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    20 Women Share Their Experience on an IUD

    When it comes to choosing your birth control, it’s always a little complicated. There are so many different routes to consider, all of which have different pros and cons. While we should always listen to what our doctor suggests for what they think is best for us, it’s always nice to hear other people’s experiences with birth control — whether they’ve experienced some of the side effects we fear ourselves, or help us by totally recommending them.
    When it comes to IUDs, the waters are a little murkier than other forms of birth control. Many fear the insertion too much to consider getting one, while others made the switch and claim they’d never go back. Read on to hear from 20 women about their experience on an IUD.

    On the pros and cons:

    “Cons: While not having a period, I have been spotting for three months sporadically. It’s also given me weird abdominal cramps that are unpredictable, forcing me to take naproxen more frequently throughout the month (instead of just once a month for pain management). I gained weight (10 pounds thus far), and hormonally I feel kind of crazy, but that could just be in my head. I wouldn’t subject my body to it and would find some other way of contraceptive.
    Pros: I have not had a ‘real’ period in three months, which means decreased pain related to endometriosis. I also don’t have to remember to take a pill every day, and hopefully, won’t need to have endo surgery for a while.”

    “I have to start out by saying I love having an IUD, and highly recommend it! I made the decision to wait to have sex until I was married, and was not on birth control before my IUD, so it was a bit intimidating making the decision, but I haven’t looked back since.
    Pros: My close friends had had positive experiences with the IUD, and my sister’s bad experience with the pill (some amounts of depression) made me know I didn’t want to do any type of pill. My IUD lasted three years, was low maintenance (place it and forget it), and I get little to no period on it.
    Cons: The pain of the procedure. The day it gets placed is not for the faint of heart; however, I think, because I had known it was so painful from friends, that I built up the pain so much that the actual placement didn’t reach the pain I thought it would. Also, random periods. For the first six months, I feel like you never know when bleeding will occur. Cramps came out of nowhere and during cardio workouts for me for the first 6-8 months.”

    “I had an IUD called Skyla, which is effective for three years. I personally had a fantastic experience with it. I’ve always had regular periods, but with pretty brutal cramps and bloating. Other types of birth control just didn’t work for me — I used to love Nuvaring, but it got really expensive and I suck at remembering to take birth control pills. The only con was that the insertion hurt like cramps I’ve never experienced.”

    Source: Stocksy

    On (finally) not needing to remember to take a pill at the same time every day:

    “The upside to the IUD is never worrying about taking birth control according to time. I can go about my day mindlessly (which is good because I’m very busy). It also makes sex more fluid (there’s no need to use condoms, especially if I have a regular partner). I also no longer have cramps, and used to have excruciatingly painful cramps. The downside is inconsistent periods and the possibility of it poking my partner’s penis.”

    “I’ve had my IUD for just over two and a half years now, and I cannot stop sharing how much I love it. I used birth control pills for over 10 years and never had a problem taking them every day. But I changed jobs and my new insurance hadn’t started yet, so I didn’t want to buy new pills. I wasn’t having sex at that particular moment in time and figured I’d just start them again when my insurance picked back up. Man, was I glad when I didn’t have to take a pill every day! I never thought of it as a problem, but it was nice to not have to take it every day. That’s when I looked into long-acting methods. My BFF had an IUD and loved it, so I explored with my doctor. The insertion process was uncomfortable, but nothing I couldn’t handle (I even went to work afterwards!). I haven’t had any negative side effects and truly love having it.”

    “The first IUD I had (Mirena) migrated and had to be removed; the second (Kylena) has stayed put thus far, and I had no pain at insertion. I’m experiencing headaches and have had multiple ovarian cysts since getting it put in, and an increase in cramping and spotting between periods. I’ve had it in for a year now and am not a huge fan, but it beats remembering birth control every day.”

    On post-pregnancy contraception:

    “Shortly after I had my daughter, I had an IUD placed because I knew I didn’t want to get pregnant again any time soon, and never liked the pill or Nuvaring I’d used in the past. My OB/GYN placed a low-dose hormone IUD. The insertion was a little uncomfortable, but not bad (I’ve heard it’s much worse pre-pregnancy). I had it for almost four years until about three months ago. During that time I had no periods! Mild spotting a couple times a year, but no period. That was amazing for me.
    During the time I had it, I had it checked at annual exams (they feel for the strings), and had no issues or side effects. It was also completely covered by my insurance. I had it removed about three months ago because we decided to try for another baby, and shortly after, I had a crazy heavy period and felt a huge hormone swing — like a teenager for a day. I plan on getting another IUD after baby #2 (Side note: the removal was quick and painless).”

    Source: Stocksy

    On that dreaded insertion:

    “I have had mine for four years this September and I honestly love it. I remember it being a sharp pinch when being placed, but the real pain came later. I never had a particularly difficult period, so the cramps I had after the placement were rough! Like, doubled over on the drive home. After that night, though, I’d never experienced issues. My boyfriend has said that he’s felt it before and that a few times in certain positions it’s felt like he’s been poked, which is not comfortable. But all in all, I will get another put in next year when this one reaches the end of its lifecycle.”

    “I switched from the Ortho Evra patch to a hormonal IUD in January 2017. Since I’ve never been pregnant and had a small uterine opening, my gyno used an anesthetic and dialated my uterus to properly place the device. It took longer than expected, and I passed out immediately after the insertion. The cramps and bleeding afterward were horrible for months — I almost had it removed. Now, I rarely have a period, and it’s only minor spotting. I completely lost my sex drive.”

