Health

Breaking The Pain Barrier: How To Overcome Pain For Good

This post is sponsored by Lewonde

Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the US. Did you know that at any given time, around 30 million Americans are suffering from back pain? If you have a bad back, and you feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book to banish pain, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some suggestions to help you hopefully overcome pain for good.

Determining the cause

There are myriad factors that contribute to back pain, and the first thing to do if you suffer from chronic pain or pain that is getting worse is seek medical advice. When you see a doctor, they will examine you and ask you some questions about your symptoms. It may be that pain is associated with underlying causes, in which case, treating the cause could help to alleviate pain.

In other cases, lifestyle changes may be recommended. There may also be causes related to your job. If this is the case, a doctor may be able to recommend safer techniques to try and offer some tips to help you feel more comfortable at work. If you have severe back pain, your doctor may recommend further tests, such as an MRI scan. This will enable them to see if there is damage to the spine or the surrounding muscles or bone tissue.

Correcting your posture

Poor posture is a contributing factor in most cases of lower back pain. Your posture relates to the position of your spine when you’re sitting or standing. If your spine isn’t in an ideal position, this can increase pressure and strain on your muscles, causing discomfort. In this day and age, we tend to spend more time than ever sitting down, due to the prevalence of office jobs.

If you do spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, it’s essential to make sure you understand how you should be sitting to prevent back pain. Your spine should be straight, your shoulders should be relaxed, and you shouldn’t have to crane the neck to see the screen properly. If you’re reaching for the keyboard or the screen isn’t level with your eye line, adjust the height of your chair or desk. If you don’t already have a specially designed ergonomic office chair, ask your employer to provide one. It’s very important that your spine is supported properly while you’re in a sitting position.

Maintaining good posture is not just important when you’re sitting down. You should also pay attention to your posture when you’re standing, especially if your job involves standing for long periods of time or lifting. If you do have to lift items as part of your job, use machinery for heavy loads and make sure you bend your knees and keep your back straight. When you’re standing, try to avoid stooping or slumping and keep your shoulders back.

Finding the right mattress

The importance of getting a good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated. If you suffer from back pain or you’re prone to bouts of discomfort, it’s particularly beneficial to find the right mattress. If your mattress isn’t perfect, this can cause back pain or make existing symptoms worse. Therefore, if you’re looking for a new mattress to help with back pain, try some different styles and brands and avoid going for the cheapest option. You often get what you pay for in terms of quality and durability when you’re shopping for mattresses. If back pain is an issue, look out for products that have been ergonomically designed. These mattresses promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension, and they provide support for the spine while you sleep.

Choosing the right forms of exercise

Most of us are aware of the benefits of doing regular exercise for our health and wellbeing. Living with pain can make exercising difficult, but you don’t have to give up on working out if you suffer from back pain. You may not be able to do certain activities, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t be active.

Aim for low-impact exercises and avoid anything that involves jarring movements. Lifting weights and jumping aren’t ideal for people with back pain, for example. Swimming is often recommended, as the water supports your body weight. If you want to stay active without risking injury, speak to your doctor or a qualified personal trainer before changing your exercise regime or embarking on a new training program.

Conditioning your back

They say that prevention is better than cure, and conditioning can help to reduce the risk of recurrent pain. Conditioning involves strengthening the muscles to make your body resistant to injury. You can do this with a physical therapist or by doing specific, targeted exercises at home. These exercises are not focused solely on the back. They also help to increases strength and suppleness in the hips and the core.

Examples of exercises include McKenzie stretches and dynamic lumbar stabilization. The aim is to stretch the back, build muscle, and improve flexibility. You may also find that exercises like those found in yoga and Pilates routines effective. If you’re new to these activities, it’s best to go to a beginner’s class. Once you’re familiar with the stretches, and you’ve honed your technique, you can then practice at home.

Posture

Back pain can make life a misery, especially if you have periods when pain intensifies or you have prolonged bouts. If you suffer from back pain, it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice. In some cases, there may be an underlying cause, and treating this should be a priority. Many cases of back pain are linked to poor posture. If you slouch when you’re standing or you tend to sit slumped in your chair at work; this can affect the alignment of your spine and increase tension in your muscles.

