat of baked chicken. Instead keep chicken lean and grilled, add diced chicken to salads to make them more satisfying and keep a pot of low-calorie chicken broth bubbling on the stove to keep you full.

4 Calling birds..

After Christmas, you're bound to be catching up with old friends on the phone. But rather than slumping on the sofa while you chat, you could be burning as many as 50 calories during a 10-minute call, says Joanna. "Even if it's just walking around, keep moving. Knee raises are also good for the phone. Just bend and lift the knee in front of the body - try 20 before swapping legs."

"To work the hamstrings and lift saggy bums, bend your leg backwards then "kick" your heel towards the centre of each buttock for 20 before swapping legs."

5 Gold rings..

Weighted hoops are a great craze fitness craze. They not only burn off up to 80 calories in 10 minutes, they also help define your tummy and strengthen your back.

"At home all you need is a little space," says Joanna. "Then it's just a question of swinging your hips to keep the circle spinning. It will require a little patience at first but it definitely pays off."

6 Geese-a-laying..

Goose eggs may be hard to come by but there is no doubt that protein-packed chicken's eggs for breakfast will keep your blood sugar levels even, kickstart your metabolism in the morning and help curb your appetite for the rest of the day.

Try a low-fat omelette made with one whole egg, two egg whites and skimmed milk. Stir in some herbs and cook in a non-stick saucepan. It contains just 200 calories and will keep you full for hours.

7 Swans-aswimming..

If you want to lose those extra pounds after Christmas, get swimming. An average-sized woman will burn up around 420 calories an hour. Joanna says: "Water is the best way to work the whole body without any strain on joints. In water, you are always working against resistance as the drag of the water helps work every muscle. Make it a resolution to join an aqua class and learn some moves to incorporate into your own workout." Another good investment for 2010 would be aqua gloves, she suggests.

"They give you webbed hands which help to tone up those bingo wings."

8 Maids-amilking..

Semi-skimmed milk contains 50 to 60% less fat than whole milk. So if you use 250ml a day, switching from whole to semi-skimmed milk will save yourself around 79 calories and 9.5g fat a day without you even noticing it.

Yoghurt made with skimmed milk also contains just a quarter of the calories of full-fat versions and can be used instead of cream in some sauces on leftovers.

9 Drummers drumming..

If drumming's not for you, then here are some other ideas to get rid of flabby arms. Joanna says: "If you want to tackle bingo wings, try some sofa dips at home. Hold the side of your sofa, walk your legs away and push your body weight up and down by bending and straightening your arms. Just don't lock out your elbows or force the arms straight."

Try two sets of 10 every day and you should soon see the backs of your arms tightening up.

10 Pipers piping..

Don't eat all your food piping hot but try to introduce more uncooked foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains into your diet. Among the celebrities reported to follow a raw food diet are Demi Moore and Uma Thurman and eating more raw food is known to boost your intake of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Experts also say that raw foods are digested quicker, meaning that partially-digested fats, proteins and carbohydrates don't get a chance to clog up your digestive system and arteries.

11 Ladies dancing..

The TV show Strictly Come Dancing has made ballroom more popular than ever. Practising will not only give you some great moves for New Year's Eve but it's a fast and fun way to lose weight at the same time. Slower dances like the waltz and foxtrot burn off around 320 calories an hour, while more energetic routines like disco and the samba can burn off nearly 500 calories.

12 Lords-aleaping..

You may not have had a go since school, but skipping with a rope is one of the fastest calorie-burning exercises you can do. It works all the major muscles in your arms, shoulders and legs - and it burns calories at a rate of five every minute. It's intense, says Joanna, so do it safely for the sake of your joints and back. "Keep jumps small and land on soft knees. Stick to it and you will have lost the extra bulge by the New Year."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

10 Secrets Your Doctor Wants You to Know -The doc-patient relationship can be weird. Your doctor sees you at your most vulnerable (two words: paper gown) and is privy to your most intimate info (the number of sexual partners you’ve had, the precise location of that suspicious mole).

But while you’re an open book, your doc isn’t—and that’s a big mistake. You’re left wondering what he’s thinking when he raises an eyebrow or murmurs a cryptic “hmmm.” Well, wonder no more. We asked top docs to spill the beans on how you can get the best possible care.