    “I got my IUD two years ago. I have the Skyla, which is smaller and only lasts three years. When I first got it, it hurt so bad. I had taken an ibuprofen, which helped later on, but I had horrible cramps and random heavy bleeding and spotting for 2-3 months after. They finally subsided and I haven’t had troubles since. I was told it would only hurt for a few weeks, and it lasted months. I loved my decision to get it, and will get a new one next year, but I wish they told me that pain might last longer than expected.”

    “I got my IUD placed in June 2017. The insertion was what I imagine childbirth without an epidural feels like (kind of ironic, no?). I handle pain extremely well, but it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. The doctor admitted it was unusually complicated to insert mine, but we got it, and I returned to work still trembling from the pain. The next 12 months were awful. While PMSing, I experienced painful cramping, raging hormonal acne, fatigue, and even mood swings. I got my period every month, but I never knew what to expect — sometimes it was super heavy, just spotting, or nothing at all!”

    On an IUD over time:

    “Although it hurt to install, I’d recommend it to everyone. Years one and two were awesome — no pain, no period. Year three came around and now my menstrual cramps are unbearable and my period came back. I thought it was because it was wearing off, but my gyno assured me that that wasn’t the case. It’s time to change it out and I’m definitely getting another one. I’m hoping to go back to the pleasant days of years one and two.”

    Source: Stocksy

    On the IUD vs. The Pill:

    “For years, I was taking traditional birth control. I tried around seven different brands of low-hormone pills. Every night, I ended up being so nauseous that I just couldn’t take it anymore. That’s when I started researching IUDs. I have had my IUD for five years and I would never go back to regular birth control. My first IUD lasted for three years, and now I’ve had my second in for two. The implantation was a little painful, but my doctor suggested for me to take two ibuprofen a half hour before I got it, and that helped with the pain. It was more of an uncomfortable feeling, and my body getting used to having something foreign inside it. There was a little bleeding after as well.
    For the first six months, I didn’t have a menstrual cycle, and since then, it’s been kind of on-and-off. So, it definitely hasn’t been consistent for me. When I do have it, it’s much lighter than it was before, and I only have it for a couple of days. I did have some pain in the beginning for a couple of months, but my body is so used to it now that I forget that I have it.”

    “I switched from the pill to Mirena because of the pure convenience of never having to worry about taking my pill. Getting it put in was very painful, much worse than I expected (I should’ve taken medicine before I went like they advised). I love not having to worry about the pill, especially because I’m sexually active with my significant other. But I do experience bleeding after sex and frequent spotting, even a year and a half after getting it put in. That’s the major con.”

    “I love my IUD! I’ve used the pill and Nuvaring in the past, and I don’t know why I waited so long to get the IUD. The only negative was that I had spotting for the first 3-4 months after having it inserted. But after that, my periods got lighter and I had less cramping leading up to my period. I also love it as a back-up form of birth control with condoms. I got Mirena, as suggested by my gynecologist.”

    “I love my IUD. I previously was on the pill for years and years; however, I began to have more and more migranes and started to have auras with them, and my nurse practitioner said it wasn’t safe for me to remain on an estrogen-type method because of this. I went with the Mirena IUD and couldn’t be happier with it. I did notice a little bit more acne initially, but it settled out quickly. I love not taking a pill every day, and my migraines almost disappeared after switching. I will say, it was a complete bitch to have put in, but considering I have a very effective birth control method for five years, it was worth it.”

    Source: Stocksy

    On periods:

    “I decided on the copper IUD, because I was told by my doctors to avoid hormonal birth control methods due to my 2x history with breast cancer, and ovarian cancer running in my family. It’s been three years since, and aside from some random spotting and cramping periodically, in the first six months it’s been amazing. It’s such a relief to focus on my life, career, etc., and not have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy. And while this doesn’t seem to be scientifically proven, my periods got more regular, shorter, and my cramps almost disappeared since being on it (my period was really difficult before this). I would recommend a copper IUD to anyone, especially those unhappy with the side effects of hormonal medications, and girls who dislike or aren’t good at taking the pill every day.”

    On your body rejecting an IUD:

    “When I had my IUD put in, I had the copper one without hormones, and I was in severe pain for four days. I’m talking crying on the couch, not being able to move, feeling like my uterus was being ripped apart. You have to wait a few weeks and then have it checked, and to no surprise, my body had rejected it (it had moved), and they pulled it out. My insurance wouldn’t cover another until a year later, so I haven’t had one since.”

    On nasty side effects:

    “I had Mirena for over a year. I had breakthrough bleeding the entire time, no exaggeration. Within weeks of having it put in, I developed horrible cystic acne that never went away until after it was removed. And even a year later after having it removed, my skin hasn’t been able to balance out without the help of the birth control and Spironolactone. I liked the freedom of not having to think about the pill, but that freedom wasn’t worth the havoc that the IUD brought to my skin.”

