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February 27, 2013

// Unwanted Fat

Workout to Beat the Winter Blues

Having the winter blues? Join the club. If you’re anything like me, then you see red whenever you see snow. For those of us who were hoping that maybe winter would meet an early demise this year, this week marks a very disheartening part of the calendar. Yes, we are still in the month of February, and we shouldn’t expect the cold to have disappeared yet – but somehow we wish it would anyway.

For many of us, we dream of the days when the weather will warm up and we’ll be able to get back to our regular exercise routines. But, I’m here to tell you that cold weather is no excuse to give up on your dedication to fitness. Sure the cold doesn’t make it easy to get exercise outdoors. But it doesn’t make it impossible, either! Believe it or not, you do have options.

On SparkPeople.com, certified personal trainer, Jennipher Walters explains that there are many ways to stay active throughout the long winter season. It begins with a positive attitude, she says. In other words, for those of us that take one look outside and allow for the wintery atmosphere to get us down, it’s time we snap out of it! The following are some ways to make the most out of your winter workouts.

Change your mind. To reiterate, it seems as if some of us are in need of an attitude adjustment. Walters reminds us that winter is a time of year when we should take the time to sit down and revisit our goals. We often keep ourselves so busy that we neglect some of the important things in our lives – our health being one of them. Take time to reflect and plan out the goals you wish to accomplish over the next several months.

Go out and play! Who says that having fun in the snow is only for the kids? Perhaps, the best way to get your winter workout in is to simply play outside. This calorie-burning activity won’t even seem like a workout thanks to all of the fun you’ll be having. Take the kids out and have a snowball fight (just be careful!). Walters notes that you can burn more than 300 calories by doing so. Not enough snow? Perhaps, it’s time to go ice skating!

Get creative at home. Naturally, the indoors are more appealing during the cold winter months. So why not turn your winter home into a workout home? Pop in a workout DVD and turn your living room into a makeshift gym. Walters also suggests that you invest in some fitness equipment. It will help for the comfort of your own home to be both a convenient and fun location to shed some extra pounds during the winter.

Try something new. For those that prefer the indoors during winter – remember, you are not alone! – the season marks the perfect time for you to sign up for a new class or indoor sports league. There are plenty out there to choose from including “indoor volleyball, a dodgeball league, a bootcamp class or even tennis lessons at a local indoor racquet club” suggests Walters.

Eat right. Of course, cold weather is no excuse for you to forget about the importance of nutrition. You’re always doing yourself a favour when you remember to limit your sweets and eat plenty of healthy foods. Walters reminds us that in-season produce such as oranges, kale and chestnuts make great healthy snacks. Try to embrace winter while you can as it won’t last forever. Thankfully!

February 19, 2013

// Unwanted Fat

How to Have a Healthy Post-Valentine’s Day

Hey ladies! Feeling a bit guilty about those last minute nibbles of all that Valentine’s Day candy that you received last week? Don’t worry, we’re all allowed a little bit of a slip every now and then. After all, it’s pretty difficult to avoid the sweets all year-round. For those of us who were fortunate enough to receive Valentine’s Day treats, it’s probably best that we be thankful.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we can slack off from our healthy, staying-in-shape regimes now that Valentine’s Day has passed. If you’re concerned that you may have put on an extra pound or two over this past weekend, have no fear. We’ll get you back on track in no time! On SheKnows.com, health and wellness expert, Michele Borboa shows that she knows about this phenomenon all too well.

With help from lifestyle therapist Amy Hendel, she reveals a few methods that we can all use to shed the Valentine’s Day weight that may have come on thanks to those candlelit dinners and influx of sweets. Perhaps, the best way to start is to dispose of any leftover candies that you may still have. It’ll be much harder to focus on fitness with those little heart-shaped temptations lying around.

Drop The Guilt. Your next step is to not worry about that one day of overeating you may have had last week. Put it behind you, one day is not your downfall, reminds Borboa. The important thing is to not let your Valentine’s Day feast continue on for days. Put the heavy meals and candy-eating out of your mind, and just get back on track with your healthy eating and daily exercise plans.

Wear Form-Fitting Clothes. Borboa insists that wearing such outfits as a form-fitting sweater dress with a wide belt will actually help to remind you not to overeat. In fact, any time you may be faced with an opportunity to overindulge in sweets or other calorie-heavy meals, belted clothing will literally make you aware that you have had too much. A non-loosened belt, Hendel points out, becomes a friendly physical barrier.

Keep A Health Journal. If you have time to read the news and celebrity gossip, then you certainly have time to write down your eating and exercise habits, says Borboa. This will help you to hold yourself accountable for what you are putting in your body. It will also make you less likely to scarf down those remaining Valentine’s Day chocolates and more likely to head to the gym.

Take Romantic Strolls. Here’s hoping that your significant other knows how to be romantic on the other 364 days of the year. Valentine’s Day has come and gone this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy being part of a couple. And being part of a couple means being able to enjoy healthy activities together. Grab your partner’s hand and go for a walk after dinner and burn a few extra calories each day.