Don’t think you’ve got every ailment out there

“A patient will say to me, ‘I saw that pill for toenail fungus—I want that pill.’ And I’ll say, ‘But you don’t have toenail fungus.’ Then they say, ‘My toenails look just like the toenails in the picture!’ Medicine is not like buying a new shirt because the new color is Concord purple and you want to have a purple shirt, too. I tell people, ‘Be glad you don’t have toenail fungus!’”
—Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., president of Dermatology Consulting Services in High Point, N.C.

Just spill it

“Every doctor has those ‘By the way, doc’ patients. They’re the ones who, when I’m getting ready to leave the room, say something like, ‘By the way, doc, I’ve been having burning when I’m urinating.’ It’s an important issue, but they wait until I’m on my way out to mention it. Tell me something like that right away.”
—Raul J. Seballos, M.D., vice chairman of preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic

Forget what you saw on TV

“I hear a lot of, ‘I want this test. I saw it on TV. ’ You should get the test you need, but it may not be what you saw on television. Just because a TV personality and her best friend had CT scans of the heart doesn’t mean you need one.”
—Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of the Women’s Heart Center at the New York University Langone Medical Center and author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg’s Complete Guide to Women’s Health

Don’t worry about your hairy legs

“I don’t care if you haven’t shaved, OK? Please do not apologize for the state of your toenails, your legs, or anything else. I am so not looking.”
—Katharine O’Connell White, M.D., MPH, OB-GYN at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass.

Be honest about how much (or how little!) you work out

"I sometimes ask patients: ‘Are you physically active?’ and they say to me, ‘Yes, I’m really active.’ Then they talk about how they drive their kids here and drive them there and pick them up. Being busy is not the same thing as being physically active. You have to actually move your body. With exercise, more is better, but anything is better than nothing. The minimum level of physical activity needed in order to actually see real health improvements is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking, every day.”
—Sharonne N. Hayes, M.D., director of the Women’s Heart Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Don’t think of the spa as a medical facility

“I see a lot of intelligent people who have gone to spas to get fillers, or they get them in a friend’s living room. It shocks me. These are medical procedures that should be done in a medical facility. There’s a huge difference in terms of the sterility and the guidelines followed, and a lot of patients don’t realize that.”
—Marta I. Rendon, M.D., medical director and founder of the Dermatology and Aesthetic Center in Boca Raton, Fla.

Get a second opinion—but not from your mom

“Please don’t shop around for a second or third or fourth opinion until you hear the answer you want. I’ve had patients call and ask for my advice. Then they call back to say they talked to two or three other people, who may or may not be doctors, and those people said something else. We don’t treat by consensus. What to do about your discharge or some other problem isn’t a consensus decision. You’re more than welcome to go somewhere to get a second opinion from a doctor, but people will say, ‘Well, my mother said this.’ That’s great, but is your mom a nurse or a doctor?”

Don’t shop for skin-care advice at the mall

“I know a lot of people who will spend $300 on skin-care products at Sephora, but they aren’t willing to spend $30 in my office. I wish I could tell all of them: Don’t take your skin-care advice from the 16-year-old behind the makeup counter at the mall—she’s 16! Talk to your doctor.”
—Carolyn Jacob, M.D., director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology

Know the facts

“I’m always so surprised that the average woman thinks contraceptive pills routinely cause cancer, strokes, heart attacks, or blood clots, for instance. The noncontraceptive health benefits of the Pill—such as uterine and ovarian cancer protection, acne prevention, less PMS and menstrual cramps, fewer ovarian cysts—far outweigh the risks for most women.”
—Suzanne Trupin, OB-GYN in private practice with Women’s Health Practice in Champaign, Ill., and clinical professor of OB-GYN at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ask yourself: Is this a real emergency?

“I’ve been paged for a yeast infection at 8 p.m. on a Sunday evening. We’ve all had them. And, yes, they’re miserable. But don’t page the doctor at home in the evening about a yeast infection when you can call the office 12 hours later. On the flip side, if you are having a gyno emergency, I really do want you to call me. A real emergency would be heavy bleeding [filling more than one pad or tampon in an hour], severe pelvic pain that hasn’t gotten any better with over-the-counter pain medication, and—if you’ve recently had surgery—any fever or concerns about what your surgical incision looks like.”

