by Michelle Golden
Two summers ago my mother landed up in the emergency room; her heart rate was at a low four and the nurses were pumping something in her veins to reverse the drug effects of her attempted suicide. I remember staring at my mother, wondering if she was experiencing the same kind of internal emotional pain my sister and I were going through.
When she was later seen by a social worker we were told that she’s bipolar. My sister and I had been prepared for this answer for a while due to her years and years of destructive behavior. But when we finally had the answer in front of us, I don’t think either of us knew what to do next. Then, as if the social worker knew this was what we were thinking, she told us, “Your mother needs to get her self immediate help.”
We learned that bipolar disorder consists of disruptions in brain chemistry. The parts of the brain that control emotions don’t operate the way they should and because of this, individuals with the disorder experience certain moods more strongly and frequently than others for a longer period of time.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health approximately 5.7 million American adults or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year are affected by bipolar disorder, a disorder that severely affects mood swings. Out of the 5.7 million Americans who are affected by this disorder a lot of them are not aware of it and some may not even do anything to receive the right treatment.
For a number of reasons people who suffer from bipolar disorder don’t get the necessary help they need from a doctor. They may ignore their family and friend’s plea to seek treatment. Most of the time the number one reason for not seeing a doctor is fear. When people suffering from bipolar disorder live in denial they don’t have to face themselves, their fears, and reality. They can continue going about their everyday lives – even if their relationships with family, friends, and co-workers are at risk.
When getting treatment isn’t a priority people can risk becoming suicidal and one’s long-term physical health is at risk as well. And that’s the stage my mother was in when we found ourselves at her hospital bed. For years we didn’t know what the problem was and for years she never thought she had a problem.
Millions of Americans have bipolar disorder and it can develop at any point in an individual’s life. It’s not only a personality disorder but it is also a real disease. It requires medical attention just like cancer or diabetes requires treatment. The right treatment is out there for everybody. Medications are available to help stabilize moods and in therapy one can discuss feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Through seeking professional help people can learn to cope with the bipolar disorder and learn how to fully engage in ways to better live a more gratifying and functional life.
One thing to realize when you’re dealing with a family member who has the disorder is that it isn’t your fault. For years my mother put the blame on my sister and I for her divorce from my father, or for her health, or just for even being born. But it is important to understand that all of these are irrational thoughts and though they may hurt, it really is the bipolar disorder in the parent speaking. Sometimes I think that maybe there is hope and she will change. But then those thoughts are interrupted when I remember the harsh names, the hitting, the shoving, and the manic state she was capable of getting stuck in. I used to think I was just the bad daughter. But when I moved out and my sister then had to deal with it, I knew that I had been wrong for many years and my mother’s daughters weren’t the problem. The fact that she wasn’t getting the right help was.
Although it’s been two years after my mother’s diagnosis and she still isn’t seeking the right help, I know that it takes time. It is true that her life has gone in a downwards spiral since then. She isn’t emotionally and physically healthy and stable to have a job. My mother is still suffering from the tremendous effects of the disorder. But I do have faith that at some point she’ll be ready to take the right medication, to speak with the right professional, and to trust in her own self and others that there is a light at the end of the long and dark tunnel. Like with anything, the first step is admitting when there is a problem. And after that, it’s about taking one day at a time.
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It’s that time again. Aunt Flo is planning her visit. You’re almost surfin’ that crimson wave. Your period is on its way.
And everyone around you can tell, too. No, they aren’t psychic, and no, they haven’t memorized your cycle.
Maybe it has something to do with the way you yelled because someone forgot to buy more of your favorite chips, so now you’re stuck with cheddar and sour cream when you were really craving some salt and vinegar?
And the worst part is after being rude and irritable for a week, then there’s a week of actually having your period.
So how do we deal? Once a month for the next 25-30 years we will have PMS. Yes, it makes for a good excuse when we feel like lashing out on someone, but with a little effort, we (and the poor, innocent bystanders) can survive PMS.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests some lifestyle changes that can reduce the nasty symptoms of PMS:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat healthy foods (fruits, vegetables and whole grains)
- Avoid salty and sugary foods, caffeine and alcohol
- Try to sleep at least 8 hours every night
- Release stress in healthy ways, such as talking to a friend, exercising or writing in a journal
- Do not smoke
- Take a multivitamin every day that has 400 micrograms of folic acid. Calcium supplements with vitamin D can also help.
