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The Smoothie Diet – Smoothies For Weight Loss And Incredible Health

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Weight Loss With Intermittent Fasting: How I Went From Chubby Teenager To Male M…

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9 Health Editors Share How They Practice Self Care

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Between long hours at work, weekend chores, dinner plans with friends, and time for your family, your calendar is overflowing. But can you remember the last time you took an hour, maybe even two, for yourself? If you had to think longer than a few seconds, you may want to consider taking a step back and reevaluating your schedule. Prioritizing everyone else in your life may seem honorable, but the reality is, totally neglecting yourself isn’t good for anyone. In order to take care of others, you first need to take care of yourself. (It's kind of like the safety messages on airplanes: "In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.”) So whether you’re facing a rough patch or simply going through the day-to-day grind, self-care should always be on your agenda. Need some inspiration on how to spend your me-time? Here are some self-care practices the editors at Health swear by.

RELATED: 5 Powerful Mantras to Help You Quiet Anxiety, Beat Self-Doubt, Manage Stress, and More

Sweat it out

"It’s the answer you always hear, but making time every day to exercise is my form of self-care. I’m a firm believer in that saying, ‘You’re only one workout away from a good mood.’ In particular, boxing is a huge physical and mental release for me, and barre classes take me back to my ballet days, which feels especially therapeutic. My other self-care move is curling up in my giant fuzzy blanket and watching Sex and the City reruns. It’s mindless and relaxing and just feels great sometimes." —Jacqueline Andriakos, associate editor

Tune in to YouTube

"When I’m feeling down, I typically turn to my favorite form of escapism: YouTube videos. Having a moment when I can just veg out, slap on a calming sheet mask, and watch a video by one of my favorite YouTubers (looking at you, Estée Lalonde and SoothingSista), allows me to momentarily get out of my own head. It might sound silly, but just like reading a good book, watching a good YouTube video takes me out of my own world and into someone else’s, even if just for 10 minutes. It’s enough time for me to put my thoughts and feelings into perspective and luckily, if I need more than 10 minutes of down time, there’s a whole YouTube world out there waiting for me to enjoy."—Julia Naftulin, editorial assistant

RELATED: 8 Relaxing Gift Ideas for a Friend Who's Stressed to the Max

Create a relaxing routine

"I’ve recently started a new nighttime self-care routine that I think has been helping me de-stress and fall asleep a little more easily. Step 1: Turn off the TV around 10 p.m. and force myself to stop refreshing my Facebook feed. Step 2: Make a cup of chamomile tea. Step 3: Turn off all lights in my bedroom, light a few candles, and set up my yoga mat. Step 4: Do the “Bedtime Yoga” sequence from Yoga by Adriene. It’s a 36-minute gentle yoga routine that includes moves to help you unwind and relax muscles, plus a short meditation to set your intentions for the following day." —Kathleen Mulpeeter, senior editor

Grab some knitting needles

"Lately I’ve been doing a lot of knitting. At first it was for practical reasons (I’m making my husband a scarf for Christmas), but I’ve found it has emotional benefits too. The repetitive motion is super soothing, almost meditative—it’s a great before-bed wind-down activity. I’m just bad enough a knitter that I have to concentrate a little on what I’m doing—I can’t knit on autopilot—so it’s very absorbing. I can be sitting on the couch or at the sidelines during my kids’ sports activities and find that 30 minutes has gone by without my even noticing. There’s the satisfaction of having something real and tactile to show for my time. Best of all, it keeps both hands busy so I stay off my phone!" —Jeannie Kim, executive deputy editor

"A few years ago I was going through a rough period in my life and I decided to take up knitting at night when I was having a hard time sleeping. My aunt had taught me the basic stitch when I was a teenager, so I went to my local Michael’s store and bought a bright chunky ball of yarn and got started. Since then, I’ve knit scarves for everyone I love, and this winter I’m planning on paying it forward with a knitting circle making scarves for homeless people in NYC." —MaryAnn Barone, social media editor

RELATED: A Meditation for Dealing With Conflict

Escape with Friends

"There is nothing better than coming home after a long day, lighting some great smelling candles, having a cup of tea and reading a good book in my bed. If I’m not in the mood to focus on a book, I’ll instead put on Friends or some other happy, funny TV show in the background and play games on my iPad. I could do that for days." —Chelsey Hamilton, editorial assistant