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Secret Formula to Slow Down Aging

Keith Richards
Feel young ... Keith Richards has allowed ageing to cramp his style. Source: The Sunday Telegraph
IN this extract from their book, Kate Marie and Christopher Thomas tell us how to feel younger for longer.
Some things should be taken slowly and ageing is one of them. Ageing involves gains and losses and complex physiological processes that can and should be managed so we age in optimal health.

To age well, with quality, connection and awareness, we need to deliberately engage with the process.
Healthy and fulfilling lives as we age come from maintaining wellness, slowing the breakdown of the processes that have maintained our health to date, as well as preventing diseases associated with age (such as cancer).
By having optimal wellness as we age (“slow ageing” is an optimal wellness state), we seek to re-frame ageing as a positive state - one of growth and possibility, where we enter our later years as connected, vibrant beings.
We use the word “slow” rather than “anti” (ageing) as “slow” is achievable and “anti” is not! Being able to turn back the clock is a myth.
There are other slow movements - Slow Foods, Slow Cities, Slow Design.
The slow movements focus on ways to foster connections with ourselves and our environments, with the desired outcome of a richer and happier experience of life.
Other slow movements have used the SLOW acronym to define their particular cause and we have used it to help frame a way to navigate the ageing process:
• S = Strategic Becoming aware, investing time in planning and making the critical decisions required for you as an individual to slow the ageing process.
• L = Long-term To persist for a lifetime.
• O = Organised Implementing your plan against measurable objectives. Investing effort into interventions that work for you.
• W= Wilful Where unhurried actions are undertaken and choices are made with full consciousness of the nature and effects and arising from careful consideration.

How does ageing occur?
If you leave things unprotected to the elements they will ultimately age and perish. Colours will fade, parts will become more brittle and stiff and a little rust may even set in. This is not too far off what happens in the human body.
Inside the human body, there are damaging elements that contribute to the decline in structure and function associated with ageing. The most important of these we have called the four elements of ageing:

• Kilojoules.
• Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species (ROS).
• Advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
• Inflammation or “inflamm-ageing”
When we intervene to reduce our exposure to these elements or protect ourselves from their consequences, we can help improve our health and prolong our lives.
What can you do to slow ageing?
Disease and ageing is often a result of the choices we make, or fail to make, with respect to our diet, physical activity, environment and lifestyle.

Assessment of health
Modern technology allows for the early detection of health risks while they are still treatable. Depending on your age, testing to identify early stages of disease, such as cardiovascular disease or cancer, is imperative. Early warnings on significant health issues can come from simple tests such as measuring your hip-to-waist ratio.
On quality of life, tests such as hearing tests are relatively simple and by being diligent you’ll ensure you age well. Get your hearing checked at least every two years if you are over 65 or have an increased risk of hearing loss.
You can get a preliminary hearing check over the phone in about five minutes, by using Telscreen, a toll-free hearing service provided by the government agency Australian Hearing on 1800 826 500.

Manage your environment
Environment has a significant impact on how we age; whether that is our emotional or physical environment. Actively ensure you eliminate environmental factors that cause stress on your body.
Each of us has a different threshold for stress – for some, peak-hour traffic is a time to relax in the car and for others it is torture! Find a job you like and do the things that make you happy and this will contribute to your chances of ageing optimally. In terms of physical environment, keep away from toxins, use safe plastics and eat organic food to avoid pesticides.

Make exercise a priority
Exercise can slow down, halt and possibly even reverse many of the trends associated with ageing.
It can help fight weight gain, increase strength and stress resilience, prevent the diseases of ageing such as cardiovascular disease, and of course help
you look and feel fantastic.
• Your exercise prescription includes the following:
• Moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
• Resistance or strength training of moderate to vigorous intensity.
• Flexibility exercises.

Look after your mind
All of us will experience some decline in our cognitive skills as we age. Exercise both your body and mind, eat a slow-ageing diet (omega-3s, B vitamins and antioxidants are key brain nutrients) and manage your stress to look after your mind. Working memory training and other “neurobic” exercises are also important to keep your neural networks growing as you age. Take time to relax and deal with sources of stress.