- Over-the-counter pain medicines can help ease cramps and other aches associated with PMS.
Besides these helpful tips for dealing with PMS, there are a few more creative ways to get past the crappy attitude and put a smile on your face, even with gut-wrenching cramps. My personal PMS Survival Guide looks slightly different:
- Go shoe or accessory shopping. Absolutely not clothes shopping… there’s no worse time to try clothes on than when you are crampy and bloated. But shoes and jewelry look good even when you don’t feel confident about the rest of your body. Plus a little retail therapy can cure any slump in your mood.
- Get a really great book, throw on some sweats and curl up on the sofa. Taking time to relax by yourself will clear your mind and give you less of a chance to get annoyed by something that somebody says.
- Watch reality television. I can’t really explain this one, but for some strange reason, trashy television shows are like comfort food. Just try it and you’ll understand.
- Make something. A collage, friendship bracelets, whatever. Channeling the stress to concentrate on something creative and artsy helps a lot.
I have found that combining my own feel-good tricks with recommended PMS reducers helps me cope. Just because our hormones are doing back flips and our bodies insist on bloating and aching, it doesn’t mean that we don’t need to keep our attitudes in check. This month, try to control the freak outs. You’ll feel much better, and so will everyone around you who would have been caught in the line of fire.
by Laura Blythe
Exercise classes can be a daunting thing. You are surrounded by a group of people, contorting your body and pushing yourself to your limits. It is only natural to be a bit nervous and self-conscious, right?
Well, you do not have to be. With a few tips from aerobics instructor Jaclyn Mora, you can calm any nerves you may have about exercise classes and get the most out of your work-out.
Mora teaches a variety of classes at the Recreation Center at the University of Missouri, and she understands that it can be nerve-wracking to work-out in front of other people. But through her time teaching, Mora has picked up some tips and tricks that will help you overcome your nerves in the gym.
1) Realize you are not alone
Mora points out that everyone is “just as nervous as you are.” You are not the only one is class who is worried what the other students are thinking. And guess what? Because they are all worried about themselves, they are not thinking about you! By keeping this in mind, you can keep your perspective about what others are thinking.
2) Be confident
Mora offers is that you “pretend you’re confident if you need to.” During your first or second class, you might have to fake a swagger. But just like faking a laugh can actually make you feel happy, faking confidence can be a good way to really pick yourself up—at first. However, Mora insists that faking it really is not necessary—she ultimately recommends that you just be “confident and try your best, and not worry about what others think of you.” By focusing on yourself rather than the thoughts of others, you can help to ensure that you are doing your best in the class.
3) Choose classes you like
Confidence in an exercise class is not just about being able to overcome nervousness in front of others. Mora also recommends that you “pick classes you like.” If you’re enjoying the class and are able to focus on the exercise, you will have no time left over to focus on being self-confident.
4) Switch it up
She also suggests that you do not just stick to one class.
“Try different ones out,” she said, “Pick your favorite ones and stick to them.”
After all, if you are not enjoying the class, you will not be reaping all the benefits. Choosing a class that you enjoy will help your confidence, as you will be too busy having fun to even notice the other people in the class.
Ultimately, what is important is that you try your best and have fun during your workout. Mora encourages you to remember that “workouts are supposed to be fun, relieve stress and make you feel…confident and happy,” so it is up to you to make sure that your workouts are working out for you.
by Rebecca Toback
Everyone has a different opinion on what time of the day is the best time to hit the gym. For me, that time is first thing in the morning. But there are times I’ve found that can provide you with the best work-out, the most motivation, and the drive to kick some butt on the cardio machines.
1) Use break ups as motivation
After a breakup you may have a high desire to get your body into shape. The gym can be your new partner and best friend. Whenever you are bored or longing for your ex, just hit the gym and get going on the treadmill. If you want to get back at the person who broke your heart, get revenge by getting into better shape than you ever were in when you were with that person.
Even better than using the gym to get revenge, use it to catch someone’s eye. When you have a guy in mind that you want to pursue, do an extra set to win him over. When you know that a guy spends every morning from 9-10 at the gym, you can start spending every morning there as well and hope he realizes you, or get on the machine next to him and start a conversation.
2) Tailoring to mood
If you go to the gym when you are happy, you will be more motivated than when you go depressed. The same goes for if you are tired, or completely awake. If you are a morning person, get out of bed and hit the gym. If you could stay up all night, go to the gym after dinner. Going too late is not good either because it may keep you up, but an early evening work-out session could be the thing for you if you would rather sleep in, and work-out later.
