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    Knowing This Fact About Your Body Could Be the Secret to Peak Health

    Have you ever wondered why your friend can eat dairy without any side effects while you suffer from bloating? How can one person swear by the keto diet while someone else sees no difference? According to Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million Americans will try a diet plan each year. Maybe you’re among the millions who have dabbled with keto, vegan, Atkins, Mediterranean, or one of the many other diets out there. You’ve spent time trying different food combinations or rearranging your eating schedule. You’ve told yourself it would all be worth it because this diet will be the one that works. Yet, now you’re six months down the road and don’t see the results you had hoped for.
    There’s a reason diet culture is overwhelming and disappointing. The truth is, our bodies are all different. While one diet may make your friend, sister, or coworker feel amazing, it might not be the right fit for you. We’re all about ditching diets and eating whatever makes your body feel good, but there may be an explanation for why different ways of eating work for different bodies.
    Enter: the Blood Type Diet. Founded by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, the Blood Type Diet provides individualized solutions for each person’s blood type. Instead of looking at one diet as a solution for everyone, the Blood Type Diet breaks down each person’s blood type and uses that information as the basis for nutrition. I’m usually turned off by anything with “diet” in the title, but this one seems different. It proves that diets are not a one-size-fits-all method. Read on for my deep dive into what the Blood Type Diet really is and whether or not it’s worth trying out.

    What is the Blood Type Diet?
    As Dr. D’Adamo explains in his book Eat Right For Your Type, there are four universal blood types: Type O, Type A, Type B, and Type AB. Each type possesses a different antigen with its own chemical structure. Your blood type plays a huge role in how you absorb nutrients. This means that your blood not only affects how you respond to infections, stress, and bacteria, but it also affects the body’s response whether you eat a croissant or eggs for breakfast.
    In his research, Dr. D’Adamo found that different foods have different lectins, and those lectins produce a chemical reaction between blood and the food you eat. Sometimes the reaction leaves us feeling satisfied and energized, while other times, the reaction causes us to feel symptoms like indigestion, bloating, or fatigue. The Blood Type Diet looks at how different lectins in foods are absorbed by different blood types. Eating based on your blood type can increase nutrient intake, improve gut health and digestion, and support overall immune function, according to Dr. D’Adamo.
    Of course, nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle. Any wellness method is incomplete without factoring in the role of stress and exercise. (We can eat all the healthy food we want, but unless we also factor in high-stress levels and a sedentary lifestyle, we won’t feel our very best.) Dr. D’Adamo agrees. So, he’s included research on how different blood types need different forms of exercise to cope with stress, as well as a stress and exercise plan for each blood type.

    Recommendations for each blood type
    If you’re Type O
    Dr. D’Adamo found that people with Type O blood respond best to a diet based on animal proteins while avoiding dairy and grain products. “Type O’s can efficiently digest and metabolize meats and seafood because they tend to have high stomach-acid content,” he explained. But it’s important to balance meat products with vegetables and fruit to avoid over-acidification. When it comes to exercise, he recommended intense physical exercise like HIIT or weight training because it “makes the muscle tissue more acidic and produces a higher rate of fat-burning activity.”

    If you’re Type A
    For Type A’s, Dr. D’Adamo recommends limiting meat and dairy products, as they are poorly digested, but moderate quantities of seafood (3-4 times a week) can have beneficial effects. Focus more on plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, etc. Type A’s can tolerate wheat products and gluten more than other blood types. But they shouldn’t eat in excess, or else their muscle tissue will become overly acidic. For exercise, Type A’s thrive by engaging in gentle and meditative movements to help manage stress, such as yoga, Tai Chi, stretching, walking, or Pilates. 

    If you’re Type B
    Type B’s can benefit from a balanced diet of all types of foods, including meat, dairy, seafood, and grains. However, Dr. D’Adamo suggests limiting corn, buckwheat, lentils, peanuts, and sesame seeds, as they contain a certain lectin that affects the efficiency of your metabolic process. This results in fatigue, fluid retention, and hypoglycemia. As for exercise and stress, Type B’s are able to manage stress well. They do best with moderate activities such as tennis, hiking, cycling, walking, yoga, jogging, or light weight training. 

    If you’re Type AB
    For those with the rarest of all blood types, Type ABs, their plan requires a combination of the Type A and Type B plans. Unlike Type A’s, meat in small portions can be beneficial. A balanced diet of all foods works for your system—including dairy, grain products, fruits, and vegetables. The key with Type AB is portion size and frequency, so eat smaller meals more frequently. When it comes to exercise, Type ABs have inherited a Type A stress pattern. So, Dr. D’Adamo recommends following the Type A exercise plan of gentle movement to help decrease stress. 

