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Summer Style Tips

Sun Damaged Hair Summer isn’t drawing to a close yet! We say August is the halfway mark and this month is known for its heat waves and severe weather that stretches into the better part of September.  As you’re relinquishing these days of the summer sun you should consider this: Have your hair, skin, and nail beds seemed a bit scruffy and dry? If so, we have a few helpful hits on how to repair your over sun-kissed self.

Sunscreen:

First and foremost, sunscreen is your skin’s lifeline in the summer months.  Consumer Report provided us with studies to find some of the best sunscreens on the market and no one brand of sunscreen protects from UVA or UVB rays better than the rest.

You should always opt for a water resistant choice with an SPF of at least 30.

Head over to any supermarket or convenience store for the gammon of sunscreen options and remember to reapply every two hours.

Revamp Your Makeup Routine:

Applying layers of foundation, cover up, bronzer and blush adds to excess sweat in the summer causing the makeup to become cakey and clog pores. Give over processed skin a chance to breathe and repair itself without the foundation routine!  Chances are, your skin is somewhat tanned, eliminating the need for any sort of bronzer or complexion evening foundation, so stick to spot treatment for blemishes and simple eye makeup.

A great pick to help keep your eye shadow and liner in place despite the makeup melting heat of the sun is Urban Decay’s Primer Potion .  It will keep your shadows vibrant and crease proof, while eliminating the chance of smudging your eyeliner.

Hats:

Women’s old-fashioned hats with a wide brim are back in style, and with so many options to choose from, you’re bound to find one that is perfect for you.  These large hats will keep your body temperature down and create some shade for your face and scalp. As for the men? Same goes for you!  You can never go wrong with an every-day baseball hat outside by the pool, at the beach or doing yard work.

Hair:

There’s no need to part with your dry, sun damaged hair in September if you’ve noticed it becoming unruly, frizzy and unmanageable.  A trim will clean up your ends, automatically giving your hair a healthier vibrant appeal.  To maintain this look, we recommend using plenty of leave in conditioners or split end treatments to protect the hair from the sun’s heat and your routine styling. Check out one of my favorite products here.

If your hair is heat and sun damaged, your best bet to restoring your mane’s usual supple healthy texture is to let it air dry.  Shine contributors, Yahoo!’s health and beauty experts agree  that a “Hands Off” approach is best for summer styling.  Blow drying or flat ironing your hair after it has just spent hours in the sun, damaged by not only the rays, but chlorine and salt as well, does not need any extra heat from your styling tools!  Create a simple summer style by using products that have a lightweight formula but still provide hold, such as Garnier Fructis Style: Wonder Waves Spray and avoid products like hairspray, which contain a high percent of alcohol further damaging your hair.

Nails:

These little gems do a lot more than simply look pretty with a coat of polish.  Sun exposure to the cuticles and nail folds will cause these areas to dry out making new nail growth brittle, ridged and weak says Discovery Health.  Apply sun screen to your finger and toenails to keep your nails strong and protected.

For other summer style and fashion tips by Emily visit here for her Guide to the Real Jersey Shore.

5 Year Olds Hospitalized for Eating Disorders in the U.K.

U.K. Battles Childhood Eating Disorders

Bulimia and anorexia shouldn’t be on a list of activities for anyone, let alone a five year old. Fox News reports that in Britain, this is a growing problem,

The number of kids under 9 years old needing hospitalization for the debilitating disorders has doubled in the past year with the nationwide trend being blamed partly on the “size zero” fashion craze.

National Health Service trusts have provided the statistics that are causing many to be concerned about their own children, and take a deeper dive into the reasons behind how a 5 year old could induce themselves to vomit after eating, or restrict their diets so much that they are considered anorexic. The media, such as advertising in print and television is blamed by some to be a culprit.