Look after quality
To ensure we have quality of life as we age, some of the more mundane things we need to care for include our skin (through skincare that actually works), bone and muscle integrity (through exercise and diet), continence (do your pelvic floor exercises!) and our senses of hearing and vision. Retaining each is an important part of optimising quality of life.
The SLOW principles Rather than simply being a passenger in your body, take your time. Engage in your life and your environment, and start to make positive and informed choices about things you can do today with tomorrow in mind.
The means to SLOW our lives can be summarised in seven simple principles. These same principles – the AGELESS principles - work whether applied to changing your diet, putting a mind-body program together or improving your relationships as you age.

Adopt a slow ageing diet
All of the changes of ageing are influenced by what we do and don’t eat. Here are some general strategies:
1 Fresh is best (unprocessed is better)
A diet high in fresh produce is associated with a healthier and longer life.
2 Reduce energy-dense foods
Exchange foods that are concentrated kilojoules (so-called “energy-dense” foods) for foods that have fewer kilojoules.
3 (S)low and steady wins the race
Eat foods that deliver nutrients at a slow pace, are less processed, low GI, and high in fibre.
4 Make the most of every mouthful
Substitute empty-kilojoule foods with nutrient-dense foods.
5 Phytochemicals follow the rainbow
Fill your diet with every bright colour of the rainbow to maximise phytochemical consumption.
6 Choose the right stuff
Eat the “good” fats, proteins and carbohydrates and the most bio-available. Reduce foods containing simple sugars and replace refined products with wholegrain equivalents.
7 Be prepared
Cooking less and eating more raw food helps food retain nutrients.
8 Harness the superfood
Eating berries, cruciferous vegetables, legumes, whole nuts and seeds, probiotic yoghurt, all fruits, dark chocolate and green tea can have a positive effect on health and ageing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Party Diet - Feast-and-Famine Diet and Other Diet Trends -

Go ahead and enjoy the holidays (isn't that what they're for?) and still slim down! Guaranteed.

The Diet That Lets You Indulge

Wait! Don't resign yourself to gaining weight over the holidays like you usually do. This eat-what-you-love-and-still-lose program makes it possible to put yourself at the top of your to-do list (and go to the office party looking hot).

On these pages, Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson, authors of The Skinny: How to Fit in Your Little Black Dress Forever (Meredith Books), give you a starter kit for eating right on the run with a week's worth of meals and snacks, including easy recipes you can whip up fast, as well as healthy takeout and prepared foods. Going to a party? Swap the day's snack and dessert for one of the goodies in "You Can Indulge Guilt-Free" on the final page.

Follow this plan and you'll consume about 1,500 calories a day and drop 5 pounds in a month. (For variety, replace some of the foods with your favorites; eat about half of your usual-size portion.) Even better: Combine the diet with our fat-blasting workout and you'll double your weight loss to 10 pounds in just four weeks!
 go to Fitness Magazine for Day to Day Menu and Exercise Videos

A new diet that seems almost tailor-made for this time of year is making headlines.
The Truth About 10 Trendy New Year's Diets
Diet experts help tackle the merits of fad diets.

Called the "short-term modified alternate-day fasting" diet in a recent study, it is known by other names, including the "feast-and-famine diet," and works like it sounds. On "famine" days, dieters eat 25 percent of their recommended intake of calories, while on "feast" days they are free to eat as much as they wish.

The news on this comes on the heels of the publication of a U.S. government-funded clinical trial of the diet published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

For the study, 16 subjects (12 women and 4 men) were monitored for 10 weeks. They served as their own control group for the first two weeks, began dieting the next four weeks with their menus set and then were able to select their own foods for the final four weeks of the trial.

Researchers reported that dieters adhered for roughly 86 percent of the days and lost about one-and -a-half pounds a week during both the controlled diet and the self-selected diet. They also found that body fat dropped by a few percentage points, and cholesterol and blood pressure dropped slightly as well, concluding that the feast-and-famine diet may be an option to help obese people lose weight.

While our usual diet judge's panel was unavailable on this holiday week, our substitute judges were not ready to give this diet a thumbs up.
"It's unrealistic for most people. Most people wouldn't be able to keep that up," said Dr. Jana Klauer, a Manhattan physician and research fellow at the New York Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital. "I wouldn't advise people that way."
Klauer said the size and length of the study were both too small for anyone to draw a conclusion.
"It should be a six-month study, and you would want an equal number of men and women, and you want larger numbers," she said. "Sixteen people doesn't tell you very much."
She also worried that the lack of consideration given to medications and exercise in the study might have affected the results -- attributing weight loss or weight gain to food, when really other factors were at work.
"I think that exercise must be part of anyone's lifestyle. Far too many people are sedentary," Klauer said.

And Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, worried that the diet would lead to binging that would not ultimately lead to weight loss.
"Everybody likes to save up calories with the anticipation that it will balance out, but the bottom line is when we go too long without eating or go without eating for too long, that instinct to eat kicks in and we don't have as much control over what we eat as we would like to," she said.

The feast-and-famine diet is only the most recent trendy diet to come onto our radar. In the past, the ABC News Medical Unit rounded up some of the most popular diets to date and subjected them to the scrutiny of nutrition experts Joanne Ikeda, cooperative extension nutrition education specialist and lecturer in the Nutritional Sciences Department at University of California, Berkeley; Dr. David Katz, co-founder and director of the Yale Prevention Research Center; and Keith-Thomas Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The following pages feature each of these diets, as well as whether you can count on them to help you achieve a healthier weight.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Getting the skinny on diet water - While researching Complete and Utter Zebu, we came across a Japanese produce called Diet Water. We found hilarious the idea that special water could help you lose weight more quickly than the ordinary stuff. After all, water doesn’t actually contain any calories. Japan, however, is famous for having products that seem utterly bizarre to us but which never appear in stores over here.
Then somebody pointed out to us that something similar has arrived in the UK. It’s called “Bio-Synergy Skinny Water”. The Skinny Water website claims it is:
“A low-calorie water, enhanced with a unique combination of ingredients to help (YOU) lose and maintain YOUR weight.”
Apparently, the “unique formula combining L-Carnitine and Chromium assists natural fat burning and helps reduce sugar cravings” although, as it taste of pomegranate (there are other flavours too), it sounds as though it must contain some form of sweetener, which might explain why it reduces the sugar craving. You are supposed to drink up to four bottles of it a day as well as a bottle 30 minutes before each meal “to block carbohydrates.”
We aren’t scientists but it strikes us that drinking seven bottles of any sort of fluid is likely to make you feel so bloated you’d have trouble moving let alone eating as much food as usual. The fact that Fergie of Black Eyed Peas endorses it does little to convince us:
” Skinny Water. With a name like that it has to be good, right?”
If anyone knows more about how sound the scientific claims for skinny water are, please let us know. Given the news that a man who was almost blind in one eye has cured himself with a marigold supplement, perhaps we’re being unduly skeptical.

The generally-held belief that you should drink eight glasses of water a day is debunked in a new book Don’t Swallow Your Bubblegum; this doesn’t take into account the water you absorb from drinks, fruit and veg. It’s also not true that eating at night is more fattening; it’s quantity, not time, that counts. Nor is it the case that men think of sex every seven seconds; as the authors point out, that would be getting on for 60,000 times a day, making it hard to achieve anything.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Diet Will Help To Get Rid Of … Hair!

Have you heard everything on the dangers of diets? Doctors like to talk about the adverse effects of diets low in protein and fat in the digestive organs and the endocrine system. But recent studies have shown that diet has caused damage of hair.

What more rapidly you grow thin, the less is your hair …
Hair loss can be caused by several factors, including pregnancy, stress, surgery, age hormonal changes. And this is only a fraction of the possible causes.

But since we began to actively combat excess weight, trying one after the other trendy diets work for doctors trichology fairly increased. They pulled strings “dietary victims” complaining of thinning curls.

This adverse effect of diet is rarely mentioned, and because few people know that losing weight can trigger hair loss. This problem affects both men and women, but women are increasingly paying attention to it and resort to treatment.

Primarily as a result of “diminished” the diet is a deficiency of iron. However, reducing intake of zinc, magnesium, protein, essential fatty acids and vitamins D, B and A is not less important, say experts.

“The threat of hair loss should scare wishing to lose weight” – is trying to reduce the temperature of the adherents of fashionable diets that promise quick results, head of clinical research in dermatology department Cleveland Clinic Wilma Bergfeld.

“In fact, such techniques are often characterized by lack of nutrients, and in general a sharp loss of a kilogram is a stress for the organism that can cause changes in metabolism, affecting the growth of hair” -doctorsaid.

Best to keep a thick head of hair program to reduce weight, doctors say, is a healthy diet from all food groups in which calorie reduction occurs gradually and is also gradually weight loss.