3) Set goals and rewards
I sometimes make goals for myself and when I accomplish them, I buy myself a new outfit. Last month I set a goal for myself to run three miles on the elliptical machine in under 30 minutes for three days that week. When I completed my week’s objective, I went to my favorite little boutique and bought new jeans and a trendy top.
4) Join the crowd
Another motivation to go work out is if you go to the gym when you know there will be a lot of people there. You won’t want to cut your work-out short if you’re surrounded by others who are working-out around you. You probably will want to work double time and impress the people on the surrounding machines.
5) Look at the past to inspire the future
If you have gained weight, look at pictures of your old sexier body before you leave to hit the gym. You will be inspired by the figure you used to have and want to work to ensure you get your old less flawed body back. Knowing that you will be healthier after you lose the extra pounds you put on, should get you in the mood to have a great work-out and encourage you to shed those pounds at the gym.
6) Workout where you’re comfortable
If you aren’t a gym person, you can use work out videos in your home. The people on the tape will encourage you to keep going, and work harder. If that works for you, that’s great too. Many cable television systems allow you to rent free work-out tapes from their services. One of my favorite is the Pilates workouts from IO on Demand.
Most importantly what should motivate you to go to the gym is how great you will feel after your work out is complete.
With cold and flu season fast approaching, you’re probably dreading rummaging through your medicine cabinet with its awful tasting cough syrup and odd smelling remedies that your grandmother swears by. But instead of torturing your taste buds to stay healthy, why not raid your fridge? The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, dubbed the father of medicine, had just that idea. “The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine.” You have the tools to steer clear of sneezing and sore throats in your own kitchen, and they’ve been under your runny nose this whole time.
Garlic is one flavor-packed ingredient I can’t seem to leave out of a recipe. It’s a natural immune booster that assists in multiplying infection-fighting white cells and increasing antibody production. These properties are largely due to its sulfur-containing compounds like allicin and sulfides. Garlic is one of many so-called “hot foods” that contains mucolytics, which liquefy mucus that builds up in the sinuses and breathing passages when you’re under the weather. Ancient Egyptians even considered garlic holy and used it as currency!
Your local supermarket may not be too keen on you paying in garlic cloves, but next time you’re there, be sure to add bell peppers, ginger, and broccoli to your shopping list. As a member of the nightshade family, bell peppers are packed with nutrients. They’re loaded with beta carotene and vitamin C. Surprisingly, they even have twice the vitamin C per gram of most vitamin C-containing fruits and vegetables. We need Vitamin C because it maintains the skin, which is the body’s guard against microbes and viruses.
The next item that should be on your shopping list is ginger. There’s nothing like the smell of freshly grated ginger root permeating your kitchen, so if you’re not a habitual ginger grater, you will be soon. Ginger actually makes you sweat more, so we can get rid of germs by sweating out toxins in our system. It also helps to settle your stomach, which is why we reach for a can of ginger ale when we’re sick.
Lastly, despite your less than fond memories of being forced to eat broccoli as a child, grab some before you hit the cash register. Your parents were on to something. Broccoli is a great source of vitamins A, C and E. It’s also high in glucosinolates, which stimulate the body’s immune system. On the downside, broccoli can cause gas and bloating problems, but lucky for us, this can be easily combated by eating it with garlic and ginger!
So with garlic, bell peppers, ginger, and garlic, I would go for an Asian – inspired dish. Here’s one of my recipes for noodles that I make at home all the time. It’s as quick and easy as noodle dishes get, so you can spend less time cooking and more time eating towards better health!
3 to 4 servings
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound spaghetti
1 red bell pepper, julienned
½ cup broccoli, fresh or defrosted
1 sprig scallions, chopped
5 tablespoons of the hot water (for a saucier consistency)
2 tablespoons (brown/white) sugar
Cook the pasta and set aside. In a saucepan, heat vegetable oil and a splash of sesame oil over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook and stir for a minute until soft. Then add the sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce, and hot water (from the pasta). Stir until the sugar dissolves and the peanut butter has a smooth consistency. Toss in broccoli and remaining spices, and cook through for one minute. Mix noodles with the sauce. Add more sesame oil to taste.
