With summer right around the corner, you may be wondering HOW you are going to get your body ready to go public!
Hopefully, this article will help you find some simple ways in which you can tone and shape your body for the summer.
Your Diet Matters
Whether or not you have been on a diet this winter, here are some tips and suggestions to help you to not only eat better, but give you a healthier look. Experts recommend that instead of skipping meals you should instead eat up to 5 meals a day in smaller portions. During the summer, eating lighter is the key. Also, adding more protein to your diet will assist you in losing weight as you exercise. In this way, you will burn fat, not muscle.
A diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and salads containing leafy green vegetables, and at least 8 glasses of water a day, will set you on the path to slimming down and feeling great. Try not to eat any snacks or other types of foods after 8 p.m. and cut back on foods and drinks which contain sugar and carbohydrates.
Add protein such as meat, poultry, and other rich in protein foods. Add fiber to your diet as well. More importantly, always begin the day with a healthy breakfast. Have a bowl of cereal with blueberries, for example. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, besides having a myriad of other health benefits.
Ideally, you want to lose a pound a week. Any more than that will defeat the purpose. Studies have shown that in order to lose a pound a week, you have to decrease your total caloric intake by 3500 calories a week. This can certainly be accomplished by having plenty of fruits and vegetables on hand as snacks, avoid fried foods, and mix up the menu on a daily basis so that your meals are inviting and not boring.
It is important to keep hydrated at all times. You may think you’re fine, but if you are in the heat of the sun you may not realize just how dehydrated you are until nausea or a faint feeling comes over you.
Drinking water with every meal will ensure you are getting plenty of water and it will also help in losing weight as well. Drinking water is VITAL to your health, beauty, anti-aging, and body.
Exercise is the Key
NOTE: It is IMPORTANT that you check with your doctor BEFORE beginning any exercise program!
Weight training is ideal for toning and shaping your body. Different exercises 3 times a week can help you to achieve the sculpted look you desire.
Many fitness experts attest that weight training 3 times a week and targeting all of the muscle groups can achieve the best results. Starting with 1 set of exercises and then building up to two or three is suggested. They also recommend 8 to 12 repetitions as the standard form of weight training exercise.
Also, in order to burn more calories, you should exercise more than one muscle group in a session.
Other exercise routines can include aerobic exercises 3 to 5 days a week for 30 to 35 minutes. The cardiovascular workout will increase your metabolism and allow for weight reduction as well.
If you are too busy to devote 30 to 45 minutes, you can certainly engage in high-intensity 10-minute workouts 3 times a day. Include walking at a brisk pace, climbing stairs and even jumping rope.
Exercise to help shape and tone your front and back thigh muscles:
Stand with your feet a few inches apart. Put a weight in each hand, and rest your hands on each shoulder, that is, your right hand on your left shoulder, and your left hand on your right shoulder. With your back straight and head up and looking ahead, lower your body to a comfortable position. Feel the stretch in your front thigh muscles. Flex your front and back thigh muscles as hard as you can throughout the movement. Return to the start position and give your front and back thighs an extra flex on the finish. Repeat 15 times.
Exercise for lifting and toning the front and back thighs, firm up the hips, and butt:
Stand with your left foot forward and right foot back. Ensure there is at least a 2-foot space between each foot. Keep your right arm up and your left arm down at your side. Bring your right knee up until your thigh is parallel to the floor and your right heel is just about touching your inner knee area, all the time reversing the position of your arms as you move. Repeat the movement 15 times. Now put your right foot forward and your left foot back and repeat the process. Repeat this movement 15 times.
Exercise for the Tummy:
Another exercise, which most of can relate to, involves the stomach. Having a stomach that is a bit saggy can be problematic. While you don’t have a lot of time to redefine and shape the stomach before summer remember every little bit helps. Here is an exercise which you can begin now.
Lie face down on the floor. If you have a mat by all means use it. Place your hands near your shoulders, and take a deep breath. Then push your body up until the hands and feet support your body. Hold this position for 20 seconds, taking care to keep your abdominal muscles pulled in. Lower yourself down to the floor, rest for a few seconds, and then repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions daily. This is a form of yoga that is wonderful for toning the abdominal muscles.
