- Created on 02 December 2013
Do you weigh more than you did ten years ago, or even five years ago? The extra pounds snuck up on you, accumulated gradually before you even realized it, and now you’re looking at some serious extra poundage. But that’s to be expected as you get older, right?
Putting on excess weight is very common for a number of reasons, but it’s not necessarily an inevitable part of the aging process — as it could put your health at risk. If you understand why you tend to gain weight more easily as you get older, you can do something about it before it becomes a problem for your health.
You can blame a lot of your weight gain on your metabolism. Beginning as early as your mid-twenties, body fat begins to increase while muscle mass decreases. And less muscle mass translates into a slower metabolic rate. Muscle mass decreases from about 45 percent of your total body weight in your youth to about 27 percent by the time you reach...
- Created on 27 November 2013
Photo by CNN
Middle schooler Katarina Lucardie didn't expect to see her classmates cry when she decided to show them her big secret.
She was bald and didn't know how to tell her peers. But after teaming up with her teachers, the Colorado Springs, Colorado, student helped make a documentary about why she has no hair. Now she is the face of bravery for her classmates.
It all started after Katarina wrote a letter to her school counselor: "I have a disease and it makes me lose my hair," she wrote.
The 11-year-old was born with alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease that results in hair loss on the scalp and other places on the body.
The condition affects 2% of Americans, both male and female, according to the National Institutes of Health. People with alopecia generally start losing hair in their youth, which was the case for Katarina. At age 8, she started seeing patches of her hair on the floor of the tub after taking showers and on her pillow after getting out of bed.
With no real cure available, Katarina went completely bald at 9.
She sported a medium-length black wig throughout much of elementary school, but after graduating, she approached her mom and said she wanted to stop wearing it in middle school.
She said the wig irritated her scalp, especially during gym activities, and she felt hot while wearing it. But most importantly, Katarina says, she just wanted to be herself around her friends.
"I was fearful she was going to get picked on. She was picked on a little in elementary school," said her mother, Carmela Aranda.
She had seen students questioning Katarina about her condition, asking her why she was losing her hair and whether she was sick.
Aranda was nervous that by not wearing the wig to her new middle school, Katarina would be subjecting herself to bullying and ridicule.
Bullying was something Aranda was all too familiar with.
After a high fever and ear infection, she lost her hearing at the age of 1 and grew up as the only deaf girl at her school.
"I grew up in the '70s," she explained. "The kids at school didn't know how to interact with me. They made fun of my voice." It was the kind of experience she didn't want for her daughter.
But Katarina was determined to stop wearing her wig and approached her middle school counselor, Jennicca Mabe, about her condition in private. Mabe had similar concerns that Katarina might get picked on but worked with other teachers and the administration at Skyview Middle School to figure out how to share Katarina's story with the rest of her peers.
With Aranda's blessing, Mabe and other school officials enlisted Katarina's teachers to help create a short documentary about Katarina and what it was like living with alopecia.
"(Mabe) thought that if you educate people and if you tell them about things and you tell them that it isn't contagious, that people won't pick on me," Katarina said.
Katarina's science teacher, Connie Sandel, was one of the participants in the documentary.
"I was a little bit surprised," she said, when she learned that Katarina wanted to tell other students she was bald.
"Most kids don't come forward in middle school and do something like that. In middle school, kids can be a little harsh, and bullying can be a problem. But I wanted to support her in what she wanted to do," Sandel said.
The documentary was screened this month in the school's library for several groups of students, including Katarina's class.
"I was sitting at the back so all these people wouldn't be looking at me," Katarina said. "And I watched everyone, and people were crying, and I felt sorry.
"I knew that maybe the teachers would cry, but I never expected that the kids would cry," she added.
Her mother was also at the screening and had an interpreter translate the film for her. "I cried. I think everyone in the room cried. I knew we made the right decision. The school was really supportive. They didn't have to do this, you know," Aranda said.
After the documentary, Katarina, accompanied by two of her teachers, answered questions from her peers. She also explained to her class that the following week she would not be wearing her wig anymore.
"It was very inspiring," Aranda said. "The kids were really interested, and they asked a lot of questions like 'Does it hurt?' and 'Was your scalp itchy?' "
Many students were surprised by the film and admitted that they never suspected that Katarina wore a wig in the first place. Some students even told Katarina that she looked even better without a wig.