Diets low in protein and iron, such as vegetarian or seriously limit the use of fat, very often lead to a shortage of nutrients.

But the diet with high content of protein, such as Atkins diet, which excludes early fruits and vegetables, can also lead to hair loss, says Dr. Bergfeld. According to her, usually complaints about thinning hair comes from patients who have lost about 15 pounds in a short period of time.

“We are constantly confronted with this, – says Dr. Bergfeld. – If you eat a monotonous diet and your diet is unbalanced, expect problems.”

By the way, at the center of Atkins, this issue is included in the section “frequently asked questions”. It is reported that weight loss can lead to hair loss. And the likelihood that the Atkins diet can cause “hairloss” – is minimal.

However, dermatologists in one voice say that no scientific studies to determine which of the diet is less dangerous for the growth of hair was done.

Healthy human hair grows at a rate of approximately 2.5 cm in two months. The life cycle of it consists of three cycles – growth phase can last from two to five years. The second, less active, lasts about six weeks. The last phase of peace – from three to five months, after which it falls and in its place grows a new one. In a single moment about 15 percent of hairs are in a resting phase.

Sudden changes in diet can disrupt this cycle, triggering the transition of follicles from the growing phase to the resting phase. This means that the number of daily precipitation will increase by 20-30 per cent.

For many people, hair loss associated with diet – a temporary phenomenon, which can last from two to six months. Once a person moves to a more balanced diet, hair is gradually restored. The rehabilitation process may take one to two years.

Some of slimming “lucky” even less. The problem caused by lack of nutrients, can develop into a chronic condition, if a person has a genetic predisposition to baldness, says Dr. Bergfeld and other doctors. Moreover, this state may be burdened with hormonal changes, stress, or the use of certain drugs.

Dermatologists often recommend people sitting on a diet, take vitamins and iron to try to drop no more than a kilogram a week.

If you have a family history of early hair loss or increased hair loss, you should be particularly careful as possible to eat well and try to reduce weight gradually. Patients considering an operation to combat obesity, must also take care of their hair.

In addition, those who lose weight should avoid procedures such as bleaching or perm.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Guide to Bladder Control - Ever laugh so hard that you peed? And the joke wasn’t that funny? You’re not alone, and it may be a sign of incontinence. Find out how to prevent or cope with embarrassing little leaks.

Losing control of your bladder is embarrassing, uncomfortable and, well, wet... not to mention relatively common. Incontinence affects 10% to 30% of women 64 and younger, says the National Women’s Health Resource Center.

Even if your bladder is behaving now, it may betray you later. About 25% of women will experience involuntary urinary leakage at some point in their lives.

Luckily, those little leaks when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise – called stress urinary incontinence (SUI) – are problems you can solve and even prevent.

It’s an Anatomy Thing
Urine leaks occur when bladder pressure exceeds what the urethral sphincter can hold back, says Colleen Kennedy, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology at the University of Iowa.

Declining estrogen levels during menopause increase your SUI risk because the urethral tissue becomes thinner and less elastic, leading to reduced sphincter control, she says.

Women who have had multiple vaginal deliveries or difficult labors are particularly prone to leakage because pressure on the internal organs can permanently weaken the urethral sphincter.

Gail Stein can relate. After a breach delivery with her first-born, the stress incontinence - and frequent urge to go that started in her teens - worsened.

“I would be in the bathroom 20 or 30 times a night,” says Stein, co-author of Mind Over Bladder… I Never Met a Bathroom I Didn’t Like. “My pants were down more than they were up.”

A public school teacher, Stein learned to “pee at the bell,” avoid fluids after 7 p.m. and always scope out the nearest bathroom.

"As women lose control over their body, daily activities and even sex life, depression can set in,” says Jill Maura Rabin, M.D., co-author of Mind Over Bladder and head of urogynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. “Getting a diagnosis and treatment is so key.”

Preventing an Accident
Anything that puts pressure on the pelvic organs can open the floodgates. Here’s how to prevent incontinence or minimize accidents:

1. Monitor your fluids.
Too much water overloads the kidneys, making you have to pee all the time, Rabin says. Take your ideal body weight and cut it in half. This number represents the total ounces of fluids you should drink throughout a day.

2. Take a leak – beforehand.
If you’re leaking during exercise or sex, empty your bladder before you begin either activity. You may even want to insert a tampon to support the urethra before strenuous exercise.