Parent Responsibility

  • Pay Attention: A child’s guardian has an inherent responsibility to protect and nurture their loved ones. It’s common for boys and girls to experience challenges with body image throughout the teenage years, but at age five? If the problem goes unresolved by the time he or she is 12 or 13 it may be too late. Parents and guardians no matter what country they’re living in must make time to evaluate their child’s health/eating habits.
  • Practice What You Preach: By stressing the importance of a well balanced diet and mirroring the activities of a healthy lifestyle—it will allow children to understand the importance of proper nutrition and reduce the risks of  unhealthy, drastic measures to stay thin.
  • Get Help:  Parents are busy with chores, work, and 101 other things. If you find yourself in a rut and unable to help your young child, there are counselors available to uncover and solve the issues behind childhood anorexia/bulimia.

Reading a story or two may not be enough to scare anyone with small children. But according to research conducted in 2000, Regina C. Casper writes,

…cases of prepubertal anorexia nervosa as early as age seven have been reliably documented for over a century

For over a century.  Regardless of the percentage of the population who experiences childhood anorexia/bulimia, take your child’s health seriously and if you suspect you child may have an eating disorder take action immediately. Every day is a step on the path to death.

 

 

Calorie Labeling: Are You Paying Attention?

Subway Diet Low Fat

Recognizing that obesity is a major health problem in the US, we’ve taken steps to give consumers the ability to make informed decisions on their food based on nutritional facts (in particular calories and fat in a given food item or meal). But the questions many are asking now are “how effective has this national effort been? Are people making healthier options when dining out?”

Jeannine Stein of the Los Angeles Times writes,

Researchers compared purchases and calories among fast food diners in New York City in 2007, a year before calorie labeling legislation started and in 2009, nine months after it became law.

In 2007, 7,309 customers were surveyed, and in 2009, 8,489 people took part. Researchers conducted the study among 168 randomly selected restaurants among the top 11 fast food chains in the city.

Overall calories didn’t decrease in the meals purchased during both years. However, the 15% of customers who used the calorie information bought food that contained, on average, 106 fewer calories than food purchased by people who didn’t see or use the information.

Stein reports that on average, people did consume roughly 100 less calories than before they were informed. What’s not mentioned is if the consumers were more health conscious as an effect of the calories being in plain sight, or for other reasons such as a larger focus in national media about obesity and the health concerns surrounding it.

Some fast food chains have seen people eating slightly better. Maybe they’re shying away from the large fries and getting the medium/small fries. Ironically enough, one fast food chain seems to have the opposite effect which Stein also reports:

At Subway restaurants, average calorie consumption went up 17.8% The irony wasn’t lost on the researchers, who noted that the chain heavily promotes some of its subs as being low in calories and fat. Apparently that wasn’t enough to stop customers from buying the highly advertised (and higher in calories) $5 foot-long subs.

If people aren’t reading the fine print (calories) in a foot long sub they may be thrown for a surprise. Subway uses two marketing techniques, $5 Foot longs, which signify a “deal” to the consumer and “low fat/calorie subs” to attract the health conscious. Unfortunately, these subs claiming low fat and calories are only for 6″. If you’re looking at a 500 calorie 6″, and get a foot long for the deal, you’ve officially lost out on one of the two best parts about going to subway.

Calorie counting or not, Stein brings up some information to ponder on your next trip to the fast food joint around the corner. Are you enticed by deals, low calorie claims, or are you there to eat what you want and think all this is an effort that’s wasted? Leave your thoughts below.

Walking to Improve Your Fitness

Walking to Improve Your Fitness

Get The World Moving

My adult metabolism kicked in right after college. I was used to the relaxed atmosphere of living the student life and suddenly thrown into a high stress office environment. I became more lethargic and too tired to motivate myself to head to the gym.  I was a bit concerned about how to get back on track with a healthier lifestyle and coincidentally,  my company introduced me to the Global Corporate Challenge. They supplied me with a pedometer and challenged me walk 10,000 steps a day for the next 16 weeks.

10,000 Steps a Day

You may think “that doesn’t sound very hard,” but keep in mind the average person working a desk job takes about 4,000 steps a day.  My first day, I took 3,000, and was shocked.  Embarrassed by my first day’s results, I set a goal for myself to increase my steps the next day. Shortly, I found out just how challenging it is to hit the 10,000 mark.  As you make some adjustments to your habits, you’ll find that the 10,000 step marker is easier to get to as you become more active.  For example, a 45 minute Zumba class equals around 8,865 steps for the average individual—and just by that short 45 minutes, you’re almost 90% of the way there!  Any sort of physical activity can be added to increase your daily step count—biking, swimming (but don’t go into the pool with your pedometer on) Find conversions of your activities to steps here.

