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9 Ways to Beat Bloating

By Jessica Herman

OverweightWe’ve all been there: days when you feel as bloated as the blow-up Shrek in the Macy’s parade. Okay, sometimes you know that having that third helping of your sister’s peach cobbler wasn’t the best idea. But when you’re eating right and exercising regularly but still can’t zip up your skinny jeans, what gives? One of the main causes of bloat isn’t how much you eat; it’s eating certain foods that are difficult for your stomach and intestines to digest.

1. Use Instagram
“Pull up a favorite pic of yourself on your phone, and look at it during the day,” suggests Ashley Solomon, a psychologist in Chicago. You may feel more preggo than hot chica right now, but the image reminds you how you felt in that moment. Warm fuzzies may ensue.

2. Activate Your Abs
“Rotating your core muscles helps force gas out of your intestines,” says Lindsay Hallam, a Pilates instructor at The Studio (MDR), in Marina del Rey, California. Get into side-plank position, and bring your top arm across your abdomen and under your body to twist your torso. Do 5 reps; switch sides.

3. Run an Errand
You may feel like curling up in a fetal position and avoiding all human contact until, say, the week after your period. But getting your body moving helps relieve stomach discomfort, according to a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Lace up your sneaks, and walk briskly for 30 minutes.

4. Pamper Yourself
To stop obsessing over your pooch, focus elsewhere-paint your nails with some crackle polish, maybe. And from the so-crazy-it-might-work files: A recent study found people perceived a woman wearing a spicy-floral fragrance as 12 pounds thinner than when she went perfume-free or had on another scent.

5. Eat a Snack
Water-rich fruits and veggies-think grapes, cukes-will help flush out excess fluid, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, an RD in Chicago. Or try pineapple: It’s high in bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down food.

6. Try a DIY Massage
Sounds weird, but stay with us: Applying gentle pressure to your belly can push out gas and help get things going if your bloat is caused by constipation. Lie down on your bed, smooth a little oil on your tummy, and slowly rub with both hands counterclockwise. Nice, no?

7. Have a Drink
Water is tops, but drink it 20 minutes before or after your meal, not during. “Otherwise, you may dilute your stomach enzymes, which can disrupt digestion,” Blatner says. Skip fizzy drinks, which release carbon-dioxide gas.

8. Hang Up That Muumuu
“For a slimmer silhouette, the key is to wear something that comes in at your waist,” says Allison Firestone, a stylist in Los Angeles. Fake a flat belly with these outfit options: a flow-y dress that’s belted; an A-line skirt with a tucked-in, billowy top; or skinny jeans with a loose cami and a tailored jacket.

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How To Change Your Relationship With The Scale

thescaleby Dr. Sara Solomon P.T., DMD

 Over the course of 20 years and a dozen or so trainers, I came to hate enforced weekly weigh-ins. I was always filled with dread before I begrudgingly set foot on the scale, knowing that my self-worth and mood for the entire week hung in the balance.

On the rare days I lost weight, I felt elated. Most of the time, though, I either gained weight or hit a plateau; and on those days, in my mind, I became a “fat failure,” even if I thought I looked amazing in the mirror. I would let the scale distort my self-perception, leading me down a dangerous path of self-loathing and depression.

In an attempt to lower my stubborn scale readings, my trainer adjusted my program on a weekly basis. Usually this meant more cardio and fewer calories. Unfortunately, these weekly changes seldom achieved their desired effect. What did result was chronic irritability, depression, disordered eating, and exercise obsession.

Fitness, something I used to adore, became something I abhorred. I believed that if only I could lose the weight, I would be happy. And I was anything but.

A Big Weight off My Shoulders 

After enduring this for a year, I finally hit rock bottom. I just couldn’t do it anymore. So I did some research and implemented the following changes: I put an end to the mandatory weigh-ins, the two-hour daily cardio sessions, and the severely restricted diet that failed me for 52 solid weeks. I replaced them with my mirror; 20-minute, high-intensity home workouts; and intermittent fasting.

Guess what happened next? I lost all the weight, regained my sanity, started finding pleasure in fitness again, reestablished a healthy relationship with food, and once again became the happy Sara my family used to know and love.