    The verdict
    We like that the Blood Type Diet is a personalized wellness plan that looks at a person’s genetics and bio-individuality. However, use it as a starting point or a way to experiment when finding what works best for your body. Don’t follow the plan to a T. As with every diet, some experts swear by it while others disagree. For example, Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC—a leading doctor and founder of Ancient Nutrition—believes that the Blood Type Diet may help some people, but it’s not necessarily the best for everyone. There are other factors that determine how we digest nutrients than just blood type, like hormones.
    Bottom line: The best way to determine what foods to eat and what exercise to do is to listen to your body. Period. Looking to your blood type for insight on nutrition and movement might make you feel amazing, but the same effects can be achieved in other ways too. The Blood Type Diet isn’t necessarily for everyone, but it shows that diets need to be more personalized and cater to an individual’s body type, food preferences, and biological history. Our bodies are all different, and how we eat should cater to that uniqueness. If you’re thinking of experimenting with the Blood Type Diet, talk to your doctor and know that your body is always the #1 expert about which foods and exercise are best for you.

    Is the WIEAD Trend Helpful or Harmful? More

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    This Product Helps Me Sleep Like a Baby, and I Can’t Stop Recommending It

    Even Beyonce has trouble sleeping, yet when I started struggling with falling and staying asleep, I thought it was just my problem. ​​You see, the phrase, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” has never been something to come out of my mouth. I’ve just never had an issue with getting quality shut-eye. But with work deadlines, personal responsibilities, and, let’s be honest, too much TikTok keeping me up at night, sleeping like a baby became a thing of the past.
    Since sleep is a form of self-care, I made it my mission to get a better night’s sleep. Along the way, I stumbled upon one truly glorious product that I refuse to shut up about: Equilibria’s Sleep Gummies. And I can’t stop recommending them to everyone I know.

    Equilibria
    Sleep Gummies
    Sleep Gummies are formulated with CBD, CBN, chamomile, and L-theanine, so falling asleep and staying asleep are easier.
    Use code THEEVERYGIRL for 25% off sitewide at Equilibria—both new and returning customers eligible until end of month! Code stackable with subscription savings

    Why I Tried Equilibria’s Sleep Gummies
    When I started experiencing trouble falling and staying asleep, I did what every person does: I turned down the tea aisle of my grocery store to grab the first box of bedtime tea I could find. I made myself a cozy cup of tea, thinking I was sipping my woes away. Yet, much to my dismay, the tea didn’t do the trick.
    I have friends who swear by melatonin to help them sleep through the night. So, on my next trip to the store, I snagged that. Long story short: I now blame melatonin for sleeping through my alarm, missing my workout class, and getting charged a no-show fee. 
    I never used either of those products again. However, since I’m not a quitter, I did a little more research on how to get better sleep and finally turned to Equilibria’s Sleep Gummies. Equilibria’s products are some of my favorites for managing anxiety, productivity, and mood (shoutout to the Softgels). So, I figured their Sleep Gummies would be a reliable bet.

    My First Impression 
    After getting over my fear of sleeping through another workout class, I took one gummy about an hour before bed, knowing that the onset time was 30-60 minutes. (Tip: The longer you chew your Sleep Gummies, the faster they’ll kick in.) As someone who orders a Dirty Shirley with extra maraschino cherries, I immediately loved the Bordeaux Cherry flavor. In about 45 minutes, I was feeling calmer—which I anticipated since that is how other Equilibria CBD products make me feel—but I was hopeful that they would help me sleep, too.
    And they did. My restfulness subsided, my head hit the pillow, and I was out like a light. The best part? I made it to class on time, feeling refreshed and well-rested. I felt on top of the world after a quality sleep and a workout I didn’t dread waking up for.
    Try them out for yourself and use code THEEVERYGIRL to score 25% off sitewide at Equilibria—new AND returning customers eligible until 9/30! Code also stackable with subscription savings.

    Source: @equilibriawomen

    The Verdict
    After about a week of taking one gummy before bed, I increased my intake to the full serving—two gummies. When I say I didn’t move in the middle of the night, I mean it. You know how sometimes you think you had a good night’s sleep, but you remember rolling a bit or waking up for a second? Well, you haven’t experienced a truly uninterrupted, good night’s sleep until you’ve tried these.
    One thing I know calms me down and helps me feel relaxed is CBD, so I don’t know why I didn’t try Equilibria’s Sleep Gummies sooner. After taking them, I fall asleep easier and sleep better throughout the night. They last 4-8 hours, and I sleep better now than I ever have.
    Equilibria states that their Sleep Gummies “help balance a healthy sleep-wake cycle for a luxurious night’s sleep,” and believe me, I feel like a well-rested, luxury-living queen every morning now. And the flavor? It’s the Bordeaux cherry on top. 