Due to most of sitting during a large portion of our day, it can lead to muscles being tight and pulling us into a position that leads to poor posture. To help release these muscles and let your spine relax and decompress, you can use a lumbar stretcher like the Lewonde Back Stretcher (pictured above). By stretching your spine, you allow it to decompress, which allows it pull in nutrients, oxygen, and fluid back into the discs. Therefore, alleviating your back pain, and hopefully letting you overcome pain for good. Plus you can use it to stretch your spine, or put it in your office chair to help you maintain proper posture while sitting. I use mine everyday and have noticed a real difference in the tightness of my back.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Guest Post: 5 Body Signs You Need More Nutrients

Fatigue is a known sign that you are lacking basic nutrients. On an everyday basis, you should not feel like you’re ready to pass out. On the contrary, if you are eating right you should have bounds of energy. This is a no-brainer but what are some other less obvious signs that you may be lacking more than your share of vital minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients? Read below to find out some signs that you need to watch out for. If you do experience any of these signs, consult with your doctor as to the best course of treatment to ameliorate the situation.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is not uncommon in cold weather or after you get sunburned but if your skin is feeling drier and flakier than usual or you suddenly see more wrinkles, then you may be missing omega-3 fatty acids. Why is this important? Omega-3s lock in moisture by nourishing the lipid barrier of your skin. To get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet eat fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines. If fish is not your thing, try soybeans (roasted), walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds. Toss them in your salads, smoothies or cook your everyday food with canola oil. Omega-3 supplements are readily available. To check out some good reviews and find the one for you, see Research and You.

Pale Skin

Pale skin is one of the outwardly visible signs of low iron or anemia, which generally results from a reduction in the number of red blood cells or if those red blood cells are smaller and filled with less hemoglobin. You may also notice a shadow underneath your eyes. Iron deficiencies may be a sign of an underlying issue, so make sure you see a doctor. You can load up on lentils, beef, spinach, liver, sesame seeds and dried fruit (such as apricots, prunes, and raisins) to increase your iron.

Swollen, Cracked and Sore Lips

In the winter, lips crack easily and may even bleed but if you notice that your lips are seriously cracked and sore for long periods of time you may be dehydrated or you may have a riboflavin (or vitamin B2) deficiency. You can tell the difference if the dryness occurs around the outside of your lips and if you also have a swollen, dark-red tongue. Don’t delay in getting treatment since a riboflavin deficiency may cause nerve damage. To include more riboflavin in your diet eat almonds, salmon, broccoli, cheddar cheese, eggs, beef liver, lamb, milk, yogurt, mushrooms, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes.

Bleeding Gums

If you see a little blood on your toothbrush, it most likely means you need to floss more often or that you may have the beginnings of gingivitis. However, if you do floss regularly and your gums start bleeding for no reason, you may have a vitamin K deficiency. The role of vitamin K is to help blood clot or coagulate. You can get plenty of this nutrient from dark, leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley and Brussels sprouts. You can also consume other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage or fish, liver, meat and eggs.

Going Gray

Gray hair is a normal part of aging but if you notice a sudden change in your hair texture or if you’re going gray sooner than expected then a copper deficiency may be the culprit. Copper helps you create melatonin, one of the pigments that gives your hair its color. Low vitamin D or vitamin B-12 levels might also trigger premature graying. Try consuming almonds or hazelnuts to get more copper, drink fortified dairy products for vitamin D and eat animal products, including fish, meat, poultry and eggs for a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Bottom Line

Nutritional deficiencies may be a result of underlying medical issues or conditions. Your body is a temple and will start to break down if you are depleted in certain minerals and vitamins. Each morning take a close look at your body and don’t delay if you see any of the signs we mentioned or others that concern you. Early detection is key.

Kelly is the founder of RegularityFitness, where she and associates blog about the best fitness exercises, weight loss methods, diet, muscle building. That will help you get a good shape and healthy.

Guest Post: Boost Your Body Confidence

There’s nothing like confidence to make life run smoother and easier for us. If we lack that, all else seems to be insufficient. If we lack that one integral part, it won’t matter how good we look, how skilled or successful we are. We’ll simply be too blind to notice any of it. When it comes to our bodies, getting in shape is quite a challenge mostly because it’s very easy to give up. We hit a bump on the road and then the whole effort seems wasted and silly, so we simply stop, give up, and get back to the old way. But is there a way to change that? Is there a way to finally get fit and boost our confidence? Absolutely, and we’re here to give you a few tips on how to do that.

