The 5 Steps to Quitting Anything Gracefully

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Volunteering in a pediatric playroom at a cancer hospital is a pretty good thing to do, right? So I felt downright evil for wanting to quit. I was in my 20s; I had gotten a job with long hours, which meant I sometimes ended up stuck at work and had to bail on my 6 p.m. volunteer shift. Being unreliable wasn’t fair to those kids, but I still couldn’t bring myself to resign.

A lot of us delay quitting anything—jobs, activities, relationships, fitness routines, and even bland books—because we think we should have the grit to see it through, women warriors that we are. Extreme endurance is a virtue, if not an essential for succeeding in today’s competitive work and market. Besides, most of us have been brought up to believe that winners never quit. We can do it! Even if it makes us miserable!

Quitting can be scary, but it’s vital for overall satisfaction, not to mention joy. "Life is too short to waste time and energy on things you find unrewarding or unproductive," says James E. Maddux, PhD, senior scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. "Replace your source of dissatisfaction with something more fulfilling and you’ll find more happiness."

RELATED: The Best Advice From the Healthiest People on the Planet

So what makes us stay the course when we’re disgruntled or uninspired? It’s human nature to adapt to circumstances, as frustrating, stressful, or just plain annoying as they may be. "It’s like having a bad knee—you learn to live with it, paying attention only when it really hurts," notes Maddux. Of course, you don’t have to tough out that tempestuous neighborhood association or tepid hot yoga class. Time is not infinite, and by ending something punitive, you make room for something pleasant.

There are even health payoffs to knowing when to throw in the towel. Research has shown that people who are better at bailing on unattainable goals have lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and fewer headaches than those who have a harder time. In one pivotal study, University of British Columbia psychologists tracked teenage girls for a year. The ones who more easily stopped pursuing hard-to-reach goals had declining levels of a protein that indicates bodily inflammation, linked to heart disease.

These are the simple steps for giving the heave-ho to what’s not working and getting to a better, happier place. It’s mainly a mind shift—you focus as much on what you hope to gain as what you plan to lose from your life.

RELATED: 12 Worst Habits for Your Mental Health

1. Quit calling yourself a quitter

The word quitter is associated with failure, notes Maddux, and feeling like a loser is dispiriting, so reframe your perspective. Try this financial analogy: "Think, 'I am going to divest from this and reinvest my energy and efforts in something that will have a better payoff,'" he suggests. "Once you stop seeing yourself as a quitter, it’s easier to disengage."

2. Get real about your misery

Sometimes it’s hard to admit just how fed up or overwhelmed you are, especially if you’re the Little Engine That Could type. "Stoicism is first cousins with masochism," says Alan Bernstein, a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City and coauthor of Quitting. Whether you’re assessing how you feel about your job, your marathon training or a biography you’re slooowly reading, it helps to consider if you have "flow"—when you get so absorbed in what you’re doing that you lose a sense of time. It’s one of the purest forms of contentment around, and if it’s lacking, you’re missing out.

RELATED: Eat Your Way to Health and Happiness

3. Ask yourself one little thing

A question to ponder: Who, exactly, are you doing this for? That’s the advice from Molly Mogren Katt, 33, of Minneapolis, who left her position as a communications director for a celebrity chef—which her friends considered the coolest job—to become a writer, one she finds to be the coolest. Now she regularly interviews accomplished quitters on her blog, Hey, Eleanor! It’s named after Eleanor Roosevelt, who famously said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." "People I speak with often say they were doing things they didn’t love because they felt people or society expected them to," says Katt. "One of my favorite stories is about a makeup artist who put in so much effort to look younger. Then she quit coloring her hair at 49—and landed a job as a model for Dolce & Gabbana. Once she embraced who she was, she got a great gig."

4. See the future

The more you focus on what you’re going to do with that extra free time, the easier quitting is. "Writing down what you want next is motivating, empowering and invigorating," says Bernstein. So if you want out of a relationship, say, mull over the essential qualities you’re looking for in a future partner. True, it’s not like you can order a boyfriend off Amazon (even via drone), but you’ll feel more inspired to make it happen. As for times when there is no "next," like when you just feel like ditching your role as PTA treasurer because you’re overbooked, picture the benefits of life without it: Hello, more free time with your kids (not to mention your Hulu queue).

