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My Body, Myself: Loving the Skin You're In


Editor's Note: Glennon Doyle Melton is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Carry On, Warrior, and founder of the online community Momastery.com.

I want to make peace with my body. I want to love it. I don't mean that I want to improve my body and then love it. I don't want to weight train it into submission or lotion away my cellulite or train for a triathlon. I know these efforts are healthy for some people, but to me, too much improvement just feels like more war.
 
I'm nearing 40 and that seems about time to get over believing that I'm not good enough yet. It's probably time to accept that the people telling me I'm not good enough are all trying to sell me something. A revolutionary workout! Miraculous cream! A new juicer! Improved cross-trainers! I have a friend who's always running. Running, running, running like she's trying to escape from something. Aging, maybe? Death? She runs for the same reasons I write, I guess. She tried to get me to jog with her recently by saying, "G, every mile you run adds five minutes to your life." No thank you, I said. I'm not a mathematician, but I'd rather have 12 more minutes now than five extra minutes when I'm 90. 
Posted 11/19/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   6,180 views
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How Healthy Is Your Home?


True or False?
Cross-contamination with salmonella, E.coli and other bacteria isn't only a worry when handling meat. It can occur when preparing fruits or vegetables too. 

Answer: True. The grocery store's misting system can contaminate produce with dirt and bacteria that grow in the spouts, says biotechnology scientist Stuart Reeves, Ph.D., director of research and development at Embria Health Sciences. One study found that only seventeen precent of consumers wash cutting boards after slicing each vegetable, upping the odds of items becoming tainted and your family getting food poisoning. Wash your hands, cutting board and knives with a Lysol No-Touch Kitchen System (major retailers, starter kit $10). 
Posted 11/12/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   5,521 views
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Your Weekly Plan for Better Health


Sure, you should always be thinking about improving your health. But some times of the week deserve a little more attention than others. Here's why.

Mondays You Should: Get Moving

Research shows that a heart attack is more likely at the start of the work week, possibly due to increased stress levels. Counter this with a 30-minute morning session of moderate-intensity cardio (like a bike ride). It's been found to quell anxiety, even when you're facing a tough task later in the day. 
Posted 10/29/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   7,548 views
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The Best Beauty Products Under $50


All the hair, makeup and skincare picks that will get you gorgeous on the cheap. The best part? They start at just $3. 

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PHD), $26. A styling solution that smooths frizz and adds fullness. 
Posted 10/22/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 13 comments   7,634 views
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The Secret Life of Boys


Often we talk about girls and the complexities of their friendships—I wrote a whole book about them that inspired the movie Mean Girls. But with boys, we usually assume their camaraderie lacks the same intricacies that make them feel pressured and confused. In reality, your son's relationships have similar challenges. What's more, understanding the role he plays within his friendship group is critical. Your insight will help him stay true to himself and create the support system he needs to get through life.

Within any one group, most boys have a three- to five-guy inner circle. Then there are a few more guys they associate with but are not close to. Boys have assured me that these roles can be found in every group, regardless of social status. The boys I interviewed and I came up with the following list to describe these roles: Mastermind, Associate, Bouncer, Entertainer, Fly, Conscience, Punching Bag and Champion.
 
What's important to know is that the roles emerge when there's conflict in the group. Conflicts don't always mean big arguments. They could be over simple things like where to eat lunch or which movie to see. But they're inevitable. And you will rarely be around to see them—so understanding what happens in these tense moments is key. But it doesn't mean that your son behaves like this all the time, that these boys aren't good friends or that they don't care about one another. 
Posted 10/15/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   6,772 views
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The Truth about Breast Cancer


Whether you keep up with the daily news using an app or by watching TV, chances are you pay close attention to whatever pops up about breast cancer. And if you sometimes find yourself confused by what you read or hear, you're not alone. "Reports on breast cancer studies often lack balance or context, which may make it hard for a woman to know what it all means for her," says Lisa Schwartz, M.D., codirector of the Center for Medicine and the Media at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Hanover, New Hampshire. To help make sense of the latest headlines, we asked the pros to rate them for accuracy and to set the record straight. Their clear explanations and advice will empower you not just to understand but also to outsmart this perilous disease. 
Posted 10/8/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 10 comments   6,743 views
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9 Ways to Conquer Emotional Eating


"When I get stressed out, I can polish off a dozen Munchkins in no time flat," admits Jennifer, 37, a New Jersey mom of four. Pressure is at its worst when her husband travels for business. The housework piles up, the kids want more attention, she's exhausted and suddenly the sweet stuff becomes irresistible. "I eat things I don't even like," she confesses. "That's how bad it gets."

When we use food to dull our anger, sadness or anxiety, most of us reach for calorie bombs loaded with sugar, carbs, fat and salt. Not only do they remind us of good times (think: birthday cake, movie theater popcorn) but they also stimulate our brain's reward system. At that very moment it feels so good. Then our bad mood returns—with a side of guilt. And over time you need to consume even bigger amounts of those junk foods to get the same pleasurable feeling, just like chasing a high with other addictions, says recent research. But there's a way to break the cycle. 
Posted 10/1/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   13,835 views
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Adult Acne: 6 Common Concerns, Answered!


Acne isn't just a teenage problem. In fact, 25% of women in their 40s and beyond experience breakouts. Banish blemishes for good with our spot-on advice from NYC-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D.
 
Is there a right way to wash your face?