Make it Easy for Yourself

If you have to trudge over half the city to get to the gym, hate the crowd who goes there, and have a trainer who doesn’t pay enough attention to you, then how on earth are you supposed to stick to it? If working out requires too much time, mental strain, and planning then you’re never going to stay consistent. Yes, you do need to get stubborn to stick to your plan, but you also need to be smart. So, make it easy. Go to a gym that’s near or work out at home, find the time where you’re unlikely to be bothered or interrupted, find a workout that you like.

Stop With the Negativity

In addition to training you to give up without trying and making you feel bad when there’s really no reason to, negative words and “I’m just so ugly” are merely… unproductive. It leads nowhere and you’re much better than that. Instead of “I can’t” and “I look awful,” why not try something like “I know I’m strong enough to reach the goals I want to reach.” Learn how to be confident and stick to it.

Pick Something You Like Doing

Gym not your thing? That’s cool, why not try dancing? Maybe you’d really enjoy the relaxation yoga provides, or maybe you’d be really into krav maga. Find something that excites you and find a good crowd to inspire you and you’ll keep coming back. It’s really all about that Australian approach here – Aussies are really fit, yet they don’t really have more average gym time than any other nation. So, how are their bodies so sexy? Well easy, they’ll surf, they’ll play volleyball, they’ll swim, they’ll hike. They’re outdoorsy and active and simply do what they like doing.

Forgive Failure

Sometimes you’re going to feel weak and you’re going to give in and eat that chocolate cake you promised you won’t touch. And you know what? This will keep happening occasionally, so stop sweating it. It’s not a big deal and it doesn’t mean your effort is ruined. Simply get back to good habits and relax. It’s okay to stumble sometimes.

Consult Professionals

With latest technological advancements, cosmetic procedures are now safer and easier to do, and they’re a good way to supplement your efforts. If you’ve been struggling with diets and exercising and you just can’t seem to lose those last few pounds, or if you’ve given birth and have a lot of loose skin, you can try a having a tummy tuck procedure to solve this problem. Similarly, if you’re worried about your tuberous breasts or have a different kind of imperfection that’s making you insecure, you can always talk to your doctor and ask for advice. You’re not alone in your struggles and if you want to try a treatment to help you out and make you feel better in your own skin, go for it.

Take the School Approach

You know how you always used to do better when you studied a little bit every day rather than cramming the whole night for a test that’s tomorrow? Yeah, well, exercise is kind of similar. Instead of working out two times a week for a long time, it’s actually a lot easier to exercise every day. The workout doesn’t need to be longer than 20-30 minutes, and this makes it both easy to fit into your schedule and it trains your body to get used to being active and to crave that daily workout.

Distract Yourself With Something Fun

A workout could be the perfect chance to listen to your favourite upbeat tunes, or to catch up on a show. Why not watch TV while you ride your stationary bike? Yes, being focused solely on exercise is great, but sometimes we just need a distraction and that’s okay.

Remember it’s a Lifestyle Change

And of course, while diet might not sculpt you and give you a toned body, it’s definitely the most important bit for actual weight loss. You need to create a calorie deficit to shed pounds, however, you need to have the right approach to it. Forget about fad diets and see a nutritionist if you can. Don’t starve yourself, don’t see dieting as something you’ll do only until you’ve lost excess weight. It’s a lifestyle change, it’s there to make you healthy.

Choose Healthy Over Skinny

It’s cool to go down a dress size, but if you turn your diet into “I want to be thin,” you’ll be disappointed. Rather than skinny, make your goal healthy. You want to feel good, you want to have strength. Trust us, once you adopt that attitude you’ll be a lot happier and look a lot better.

Here’s the gist of everything: you don’t have to be good at working out and dieting, you just have to do it. You’ll stumble and won’t always feel like you’re making progress, but stay consistent. That’s the real key here, simply being as consistent as possible and believing in yourself.

Scarlet is a passionate writer and regular contributor at highstylife.com interested in fashion, lifestyle, and health. She loves traveling, you could say that she is a real travel addict, especially when she has a chance to visit some exotic destinations. She would tell you that inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places.

3 Ways to Live a More Positive Lifestyle

Life is full of stressors. Sometimes hard work doesn’t seem to pay off, and sometimes it takes a long time to get where people want to get. It’s easy to get swept up in the negativity and to make unhealthy life choices.

