All Entries For women's issues

4 Tips to Stop the Fat Talk for Good


Fat talk.  We've all done it.  We have all looked in the mirror at one time or another and said negative things about our physical appearance. 

In fact, we probably do it so often that we don't even notice it anymore.

We pinch our bellies and grumble about our thighs rubbing together and look at the dimples on the backs of our legs in disgust for years. We say it in our heads, we share it with our girlfriends, and even when our partners complement our bodies, we argue with their assessment. We do it so often that it seems totally normal. 

But it's not. 

We aren't made to be filled with self-hatred, self-loathing and negative self-talk; yet somehow it has become completely acceptable to be our own worst enemy.
So how can you stop this kind of talk?  How can we go from bashing our bodies on a regular basis to thinking more positively and replacing those negative thoughts with loving ones? Start with these four strategies.
Posted 4/17/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14 comments   30,296 views
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How Your Genes Affect Your Jean Size


"I am just big-boned. Everyone in my family is big-boned."

"My Mom is heavy. My Dad is heavy. I'll never be anything but heavy."

"My sister has my Mom's lean body and I have my Dad's stocky body, so I will never be lean like her."
 
At one point or another, you've probably heard your friends or family members utter these phrases. Heck, you may have even said similar things yourself. 

So just how much of a role do genetics play in your body shape and size? If you have heavy parents, are you truly doomed to be heavy forever? When your parents are tall and lean, can you get away with eating more—without consequence? If your mom has wide hips, will shopping for jeans always be the bane of your existence?
Posted 11/7/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 35 comments   32,862 views
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Is Being Really Lean Really Worth It?


Say what?!  Is being really lean really worth it?  This probably sounds like a crazy question coming from a trainer who helps clients reach their fat-loss and physique goals.
 
Before we get started, let me say that I realize this is a very ambiguous question.  ''Really lean'' is relative, and I will tell you up front that I don’t have an answer for you. Only you have that answer for you. This blog post is simply intended to help you realize a few things:

1.    Everybody is different.
2.    Some of us can maintain leaner physiques than others.
3.    Going beyond a healthy level of leanness for YOU is a stressor.
4.    It’s not normal, and it may not even be healthy, to walk around shredded all the time.
5.    How lean do you want to be, and will you sacrifice what it takes to get there?
 
Let’s explore each of these.
Posted 8/1/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 124 comments   107,098 views
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What is Your True Size?


I don’t know about you, but for the past several years clothes shopping has become more of a headache than the nice enjoyable activity it once was. Sadly, for me the fun is long gone and is replaced with countless hours of frustrations. There was once a time I could go into any store, pick something right off the rack, make a purchase and go home. But not today. That would be too easy.

Like a hunter searching for his prey, I head out early in the morning just as the stores are opening while I still have the energy for what I presume to be a day long mission. After trying pants after pants, hour after hour, store after store, I find myself literally worn out heading home more times than not dejected and empty handed.

While the styles and trends do count for many of my frustrations--I am not a BIG fan of the low rise trend--just finding a size has become a chore. In one store I can easily be a size 4, in another a size 6, and yet another I could wear a size 8. And let’s not even talk about online purchases without knowing beforehand my size in a store. Why is that?

Well the answer lies within a sales tactic that clothing manufacturers discreetly call vanity sizing.
Posted 5/24/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 689 comments   44,429 views
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How to Treat Post-Menopausal Hair Loss


If you're a post-menopausal woman, you might have noticed that your forehead has grown higher all of a sudden. Or maybe the part in your hair has gotten wider, and you can see your scalp when the light hits it just right. But don't worry; you're not alone. Up to 10% of pre-menopausal women experience some androgenetic alopecia (decreased hair diameter with a normal growth pattern), and the rate jumps considerably to 50-75% of women 65 and older. 

The cause of this type of hair loss isn't fully understood, but some studies point to factors such as hormonal imbalances, iron deficiency, rapid weight loss, medication side-effects and some disease states.  For any woman who is experiencing hair loss, the first step is to consult with a healthcare professional who can rule out any physical conditions that may be contributing to the hair loss, followed by a proper treatment plan.
Posted 9/26/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Cathy Cram : 13 comments   36,008 views
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Do You Know What the Average Woman's Body Really Looks Like?


I've blogged before about my struggles with a post-baby body. Even though that was in February and my son is now 6 months old, I continue to have body image issues. The tradeoff is worth it, but it's still hard for me to accept that my body will probably never again look like it did before I had 2 children.
Posted 6/23/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 245 comments   237,185 views
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5 Weight Loss Tips for Breastfeeding Moms


Breastmilk is the ideal first food for your baby. Breastfeeding had been found to help speed recovery after labor for the mom and assists in losing weight gained during pregnancy.