The benefits of walking are as valuable as any other exercise  The Mayo Clinic lists not only the health benefits, but compares walking to jogging:

Research shows that regular brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise, such as jogging.

When you add brisk walking to your exercise routine or use it as a starting point for a brand new routine, you will build up endurance to power through tough workouts, see a drop in blood pressure, be able to maintain your weight, and improve your mood. Best of all, walling is unlikely to aggravate previous injuries. Previous injuries that you’ve sustained will remain relatively unharmed—brisk walking rarely leads to any physical injury, but also strengthens the body to prevent getting hurt while participating in more strenuous activities like jogging or weight lifting.

You, a Pedometer, and Goals

If you are looking for a new, and conveniently low key, change to your fitness regime, add walking to your “off” days at the gym.  It’s a great way to keep you active without agitating sore or tight muscles from the previous day’s workout.  If you’ve just started your exercise routine, begin with walking and keep track of your steps with a pedometer throughout your usual day to day activities as well as during your designated walks.  Want to pick the right pedometer? About.com lists some important tips before you run, or walk right out and get one! You’ll be surprised how this little gadget can motivate you to park a little farther away, take the stairs or stay on your feet in the office.

Spinning Class: A Beginner’s Guide

Spinning Class

Spinning classes such as SoulCycle may be intimidating to the rookie. If you’re like me, you’ve thought about taking a class but were concerned about how to properly get into spinning. A few months ago I took the plunge and after fumbling around for a bit, I realized spin is very intense and also slightly addicting. There are a few tips and tricks necessary to be able to make it through your first few classes.

What Spinning is About

In a 45 minute class you are burning mega calories—about 450 calories for the average 150lb individual.  The best part? It’s a full body workout.  It focuses on your legs and the repetitive, constant motion is great for your quads, hamstrings and outer thigh muscles. With proper resistance for your athletic level, spin also works out your lower abs, shoulders and back.  This faced-paced, intensive, aerobic workout also gets your heart pumping and you will definitely break a sweat.

You may find yourself  struggling through the first few classes but spin is a class that you CAN get through with a positive mental attitude regardless of your ability!  Beginners: start at your own pace.  Keep a resistance that you are comfortable with, and do what you can—as with any aerobic sport or exercise, starting slow and building up your resistance is key to becoming better.  Here are some ideas and tips for being able to get through your first class and beyond!

Tips for Your First Spin Class

  • Find a good spin instructor: I find the best instructors are the motivating kind with a great, upbeat playlist—they push you to your limit without overdoing it or making you feel bad about your abilities.  And they know how to switch up the class to make it different every time.
    What to bring:  To have happy spin classes there are a few musts that should be in your gym bag.
  • Bring a towel: You are going to sweat! The towel is great for not only wiping the sweat out of your eyes but to place over the handlebars so your hands don’t slip or slide.
  • Have plenty of water: One bottle doesn’t cut it—and you will be thirstier for more than just one bottle. I recommend purchasing a canteen or reusable water bottle that holds more than just the average 16oz.  A squirt bottle or something that flips open easily is a good idea because you don’t need more than one hand to open it, such as a screw on top.
  • Hard soled shoes: Most bikes are equipped with locks for SPD cleats, however I recommend beginning with regular sneakers until you get a better handle for the bike: these fit right into toe clips which are strapped onto the pedals.  A hard soled sneaker will keep you balanced a bit better and your feet in a steadfast position in the pedal.  When using a shoe with a softer sole such as your typical running or aerobic shoe, your feet tend to get numb or hurt by the end of class, making it more difficult to concentrate on the workout.

