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Yaaree Sort of ‘Health & Fitness’ Category

Oct
17

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MAYO

You wouldn’t think a little drizzle or a sprinkling of your favorite condiment could make any difference in your quest for healthy eating. Trouble is, most of us go overboard and a ‘little something’ becomes a dollop, which could mean a big bomb of extra salt, fat, and sugar.

‘With processed refined soybean oil as the main ingredient in most mayo’s, there’s nothing healthy about mayonnaise,’ says registered dietitian Asvini Mashru, RD, of Wellness Nutrition Concepts in Malvern, Pennsylvania. ‘Tartar sauce has the same issues as mayo. If you can find a mayo made with 100 percent olive oil instead of soybean oil, this would actually be a healthy choice.’ Or make your own mayonnaise for a healthier option.

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KETCHUP

Piping hot French fries with a side of ketchup is an American favorite side but even if the fries are baked and not fried, dipping them in ketchup isn’t the healthiest way to go. According to Monica Auslander, a registered dietitian and founder of Essence Nutrition, one teaspoon is the equivalent of eating a sugar packet. ‘It’s deceiving because it has no fat, so people think they can enjoy freely. Unfortunately, we now know that sugar is for more insidious than fat.’ Her recipe for healthier ketchup includes: a jar of organic, unsweetened tomato paste and add a teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup water.

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HONEY MUSTARD

When mustard met honey, it wasn’t a good thing for our waistline. Although mustard isn’t salt-free, it’s almost calorie-free but when honey is added to mustard it becomes as sugar-laden as ketchup. Mashru says to stick with plain mustard with no added sugar. A healthier and tasty option for sammies is pesto and humus. Just make sure the humus is made with olive oil and not soybean or canola oil. These are clear signs you’re eating too much sugar.

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FAT-FREE DRESSING

Turns out your healthy salad isn’t so healthy when you drizzle on fat-free dressing. ‘Most fat-free salad dressings are simply loaded with extra sugar,’ states Mashru. ‘Remember that you need a good fat source to go with your salad to help absorb the vitamins and minerals in your veggies, so fat-free dressing is not a good option.’ Look for creamy alternatives made with Greek yogurt. These salad tricks can help you lose weight.

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HOISIN SAUCE

It’s been called the Chinese version of American BBQ sauce because like BBQ sauce, it’s deliciously sweet, spicy, and salty. Unfortunately, it’s a sugar bomb for your chop sticks.Danielle Flug Capalino, a registered dietitian in New York City recommends oyster or sweet and sour sauce as a healthier option. ‘Oyster sauce another staple Chinese flavor is also sweet but has half the sugar as hoisin sauce.’

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RANCH DRESSING

‘Salads are healthy, so we are quick to ignore the nutritional value of the dressing we drizzle over them,’ says Capalino. Instead of pouring on extra fat and calories with ranch dressing, try a tablespoon of tahini instead, suggests Capalino. ‘Tahini is made of ground sesame seeds, and although it is high in fat, it is good unsaturated fat.’ She suggests diluting the tahini in a 1:1 ratio with water to thin out the consistency if desired.

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HOT SAUCE

Adding a little kick of hot sauce could add a big bang of sodium to your favorite dish. Hot sauces can contain upwards of 200 mg of sodium per teaspoon. The American Heart Association recommends staying within 1,500 mg of sodium daily. Let’s face it: You’re probably using more than a measly teaspoon on your wings and nachos. Lori Williams, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recommends using red pepper flakes or fresh hot peppers, like jalapenos to get the heat you desire in a healthier way. Watch for these signs you’re eating too much sodium.

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SOUR CREAM

Drop a dollop of sour cream on your baked potato and you could easily add hundreds of extra calories and fat. ‘Avoid the artery-clogging version of saturated fat by swapping it out for Greek yogurt,’ says Tody Amidor, a registered dietitian and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. Amidor recommends a 50:50 ratio of reduced-fat sour cream and nonfat plain Greek yogurt combo to satisfy your creamy sour cream craving. Here are other savory recipes you can make with Greek yogurt.

