Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Bikini waxers beware - what can go wrong

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'It won't hurt a bit,' Magda assured me, moments before she ripped the hairs by the root out of the most sensitive part of my thigh. Magda lied. It hurt. But I wasn't about to confront someone who was standing above me with hot wax perched above my most vulnerable body parts.

Ahh, the joys of the bikini wax. Experiences like this kind of make a girl want to get that hair lasered off, if it wasn't so expensive. But it might be worth it because apparently, bikini waxes can be dangerous. This news comes after a story of an Australian woman who, after receiving a Brazilian wax, developed painful swelling and copius amounts of vaginal discharge, plus a severe fever. She was later diagnosed with Toxic Shock Syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.

Nonetheless, it hasn't stopped her determination to get rid of those unwanted hairs. Would it deter you, or would vanity take over?

Six pains that women shouldn't ignore

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Aside from the obvious pain caused by a bang to the funny bone or that pesky hang nail, several pains should not be ignored and could instead be signs of possible health problems to come.

Listen to your body and if you feel a persistent tummy burn, be sure to ask your doctor about ulcers. As well, instead of just ignoring particularly bad menstrual cramps, check into the possibility of endometriosis. Now don't get all paranoid and turn into a hypochondriac, but also take special note of sore throats and gums or a horse voice that persist beyond a couple of days. All these minor symptoms can lead to major health issues. This article outlines the six pains that require attention.

What are your experiences with these symptoms?

Here's why stress can lead to obesity

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It's been said that stress causes many people to gain weight. The reason I commonly hear is that stress causes people to overeat as well as sit behind a desk more than anyone should. Hence, a lack of exercise.

But what about stress affecting the body's fat cells? A new study suggested that by setting fat cells free in the body (as in, allowing fat receptors in cells to full engage) is caused by stress.

That, in turn, could be suggested as a direct cause of obesity in some. Researchers did say that by blocking Y2 receptors in cells, drugs may one day be developed to combat stress-related obesity. Until then, avoid stress. Well, as much as possible anyway.

Daily Fit Tip: The Fourth is for fun and fireworks.....not fat

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For Americans, today we celebrate Independence Day, I'd like to encourage each citizen of this spectacular country to focus on the purpose of the Fourth of July. We celebrate freedom. What could make us prouder or more grateful?

I hope you will all have fun enjoying family and friends, and take at least a few moments to relish the great fortune it is to be AMERICAN. Wave your flags and light up the sky with joy. I do also hope you will not use this as an opportunity to gorge on fat and grease, freedom for the United States is not a great excuse to destroy yourself. Please respect alcohol as well, and make one hundred percent sure that neither you nor anyone you know gets behind the wheel of a car. Be proud, be patriotic, be responsible. Happy Independence Day America!

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How to look as hot at the beach as your favorite celebs

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For many -- myself included -- summer is the absolute best time of year. The long, hot days mean little more than relaxing and getting to spend some time tanning on a beach, playing in the ocean and generally enjoying as much time outdoors as possible.

It's important to remember though, that being out in the elements can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. If you want to not only have a great time this season but to also look great doing it, check out these tips from make-up artists who keep stars like Jessica Alba and Ashley Simpson looking great through the dogs days of summer.

You'll find advice on the best beach make-up, how to keep hair sleek when it's humid, moisturizers with SPF to protect your skin from sun damage, great summery fragrances and more.

How Man Calories ... In Potato Salad?

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Happy fourth of July everyone! Frequent readers of That's Fit probably know that I'm not American, but that doesn't mean I can't wish my neighbours to the south a very happy independence day. Plus Canada's version of independence day (Canada Day) was just a few days ago (July 1) so I'm still a bit high on the national-pride kick.

When I think of independence day, I think of fireworks, parades and outdoor barbecues -- complete with burgers topped off with little flags, plenty of cold beer, yummy treats and ... potato salad. Seriously, potato salad seems to be a fixture of summer barbecues. I don't think I ever been to a barbecue where someone didn't bring some potato salad, so in honour of Fourth if July Picnics, I ask you: How many calories and fat in a serving (one cup) of homemade potato salad?

