Thursday, 9 August 2007

Daily Fit Tip: Save money while you diet

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The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but that doesn't mean you need to follow the crowds and spend money on dieting advice and products you don't mean. After all, if you're eating less, you should be saving money, right? Here are some tips from eDiets on how to save money while dieting:
  • Eat in, not out. It saves money and you can keep track of what goes in to your food
  • Bring your healthy lunch to work
  • Buy bulk, as long as it is a non-perishable item
  • But be sure to compare the unit pricing. Sometimes the larger size isn't a better deal.
  • Cook extra and freeze what's leftover for a convenient meal
  • Make your own pre-packaged snacks, and make them healthy ones like nuts or raisins
  • Substitute ingredients. If you don't have one, don't go out and buy it -- use something else
  • Buy the cheaper cut of meat and throw it in the slow cooker to make it tender
For some more great tips, check out the original article. Do you have any tips to add?

The Daily Turn On! Let your fingers do the talking

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Life is too short not to be fully "tuned in." The Daily Turn On! is designed to wake up your senses, all six of them: smell, taste, touch, hearing, sight and intuition! Everyday The Daily Turn On! with That's Fit Life Fit expert Laura Lewis will awaken your mind, your body and your life!

Did you know ... Touch is one of the most effective pain relievers. Touch triggers the release of the brain's endogenous, analgesic endorphins that are more powerful than any drug.

The power of touch far exceeds its power over pain. Touches communicates to the very core of the soul. A hug releases stress, creates a sense of security and partnership. A hug or a held hand communicates partnership which provides confidence and strength. Touch communicates love, friendship, kindness and calmness.

Try it out ... Get in the habit of touch. Massage your pet, your partner, your friends and even yourself. Don't talk just touch, and notice the level of communication you experience with that person.

Observe the experience ... Do you feel more connected? Is there a kinder sense of reciprocity? A deeper level of love. Share your ideas and experiences!

Awaken your sense and touch a soul.

Turn On your senses ... live a fit life!
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Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: Get fit, stay fit

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Life Fit Chat with That's Fit Life Fit Expert Laura Lewis brings conversation provoking tidbits to your table, served up with a touch of spice! Byte-sized information that pack some punch, brought to you every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!

Did you know ...
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, working out cardiovascularly three times per week for twenty to sixty minutes is adequate to maintain optimal health. To improve health, a regime that includes cardio, resistance, and flexibility exercises should be performed four to five times per week. Over-training will result in excess fatigue, muscle tissue breakdown, a weakened immune system and frazzled nerves.

Try it out ... What gets you motivated? What keeps you motivated? What are your cardio workouts? Salsa dancing, ballroom, hip-hop? Share your ideas!

Action Tips ...
  • Choose a cardio activity you will enjoy.
  • Stop if you feel dizzy or uncomfortable at any time.
  • Begin with small increments such as walking and add five to ten minutes each week to increase stamina. Stabilize your aerobic routine at between twenty and sixty minutes, three to five times per week.
  • Once you are "fit," and you desire to boost your fat burning, try interval training. Walk for five minutes; run for one to three minutes. Alternate intensity. This will give your metabolism a real kick in the derriere!
  • Maintain your target heart rate.
  • Drink one cup of pure, room-temperature water fifteen to thirty minutes before exercising. Drink plenty of water throughout the workout, as well as throughout the day.

Celebrity Fitzness Report: Alicia Minshew of All My Children

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Curious to know how celebrities squeeze fitness into their daily lives? Want to know the secrets of the stars? Bi-weekly our That's Fit fitness expert Fitz sits down with the celebs we want to know more about, and digs out their great and not-so-great methods to staying healthy.

This week's featured celeb is Alicia Minshew of All My Children. She's been on the show since 2002, and plays Erica Kane's daughter (Erica Kane is played by the legendary soap star Susan Lucci). I want to tell you all what a true delight Alicia is. I've spent many days with a variety of celebrities, but Alicia sounds more like one of my silly girlfriends from college than a gorgeous star who graces daytime television five days a week. She's bubbly, sweet and totally down to earth. She's definitely someone fun to hang out with, I'm sure.

Alicia truly takes her health to heart. I believe her fabulous physique is merely a side effect of her dedication to healthy living. She's just launched her first instructional workout programs which you can check out at, and I'm expecting them to be just as captivating as she is.

Fitz: Tell me about your fitness routine.

Alicia: To stay fit, I work out with my trainer, Louis Corragio two to three times a week. We do light weights, Pilates, and yoga. I also run about four miles once or twice a week. If I can't train, I do some light weights and stretches in my dressing room! Gotta keep moving!