But making positive life choices ultimately leads to a more healthy and fruitful existence, even when those choices are initially hard to make.

Below are some tips and tricks to feeding and cultivating a more positive lifestyle.

Journal

One of the biggest new trends in lifestyle development is the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be practiced through meditation, journaling, therapy, or a number of other mediums. Mindfulness is the process through which a person attempts to be entirely present in each moment, rather than thinking about the future and all the things they want to achieve, the past, or some event or goal that is not yet happening.

Mindfulness is a great way to be appreciative of the present moment, regardless of what that moment holds. Mindfulness journaling can be used to meditate on the joys and pitfalls of the present moment, and to ground the individual in the positivity of the present.

Journaling can also be utilized as a way to recall and store memories. After a great day out on an adventure with friends, or a good conversation on the phone, journaling can culture an appreciation of this memory by recalling it and recording it. Then, this memory can be revisited later, sparking even more joy and thankfulness.

Journaling overall can be a huge addition to the positivity in an individual’s life. Journals can also be daunting. For this reason, many advise keeping a one-line-a-day journal, in which each day a line is written about a positive experience from that day, this way they don’t get overwhelmed or feel bad when they cannot keep up with extensive journaling for every day.

Create a Fresh Start

The closet is full of clothes, but there is nothing to wear. All the books on the bookshelf have already been read, or have never and will never be read. Last year’s junk is piling up, leaving no room for positive changes in a new year.

A big clean out of the house or the apartment is a great way to make room for new memories and new positive experiences in life. Utilizing the system of a keep, give away, or throw away is useful. And items kept in the keep pile should have a significant reason for being there.

Many claim that the best way to decide what to keep a clothing item is to hold it while asking three questions: is it a special occasion or seasonal garment; has it been worn in the last three months; and does it bring joy. If the garment does not fit one or more of these categories, it should be given away or thrown away. The same types of questions can be applied to other types of items in the home as well.

Cleaning out the closet and giving items to charity can be a cathartic experience and leaving empty space for new clothes and new items is a wonderful way to build excitement and to invest in the future.

After the big clean out, space can be carefully curated to hold only items of importance that make the homeowner happy to look at and to wear or utilize.

Taking pride in personal items and getting rid of items that don’t bring that sense of pride, happiness, or sentimentality is a wonderful way to invest in positivity and to live a more positive lifestyle.

Have an Adventure

Individuals wishing to live a more positive life need to remember to invest in themselves, their future, and their happiness. This means that while an adventure might not be practical at the time, planning and budgeting for the future is a wonderful investment in themselves.

This self-investment breeds eternal positivity because it reinforces self-love and self-compassion, as well as the fact that every individual deserves happiness and positivity. Even if an adventure is seemingly out of reach financially, like a backpacking trip through Europe or skydiving, a loan from Payoff.com can make it easier and closer than it might seem.

Using a personal loan, individuals can go on a nature-driven vacation to visit a national park, backpack a trail, or camp with friends. Maybe someone’s dream vacation is to see the Eiffel Tower, or Big Ben, or the Statue of Liberty, or even a show on Broadway. Taking a beach day is an adventure as well.

The inherent positivity of an individual investing in their own happiness is one of the biggest leaps one can take in the quest to live a more positive lifestyle.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Choose A Path To Learn More About Your Health

Are you interesting in learning more about your health? Perhaps you want to understand how to get your body in better shape, or maybe you’re fascinated by what makes your body tick. If that’s the case, there are a few different paths you can take to learn more about your health. But before we get to the right paths to knowledge let’s consider one that you should avoid.

Make sure that you don’t start by conducting research online. If you type in any symptoms or signs of health issues online within five minutes, you are likely to diagnose yourself with a dangerous, perhaps life-threatening disease. The reason for this is obvious. Some of the most basic symptoms can crop up for no reason, or they can be the first sign of a fatal illness. But unless you have expert knowledge in this area, there’s no way to tell which it is. This brings us to the first pathway you can take to learn more about your health.

Study Medicine

If you want to learn more about your health and your body the best option is always going to be to study medicine. You probably think that you need to get great grades in school and have a massive IQ to study medicine, but that’s not true. Indeed you can take an RN to BSN online course with very little experience or existing knowledge. This will provide you with key information and give you the chance to get first-hand experience working in a hospital with patients. It is easily one of the best ways to learn more about the human body and your own health.

