Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered - Postpartum workouts & Training while injured

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Have fitness questions? Fitz has your answer. Our ThatsFit.com 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. Hi Fitz, I am really happy to have found your website and I am really looking forward to you help. Now to try and keep my story short...I have two kids and a third arriving soon. I have been working out for a long time now and I really enjoy it. Usually I can go on my treadmill in the basement while the kids come down a play. But now with a new baby arriving that will make things more of a challenge. I need to be able to workout upstairs where the baby will be, so I can't really have something big like a treadmill or elliptical taking up the whole room. The two items I was debating between are a mini stepper or a set of three DVDs called Hip Hop Abs which is basically fast passed dancing. I am looking for some advice and help as to which option would be more beneficial to me. The stepper or dancing? I really do appreciate you taking the time to listen and help me with my problem. Many thanks, Aimee

A. Congratulations on your third child. Aimee. Wow! As if raising three kids wasn't a workout enough. Right? I only have two, and it requires tons of energy. Having said that, I don't think I'd survive Mommy-hood if I weren't exercising regularly. Not only to keep up my strength and stamina, but for the mental stress relief it provides.

I think you've got two great options with both the stepper and the videos, and they each offer unique benefits. The stepper offers a super challenging cardiovascular workout combined with a decent amount of leg work. The stepper would be great if you're the type of person who likes to watch your favorite show or zone out to some funky music while you train. I would recommend you incorporate some total body strength training if you choose the stepper though. The Hip Hop Abs video will provide you with a more well-rounded workout. Dancing requires lots of different body parts to engage, and the title leads me to believe that the series offers some sort of ab training along with the dancing. Not a bad idea for a postpartum woman. Not having seen these videos though, I don't know how intense this workout really is.

So, my question is......do you like to zone out while training? Or do you like to be totally involved? Want to burn a bazillion calories quickly? Go for the stepper. Want a well rounded moderately paced workout? Go with the dance videos. Sorry not to make the specific decision for you, but I believe that fitness training should be customized to the person doing it. Maybe you could pursue both? I wish you a painless labor, a healthy child, and fit future for you and your entire family! Fitz

Dear Fitz, I am a 24 year old female. I was recently in a car accident on February 28th of 2007 in which I broke my ankle. It will never be the same. I can only stand for short periods of time without having to sit back down. My current weight is 164lbs and I am 5' 8". I am 18 pounds heavier than I should be. I can't really do much working out because of my ankle. What do you suggest I do? I drink water all through out the day and don't consume much food high in calories or carbs. My weight doesn't go up, but it doesn't come down either. Please give me some advice. Thanks, Ashley

Continue reading Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered - Postpartum workouts & Training while injured

Celebrating a cancer comeback

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My last vivid memory of the beach dates back to March 2005, just after I was discharged from the hospital. I'd been hospitalized for five days for chemotherapy-induced low blood counts and a fever. It took antibiotics, a blood transfusion, and a lot of rest to help me recover, and I celebrated my homecoming with a family trip to the beach. I felt generally well for the duration of my ocean getaway, but I was weak. It took every ounce of my strength just to hold my hat and wig on my head when winds threatened to take it for a spin -- which it did on one occasion. Less than two weeks later, I was back in the hospital.

This past weekend, I was back at the beach. Now, I have a new vivid memory.

The weather was perfect, with temperatures ideal for running. The sand was a little sloped, a little soft, and a lot bumpy but I didn't mind. Equipped with my MP3 player and five of my favorite songs, I ran. And ran. When my songs ended, I turned around and ran back. I felt strong, alive, invincible. Later in the day, I ran again. I even did some sprinting. It was invigorating.

There are no visions of cancer that accompany this memory. No hospital stays. No wigs and hats. Just the way I like it.

Memories are powerful. So is the passage of time.
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Is football making you fat?

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Football is a sport that can burn a ton of calories. But guess what? That's only if you play it. If your idea of participating in a football game is wolfing down some beer and hot dogs while you cheer on your favourite team, chances are this 'sport' is making you fat.

Still, taking in a football game wouldn't be the same without the junk food. Here are some tips:
  • Compensate. If you know you're going to be indulging, get up early and head to the gym for a couple of hours before kick-off.
  • Remember, moderation is the key. A few cheesy nachos isn't so bad, but a few dozen will pack a calorie wallop.
  • Pick your battles. If the Pats are your favourite team, don't go crazy when it's the Seahawks vs. the Steelers. Save your partying for the Pats games.
  • Host the guys (or girls) at your house. When the game's on your home turf, you can make sure the snacks are healthy, or at least healthier.
  • Play it. Instead of always watching it from the couch, why not organize a game of pick-up in your backyard before or after the game?
How do you celebrate football season without ruining your diet?