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Oct
03

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© AMI Here’s Why Gym Selfies Can Boost Your Confidence and Eliminate Stress

A few judicious pics can make you feel calmer and more secure—but think twice before sharing them with everyone.

Spamming your Instagram feed with iPhone shots of your four-pack abs is a recipe for annoying your friends.

But a few select, meaningful photos that make you feel good, sent to a few good friends? That might be the recipe for keeping up with your gym routine and unlocking new levels of self-confidence.

Yes: Selfies, often mocked as a the epitome of smartphone-era self-indulgence since the term was coined in 2014, can actually be a good way to connect with people you care about and reflect on things that motivate you and make you happy, according to a new study from University of California at Irvinepublished in July in the journal Psychology of Well-Being.

We know what you’re thinking: Really? I figured they just made people look like jerks. And you have a point: Science around selfies hasn’t always been so sunny. Guys who post “a lot” of selfies on Facebook or Instagram tend to score higher in narcissism and “self-objectification,” according to a widely reported Ohio State University study published in early 2015. Men’s Fitnessreaders tend to be annoyed by dudes taking gym selfies, particularly when the selfie-taker in question is walking around the gym shirtless while everyone else is just trying to get in a good workout. And our own surveys suggest thatwomen are similarly peeved by gym selfies shared on social media.

But here’s the question: Assuming you’re not fishing for compliments or desperately trying to impress anybody, how can taking selfies (not necessarily shirtless gym selfies) really improve how you feel about yourself?

How the Study Worked

Researchers specifically wanted to explore three habits that tend to make people feel happier: recording things that make you feel happy, giving to others, and smiling (yes, research suggests you can improve your mood simply by smiling).

So the researchers asked 41 students at a “public university on the West Coast” to try adding one of three habits to their daily routines:

 – (1) taking a selfie while smiling every day

 – (2) taking a daily photo of something that makes them happy

 – (3) taking a photo of something that would make someone else happy, and then sending it (via text, email, or social media) to that person.

Using custom-built Android apps, the researchers tracked the students’ mood for a week before trying any of the habits, and then for three weeks while practicing one of the three habits.

The results:

 – People in the selfie group tended to feel more “confident, comfortable, and creative” in their photos, although they noted that constantly having to take photos got repetitive and annoying. “As days went on, I got more comfortable taking photos of myself. If you feel good about yourself, then [a] selfie would be a way to capture that,” one study participant said. (They also tended to take them in private places when no one else was around, the study authors reported.)

 – People in the “happy photos” group felt “more mindful, reflective and appreciative,” the study authors wrote. “Those are simple things that I never thought about before. Just like everyday objects and places in my room. They are places that made me content and stress-free at that time. Not big, but it does have an impact,” one student said.

 – The “photos for others” group tended to feel less stressed, and felt happy when the photo recipients responded to their messages. “It was fun to send stuff to my girlfriend to make her laugh,” one person said. “Seeing her reactions will always make me smile.”

So What’s This Mean for Your Life?

If taking selfies are a good way to combat stress and make you feel good about yourself—particularly if they capture things that make you happy or reference inside jokes that you can share with your friends or family—then maybe it’s not the worst idea to work them into your routine.

Put more academically, “practicing exercises that can promote happiness via smartphone picture-taking and sharing can lead to increased positive feelings for those who engage in it,” said Yu Chen, Ph.D., the lead study author and a scholar in UC Irvine’s Department of Informatics.

So while taking selfies by the squat rack can get kind of annoying for everyone else, a more private selfie can be a good way to track your weight loss progress and motivate you to keep going back to the gym. And although random gym selfies posted indiscriminately to Facebook for the sake of likes and building your #gymlyfe cred might piss people off, a (tasteful) shot shared with a friend, your trainer, or gym buddy can not only make you feel closer with that person but also help you feel better at the same time.

Just do us all a favor and don’t hog the bathroom mirror at the gym, okay? Okay.

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Oct
02

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CARDIOLOGISTS REFUSE TO EAT THESE FOODS

You can eat healthy foods only, but if you smoke a lot and are not physically active, you’re not less likely to have congestive heart failure, Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, Chief of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at Northwestern University, says. Better diet should be a part of acomprehensive healthy routine that includes more exercise and, most importantly, portion control, Dr. Yancy says. “It’s not just about what we eat but also about the way we consume calories,” he adds. “Moderation has successfully proven to be key to success.”