    Equilibria
    Sleep Gummies
    Sleep Gummies are formulated with CBD, CBN, chamomile, and L-theanine, so falling asleep and staying asleep are easier.
    Use code THEEVERYGIRL for 25% off sitewide at Equilibria—both new and returning customers eligible until end of month! Code stackable with subscription savings

    5 Things Successful Women Do Before Bedtime

     
    This post is sponsored by Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    Is There Such a Thing As “Too Much” Self-Care? It’s Time We Reevaluate How To Care for Ourselves

    We are in the self-care era. The concept is so popular and widely embraced that it seems everyone is doing face masks and daily breathwork. But with so many voices applauding new rituals and practices in the name of wellbeing, it can feel a little overwhelming to keep up with it all. And that sensation of feeling overwhelmed begs the question: Is all of this actually making us healthier and happier?
    When scrolling through #wellness TikToks or my Instagram feed, I’m often reminded of how easy it is to get so obsessive about eating “clean” that it actually becomes stressful. The irony, of course, is that stress is bad for us too–including over-stressing about food. So, where else in our wellness routines do we care so much about hitting the mark that we inexplicably miss it? As it turns out, a lot of places. We can be so rigid with being “healthy” that it becomes unhealthy. So, could the same be true with our culture’s self-care obsession? 
    Before we dive in, you should know that I am pro-wellness. Like big time, it-saved-my-life kinda stuff. But as with all passions, there’s a tipping point. I believe we should all have self-care routines. I believe our bodies deserve (and need!) time, energy, and resources to help them feel their best. But sometimes, we become so mindless with our habits—and get so involved in the latest trends—that the practices meant to help us become harmful. Here’s how to know if your self-care routine is truly caring for you and tips to reevaluate your self-care practices now.

    When self-care becomes damaging
    The wellness industry means well. However, in the name of making money, it can play a little too much into our fears. It can make us feel like we’re not doing, paying, or being enough. Like, “Hey, are you zen enough? Are you going to wrinkle quicker than you should? Are your insides quietly decomposing before their time? Good news! There’s a skin cream, green powder, or alt-therapy for that!”
    It’s like there are two different versions of caring for yourself. First, there are self-care practices you do because you love yourself and know you deserve rest, care, and joy. These practices support a healthy relationship with self-care. They help us feel good, and they don’t suffocate the rest of our lives. Then, there are self-care practices you do because you don’t feel good enough as you already are. This can become a stressful obsession with the impossible pursuit to make your body and mind forever flawless.
    I’ve experienced both forms, and if you’re into wellness like I am, you probably have, too. Thankfully, I’ve learned a few things about identifying self-care practices and whether or not they’re genuinely caring for you. So, read on for some key tips to reevaluate your self-care routine and make sure it’s actually caring for you.

    Tips to Reevaluate Your Self-Care Routine
     
    Get honest with yourself
    Before you can even begin to protect yourself against accidental self-sabotage, you need to have “the talk.” What kind of relationship do you currently have with self-care? Is it flirtatious and fun? Committed and energizing? Or does it talk down to you and make you feel small? Do you feel pressure to keep it up? Does it feel like a chore? If you feel uncomfortable in your relationship with self-care, you can repair it. Awareness is one of the greatest powers at your disposal. Simply acknowledging where you’re at can give you the power to shift course.

    Name your fears
    Whether or not you have a healthy relationship with self-care, you undoubtedly have some wellness-related fears. For instance, I sometimes fear that I’m accidentally doing something bad for me that I think is good for me—like a health supplement that is actually filled with toxins. Other fears might include that you’re aging too fast, falling behind with your health, or that you have to strive for perfection. Maybe you even have some internalized fatphobia or orthorexic behavior where food that’s not considered nutritious can make you feel anxious. 
    Naming your fears allows you to pause before they get the best of you. Additionally, seek therapy to work through mindsets holding you back. When you feel triggered to start a new self-care practice, consider this: Will it feel good or stressful to incorporate this into your routine? Does the idea of dry brushing your entire body every single morning give you hives or get you excited to assess the results? A little nervousness when trying something new is normal. However, if maintaining a budding practice has become a stressful ordeal, you might be doing it out of fear rather than care. Either reframe your relationship to the practice or reexamine if it should be in your routine at all.

    Reconnect to your “why”
    Your “why” is the opposite of fear–it’s what lights you up! If you are invested in self-care, it’s likely because it feeds something in you that makes you feel good. Maybe the endorphins from your exercise routine make you feel unstoppable, or the after-glow from your evening ritual makes you feel pampered AF. This is what self-care is all about. Connecting to what drives you can reinvigorate your relationship with self-care.
    For example, the reason I want to exercise is to feel strong and powerful. Whenever exercise feels stale for me, I connect to my “why,” and it completely renews my energy. When I connect to the affirmation “I am getting stronger” throughout my workout, it’s less of a burden and more invigorating. The aftermath of the workout is also more enriching because I’m focused on how good it feels instead of checking a chore off of a list.
    Reconnecting to your “why” is also a great tool to reach for if you notice your fears are starting to run the show. Your “why” will connect you to your values. This might expose some of your fears as nonessential. For example, maybe you’re being told the skin cream you love isn’t as effective as a trendy new face oil, and it’s triggering a fear that you’re behind the curve. Is having the most effective solution what’s really important to you? Or is “effective enough” OK? If the skin cream you already have makes you feel radiant, smells amazing, and elicits all the relaxing vibes, isn’t that the goal? You don’t have to chase the trends or latest products if what you’re already doing meets your needs for self-care.

