POSTS WITH TAG: healthy habits

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    Have you ever called in sick to work? Have you ever called in sick when you TOTALLY were not? A hilarious Reddit thread features some of the worst best excuses there are out there to get out of work, and some of them are downright genius.

    Everyone needs a mental health day once in a while. There is no reason a person shouldn't be allowed to say, "I'm drained." And leave it at that. Of course, that would be SO much less hilarious. So if you are in the market for a believable cop-out, you can't go wrong with one of these 10 excuses for calling out sick.

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    I have fought the battle of the bulge my entire life. I was never satisfied with the size or shape of my body, and even when I was at a reasonable weight, I still didn’t believe I looked good. Of course, it doesn’t help when we are bombarded with images of the thin and the beautiful.

    Once I had kids, as so often happens, I put on weight that I just couldn’t take off. Along with the stresses of motherhood came the handfuls of mindless eating. I’d be really good during the day. I’d eat lots of salads or low-calorie sandwiches, but then in the evening when the kids kicked into gear, so did my eating. I munched on everything in sight -- except of course for fruits and vegetables. But because I had kept my mealtime eating in check, I denied that my out-of-control snacking was largely responsible for my weight gain.

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    It doesn't matter whether you work out at the toniest spa-like gym or frequent a basement bargain dungeon. If you stay at any workout facility  long enough, you will see some gross -- and just plain ODD -- things. Like, for instance: No. You should not blow dry your pubic hair at the gym. Just FYI.

    Yes, we all know we are supposed to wipe down equipment after use, but sometimes I feel like the only person who actually adheres to that rule. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    But just how disgusting can it get? Personally, I don't spend a whole lot of time in the locker room -- I'm a get-in, get-out kind of girl. So the nastiest things I witness are usually related to sweat pools and unwiped stairmasters. We asked around, though, and some of the most horrifying things people have seen at the gym will shock you. Be warned: That which is read cannot be unread.

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    Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get strong, or just want to feel better, there’s one healthy habit most moms are missing. Even when you’re working out consistently and watching what you eat, skimping on sleep can derail all your good intentions.

    Yes, it's true. Sleep is the one thing all humans need to survive, and it can be the answer to lasting good health. Perhaps you remember it from your pre-kids days? It’s that activity that lasted beyond six in the morning on the weekend. 

    In case you need convincing that sleep should be a priority for you, here are four reasons sleep is so vital, as well as practical tips on getting more -- and better -- sleep.

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    Anyone who wears contact lenses knows the fears associated with them. After all, we're touching our eyes every morning. It's kind of gross, when you really think about it. But none of us could have been prepared for the horrifying story out of Taiwan that represents all those nightmares in one: 23-year-old Lian Kao, a student, is now blind after a parasite ate her eyeballs because she left her contacts in for six months.

    OK, so we ALL know you're not supposed to do that. I have been wearing contacts for 25 years and have only slept in them once or twice. But most of us also know people who sleep in their contacts almost every night, right? Maybe not for six months, but for a lot longer than they should.

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    Bad news for those of us who slather on sunscreen and sit under the rays: sunscreen alone might not be enough to protect us. I know, I know. The major buzz kill bad news comes courtesy of the Institute of Cancer Research. They issued a release saying that new research has shown that sunscreen is not enough to prevent melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer.

    Researchers used mice to test their theory and proved that while sunscreen does help a bit, it does not prevent damage completely. Apparently, UV light could still cause problems in the certain gene that typically protects the skin from the impacts of DNA damage caused by UV light.

    The research published in Nature seems pretty damning and awfully depressing the first week summer is officially here. So what can we do instead?

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    I am a competitive person by nature. Give me a race, a contest, a sweepstakes, or a sporting match and I am the first in line, muscles flexed, my timer on. I like to win. I have no shame about that. When I first started running, I always got a small thrill from the fact that I was (mostly) faster than my friends. And while I am never going to win the Boston Marathon, I did take some pride in being fast for an amateur.

    So it was with great excitement that I opened the Fitbit Activity and Sleep Bracelet after requesting one from the company. This little red bracelet was going to be my constant companion and finally prove once and for all whether or not I was a couch potato (like I felt) or an "active person" (the box I often checked on exercise surveys).

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    You know how we should all be drinking lots of water? People say drinking gallons of water makes your skin luminous, but isn't that all theoretical? I rejoice every time I come across a study that says, "Meh, you don't have to drink THAT much water." Because drinking lots of water is kind of a hassle, mainly because what goes in must come back out again. And don't we all have better things to do than run to the restroom 20 times a day? I was holding fast to the "meh" school of water drinking until I saw this: Daily Mail writer Sarah Smith drank 3 liters of water a day for four weeks and showed the results. You guys, it took years off her face. I'm convinced now.

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    We've all experienced the feeling you get after a tough workout, when you can feel your muscles begin to tighten up, and you know that tomorrow -- or even worse, the day after -- you are going to be in a world of hurt. If you have time, what's the first thing you can think of to try to offset the pain? Stretching, right? Well, as it turns out, research shows that static stretching is not the best way to alleviate future soreness. Static stretching, for those who aren't familiar, is the kind where you hold a stretch position for 20 or 30 seconds. Active stretches, on the other hand, work to stretch out your muscles, while you're getting your blood flowing, which is the best way for your body to begin the repair process.

    So guess we'd better get started, right? In that spirit, check out these 8 active stretches that will make you feel fantastic after working out.


    Image via Giacomo Carena/Flickr

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    Every May is Treat. Yo. Self. month for me, thanks to Mother's Day, my birthday, and the sheer relief of winter being over. That means I celebrate! With lots of cheese and macarons and wine and ... toward the end of the month, all my clothes were fitting a little tight. Oops. Party's over! When you start getting seam imprints on your belly from your jeans, you know it's time for a health reboot. I don't do cleanses, but I keep hearing about how magical drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning is supposed to be. So I decided to give it a try for a week.

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