3. Plan your bathroom breaks.
“Timed voiding” can help women who have a constant urge to pee, Rabin says. If you normally hit the restroom every 15 minutes, aim instead for 20-minute intervals.

Stretch the time by five minutes each week. In 6-8 months, you’ll be able to wait 2-3 hours between bathroom breaks.

4. Lose weight.
A study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that women who lost just three pounds reduced accidents by 28%; those who lost 17 pounds cut accidents by half.

5. Avoid constipation.
Eat a fresh pear and spinach with extra virgin olive oil each day to keep things moving, says Janet A. Hulme, a physical therapist at Phoenix Core Solutions and author of Beyond Kegels: Fabulous Four Exercises & More to Prevent & Treat Incontinence.

6. Keep a food diary.
Recording what you eat will help you find patterns that trigger an urge to pee. Rabin recommends limiting these bladder-irritating foods:

* Artificial sweeteners
* Apples, citrus fruits, peaches, cantaloupe, grapes, guavas, pineapples, plums and strawberries
* Alcohol
* Caffeine
* Carbonated beverages
* Corn syrup
* Honey
* Milk and milk products
* Spicy foods
* Sugar
* Tomatoes and tomato-based products
* Vinegar
* Vitamin B complex and vitamin C

7. Wear pads.
Pads aren't a solution, but they can help manage leaks while you’re working with a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Skip menstrual pads and go for incontinence pads, which are designed to absorb urine and prevent skin irritation, Kennedy says. With options ranging from light protection pads to heavy absorption disposable underwear, wear what's comfortable and meets your needs.

Kegels to the Rescue
Often used as a way to boost sexual satisfaction, Kegels can also prevent and treat incontinence.

Judy Florendo, a Chicago physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor dysfunction, helps women isolate the muscles properly.

“A woman has to prepare and go slowly; otherwise she can do damage,” she says.

Try these at-home tips to find the right muscles:

1. Insert a finger into the vagina and squeeze around it. You should feel tightness and a lift around finger. The buttocks, abdomen and thighs should all be relaxed. You shouldn’t be able to tell you’re doing a thing from the outside.
Or try it with a tampon. Insert, pull the string taut and do the same squeezing motion.

2. You also can locate the right muscles by stopping the flow of urine. Don’t do this repeatedly because it can damage the urethra and break down the complex communication between the bladder and the brain during urination.

Florendo recommends two strengthening exercises:

* If cough- or sneeze-induced leaks are your problem: Squeeze and release in one-second intervals, gradually working your way up to three sets of 10.

* If you feel fine in the morning, but can’t hold your urine as much later in the day: Squeeze for 10 seconds and release for 10 seconds, gradually building to three sets of 10.

Beyond Kegels
Hulme’s simple “Roll for Control” exercise rebalances the pelvic rotator cuff to help prevent leakage:

1. Lie on your back on a high-density foam wedge that raises your hips 6 to 8 inches above your shoulders. Place feet up against a wall with legs straight. (Wedges are available online or ask an upholstery store to cut one to size.)

2. Take 4 or 5 breaths (using your diaphram) allowing your stomach to soften and move in and out.

3. Pivoting on your heels, roll knees and toes out hip-width while inhaling.

4. Pivoting on your heels, rolls knees and toes back to neutral while exhaling.

Long-Term Options
If you’re still having accidents, other treatments are available.

Surgery is one option that yields great results, Kennedy says. The procedures restore support to the urethra, giving women control of their bladders again.

For women who don’t want to have surgery, other treatments include:

* Herbal remedies: Corn silk, saw palmetto, pumpkin seed and magnesium supplements have shown promise in reducing bladder leakage.

* Duloxetine (brand name: Cymbalta): Several studies have found that this anti-depressant can help treat incontinence.

* Vaginal pessaries: A pessary is a device designed to be inserted into the vagina to support it. Women need to be properly fitted for a pessary.