    Eliminate the phrase “I should” 
    When push comes to shove, “should” is a shaming word. When you are connected to your “why,” self-care comes from I want to, not I should. So if you’ve tried all the steps above and still find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your desire to keep up, hunt for the places you tell yourself, “I should.” I’m going to say something radical: When it comes to self-care, you aren’t obligated to do anything. Self-care means making time and energy to care for yourself, and that’s it! When we talk about self-care in today’s world, we have this image that it’s about bubble baths and gym memberships. But self-care can literally look like anything: a nap, a glass of wine with friends, skipping the gym for an hour of TV because you need it more, or going to therapy.
    If there’s something that you know could be “good for you,” but you just don’t want to do it, that’s OK. Feeling pressured to do something defeats the whole purpose of self-care. So next time you hear yourself utter an “I should” about your wellness routine, try swapping it with “I want to.” If that doesn’t feel right, then guess what? You might not want to, and that’s OK! Our desires—and our capacity to carry them out—ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Something that feels hard now might feel rejuvenating later. In the meantime, there are other self-care methods that will strike your fancy. Find what speaks to you, and I give you full permission to drop the rest.

    Make your own definition of self-care
    Ultimately, you are in charge of what self-care means to you. (That’s where the “self” part comes from!) It can be tempting to try keeping up with the trends, but the constant seeking and second-guessing can drag you down. It’s up to you to advocate for your own relationship to care. What feels good for you isn’t going to light everyone else up, and vice-versa. We are so lucky to be living in an era where self-care is applauded and encouraged.
    With an abundance of resources and suggestions at our disposal, it’s up to us to decipher which practices will have the most impact on our minds, spirits, and bodies. And most importantly, you do not have to try them all. When you trust your gut, make friends with your fears, and lean into your “why,” your self-care routine will care for, recharge, and energize you.

    This article discusses obsessive thoughts, but it is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please take care of yourself if these topics could be triggering, and always seek professional help if you are struggling with an eating disorder or disordered thoughts or behaviors.
    Call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 for support, reach out to a qualified medical professional, or, for a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.

    How To Make Time for Self-Care When Your Life Is a Hot Mess More

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    6 Tips To Help You Transition From Hot Girl Summer to Cozy Girl Fall

    I felt it today: the first cool, crisp signs of the cozy fall season to come. After a few brutal weeks of heat and humidity, I’m more than ready for all that’s good and wonderful about this season. Reflecting on falls passed, I’ve always known the September cool-off to be one of the most inspiring transitions. While some hate saying goodbye to the freedom of summer and the easy-breezy beach days that celebrate warm weather, I’ve always felt like my best self wrapped in a fuzzy blanket with a candle lit.
    Luckily, there’s a term for that: Cozy Girl Fall. Like it sounds, the moniker defines the vibe of the season post- “Hot Girl Summer.” The past several months have meant embracing the idea of hotness in every sense—from saying yes to new adventures to embodying your most confident self. And while we can still be “that girl” in any season, designing our wellness routines looks a little different when the leaves start to fall.
    The welcome return of my favorite wellness rituals comes along with Gilmore Girls reruns, knitting marathons, and warm mugs of cider. (I reserve my PSL addiction for candle scents only.) My fall wellness routine keeps my mind settled, my body happy, and my emotional health at peak fall bliss. So, read on for the wellness tips, tricks, and ideas that pair perfectly with a cozy pair of sweats, your favorite fall beverage, and a big embrace of all things Cozy Girl Fall™.

    1. Take time to reflect
    I’m a stickler for carving out time to connect with myself and take stock before making any changes. As we move away from Hot Girl Summer, the push to gather indoors, layer up your wardrobe, and swap out smoothies for soups can feel like a total 180. While it can be exciting to jump right in, first, give yourself the opportunity to set an intention for where your fall is headed. Is this the season you work on yourself? Do you want to socialize more with friends or perhaps make some new ones? Are there major projects or goals you’d like to get after this fall? I’m all for a good theme, and the same is true for my seasons. Seasons can be a helpful reminder to stay on track and accomplish what you’ve set your sights on. So this fall, try identifying one area you’d like to focus on and stick with it. 