Through this experience, I learned that a cookie-cutter approach does not exist. What works for one person may not work for another. But no one should become a slave to numbers on a scale. Curious as to whether I was alone in this battle, I asked some fellow fitness personalities about their relationship with the scale. 

 

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7 lifestyle behaviors that will help you sleep

Agoodsleep

Most adults suffer from sleep disorders at some point in their life. Sleeping problems are often the product of stress or depression. Other times, they are the result of something much simpler.You can fight insomnia by practicing good lifestyle habits. Getting into a good system will help you sleep soundly and be well rested to take on each day.

Make the room you sleep in a peaceful retreat.
If your bedroom is a place of distraction and chaos, it will be that much more difficult for you to fall asleep. Remove the alarm clock from sight — instead, put it under the bed or in a drawer. Adjust the room temperature for your comfort — for most people that’s between 65°F and 70°F — and make sure you have comfortable pillows and enough blankets. Hang blackout curtains or wear an eye mask if you are easily awakened by light.

Add white noise.
For many people, noise that is steady and not easily identifiable is easier to tune out than the sound of snoring, the rumble of traffic, or the musical stylings of the amateur trumpet player who lives next door. For others, total silence is disturbing. White-noise machines emit a steady whirring or purring sound, similar to the sound of wind rustling through leaves, which provides a welcome distraction for both these problems.

Practice good sleep habits.
Sleeping well is often about establishing the right habits. If your bed has become a place of tension from an extended bout of insomnia, then you have to work that much harder to associate bed with sleep again. First, get a different perspective by making the bedroom less familia — move the furniture around or buy a new set of bedding. Second, stick with a regular schedule of going to bed and waking up so your body will learn to associate certain times of day with a particular part of your sleep rhythm. Third, avoid using the bedroom for anything except sleeping and sex — no reading, no television, and definitely no eating. Finally, don’t let insomnia back into the bedroom. If you are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up, go to another room, and do something relaxing. Return to bed only when you feel sleepy again.

Wean yourself off naps.
People with insomnia often resort to afternoon naps to catch up on their missed sleep, but that’s a mistake. Napping encourages insomnia because you’ll be less likely to be tired at bedtime if you sleep during the day. It can become a counterproductive habit. Fight the urge; but if you must nap, don’t sleep for more than 20 minutes. After a day or two, your body will learn that the proper time for sleep is when you lie down in bed at the end of a day.

Make a to-do list.
People tend to lie awake in bed angst–ridden over all the things they need to get done. Before you go to bed each night, draft a list of everything you need to do for the next day. Getting it down on paper helps get it out of your mind.

Learn to relax.
You can’t run a crazy life and expect to just unplug your mind when you slip into bed. Sleep requires relaxation of mind and body. Try to take 30 minutes out at the end of each day to unwind: meditate, read, do yoga, take a hot shower or candlelit bath . . . anything that helps you put worries away for the next eight hours.

Exercise regularly, early in the day.
Some scientists believe that regular exercise may be the single best and safest method for improving sleep. Exercise has many wonderful effects on the body, all of which may contribute to better sleep. Exercise forces the body to work harder than usual, which means that we generally need more sleep to recuperate from the physical exertion. Exercise also increases the body’s production of endorphins and other hormones that lead to feelings of calm and well–being. However, time of day matters. Working out at night may energize you, ultimately keeping you awake. If you’re struggling with insomnia, limit vigorous exercise to the morning or afternoon. Calming routines like stretching or yoga poses are fine any time of day.

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Which Emotions Amplify Your Back Pain?

backPAINouchBy Rhonda Gegaust

The back is made up of many muscles, but when we speak of back pain, we usually speak about the spine. The spinal column is a stacking of 33 vertebrae, distributed as follows: cervical, dorsal, lumbar and sacral. To simplify this I’m going to refer to these areas as lower, middle and upper back. What you are about to read is not to replace medical treatment. It is to open your mind to the possible emotional connection that may be causing or amplifying your back pain. Note it is important to always have any back pain checked by a medical doctor or a chiropractor.

Emotionally speaking, the back represents our support system. Problems with the back usually mean we feel we are not being supported. Dr. Milton Erickson was known for saying, “If you don’t pay attention…you pay with pain.” What message is your body trying to tell you? What emotions do you need to change to decrease or eliminate your back pain?