Arrive 15 Minutes Early

  • Adjust: You’ll need to adjust your bike and ensure that it’s the proper height for you—having an incorrectly set up bike can lead to discomfort and injuries.  Most instructors will help you out with this, but it’s good to also know the basics for yourself.  Your seat height should be at hip height.  When you sit in the saddle and extend one leg down, your leg should be straight with only a slight bend at the knee: your knee should not be locked.  The seat moves forwards and backwards. You know you have the correct adjustment when you are able to rest your arms comfortably on the handles with a slight bend in your elbows.  Your back should be flat and your hands should have a good grip on the handles without leaning or putting your weight on them.  Keep a straight wrist—do not let the wrist fall or bend to either side or drop downwards.  Handle bar height can also be adjusted to ease in this process.  Check with your instructor if you are still unsure of your set up.
  • Stretching: want to stretch and ride the bike (without resistance or with very little) before hand. Stretching will loosen up your muscles and allow for an easier ride.  Riding the bike before class will get your heart pumping and prepare you for the intense session ahead.

Tips While Riding

  • Keep a flat back: This lessens the strain on your upper body and focuses the work out on your legs and butt.  This will also ensure you aren’t resting your weight on your arms.  Keep your weight back for the best workout.
  • Climbing out of the saddle: Its’ imperative to have enough resistance to feel a small strain, even for beginners.  Without resistance, you have very little control over the bike when getting into the two and three positions, and run the risk of falling or seriously injuring yourself.
  • Keep your forehead relaxed: This is a trick I learned just recently and it really works. If you have the -tendency to furrow your brow when you are doing a strenuous work out—relax!  This takes a great deal of tension out of the exercise and allows you to focus.
  • Pain Relief: There are three things you can do: Slow your pace, lighten your resistance or climb into second.  Second position is an easier ride than sitting in the saddle, believe it or not, and relieves some of the tension in your legs.

Spin to Win

Along with the health benefits of a solid cardiovascular workout, you’re also reducing stress in the body and chances are, you’ll sleep more soundly at night. Spinning isn’t just for the professional so don’t let the gear intimidate you. Follow these tips and tricks and you’ll go from rookie to pro in no time!

Emily Tamburri writes for CBS New York.

Response: 5 Ways TV Can Hurt Your Health

A recent article featured on Yahoo! titled 5 Ways TV Can Hurt Your Health by Lisa Collier Cool is far from cool.

Check out the opening paragraph,

Couch potatoes beware: Watching the tube for two to three hours a day or more is linked to higher risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and higher rates of early death from all causes, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The culprit is the couch potato lifestyle that frequently accompanies excessive viewing, the researchers report. With the average American logging five hours a day in front of the tube, sitting is replacing exercise.

Ms. Cool, your article targets a population that performs very specific activities. They are the following:

  1. Eating too much while watching TV
  2. Replacing TV for exercise
  3. Watching TV when people should be sleeping
  4. A bunch of stuff about being too close to the TV

When I’m up for work at 5:30am, out the door by 6:30am and not home until 4pm, I check emails and I’m out the door to the gym. While at the gym, I’m usually there for at least an hour doing cardio/weights.

I’m going to list the Top 5 Ways TV Can Improve Your Life.

  1. TV shows can provide a step back from the daily monotony
  2. TV with friends/family is a great way to spend a few minutes together laughing, talking and learning (so that’s what tuna tartare is?)
  3. TV in moderation, like anything else is perfectly normal, even if you’re watching two hour long shows you love a night
  4. Popular TV shows are great conversation starters for people at work. Jessica loves baseball? Good thing you saw the game last night
  5. Shows, similar to those on HGTV can inspire people to DO things. No crime committed there.

When TV gets in the way, there are serious consequences. Overeating issues? Stop eating at the couch. Eat regular meals throughout the day and make it a habit not to bring them to the TV. Everyone knows you’re not paying close attention to the amount you’re consuming when you’re occupied by MasterChef.

Ms. Cool, for those of us who use TV in our lives to enhance it, rather than harm it, give us a break. We don’t need the Journal of the American Medical Association to tell us too much sedentary action leads to obesity. And those who need to learn, your article isn’t something I’d categorize as an authoritative call to action to change behavior.