Herbal-based sex pills could harbor hidden dangers

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Viagra has been around for quite some time as a sexual aid for men. But there are dangers with use that make the product not suitable for use by some.

As such, many herbal alternatives have been released and marketed to take advantage of this shortfall -- but they, too, could cause problems according to new research.

If you're on common heart and blood-pressure drugs, taking one of these herbal-based sex pills could lead to a stroke or even death, according to the research. Why? Well, these products may just contain unregulated versions of the very pharmaceuticals they are supposed to replace. Therein lies the wrinkle -- reactions inside that body that can lead to serious health consequences.

On sugar, kids, and diabetes

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I know sugar isn't good for my kids. That's why we don't keep heavy-duty forms of it in our house, why we limit our boys' intake when they're faced with the potential of sugar overload, why we're doling out Halloween candy slowly, bit by bit. At the rate we're going, it'll take all year before they consume it all -- that's if I don't trash it before the year's end. Sugar is always on my mommy mind. And I've always often wondered: Can kids develop diabetes from eating too much sugar?

No, according to an article about children with diabetes published recently in my city's Gainesville Parenting magazine. Apparently, the experts at the American Diabetic Association say no one really knows why some people have diabetes and other don't. Research shows it can be linked to genetics and lifestyle and dietary choices, but there's nothing conclusive about sugar causing the disease.

How about kids who have diabetes -- are they banned from sweets for all of time? If paired with exercise and a healthy diet, diabetic kids can have sweets just like any other kid. There are not any foods off limits for these kiddos, in fact. The key is moderation.

Since fruit is healthy, can diabetic kids eat as much as they like? Even though fruit is healthy, it contains lots of carbohydrates -- which turn into sugar -- so the American Diabetic Association recommends parents talk with their child's dietitian about how much fruit is safe.

What about insulin -- should it be used minimally since it can cause weight gain in diabetic kids? Studies show the benefit of managing glucose levels with insulin injections far outweighs the risk of putting on a few pounds.

For more information on diabetes, click here.

Early teen sex, less delinquency later

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Sex became a big topic in high school. Among my various groups of girlfriends, losing virginity was kept secret, whispered to a few trusted friends or more overtly shared. Virgins reacted with a flock of emotions ranging from excitement, moral disgust, envy, shock, happiness and even cynical judgment that the de-virginized were headed down a disastrous life path.

Well, a new study says teens who have sex at an early age may be less likely to engage in antisocial/delinquent behavior down the line, than teens who waited. Researchers examined surveys of 534 same-sex pairs of American twins, which immediately took genetic and socio-economic variables out of the mix. Results question the common assumption that early sex is associated with future delinquency. Rather, the study suggests early sex may even help teens form positive social relationships in early adulthood.

Hmmm -- taking a look at three girls I knew in high school -- the two who were sexually active before graduation were definitely less delinquent in early adulthood than the one who had her first sexual encounter in college!

Target seeks label change for red meat products

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Target wants to install new warning labels on meat products in its stores, according to requests from the retailer this week.

The country's second-largest discounter wants to inform customers that much of the packaged red meat in the grocery sections of its stores in fact do use the poisonous chemical carbon monoxide to keep that meat looking red and fresh.

Just like to toxic chemical sodium nitrite, carbon monoxide should be banned from all meat products sold anywhere in the U.S. But, the uninformed consumer would rather see that red meat rather than what is really is, which is dead, gray-colored meat. At least Target is making an effort here to educate its own customers. Kudos.

How to find the right diet: 6 tips

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These days, the desire for the perfect body is so strong that many are taken in by unhealthy or unsuccessful dieting schemes. And who can blame them -- with so many different diets that promise results, how do we choose the one that will work for us? Everyday Health has put together a list of six tips that you should follow when picking a weight-loss plan:
  • Choose a diet that reduces calories but doesn't cut out any one food group
  • As attractive as a no-exercise program sounds, it's not healthy and it won't work in the long run. Pick one that encourages moderate activity and offers tips.
  • Your diet should teach you long-term behavioural changes that you can keep up for the rest of your life. And it should be flexible enough to accommodate your cultural habits.
  • Choose a plan that offers slow, steady weight loss. Losing a bunch of weight in a hurry is very unhealthy, and chances are you'll just gain it all back.
  • A good plan will advise you to discuss with your doctor, and will carry a real doctor's seal of approval.
  • Your ideal diet will have a maintenance phase -- a plan that you can follow to keep the weight off in the long run.
Does your diet meet all of these criteria? If so, what plan do you follow?