Aranda couldn't help but think of how brave Katarina was, standing in front of her classmates and answering their questions. "She was just determined to do it. She wanted to be herself and not cover up and mask who she was. She was very courageous."
The following week, Katarina came to school with a hat instead of a wig. It's winter in Colorado Springs, and she says her scalp gets cold without something covering it.
Sandel says her students are reacting normally to Katarina without her wig. "I let my first period class ask her questions, and they didn't. Everyone seemed ready to move on," she said.
Looking back at the screening, Katarina is happy with her decision to tell her classmates that she has no hair.
"I want people to like me for me and not what I look like," Katarina said, "because that's how I can find my true friends."
- Created on 26 November 2013
The holidays are here! So how are you honestly feeling FitGirl? Are you dreading this calorie-heavy celebration or are you counting down the days until you can undo your top bottom with glee? Well no matter what your attitude about this day of gratitude may be, I have some news you can truly be grateful for: you can have it all this Thanksgiving! The gratitude without the attitude, and the grub without the guilt. Here's how:
1. Sit Up And Pay Attention
Did you know that slouching can cause you to overeat? NY Orthopedic Surgeon and author of "Keys to an Amazing Life: Secrets of the Cervical Spine," Dr. Kenneth Hansraj suggests focusing on holding your posture the entire time during dinner time. Proper digestion only occurs when we are sitting up straight. Dr. Hansraj says, "If you're slouched over your plate, food cannot travel to the stomach in time for your body to tell your brain it's getting full; it can take twice as long; thus causing you to eat twice as much leaving you full and tired."
2. Double Up When You Gobble Up
According to Pando Health Group's founders Mark and Kim Chartrand, a great way to indulge without the bulge is to "start the party with protein-based foods." This will help lower your insulin response and will ultimately keep your blood sugar levels stable. So before you start planning your second helping of grandma's mac and cheese gobble up with one more helping of turkey sis.
3. Going Small Is A Good Call
"Small bites and small breaks will allow you to enjoy a steady-paced meal without needing to slow down or stop eating entirely," says Dr. Hansraj. Take small bites of the highly caloric sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing and cheesy casseroles, but load up your fork with turkey and string beans. Also, take a 5 minute break between each helping to allow your stomach to catch up with your eyes. On average it takes between 12-14 minutes for our bodies to recognize we're full. So before you head back to the kitchen to pile up for seconds crack a few jokes or ask "Cousin-So-And-So" how she's doing.
Who doesn't love a bubbly cocktail during Thanksgiving? However getting in the spirit with too many spirits can harm your heart says the Chartrand duo. Drinking excessively can cause "holiday heart syndrome" an irregular heartbeat in otherwise healthy people. So just like you work those intervals in the gym, do the same thing at the dinner table this Thanksgiving. Have an adult bubbly drink followed by a virgin sparkling water with a squeeze of fruit in a stemmed glass. Cheers!
Exercise While You Eat
That's right! Flex your muscles and lift those forks girl. Ok, I'm kidding. Get your momma's good silver out the air and discreetly bend and twist instead. Dr. Hansraj suggests taking a break in between bites to do "Mini Chair Exercises."
These bends and twists will help you keep your blood pumping and metabolism working. Bending to the right or left (as if you were picking up a fork you dropped) and sideways twists (like you're greeting a guest behind you) are two small, but effective ways to help your body digest. Who knows, all that flippin' and dippin' may lead to a family dance party post dinner. Fun fun fun!
Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!
- Created on 25 November 2013
cstar55 via Getty Images
It's T minus just days, where T equals the most anticipated home-cooked meal in the country's collective consciousness. But that doesn't mean you have that long to morph into Martha Stewart and host a holiday party that would put a pilgrim to shame. Do everyone a favor and dial down the pressure on the whole shebang.
You've heard the expression, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Well, the same might be said of a hostess and her party. If you're feeling stressed and flustered, that's the vibe you give your gathering. And let's face it, there's enough drama around the holidays without party performance anxiety. With that in mind, here are five tips to keep you and your guests feeling -- what's that? -- thankful for this occasion.
Read the rest of the story at The Huffington Post.