    2. Do a life edit
    After I’ve taken the time to reflect, I feel prepared to do a life edit. I first learned about the practice from the Almost 30 podcast. Essentially, the idea is that a key part of manifestation is clearing the space to prepare for and invite what you really want into your life. Because my summer was filled with lots of travel, a packed social life, and—honestly—overcommitting, I’m entering fall feeling more than a little disorganized and scattered. It applies to all parts of my life—both my physical environment and my headspace. 
    Setting aside the time to do a life edit in the fall has helped me infuse my routines and schedule with intention. Instead of being bogged down by old stories, people who drain me, and physical objects that no longer resonate with me, I’ve found that everything moves more smoothly now. The desires I’m pursuing enter my life more easily.
    I followed the Almost 30 program, but there are simple ways you can do it on your own. 

    Divide your life into six different parts: digital, spatial (home life), finance, wellness, mental, and relationships.
    Spend time in each of these areas. Journal about where you’re feeling stressed or blocked in each of them. Reflect on what it would look like for you to feel more confident and at peace within each area. 
    From there, take time to sort through everything that relates to each of these parts of your life. Spend a few days clearing out your phone of old text messages, apps you never use, and contacts you’d rather not “accidentally” reach out to late on a Saturday night. Marie Kondo your apartment, understand where your money is going each month, and make a realistic budget. Are there relationships that have run their course? Tackle it all.
    By splitting up your life into these sections and focusing on each, you’ll end your life edit feeling more confident about what you’re keeping and how you’re spending this season.

    3. Prioritize workouts that align with your shifting energy
    Your body needs different things in different seasons, and we’re meant to adapt—that goes for movement too. Personally, I’m less inclined to do a high-energy HIIT sesh in November than my summer self may have been. Having a Cozy Girl Fall is all about staying true to where your energy, mindset, and emotions are during this time of the year. By all means, follow your natural inclination to get cozy! We’ve ditched the idea that cuddling up and enjoying a good book should be considered lazy. Rest is a key part of wellness.
    That being said, it’s still important to connect with joyful workouts and fitness routines that connect you to your body and mind. During the colder months, prioritize gentle yoga flows, Pilates (everyone’s doing it), and slow walks.

    4. Double down on your immune-supporting routine
    Supporting your immune system is key throughout the year, but with cold and flu season upon us, balancing (not boosting) your immune system is top of mind. I’m not going to lie, though. It feels like everywhere I turn, there’s some supplement or wellness influencer trying to sell me a magical immunity elixir or pill. Needless to say, there’s a lot of info to sift through. We have our work cut for us in trying to separate fact from fiction. So what do I do when wellness feels complicated? I seek out the simplest ways to ensure that my body is getting what it needs. Talk to your doctor about keeping your immune system at its peak this season. Here are some of my go-to tips:

    Eat a whole foods diet that’s rich in vitamins and nutrients. Keep an eye out for carotenoids, B vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc, which are especially beneficial for supporting the immune system. Get your 7-9 servings of fruits and veggies, and prioritize whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
    Explore the wide (and delicious) world of fermented foods. Picks like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and yogurt add tang to your daily diet while aiding immunity. 
    Cook with more spices and herbs. Dr. Erin Stokes and Tieraona Low Dog M.D. recommended loading up on flavors like garlic, ginger, basil, cilantro, and cinnamon since they are immune-supporting powerhouses.

    5. Start a mood-boosting routine
    If you are prone to seasonal affective disorder or just feel less energized when the weather gets bleaker, you should start talking to a doctor or therapist now. In addition to seeking professional help, start a mood-boosting routine to help keep you as energized and happy as possible for the months ahead. For example: 

    Try light therapy. Get as much sunlight as possible throughout the day—especially first thing upon waking up. (Even sitting by the window can make a difference if it’s too cold to get outside.) If you’re going through cloudy stretches where there’s limited or no sunlight, order a lightbox or light therapy device.
    Lean on a schedule. As someone who has experienced depression apart from seasonal shifts, I can say that sticking to a schedule has been immensely supportive in helping me keep up with everyday activities when I don’t have the energy or desire. What’s more, a schedule can give you things to look for throughout the week that can boost your mood. So while you’ll want to pencil in your working hours, be sure you’re also setting aside time to see your friends, watch a movie, or do another cozy activity that you love.
    Talk to your doctor about your vitamin D intake. Because we absorb vitamin D primarily through sunlight, the season’s darkness can lead to low vitamin D levels. This can, in turn, perpetuate symptoms of SAD. Check your vitamin D levels and talk to your doctor about whether supplementation is right for you.

    Remember: Any wellness practice isn’t one-size-fits-all. Experiment with the tools that resonate with you to find what works best.