A) 120 cal, 10 g of fat
B) 256 cal, 18g of fat
C) 358 cal, 21 g of fat
D) 567 cal, 36 g of fat

Continue reading How Man Calories ... In Potato Salad?

Workplace Fitness: Wellness programs catching on in big business

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Slowly but surely, corporate America is catching on that not only is having healthy employees a good thing for the bottom line, but actively helping them attain and maintain that healthiness is even better. Companies are learning that by having active wellness programs in place they can control insurance costs, increase productivity, and make more money.

CEO's and other high ranking executives seem to be the engines behind this train, which is a good thing because they're the ones who can really make changes happen. And because of this new explosion of interest there is a growing number of wellness advisers, counselors, and consultants creating plans for companies all over the country. Over 50% of employers offered health assessments to their employees last year, which is a big jump up from just 35% back in 2004. And other programs, like corporate-sponsored disease management and nurse advice lines, that used to get trimmed out of health benefits are now not only being left in but are being modified and adjusted to get employees more actively involved.

Continue reading Workplace Fitness: Wellness programs catching on in big business

Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered

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Have fitness questions? Fitz has your answer. Our fitness expert -- and now your own virtual personal trainer -- will help you get fit, increase your overall health and do it in a fun way. Drop your questions here in the Comments section below and we'll choose two per week to publish on That's Fit! Learn more about Fitz here.

Q. Hey Fitz, I have a question. How come Hollywood celebrities lose weight with such ease? There has to be some secret. I can't figure out why Renee Zellweger can gain and lose 20 pounds with ease, yet I can't get eight pounds off once! What's the deal? Elaine.

A. Good question Elaine. It does seem easy for the celebs to shed pounds quickly doesn't it? I can tell you for the most part, that besides the few that are blessed with oddly high metabolisms......the other popular hot bodies stay hot due to discipline and hard work..

Celebs do have certain benefits that make their efforts easier. First, they have budgets that can afford them personal trainers and chefs. Having a team of fitness professionals to guide and harass you would make one more likely to stick with a healthy eating and workout plan. Second. They have extra motivation to stay in great shape knowing their next job relies heavily upon their appearance. Imagine if you had to maintain a certain weight to keep your job! It may be half great and half crappie, but if you wanted to work ... you'd probably maintain your ideal weight.

Besides the benefits of celebrity and wealth, the bodies don't stay 'hot' without the same old fashioned exercise and conscious eating habits that I recommend to you non-celebs. The "Rich and Famous" may have trainers standing over their shoulders, but they still have to put in hours on the treadmill and do endless amounts of squats, push-ups crunches. Chefs may provide perfect meals, but the celebs still need to avoid the ice cream shops, candy, and fast food.

It's easy to feel inadequate and frustrated in a society where most of the folks we see on screens and in magazines are physically fabulous.Since you seem interested in celebrities, I encourage you to accept your different roles in life and try to find someone you can be inspired by. Pick a person with a similar body type and find an article on their fitness habits. Maybe you can learn from the advice given to them by their celebrity fitness staff! Fitz

Q. What's up Fitz? I see Matthew McConaughey splashed all over the magazines and that guy is definitely ripped. I think he's on steroids though. What do you think? Jason

Continue reading Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered

How to help you kids deal with depression

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I remember when I was about 10-years-old, declaring to my mother that I was depressed and being a bit taken aback when she replied that I was absolutely not depressed but had likely just had a bad day. She was right of course, I wasn't depressed in the least.

However, while some kids may tend to exaggerate when describing their feelings, it doesn't necessarily mean that what they're saying isn't true. Some parents find it hard to believe that many children and teens do suffer from actual depression. The tricky part is, the signs are often different than those presented by depressed adults.