    On recommending it:

    “I was on depo for 5+ years, but it started to worry me that I never got a period, and I wanted to be more natural. Now I have a copper IUD and I love it! My periods consistently last four days, with no heavy bleeding and less cramping than I used to have. And it’s virtually 100% effective. I would recommend this as your first choice, even to teens. It’s a much more invasive procedure to get it implanted than to start the pill or depo, but there’s no hormones! That is so huge, I wish I had started this way.” More

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    13 Health Experts Share Their Favorite Salad Recipe

    You might hear “salad recipes” and think of dull greens and boring veggies. But this roundup is not about lackluster healthy food. No, this article is for those who don’t particularly like salads, who don’t believe anything healthy can also be delicious, and who are struggling to keep up with a healthy diet. You see, the true experts know that the key to staying healthy is not to force yourself to eat the same dull foods like chicken and broccoli or—you guessed it—a plain salad.
    The actual key to sticking to a healthy lifestyle is to turn good-for-you foods into delicious meals that you’ll crave all the time (read: “Salad Pizza”). I quizzed some of my favorite nutritionists, doctors, and all-around wellness gurus for the salads that not only pack a nutritional punch but are also so good that they can’t get enough. Read on for some much-needed salad inspo. Your meals are about to get so much more green.

    1. McKel Kooienga, MS, RD, LDN, Author and Founder of Nutrition Stripped

    “My favorite go-to salad is my Eggs, Beans, and Greens Salad Bowl. Salads can easily be unsatisfying or leave you hungry. This salad uses my Foundational Five system for creating a balanced meal, ensuring you’re consuming the nutrients you need to support digestion, steady energy, sound sleep, clear focus, and long-term health. What I really love about this salad (aside from how easy it is to make) is the homemade dressing, which brings it all together in a really flavorful way. Get the full recipe here.” 

    2. Berrion Berry, Period Educator, Practitioner, and Founder of The Flo Academy

    “I’m obsessed with Caesar salads, but they’re not always the most nutrient dense, so I’ve jazzed it up to be a lot more Flo-friendly and liver-loving. Instead of a traditional romaine for the base, I like to use kale (hot tip: massage the kale to make it easier for digestion). Swap the croutons for roasted chickpeas, add nutritional yeast for cheese, and top with your dressing. I like a dairy-free caesar dressing made with Dijon mustard, lemon, water, and tahini. Mix it all together and it’s the best of both worlds: classic but packed with nutrients.
    You can also do a lot with a Caesar salad to make it your own. For example, I have recently been adding Loona Seeds (which are perfect for seed cycling) and it’s taken my salads to the next level. Click here for the full recipe.”

    3. Dr. Mona Vand, Pharmacist and Digital Creator

    “Whether you’re fully plant-based or not, getting in your raw greens just does the body (and skin) good. I have a sour palate because I grew up eating Persian food, which includes a lot of lemon, lime, and sour flavor. So this salad has a salty and sour taste–it’s so yummy! Find the full recipe here and my favorite salad dressing here.”

    4. Dr. Alejandro Junger MD, Cardiologist and Best-Selling Author

    “The Superfood Rainbow Salad is perfect for summer! It uses a rainbow of colors and is so fresh. Try this salad on its own, or pair with your favorite protein. For the full recipe, click here.”

    5. DJ Blatner, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and NOW Wellness Expert

    “My favorite salad is a salad pizza with lemon-flax vinaigrette dressing. This super summery salad pizza is made with thin raw zucchini, arugula, tomato, fresh basil, and ricotta cheese and topped with lemon-flax dressing for a dose of healthy vegetarian omega-3 fats. Whatever salad doesn’t fit on the pizza, I eat on-the-side. For the full recipe, click here.”

    “This refreshing Cucumber and Hijiki Salad is a delicious alternative to the traditional seaweed salad. It contains hijiki, which is black seaweed that is used in many Japanese soups and salads. Hijiki is revered in Japan as a food that enhances beauty and adds strength and shine to your hair. It’s the most mineral-dense of all seaweeds, and the highest in iron and calcium. I love this salad because it’s easy to make, highly nutritious, and has the most yummy crunch. You can make it with dried hijiki, one large cucumber, half a red bell pepper, and green onions. Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, finely minced ginger, olive oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and salt and pepper for the dressing, and enjoy!”

    7. Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN, Health Coach and Founder of BZ Nutrition

    Source: The Infatuation
    “My favorite salad is the Insalata Verde from Via Carota in the West Village, NYC. It’s such a simple green salad, and yet, it is so flavorful and filling. I always aim to have 2-3 cups of green veggies (raw or cooked), so this salad does the trick, and it is packed with filling fiber to keep me satiated. The variety of greens contain extra hydration (especially for hot summer days) and are a great source of folate for any mommas-to-be. Thanks to this NY Times recipe, I can recreate the salad at home.”

    “This Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad combines a few of my favorite things: buffalo sauce, fresh veggies, and cilantro ranch. I love this salad because not only does it feature some of my favorite flavors, but the air fryer chicken nuggets add the protein content that takes this salad to the next level. Salads that keep you full for a few minutes are a thing of the past: with the protein from the chicken nuggets, the healthy fats from the avocado, and the fiber from all of these delicious vegetables, this salad will have you feeling fueled up and energized for hours.
    To make, toss air fryer chicken nuggets with buffalo sauce, and then combine chopped romaine, cabbage, carrots, diced celery, and avocado. For a dressing, pulse together Bolthouse Farms Ranch Dressing and cilantro into a food processor until well-combined.”

    9. Maya Feller MS, RD, CDN, and Cookbook Author

    “I love this salad because the pairing of sweet, sour, and tangy flavors of in-season ripe tomatoes with peach and strawberry is just perfection. It’s also quick and easy to prepare, and bursting with nutrients. Find the full recipe in my book, The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for a Healthy Life.”

    10. Dr. Steven Gundry MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Best-Selling Author

    “A Green Mango Lectin-Free Salad is so fresh and tangy, and has a delicious vegan salad dressing. Once you make this salad, you’ll never go back to boring old lettuce and ranch dressing again. For the full recipe, click here.”