To wash all this down, why not have a cup of green tea? Green tea originated in China and is rich in polyphenols (plant antioxidants) and other chemicals to help fight off the cold or flu. Now, all you need is a fortune cookie to finish off the meal. Let’s hope it predicts good health for the coming season! Happy eating
By Maggie Malach
To many high school graduates, the Freshman 15 seems like an urban legend—it is a concept that may plague some poor first-year student somewhere in the country, but is certainly not a threat. At least, this is what I thought upon starting college.
As a cross-country runner blessed with fast metabolism and in the throes of a continual growth spurt (I was 5’8” when I graduated high school), I was never concerned with my diet. In addition, I was involved in extra-curricular activities which kept my mind busy and my self-esteem high, so I certainly didn’t worry about the way I looked.
I made a great group of friends almost immediately and really liked all of my classes and professors, so if I suffered from the typical first-year-of-college adjustment problems, I did not realize it. Yet, for the first time in my life, I experienced that sharp intake of breath that is involuntary when a girl slips into her favorite pair of jeans and finds that they suddenly no longer button.
I consider myself to be a rational, calm person in the face of crisis—and this certainly was a crisis—so I did what any girl would do in this situation: I panicked. What was wrong? How could this have happened? How could I have let myself fall into one of the biggest college clichés?
After a solid five minutes of re-evaluating my life (I decided I would never touch dessert again and I would commit to three hours a day working out until this nightmare ended), I realized that I might be looking at this situation from the wrong perspective. Yes, my indulging in the soft serve ice cream machine downstairs might be a contributing factor, and while cutting late night sundaes out of my diet might help me physically, it occurred to me that maybe what I really needed lay beyond my diet.
In high school I was involved a myriad of different activities—Student Council, the newspaper, Relay for Life. I had so much to do that I was constantly busy, but that lifestyle had worked for me. I had adjusted almost too well to college, and in essence I was bored.
Sitting around all day, stuck in the same routine, was not conducive to building my confidence. Here I was in a community with every opportunity in the world available to me, and with people from every part of the world, and I was content to stay in my room and let it pass me by.
I made a commitment that day to become more involved at my school. Always shy when it came to meeting new people, I leapt out of my comfort zone the day that I started hanging out with a group of girls who lived on my floor, but who I otherwise did not know. This led me to begin a tradition that I still partake in today: Friday night independent film showings. I am now friends with a great group of people and I have the added benefit of being exposed to a lesser-known area of pop culture.
In addition, I joined a group of people training to participate in the Disney marathon weekend. Again I was forced to leave my comfort zone, but doing so was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In conjunction with the Special Wish Foundation, our group raised money to bring the family of a chronically sick child to Disney World with us. This in itself changed my life, as I am now considering working for a non-profit organization after I graduate.
As I started socializing with new people and challenging myself to venture into new experiences, I began to see a change in my life. Making new friends had a snowball effect: I was constantly introduced to more and more new people. I spent an increasing amount of time out of my room and around campus. Knowing so many people and having so many different friends boosted my confidence in a way I never expected.
Furthermore, I did start taking my diet more seriously. I am no longer concerned about my weight, however, but about whether or not I am healthy. Weight is only a number, and what matters to me now is that I am maintaining an appropriate balance between the kinds of food I eat and my workouts.
I think this realization was very beneficial for me because of the constant pressure for women to be thin. This belief trickles down to young women in college, who find the Freshman 15 culturally unacceptable. Making the choice to step back from the scale and step up to the challenge of living an all-around healthier lifestyle has helped me both physically and mentally. I have more energy and feel more athletic, while also gaining a boost in my confidence.
Since moving away to college, I have learned to take advantage of my community by seeing what it has to offer and, in turn, offering it my very best. My best advice to incoming freshmen concerned about weight gain is to become involved in every organization that they can. There is a confidence that one finds in exposing herself that is life-changing, and that is a trait that I find to be simply irreplaceable.
By Kelli Curtis
You’ve felt it before. The seemingly never-ending buzz of activity in your brain, with countless thoughts darting to the forefront of your mind. They bombard you with obligations, deadlines, relationships, and the realization you need to scrub the shower.
You rub your head, ignore the dishes piling up in the sink, and wonder if you will have time to sleep.
Psychological and physical stress affect the body in the same way — it doesn’t distinguish the difference. The body reacts to those perceived threats with the “Fight or Flight” response, even if it’s addressing the mental stressor of arguing with a friend: Your heart pounds, your breath quickens, and your strength increases.