Talk To A Nutritionist

Of course, if you are interested in the state of your health specifically; you might want to think about speaking to a nutritionist. After all, ninety percent of health issues can be resolved by fixing your diet. You really are what you eat; whether you’re eating too much dairy, have an undiagnosed allergy to gluten or need to cut back on the red meats a nutritionist will be able to help.

Celebs regularly start by speaking to a nutritionist when they want to lose weight. So, if you are eager to get in shape, this could be a great place to begin.

Pick Up A Book

We definitely think that you need to stay offline if you want to learn more about the health. It’s impossible to ignore the scaremongering articles, and even positive health posts could lead you to weird sections of the web where you’ll be self-diagnosed with a fatal illness. However, you can still research and read. The books and resources that intern doctors read each night are readily available from sites like Amazon. If you’re interested in how your body works, why not read a few? Who knows it might encourage you to pursue a late career in medicine.

I hope this advice helps you find your own path to more knowledge about your health.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How Strenuous Exercise Can Affect Your Auditory Health

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy and happy lifestyle. However, sometimes strenuous exercise can have its drawbacks. One of them can be hearing loss. This may sound bizarre, but there are certain situations that are more likely to occur when you are taking part in a vigorous workout.

Knowing When to Seek Professional Help

The following list of potential causes of hearing difficulties is not entirely inclusive and is merely basic knowledge that should help you to understand different conditions that may affect anyone engaging with strenuous exercise. If you experience symptoms or abnormalities in your hearing following exercise, ensure that you contact an ear doctor. This professional will be able to examine you and prescribe the most appropriate treatments.

Accidents

When exercising, your mind may well be focused on other areas than your peripheral surroundings. Your mind may be wandering during a jog, you may have your attention on a ball that you are dribbling, or perhaps you are working out where you may need to slow down and stop when ice skating or roller skating. During this time you may well receive a knock on the side of the head. Perhaps you will trip and fall awkwardly, a ball will come from an unexpected direction, or a competitor will bump into you. Sudden bumps to the ear area of the head can create a tear in the membrane of your inner ear. This allows a fluid called perilymph to leak into your ear cavity. This damage may be permanent. However, most of the time hearing will return to some degree.

Restricted Blood Flow

When you are working out, your blood is pumped around your body at a faster pace than usual in order to transport blood around your body. As you relax after exercise, the blood flow has to slow. Sometimes complications can mean that blood flow to areas such as your ears becomes restricted as blood is redistributed around your body. This can affect your hearing negatively.

Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome (LVAS)

LVAS is a less common condition, however, it’s always good to be familiar with its symptoms in order to identify it. People who have large vestibular aqueduct syndrome experience hearing difficulties when exercising. This is due to the pressure forces on their endolymphatic sac to push back into their cochlea, causing significant problems with their auditory ability.

Excessively Loud Music

Many of us pop earphones in when working out. Music makes the experience more fun and engaging. It can also help you to feel more productive. However, your ears have numerous tiny hairs inside which allow sound signals to be transmitted to your brain. When you listen to excessively loud music, these hairs can become flattened. The main problem? They do not regrow, so damage is permanent. Remember to keep the volume on your headphones or earphones lower to maintain your good hearing.

So, now that you are more aware of the causes of hearing problems that are specifically associated with exercise, you can take more precautions to avoid permanent damage while you are working out. Be careful and stay safe!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How You Can Be More Active in Your Everyday Life

When we talk about being active and living a healthy lifestyle, it isn’t just about going for a run each evening but being completely sedentary the rest of the time. In order to be truly more active, then there needs to be some things that we change in our everyday lives. When we are always more active, at work, school or at home, then we are really on the way to living a healthy and active lifestyle. All of those extra things can help us to stay well. So what are some changes you could be making? Here are a few ideas to help you be more active in your everyday life.

Walk More

It might elicit a moan from you or your family, but walking more is a great way to be active. You’re using your whole body, burning calories, and getting your heart pumping faster than it would be in the car. Even something like taking the stairs over the elevator is a good way to be more active and walk more. Plan your time better to walk to more places and you’ll really feel the benefit of it. You could also look to get a step counter to encourage you to be more active. We should be aiming for at least 10,000 steps per day, but many of us fall short of that. You can read more here if you want to http://stepcount.org.uk/. So if you’re curious to see where you are with that at the moment, then a step counter will be a good way to start being more active.