Here is another group of exercises for the hips and thighs. Unfortunately, we all know this is where most of the fat resides. However, if you engage in this exercise 3 to 4 times a week, in combination with your other exercises, you will be able to see changes to your body in 6 to 10 weeks.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by the sides. Keep a strong posture, and slowly lower buttocks as though you are about to sit down in a chair. Lower several inches and then slowly rise up. Repeat this 15 times.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the hips. Stand erect and take a large step forward with one foot. Stay in that position. Turn your back foot up until you can balance on your toes and then slowly lower your body until your front knee forms a right angle. Slowly raise your body back up. Repeat on each side 15 times. Exercise, along with a healthy diet, should be part of our lifestyle all year long. However, with summer on the way, there is an urgency to achieve what would normally take months, and crunch them into several weeks.
Beautify Your Body
Although you can certainly take a trip to a salon that specializes in waxing, the truth is this is a mighty painful procedure. Not only is it painful, but sometimes embarrassing as well. They do a very good job of removing hair both in front and back of your lower body, but some people still prefer to wax at home.
If you prefer to wax your bikini line in the privacy of your own home, there are a number of wax kits available which are safe and effective. Cold waxing is often used for home waxing, although not as effective as hot waxing, but it does ensure there will be less likelihood of burning during the process.
If you do opt for hot waxing:
The wax is applied with a tongue depressor or spatula over the unwanted hairs. A strip is then placed on top of the melted wax and quickly pulled off. Ouch!
For effective waxing, the hairs must be at least a half inch above the skin. Redness and soreness will accompany this procedure for at least 2 hours. The frequency of waxing is every 6 to 8 weeks.
Probably one of the most soothing and relaxing procedures is a pedicure. Not only do these professionals cut, trim, file, wash, scrub, and massage your feet, it is just a wonderful way to spend time being pampered. Moreover, your feet feel light as air afterward.
If you have the time, treat yourself to a pedicure for the summer. It’s not that expensive, and it will make you feel incredibly relaxed.
But if you are like some of us who manicure and pedicure at home, ensure you have all of the right equipment such as pedicure utensils, foot bath, lotions, brushes, and of course, a fantastic color to apply afterward.
Although one has to admit that a self-pedicure is not the same as having it professionally done, there is one exception. If you have a partner or spouse who is willing to massage your feet and legs for you – then no problem.
One of the more serious concerns about summer is sunbathing. With the sun’s rays becoming more threatening each year, all of us have to be careful since we know the UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer.
The use of tanning beds has become more dangerous than sunbathing. In fact, the UV rays in tanning beds have a higher yield of radiation than the sun. That is why a tanning lotion may be the better…healthier choice in the long run!
With all of the sunless tanning products on the market today, there are specific products which have been shown to be more safe and effective than others. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunless tanning lotions that contain DHA as the active ingredient are the most effective. Whether in gel, lotion, or spray form, any product that contains DHA is said to be the most reliable.
However, they do advise that because DHA interacts with the dead cells, the color lasts about 5 to 7 days after the initial application. They also advise that since we lose dead skin cells every day, the tan fades daily. Therefore, reapplication every 3 days is suggested to keep your gorgeous tan.
In closing, don’t forget to apply sunscreen before going out in the sun. Have plenty of water, and remember that God created you and you are beautiful. You may not look like the cover of a magazine…but guess what? Neither do the women ON the magazines!
We all know that the best way to a healthy body is diet and exercise. However, do we ever take the time to exercise our brains? Do we eat for a healthy brain? probably not, for most of us.
As busy women, we rarely take time to eat properly and exercise our bodies, so what can we do to improve our Brain Health?
Let’s begin with Brain Diet:
You always hear me say…DRINK MORE WATER! Well, I am saying it again. Drink it up, ladies!
Also, the following nutrients may be helpful for brain health.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These “good fats” can be found in fish, including: tuna, salmon, and mackerel. They can also be found in certain nuts and oils.
- Choline. This is the main nutrient required in the production of acetocholine, the most essential chemical in retaining memory. You can find it in fish (especially anchovies), eggs, soy, and some types of nuts.
- DMAE. This is easily absorbed into the brain and also aids in the production of acetylcholine. It can be found in sardines and anchovies, but most people prefer taking a supplement. Be sure to take it in the morning, as it can cause insomnia.
- B & C Vitamins. Getting enough of the B vitamins and vitamin C are very important for the proper brain function. B vitamins have been shown to raise scores on IQ tests.
- Pyroglutamate. This is an essential amino acid that can be used to improve memory, concentration, coordination, and reaction time. It is found in dairy products, fish, fruit, and vegetables.