And while some stress can have positive effects (including improved focus and concentration), too much stress becomes detrimental to mental, emotional, and physical health. Finding that balance, and learning to manage your stress, is key.
The Causes of Stress
The potential reasons for stress to be present are endless: friends, family, significant others, school, jobs, chores, finances, health, etc. And these days, “everyone is stressed out,” says Cheri Augustine Flake, a psychotherapist and coach that specializes in stress reduction. “Our inability here in the United States to live in the moment and accept ourselves for who we are and what we can do is putting us all at risk for stress and stress-related health concerns.”
The root of stress comes down to being judgmental, says Meredith McEver, a licensed clinical social worker who leads mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapy groups.
“The most important stressor is being judgmental about yourself,” McEver says. “For example, of course your job is stressful, but thinking you can’t do it or you’re incompetent is where the stress comes in.” She attributes that to a fairly common attempt to change things people have no control over, and then internalizing those problems.
“People need to consider professional assistance when their stressors or their reactions to the stressors become overwhelming, or when the stress or the reaction to the stress is actually interfering in their lives,” says Beth Altman, a licensed clinical social worker.
However, it seems that people frequently look down upon seeking professional help — especially men. “Women tend to be more socialized to be more aware and to be more expressive,” Altman says. “Men are more likely to be less in touch — generalized — and frequently keep it more to themselves. And men, more than women, are likely to manifest their stress more behaviorally; they may drink more, bury themselves in their work more.” Thus, the stressors build as people deny the present cause and push away the feelings until it’s overwhelming.
“Address the problems earlier when it’s easier to treat,” McEver says. “If you’re someone who gets stressed out easily, you can learn to not get stressed out. It’s a skill you can learn, and what a difference in your life it would make to learn that skill.”
The Physical and Emotional Effects of Stress
If chronic stress goes unchecked, the problem manifests physically in increasing severity. “In the long-term, there isn’t any part of your body that isn’t impacted by stress,” McEver says. “Especially when you’re young, you don’t see that huge of an impact from stress. But you’re sowing the seeds down the road for illness.”
What may begin as chronic headaches can ultimately contribute to any of the following:
• Hair loss
• Heart disease
• Obsessive-compulsive or anxiety disorder
• Sexual dysfunction
“I am a firm believer that stress causes disease,” Flake says. “Look at the word: ‘dis-ease.’ A lack of calm and clarity causes illness. [And] when your thoughts are colored with the ill effects of stress, everything looks and feels worse.”
One thing to be frequently compromised by the effects of stress is relationships, McEver says. The anxiety, depression, mood swings, and irritability that may be felt because of stress ultimately create difficulty in connecting with others, which creates interpersonal conflicts. “You may feel unable to have meaning in your life,” she says.
Much of that tension is unknowingly carried in a person’s shoulders, McEver says, and one way to combat stress is to be aware of your body.
“Most people walk around all day with their shoulders tense and tight, and what that does is that it keeps building,” she says. “You can only change it when you acknowledge it; otherwise you don’t even know what’s going on.”
Flake emphasizes the need of practicing daily stress management before ever reaching a “breaking point.” “Sometimes, every day is just a battle to get ahead,” she says. “When this happens, hopes, dreams, good ideas, and things you wish you were doing or feel that you should be doing get lost along the way.”
Ways to Manage Stress At Home
Meditate for 10 to 15 minutes each day. This is a free, easy way to approach stress management. Flake suggests you find a quiet spot, sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on a mantra or your breath. When thoughts try to disrupt your focus, revert back to your mantra or breath.
Think about how you “catastrophize certain situations,” Flake says. “Consider a Catastrophe Scale ranging from 1 (not a stressful situation at all) to 10 (the most stressful situation of all). See how you may be rating all of your situations, even a flat tire, as a 7, 8, 9 or even 10 … Now consider something that is truly a 10 — say, a hurricane that wipes out your house, everything you own and everyone you love, as well. The flat tire looks more like a 1 or 2 now, doesn’t it?”
Learn to categorize your “ought tos,” “need tos” and “really want tos,” and find the right balance for your lifestyle.
Practice mindfulness based stress reduction, in which the emphasis is on being “present.” “When there’s a stress that comes up, go towards the stress instead of running away from the problem,” McEver says. “Experience what’s going on in the moment — be really grounded.
Notice your body sensations, tensions, relaxations, present emotions, present thoughts. Notice what’s going on with you and don’t be judgmental about it, don’t try to deny what’s present or push away bad feelings.” Pay attention to your shoulders on a regular basis, she says. When you notice your shoulders are tight or tense, that means you aren’t relaxed.