Up for work at 5am, check emails and head out for the day. That’s my plan for tomorrow. After the gym for an hour, I’m really looking forward to relaxing, and watching a bit of TV.

 

Folding Bikes: More Space, Less Bike

A young child no older than 10 pointed and said “It’s broken” while looking at my Dahon d7 Mariner, fully folded. While folding bikes may be new to some, those of us itching for a quality ride but lacking the space necessary for storage (aka apartment dwellers) are in for a treat. Folding bikes offer the convenience of a full size bike to get you around town while maintaining chic style suitable for both men and women. Before purchasing a folding bike, I was weary of the quality of a folding bike and how it would ride in relation to a full size bike.

Test Ride

I took a Dahon d7 Mariner out for a spin at a local bike shop. The bike’s wheels are 20″, but although smaller than the standard full size mountain bike I could barely tell the difference. The Dahon website lists specs of the d7 Mariner,

  • Speeds: 7
  • Weight: 11.8 kg (26 lb)
  • Folding Time: 15 sec
  • Folding Size: 29 x 80 x 66 cm (11.3″ x 31.2″ x 25.7″)

The seat and handlebars are fully adjustable adding to the convenience and comfort during the ride. The 7 speed Dahon I tried is called the “Mariner”, specifically because of it’s rust resistant chain and frame. Dahon claims it’s not rustproof but the Mariner is an excellent choice for anyone riding close to the ocean or hitting the occasional raincloud.

After riding for about 5 minutes, I felt the bike would be perfect for my needs. There is no suspension, so this isn’t a bike you’d take on the mountain. For the paved streets however, it’s a perfect match. I can’t comment on the quality of other models Dahon makes or other companies who provide bikes that fold, though I can tell you after two weeks and  over 20 miles put on the Mariner, it’s a quality piece of work.

MSRP*

I purchased the Mariner at an authorized retailer for $515. I highly recommend avoiding an online purchase for a couple reasons:

1. An authorized retailer will offer tuneups free of charge. Usually 30, 60, and 90 day periods or as verbally agreed upon.

2 An authorized retailer will put together the bike for free in most cases and install additional accessories such as front and rear lights, a water bottle holder, basket etc.

*At the store, some bike shops offer deals on Yelp! For 10% off. If yours doesn’t, mention the bike shop down the street that does, and if they’ll match the price.

 

Interested in a folding bike? Check out reviews, and our favorite sites that will help you land the perfect folding bike:

 

Goodbye Food Pyramid, Hello MyPlate

MyPlate, your plate

Does a plate of food more closely relate with Americans than a pyramid of food? The most recent version of the food pyramid, with colored striped on the triangle was unclear and a massive step back from the original food pyramid. The Obama administration introduced MyPlate, a dinner plate that looks like a 7th grader’s uneven pie chart,

Some who have seen the logo compared it with a pie chart, though dessert is hardly the association that the administration would like to conjure up. Others likened it to a pizza cut into slices (equally unpalatable for officials). One person said it called to mind a painting by the artist Mark Rothko, who was known for canvases with blocks of color. Those who had seen it would speak only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by the administration to discuss it.

How many people find this chart to be new information? The people who need help with their weight control, or who are learning about food need more detailed information than a section on a plate. Portion control is important when dieting, but the old tiered pyramid showing exactly what foods classified and their serving sizes could be interpreted in less ways. Keeping things simple is effective, but with too much simplicity and not enough facts, their is less consistency when determining the proper way to go about a healthy eating style.

Dr. Post believes it was the right step

You paid $2 million dollars to change the old pyramid, according to the Washington Post, Dr. Post who developed this concept had a few words of his own about MyPlate,

It’s grabbing the consumers’ attention that we are after this time, not making it so complicated that perhaps it is a turnoff,” said Robert Post of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. “There is something really inviting about this familiar setting for meal time.”

Why wouldn’t this grab people’s attention? It’s radically different than the food pyramid guide we’ve known for years. The fact it grabs attention doesn’t mean it’s effective or educational. Like when Janet Jackson grabbed the attention of millions of Americans during the superbowl, it meant nothing besides something that was risque.