    11. Megan Roosevelt, RDN and Founder of HealthyGroceryGirl

    “Caesar salad is one of my favorite salads, thanks to the the crunchy romaine and flavorful dressing. My go-to recipe has a delicious brazil nut dairy-free parmesan and a creamy egg-free Caesar dressing. Click here to check out the recipe!”

    12. Dr. Poonam Desai

    “I love what I call a ‘balanced’ salad, which includes veggies, protein, carbs, herbs, and even fruits. I do about 8-12 veggies (kale, spinach, onions, sugar snap peas, radishes, fennel, celery, carrots, beets, broccoli, tomatoes, avocados, etc.), a protein (chickpeas, lentils, bulgar wheat, tofu, etc.), carbs (like sweet potatoes or quinoa), herbs (dill, parsley, mint, basil, etc.), seeds and nuts (pumpkin, sunflower, walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds), and fruit (strawberries, dried cranberries, oranges). Many store-bought dressings have added sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives, so I like to make my own. My go-to dressing is simple: apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a dash of celtic sea salt, and a little black pepper.”

    “This Warm Salmon Citrus Salad is one of my absolute favorites because hits all three of my salad criteria: balanced nutrition, full of hearty textures, and packed with flavor. It’s a great balance of proteins, fiber, and leafy greens. You get high-quality protein from both the salmon and edamame to keep you full and satisfied for hours, and, once you cook the salmon, the salad comes together really quickly. It’s also versatile enough for those who are vegan, too: swap in tofu using the same marinade or take it out completely since the edamame has enough plant-based protein. For the full recipe, click here.” More

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    I’m Dairy Free—Here Are the Delicious Alternatives I Swear By

    Several years ago, it would’ve been a cold day in hell before I gave up my beloved bagels and cream cheese, Alfredo sauce, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I had suspected dairy to be the cause of my digestive woes for some time, but it wasn’t until after becoming immediately sick from a single bite of milk and cereal that I decided to get tested for an allergy. Sadly, my suspicions were right—my body had other plans for me—and I could no longer ignore what had been staring me in the face for months: I’m allergic to dairy. Luckily, we live in a world where dairy alternatives are aplenty.
    Immediately after receiving the official news, I dove headfirst into research. I was shocked to learn that not only was there a world of options at my fingertips, several of the dairy alternatives didn’t just taste the same as my tried-and-true—some tasted even better.
    If you have a dairy allergy, are lactose intolerant, or simply want to swap your dairy staples for some ever-so-slightly healthier options, here are some products I love and wholeheartedly recommend. And if you haven’t seen these exact products at your grocery store of choice, I encourage you to take a closer look on your next trip. You may just find they’ve had their own dairy substitutes all along.

    1. Simple Truth Organic Plant Based Sour Cream

    Sour cream was the first thing on my list to find a suitable substitute for. Chipotle-style burrito bowls are a staple recipe of mine, and I would’ve been absolutely devastated if I had to give them up. To my surprise, this Simple Truth Organic Plant-Based Sour Cream was hiding right next to the Daisy and Knudsen brands at my nearest Ralphs; I’d just never needed to look for it. While it doesn’t have quite the same consistency as the kind you’re probably used to, the difference in taste is pretty much indiscernible. 

    2. The Honest Stand Nacho Plant Based Dip

    I had pretty much given up all hope of having a good plate of nachos ever again (vegan cheese just doesn’t melt the same), but this spicy nacho cheese dip is a real game changer. Maybe I just can’t remember exactly what real nacho cheese tastes like, but to me, this truly tastes the same.
    3. Primal Kitchen Avocado Alfredo Sauce

    I have been loyal to Alfredo sauce since I was a kid making Pasta Roni for myself several nights a week (I thought it was cool that I cooked). Even after I grew out of Pasta Roni, I made pasta with Alfredo sauce all the time. Needless to say, losing Alfredo was a shock to my system. 
    I’ve tried switching to marinara (but I don’t love it), homemade varieties (the taste is never right), and foregoing sauce altogether in favor of olive oil (fine, but boring). When I saw the Primal Kitchen Alfredo Sauce on the shelf at Whole Foods, I knew I had to try it, even though it costs $8 a jar. It’s not a perfect substitute (it’s lighter, less creamy), but it is very good. While I hate the price point, I find myself buying two or three of these every time I go to the store. I use it with pasta or Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (a favorite of mine) whenever I want a tasty, easy, and quick meal.
    4. Kite Hill Cream Cheese

    I know I’ve described every dairy loss as a heartbreak like none I’ve ever felt before, but bagels were another regular dairy-centric part of my routine. I was extremely determined to prevent them from completely disappearing from my life, so I tried every cream cheese alternative I could get my hands on. The Kite Hill options are really the best; they certainly do the trick whenever I’m in the mood for bagels (which is often).

    5. Daiya Provolone Style Slices

    I’m seriously underwhelmed by the vegan cheese offerings of the world. They’re fine, they work, but they’ll never be a like-for-like substitute. I use Daiya shreds as a topping for my burrito bowls (though I’ll get whatever vegan shreds are available at the store I happen to be shopping at), but I found the Daiya slices to be a great option for dairy-free grilled cheese sandwiches. When cooked in a pan on the stove, the cheese actually melts really well. 