Pound the pavement

"If I can, I head out for a run. Especially in the cold weather, a run is very meditative for me—hearing each foot strike and a steady breath can be extremely grounding. And as someone who can’t sit still, classic meditation/breathing exercises do almost nothing for me to relax. Running is also a huge confidence boost—I feel powerful and in control of my body and mind. In training for races, I’ve forgotten how much a run can absolutely turn around my perspective. When you’re going out for a predetermined amount of miles, at a certain pace, on already tired legs, it can feel like such a chore. But last week, when I was feeling stressed and antsy, I decided to head out the door and run for however long I felt like. I came back feeling relaxed and re-centered." —Alison Mango, editorial producer

Pick up a good read

"I know it sounds cliché, but getting lost in a book is my favorite form of self-care. With a two-year-old at home, I don’t have that much time to read. But I sneak in 10 minutes here and there—on the bus, while my son naps, before bed. Right now I’m halfway through Amy Schumer’s The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, and it is exactly the escape I need." —Catherine Di Benedetto, features director

RELATED: 7 Health Truths We Wish We Knew In Our 20s

Laugh at what you know

"For me, self-care is curling up on the couch and watching a TV show that makes me laugh. When I’m feeling stressed, my go-tos are reruns of Seinfeld, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, and The Office—I’ve seen all the episodes more times than I can count, but that’s the beauty of it. Watching them helps shut off the negative part of my brain for a while." —Christine Mattheis, deputy editor

Also check out http://healthywithjodi.com

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5 Sleep Problems Nobody Talks About

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You drift off at night like a newborn baby yet can't recall the last time you woke up truly refreshed. It may not seem that weird: "People tend to assume that because our modern lives are so hectic, nobody feels rested," says Meir Kryger, MD, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. But the reality is, you might have a sleep disorder and not even know it. There are a handful of problems that can cheat you out of quality slumber, leaving you more tired in the morning than you were when you went to bed. Find out what could be going on between your sheets and how to catch more restorative z's, starting tonight.

Sleep Problem No. 1: You snore like a saw
Those snuffle-snorts mean that your slack tongue and throat muscles are narrowing your airway, possibly due to the shape of your soft palate or any extra weight you're carrying.

Although you're likely to wake up if you get short of breath, it may not be for long enough to remember. Some people wake dozens or even hundreds of times a night—a disorder known as sleep apnea that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and possibly osteoporosis, according to a new study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. "Those repeated awakenings are as disruptive as someone pinching you every two minutes all night long," says Safwan Badr, MD, chief of the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

Sleep aid: If you rarely wake up feeling bright-eyed, see a specialist to get checked for sleep apnea.(Three to 9 percent of women between the ages of 30 and 70 suffer from it.) If you have the condition, a CPAP machine and mask can help by keeping your pharynx open with a steady stream of air.

To quiet your snore, avoid rolling onto your back—a position that makes your airway more likely to collapse. Rachel Salas, MD, associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, suggests this little trick: Sew a tennis ball into the pocket of a sweatshirt and wear it backward to bed.

RELATED: 14 Reasons You're Always Tired

Sleep Problem No. 2: You grind your teeth
Do you wake up with a sore jaw or get chronic headaches? If so, you may be gnashing your ivories overnight. All that clenching can cause enough pain to interfere with your shut-eye (not to mention wear down your enamel). Experts believe that teeth grinding, which about 16 percent of us do, is associated with anxiety—though an abnormal bite and antidepressants can also play a role.

Sleep aid: A dentist will fit you with a mouth guard. If you're clamping down because you're overwhelmed and overloaded, find a healthier way to manage stress, urges Michael A. Grandner, PhD, an instructor in psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's also crucial to spend plenty of time winding down before bed so you drift off in a calm, relaxed state," he adds.

RELATED: 11 Signs You're Sleep Deprived

 

 

Next Page: Sleep Problem No. 3: Your body clock is off

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Sleep Problem No. 3: Your body clock is off
Not even drowsy until the wee hours? Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) is the technical term for this disorder, which afflicts 10 percent of people who seek help for insomnia. It involves a biological glitch that prevents your body from making melatonin (the sleep hormone) until 12 a.m. or later. A prime sign you've got DSPS: You've been a night owl since high school. The syndrome is common among teenagers and sometimes persists into adulthood. If you're not squeezing in at least seven hours of z's a night, you're at greater risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. What's more, a recent study published in Cognitive Therapy and Research found that people who nod off late (and get less sleep as a result) tend to experience more negative thoughts.