    6. Commit to a weekly self-care date
    We’re calling it now: A weekly self-care ritual is the new morning routine. While I find keeping #thatgirl Reels on repeat an inspiring social media habit, the sped-up videos of my favorite influencers running through their morning routines can be a bit intimidating–especially in the fall when we want to sleep in. Enter: a once-a-week meeting with yourself to weave in some wellness and self-care.
    While you can do this any day you’d like, I’ve found that my natural fall rhythm sets aside Sunday as my slower, self-care-focused day. (It helps that my partner is tied up with football for 12 hours.) I’ve also found this incredibly helpful in terms of getting over my Sunday scaries. Knowing that I have several hours to spend as I want helps me feel set up to dive into the week ahead. Additionally, I feel refreshed knowing I took time to pour into myself without letting the rush of obligations get in the way.
    Some ways you can spend your self-care Sunday during #CozyGirlFall:

    Take your favorite book to a new coffee shop and cozy up for a few hours.
    Take a bath with a stack of your favorite magazines and most luxurious products.
    Hot girl walks are seasonless. Pop in your favorite podcast, bundle up, and get moving.
    Meal-prep cozy and comforting fall meals. I love making soups, cooking grains, and chopping up squash for bowls. (Oh, and don’t forget the dessert.)
    Plow through a few episodes of a new show, and try one of these activities to keep you off your phone while you’re watching.
    Invest some time in a new hobby–punch needle embroidery, anyone?

    Of course, it’s also important to carve out time for your daily wellness rituals. But it can be overwhelming to feel like you have to fit it all in during the 30 minutes you have before you log onto work. Remember: Fall is all about embracing our cozy, quiet, and slower lives. You don’t have to do everything to do enough.

    How To Update Your Wellness Routine for Fall More

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    I Spent Hours Doing Cardio and Saw No Results—Here’s What Actually Changed My Body

    As a former indoor cycling instructor and accomplished marathon runner, my days were once filled with hours and hours of heart-pounding, relentless cardio workouts that left me sweaty and breathless. The endorphins were real, and the adrenaline was incredible. Yet, no matter how much time I spent on the bike, the treadmill, or running all over planet Earth, my body simply never changed. While I wasn’t necessarily looking to lose a ton of weight or make any dramatic alterations to my figure, I thought the hard work would have paid off. But no matter how many calories I burned, I never looked any different. It took me many years, a few career changes, and some self-discovery, but to all my cardio queens out there: I finally figured it out. You know those women who spend way less time at the gym than you but appear more confident in their bodies and straight up look like they work out? I figured out their secrets, and I’m going to share them with you. Here are five changes I made that actually made a huge difference in my body composition and confidence.

    1. I prioritized strength training
    Many of us grew up believing that cardio equals weight loss. However, while cardio has many benefits, overdoing cardio can put stress on your body and have the opposite effects. The true fitness secret to getting toned is to start building muscle. Afraid of getting bulky? Don’t be. Women don’t have enough testosterone to support that kind of muscle growth, so women with extra-muscular physiques have to eat and train in a very intense, specific way. In other words, unless you’re quitting your job to train for multiple hours a day and eat a very calculated caloric surplus, bulking won’t be an issue for you. (But also, let’s stop worrying about taking up more space, shall we?)
    If you’re not sure where to begin, start with the basic lifts: squat, deadlifts, bench, overhead press, and row. Start with a weight that feels challenging but manageable, and increase by 10% as the weight begins to feel easier. When in doubt, always check out local trainers, coaches, classes, or online programs. Having correct form is the most important aspect of targeting the right muscles and preventing injury. 

    2. I cared more about the food I ate 
    While fad diets and nutritional misinformation are still running rampant on social media, the tried-and-true methodology of a balanced diet (protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats) is always a safe bet. Protein helps repair muscle tissue and keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. Carbohydrates give the body fuel to perform physical activity and basic functions of life—like breathing or thinking. Fat helps the body absorb vitamins and provides it with fatty acids that provide energy and support cell function. For your body to function at its best, all three of these macronutrients must be present in your diet in the right balance.
    The golden rule that changed everything for me: If it isn’t going to help my body perform a function, improve my training, or aid in recovery, it’s not a part of my everyday diet. While there are always exceptions, 80% of the time, I eat to fuel, and I’ve never felt (or looked) better.

    3. I put more importance on sleep and recovery
    We all have those times when work causes major stress, social obligations wreck our sleep, and the physical ramifications of being spread too thin take their toll. Stress, lack of sleep, and not enough focus on physical recovery (such as stretching, foam rolling, Epsom salt baths, and other self-care practices) truly impact how our bodies perform and, ultimately, how we feel in them. When we don’t sleep or recover fully, we cannot perform at our best in the gym. Plus, we’re more likely to mindlessly binge on junk food, alcohol, or snacking when we’re stressed or tired.
    If you want to improve the way your body looks, you’ve got to improve how your body feels. Getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night and giving your body what it needs to recover after a long day or a grueling workout must be a top priority. Also, rest days are just as important for your health as workout days.