    6. Country Crock Olive Oil Butter

    Every time I have to remind my grandma of my allergy, she says, without fail, “so, you can’t have butter?” To her, it’s the end of the world. I’ve explained countless times that right next to her favorite tub of butter at the grocery store is usually a dairy-free alternative. I use the Country Crock avocado or olive oil butter and they’re perfect for all of my cooking needs. But honestly, a spread on some toast? I’d pass on this and make an avocado spread instead.

    7. Silk Almond Dairy-Free Yogurt

    At this point, I don’t know why I’m surprised to find dairy-free products hiding amongst your everyday grocery items. But when I found the Silk Almond Yogurt, I was so excited to try it, I threw caution to the wind and immediately bought five. I used to have yogurt, granola, and fruit in my breakfast rotation, and this option from Silk was the perfect way to bring it back. More

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    I Tried All of the Most Popular Lulu Align Dupes—Here are the Best Ones

    I am always (seriously, ALWAYS) keeping an eye out for a great dupe. Although I love fashion, shopping, and clothes more than many other things in this world, I do not have an unlimited budget. Therefore, even though I’d love to, I simply cannot spend $100 on every pair of leggings I own. Luckily, we live in a world where Lululemon dupes are aplenty. 
    The famous Lululemon Align Pant is a favorite of our editors, our readers, our friends, and seemingly every single person on the internet. I love them just as much as the next gal—and I of course believe in treating yourself every now and then, as well as in investing in quality pieces that will last a long time. However, sometimes a girl just needs a pair that won’t break the bank.
    I searched the internet, saved every Lulu dupe TikTok I saw, and read reviews until my eyes hurt to find the absolute best and most popular Align dupes out there. Then I ordered them all and tried them out, so that I could share my new found expertise with all of you. And let me tell you, I definitely found my new favorite (keep reading to find out which one 😉). 
    In an effort to keep things consistent I ordered everything in a 7/8 length or 25″ inseam—but I am 5’3″, so that’s why they all look pretty much full-length on me. I wear a size 10 in Lululemon leggings, and I ordered every other pair in a size large (apart from the Aerie ones, which are a medium). 
    Keep reading to find out which of these Lulu Align dupes are worth the purchase, and which are not:

    These leggings are so popular for a reason: they truly are buttery soft, they fit well and do not slide down, and the waistband is supportive enough that they are always flattering. A few of our editors even swear that no other leggings come close to being as good. I definitely love how they feel, but I’ll be honest—I think they’re a tiiiny bit overhyped. For the price point, I just think that there are other leggings out there that are just as great. However, I do appreciate the selection of colors, patterns, and lengths, as well as the brand’s warranty policy.

    You guys, I am telling you, these are THE. ONES. They feel exactly like Aligns, down to the point where I think they could be made from the exact same material. The texture is identical: truly buttery soft, with the same level of thickness. They also have the same seams (style and placement), and a circular logo on the back of the waistband. So if someone saw you on the street, they would have no idea these weren’t the real thing. The ONLY tiny difference is that the hidden pocket in the front of the waistband is on the opposite side (which doesn’t matter, I am just letting you know). The one downfall is that there aren’t a ton of colors, but catch me ordering the rest and wearing them all summer long.

    These are also pretty close to the real thing, but the material is a tiny (emphasis on tiny) bit different. They are slightly more slick feeling and a little bit less buttery. However, they still feel thick enough to be supportive and not slide down. They also have the second seam detail on the waistband, which I actually think is kind of cute! This pair has the most color options by far, so if you’re looking to try something out of your comfort zone for summer, these are a great affordable option. 

    Our editors love the Colorfulkoala brand for affordable leggings, and I’ve personally owned this pair for a little while now. I love that they are supportive enough to work out in, but comfortable enough to lounge around in or wear while working from home. Although they are not an exact dupe, they definitely can hang with Lulu Aligns and for the price point, are a great option. They stay up, and the waistband is thick and comfortable. This particular style does not come in a ton of colors, but the options they do come in are all cute!

    OK, so I wouldn’t really say these are a dupe for Aligns, but they are definitely a comparable option. The material is a little different: this Aerie pair is more slick than buttery, and they are slightly more lightweight. They also have a different style of seam, going for more of a seamless and less structured look. I love and own three pairs of these, and I will say that they are more of a lounge legging than one you can workout in. They are soooo comfortable, but they sometimes slide down slightly because of the lightweight material. This is an especially great option if you’re looking for a non-Amazon pair at a reasonable price (they are also on sale more often than not!). 

    This is the only pair that I was disappointed in. The material is not very close at all: these are more slick feeling, feel a little cheap, and I would not call them “buttery.” However, I do have to disclaim that I ordered a pair in a color called “Black Lux” so that I could get a 25″ pair, so I am wondering if that means that they have a different feel than the rest of the colors that do not have “Lux” in the title. They do have a lot of positive reviews, so I think it’s either that or that the material has recently changed. But I will also say that I liked the fit of these the least. They are definitely less high-waisted, and something about them just made me feel like they were unflattering.  More

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    6 Unexpected Ways Your Body Changes After 25

    If you grew up female in the early 2000s, chances are you owned a copy of The Care and Keeping of You, or some other equally awkward, illustration-filled body manual. These prepubescent bibles warned us of all the changes to come as a teenager, and seemed to promise that after seven years of embarrassing acne and the daily, crippling fear our periods would start (was anything scarier?), the rest would be history! We’d be WOMEN, and by then our undoubtedly sexy woman bodies would be in working order!
    Well, I’m here to tell you we’ve been duped.
    If you’ve reached the milestone-no-one-said-was-a-milestone—AKA the age of 25—you’ll likely know what I’m talking about. Changes you’d never prepared for have begun to sneak up on you. The following are just a few examples of bodily weirdness that awaits us at after a quarter century.