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ANY PROCESSED OR FROZEN FOODS

“These typically contain chemicals, additives and preservatives that are not healthy,” Dr. Kevin Campbell, world-renowned cardiologist, says. “Fresh foods provide much better nutrients and have fewer calories. “These processed foods often contain flavor enhancers that are artificially produced. In addition, these foods always contain a very high sodium load,” he adds.

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SODAS OR SOFT DRINKS

“These are empty calorie foods,” Dr. Campbell says. “They have no nutritional value and are very calorie dense. They contribute to obesity,” he adds. Diet soda is in some ways even worse than the regular version. They are slowly killing you in several ways.

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CHIPS

“These are foods that are loaded with calories, often fried and have little or no nutritional value,” Dr. Campbell says. Potato chips also fall in the category of foods that are aging you because they are often made with olestra, a fat substitute that adds no fat, calories orcholesterol. But it sticks to vitamins A, E, D and K and carotenoids, which are antioxidant nutrients, and flushes them out of the body, according to a study.

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FRIED FOODS

“There is no reason to ever eat anything fried,” Dr. Yancy says. “It has absolutely no cardiovascular benefits.” The second you start to fry foods, the oil becomes carcinogenic. When oil and fat are exposed to very high temperatures, free radicals are formed. The trans fats in these foods cause inflammation in the body. They raise your bad cholesterol and clog and stiffen the arteries. Bad fats disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce enough hormone.

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TOO MUCH ALCOHOL

“Small amount of wine – a glass per night at most – can be beneficial,” Dr. Yancy says. “But not more.” Then you’re consuming too many empty calories and sugar. Alcohol can trigger symptoms of atrial fibrillation (arrythmia), which increases the risk of stroke by five times. Excess consumption of alcohol stops the liver from making the materials that help the blood to clot.

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BACON

There is too much fat in bacon, Dr. David Fischman, co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Thomas Jefferson University, says. Nitrates help these foods keep their color for longer but they are not doing your body any favors. They can convert to nitrite, causing the formation of nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic chemicals, according to the CDC.

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COLD CUTS

These processed meats are very high in sodium and fat, too, Dr. Fischman says. “Turkey is less fatty but it has a lot of salt.” Consuming too much of it can lead to hypertension and damaged blood vessels, among other serious health problems.

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Sep
30

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I always thought the word fruitarian was like the word chocoholic—a cutesy term used to describe someone’s food preferences but not actually a real way of life. That is, until I became a vegan. Five months ago, I was inspired to convert to a plant-based diet by a community of vegan vloggers I discovered on YouTube. The more I became educated about veganism, the more invested and curious I became about the inner culture of the lifestyle. Soon I learned that there isn’t just one way to be a vegan: There are dozens. There is gluten-free vegan, raw vegan, high-carb, low-fat vegan, and more. Two months into my veganism, I was doing some research online when I discovered a faction of veganism so tiny that it was even difficult to find definitive information about it on Google. The diet? Fruitarianism.

According to certified holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque, the fruitarian diet is “a subset of raw veganism, where you eat botanical fruits in their natural state.” This includes all sweet fruits and seeded fruits (such as avocado, tomato, cucumber, and olives), as well as nuts and seeds. No grains, no cooked food, certainly no processed food. The strictest of fruitarians don’t even eat vegetables or starches… literally just fruit.

At first, I was horrified, and then I was fascinated—enough to want to give the diet a try myself. To see how my weeklong stab at fruitarianism went, keep reading!

One of the most prominent fruitarian spokespeople is a YouTuber who goes byFreelee the Banana Girl. To all of her 670,000 subscribers, Freelee preaches the benefits of a fruit-heavy lifestyle, downing 30 (sometimes 50!) bananas in a single day. (Watching her do this on camera is oddly gripping.) Freelee’s view is that eating low-calorie fruits in large quantities delivers maximum glucose to the brain, fueling her mind and body while keeping it slim. From the looks of her washboard abs and fiery demeanor, she seems to be on a constant sugar high.