Fitz: What's on your mp3 player?

Alicia: I have a bit of everything! Green Day, Guns-N-Roses, Justin Timberlake, David Gray, Moby...quite a mix!

Continue reading Celebrity Fitzness Report: Alicia Minshew of All My Children

Walk this way: Tips on the perfect technique

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Walking, once the less exciting counterpart to the calorie-burning machine that is running, has really been getting its due lately. Just like jogging or running, it's cheap (once you've bought your shoes, the rest is free) and can be done anywhere including in the gym on a treadmill, in the mall during terrible weather or in the great outdoors. But it boasts the added benefit of not being too hard on your joints. And while it may not burn as many calories as running, it's still a good tool for weight loss. In fact, Bethany Sanders recently posted on the new show Fat March, where a group of obese adults drop pounds by walking across America.

If you're new to the walking scene and need a few tips, Martha Edwards wrote recently on some important Dos and Donts, and you can also look here for even more tips. They include standing up straight because good posture helps prevent back, shoulder and neck strain, taking shorter, faster steps rather than long strides to keep tired muscles and shin pain at bay and making sure to keep the pace, as a slow stroll chatting with buddies isn't going to do much good.

For more information on the tips mentioned as well as additional pointers, take a look here.

Ask these questions at your next check-up

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I don't think anyone enjoys their yearly check-up. In fact, I know some people who skip it altogether, which is, of course, a terrible idea. Sure getting a pap smear is anything but fun but neither is fighting an uphill battle against cervical cancer. While there are a number of standard tests that your doctor will perform during a yearly exam, there may be other questions that you should be asking.

This guide gives details on important stuff not to forget at you next check-up with respect to every region of your body including head, heart, chest, pelvic area, skin, blood and bones. Things not to forget include whether or not to take an aspirin daily (heart), if a sinus headache could really be a migraine (head), whether you've got dense breasts (chest), if your skin type affects your risk for skin cancer (skin), whether or not you should take the HPV vaccine (pelvis), whether you're at risk for blood clots (blood) and how much calcium you really need (bones).

Lots more questions are included and while they're not all applicable to every person, it might be a good idea to take a look and see if any apply to you before your next visit to the doctor.

Got great friends? It's in your genes!

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The old saying goes that to have a friend you need to be a friend, but according to this new research, friendship may actually lie in the genes. By comparing the friendships of identical twins (who share identical genes) and fraternal twins (who don't), researchers found that genetic make up seems to play a part in choosing friends. Identical twins were much more likely to report choosing similar types of friends than fraternal twins. Between the ages of 8 and 11, genes seemed to influence friendships by about 30%, edging up to 50% as people near adulthood.

Is this information important? Probably not. I find, as an adult, I seek out people with whom I feel a connection; whether that's genetic or not doesn't make a difference to me. On the other hand, this study may add fuel to your teenager's fire when you argue over his or her choice of friends! What do you think?

Tips on looking great even when it's hot out

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While the gorgeous summer weather took a turn for the worse where I live today (cool and rainy after a month of solid sunshine), until now it has been hot, hot, hot and I know it will heat up again pretty quick. On super warm and humid days, it can be really tough to look good.

You can do your best to stay pretty sitting on a patio, out at a music festival or whatever fun outdoor locale or event you may wind up at, but often no matter how much time you spend beautifying indoors beforehand, once you head out the door your hair frizzes, you sweat though your clothes and your make-up melts. Not a pretty picture.

If you want to look your best all summer long, try out some of the products listed here. They include a leave-in conditioner to tame pouffey, out-of-control curls, lotion and blotting tissue for overly-oily skin, peppermint foot spray for sweaty, stinky feet and eye make-up that won't run down your face. Just because it's hot out doesn't mean you can't look cool.

Gabby Reece is superwoman, even while pregnant

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gabrielle reeceIn a lineup of people who loooove Gabrielle Reece, I probably stand somewhere just behind her husband Laird and her kids. She's an amazing athlete, hotter than the sun, and she gives straight-up fitness advice without pulling punches. As Parentdish reports, at five months pregnant she still manages to stay on the pro volleyball circuit and put in time as a Today show correspondent. Her mortal hubby says, "She's feeling good, training hard, working out like an animal."

Normally I might kinda resent women who can do it all while pregnant, but she's so fierce and, well, hot, I can't help but adore her even more. Why do I get the feeling she could deliver her baby on the volleyball court and still find a way to fit in a workout? Go Gabby, go!