    1. Cool, guess I have acne now
    I was one of the lucky few who managed to escape high school and college without experiencing any major breakouts. I was even once told in high school that I had “angel skin.” Angel skin! Well, either angels struggle with cystic acne, or my skin has fully rebelled against me. Keeping a clear complexion has become a struggle I never expected to have, let alone in my mid-20s. With changes in hormones and progesterone, many women will experience acne for the very first time post-teens. Go ahead and DIY that facial; you’ll thank me later.

    2. Hangovers: 1, Me: 0
    At 21 years old, I could pound a bottle of Goldschläger at midnight and wake up ready to take a midterm, rescue a puppy, and run a 5k before noon. Now? I can hardly eat bread without gagging. Hangovers take on an epic level of strength in your mid-twenties. Let’s just say before a heavy drinking night out these days, I ask myself, “am I prepared to do nothing but binge watch Netflix tomorrow?” (The answer needs to be “yes”). FYI, if a hangover hits you like it hits me, here’s how you can save your skin. 

    3. Sleep, I miss you
    Ah yes, speaking of hangovers: remember the days of sleeping in until 1 p.m.? Those were cute. Now my body rockets me wide awake at 8 a.m., regardless of the time I went to bed. Forget about the “recommended eight hours.” Try as I might, insomnia has become a new routine, constantly challenging my ability to switch off my brain. You’ll try herbal teas and essential oils, but mostly will long for the days your mother had to bang on the bedroom door to get you conscious.

    4. My vagina hates me
    I will never forget waking up with my first UTI. It was painful, it was burning, and it led to a subsequent three more in the following year. Yeast infection? Been there too! And if you’re really looking for a party, try bacterial vaginosis. That’ll cling to you longer than Dylan from Tinder. Reminder: if you have a vagina, it needs (and deserves!) some serious TLC. For a quick refresher, check out five things you’re doing to your vagina that you shouldn’t be. 

    5. Where did this booty come from?
    Despite it all, not every change you’ll face in your mid-twenties is negative. Whether you’ve been rocking curves since puberty or have noticed more curves as of late, the body will likely go through some visible changes around this age–and yes, that’s a good thing. It was an exciting moment when I packed up my low-rise Hollister shorts I was questionably still wearing and embraced my new Kim K booty! No matter how your body is changing, embrace all the wonderful curves and features that come with being a full grown woman. Can I get an “amen!?”

    6. I just had sex, and it feels so good
    Perhaps it’s the shifting hormones or your new-found confidence (or both), but sex sounds and feels better than ever at this point in your twenties. Think about it: you’ve gotten past the mediocre romps on dorm room futons, and your G-spot has officially been located. You probably feel more confident telling partners what you want, but you also know that you don’t need a partner to reach the big “O.” By this age, you’ve spent years growing more confident in your body, and your body knows what it likes a little bit better (and no, it’s not you, Dylan). More

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    Everything You’re Going To Want for Outdoor Workouts

    If the warmer weather and a constant itch to get outside affects how you want to work out, it might also affect your outdoor workout equipment. The barre socks and Bluetooth speaker that you use indoors won’t help, and outdoor workouts come with new challenges like how to protect yourself from the sun and where to put your phone (like seriously, where??). Whether you’re taking your jogs from the treadmill to the sidewalks, laying out a yoga mat in the park, or taking some outdoor classes, bring your workouts outdoor this summer. Thanks to these convenient, smart, and cooling products, exercising in the sun will feel like a breeze (pun intended).

    Relief Balm
    Whether you’re going on a run or opting for an outdoor HIIT circuit, it’s likely that your muscles will be worked a little harder because of the uneven terrain or unstable ground. Ease sore muscles with our favorite relief balm (we swear by this to relieve shin splints!). Use code “theeverygirl” for 20% off the first order!

    PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50 with Sunflower Extract
    Sun damage doesn’t just happen at the pool or the beach. SPF is an absolute must, no matter where your outdoor workout is. This fast-absorbing formula won’t stick (no uncomfortable feeling on your skin), is non-toxic (double health points!), and protects from UVA, UVB and IRA. Did I mention it’s sweat-resistant and extremely hydrating?

    Sweaty Betty
    Swiftie Running Cap
    Whether you think of hats as a fashion faux pas or consider yourself a die-hard hat girl (fedoras, beanies, and bucket hats, oh my!), consider adding a cap to your outdoor workouts to give your skin, eyes, and scalp added protection from the sun’s harmful rays. But a regular old baseball cap won’t do: this one is meant for training, so its lightweight, quick-drying, secure, and offers optimal visibility.

    Fast and Free Run Belt
    In the past, the word “fanny pack” might have been more of a music festival must-have instead of a workout accessory to you, but the latest high-tech belt bags won’t hold you down, even during a crazy fast sprint. Designed for running with lightweight, sweat-wicking fabric, and a low-bounce waistband, you’ll be able to hang on to your wallet, keys, phone, snacks, or mini water bottle without it impacting your performance. 5 colors available

    High-Waisted Pocket Legging
    If a belt bag isn’t your thing and you just need a place for your phone (AKA the device that plays Lizzo), why not opt for a pair of leggings that’ll do the work for you? The built-in storage on these buttery-soft leggings means you’ll look good, feel good, and finally have your hands free for the best workouts. 10+ colors available.

    iPhone Armband
    If both a leggings pocket and belt bag aren’t for you, a useful and convenient armband will solve the problem without slipping, sagging, or taking up space. Keep your phone and house key in this nifty accessory that also happens to be water-resistant and has cutouts for headphones (you know, for all that Lizzo). 4 colors available.