Take Regular Work Breaks

Work or school are going to be some of the places where we find it hard to be the most active. We can’t just get up and leave when we want. However, we can take breaks to have a quick walk around the office or to get a glass of water. You shouldn’t be sat at your desk for hours on end without moving. Consider standing at your desk if you need to, to get your body moving and some weight bearing on your feet. You could even look into getting a bike or elliptical installed under your desk, like this one https://www.hereon.biz/under-desk-elliptical/. What a fun way to be more active when you normally wouldn’t be very active. Employers should take note!

Use Standing Time To Move

Think about times in the day when you stand up but don’t do anything. You might be waiting for the kettle to boil or for the oven to heat up. But use that time to get in a mini-workout. How many squats can you do in the time it takes for your pasta to cook or the kettle to boil, for example? When you’re having a phone conversation, how many times can you go up and down the stairs or do something else that is active like cleaning the house? Multitask and get a few more mini-workouts in each day and it will help you to stay fit and well much more than people that don’t.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How To Eat Your Way To A Healthier Weight

Food means different things to different people. To some, it’s seen as a means to an end, to others an enjoyment, and to a select few an obsession. Although food is there to give us energy, the impact it can have on our bodies has meant that it’s easy to become obsessed over. Whether the obsession is taken to the extreme with weight gain or weight loss, it can often mean that an unhealthy view can be taken. However, food also does a lot of good in the world. It keeps us going, it keeps us happy, and it does have the power to transform a negative obsession into something more healthy.

Whether you want to be able to boost your weight loss or gain to get yourself to a healthier weight, you can do it with food. But, there are a few processes that you will need to put in place. First of all, you’re going to want to adjust your mindset. And secondly, you need to be able to see and use food in new ways. By gaining knowledge and happily adjusting your thought habits, you should be able to eat your way to your own healthy weight range using four simple techniques.

Clean Up Your Diet

Purge The Processed Stuff

The first thing that you need to be able to do is to clean up your diet. Because if you’re trying to reach a goal weight, the foods you eat will matter. You will find that filling up on processed foods will not help you here. So you may want to pinpoint the processed foods you can easily remove from your diet, such as salad dressings. As well as some of the most obvious choices like frozen foods or ready meals.

Cook From Scratch

Following on from this, you should also aim to cook from scratch as often as you can. When you’re eating processed or convenience food, you don’t really know what is in the food you’re eating. So you could be eating more calories than you need to be. Likewise, when you eat out a lot or order in, you could be consuming unhealthy calories that you can easily cut out.

Go Green

Then, you should work on filling up on greens a lot more. It’s important to have more fruits and vegetables in your diet and with your meals. This way, you’re getting enough nutrients in and helping to keep yourself full. So work on adding more leafy greens to your diet if you’re looking to make healthier changes to what you’re eating.

Read The Labels

You will also find that reading the labels on everything you buy will help you to clean up your diet too. Sometimes, there’s a lot more in the food that you eat that you realize. But when you make a habit of reading the labels, you’ll be able to figure out what products you should drop from your diet, as well as getting to know what is in the food that you eat.

Focus On The Macros

Get The Balance Right

The macronutrient makeup of your meals is important. If you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight, or get there, you’re going to need to monitor your macros and ensure that you have the balance between carbohydrates, fats, and proteins just right. If it’s fat loss that you’re after, you need to ensure that your macros work towards fat burning to help you get on the right track.

Play With Your Portions

However, you may realize that not every piece of advice you get on macros and the right balance will work for you. So, you have to be able to play around with your portions in order to find out what works best for you. Because everyone’s body will respond differently to different macro make ups. You need to be able to work with the right percentage of each in order to get your body to respond well.

Switch Up The Ingredients

But you’re also going to want to think about the actual food choices you’re making for each macro. You need to be able to choose good combinations between carbs, fats, and proteins that will work well together, without sticking to the same meals all of the time. So make sure you alternate between ingredients if you’re hoping to get the best results.

Food For Fuel

See Food Differently

However, the way that you’re going to be able to ensure that you can make the right changes to the way you eat is also in your mind, and not just with your food choices themselves. If you’re wondering how long does it take to lose weight? you’re going to need to work on your mental state as well as your choices. To do this, you should try to see food as fuel, rather than an indulgence, to help yourself get on the right track.