Prevention could save 100,000 lives a year

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The Partnership for Prevention recently released findings that outlined five preventative health services and actions that could save over 100,000 lives a year, a study that was partially funded by the CDC. The services include:
  • taking one low-dose aspirin every day,: 45,000 lives per year
  • advising smokers to quit, and offering treatment options to do so: 42,000 lives per year
  • regular screening for colorectal cancer for those 50 and over: 14,000 lives per year
  • getting a regular flu shot: 12,000 per year
  • regular breast cancer screenings for women over 40: 4,000 lives per year
The next step is funding for programs that will educate the public and to reach those who fall into the gaps. For instance, the study found that Hispanic smokers are over 50% less likely to get help quitting and that Asian Americans are less likely than other groups to get preventative health screenings or take aspirin.

You don't have to wait for program to develop to take action. Take the list with you the next time you visit your doctor and make sure you're protecting your health to the fullest!

What does hypoallergenic mean?

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For someone with sensitive skin, hypoallergenic products can mean the difference between clean skin and a horrible rash. But just what makes a product hypoallergenic, and how is it so different from non-hypoallergenic?

According to this article, the term hypoallergenic might be nothing more than a clever marketing ploy. Currently, the FDA has no regulation as to what properties an item has to have to be considered hypoallergenic. Furthermore, nothing is truly hypoallergenic, since anything can have an adverse effect on someone with an extreme sensitivity. And since the use of many harsh chemicals have been discontinues in cosmetics, non-hypoallergenic products might be just as gentle as hypoallergenic.

What do you think -- is it a marketing gimmick, or do you swear by your hypoallergenic cosmetics?

Portable, affordable steam therapy

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Steam therapy can do wonders for your skin, and is also a great way to relax. However, a nice steam is hard to come by -- and even when you do find it, the treatment can be a little pricey.

But that was before the Compact Sauna. Not only will this fit in your house, it's collapsible -- allowing you to fold it up and tuck it away when you're not using it. It apparently only takes 6 minutes to set up, can get as hot as 115 degrees, and will run off a standard electrical outlet. Awesome!

And, while it's not the most inexpensive thing you'll ever buy -- at only $340, you don't have to be filthy rich to enjoy a little luxury in the comfort of your own home.

Mandatory fast food calorie counts...

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Obesity is a growing epidemic in North America and someone needs to be held responsible for all the available fast food. I know that personal responsibility is an obvious option, however, fast food is just that -fast, cheap and easy to justify. So if the health board decides to make a Big Mac or a Whopper a bit less desirable -then all the power to them.

I realize we have become a fast food nation, but with baby steps, I think the general public could be swayed from eating their way into numerous health problems. And the idea of displaying calorie counts in bold numbers right beside the food item in a fast food restaurant would certainly deter me from ordering. I also think that it would force the fast food industry to shape up and offer a few more healthy choices.

If it is the fear of making an eyesore of the menu, I think that is a small price to pay -- what do you think?

Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross

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Johnson & Johnson has filed a lawsuit against the American Red Cross over use of the famous "red cross" symbol they have both shared for the last 100 years or so. Why the sudden change of heart? Apparently the Red Cross has started selling products at retail establishments (things like medical gloves, humidifiers, nail clippers, bandaids, toothbrushes, etc) and so suddenly the two companies are competing in an area they hadn't before. In the lawsuit J&J says they've been using the red cross symbol since 1887, well before the American Red Cross came into existence, on products of a similar and directly competing nature. They essentially want the Red Cross to cease and desist, and hand over all profits they've made so far.

I have to side with J&J on this one, if simply because they did have the symbol first. But can't we all just get along? Isn't there a happy medium where both companies can get what they want?

Surgery stop sweating condition in its tracks

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When you're working out, sweating is just a fact of life. But a condition that causes some to sweat continuously and excessively under the arms -- called focal axillary hyperhidrosis -- can be embarrassing and difficult to manage.

A new surgical procedure that is similar to liposuction has given some patients relief, however, and may be the answer to sufferers of this condition. The procedure involves inserting a cannula under the skin and removing the sweat glands from the arm pit area. Participants in the study reported a drastically improved quality of life and sweat reduction of 75%, and over all, 3/4 of patients were very happy with the surgery. No word on whether the procedure is generally available yet, but might be worth mentioning to you doctor if you suffer from this condition.