Attention grabbing or not, we’ll have to see how the next few years plays out. The Obama administration is proactive with efforts to improve the health of Americans — something that should be commended. Skeptics and supports alike must wait to measure the changes/effectiveness in our health brought about by MyPlate.

Is Ronald McDonald Making Obesity Worse? Jim Skinner Says No

Corporate Accountability International

A group called Corporate Accountability International has placed efforts on eliminating the clown from the McDonald’s town. Strong views upheld by leaders of this organization blame marketing, as announced by the Wall Street Journal,

“Marketing can no longer be ignored as a significant part of this massive problem,” the group said in ads placed in major newspapers last week, advocating Ronald’s retirement after nearly 50 years.

The Wall Street Journal continues, and says although Ronald McDonald’s association with a fast food chain gets criticism, the clown plays many roles besides advertising food,

Ronald is indeed an ambassador who has brought a taste of America to the world. He has sponsored the Olympics, supporting fitness and health. He visits sick children in hospitals, and he has about 300 houses where parents can stay free while their kids undergo chronic care.

Ronald Does More Than Food

From a macro view, Ronald doesn’t just wear one hat. And the hat he wears for food doesn’t advocate for him to force feed children unhealthy foods. McDonald’s, in recent years, achieved a more balanced menu with healthier items such as their grilled chicken salads, snack size fruit and walnut salad and oatmeal. The time consumptive efforts it takes to blame a character who’s been around since 1963 could be better spent educating the parents and communities on making healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and their children.

Using Ronald McDonald as a scapegoat for overweight children is like saying cartoons are the reason children don’t focus in school and get good grades. If the child doesn’t study, he doesn’t get good marks. The very rare instances where a child is addicted to TV may alter schoolwork, just as if a child were addicted to fast food they may become obese.

CEO’s Response

McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner had a word to say about Ron,

Ronald McDonald is an ambassador for McDonald’s. And he’s an ambassador for good. He is the face of Ronald McDonald House. He does not advertise unhealthy food to children. McDonald’s does not advertise unhealthy food choices to children. We provide many choices that fit within the balanced active lifestyle. It is up them to choose. And it is up to their parents to choose. And it is their responsibility to do so.

Ronald McDonald is going nowhere.

Will good old Ronald be eighty-sixed from McDonald’s? Sorry, Corporate Accountability International. Doesn’t seem your chances are too good right now.

Heart Attack Grill: Taste Worth Dying For

Rolling down the hospital aisles to get triple bypass surgery isn’t an ideal mid-day event. Eating the Triple Bypass Burger at the Heart Attack Grill just may be.

The Heart Attack Grill is under fire for promoting obesity with their fat and cholesterol packed menu. CBS News reports:

John Basso is the owner of Heart Attack Grill. He admits that he is promoting obesity, but said that it shouldn’t be viewed as dangerous. “We’re not promoting obesity for obesity’s sake,” said Basso. “We’re promoting obesity for fun’s sake. I’m simply saying, don’t grab something through a drive-thru window that you’re going to forget five minutes later.”

Promoting obesity for fun’s sake? Where is the fun in overweight, diabetic 25 year olds with low self worth and an even lower desire to make a change? Unfortunately, Basso makes a critical error when promoting his restaurant and fighting for his case. Our capitalistic society realizes a good business and allows it to thrive. If he is going to back his idea of unhealthy food, the correct response would be pointing to the consumer’s right to choose. Not to highlight obesity as “fun”. The most disgusting part about the whole ordeal, mentioned in the CBS News report,

People who weigh 350 pounds or more eat free. And proving that the company lives up to its promise, their 500-pound spokesman died last year.

There’s a point where the line has to be drawn. KFC offers healthy options, as does Burger King. If people want to eat a Triple Bypass burger they should be able to make their own decision, but rewarding people by getting free food for being a hazardous weight is shameless and clearly lacking any moral values. If Basso’s idea is to serve up some nasty burgers for your health, then fine. But if he’s going to mock the obese, reward their sick health and comment like the health devil, he needs to get out of this business and start taking some classes on human decency.