    4. I spent time with the right people
    In my past, my friendships revolved around drinking wine, gossiping, charcuterie boards, and late-night parties. Nowadays, I surround myself with people who enjoy eating right, being positive, supporting one another, and taking care of themselves, so they feel their best. The old adage is true: You really are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, so make sure that your circle of friends is pushing you in the right direction.
    I saw massive changes in my body when I started spending time with people whose habits I wanted to emulate. Now, instead of drinking and partying, I meet my friends at the gym for a fun, butt-kicking workout, followed by a delicious and healthy lunch. While we aren’t immune to the occasional movie night with chips and popcorn, we definitely enjoy making feel-good decisions most of the time. If your group of friends isn’t helping you to become the best version of yourself, it might be time to rethink your friendships.

    5. I learned that consistency is key
    You’re not always going to be motivated. You’re not always going to feel your best. You won’t always be excited, and you’ll probably have plenty of days where you simply don’t feel like it. However, real change takes real time and staying consistent—with your fitness, nutrition, and positive habits—is the only way you’ll see real results. Nothing happens overnight. So, if you really want to see a change in your body, you’ve got to stick with it. Sure, bad days are inevitable. No one can be perfect all the time. But if you can commit to being consistent at least 80% of the time, you’re bound to see changes. 

    I’m a Fitness Coach and These 5 Easy Habits Keep Me in Shape More

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    How To Use Genetic Testing To Improve Your Health

    Just a quick Google and you’ll see tech savvy companies and slick start-ups in South Africa are adding genetic testing to their arsenal at a rapid rate. They promise to exchange a swab of your saliva for bespoke health advice. But can it really improve your life?
    We’ve got the deets on everything you need to know about genetic testing, from what sorts of health indicators your personal DNA test will reveal to how to make sure you’re getting the greatest benefit for your buck – and our verdict.
    Here are a few ways you can benefit from genetic testing:
    1/ It Can Help You Evaluate Your Lifestyle Habits
    Dr. Kelly Stewart, a postdoctoral researcher at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who has published research on consumer reactions to DTC genetic testing knows a thing or two about genetic testing.
    “An important thing we can get from genetic tests, in my opinion, is being able to prioritise behaviour change,” she says of the cases where lifestyle changes can make a difference in the likelihood of our developing a disease. She points out that most of us have a long list of goals or aspirations when it comes to our health – an accumulation of abandoned New Year’s resolutions and other ambitious plans to overhaul our exercise or diet habits and get ourselves into better shape.
    But for most of us, a big part of the challenge involves deciding which lifestyle changes are most important – and then sticking with them. “Every individual has behaviours that they could change to reduce their disease risk, but changing them all at once is almost certainly a recipe for relapse,” she says.
    2/ It Can Help You Make Little Changes for Lasting Results
    A better idea: tackling these sorts of lifestyle changes one at a time and maintaining your new behaviour long enough for it to become an entrenched, habitual part of your life.
    Research on habit formation from University College London has shown that making small, specific lifestyle changes is, predictably, a lot easier than trying to implement big ones. By identifying your greatest potential health risks, genetic testing can focus your goals – helping you decide which aspects of your life to change first, Stewart says.
    3/ It Gives You A Way To Personalise Your Health Care
    In some cases, genetic testing could potentially reveal some healthy behaviours that you may want to avoid. Research has linked some genetic variants with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation, and also for an increased risk for sudden cardiac death. Stewart says that people who carry this genetic variant may want to avoid “extreme” endurance exercises such as marathon running.
    Dr. Robert Green, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston and director of the Genomes2People Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Broad Institute, agrees that helping you shape your health goals is a big benefit of genetic testing. “If you’re serious about diet or exercise, these products may give you information that can help educate you or guide your choices,” he says.
    “People do ask me if they should try these tests, and I mostly tell them, ‘Do your homework’,” says says Dr. Peter Kraft, a cancer researcher and professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. “Make sure you know what you’re going to be getting and you understand it.”
    What To Keep In Mind When You Do Genetic Testing:
    1/ Drastic Changes Don’t Add Up
    Some gene researchers say it’s not such a hot idea to use genetic testing as a springboard to make big diet or lifestyle changes – say, cutting out all dairy and whole grains because you tested positive for a gene variant linked with lactose intolerance or celiac disease. “You have to understand that all these test results are coming with a level of uncertainty,” Kraft says. “The sort of science stamp-of-approval these genetic tests convey causes people to put more weight on the data than [they] should have.”
    2/ Interpretations Can Vary
    There’s a risk that some individuals will put too much stock in their results if they go into the testing looking for proof of an ailment or limitation. For example, maybe you’ve noticed some joint pain or stomach discomfort, and your genetic test turns up some variants associated with arthritis or a gut disorder. It would be easy to connect the dots, and to make lifestyle changes as though a doctor had diagnosed you with one of those conditions. But that’s not the right way to use these tests. “These tests are not designed to make diagnoses,” says Allison Cirino, a researcher and licensed genetic counselor at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Cardiovascular Genetics Centre. It’s important to keep that in mind until a doctor confirms any suspicions you may have.
    What We Thought Of Genetic Testing:
    WH Managing Editor, Kelleigh Korevaar, did Optiphi’s Helix DNA test and got schooled on her health. Here’s what she had to say:
    ‘The process was really easy and super user-friendly. I swabbed my mouth, using the swab provided and filled in my details and then a courier came to collect my sample. Pretty soon, I received my results and a meeting request with a geneticist to go over my test results.
    I scanned my results but waited for my appointment to find out all the info I could. My assigned geneticist, Khilona, took me through everything and reassured me when I had worries over some health results. Of course, no one wants to hear their bone health or inflammation is an area that flagged in their results. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional take you through, because when you’re looking through everything it can be overwhelming.
    Overall, the information I got from the tests was eye opening and helpful. You can’t focus your attention on being 100% perfect at everything, but with more information about your DNA, you can work smart, not hard.
    For example, insulin sensitivity, bone health and inflammation came up as areas of potential “concern” so I’m going to focus on taking supplements and making lifestyle changes to account for that. Whereas, cardiovascular disease risk and mood disorders didn’t come up, so I know I’m not going to focus on those areas so much.
    I loved the information I got about diet (I was advised to commit to a low-fat/Mediterranean diet), exercise and skin. And interestingly, my DNA confirmed a lot of what I already believed, so I’ve used it as confirmation of habits or a nudge in the right direction.
    My verdict: While I wouldn’t use a DNA test to try to overhaul my life, it gave me great insight into areas I might want to focus my attention and how I could potentially achieve the greatest results with less effort. Over the last few months, I’ve applied a lot of what I learnt through small changes that have had big results.’
    Want to find out more? Head to Optiphi to see the DNA tests you can get. More