Sleep aid: Begin by improving your sleep hygiene. Cut back on caffeine. Avoid tech and television starting 90 minutes before bedtime. Create a soothing wind-down routine. And get some sun first thing in the morning to help reset your body's 24-hour rhythm. "In 80 percent of cases, these strategies lead people to conk out earlier," Dr. Badr says. If they don't do the trick, a specialist may prescribe synthetic melatonin, as well as light therapy with a medical lamp to use in the morning.

RELATED: 20 Things You Shouldn't Do Before Bed

Sleep Problem No. 4: Your legs feel jittery at night
That creepy-crawly feeling—aptly called Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)—troubles as many as 1 in 10 people and is thought to be linked to a dysfunction in the way the brain processes the neurotransmitter dopamine. However, in some cases it suggests a nutritional deficiency, Dr. Kryger notes: "With people who have low iron, there seems to be overactivity in parts of the brain that results in an urge to move the legs."

Sleep aid: Ice packs, warm packs, massages, a bath—any of these remedies might help, says David N. Neubauer, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: "Different things seem to work for different people."

Also, talk to a sleep doc about trying an RLS drug. Be sure to mention your current prescriptions because some meds (including certain antidepressants) reduce dopamine activity. Get your iron levels checked, too, Dr. Gardner advises: "Sometimes a supplement is the only treatment necessary."
 

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Sleep Problem No. 5: You sleepwalk—and even sleep eat
For reasons that aren't completely understood, somnambulists are partially aroused in the night—often from the deepest stage of slumber (called slow-wave)—and proceed to wander around the house. The behavior, which may affect up to 4 percent of the population, appears to run in families and is more likely to occur with sleep deprivation. Another trigger: taking zolpidem (one of the most popular sedatives), according to Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, author of Sleep Soundly Every Night; Feel Fantastic Every Day.

Additionally, 1 to 3 percent of people who experience such a zombie-like state actually raid the kitchen. Called sleep-related eating disorder, this condition often strikes women on a diet, who go to bed hungry.

Sleep aid: Benzodiazepines (aka tranquilizers) can sometimes help, and so does getting more sleep. As long as your nocturnal adventures don't involve anything risky (like, for example, baking cookies), you may not need medication, Rosenberg says: "Just make sure you safety-proof your home by clearing out clutter and stowing away sharp objects." If you're a nighttime roamer, let your partner know that the ideal approach is to gently lead you back to bed.

RELATED: Best and Worst Foods for Sleep

 

 

 

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The Mental Tricks Laurie Hernandez Uses to Summon Crazy Confidence

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Team USA gymnast Laurie Hernandez is blowing us away in Rio: Her talent is obviously out of this world, but what’s just as impressive is the poise and confidence the 16-year-old first-time Olympian exhibits pretty much every time she’s on camera.

Take her performances so far. At the Olympic trials back in July, Hernandez calmly stood before a huge crowd, closed her eyes, put one hand on her stomach, and breathed deeply. Then she proceeded to kill it on beam. (She took first.)

This week, as she struck her starting pose for the floor exercise, she sent the judges a smile and sneaky wink. Later, before hopping up on the beam, the camera caught her whispering to herself, “I got this.” And she was right.

But these little pre-routine behaviors aren’t just a fun part of her personality, says sports psychology consultant Robert Andrews. They’re actually valuable tools for getting in the right mindset for optimal performance—and they’re easy enough for anyone to learn, elite athlete or not.

Breathing like a champ

Andrews, who has a master’s degree in psychology and a background in fitness, runs the Institute of Sports Performance in Houston. He’s worked with hundreds of professional athletes, including Hernandez and her teammate Simone Biles; in fact, he taught Hernandez that very breathing routine she practices before competition.

“I like to say that oxygen is the cure for stress and anxiety,” says Andrews. “A lot of athletes, when they’re stressed out, start breathing a lot shallower and faster. So learning how to monitor and be aware of breathing patterns under stress is important.”

What Hernandez is doing before she competes, he explains, is called diaphragmatic or “belly” breathing. “She’s moving her diaphragm down so that her lungs can open up,” he says. “Laurie, like a lot of people, tends to hold her stress in her stomach—so she’s connecting her mind to her stomach and her breathing patterns.”