Take a few moments each day to do something you enjoy, be it music, art or writing. If you need to, begin scheduling your day to allow for a specific time for your hobby and personal enjoyment.
Altman recommends taking care of yourself in every sense: Exercise, eat well, get adequate sleep, and develop a reliable support system.
Utilize any method of stress management before the problem escalates. You can manage it more easily the earlier you confront the situation. And if you feel unable to handle your stress on your own, feel no shame. A professional can work with you pursue the best course of treatment for you and your lifestyle. “Therapy would help [people] understand better why they’re feeling the way they are, and what changes they could make to better adapt,” Altman says.
The Different Types of Stress
Eustress: Short-term stress that occurs during moments of physical activity, enthusiasm, and creativity. It’s positive, fun, and exciting. (ex: racing to meet a deadline, the feelings before competing in a sports event)
Distress: Negative stress that produces discomfort, especially when a routine is interrupted.
Acute Stress: A type of distress that is intense but short-lived.
Chronic Stress: Long-term stress that can exist anywhere from a few weeks to years.
Hyperstress: Stress that occurs when a person is overwhelmed, which can lead to strong emotional responses from small triggers.
Hypostress: Stress that occurs when a person is bored, restless, and uninspired.
Information from The Health Center
By the Numbers breakout box
Two-thirds of all office visits to family physicians are due to stress-related symptoms.
23% of women executives and professionals, and 19% of their male peers, say they feel super-stressed.
64% of Americans say they are taking steps to reduce stress in their lives.
Information from Foundation for Integrated Research in Mental Health (2007) and American Psychological Association (2005)
By Katelyn Stark
Every school year I convince myself that I will get in shape by that next summer. And then when the summer comes around I say the same thing just for that next school year. It’s a vicious cycle that my body – and self esteem- does not appriciate it. Through out the school year I’m at least getting some physical activity into my schedule; that’s the advantage of going to school up in the mountains- a promised workout by just walking to class.
But the summer is a completely different story. I have access to a car so even walking just up the road seems rediculous and besides that I work all the time. Maybe if my job involved excersise I would be okay, but I’m an office manager at a summer camp. That means I sit in the mornings when I check campers in, I sit in my office through out the day and get plently of ‘mental excersise,’ but I’m always sitting.
The other day my assistant director Amanda told me I was in danger of getting a ‘butt roll’- an indent a few inches under your butt from sitting that it looks like a roll. Now that sounds pretty. After that drascitic news I knew I had to do something to keep my body from getting rolls where rolls shouldn’t exist, and try to even get rid of some already existing ones. So I came up with these tips for all you hard working ladies that might not always get the physical exercise you need.
• Maximize your walks. If it’s a walk from your car or to the other side of your room, make it count. I sometimes get the privledge to leave the iron bars of my office walls to go into the cafeteria or gym of the elementary school I work at, and you better believe I’m speed walking, using my arms, and occasionally throwing in the random lunge action. I don’t always look like the most graceful lady but I’m burning more calories than I would with the quaint stroll.
• Car dance parties. I spend a lot of time driving in the summer. I drive to work, to my friends, to the movies, to church, to the gas station because I drive so much, and I drive others around me into a good laugh with my awesome car dance moves. Good music always maximizes my workout, and just because I’m sitting behind the wheel doesn’t change that. Moving back and fourth in the seat, twisting your hips, and just getting into the music will burn more calories than just sitting there. So next time you’re in your car put in a good Backstreet Boys cd and have your own personal dance party.
• Water, water, water. I understand that drinking eight glasses of water a day is a lot harder than it sounds, but staying hydrated really does help maintain your weight. Try keeping a water bottle with you. I force myself to drink atleast a glass of water in the morning and I keep my other bottle open on my desk during the day. I will drink as much as I can before I eat any meal because it helps me feel full faster and I stay full longer. Just remind yourself, and what was once an impossible task will become a healthy daily habit.
• Find a work-out buddy. ALERT: STAY AWAY FROM ASKING BOYFRIENDS/OTHER GUY FRIENDS. All that will lead to are hurt feelings and a slap across their faces. Bad idea. Ask a girlfriend, a co-work, or family member. It’s always easier if you have someone to go to the gym with, or get you to the gym for that matter, and it’s a lot more fun if you have someone to complain to about how awful the gym is.