Time Your Meals Well

To do this, you should ensure that you’re working with timing when you eat. If you want to be able to get the most amount of energy out of your food, it’s important to eat the right things at certain times of the day – especially when you’re exercising. And you’re going to want to tailor your macros to this too. You may find that low carb evening meals will help you here, depending on your overall goals.

Listen To Your Body

A huge part of making this work for you is to listen to your body. It’s easy to see food as a pleasure source as well as fuel, and cravings can often control this. But you need to be able to identify emotional hunger vs. real hunger. Real hunger can be satisfied by any food and will come on gradually, so try to weed out emotional cravings and focus on fuel.

And Don’t Forget The Snacks

Then, you’re also going to want to work with some energy boosting snacks. When it’s an energy boost you’re after, things like bananas and nuts are great. You will often find that snacking smart can also ensure that you eat well and make healthier meal choices.

Be Smart With Your Habits

Portion Size

Sometimes, it’s not the food that you’re eating that’s the problem, but the portion size. When you’re looking to lose weight, you should bring these in, and if you need to put on weight, you should focus on larger portions. But it’s all relative. You just need to learn to be smarter with the size of your portions.

Eating Environment

Next, you should think about your eating environment. This is one of the most important areas of how your mind and body connect. Because where you eat can affect how much you eat, and your digestion. So always try to eat at a table and focus on your food, rather than mindlessly eating while doing another task, as that can cause you to overeat.

Eating Mindfully

To work with that last point, and not against it, and to really ensure that you can eat your way to a healthy weight, you should work on eating mindfully. By eating more mindfully, you’re more aware of how you eat, your habits, and how to ensure you have a healthy relationship with food. To do this, you will find that eating in silence helps, so does chewing a certain amount of time, or using your other hand to hold the utensils. The aim is to be more aware of yourself eating so that you can stop when you’re full, enjoy the meal, and take a healthier approach to eating in general.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

5 Things To Avoid To Keep Your Lungs As Healthy As Possible

We all know that eating right and exercising is the best way to stay healthy. However, there are so many things in life that can damage your lungs. Your lungs are one of the main parts of your body that keep you alive; so looking after them is imperative. Here are are some examples of things to avoid to keep your lungs healthy.

Smoking

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Smoking cigarettes is probably the most dangerous thing that you could put into your body. Not only can it harm your lungs and cause you to contract lung cancer; it can cause many other cancers too. Did you know, that every cigarette that you smoke can take 10 minutes off your life? If you suffer from an illness like asthma or COPD; the effects of smoking can take it’s toll faster than someone who doesn’t suffer from any lung diseases.

It’s not just tobacco that can be harmful if you smoke it either. Smoking any form of drugs can harm your lungs just as much as regular tobacco. Not only that, it can cause dozens of other health problems, including things like psychosis.

If you’re trying to quit smoking, visit your local pharmacist for help on quitting. It will save your wallet and your life.

Bonfire Smoke

There’s nothing quite like huddling around a bonfire and watching the flames engulf the firewood until it burns to glowing embers. However, breathing in bonfire smoke can do serious damage to your health. Even though it may smell nice, the smoke contains dangerous particles that can penetrate the walls of your lungs; causing breathing problems, headaches, runny noses and wheezing. If you are attending a bonfire, try not to stand too close. That way you’re at less risk of reaping the damage that can be caused by bonfire smoke.

Asbestos

Asbestos is something that’s been around for centuries and is typically used in buildings for insulation. After the discovery of asbestosis, it was discontinued in the build of new houses. However, many homes all over the world still contain asbestos; which can pose a threat to anyone who has a lot of exposure to it. If the asbestos is untouched, it shouldn’t harm you but if it’s broken or removed the small fibre particles can enter your lungs and cause damage over time.

If you’re in the industry of home improvements, make sure that you wear a face mask when working with asbestos to make sure that the particles aren’t accidentally breathed in. However, if your company hasn’t been providing face masks, you could call a mesothelioma attorney for compensation; because being exposed to asbestos could have potentially put you at the risk of cancer. Make sure you get yourself checked out if you’re experiencing tightness of the chest, shortness of breath and deformities of your hands.

Cleaning Chemicals

Even though we want to keep our homes clean and hygienic, using bleach without proper protection can lead to lung diseases like COPD, asthma, and can even cause people with current lung conditions to have even worse symptoms. Anything that contains bleach, chlorine, and ammonia is potentially dangerous. The warnings on the side of the product normally advise you to cover your mouth when using it to prevent the fumes from these chemicals harming your lungs. Like with working with asbestos, make sure that you wear a face mask when using these chemicals to prevent any damage to your lungs, even if you are only bleaching the toilet.