But even Freelee’s diet isn’t 100% fruit. “Depending on who you talk to, you can be a fruitarian if you eat at least 50% to 75% of your calories this way,” says LeVeque. In other words, there’s no official definition of the diet. That’s not to say someone who eats fruit salad for breakfast and lunch and then a Taco Bell feast for dinner would be considered a fruitarian, but the term is somewhat up for interpretation.

Why Go Fruitarian?

Why Go Fruitarian?
PHOTO:@freeleethebananagirl

You might be wondering what on earth the argument is for eating a fruitarian diet. The answer here varies as well. “Motivation to follow this lifestyle includes avoiding animal protein, increasing fiber, detoxifying the body, lowering calorie intake, and eliminating the need to cook,” says LeVeque. Some fruitarians even argue that there’s a moral component to it—that it’s only natural to eat food that falls from a tree naturally instead of ripping it from the ground. (I urge you to take this with a grain of salt.)

Despite the different interpretations, one thing all fruitarians have in common is this: They eat massive quantities of food and seem to manage to stay incredibly lean. Do a quick YouTube search, and you’ll find flat-stomached people from all over the world downing papayas and mangos by the dozens.

Personally, I’m not looking to lose weight. But the idea of getting to stuff your face and wake up with a flat tummy enticed me. Plus, even though I was already vegan when I discovered fruitarianism, my diet featured more processed junk and fewer fresh foods than it really should have. If nothing else, I figured a bout of fruitarianism could help me get into the habit of eating more raw fruits and veggies.

So, as an experiment, I resolved to follow a strict fruitarian diet for five days. I decided it would be more of a brief cleanse than a permanent lifestyle. I’ve always loved fruit, so I wasn’t nervous about my menu options. Plus, I hate cooking, so the raw thing seemed like a great fit. I had never been on a diet this specific before, but I was (naïvely) excited for the challenge.

The night before my diet, I did a giant fruit haul at Trader Joe’s (Sidenote: Following a fruit-only diet is delightfully cheap), and I ate a “last meal” of vegan pizza and cupcakes. The next day, I would wake up a fruitarian.

What Does a Fruitarian Diet Look Like?

What Does a Fruitarian Diet Look Like?
PHOTO:@bonnyrebecca

Here is exactly what I ate on my first day as a fruitarian…

Breakfast: A big smoothie with three bananas, blueberries, dates, and about a cup of coconut milk.

Morning snack: A handful of dried peaches.

Lunch: Two massive bowls of fruit salad, filled with bananas, grapes, and berries (followed by a vitamin B12 supplement).

Afternoon snack: A handful of dried figs.

Dinner: A large bowl of chopped avocado, cucumber, and tomato, dressed with olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.

Dessert: A bag of raw almonds.

Throughout the day, everyone I interacted with asked me the same two questions: “Aren’t you starving?” and “How many times have you gone to the bathroom today?” My answers to both: “Surprisingly, no” and “Uh, a lot.”

As strange as it sounds, hunger was not the issue. This diet has nothing to do with portion control. You’re encouraged to eat as many fruits, nuts, and seeds as you desire. Polishing off those two bowls of fruit for lunch was shockingly difficult. Calorie-wise, I could have eaten the equivalent in tacos or pizza and still be starving. But the calorie density of these foods is so low that you can fill your stomach to the brim without actually overeating. Of course, downing raw fruit all day isn’t exactly exciting, but at least it doesn’t leave you hungry.

It does, however, encourage frequent bathroom breaks. Fruit is packed with fiber and water, two substances that seem to slip and slide right through the digestive system. All day, I could feel every twist of my intestines churning and bubbling to digest the food. Needless to say, this wasn’t comfortable. But sure enough, I woke up the morning of day two completely cleared out. My belly was astoundingly flat, and this was after a single day. With results like that, I had just one thought: Bring on the fruit!

Does a Fruit-Only Diet Work?

Does a Fruit-Only Diet Work?
PHOTO:@bonnyrebecca

My second-day fruitarian menu was very similar to my first. This diet doesn’t exactly permit a ton of variety. My digestive system continued to writhe, but happily, my hunger level didn’t increase. However, things did get complicated when I realized I was slated to attend a cocktail party that evening.