Dr. Engelman: Over-cleansing can irritate blemishes and dry out your skin. Wash twice daily with a gentle but effective cleanser that contains 2% salicylic acid. This will lightly exfoliate skin and open up pores, which can prevent future breakouts.

Editor's product pick: Bioré blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, $8 The tingling, cooling sensation refreshes skin. 
Posted 9/24/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   7,062 views
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6 Ways to Beat Teen Stress


For Amy Scheibe, tolerating meltdowns didn't end after her son, Bo, graduated from toddlerhood. When he was 10 years old, he started having serious fits of screaming and sobbing that he wasn't good enough for his parents. After one particularly bad incident, she and Bo ended up cuddled on the couch, where he finally admitted that he missed the way things used to be. "You don't tickle me anymore," he said. Turns out Bo was simply going through a typical—but stressful—developmental hurdle: the desire to become more independent while still yearning for a little parental hand-holding.
 
In the years leading up to and during puberty, hormonal surges are a lot like biological fireworks, skyrocketing even little problems into big explosions. And your kid has no idea how to handle them. In fact, research suggests the region of the brain involved in planning, organizing and making decisions—all things that help us cope with stress—is still developing during puberty. That's why we shouldn't expect kids to always have the best judgment or react to pressure well. But they can learn the best way to address and manage it.

Check out these six common tween and teen stressors—submitted from real moms via e-mail and Facebook—and smart ways to overcome them.
Posted 9/17/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   7,769 views
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The Best Health Advice from Doctor Moms


There's a doctor in the house! Thirteen to be exact. And these women are about to give you their personal prescriptions for beating stress, eating smart and keeping yourself (and your families) healthy.

Alexe Page, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgeon with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, California

I keep my kids healthy by...
making sure my teenaged son and daughter drink skim milk at breakfast and dinner. Teen girls especially need calcium because they build peak bone mass by age 20.

When I need to de-stress...
I do Sudoku. 
Posted 9/10/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   5,924 views
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Everything Parents Need to Know about Concussions


Maybe you know someone whose teenager has suffered a brain injury playing sports—a colleague at work, the neighbor down the block, your BFF from college. Would you recognize the signs if your child had a concussion? What you don't know could hurt him.
 
Sports-and recreation-related brain injuries have led to a 60% increase in ER visits among kids 19 and younger over the last decade. Test your knowledge of concussions. Take our quiz. 
Posted 9/3/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   7,206 views
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How to Prevent a Migraine


Keeping the same bedtime, eating regular meals and caffeinating consistently can help. Follow these steps for a pain-free day.
 
6:30 a.m. Take a Brisk Walk

Regularly working out can relieve stress (a trigger for three-quarters of all sufferers) and stabilize the chemicals in your brain. One 2011 study found that people who performed aerobic exercise three times a week experienced a 93% reduction in migraine attacks. If physical activity is a trigger for you, talk to your doctor about popping a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like the prescription indomethacin, before your workout. 
Posted 8/27/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 10 comments   9,617 views
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10 Steps to a Clutter Free Home


Keep countertops free of items that don't belong there. Sort and file mail every day and hang up garments after taking them off. Encourage your kids to do the same with their clothes and toys, says Regina Leeds, author of One Year to an Organized Life.
 
Spend Just a Few Minutes a Day Decluttering

Brooks Palmer, author of Clutter Busting, suggests setting a timer for at least 15 minutes to help you keep disorder in check. "Start small and do it on a regular basis," he says. For example, sift through a stack of papers on your desk for recycling or deep-six that jumble of expired spices. And if you have to stop mid-project, go back to it the next day. 
Posted 8/20/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14 comments   19,015 views
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The New Rise of Food Allergies


When Judi Zucker's son, Tanner, turned 14, he started getting daily headaches, rashes and acne breakouts. At first she chalked it up to puberty. But then the Santa Barbara–based writer was asked to pen a cookbook for people with food allergies and it occurred to her to have Tanner tested. Sure enough, blood work revealed that he was "off-the-charts" allergic to casein (a milk protein) and gluten. And he's not alone. These days, it seems like we're in the midst of an epidemic of food allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, their prevalence among kids under 18 rose 50% between 1997 and 2011. While some food allergies (which usually emerge in childhood) can be outgrown, others are lifelong and require permanent dietary shifts. "Within 24 hours of going gluten- and casein-free, Tanner had no more headaches, and gradually his skin cleared up," says Zucker, 52, who went on to co-author The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook
Posted 8/13/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 11 comments   9,048 views
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The Do-Everything-Better Guide


Pack a carry-on. Purge your medicine cabinet. Tell a joke. Fold a fitted sheet. Fall asleep when you can’t. Make cut flowers last longer, and more.

Fix a Chip in Your Nail Polish

Expert: Manicurist-to-the-stars Deborah Lippmann, creator of the Deborah Lippmann Collection sold on HSN.

As long as you have the same color handy, you're good to go.
  • Pour a few drops of nail polish remover into a small bowl. Dab the pad of your index finger in remover, so skin is damp, not drenched.
  • Press finger directly onto chip, then lift. Let dry for 10 seconds.
  • With same finger, gently nudge polish forward toward edge of nail to smooth out ridge. Let dry 1 minute.
  • Remove brush from polish and gently dab a tiny bit of color right on top of the nick; let dry 1 minute.
  • If chip is still visible, apply one superthin layer of color to entire nail.
  • Seal edge by brushing over the tip. (This will prevent future chips.)
  • Wait one minute, then brush on topcoat. Let dry at least 5 minutes.
Posted 7/30/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   8,418 views
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