While there are many things moms wish they had known about breastfeeding, one of the most common concerns relates to frustration at not losing all their pregnancy weight. Not eating enough calories is the biggest barrier to weight loss success during breastfeeding. Many times moms incorrectly believe that cutting calories is the key to weight loss after pregnancy. Unfortunately, they forget the human body is designed to protect itself from starvation during times when food isn't readily available. The body burns calories all day long as part of your basal metabolic rate (BMR), because it takes energy (calories) for your body to perform basic physiological functions that are necessary for life—breathing, digesting, circulating, thinking and more. Add to that, normal daily physical activity (bathing, walking, typing and exercising) and you have the energy needs the body requires each day to function normally.

Maternal fat stores serve as a wonderful and constant source of available energy to ensure the body always has the energy it needs to produce milk at the rate and amount a little one requests. The goal in post-pregnancy nutrition is to encourage the body to slightly dip into maternal energy stores each day to meet the increased energy needs. To promote this process, breastfeeding moms should increase their daily calorie intake after delivery by about 500 calories over their pre-pregnancy needs. When you do this, your metabolism can work efficiently and will rely on approximately 250 additional calories each day from the maternal fat stores. This is about the same amount of energy as if you participated in 30 minutes of mild to moderate cardio activity and will ensure a slow, steady weight loss back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Here are five principles that can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight after delivery while making sure you are producing adequate milk to meet your little one's needs.

Posted 6/13/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 11 comments   91,108 views
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I Have a Permanent Case of Mommy Brain


I used to have a great memory.  I was the one my friends asked when they couldn’t remember the name of a high school classmate or a song they played at our Senior prom.  These days, I feel lucky if I can remember what day it is and whether or not I ate lunch.  I blame my three children for the decline.  My mind is now filled with feeding times, where the kids need to be this afternoon and whether or not they got a bath yet today.  Parts of my past are a total blur, and if I think about it, parts of my present are kind of a blur too.  Good thing my husband still has a great memory to remind me of the things I forget.
Posted 6/12/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 31 comments   9,818 views
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You Asked: How Can I Get Rid of Cellulite besides Losing Weight?


Cellulite, the dimpled appearance on the surface of the skin that is often described as "cottage cheese" or an "orange peel," is most common among women, especially on the thighs and buttocks. However, both men (about 10% of cases) and women can have cellulite, which can occur anywhere on the body, including the abdomen, arms and calves. Maintaining a certain level body fat is necessary and healthy for normal body functioning. Cellulite is simply visible subcutaneous ("below the skin") fat cells that bulge the skin.

While many people with cellulite feel self-conscious about it, simply having cellulite does not mean a person is overweight. Thin people, fit individuals, and even those who maintain a healthy weight (and healthy body fat percentage) can have cellulite, just as some unfit and overweight people may not. Most women (90% or more) will have cellulite to some degree because they store more fat than men and their skin and fat cell structure is slightly different. Whether or not you develop cellulite depends on factors like genetics, gender and hormonal levels.

Because cellulite is fat, losing weight (if you are overweight) may help diminish the appearance of cellulite as the size of your fat cells decrease. But there is no way to "spot train" any area of the body to lose body fat using targeted exercises. Cardio exercise helps burn fat from all over the body and enhances fat loss. Strength training is important for both weight loss and overall health as well, but simply targeting the areas of your cellulite (hamstrings, buttocks, or abs for example) with "toning" exercises won't necessarily make it go away.

Many people who lose weight and notice an improved appearance in cellulite, especially as they build more lean muscle from strength training--but it's no guarantee. Because it's so closely linked to factors that you can't control (genetics, gender, hormones), losing weight may not completely get rid of cellulite.

Creams, treatments, massage techniques, and other cellulite therapies do NOT get rid of cellulite in a permanent way. While some products may help diminish the appearance of it through hydration or firming of the outer layers of the skin, these results are temporary won't result in weight loss. Do any of these (or other) methods work? Here's how they stack up in reducing or eliminating cellulite.

For more information about gender differences in fat storage, read Coach Dean's article on Gender, Body Fat and Weight Loss.

This article by exercise physiologist and research Dr. Len Kravitz, Ph.D. is another excellent resouce: Cellulite: Everything You Want to Know and More.

And finally, one way to "treat" cellulite it to simply accept it and live with it. Read my confession about my own cellulite for tips to embrace your body at any shape and size: Yes, I Have Cellulite and No, I'm Not Ashamed!





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Posted 4/26/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 10 comments   45,703 views
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Are You Always Trying to do Everything for Everyone?


I like to write blogs based on subjects I can relate to because I think what I’ve written ends up being more interesting.   If that’s the case, this should be the most interesting thing I’ve ever talked about because I felt like the results of this study were speaking directly to me.  And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Posted 4/6/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 36 comments   12,060 views
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You Can Have It All, Just Not All at Once


You can have it all; you just can’t have it all, all at once.