If you are worried that your child may be suffering from more than a bad mood or a crummy week, take a look at this article which lists 27 symptoms of childhood and adolescent depression. According to the piece, if your child has displayed the first two signs -- prolonged sadness and losing interest in activities they once enjoyed -- along with two or more of the other symptoms for more than a couple of weeks, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your family doctor.

Rising prescription drug costs cause consumers to limit use

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One thing I've been critical of in recent years has been the incredible costs of prescription drugs. The profit margins on many blockbuster drugs is so high it makes the oil industry look timid.

In fact, a new group of studies that looked t 20 years of former studies suggested that the huge costs of many prescription drugs causes many patients to either cut back or stop taking drugs altogether. This, then, puts the patient's health at risk (naturally).

Specific examples cited were higher co-payments, monthly limits and benefit caps -- all of which were believed to have an effect on the rates of drug use. I'm sure that the pharmaceutical companies really do not want to have customers no longer taking their products -- so perhaps price changes are in order at some point for many of their products?

Lose those love handles!

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Can women have love handles? Or are they called "muffin tops" instead? Whatever you call it, that extra layer of flab so many of us have around the midsection just might be one of the most annoying fitness challenges -- especially during this season of skimpy clothes and skin-baring swimsuits. Getting rid of those stubborn deposits of chub is best achieved with a combination of eating right and exercising fairly intensely in both cardio and strength training regimens. iVillage has put together a workout plan specifically for saying bye-bye to love handles, so give it a shot and let us know how it turns out!

Salmonella recall due to tainted seasoning

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The recent recall of Veggie Booty snack foods has been apparently traced to tainted seasoning used on those products. Low and behold, the tainted seasoning was imported from China. Surprised?

Chinese food imports just keep on raking up one blunder after another, and this latest salmonella-tainted batch of Chinese imported seasoning is just the latest. The products, so far, have sickened dozens but has not caused any deaths.

So, the next time you buy anything at the grocery store, be sure and ask if it was made with imported Chinese ingredients. Sounds hokey, but it's only your health at stake. The only thing there is that retailers won't have a clue about the brands they carry, right?

Dangerous side effects to HPV vaccine

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vaccineOK, so maybe headaches, nausea and dizziness don't qualify as dangerous, but how about death?

Three girls have actually died after receiving the vaccination, and some were hospitalized with severe side effects.

It has also been previously reported that the vaccine, Gardasil, can cause infertility.

It really makes me question the judgment of the government officials who want to require this vaccine for all young girls. So maybe they could possibly be protected from cervical cancer, but at what expense?

How do you feel about the vaccine, its side effects and it being a mandatory vaccine for young girls?

Look 10 pounds slimmer this summer

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A good friend of mine is annoyingly slim, despite a diet that is high in chips and fried stuff and low in fruits and veggies. What's worse, when I tell her she's thin, she laughs it off and insists it's just that she has good posture. Hearing that always inspires me to sit up a bit straighter but I wonder -- can good posture make that much difference in how heavy you appear?

AOL certainly thinks so. They've published this article on how good posture can make you looks 10 pounds lighter and though I doubt good posture is the only reason my friend looks slim, I have to agree. Good posture can make a world of difference, in both how your body looks and how you are perceived. Afterall, confident people aren't usually slouchers.

So do like your mother said and sit up straight!

Egypt latest to suggest smoking ban

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Smoking bans continue unabated around the world as governments and public pressure are forcing the cessation of smoking (usually form cigarettes) in public places.

On the global roster, we can now count Egypt in as a country that is considering the banning of smoking. This is a country where hookahs and other water-pipe smoking activities are very popular, and as expected, the smoking ban proposals there are receiving a lukewarm response.

76 millions Egyptians smoke every year, so it's understandable that a proposed smoking ban is causing a bit of a stink there. Large amounts of traffic and stress in Cairo have lead to large numbers of smokers there, even though the country's parliament recently passed laws banning tobacco advertising and smoking in some public places. Will it get larger in Egypt? Probably, to the chagrin of smokers.