    Juice Beauty
    SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen
    Because one sunscreen wasn’t enough to get our point across (yes, you do need SPF, even for a 20-minute run), here’s another great one. This sport sunscreen from Juice Beauty is a favorite for the face because it nourishes the skin while shielding it from harmful rays and free radicals. It also absorbs quickly, doesn’t leave a white residue, and is totally sweat-proof.

    Reflective Cropped Top
    On the flip side of SPF is the other kind of summer exercise: evening workouts. If you only have time to jog after the day is over or just love taking a walk in the warm evening air (when it’s a little more bearable than peak heat hours), combine safety with style, thanks to a reflective sports bra. It’s breathable, quick-drying, and reflective so you can be seen in the dark.

    If you have yet to make the switch from headphones to wireless, consider this your sign. Besides the many other reasons AirPods have become a cult-classic, not having a cord makes any workout way easier. Just remember to keep music or podcasts on low volume so you can stay aware of your surroundings when outdoors.

    Outdoor Non-Stick Yoga Mat
    How much better would a sun salutation be when you’re actually in the sun? Take advantage of the nice weather by bringing your yoga practice onto your front yard or at a nearby park. This mat is non-slip and made of 100% rubber so it’s easy to clean, whether it’s grass, dirt, or sweat. 7 colors available.

    No-Slip No-Bounce Sunglasses
    Important PSA: do not leave for a run with your expensive, trendy sunglasses. Even if you don’t drop and break them, you’ll still regret taking them with you because of how much they bounce around. These sunglasses are meant for exercise, so they use no-slip and no-bounce technology for you to focus on how much further you have to run instead of worrying about your sunglasses falling off. 3 colors available.

    Cellphone Armband
    If you couldn’t tell, phone (and key) placement is the #1 biggest problem when it comes to an outdoor workout. Thanks to the products available online, it’s not hard to find the method that works for you. This armband is made with a less sturdy, more sweat-wicking material that might feel more comfortable on you. It also has a reflective detail for added safety in the dark.

    Lipfuel Lip Balm
    No, this isn’t your average Chapstick. The wild mint scent is intended to stimulate the senses to boost motivation, while the konjac root creates a protective barrier between lips and the environment. The ultra healing and hydrating hyaluronic acid and vitamin E are just a bonus to keep lips smooth, plump, and hydrated. In other words, this is the one lip balm that might improve your athletic performance while also improving your glow. 3 tints available.

    Run Flyknit Running Shoe
    No matter your style, a pair of shoes with a thick sole (perfect for even tough terrain) and a light fabric (so your feet won’t sweat) is the only shoe you’ll want to be wearing all summer (besides flip-flops, of course, but who can do 100 squats in those?). 10 colors available.

    Besides all the things you know and love about a Fitbit (tracking steps, identifying heart rate—need I say more?), this one is perfect for an outdoor workout because it tracks which areas lifted your heart rate the most. You can also use the GPS to ensure you don’t get lost when you’re out jogging or bike riding. Oh, and if you prefer a backstroke to a bike? It’s also swim-proof.

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    I Used a Weighted Hula Hoop for 6 Weeks—Here Are My Thoughts

    Of all of the things that TikTok made me buy, one of my most unpredictable purchases was my weighted hula hoop. As soon as I heard a Gen Z-er claiming it was her main form of exercise and it helped her shed a few inches off of her waist, I was all ears.
    Besides the fact that it looked super fun, there were two reasons why I was especially interested in a weighted hula hoop. The first was that, at the time when I saw that video, I was recovering from a minor hip injury I got from treadmill sprinting and weight lifting. The second was that, in just a few days, I was to have a nasal septum surgery that was going to keep me out of my workout routine for at least a month. The weighted hula hoop seemed like a perfect, low-impact way to get my heart rate up during recovery. So, I immediately went to Amazon and hit “add to cart.”

    About Weighted Hula Hooping:
    I took my newfound TikTok fascination to the internet to figure out 1) if weighted hula hooping was legit and 2) what the actual benefits of hula hooping were. And, to be honest, I was surprised to find that there was a lot of information on the topic.
    For a lot of us, the hula hooping we grew up with is already a bit of a challenge, but adding those extra pounds can really take things to the next level in terms of boosting aerobic health. If you’re not too familiar with what exactly that translates to, here’s the rundown: Known benefits of aerobic activity include a stronger, healthier heart, improved blood flow, lowered stress levels, and improved immunity. A strong case for hooping, if you ask me.
    In addition, hula hooping burns calories—specifically, 165 calories in 30 minutes, a number you’d see with other types of dancing. And in a randomized controlled study from 2019 that compared a group of individuals who walked approximately 10,000 steps a day to a group that did around 12 minutes of weighted hula hooping per day, the hula hooping group had better results in terms of abdominal fat loss, decreased waist circumference, and increased core strength. This made my near-impulsive weighted hula hoop purchase absolutely worth it in my eyes.

    Arrival and assembly:
    When it arrived, I had to put it together, which was a bit of a spectacle. Assembly took probably five minutes and, besides the near-tragic mishap that occurred when I didn’t fully lock one of the bendable poles into its adjacent piece (it slingshotted back at my face before I could even blink), I’d consider it fairly effortless to put together. After weeks of waiting, I finally had my weighted hula hoop in hand, and I was eager to take it for a spin. 