5. Rehearse your exit

Thinking ahead to what you’ll tell a boss or your weekend tennis partner when you end things can quell paralyzing anxiety. "Couch it in an empathic way: 'Although it may not be convenient for you…,'" advises Bernstein. "The point is to connect to the other person’s needs as well as yours." No matter how much you dread telling someone that you’re bailing, the reality may surprise you. There’s a chance that if you’re feeling it, others are, too, as I discovered the day I finally told the coordinator I had to stop volunteering. She said she knew I was headed in that direction. And then she offered to let me volunteer on holidays, which I did for years to come. Proof that I’m a quitter? Hardly—I’d call that a win-win.

Permission to quit, granted

Watch only the good seasons of Orange Is the New Black/House of Cards/Luther.
Unfriend people on Facebook who regularly post "meh" updates. Who cares if she’s powerwashing her deck?
Accept that you’ll never do a triathlon. Not now. Not next year. Not ever.
Give up making smoothies so healthy you have to hold your nose to drink them.
Forget about getting the kids to make their beds. The neat police will not descend on your home.
Quit forcing yourself to read the entire Sunday paper.
Leave your hairdresser. She will survive.
Abandon the hope of putting all your family photos into albums—iCloud for the win!

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I Tried Thinx ‘Period-Proof’ Underwear and It Was a Total Disaster

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Ever since my very first period, I've preferred to use pads over tampons. So when I first started noticing the controversial ads for Thinx plastered all over New York City's subway system, I felt a surge of hope for my tampon-free lifestyle. “Underwear for women with periods." Oh hey, that’s me. But, I wondered: Are they just … stylish diapers? Will I feel like a 19th century woman on the rag? Feeling skeptically optimistic, I decided to put this promising-sounding product to the test.

It turns out Thinx underwear come in six styles, each with a level of absorbency measured in tampons (seriously): from hiphuggers ("two tampons' worth of fluid") to a thong (half a tampon's worth). But there is one key point that must be made clear: Thinx doesn't claim to replace your feminine hygiene product of choice. The company's site explains that their super-wicking undies are meant to serve as a backup, although depending on your flow, you may choose to rely solely on Thinx—which is what I bravely attempted to do for 48 hours.

Day 1

I'm not gonna lie, even my pad-accustomed self was nervous about going solo with just these pretty panties for protection. Seeing how cute they were in person made me all the more dubious. How can this modestly thick fabric with lacy trim actually control bleeding?

All morning long I found myself making paranoid trips to the bathroom. But all I could see was a relatively harmless-looking damp spot in my black cheeky undies. Once I felt confident that I wasn’t going to spring a leak, I let myself have a normal Monday, which happens to be the day I take a kickboxing class at the gym. Exercising in the cheeky style was actually pretty cool. Every woman on team maxi knows the risk involved in exercising on your period (*cough* diaper rash). As someone who once ran 14 miles with a pad on (go ahead, cry for me), this felt revolutionary. Immediately after my workout though, I couldn't wait to change into a fresh pair. (To clean my Thinx, I followed the instructions and hand-washed with soap and cold water, then hung them to dry.)

RELATED: 9 Best Workouts to Do When You Have Your Period

Day 2

For the heaviest day of my cycle, I whipped out the big guns—the hip huggers. These have about the same thickness as the cheeky cut, but a lot more booty coverage. By now, I was feeling confident that Thinx could handle my flow.

I put them on at around 8:00 am. But by 10:00 am, I felt like I was wearing a wet bathing suit. The underwear seemed to have stopped absorbing any moisture at all, as if they were filled to capacity, if that's even possible for underwear.

Like on day one, I was making regular trips to the bathroom, but this time I wasn't being overly cautious. Each time I blotted the fabric with gobs of toilet paper. Totally gross, I know. And then it got worse.

Around 3:00 pm, the unthinkable happened. I was typing away at my desk when I felt moisture between my thighs (cue middle school flashbacks). The undies had given up, well before I was ready to.  To avoid the ultimate nightmare of visible leakage, I kept up my toilet paper blotting and by some miracle, it worked.

RELATED: 6 Things You Should Know About Having Sex During Your Period

Usually on Tuesdays I make a mad dash from work to the gym, to avoid the "sorry I'm late" tiptoe into my favorite strength training class. I’m a creature of habit so I wasn’t about to let a pair of malfunctioning panties stand in the way of my routine.