Incidentally, the fruitarian literature doesn’t say much about alcohol. But I figured if I couldn’t even have broccoli, booze was probably off the table too. Like many other restrictive diets, fruitarianism isn’t conducive to social gatherings. Just imagine showing up to a restaurant with friends and asking for a crate of bananas.

By the time the cocktail party rolled around, my fruitarian enthusiasm was dwindling. I wanted to enjoy myself at the event (one vodka soda wouldn’t kill me, would it?). Plus, I was starting to get decidedly non-fruitarian cravings. Interestingly, these food hankerings weren’t for a big home-cooked meal or a fatty dessert. All I wanted was some kind of starch. Potatoes, maybe, or rice. Or pasta. Or bread. Just something a little more substantial to break up the sugary fruit.

So, admittedly, I cheated. There were plates of vegan avocado toast at the cocktail party, and at around 7 p.m., I said screw it and had a couple slices (washed down with a vodka spritzer, might I add).

Even though I strayed from the diet, I didn’t want to throw in the towel. Health experts say this is a classic mistake. Just because you have a minor slip doesn’t mean you should give up altogether. Plus, 75% of my calories that day had been fruit-derived, so I was still technically in the fruitarian range.

I woke up the following day flat-stomached once again. The bread hadn’t ruined me after all. I was actually glad I had cheated. Sticking to a raw diet two meals out of three seemed like a reasonable lifestyle to me—something I could continue doing after my fruitarian “cleanse.”

What Are the Results?

What Are the Results?
PHOTO:@bonnyrebecca

For the remainder of my five-day experiment, I continued to stick to the 75% rule. For breakfast, lunch, and snacks, I’d reach for my tummy-flattening fruit. But dinner time would arrive, and I’d buckle. I’d desperately crave a starch. I suppose I could have suppressed these cravings, but I’m not keen on torturing myself. So instead, I whipped up a nightly plate of pasta or baked potatoes, and that seemed to hit the spot.

Even with my rule-breaking modifications, by the end of the week, I felt like I’d reaped the benefits of fruitarianism. I felt energized yet debloated. Plus, after a week of having paid such close attention to my food, I also felt more conscious of my eating patterns overall. I felt like I’d successfully broken my bad habit of grabbing a processed granola bar for breakfast and a frozen meal for lunch. In fact, my five days of fruitarianism ended over three weeks ago, and I haven’t eaten a hyper-processed meal since.

That said, I would not recommend following a 100% fruitarian diet all the time. And neither would most health experts. Certified nutritionist Dana James says that even though fruitarianism is better than the standard American diet, which is packed with hyper-processed foods, it’s still far from ideal. In the long run, the diet’s drawbacks are significant.

“The sugar from the excessive amount of fruit destabilizes blood sugar levels, which can lead to lethargy, cravings, lack of concentration, a disrupted microbiome, and more,” she says. Plus, it’s impossible to get complete nutrition from fruit alone. “You’ll need to supplement with protein powders, B complex, omega 3, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and iron,” James advises.

LeVeque agrees, saying, “I really don’t love this diet. The benefits don’t outweigh the drawbacks that include lack of amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, increased fructose metabolism, tooth decay, and increased cravings.” She also points out the pitfall of excess sugar, explaining that all the fructose from the fruit efficiently stores as fat and glucose, which can negatively affect blood sugar regulation. (As a note, LeVeque recommends her clients limit themselves to half a cup of fruit daily.)

That said, fruitarianism did remind me of a simple but important lesson: Eat more fresh food. Even as a vegan, I’ve sometimes overlooked the importance of making healthy choices from meal to meal. Now, I reach for a banana (or three) for breakfast instead of some junky cereal bar. When I make toast, I top it with avocado and tomato instead of slathering it in vegan cheese. If I wanted to flatten my stomach for some half-naked occasion, I might even try another weeklong fruitarian cleanse.

More importantly, my fruity week taught me to listen to my body. To care for it. To pay attention. I think for most of us, the perfect diet is always a work in progress. This was just another step along the way.