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    I’m a Registered Dietician—Here Are 10 Recipes I’m Making This Fall

    When the crisp weather arrives, there’s nothing I love more than curling up on the couch with a cozy, nourishing meal. As a dietitian, fall is my favorite season to cook and bake. There are delicious flavors like pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and maple. There’s also plenty of in-season produce such as squash, apples, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes. All of these are great sources of micronutrients that will nourish your body all season long (think: vitamins A and C for healthy skin, immune function, and antioxidants). If you’re looking to create your own flavorful fall meals, look no further. Whether you’re team pumpkin spice or prefer an apple a day, read on for 10 recipes I’m making this fall!

    Source: Cookie + Kate

    Source: Ambitious Kitchen
     

    Source: Cookie + Kate

    Source: Rachl Mansfield

    Source: Well Plated

    Source: Emilie Eats

    Source: Half Baked Harvest

    Source: Lively Table

    Source: Ambitious Kitchen

    Source: Sally’s Baking Recipes

    How To Update Your Wellness Routine for Fall More

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    We Hear A Lot About Antioxidants – But What Are They, Really?

    Very simply put, antioxidants are substances or nutrients found in our food and drinks, which can prevent or slow oxidative damage to our bodies. Say what, now? First, let’s look at the role of oxygen on our bodies.
    What is Oxidative Damage?
    When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce by-products called free radicals, which are able to cause damage to cells and tissues in our bodies. Antioxidants act like “free radical scavengers” and so are able to prevent and repair the damage done by these free radicals.
    Research has shown that oxidative damage contributes to the development of many common health problems, like heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, and cancer. Studies have shown that loading up on vegetables and fruit, the main sources of antioxidants, lower our risk of developing disease.
    Antioxidants may also improve immune defences and therefore may lower the risk of cancer, infection and even dementia. Research even shows it could play a role in minimising ‘chemo-brain’ (brain fog after receiving chemotherapy).
    READ MORE: “I Tried A Vitamin IV Drip For A Health Boost — Here’s What Happened”
    What Are the Commonly Known Antioxidants?
    Obviously, we should be aiming to load up our plates with antioxidant-rich foods to combat exposure of oxidative stress. Luckily, there’s no shortage of delicious and nutritious sources.
    Vitamin A and Carotenoids in carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spanspek, peaches and apricots (bright-coloured fruits and vegetables).
    Vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons etc., green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes.
    READ MORE: 4 Things To Look Out For, If You Really Want To Live Sustainably
    Vitamin E In nuts and seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils and liver oil.
    Selenium in fish and shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic. (Paella, anyone?)
    Here’s How To Make The Viral TikTok Green Goddess Salad

    Make getting enough vegetables and fruit part of your healthy daily eating plan, to get preventative power of the antioxidants in these foods – it’s vital for your health. Combining this with active living, a healthy body weight and regular health screening will drop your disease risk even further. More