Use Healthy Substitutes. Just because you are working on shedding some pounds, it doesn’t mean that you have to avoid sweets altogether. Hendel points out that there are healthy snacks that we can all enjoy. Among them are “air-popped popcorn with flavored sprays, fat-free low-sugar flavored lattes, diet hot cocoa…baked apples with cinnamon, veggies, and bean or hummus dip to name a few.”

February 12, 2013

// Unwanted Moles

Finding the Solution to Mole Removal

Believe it or not, moles are actually quite common. I feel the need to reiterate this to a couple of my friends who sometimes make self-deprecating comments about their moles. Sometimes, their lighthearted ability to poke fun at themselves gives me a chuckle. And, other times, it gives me cause for concern. It’s not that I think that moles are dangerous. It’s that I worry about how they view themselves.

I’m quick to point out that many people see moles as “beauty marks”. My friends, however, are even quicker with their “they could be cancerous for all you know!” retorts. Both points happen to be backed up by blogger, Sara Krinsky. She notes that “in the past, this skin blemish was considered to be a sign of beauty” but goes on to say that there is reason to be concerned about some moles.

“Of particular concern related to this pigmentation issue is that a mole can transform into malignant melanoma, one of the most serious forms of skin cancer,” writes Krinsky. So what should our perception of moles really be? The way I see it, the best person to speak to is an experienced professional. Speaking to a doctor, dermatologist or skin care expert would be a great start.

As I mentioned earlier, moles aren’t uncommon. And there is no particular age at which a person may notice the appearance of moles on their bodies. Krinsky points out, however, that most are actually acquired by the time we reach our twenties. Once we are older than twenty, it is important to pay attention to the development of any new moles. Noticing changes in size, form, colour or texture is key.

Itching, flaking, soreness or even bleeding are some other warning signs to be aware of. Moles that cause such irritation may be of particular concern especially if they are located in areas where regular rubbing or friction occurs. The feet and underneath the bra strap for us ladies are just a couple of examples. In such cases, removal is probably a worthwhile option.

Moles are generally benign, Krinsky reassures us. The average teenager, she writes, has between ten to thirty moles somewhere on their bodies. It is rare for any of these moles to turn into melanoma malignancies. Most often, when people decide to remove their moles, they do it for cosmetic reasons. And that, of course, is fine.

But when a mole is determined to be a malignant melanoma, removal is certainly your best bet. Thankfully, there is a worthwhile solution. The Varilite laser provides safe and effective removal of moles, skin tags and small red blood vessels. It has also been used in the removal of fine spider veins in the legs. You’ll be happy to know that patients report that Varilite works wonders!

It has been known to provide impeccable results while causing no bruising or creating any need for down time for patients once a treatment has taken place. As mentioned earlier, it is always best to consult a professional when seeking advice about your medical questions or concerns. For more information on moles and the Varilite laser, contact The Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818.

February 5, 2013

// Hair Removal

The Beautiful Benefits of LightSheer Hair Removal

It’s cold out there! But should we expect right? It’s February in Canada. So no matter where you are in this great country of ours, chances are that it’s a bit chilly – to put it mildly. Not surprisingly, this is a time of year when many Canadians think about taking little vacations to avoid the cold, snowy weather for at least a week. If you ask me, there’s nothing like a week on a sunny beach.

Now, it should go without saying that adequate sunscreen is necessary at all times when out in the sun – whether you are on vacation or not. But there’s another thing that us ladies often have to think about when it comes to donning our bikinis. And that would be hair removal. I can see your eyes rolling now. Don’t worry, I feel the same way.

Whether we decide to shave or wax, hair removal is practically an essential task when it comes to enjoying beach weather. For many women, shaving and waxing are not only time consuming and expensive activities, but they are painful as well. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you’ve likely encountered your fair share of ingrown hairs, irritable rashes and razor bumps.

Thankfully, there is a solution! LightSheer™ laser hair removal helps for the perils of shaving and waxing to be things of the past. This treatment promotes the permanent removal of hair through the use of a “chill tip” that helps for the hair removal process to be both painless and effective. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Bayardo Aviles of the Cosmetic Centers of Hawaii offers several reasons to consider laser hair removal.

Saves You Time. Aviles writes that “the recommended series of at least 5 treatments reduces the hair permanently by 70-90%.” That means, after those treatments, patients will have to spend almost no time at all shaving to get a perfectly smooth look and feel. Naturally, this will allow you to spend more time on the beach and less time getting ready to enjoy it.

Fewer Ingrown Hairs. This is a big deal for most women I know. The presence of those reddish bumps practically defeat the purpose of shaving. It’s almost as if the hair would be a better look. Aviles notes, however, that after your recommended number of hair removal appointments, you will be able to reduce your chances of getting ingrown hairs by 70-90%.

Softer, Smoother Skin. Aviles writes that “most female patients and athletes state that their legs feel stubbly only 2-3 days after shaving and a few more days after waxing.” Laser hair removal, on the other hand, provides you with softer, smoother skin after each and every treatment. As well, when a small number of hairs do grow, they are both lighter in colour and thinner, making them very easy to remove without any irritation.

Less Discolouration and Scarring. Ingrown hairs, as a result of shaving, can often leave scarring or discolouration known as “post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation”, says Aviles. Laser hair removal helps patients to diminish such discolouration. For more information about how LightSheer™ hair removal can benefit you, please contact The Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818.