Deep, diaphragmatic breathing can release tension in the body, says Andrews, which can also relax the mind. That changes hormonal function in the brain, and lowers the production of the stress hormone cortisol.

RELATED: How 6 Olympic Athletes Deal With the Pressure

Acting confident goes a long way

Andrews also works with athletes on body language and posture, which he says can have a big psychological influence on performance. “Laurie has a very upright, straight posture when she’s getting ready for a routine,” he points out. Not only does that make an impression on the judges, he says, it can also make an impression on her own brain.

“Strong body language like that can actually increase the production of testosterone and lower the production of stress-related hormones,” he says. “It creates brain chemistry that increases assertiveness and confidence, which you need just the right amount of when you’re on the bars, the beam, the floor, wherever.”

The same goes for Laurie’s now-famous “I-got-this” pep talk. Andrews didn’t teach her those words exactly, but he says he has talked with her about the power of positive thinking.

“Where you point your mind, your body follows—so Laurie has figured out that those words are very empowering for her mind and body, and they’re going to help her bring out that fierceness that she needs,” he says. “I can’t think of a better powerful, affirmative statement of belief in herself.”

RELATED: What 5 Olympic Athletes Can Teach You About Body Confidence

You can use belly breathing too—and not just for sports

Anyone can benefit from diaphragmatic breathing before a stressful event, says Andrews—from an age-group runner competing in a race to a teenager taking an exam. The practice can help in the corporate world, too, with everything from job interviews to sales pitches to public speaking. 

“I’ve had high school and college students who report back to me that they’re making better grades on tests and giving better presentations in front of the class because they’re using these mindfulness techniques,” says Andrews. “Athletes call it their peak performance zone, but really everyone works better when they’re in a mindful, centered state.”

Ready to give it a try? Here’s what to do next time you’re in a stressful situation and feeling nervous. (If you’re not in one right now, just picture yourself there.)

Close your eyes and sit or stand up straight.
Find the spot in your body where your stress is building up. Is it in your throat? Your chest? Your stomach? Focus on that spot.
Inhale deeply, so that your stomach expands out and not up. It can help to put your hand on your stomach to feel this movement happening.
Concentrate on slowly breathing in and out, and feel your stress levels come down.

Andrews works with athletes on bringing those emotions down to the appropriate level. If 1 means no stress at all and 10 means all-out freak out, some people might perform best at a 5, others at a 3, he says. The key is to learn what works best for you.

And while Andrews says that the mental aspect of competition is especially important in Olympic sports—where a hundredth of a point or a literal split second can determine the winners—he agrees that it’s also a big part of successful performances of any type, at any level.

So next time you’re feeling unsure of yourself, try giving yourself a little mental boost a la Laurie Hernandez. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and maybe even give a little wink. Because guess what? You’ve got this.

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Teens Who Eat More Saturated Fat May Develop Denser Breasts

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New research suggests there's a link between the amount of saturated fat girls consume as teenagers and their breast density later in life.

For the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers had 177 girls between the ages of 10 and 18 fill out questionnaires about their diet on five occasions. When the participants were between the ages of 25 and 29, the researchers measured their breast density using an MRI scan.

RELATED: 25 Breast Cancer Myths, Busted

They found that women who had eaten higher amounts of saturated fat—the kind found in meat and dairy products such as cheese, butter, and milk—as teens had denser breasts in their 20s. (Those who had consumed the most saturated fat had an average "dense breast volume" of 21.5%; while those who ate the least had an average dense breast volume of 16.4%.)

The opposite was true for women who had consumed higher amounts of healthful unsaturated fats—the type in olive oil, avocados, nut butters, and fatty fish like salmon—during their teen years. These women had lower breast density in their 20s.

The data suggest that what teenage girls eat matters well into adulthood. "If confirmed, [our] results indicate that adolescent diet could potentially have long-term effects on breast health," says senior author Joanne Dorgan, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

RELATED: 13 Healthy High-Fat Foods You Should Eat More

Denser breasts contain more fibrous or glandular tissue, which can make it harder for radiologists to spot tumors on a mammogram. Denser breast tissue is also thought to raise a woman's odds of developing breast cancer. 

But research on the link between breast density and cancer risk is ongoing. Last winter, researchers from Croatia evaluated thousands of mammogram reports and did not find a substantial difference in breast density among women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and those who were not.

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