* Collagen injections near the urethra: The injections help narrow the urethra and improve bladder control. Results typically last 2-4 months.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pole Dance Your Way to get Back in Shape

Pole dance perfection, no stripping experience required

April Corbin
Mon, Nov 30, 2009 (4:56 p.m.)
Poleworx offers private pole dance lessons and group parties.
Photo: April Corbin
Plenty of people have mistaken Natalie Smith for a stripper.
Can’t blame them, really. It’s easy to see why someone might make that assumption when watching the dark-haired beauty slide down a stripper pole with complete control, her toned legs spread-eagle with the shiny silver pole between them and her pointed toes peeking out from open-toed, rhinestone-clad high heels at least five inches tall. She’s curvy in all the right places with a warm, approachable smile – lucrative characteristics for any stripper.
But Natalie Smith isn’t a stripper. Never has been.

The allure of the pole worked its magic on her not through a seedy strip club, but instead through the comforting glow of afternoon television. In 2003, Oprah featured pole-dancing exercise on her television show. Smith says she was carrying 50 extra pounds on her body (the effect of a boring job in an assembly building) and hated gyms, so pole dancing seemed to be the perfect opportunity to get back in shape.
It worked. She lost weight and built muscle. Eventually, in 2005, she and husband Brian opened Poleworx, a pole-dancing exercise/party company in Kansas City. Three months ago, the couple moved with their young son to Las Vegas and opened a branch, hoping to capitalize on the city’s reputation as a hotspot for bachelorette parties.


In promotional e-mails and on the web site, Poleworx explicitly notes that Smith has never been an exotic dancer. The message is subtle but clear: You will feel comfortable with Smith as your teacher because she is just like you and me. (Unless you happen to be a stripper, I guess.)
It’s a different philosophy than many other pole-dance studios that proudly tout their teachers’ former professions. It’s approachability, versus authenticity.
Lana Stewart was an exotic dancer for three years in Reno and Las Vegas before creating, where she books private lessons and group parties. The petite blonde has also recently hired at Stripper 101, a light-hearted course on stripping at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
Her web site does not disclose whether she was or was not a former stripper. The decision to omit the information, Stewart says, was a thought-out one based on both personal reasons and business ones.

“It can be very polarizing,” she says. “I’m getting women in their 50s or 60s, mothers, mothers of brides, aunts coming in (for bachelorette parties). I’d rather not throw that (I’m a former exotic dancer) into a different generation’s face.”
Once they’re in the class and have warmed up to her, however, she makes no secret about her former occupation. Inevitably, people have questions. She’s happy to share stories or tips on good lap dances.
Stewart says it pisses her off when she hears teachers who were never exotic dancers talk down about the occupation. Though she hasn’t experienced such negativity from Las Vegas instructors, she says she did witness it firsthand in California during a certification course.

“(If you’re) so down on strippers, then why are you teaching pole? … The reason why pole dancing is so interesting is because where it came from,” Stewart says.
Poleworx offers private pole dance lessons and group parties.
Poleworx offers private pole dance lessons and group parties.
She calls those who judge strippers but teach pole dancing the “hall monitors of the industry” and says they tend to look like housewives doing pole tricks. She explains, “There’s a quality of movement that an exotic dancer has.”
Stewart concedes that many non-strippers teach great pole-dancing courses, but only if they’re skilled in teaching and have general dance/performance backgrounds – like Smith.

Or like Tracy Gray, cofounder of Aradia Fitness. Though she’s never been an exotic dancer, Gray has professionally performed non-nude pole dancing, as well as other forms of dance.

Her foray into pole dancing began as an observer in Vancouver, Canada, where stripteases are much different, often involving elaborate costumes and longer in time frame. “It was an activity people did before they went into clubs,” Gray explains. “I wanted to learn how but didn’t want to be a stripper because I was a banking manager.”
Tracy Gray, co-founder of Aradia Fitness poses for a photo.
Tracy Gray, co-founder of Aradia Fitness poses for a photo.

After breaking down and perfecting her pole tricks, she cofounded Aradia Fitness in 2004. Today, 21 locations exist in Canada. Due to the floundering economy, U.S. expansion has been much slower. One North Carolina branch is open. Their Las Vegas location is hosting private parties but has temporarily stopped studio classes, pending the opening of their Hard Rock casino location in January.

According to Gray, Aradia Fitness has trained more than 200 non-strippers and strippers to be certified instructors. She says she hasn’t seen too many noticeable differences between the two groups, except that non-strippers tend to stick with the classes more than strippers.

Apparently, once you get it, you get it, regardless of whether you ever did or will do it for money. That’s not such a hard concept to wrap your thoughts around.