Babies born a few weeks early have higher death risk

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U.S. researchers said this week that babies born just a few weeks early are highly at risk from dying during their first full week of life outside the womb.

In the research, premature newborns were pegged at six times more likely to die compared to newborn babies carried to full term, and three times as likely to die before their first birthday compared to that same group.

Premature babies are highly vulnerable to many things -- no doubt about that. But, these new figures are surprising to say the least. Three to six times as likely to die early just doesn't sit well. All nine months of that development would seem required, yes?

Should obese women be allowed to get IVF ?

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In Britain, a debate is raging over In Vitro Fertilization and obese women -- namely, women who are severely obese (with a BMI of 35 or higher) are being denied the treatment until they slim down. The reason? Being obese reduces a woman's chance of conceiving and it also poses health risks to both the fetus and the mother should the woman become pregnant. This would mean, for instance, that a 5'7 woman who weighed 225 lbs would be turned away.

What do you think about this decision? Is it right for the government to decide who should be allowed to have kids? I don't think so, but at the same time, someone with a BMI of 35 or higher is very obese -- it's not down to her being a bit fat; she is fatally overweight. Should we be expending valuable resources on someone who is so unhealthy?

(To calculate your BMI, click here)

Fibromyalgia pain helped by exercise

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The chronic and nerve-wracking pain of fibromyalgia is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. To those who have suffered (or who suffer) from chronic pain, daily life can seem like a constant struggle.

Researchers states this past Monday regular walks and stretching exercises were the best non-medical prescription for dealing with that kind of chronic pain, which effects many people but which also has no known cure.

Fibromyalgia is a condition of debilitating pain throughout the body, with a focus in the joints more often than not. Perhaps that is why movement (i.s., exercise) is a good remedy -- at least partial -- to that kind of pain.

Antioxidant levels in some foods

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We all know that antioxidants are good for us, and chances are we know which foods are higher in antioxidants (Hint: Veggies are higher in antioxidants than cheeseburgers, if you didn't know already), but do you know what the antioxidant levels are in certain foods? No? Well, here's a short list of the levels in some common veggies, according to this post:
  • Beets, Raw -- 2774
  • Spinach, raw -- 2640
  • Broccoli, raw -- 1590
  • Cabbage, raw -- 1359
  • Carrots, raw -- 1215
  • Red Onions, raw -- 1174
  • Red Peppers, raw -- 901
  • Cauliflower, raw -- 647
  • Green Peppers, raw -- 558
  • Tomato, raw -- 337
  • Snap Bean, raw -- 290
Wow, beets. Who knew? If you could put together a salad with all of these items for dinner tonight, you'd be whoopin' some free radical butts. What do you think?

This holiday season, make exercise a priority

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The holidays are a wonderful, magical time, but they're also chalk-full of stress, hurrying and general business. With everything going on, it can seem impossible to get some time to yourself, and your workout routine tends to go to the dogs. But with all the goodies you're probably eating, it's more important than ever to maintain a healthy routine. Courtesy of Glee Magazine, here are some tips for keeping fit during the festive season:
  • When you shop, plan to walk a lot. Park as far away form the entrance as you can, and park on the opposite end from the store you plan on going too. And a walk around the outside couldn't hurt either.
  • Write gym visits and fitness classes into you schedules and to-do-lists.
  • Forget cookie exchange -- why not exchange fitness DVDs? Then you're motivated to try some new workouts, and it doesn't matter how bad the weather is.
  • Cut down your own Christmas tree. A spend some quality family time together doing activities like sledding, skating and skiing.
How do you keep fit during the holidays?

Preschool math skills predict future success more than behavior

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In an intriguing study released this week, researchers from Northwestern University said that preschool math and reading skills are more important at predicting future academic success compared to behavioral issues and social skills.

This kind of debate has been fought for decades when it comes to proponents of private home schooling compared to public schooling. On one hand, one-on-one interaction can produce superior academic skills. The other produces superior social skills -- but which one is better for the overall future?

This study would seem to suggest that intellectual academics are better indicators to future learning ability rather than social skills or even the display of behavioral problems.

What's your take on this latest research?

Relax with some criminal mischief

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Hard work got you down? Feeling tired? Stressed out? Hmmm. Lots of us are. In response, most folks take a nap, get a massage, or check out a movie. My good friend Art Adkins took a different route for stress relief though. Instead of just chilling out, he wrote and published a book! Ever think of doing that? I thought it was a pretty cool concept.