Related Article: Detoxify Your Home and Join the Green Cleaning Trend

Carbon Monoxide

We’ve probably all heard that carbon monoxide is dangerous for the body, but why is that? Carbon monoxide is found in cigarettes (one of the many reasons you shouldn’t smoke) and it’s a gas that prevents your lungs from taking in enough air; therefore suffocating the lungs and making it difficult to breathe. Unfortunately, we are even at risk of carbon monoxide in our own homes, so it is definitely worth investing in a carbon monoxide meter which will tell you if any is detected in your home. Having appliances that use fuel in your home serviced regularly should decrease the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Avoiding these 5 things should keep your lungs healthy so that you can concentrate on keeping healthy through a good diet and exercise. If there is anything else that seems like it would be hard on your lungs like dust or particles in the air, make sure to cover your mouth to prevent damage to your lungs.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Careers For When You No Longer Compete

Some careers are near enough impossible to break into. What little girl hasn’t dreamt of being a pop star at some point? For the most part, we learn that these careers are out of reach early on. By the time we reach our teen years, we barely remembering wanting them. But, some dreams are harder to shake. For the sporty among us, the ideal career would, of course, be the chance to compete professionally. But, making a career as an athlete is tough. There isn’t much money in the field unless you’re top of your game. Olympians and world champions can afford to give up the day job, but that’s about it. Here’s some advice on careers for when you no longer compete.

It may be that you had some success, but never quite managed to make it big. Or, perhaps your dreams never got off the ground, and your chance has passed. It can be heartbreaking, especially if you’ve held those dreams since you were young. But, hope isn’t lost. Holding onto an impossible dream will do damage and lead to financial trouble. But, the passing of your athletic ambitions could mark the time when you start making money from sports. Why? Because you’ll be more open to alternative options. These can be as satisfying and are, for the most part, easier to achieve. Finally, you’ll be able to make an income from fitness!

Here, we’re going to look at a few of the options available. You never know; one may catch your eye.

Become A Sports Teacher

Be honest; the statement ‘those who can’t do, teach’ came into your head the moment you saw this. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, teaching is an amazing way for the best athletes to spread what they know. If you want to specialize, you could work with college kids who are studying for degrees. Or, perhaps you would rather work with a variety of sports. In that case, secondary and primary education would be your best bet.

You will need a degree to make full-time teaching work for you, but studying part time means you could earn and learn at the same time. Or, you could opt to work as a supply teacher. This will mean less money, but it’ll ensure you can get straight to it. Whatever you decide, it may be worth going down this route before you commit. That way, you’ll be able to see whether this suits.

Could You Coach?

Teaching may have its merits, but when you’re dealing with a classroom full of kids, you may not get the engagement you’re after. Often, they won’t want to be there. And, the number of children you teach will make it difficult to form one on one relationships. If that’s what you’re after, you’re better off becoming a coach. Here, you’ll work with a few students individually. The chances are you’ve had plenty of coaches in your life, so you should already know what’s needed. You’ll be able to draw from your own experiences to provide coaching which works. This also has the benefit of keeping you in the athletic surroundings you love. With a bit of luck, your clients will lead you to those same rooms you competed in during your youth.

Go Down A Clinical Route

A clinical route to sports may take you away from the field, but it’s well worth considering. You could opt to specialize in helping rehabilitate sporting injuries. Here, you’ll need to develop your understanding of body and recovery. Using physical therapy, you’ll be responsible for getting athletes back up and running.

Or, perhaps you’d rather go down the psychological route. Sports psychologists stand to make a lot of money if they’re successful. Plus, this opportunity would reveal to you a whole new side of this thing you’ve loved since you were young. Bearing in mind that you would need to study to qualify for this role. But, something like an online Master of Science in Psychology would allow you to study when it suits. That way, you could complete your course in a shorter or longer period, depending on your needs.

Become An Event Organizer

Or, perhaps you’re ready to take a step back. Being at the forefront can be exhausting, and you may well have had enough. It’s possible to move from the limelight and remain within the environment you’ve come to know. Becoming an organizer for athletic events means you can sit back and enjoy the ride without having to worry about getting too physical.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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