Food Fit for a Bride

How to modify your diet to be your best on your big day.

With your wedding only a few months or weeks away, you may be scrambling to figure out all the final details. But there’s one detail you can’t afford to overlook. That detail is you.

What should you do to make sure you’re primed and ready for the best day of your life? Eat the right foods, and leave the junk foods for another day. Here are a few ways the right foods will prep you for your vows.

Proper Foods = Proper Fit

Want to make sure you fit perfectly into your dress? To leave everyone staring at your picture-perfect physique during your wedding, you’ll have to do be picky when choosing what to put into your body. That means leaving some of your favorite fattening snacks, entrees, and desserts on the table.

Obvious offenders are fried foods and sweets. However, you’ll also want to avoid indulging in too many pre-nuptial celebrations that include copious amounts of alcohol. Instead, keep your body well hydrated with plenty of water, and make sure you are particularly careful to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables during this time of your life. Have a hunkering for beef? Not a problem. Just make sure it has as little fat as possible and is grilled, not fried.

Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.
– Michael Leunig

Good Foods = Good Skin

If you want to look your best, you’re going to have to pay attention to more than just your shape. You’ll also have to make your skin look its best. To do this, you’ll have to keep a close eye on the foods and drinks you put in your body. Fortunately, doing this is easily done when you’re already eating to maintain a healthy weight and physique.

A great start for good skin is milk, cheese, yogurt, and other low-fat dairy products. Full of easily accessible vitamin A, these foods and others with vitamin A are a must for good skin. You’ll also want to stock up on foods full of antioxidants. While the antioxidants found in blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are often touted for their cancer-fighting qualities, those same antioxidants reduce the effect of aging on your skin. So fight off cancer and look better than ever! And to make sure your skin looks its healthiest, down some salmon, flax seed, canola oil, green tea, and foods made with whole wheat.

Health Foods = Happy You

You want your big day to be perfect, and you want to enjoy it completely. This means you can’t turn into Bridezilla, and no matter what happens, you’ve got to be in a good enough mood to let things slide. Just as it’s possible to have a great body and great skin via what you eat, food can also help you maintain a positive mood when working toward the wedding and during the big day itself. What foods can you eat to boost your mood into marital blissfulness?

Obviously, the foods already listed would be on the top of the list. Because when you look good, you feel good. And when you know you’re doing something to contribute to your good looks, you feel even better. The only problem comes when you feel the need for comfort foods, those “wrong” foods make you feel so good. How can you control your urge to splurge? Make it fast, make it planned, and don’t make it a habit. A little bit of chocolate or a single piece of fried chicken now and then won’t ruin your good looks, but if you eat enough of it, it can do more than cause you to gain pounds of have skin blemishes. It can ruin your mood, leaving you a big mess on your wedding day.

 

Join the Urban Farmer Revolution

Bring a bit of the country into the big city.

At one point in your life, you probably dreamed of living on a farm, slopping the hogs, feeding the chickens, milking the cows, and working the fields. Then you grew up and got a house in the city. Soon, you realized that theLittle House on the Prairielifestyle you always dreamed of would probably stay in books and on television.

Until now. If you’ve got the itch to have your own mini-farm within city limits, you don’t have to be a typical city dweller any longer. You can bring the country to you. There are just a few things to consider beforehand.

Space

Before getting too deep into your farming dreams, you’ve got to figure out how much space it’s going to take. The space you need to feed your farming hunger depends on what you plan to have at your farm. If you’re doing a garden, you’ll need to find out how much space different plants, fruits, and vegetables require to thrive. You’ll then have to keep this in consideration when figuring out how large you want your garden to be.

Doing some farming with animals? Different species and breeds have different requirements. Do plenty of research into your desired species prior to buying any animal to ensure you can provide the atmosphere it will need to thrive and perform its farm-animal duties. Otherwise, your chickens may be too stressed to lay eggs and your goat will wind up eating the siding off your house.

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field. – Dwight David Eisenhower

Expense

As with many hobbies, newbies to the world of farming often underestimate the costs of farming. Of course, if done properly, it is often cheaper to grow your own fruits and vegetables than it is to buy organic foods at the grocery store, and if you sell your fresh eggs, you can easily come out on top financially.

However, there are more costs than the animals or seeds themselves. You also need to make sure the environment is correct and keep your animal or veggies fed properly. This means purchasing quality soil for your plants, buying food regularly for your ducks, taking your goat to the vet on occasion, and potentially using fertilizer on your plants. It also requires you to build a coop or shelter for your animals and purchase materials to absorb their waste and keep the smell down.

Time

Great as it is to have your own veggies growing in your backyard and to be the only one in the neighborhood with fresh eggs, it doesn’t come without a time commitment. All that time you usually enjoy spending relaxing in bed? That’s prime time to be working in your garden or feeding and cleaning up after the animals.