Also, if you really hate working out don’t trust yourself with just doing it on your own. Find a fitness class with an instructer. They will lead you into a workout that will maximise your potential and won’t waste your time.
• Put effort into it. Nothing will be achieved half-heartedly. If you are serious about getting into shape or keeping your figure then
really work at it. It doesn’t have to take more then twenty minutes a day. Keep a journal of your work out schedule and a weekly average of your weight. Just keep going and keep pushing.
I just want to remind all of you ladies that these work-out tips will not get you to a size zero and nor should it. I want to make sure that you’re keeping a heathly weight but also respecting your body at the same time. Curves are beautiful, you’re beautiful; just use these tips to stay healthy- and to prevent an office manager butt roll.
By Rebecca Toback
While the new Yankee Stadium hosts over 400 places to spend your hard earned cash inside its massive walls, that was not the most shocking number I experienced on my first visit to the big new ball yard in the Bronx this spring.
My friends and I always ate sushi when we were on diets, and my mom, sister and I have had sushi dinners almost weekly for as long as I can remember. So I can say it was beyond a surprise when I arrived at the food court in the new and improved Yankee Stadium and saw that a simple California roll was over 250 calories, and a tuna roll was impending 200! How many calories are tu(na) many?
Six small pieces of tuna, rolled in sticky rice and seaweed accounting for one-tenth of my daily recommended caloric intake? I don’t think so. Studying the menu with my family brought a sense of communal incredulity about the calories packed into the tiny Japanese delicacies, now passing for ballpark grub. (“Buy me some peanuts and …. Alaska Roll?”)
What if I was wrong, and sushi was not as healthy as everyone had made me think for the last 19 years. Come to think of it Seinfeld, I have seen some fat fish at the aquarium.
According to Glamour.com the carbs in one roll of sushi are equivalent to that of three pieces of white bread. Again, do the math that means just two rolls, equal three sandwiches! Carbs-information.com, says that ½ a cup of sushi rice usually contains 48 grams of carbs, or about one fifth of your daily carbohydrate count.
A few weeks back I took a trip to a neighborhood health food store, and made a b-line right for the sushi aisle. I picked up a lobster roll and a brown rice California roll, and strolled to the counter looking forward to a healthy, satisfying lunch.
Just after cracking open the chopsticks I plated my 16 pieces of sushi and was about to toss the containers, when I glimpsed from the corner of my eye the nutritional stats of my meal. Yikes! Half of one roll was again over 200 calories. You do the math. My first instinct was to throw the rice balls away. I wanted a healthy lunch, not a carb laden imposter. I felt like banging the chopsticks together and starting a rally against all those people who had guaranteed me that sushi was healthy for so many years. Some guarantee that was; I want my money back!
Not only is the nutritional value of sushi something to be concerned about, you must also be thinking about toxin levels of the fish and where your raw fish has been bathing.
In 2008, The New York Times visited 20 New York City restaurants and stores to test the mercury levels in their tuna sushi. Five of the 20 venues were selling fish with mercury levels high enough for the Food and Drug Administration to take the raw fish off the market. According to The New York Times only six pieces of sushi from some of these eateries a week would exceed an acceptable mercury level in the human body.
In late 2008, Jeremy Piven stepped down from his roll in “Speed-the-Plow” claiming to have been stricken with a “sushi-induced” case of mercury poisoning. The Entourage actor said he had been previously warned about having high mercury content, from 20 years of sushi eating, but fans and reporters across the country were skeptical about how realistic the never substantiated mercury poisoning was.
Still, mercury poisoning is just one more thing to think about before ordering your next piece of tuna sashimi. A thought provoking sushi story recently broke on ABC News about a study that showed that salmon tapeworm infestations tripled in Kyoto, Japan, in 2008.
As river dwellers, salmon are susceptible to ingesting one of the many tapeworms inhabiting inland waterways. But, lets face reality, while the chance of you eating a salmon laced tapeworm is low, I know I would not be happy with a parasitic worm squirming inside of me for up to 30 years, growing as large as 39 feet. Pass the barf bag, please.
The solution is simple, if not appetizing: to eliminate chance of hosting a live tapeworm in your stomach, cook your fish. If tapeworms scare you as much as they do me, fish like tuna, and other deep ocean fish, are safer choices. When trying to pick a low-in-calorie dinner, sushi may not be as “safe” a choice as you and I once thought.