Upper Back Pain

The upper back has to do with feeling the lack of emotional support; feeling significant people in your life don’t understand you or support you. You may feel unloved or you may be holding back your love from someone. Upper back pain could also mean that you feel that somebody is always on your back.

By changing a belief that you are responsible for other people’s happiness, it can relieve pain in your upper back and neck. Do things for others from your heart, not from a place of feeling you have to do it or they won’t love you.

Gaining love of yourself will not only increase your happiness – you will be supported from the inside first.


Middle Back Pain

Emotionally speaking, pain in the middle back comes from feeling guilty about ‘stuff’ from the past. Perhaps you are afraid to explore your past? Maybe you are hiding what is back there? Do you feel stabbed in the back? Do you find yourself wanting to scream out, “Get off my back!”? 

In order to move freely into your future, you need to release the past anger and guilt and embrace your present and future with love in your heart.


Lower Back Pain

With today’s financial hard times, are your finances in a mess? Do you worry about them excessively? The lack of money, fear of not having enough, or fear of material loss may be the cause of your lower back bothering you. The amount of money you have has nothing to do with it. It’s the fear of lack of financial support, the fear of your own survival that amplifies the pain. 

Eliminating paralyzing guilt, clearing your past from anger and transforming your fear into personal power will help you gain control, well-being and find peace of mind you may long for in your life.  It can be done in very little time with Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques.

 

About the Author – Ronda Degaust is the author of How To Heal from Years of Criticism, Insults, Abuse & RejectionShe is a Break-thru Coach & International NLP Trainer. She teaches you how to release negative emotions to Maximize Your Life Potential. Find out more at her website www.lifepotential.ca or email her at breakthru@lifepotential.ca

10 Tricks That’ll Motivate You to Work Out

work-out-Groupby FitSugar

It’s true what they say: 80 percent of success is just showing up. Once you’re there – you’re there. This advice can be hard to take when, after a late night of fun, your alarm goes off before the sun is up. Propelling yourself to the gym, pool, mat, or trail can feel like a hurdle in its own right, but it’s always one worth jumping. If you’ve resolved to work out more this year and get fit for 2013, motivate yourself to keep on sweating with these tricks. 

  • Channel that glorious post-workout feeling. Whenever you feel the instinct to skip a sweat session, imagine how accomplished and energized you feel after just 30 minutes or an hour of exercise. Just get there already.
  • Make a date with a friend or fitness trainer. If you set a time to meet someone, you’ll feel obligated to go, even when your mind and body are telling you otherwise. If you’re looking to get your sweat on outside of the gym, here are some of our favorite ideas for fitness dates, from rock climbing to ice skating.
  • Create a healthy post-workout routine and make time for it, too. Reward yourself after a workout by scheduling extra moments to relax in the steam room, blow out your hair to perfection, or get a hot coffee or a protein-rich smoothie.
  • This is the simplest, and possibly hardest, piece of advice to follow: schedule your workout early in the morning before the day’s distractions detour you from lofty intentions.
  • Carry a motivational token or photo with you. Beyoncé keeps a painting of an Oscar at the gym, so she’s literally running toward her next goal. Instead of commissioning a masterpiece, snap a shot of the dress you want to wear on your next date, a beautiful beach you hope to visit this year, or even yourself at your best, and make it the wallpaper on your phone. When you feel like caving, look at it.
  • Instead of going home to watch your favorite show on the couch, suit up and watch it on the treadmill. If your gym doesn’t have TVs on each machine, load up your iPod or iPhone.
  • Try something new. Sign up for an exercise class you’ve never taken before, take a hike to a vista point, ride your bike to a new trail, or work out at a different time of day.
  • Throw on your favorite workout wear and some lip gloss. Kelly Osbourne admits to dolling up so she feels positive and pretty when she sees her reflection working out.
  • Avoid taking a physical dip by fueling your body with a healthy pre-workout snack. You’ll have something to burn and a boost of protein to keep your eye on the prize.
  • Give yourself a gold star. Plot out a reward system and treat yourself when you hit your goal of workouts per week, weight loss, or the finish line. Wouldn’t a massage or a pedicure feel great after all your hard work?

 

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