Art is a Sergeant with the Gainesville Police Department in Florida and a former LAPD Sergeant as well. He's spent 27 long years in law enforcement and to him, creating a murder mystery involving the criminals and cases he's been involved in for decades became his escape. The Oasis Project is a clever and exciting tale of a family's murder and the secrets surrounding it. Art brings the case to life in the way that only a true law enforcement officer can do.

I'm impressed that in efforts to just relax, Art put his mind to work. Where many people choose TV time as the decompressor of choice, Art kind of took on a part time job. Is there something productive you can do when you're frazzled? Maybe you could quilt, scrapbook, write or woodwork. Maybe you can create some extra income for yourself while you're doing it too! The Oasis Project is not only a fun and exciting read, it's a little bit of motivation for the rest of us to do even better.

Continue reading Relax with some criminal mischief

Keeping your baby safe from household hazards

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It's almost a full-time job keeping an eye on that infant at home. He or she will get into anything, from hot water to household chemicals to dog food. In fact, the mental fortitude to baby-proof a house is enough to cause anyone stress.

But, it must be done. Household accidents involving young kids are easily preventable with a little planning and a lot of supervision.

It's very unfortunate that over 2,000 kids die each year as a result of unintentional home injury -- but that statistic should be a reminder to parents to be completely aware of anything and everything in the home that could injure a small child. The four largest: falls, baby walkers, unattended babies in carriers and suffocation.

World Diabetes Day

Today, November 14th, has officially been named World Diabetes Day. To help raise global awareness for this growing epidemic, several events are being held around the world. With over 195 countries participating, many well-known landmarks and monuments will be lit up with blue lights in recognition of World Diabetes Day.

Some of the more well-known sites include:

  • The Empire State Building
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer of Corcovado
  • CN Tower
  • Hopewell Center
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina
  • Rhine Tower
  • Moshe Aviv Tower
  • Tokyo Tower
  • London Eye
  • The Alamo
  • Prudential Building
  • Sears Tower

Show your support of World Diabetes Day!!

Health records rule could hurt medical research

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Are you concerned about the safety of your medical records as it relates to privacy? You should be -- medical records are among the most sensitive records there are.

So, it comes as no surprise to many of us that newer federal patient privacy rules are starting to affect medical research. Patients are becoming harder to recruit and their medical records are even tougher to gain access to.

Is this good or bad? If patients voluntarily know that they'll be part of medical research and give access to records after knowing of all the privacy implications, so be it. Is this generally the case, though?

Be your own weight

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More and more people are turning to resistance training as a way to tone-up and slim down. Whereas ten or more years ago many people were hesitant to lift weights (especially women), fearing that it would cause them to become too bulky, fortunately this myth, and others like it, have been dispelled, and people are getting the bodies they always wanted.

But, what about when you do not have access to weights? What do you then? Simple - you call yourself a liar! That's right, because for you to say that you don't have weights, in ANY situation, is an outright lie. Okay, so it's more like an oversight, but I'm just trying to build the drama a bit. Back to my point - you have weights with you at all times, because you always have your own body weight to provide you with resistance. How much do you weigh? Well, that's exactly how much weight can be found in your very personal gym.

Here are just a few great resistance exercises that need no other weight than that of your own body.

Push-Up. A classic upper-body muscle builder. Keep your hands just slightly further than shoulder width apart and your body in a rigid line. Slowly lower your upper body, by bending at the elbows, until your chest is about to come into contact with the floor. From there, explode upward by pressing against the floor. Plus, there are dozens of ways to modify this exercise, making it far more difficult and effective than it already is. My personal favorite is the spider-man push-up.

Pull-Up. This one requires that you at least have a safe and sturdy bar, pole, or whatever to hang from. It can be a jungle gym, pull-up bar, or anything else that you can maintain a firm grasp on. Start with your hands wider than shoulder width apart. Next, slowly lift your head toward the bar until your chin is higher. Once there, slowly lower your body until your arms are almost completely extend, repeating the movement from there. Again, there are many variations of the pull-up, including the horizontal pull-up.

Double Leg Tuck Jump. Basically, all you are really doing with this exercise is jumping in the air as high as you can and then tucking your knees against your chin. You complete the movement by letting go of your knees and landing safely to the ground. Sounds easy, doesn't it? It is ... for the first eight or so. After that, your heart feels like it is going to burst out of your chest and your legs feel like their on fire. Good stuff.