Got a sweet tooth but you're on a diet? How to have your cake and eat it too

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Whenever I've realized that I've let a few too many extra pounds creep up on me and decided that it's time to up the exercise and decrease the calorie intake, the one thing that I find I crave the most is gooey, sugary desserts. I know that cravings work differently for everyone, but for me it's not salty snacks I dream about, it's sweets.

While I realize that cutting out high-calorie foods with low nutritional value is what's necessary when trying to lose a few pounds, sometimes I just can't talk myself out of dessert. If you often find yourself feeling the same way, you may be interested to hear that "mini desserts", or desserts that are still full of calories but which are served in very small portions, were named by the National Food Association as the top food trend for 2007. This article about the delicious, bite-sized treats, lists some of the tastiest and where they're being served at restaurants across the country.

The great thing about mini-desserts is, if you don't live in any of the cities listed and can't visit the restaurants to try desserts recommended, you can still go out to your favorite eatery and order something delectable off the menu. You just have to remember to share with a friend or make sure to only eat a small portion on your own. The trick is having the will-power to stop at just a few bites and still feel satisfied.

Fitness is a top priority for soldier in Iraq

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In honour of Independence day and the troops that risk their lives for our freedom, here's an inspiring story from eDiets about a soldier in Iraq who takes time out his busy, frightening days to exercise.

When Sgt. Joe Chiarella arrived in Iraq, he was determined to keep in shape, and he and his fellow soldiers built a makeshift gym using spare plywood, old gear and sandbags. As the war continued, they found themselves constantly adding to their 'gym' by welding pieces together, upholstering their benches and giving their equipment a fresh coat of pain. Joe takes a little time out of every day to work in a workout, because he knows it's important to keep in shape.

A story like this kind of makes our excuses for not going to the gym a bit petty, don't you think?

Global warming causing health changes?

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Are the changes being brought on by global warming already affecting human health? That was the question up before more than a dozen Asian countries yesterday.

Flooding, drought, heat waves and other weather-related maladies (like mosquito-borne illnesses) are the topics at hand as these countries meet, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has even said that climate change has already directly or indirectly killed more than one million people since 2000.

Those are mighty harsh estimates to be honest, but with half that number happening in the PacRim area , the motive to plan for the fallout from more global weather effects is no small matter? Want more? How about urban air pollution killing more than 800,00 each year?

Asics Gel-Cardio Walking Shoes: Shoes for your health

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I don't think enough can be said when it comes to how important it is to have good shoes -- we've all seen the diagrams about how your feet affect the rest of your body and have the power to throw off your entire system if you don't care of them. And although finding good shoes isn't a hard thing to do for most people, what if you have special issues to consider like circulatory problems or diabetes?

In that case check out Asics Gel-Cardio shoes -- available in both men's and women's styles. Designed specifically for people looking to improve their cardiovascular health while dealing with special circulatory issues, the Asics Gel-Cardio shoes have a special Gel Cushioning system, extra deep toe box, Mono-Sock Fit System, bamboo charcoal lining, and are width specific for the ultimate fit, fewer blisters and chafing, and reduced odors. Plus they don't look like a typical orthopedic shoe -- they're actually pretty cute.

Via Gadling

Lowering blood pressure with chocolate

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Chocolate has been getting a lot of good press recently, as the antioxidant count and the effect the sweet concoction has on the body is generally very good. That is, eating the dark kind and not the milk chocolate kind that is filled with refined sugars and such.

Dark chocolate seems to lower blood pressure, according to a new study. The interesting thing here is that the amount eaten to see these effects is less than the amount of two Hershey's kisses added together. In other words, eating a very small portion of dark chocolate and seeing an effect on blood pressure seems a great idea for almost everyone, right?

If you are a chocolate fan, you probably already eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. If not, try some today and see what you think. After all, can't you just picture your blood pressure being lowered just reading this?