Do your farming right, and it doesn’t have to take an eternity. But you’ll need to understand what is demanded of you on a daily basis to be an urban farmer. Because once the novelty wears off, you’ll be stuck with a lot of animals and plants to care for. By starting with a manageable-sized farm, you’ll be more likely to stick with your urban farming for the long haul and truly enjoy the experience.

Regulation

Since you’ve been in the city a while, you probably know that there are all sorts of rules and regulations that determine what you can and can’t do on your property. Though you’re not likely to run into too many regulations against planting a few tomato plants or cucumbers, bringing farm animals into an urban setting isn’t always smiled upon by the powers that be.

Instead of setting up your farm only to have to tear it down a few weeks later, do some research into the rules of the land. Know what can and cannot be kept in your neighborhood and modify your farming plans accordingly. That way, you’ll have years of hassle-free farming ahead of you!

 

When Diabetes Forces You to Go Sugar Free

How to cope with this taste-stealing aspect of diabetes and make it a natural part of your life.

When you first heard the news, it was devastating. You’d worked hard to maintain your good health throughout life and thought you were doing pretty well. Then your physician informs you that you have diabetes. As if the confusion of a newly diagnosed medical condition weren’t enough, you find out you may have to forego some of the greatest and purest pleasures in life – the candy jar and ice cream parlor.

As hard as it is to picture life without sugar, you can survive without eating too much of it. You can even cut back on your sugar consumption and live a happy life. If going sugar free has you down, keep these thoughts in mind to stay away from the neighborhood bakery.

Sugar Free Is the New Sugar

Unlike the good old days, it is no longer impossible to find something devoid of sugar that is packed with great flavor. On almost every aisle at the grocery store, you can find sugar-free alternatives to your favorite foods – including those to-die-for desserts.

The flavors to some of the treats may take a while to grow accustomed to, but retraining your pallet will give you the upper hand in the sugar-management department. When you can’t find a sugar-free choice to appease your need for sweets, try making something at home. Just watch out that you don’t accidentally drop sugar cubes into the mix.

Millions Are by Your Side

You’re scared and alone, and you’re surrounded by people who are eating whatever they want. Or are they? Taking a closer look, you will probably notice a different picture. There’s the man in the corner, the young lady at the booth behind you, and the talkative group in the next section over. You may think they’re chowing down on sugar-filled treats, but look again.

More than likely a few of them are bypassing sweets to keep their blood sugar under control. They may be admiring the wonderful desserts other folks are enjoying, but they’re not partaking. Or if they are, they’re regretting their decision. So remember – you’re not alone. Diabetes forces nearly 18 million Americans to rethink their sugar-eating ways. (Another 5.7 million aren’t aware of their condition.) Being one of them doesn’t mean you made a mistake. It just means you have to avoid mistakes in the future.

It’s For Your Good Health

While doctors often get pegged as spoilsports, they really aren’t. And when your doctor says you need to lay off the sugar, it’s because you do. Think you know better than your doctor? Think swallowing a box of bonbons each day isn’t going to do you any harm? You’re not alone. However, people who choose to go their own way when managing their diabetes face a series of serious complications, ranging from kidney issues to foot ulcers and more.

Though most of the side effects of diabetes are treatable, the treatment can often be tedious and take a very long time. So staying away from sugar isn’t a way for your physician to lord control over your diet. It’s a way for you to maintain control over your good health and your life – today, tomorrow, and beyond.

It’s Not All or Nothing

Okay, you’ve considered what to remember when you’re trying to avoid sugars due to your diabetes. But as you probably know, you don’t have to avoid those high-sugar morsels altogether. Every once in a while, it’s okay to have a sweet splurge, but they should be limited to a bite or two.

If you’re unable to completely avoid sugars, remember the price you’ll have to pay. Any time you eat sugars, you’ll need to cut out some of the carbohydrates you were planning to eat. Since it is difficult to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet when you’re not getting your normal amount of carbs, you should be very selective in your choice of sugary treats or do what you can to avoid them completely.

 

Up Your Endurance

Tired of running out of steam before the end of the race? It’s time to up your endurance.

You’ve got a triathlon. You’re trying to lose a few pounds from your midsection. You want to see how hard and long you can push your body. No matter what your reason for exercising, your body won’t get the full benefit of working out if you don’t have enough endurance to push a little bit longer and harder today than you could a year ago. But how do you teach your body to do more than it currently will?
By building your endurance. And it all starts with a few tried-and-true steps.

Step 1: Prepare for Discipline

If you want to make gains in your endurance, you can’t hit the gym on an inconsistent basis. You’ll need to be disciplined in order to give your body opportunity to make advances in its ability to endure. This may mean going from three to four hard workouts a week. Or maybe it means a little bit more time spent at the gym during each workout. Know your body and your schedule well enough to know the most effective way for you to build your endurance, and then stick to it no matter what.