But in retrospect I should have because it turned out wetness wasn't my biggest problem. Three plié squats in and it occurred to me that my Thinx REEKED, which meant that I reeked. Pads must have been doing me a solid all these years, masking odor and sparing me the humiliation. I had no idea what unfiltered period stench actually smelled like.

In the end, yes, wearing Thinx underwear on a heavy day made me feel a lot like a 19th century woman on the rag. But I can definitely recommend sporting a pair on lighter days. Even after my personal hygiene nightmare, I didn't toss my hip huggers. After all, they were by no means ruined. They were made to survive leaks—which, all criticism aside, is pretty cool for a pair of period underwear.

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Curried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

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Curried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps Recipe
Curried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
Tender-crisp Boston lettuce makes the perfect low-calorie stand-in for traditional wraps in this healthy, gluten-free recipe. If you can’t find Boston lettuce, other types of greens, such as kale, cabbage or iceberg lettuce, will work too.

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Butt sculpting and core strengthening workout

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Want a killer butt and core? Forget separate core workouts. Adding this ingredient to your current moves will amplify results and sculpt your middle in one efficient session.


Why the bosu ball? “By adding an unstable surface, a BOSU ball increases activation of the rectus abdominus and facilitates extra activity per exercise than a stable surface would,” says Meaghan.


Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 


1. Sit-up

3 sets / 12-15 reps

1. Begin by lying on the Bosu ball with your hips just off the edge of the ball. Place your hands behind your head to gently support your neck.



2. Exhale and curl your upper body over the Bosu ball. Hold for a brief second at the top before slowly returning to the starting position.


Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 




2. Push-up

3 sets / 12-15 reps

1. Place a Bosu ball on the floor so the half-ball is facing down. Assume a push-up position with your hands on the sides of the ball’s platform. Brace your core and glutes.



2. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ball. Pause then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible.


Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 




3. Bosu toe taps

3 sets . 15-30 seconds

1. Place one foot on the ground and one foot on the Bosu ball.

2. Switch feet rapidly, using quick taps.


Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 





4. Mountain climbers

3 sets / 12-15 reps 

1. Start in a modified push-up position over top of the Bosu with your shoulders lined up over your hands with feet straight out.



2. Keep your hips lowered and your core engaged and drive your knees in towards your chest, alternating between legs.



3. Continue driving your knees toward the centre of your chest until the appropriate number of sets have been completed.


Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 




5. Single leg hip bridge

3 sets / 12 reps

1. Lie down and place your right foot on the rubber part of the Bosu ball. Extend your left leg straight into the air. Extend your arms to the sides and tighten your core.



2. With your gaze focused on the ceiling, push down with your right foot, elevating your hips. Tighten your glutes when you come to the top of the movement and hold. Slowly lower your body towards the ground but do not lie back down until the end of the set.


Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 




6. Front lunge

3 sets / 12 reps

1. Keep your upper body straight with your shoulders back and relaxed, holding dombells of your choice at your sides. Keep chin up and engage your core. Step back with one leg so toes are pointing down on the Bosu ball and helping stabilise the body.



2. Lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.

Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 



7. Side to side squat

3 sets / 10 reps

1. Place your left foot in the centre of the Bosu with your right foot parallel to your left foot on the floor. Hold a weight of your choice at the centre of your chest with both hands.



2. Bend down into a squat position.

3. In one quick motion, jump sideways to your left, over the Bosu, so your right foot replaces your left in the centre of the Bosu. Your left foot should be parallel to your right but on the floor. Keep your body low in a squat as you plant your foot on the ground. Jump back over the Bosu, returning to the starting position. This completes one rep.

Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 


8. Side plank

3 sets / 30-second hold

Lie on your side with your bottom elbow on a Bosu ball and with your feet staggered on the ground. Your top foot should be in front of your bottom foot. Raise your hips so that they’re off the ground and your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold, return to starting position.


Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 

For more ab blasting workouts, try Emily Skye’s ab and core workout.



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Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Ginger-Wasabi Dressing

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Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Ginger-Wasabi Dressing Recipe
Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Ginger-Wasabi Dressing
This quick, healthy dinner salad recipe is ready in 40 minutes thanks to preshredded carrots and coleslaw mix. If you have leftover quinoa, skip Step 1 and use 2 cups in the salad. If you want a bigger flavor kick in the dressing, up the wasabi powder to 1 tablespoon.

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