- Phosphatidylserine. This chemical has not only been shown to improve resistance to stress.
- Glutamine. Another important amino acid for brain function. Along with the improved brain function, glutamine is an energy booster can help you break your addictions to stimulants.
Getting just a couple of these nutrients into your body can help you feel better, and improve your memory.
Now, onto Exercising the Brain:
How do you exercise your brain?
Simply put…USE IT!
- Do a Crossword Puzzle. You can also try solving other puzzles that require using your language skills. These help you remember things by making you regularly access simple memories.
- Number Puzzles. Go to a book store or go online and find Sudoku puzzles. These are number puzzles that are becoming increasingly popular. They help exercise your brain’s deductive reasoning skills. Plus, they’re fun and incredibly addictive.
- Learn Something New. The capacity of your brain is only determined by how much you want to put in it. Try learning a new skill or how to play a musical instrument. Learning a skill and continue to use it will keep your memory accessing skills limber.
- Expand your Vocabulary. Learn a new word every day. Your brain will be learning something new every day, and you will speak more intelligently!
- Let go of Speed Dial. Memorize those phone numbers. Yeah, technology is great…but when do we USE our brains?
- Exercise. Take care of your body. Try exercising at least 3 times a week. Even if you only get to walk. Do some type of exercise.
Keep in mind, exercising your mind has been shown to ward off Alzheimer’s. So if you want to keep your mind sharp, be sure to eat right, get enough rest, and exercise regularly.
By: Cyndi Roberts
Yard sales (or garage sales as we call them in my part of Texas) are a wonderful frugal source for almost anything you need. They can also be a wonderful, frugal source of extra money almost any time you need it.
When shopping at yard sales, it’s important to remember that most things you buy are not going to be in “new” condition, although there are times when you will find items that are brand new, in the box. And at a much lower price than in the store.
Most yard sales have lots of clothes for sale. But if you are willing to take a closer look, you may find tons of treasures. The other day I found a shiny cookie sheet in a box of “freebies”! I was thrilled and so was my son, who didn’t have one!
My grandchildren have tons of books, most of which have been bought at yard sales. And all were in great condition and didn’t cost over 50 cents apiece. I keep a lookout for seasonal items for kids such as coloring books, little stuffed animals, etc. Then when Valentine’s, Halloween or other holidays roll around, we send the grandchildren a package filled with neat stuff for very little cash.
This summer I am also watching for “new-in-the-box” toys for children of all ages. In December, I’m going to send them with my son (who is in the Texas National Guard) to their annual Toy Drive. But almost every community has some sort of toy drive at Christmas time. This way, I will already have my contributions and won’t need to go out and spend more money during the holiday season.
Yard sales are a great way to make some extra money, also. Plus, you can get rid of unwanted items at the same time. My daughter and I recently held a sale and here are some of the things we learned.
Put up signs. The newspaper goofed the weekend of our sale and left out all that week’s yard sales. So we had to depend on our signs. Put as many out as you can. Find out ahead of time what kind of ordinances your town has about placement.
Take the time to make your signs…we bought ours and about halfway through the first morning, we noticed that we weren’t getting any customers. So we checked out our signs–and they were gone! We put out more and the customers started coming again. But it was costly.
And when you make your signs, be sure to make them sturdy enough to stand up in the wind and also be sure your lettering is large enough to be seen by people driving by in cars. I think a large arrow pointing in the direction they need to go is helpful.
Be sure to plainly mark your items. It will save you lots of time during the sale if you don’t have to talk to each customer about the price of every item. If you aren’t sure what prices to ask, it might help to go out to some yard sales yourself in the weeks before your sale and check out what others are asking for items.
If you really want to get rid of something, be willing to negotiate on the price. By the same token, if you really want to get a certain amount, be willing to say no when someone asks for a price reduction.
When your yard sale is over, if you are lucky, you have space to store the leftovers until next time you need to hold a sale. However, if you’re not one of the “lucky” ones, consider donating your items to the local Goodwill box. Helping you live the good life…on a budget!
About the Author: Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the “1 Frugal Friend 2 Another” bi-weekly e-newsletter and founder of the website of the same name. Visit http://www.cynroberts.com to find creative tips, articles, and a free e-cooking book. Subscribe to the e-newsletter and receive the free e-course “Taming the Monster Grocery Bill”.