Endurance is patience concentrated
– Thomas Carlyle

Step 2: Know What Endurance Is

Depending on your level of athleticism and health, endurance may mean something different. After all, if you’re already benching 200 pounds 15 times without trouble or running 25 miles without breaking sweat, your idea of improved endurance will be dramatically different than someone who has a hard time curling 20 pounds or jogging a mile. If you’re already a gym rat, you can increase your endurance by lifting heavier weights and completing your runs at a faster pace. On the other hand, if you’re new to this whole exercise thing, your endurance goal may be to push your body for 45 minutes instead of 30.

Step 3: Try Different Methods

Every body is different. As a result, your body will respond to endurance-building exercises in a different way than anyone else’s. Hence why you shouldn’t give up if your friend’s endurance-boosting exercise routine leaves you feeling a little flat. Talk with your trainer or other exercise professional to find out some other ways to boost your endurance in the weight room, track, or pool. Don’t quit trying out new ways until you find something that works. Then in a few months be prepared to try something different, as your body may grow so accustomed to the new routine that it doesn’t give you the endurance improvement it initially yielded.

Step 4: Consider Going Slower

While your endurance goal may be to go faster or lift more weight, reaching that goal may not always come about by lifting heavier weights or running harder every day. Rather, you may need to take some time to slow things down. By pushing yourself to about 80 percent of your abilities, you’re able to train for a longer period of time, which may ultimately help you up your endurance. As an added bonus, you’re less likely to suffer many of the injuries that occur when you’re pushing yourself to give your all on a regular basis.

Step 5: Listen to Your Body

There are a lot of people who can give you tips to improve your endurance. The trick is listening to the one voice that tells you what is working well. That voice? Your body. When you pay close attention to what your body is telling you during and after each workout, you can fine-tune your endurance-building routine to do its job well and consistently. Some of the methods that wind up working for you may be a bit unorthodox, but if it works, go for it!

 

Wave Goodbye to Underarm Flab

Because Flab Ain’t Fab

Thanks to push-up bras and BOTOX parties, women have new opportunity to reverse the power of gravity and time. But what about the sagging that so often takes place on the underside of women’s arms? You could undergo plastic surgery, but wouldn’t you rather try a low-cost method that gives you a sense of accomplishment?
If you’re wondering how to keep the flab at bay or to banish it once and for all, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn what exercises you should be leaning on to keep flabby underarms from hanging out with you.

Push-Ups

One of the beacons of old-fashioned exercise enthusiasts, push-ups provide all sorts of benefits. To tighten and tone your underarms, you’ll want to place your hands close together on the ground. Once in the push-up position (on your toes or knees, torso straight and arms extended out to hold your weight above the ground), lower your body to the ground. As you go down, keep your elbows against your side. Once your chest touches your hands, push yourself back to the starting position, careful to keep your elbows by your side throughout the motion. Go for three sets of 8 to 15 repetitions each.

Women aren’t meant to fly. So there’s no reason for you to live with wings any longer!

Dips

Looking for another easy triceps-shaper that you can do no matter where you are? Dips fit the bill nicely. To perform dips, find a weight bench or a couple sturdy chairs. Facing away from the bench, bend down and place your hands facedown on the bench. Place your legs directly in front of you, the heels of your feet resting on the ground. Slowly lower your body until your arms make a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat 5 to 10 times. You can do the same thing on dip bars at the gym and have the same helpful results!

Dumbbell Extension

Unlike the first two exercises, you’ll need to grab a dumbbell for this one. When first getting started, use a three- or five-pound dumbbell. Standing up straight, hold the dumbbell directly overhead with both hands. Keeping your elbows and arms parallel to one another and your elbows in the same position throughout the movement, lower the weight behind your head. Once the weight is close to your shoulders, raise the weight back to its original position and repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions each. As the exercise gets easier, increase the amount of weight you use.

Tricep Kickbacks

With the same dumbbell in your right hand, place your left knee and left hand on a weight bench, your right foot on the ground to keep your body balanced. Hold your right arm at a 90-degree angle, with your bicep against your side and your back straight. From this position, lift the weight backward until your entire arm is straight and against your side. Hold for a moment, return to the starting position, and repeat for three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions on both sides.

Skull Crushers

While the name may sound frightening, the results are user-friendly. To perform a set of skull crushers, grab a dumbbell or light barbell and lie on your back on a weight bench. Start by holding the weight directly over your face, both arms completely extended up. Slowly bend at the elbows and lower the weight toward your face. Once your arms nearly hit your head, raise the weight back up. For maximum effect, spend three of four seconds on each motion (the lowering and raising of the weight). Repeat 8 to 10 times for three sets.