Thirty different names for sugar

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Did you know ethyl maltol is sugar? Sorbitol, dextran and diatase are sugar, too. Getting sugar out of your diet is more than just reading the label and looking for sugar, high fructose corn syrup, molasses or brown sugar. Sugar is everywhere, and it's important to familiarize yourself with the different names for sugar listed on packaging labels.

Ann Louise Gittleman identifies the culprits in her book, Get the Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet. Gittleman promises dodging sugar is the easiest way to stay slim for life. The book also offers 50 recipes -- like Gone Nutty Frozen Bananas -- for you to try. Following even a sprinkling of the 501 tips is sure to reduce the amount you currently ingest. Americans currently consume over 150 pounds of sugar per capita each year.

I've cut my candy/dessert consumption out almost entirely, but I find myself reaching for too many sugary foods like raisins or large sips from my kids' smoothies to undermine my goals. The chocolate mint truffle coffee creamer is especially enjoyable this time of year. But barley malt, I'm onto you. I know you're sugar, too.

Daily Fit Tip: Working in fitness

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We all know it can be difficult to sneak healthy practices into busy workdays and hectic schedules. Sometimes the chore of working out and eating right becomes so overwhelming we let these tasks fall off our priority lists. Ditching good nutrition and physical fitness is never a good idea, though, and with a renewed commitment and a little creativity, these routines can stay right where they belong - at the top of our to-do lists. Here's how:
  • Stash fiber-filled snacks like almonds and dried fruits in your desk drawer. Drop the same treats in your purse, briefcase, or car for days when you're on the go.
  • Carry a water bottle wherever you go. Sip on it throughout the day, especially when tempted by a trip to the soda machine.
  • Keep sneakers on hand for quick power walks during lunch.
  • Strategically place a few hand weights so you can grab them when the baby is sleeping, when the boss is out to lunch, when your kids are playing quietly on their own.
  • Drop a jump rope in the back of your car and jump your little heart out at rest stops during that long family car ride.
  • Don't forget the old stand-by exercises that require nothing but your trusty body. Think push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, and squats and do them wherever and whenever you get the chance.
For more ideas on how to work in fitness, check out this resource.

Eyeglasses help elderly citizens battle depression

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Depression is seen as pretty standard by caretakers in nursing homes and other areas where some elderly citizens live -- but trying to find ways not to contribute to that would be nice.

In that vein, new research from the U.S. this week concluded that correcting the vision of many nursing home residents would not only assist in elevating their quality of life, but would lower the risk of depression as well.

After

Diabetes: Are you at risk?

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November is American Diabetes Awareness Month, though it's important to recognize the impact of diabetes every month of the year, whether it affects you directly or not. Diabetes a reality for millions of people worldwide, and chances are, it could affect you too sooner or later -- especially if you're overweight or obese. Unfortunately, according to this article from Glee Magazine, diabetes often isn't noticed until it leads to health complications. That's why it's important to be aware.

If your blood sugar is higher than normal, you have a condition called Pre-Diabetes. But just because you don't have full-blown diabetes, doesn't mean you're safe; the majority of people with pre-diabetes will develop diabetes. Those few who don't have made significant healthy lifestyle changes.

So what can you do? The most important thing is to talk to your doctor. If you're over 45, you should be getting your blood sugar tested every three years. For more info, click here.

Goat testicles don't taste like eggs

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I know. Isn't this a disgusting topic? Blech. How do I know this information you wonder? Well, a few days ago I had the luxury of speaking with one of the coolest men on television, Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild star, Bear Grylls. Bear travels to the wildest locations around the world and teaches survival skills. So, just in case you get stranded in Antarctica some day......you'll know what to do.

Bear's complete interview will be featured in an upcoming Celebrity Fitzness Report here on ThatsFit.com, but in the interim I thought I'd share this fun information with you. A huge part of surviving in the wild is knowing what to eat and what not to eat. Bear discriminates against poisonous things, not disgusting things. Apparently neither should we.

This season he feasted on goat testicles. He was presented with them by some nomadic tribesman and contrary to Bear's initial projections, they did not taste like hard boiled eggs..................

Continue reading Goat testicles don't taste like eggs

Instead of junk food, try this!

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Junk food in tempting. It really is. We know it's not good for us, but tell that to our cravings. They want what they want and nutritional value plays no role in that. The best we can do is try to find a healthy alternative that will satisfy the cravings and keep us on track too. Mark's Daily Apple has some suggestions:
  • Instead of french fries, try homemade yam fries!
  • Instead of chips, try nuts
  • instead of ice cream, try frozen yogurt
  • Instead of candy bars, try dark chocolate
  • Instead of soda, try seltzer water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
For more suggestions, click here.