9 reasons the weight's not coming off

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Have you been dieting, and cutting calories and fat for ages but you haven't lost any weight? It happens to the best of us and it's incredibly frustrating. Often we don't realize that habits which don't seem to relate to food can result in weight gain, and that foods which seem healthy, may not actually be all that great. If you can't seem to downsize, consider these 9 potential culprits:

  • Stress - Stress makes the body release a hormone that causes fat to build-up around the abdomen.
  • Labels - Light, low-fat and fat-free don't necessarily mean 'healthy' and could be full of sugar and calories.
  • Hunger - If you eat for any reason other than actual hunger, you may be eating stuff you can't burn off.
  • Booze - Alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories AND your body burns off alcohol before anything else.
  • Sleep - If you're tired it throws specific hormones off-balance resulting in false feelings of hunger.
  • Exercise - Exercise is essential for weight loss but too much will only make you feel hungrier.
  • Work - Those who spend more time at their desk exercise less and eat more high-fat and high-sugar foods.
  • Partners - When comfort levels go up, healthy eating, exercise and a tight body can go out the window
  • Protein - It is OK to eat carbs, but protein keeps you feeling full so you need to balance the two.

For more information on all of the causes listed above, as well as tips on how to fix them, take a look at the article in its entirety here.

Gwen Stefani is neurotic about her diet

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According to this article, Gwen Stefani is very neurotic about her looks and the size of her body because she was a chubby child. By the looks of her, I can tell she takes puts a lot of energy into her looks -- she is quite slim and always dressed fashionably, even if she's just out for a stroll. Staying fit and looking good is a top priority to her and she obviously puts a lot of time into it.

But she's trying to get past these issues, as Fitsugar has pointed out. She's even considering bulking up, because according to her, "it's such a waste of time. And people like me whether I'm a little bit fatter or not."

What do you think? Will Gwen be popular at any size, or is being ultra thin and fashionable too important when you're a celebrity?

Slow down and enjoy: Why not to rush a meal

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I recently read and posted on an article I really enjoyed about a writer who learned how to eat right, appreciate delicious and healthy food and NOT put on weight during a summer spent in the Mediterranean. One of the things the author mentions is that meals in Greece take longer, meaning she ate slowly and was really able to enjoy the flavors in the food, and also realize that she was full before scarfing down way too much tzatziki, spanakopita and moussaka.

After reading that piece, this post by Marisa McClellan at Slashfood about an entire article that extols the many virtues of eating slowly, really piqued my interest. In addition to helping you lose weight through consuming fewer calories (if you eat slower, you eat less!) and allowing you to really enjoy your meal, the piece says that taking your time when eating leads to improved digestion (you chew your food more thoroughly), helps lower stress (concentrating on your food keeps you from thinking of everything else you've got going on) and lets you rebel against fast food (if you're willing to spend time on a meal, you're more likely to spend it on a good one).

It may take some practice, especially for those who grew up in big families where eating slowly meant having your food snapped up by a hungry sibling, but all of the reasons listed in the article make it sound like taking 30 minutes out of your day to enjoy a meal is totally worthwhile.

Allergy-free recipes, at your fingertips!

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If you or someone in your family has food allergies, then you know that cooking meals that everyone can enjoy can be a little tricky sometimes. If you're looking for allergen-free and tasty recipes, check out Cooking Allergy Free. Chock full of tasty looking recipes, Cooking Allergy Free allows you to create a unique user account where you can identify the ingredients you want to avoid. Then, when you search for recipes, the site will automatically identify those that are safe or unfriendly.

To date, their database includes 77 allergens and over 300 recipes. You can add your own tasty dishes, and like other popular cooking sites, you can save the recipes you like to a virtual cookbook. We don't have any food allergies in our family, but I still may have to try out a few of their recipes!

Little Black Book helps you track your eating habits

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I've tried many methods of food journaling: FitDay, an Excel spreadsheet, making my own charts, etc. I've finally found that what works best for me is a notebook I keep on my kitchen counter. It's not professional, but it works for jotting down meals as I eat them and keeping track of my calories (when I'm counting them). The problem with this method is that I can't take it with me when I go out, and on busy days that means I'm not tracking what I'm eating.

The Little Black Books seems to be the answer to that problem. It's a nicely organized little food journal in an attractive case the looks easy to slip into a pocket, purse, or briefcase. For a small little package, there's a lot here; you can record Weight Watchers points, calories, dairy, protein, grains, water intake, etc. In fact, there's so much here, it may actually be too much for me, since I only monitor calories. But if you're looking for a portable way to track what and how much you're eating each day, Little Black Book may be the thing for you. The book sells for about $20, and you can visit Starling Fitness for a full review.