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Sep
29

Recent research states that honey might be a useful weapon against urine infections also honey has been used for centuries as a natural antiseptic to treat burns and wounds.

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A recent research states that honey and water might be a useful weapon against urine infections in hospital patients, who have a catheter fitted, either to drain urine stuck in the bladder or to monitor urine output.

Scientists at University of Southampton have shown that diluted honey stops some common bacteria from forming sticky, hard-to-remove layers on surfaces such as plastic, reports BBC News.

A honey solution might be useful for flushing urinary catheters to keep them clean while they remain in the bladder.

Honey has been used for centuries as a natural antiseptic to treat burns and wounds and many companies now sell a range of “medical grade” honey products that comply with regulatory standards.

The research looked at two common bacteria that can cause urine and bladder infections – E. coli and Proteus mirabilis.

Even at low dilution of about 3.3 percent, the honey solution appeared to stop the bacteria from clustering together and creating layers of known biofilm.

Lead researcher Bashir Lwaleed used Manuka honey (made by bees that feed on the nectar of the manuka tree) in their study because this dark-coloured honey from Australia and New Zealand is known to have bacterial-fighting properties.

They said other types of honey might work too, but they have not tested this.

“Nobody knows exactly how or why honey works as an antibacterial. And we don’t know how well honey would be tolerated in the bladder. We are the first to propose this,” Lwaleed said.

Professor Dame Nicky Cullum, an expert in wound care has also looked at the evidence around honey as a treatment.

“This work from Southampton is at a very early stage so we shouldn’t get too excited. But it is an interesting avenue that is worth pursuing,” she said.

Adding, “Obviously, we’d need more studies to check that it wouldn’t irritate the bladder or cause any other problems. People like things that are natural but they are not always more effective.”

The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

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Sep
25

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ONE HEALTHY TRICK TO TRY EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK

Every week, we start with the best of intentions…and then things get stressful and we ditch our dreams of packed lunches, walking to work and getting enough sleep. Instead of trying to overhaul the entire week, focus on one small thing a day. These little changes really add up.

Sunday: Meditate

Try ten minutes of meditation to set the tone for the busy week ahead. A bit of focused attention can reduce stress, improve sleep (key for Sunday nights) and increase creativity so you’re refreshed on Monday morning.

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MONDAY: WAKE UP EARLIER

Wake up two (ok, fine, even one) hour earlier than you usually do. Use that extra time to do whatever it is that will make the rest of your day less stressful. You could tend to menial tasks around the house so you free up your evening, squeeze in a workout or just have the luxury of getting ready without rushing.

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TUESDAY: TRY BULLET JOURNALING

Grab a pen and paper and try bullet journaling. It’s an analog to-do list that includes inspirational (or just funny) quotes, special events and simple tasks that go beyond “pick up dry cleaning.” (Think more along the lines of “research best three-day vacation spots.”)

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WEDNESDAY: TAP YOUR TOES

Start fidgeting more. You heard us. Tap those toes, shake out your feet, twirl your pen or swivel around in your desk chair. Studies show that these micro movements increase blood flow to the limbs. Psst, it’s even better with some headphones and a killer playlist.

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THURSDAY: EAT SOME CHOCOLATE

Go ahead and eat some chocolate. Dark chocolate is ideal, but any will do. Seriously. Studies have shown that it improves cognitive performance. A few Hershey Kisses, a handful of peanut M&Ms, a Kit Kat bar—the options are endless.

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FRIDAY: HAVE A NIGHT IN

Skip the crowds (and real people clothing with non-forgiving waistbands) and plan a date night in with your significant other. Preferably one that involves your coziest flannels, snacks and a queue of new episodes to watch. Science says that couples who share media—like TV shows and movies—experience more closeness.

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SATURDAY: WALK YOUR DOG (OR SOMEONE ELSE’S)

Take your dog out for a leisurely stroll. And we’re not talking the harried, obligatory pee-break. Allow Fido to take the lead. Let him sniff every pole and follow his nose to his heart’s content. You’ll easily get in those 10,000 steps and have the chance to really explore your neighborhood. Oh, and if you don’t have a dog, borrow one. You’ll still get the same benefits and you might make a new furry friend.