What's your favourite junk food alternative?

Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: The better to hear you with my dear

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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 and Thursday!

We all have the parent, grandparent or Great Aunt So & So that requires conversation to be at an unbearable decibel. They have the television blaring so loud you have to go outside just to hear yourself think. Well, bless their hearts, they don't even know it is loud, because they can barely hear it. We all have that relative, and we all hope we don't end up in that same situation. Well, the good news is that with proper nutrition, you can put the breaks on hearing loss.

A recent study shows promising results that folic acid can actually slow the hearing loss process. Folic acid helps lower homocysteine, which plays a role in some types of hearing loss. Folic acid may also actually boost the circulation of blood in key ear structures involved in age-related hearing loss. Many foods in the United States are fortified with folic acid, so a daily dose of 700 micrograms should do the trick. Be sure to stay under 1,000 micrograms as too much folic acid can result in a vitamin B12 deficiency. Eating foods high in vitamin C will assist the body in absorbing more folic acid.

Good Sources of Folic Acid
(also known as Folate, vitamin B9)
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Lima Beans
  • Soy Beans
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Oranges

Workplace Fitness: Stress relief for working women

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Working women: do you feel like you're expected to do it all? I'm a big believer in setting yourself up for success in life, meaning making a point to work everyday towards having the life you really want. And for some women that life does in fact mean doing it all and having it all. But along with that dream comes a slew of stress, which means that learning how to manage and relieve that stress is paramount to success in both the big long-term pictures and the small short-term every day ones.

Here are some suggestions
that may help if you find yourself struggling, and as always: feel free to share with us whatever works for you!
  • Manage your finances and allow yourself a few treats Many women tend to feel guilty about spending any money on themselves, but by setting aside a little every week or month to use on treating yourself to something fun and relaxing you can not only help relieve some of the stress from piling up but you'll have more energy and a better attitude to put towards work, your family, and all your daily tasks.

Continue reading Workplace Fitness: Stress relief for working women

How Many Calories... in a slice of pumpkin pie?

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The holidays are almost here! That means it's officially pumpkin pie season. It's strange, I get a craving for the taste of homemade pumpkin pie from November through January, and the rest of the year it sounds completely unappetizing to me. The pumpkin is healthy for you, but then we add all those ingredients that make it creamy and sweet, and a homemade crust . Is it still a healthy dessert?


View Poll

Continue reading How Many Calories... in a slice of pumpkin pie?

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Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered - Postpartum workouts & Training while injured

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Have fitness questions? Fitz has your answer. Our ThatsFit.com 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. Hi Fitz, I am really happy to have found your website and I am really looking forward to you help. Now to try and keep my story short...I have two kids and a third arriving soon. I have been working out for a long time now and I really enjoy it. Usually I can go on my treadmill in the basement while the kids come down a play. But now with a new baby arriving that will make things more of a challenge. I need to be able to workout upstairs where the baby will be, so I can't really have something big like a treadmill or elliptical taking up the whole room. The two items I was debating between are a mini stepper or a set of three DVDs called Hip Hop Abs which is basically fast passed dancing. I am looking for some advice and help as to which option would be more beneficial to me. The stepper or dancing? I really do appreciate you taking the time to listen and help me with my problem. Many thanks, Aimee

A. Congratulations on your third child. Aimee. Wow! As if raising three kids wasn't a workout enough. Right? I only have two, and it requires tons of energy. Having said that, I don't think I'd survive Mommy-hood if I weren't exercising regularly. Not only to keep up my strength and stamina, but for the mental stress relief it provides.

I think you've got two great options with both the stepper and the videos, and they each offer unique benefits. The stepper offers a super challenging cardiovascular workout combined with a decent amount of leg work. The stepper would be great if you're the type of person who likes to watch your favorite show or zone out to some funky music while you train. I would recommend you incorporate some total body strength training if you choose the stepper though. The Hip Hop Abs video will provide you with a more well-rounded workout. Dancing requires lots of different body parts to engage, and the title leads me to believe that the series offers some sort of ab training along with the dancing. Not a bad idea for a postpartum woman. Not having seen these videos though, I don't know how intense this workout really is.