I arise each weekday long before the sun, and, by the time I arrive at the office around 9, I've spent almost 90 minutes breathing, flowing, and sweating through a vigorous Ashtanga yoga practice. I've called my mother. And I've had my morning cup of coffee.

I work all day, pausing to eat a breakfast and lunch I made myself, from scratch.
At night, I teach yoga, I run, I take Spinning classes, I (rarely) meet friends. I run errands.

Then I make dinner.

After dinner, there's dirty laundry, dirty dishes, quality time with Sam and the cats, cleaning up, packing tomorrow's breakfast and lunch, setting out yoga and work clothes, returning emails, and so much more.

Though I intend to be in bed by 10, it's usually 11:30 when my head hits the pillow--and that's often the first time I've sat down since leaving work (aside from dinner). I awake the next day and do it all again.

Though I love my life, each night, before I fall asleep, there is that fleeting moment of panic: I didn't do ____. I should have done more/less ____. I need to ____.

Enough, I tell myself, when that self-doubt pipes up. You've done enough.

I repeat my mantra:
I did my best today.
I'll do better tomorrow.

There are only 24 hours in a day. I can only do so much and still be happy and healthy. To be healthy and happy, that means some things are sacrificed:
I missed the weeknight meetup with my gal pals. I should call my sister. I'm long overdue for a trim.

My floors need mopping. My kitchen table is cluttered. The bathroom probably needs a good scrubbing.
I should respond to that work email. I wish I had more time to read. I haven't spent more than a few minutes journaling in several weeks.

I think back to advice that a successful woman once shared with me: You can have it all; you just can’t have it all, all at once.
Posted 1/31/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 61 comments   24,819 views
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How Loving Myself Led to Losing Weight


I was saddened (but not surprised) when I read a news story last week about how overweight women feel stigmatized and judged by others. According to the story, the survey of overweight women revealed:

"A quarter said they'd rather be severely depressed than obese. About 15 percent said they'd rather be blind. A full 49 percent said they'd trade five years of their life not to be obese."

This story (and the interesting comments it conjured on my Facebook page) brought back a lot of memories for me, both good and bad.
 
I have been overweight. And when I was overweight, my self-esteem and self-worth were very low. I felt that others judged me. I thought people were looking at me and thinking negatively about my body, especially when I was in college studying nutrition and fitness. I was never asked on a date. I remember thinking that I may never find someone ever—and I felt this way despite the fact that I knew I was an intelligent, funny, nice and interesting person. The depression I felt during my heavier years was hard to kick and to me, my weight and my sadness were very much intertwined. If someone asked me then if I'd trade five years of my life to be thin, I probably would have said yes. I probably would have even given up more years than that. I would have done almost anything, so I can relate to people who turn to pills (tried it), exercise fads (bought 'em all), crazy diets (been there) and whatever else in hopes that it just may work for them.
Posted 8/24/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 131 comments   40,043 views
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Your Words: Weights or Wings?


Do your words help or hinder you with your healthy lifestyle goals? 

I was pondering this recently when driving my teenage daughter and some of her friends around.  One of the girls started to get out the car and said, “Let me see if I can get my fat butt out of here.” I was momentarily speechless because this girl is thin and doesn’t need to lose a pound. I said to her, “you’re not overweight, don’t say that about yourself.” She continued to reply that oh yes she was.
 
It struck me at that moment that sometimes we are our own worst enemy and critic. We can either build ourselves up with encouragement and motivational thoughts, or tear ourselves apart for a perceived failure or mistake that limits our ability to move forward. If you took the challenge to write down your thoughts about yourself for a couple of days, what kind of story would it tell? Do you say things about yourself that you wouldn’t say out loud to a friend?
Posted 8/19/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Michelene Cleary : 68 comments   11,578 views
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Why is Making Time for Ourselves So Difficult?


I consider myself to be a generally busy person.  I balance family and a (part-time) career, and feel like I'm always on the go.  For the most part, I like it that way.  I like staying busy, and having good organizational skills makes it easier for me to get a lot done every day.  But the one thing I've never been very good at, especially since having kids, is making time for myself.  Exercise is a priority in my life, so I try to make room for that daily.  I feel guilty if it takes time away from my kids, so usually I'll sacrifice sleep in the mornings so that I can squeeze in a quick workout.  My diet is generally healthy, but I'm always more willing to spend time making a healthy lunch for my kids than I am to spend time making something for myself.
Posted 8/11/2011  12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 43 comments   10,243 views
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How Well Do You Adapt to Change?


I've always been a creature of habit.  I remember when I was young, I was reluctant to learn how to drive.  I had a very hard time moving out of my parents house on my own.  Any time there have been big changes in my life, it's usually taken quite a bit of adjustment.  I've always been slightly envious of those people who are able to just "go with the flow" and take change as it comes.  I've never been able to do that easily.
Posted 8/4/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 61 comments   16,170 views
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