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Aug
30

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HOW TO SAVE YOUR OWN LIFE

Maybe you’ve got a weird pain in your jaw or a searing headache. Maybe you simply don’t feel right. When something is off in your body, you can’t always tell whether it’s worth it to call the doctor, let alone rush to the ER. “It’s easy to say, ‘Oh I’m young, I’m healthy, I can’t be having an emergency, so why should I go in?'” says Megan Fix, MD, assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. But serious medical crises—concussions, appendicitis, even a stroke—can happen to healthy women of any age.

With that in mind, we asked doctors what symptoms they would tell their friends to head to the ER for. Here are five times you shouldn’t think twice.

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YOU FEEL A DULL ACHE IN YOUR CHEST AND ARE UNUSUALLY SHORT OF BREATH

Think about: A heart attack. Everyone knows that crushing chest pain is a hallmark of a heart attack. But that shouldn’t be the only symptom on your radar. Signs can be more subtle in women than in men, says Heather Rosen, MD, medical director of UPMC Urgent Care in North Huntingdon, Penn. As a result, young women tend to brush off early symptoms and avoid seeking help, sometimes mistaking the pain of a heart attack for indigestion or acid reflux. Watch out for uncomfortable pressure in your chest (not necessarily in the middle—and not everyone experiences this), as well as non-chest pain symptoms, such as discomfort in one or both arms, nausea or dizziness, which are more common in women, per a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. Cold sweats, shortness of breath, and pain in the back, neck, shoulder, or jaw are other possible symptoms.

What to do: Anytime you suspect a heart attack, “err on the side of caution and call 911,” advises Dr. Rosen. Once the ambulance arrives, the paramedics can perform an EKG and give you aspirin or another treatment en route to the hospital. Don’t go to urgent care or your family doctor; they won’t be able to run the necessary tests to evaluate your heart.

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YOU’RE DOUBLED OVER WITH ABDOMINAL PAIN

Think about: Appendicitis or an ovarian cyst. Belly pain can be caused by anything from a bad fish taco to a chronic condition like ulcerative colitis, making it difficult to recognize a true emergency. Confusing matters more, appendicitis doesn’t always start with the classic pain in the right lower quadrant of your abdomen. You might have pain around your belly button, be queasy, lose your appetite, or feel discomfort when you move, explains Dr. Fix. “These are all signs of an irritation of the lining of your abdomen, which can signal that something serious is going on,” she says. The pain can feel smoldering but will usually get sharper and more severe—think pain you’ve never felt before.

A large ovarian cyst can create similar sensations in the abdomen. Other cyst-specific clues: pelvic pain on one side or general pelvic pain that radiates into your lower back or thighs. A large cyst ups your risk of ovarian torsion, in which the ovary twists, cutting off its own blood flow. The cyst can also rupture, causing internal bleeding.

What to do: Head to the ER if belly pain comes on suddenly or is getting worse; if it keeps you from sitting, walking, eating, or drinking; if it moves to the lower right quadrant of your abdomen; or if you also get a fever or start vomiting.

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YOU WERE CLOCKED IN THE HEAD

Think about: A concussion or worse. Whether you fell and bumped your noggin or got beaned by a baseball, doctors don’t mess around with head injuries. Depending on your symptoms, they’ll want to rule out rare but serious possibilities like brain bleeding. They’re also on the lookout for concussion: “Today, there’s so much attention and focus on concussion,” notes Shawn Evans, MD, emergency medicine physician at Scripps Health in San Diego. Loss of consciousness, repeated vomiting, and a worsening headache warrant immediate attention. But you should also be evaluated if you’ve hit your head and have any neurological symptomes, like dizziness, or issues with balance or vision—no matter how insignificant they may seem.

What to do: Go to the ER if you were knocked out, regardless of how you feel afterward. And get examined if you have a severe headache or neck pain, fluid or blood is leaking from your nose, or you feel confused or very sleepy (all possible signs of serious injury). If you hit your head and develop dizziness or balance problems, you should suspect a concussion but don’t have to rush to the ER—just see a doc within 12 hours, advises Dr. Evans.

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