So, my question is......do you like to zone out while training? Or do you like to be totally involved? Want to burn a bazillion calories quickly? Go for the stepper. Want a well rounded moderately paced workout? Go with the dance videos. Sorry not to make the specific decision for you, but I believe that fitness training should be customized to the person doing it. Maybe you could pursue both? I wish you a painless labor, a healthy child, and fit future for you and your entire family! Fitz

Dear Fitz, I am a 24 year old female. I was recently in a car accident on February 28th of 2007 in which I broke my ankle. It will never be the same. I can only stand for short periods of time without having to sit back down. My current weight is 164lbs and I am 5' 8". I am 18 pounds heavier than I should be. I can't really do much working out because of my ankle. What do you suggest I do? I drink water all through out the day and don't consume much food high in calories or carbs. My weight doesn't go up, but it doesn't come down either. Please give me some advice. Thanks, Ashley

Continue reading Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered - Postpartum workouts & Training while injured

Celebrating a cancer comeback

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My last vivid memory of the beach dates back to March 2005, just after I was discharged from the hospital. I'd been hospitalized for five days for chemotherapy-induced low blood counts and a fever. It took antibiotics, a blood transfusion, and a lot of rest to help me recover, and I celebrated my homecoming with a family trip to the beach. I felt generally well for the duration of my ocean getaway, but I was weak. It took every ounce of my strength just to hold my hat and wig on my head when winds threatened to take it for a spin -- which it did on one occasion. Less than two weeks later, I was back in the hospital.

This past weekend, I was back at the beach. Now, I have a new vivid memory.

The weather was perfect, with temperatures ideal for running. The sand was a little sloped, a little soft, and a lot bumpy but I didn't mind. Equipped with my MP3 player and five of my favorite songs, I ran. And ran. When my songs ended, I turned around and ran back. I felt strong, alive, invincible. Later in the day, I ran again. I even did some sprinting. It was invigorating.

There are no visions of cancer that accompany this memory. No hospital stays. No wigs and hats. Just the way I like it.

Memories are powerful. So is the passage of time.
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Target seeks label change for red meat products

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Target wants to install new warning labels on meat products in its stores, according to requests from the retailer this week.

The country's second-largest discounter wants to inform customers that much of the packaged red meat in the grocery sections of its stores in fact do use the poisonous chemical carbon monoxide to keep that meat looking red and fresh.

Just like to toxic chemical sodium nitrite, carbon monoxide should be banned from all meat products sold anywhere in the U.S. But, the uninformed consumer would rather see that red meat rather than what is really is, which is dead, gray-colored meat. At least Target is making an effort here to educate its own customers. Kudos.

Herbal-based sex pills could harbor hidden dangers

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Viagra has been around for quite some time as a sexual aid for men. But there are dangers with use that make the product not suitable for use by some.

As such, many herbal alternatives have been released and marketed to take advantage of this shortfall -- but they, too, could cause problems according to new research.

If you're on common heart and blood-pressure drugs, taking one of these herbal-based sex pills could lead to a stroke or even death, according to the research. Why? Well, these products may just contain unregulated versions of the very pharmaceuticals they are supposed to replace. Therein lies the wrinkle -- reactions inside that body that can lead to serious health consequences.

On sugar, kids, and diabetes

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I know sugar isn't good for my kids. That's why we don't keep heavy-duty forms of it in our house, why we limit our boys' intake when they're faced with the potential of sugar overload, why we're doling out Halloween candy slowly, bit by bit. At the rate we're going, it'll take all year before they consume it all -- that's if I don't trash it before the year's end. Sugar is always on my mommy mind. And I've always often wondered: Can kids develop diabetes from eating too much sugar?

No, according to an article about children with diabetes published recently in my city's Gainesville Parenting magazine. Apparently, the experts at the American Diabetic Association say no one really knows why some people have diabetes and other don't. Research shows it can be linked to genetics and lifestyle and dietary choices, but there's nothing conclusive about sugar causing the disease.

How about kids who have diabetes -- are they banned from sweets for all of time? If paired with exercise and a healthy diet, diabetic kids can have sweets just like any other kid. There are not any foods off limits for these kiddos, in fact. The key is moderation.

Since fruit is healthy, can diabetic kids eat as much as they like? Even though fruit is healthy, it contains lots of carbohydrates -- which turn into sugar -- so the American Diabetic Association recommends parents talk with their child's dietitian about how much fruit is safe.

What about insulin -- should it be used minimally since it can cause weight gain in diabetic kids? Studies show the benefit of managing glucose levels with insulin injections far outweighs the risk of putting on a few pounds.

For more information on diabetes, click here.

Early teen sex, less delinquency later

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Sex became a big topic in high school. Among my various groups of girlfriends, losing virginity was kept secret, whispered to a few trusted friends or more overtly shared. Virgins reacted with a flock of emotions ranging from excitement, moral disgust, envy, shock, happiness and even cynical judgment that the de-virginized were headed down a disastrous life path.

Well, a new study says teens who have sex at an early age may be less likely to engage in antisocial/delinquent behavior down the line, than teens who waited. Researchers examined surveys of 534 same-sex pairs of American twins, which immediately took genetic and socio-economic variables out of the mix. Results question the common assumption that early sex is associated with future delinquency. Rather, the study suggests early sex may even help teens form positive social relationships in early adulthood.

Hmmm -- taking a look at three girls I knew in high school -- the two who were sexually active before graduation were definitely less delinquent in early adulthood than the one who had her first sexual encounter in college!

Is football making you fat?

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Football is a sport that can burn a ton of calories. But guess what? That's only if you play it. If your idea of participating in a football game is wolfing down some beer and hot dogs while you cheer on your favourite team, chances are this 'sport' is making you fat.

Still, taking in a football game wouldn't be the same without the junk food. Here are some tips:
  • Compensate. If you know you're going to be indulging, get up early and head to the gym for a couple of hours before kick-off.
  • Remember, moderation is the key. A few cheesy nachos isn't so bad, but a few dozen will pack a calorie wallop.
  • Pick your battles. If the Pats are your favourite team, don't go crazy when it's the Seahawks vs. the Steelers. Save your partying for the Pats games.
  • Host the guys (or girls) at your house. When the game's on your home turf, you can make sure the snacks are healthy, or at least healthier.
  • Play it. Instead of always watching it from the couch, why not organize a game of pick-up in your backyard before or after the game?
How do you celebrate football season without ruining your diet?

How to find the right diet: 6 tips

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These days, the desire for the perfect body is so strong that many are taken in by unhealthy or unsuccessful dieting schemes. And who can blame them -- with so many different diets that promise results, how do we choose the one that will work for us? Everyday Health has put together a list of six tips that you should follow when picking a weight-loss plan:
  • Choose a diet that reduces calories but doesn't cut out any one food group
  • As attractive as a no-exercise program sounds, it's not healthy and it won't work in the long run. Pick one that encourages moderate activity and offers tips.
  • Your diet should teach you long-term behavioural changes that you can keep up for the rest of your life. And it should be flexible enough to accommodate your cultural habits.
  • Choose a plan that offers slow, steady weight loss. Losing a bunch of weight in a hurry is very unhealthy, and chances are you'll just gain it all back.
  • A good plan will advise you to discuss with your doctor, and will carry a real doctor's seal of approval.
  • Your ideal diet will have a maintenance phase -- a plan that you can follow to keep the weight off in the long run.
Does your diet meet all of these criteria? If so, what plan do you follow?

Babies born a few weeks early have higher death risk

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U.S. researchers said this week that babies born just a few weeks early are highly at risk from dying during their first full week of life outside the womb.

In the research, premature newborns were pegged at six times more likely to die compared to newborn babies carried to full term, and three times as likely to die before their first birthday compared to that same group.

Premature babies are highly vulnerable to many things -- no doubt about that. But, these new figures are surprising to say the least. Three to six times as likely to die early just doesn't sit well. All nine months of that development would seem required, yes?

Fibromyalgia pain helped by exercise

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The chronic and nerve-wracking pain of fibromyalgia is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. To those who have suffered (or who suffer) from chronic pain, daily life can seem like a constant struggle.

Researchers states this past Monday regular walks and stretching exercises were the best non-medical prescription for dealing with that kind of chronic pain, which effects many people but which also has no known cure.

Fibromyalgia is a condition of debilitating pain throughout the body, with a focus in the joints more often than not. Perhaps that is why movement (i.s., exercise) is a good remedy -- at least partial -- to that kind of pain.

This holiday season, make exercise a priority

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The holidays are a wonderful, magical time, but they're also chalk-full of stress, hurrying and general business. With everything going on, it can seem impossible to get some time to yourself, and your workout routine tends to go to the dogs. But with all the goodies you're probably eating, it's more important than ever to maintain a healthy routine. Courtesy of Glee Magazine, here are some tips for keeping fit during the festive season:
  • When you shop, plan to walk a lot. Park as far away form the entrance as you can, and park on the opposite end from the store you plan on going too. And a walk around the outside couldn't hurt either.
  • Write gym visits and fitness classes into you schedules and to-do-lists.
  • Forget cookie exchange -- why not exchange fitness DVDs? Then you're motivated to try some new workouts, and it doesn't matter how bad the weather is.
  • Cut down your own Christmas tree. A spend some quality family time together doing activities like sledding, skating and skiing.
How do you keep fit during the holidays?