    Though I would consider myself a prodigy hula hooper (I won a contest at a backyard barbecue in third grade, no big deal), I definitely had to reorient myself on how to use it—especially with the added two pounds that were likely going to throw me for a bit of a loop. After six weeks of turning to my weighted hula hoop again and again, here are my unfiltered thoughts.

    The Pros:
    First, this thing will get your heart rate up pretty quickly. My typical hula hooping routine consists of hula hooping for six minutes clockwise and six minutes counterclockwise. Within three minutes, my heart is typically pumping at a speed walk or jog rate (for me, around 130 bpm), and I am sweating. After about 12 minutes of hula hooping, I would burn around 80 calories, which, for me, is similar to what I burn when I’m walking or jogging.

    Second, as I anticipated, this was the perfect low-impact workout to get my heart rate up without leaving the house. And since I could do it from the comfort of my living room in pretty much whatever attire I wanted, it was really easy to just grab it and start hooping without much effort or planning. 

    The Cons:
    As with all things, there are a few downsides to it that have kept me from abandoning my past workout methods completely. The first being that, if you’re doing it for long enough, it can be boring as hell. Sure it’s fun for the first few minutes, but if you’re going to do it long enough to see any sort of results—likeburnt calories or a shredded waist—you’ll have to commit more time to it than just 12 minutes. And for me, that’s just about as much as my brain could take before I was ready to jump to the next activity. Picking a playlist I love, watching TV, or listening to a podcast definitely helped to pass the time.
    Another big downside to hula hooping is that while you’re getting your heart rate up and activating your core, you’re missing out on opportunities to practice other functional movements. Sure, it’s good as a supplemental activity to get your heart rate up, but for the most part, your feet are staying in one place. I do use hula hooping as an additional way to get some cardio in, but I don’t use it as an excuse to skip other full-body movements like stretching, yoga, or HIIT workouts.

    The Final Verdict:
    All in all, I love my weighted hula hoop the way that I use it. For 12 minutes a day, it gives me an excuse to have a bit of a dance party, helps me to tap into some aerobic activity for better heart health, immunity, and stress reduction, and is an easy way for me to incorporate activity into an otherwise stagnant day. While I was in recovery, it was the perfect, low-impact solution to make me feel less like a couch potato and give me a taste of being active. Now that I’m recovered, I use it as a tool to help me get moving on days where I’m feeling particularly unmotivated, as a way to make TV time more efficient, and as a warmup to other forms of working out like yoga, lifting, or running.
    Can I live without my weighted hula hoop? Sure. But do I want to? Not particularly. I’ve bought plenty of less useful items under the influence of the TikTok Gods, so, as far as I’m concerned, this solid addition to my workout routine is a 10/10 in my book.  More

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    Our Editors Share What Helps Them Stay Motivated To Workout

    For a lot of us, there’s no better feeling than knowing you crushed a workout when you could’ve just as easily binge-watched six episodes of Schitt’s Creek. But motivating ourselves to get there is a different story and a struggle that always seems to rear its ugly head. And it’s in these moments that we rely on our go-to workout motivation tips to keep us going.
    There’s something about getting our sweat on, pumping up our endorphins, and feeling that “I can do anything I set my mind to” energy that makes working out an obvious addition to our to-do lists. But even though we know what’s good for us, it doesn’t make it easy to find the gusto to get moving, especially when tasks pile up, you’re feeling tired, or the couch is calling your name. Our editors know the struggle, but after plenty of trial and error, we pulled these workout motivation tips that keep us active and ready to be our best selves:

    1. Set specific, tangible goals
    “If I set a goal for myself, I’m pretty keen on sticking to it. And I’m not saying ‘run five days this week’ or ‘work out every day.’ Goals like that never motivate me. But having specific, tangible fitness goals that I know I can reach will. For all of 2021, my biggest fitness goal has been to do 10 push-ups (it’s my least favorite activity and my chest strength is basically non-existent), so every time I’m at the gym, I do a little work to get there. I have other goals, too, like walk 30,000 steps in a day or reach my personal best on the squat rack. Does it get me up on the days all I want to do is sleep? No, but having goals is what has kept me consistent.”
    — Beth, Beauty Content Manager & Associate Editor

    2. Track and share your workouts
    “I’m an elder millennial and thus, need constant validation and positive reinforcement (hello participation medals!). Anytime I do a run or Peloton, I upload my results in Strava, where my friends on the platform can give me ‘kudos’ for my workouts. When I need an extra hit of attention, I’ll take a screenshot from Strava and share it on my social channels. Am I digging for compliments when I do this? 100 percent. Is it an effective source of motivation? Absolutely.”
    — Elle, Chief Operating Officer

    3. View your gym sesh as an appointment
    “Recently, I saw this viral video on TikTok that resonated with me so much. The content creator was basically saying that if we wait to be in the mood to do something (especially if your goal is being more consistent), you’ll never do it. So instead, she suggested viewing your workout as an appointment. You wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment, pre-planned dinner and drinks with a friend, or a nail appointment that you’ve had scheduled, so what makes your appointment with yourself at the gym any different?
    If you commit to working out consistently, the odds are that you’re not always going to have the motivation to get there—and that is OK. So if you’re tired, do it tired. Because at the end of the day, the only bad workout is the one that never happened, and the endorphin rush that occurs when you get your body moving is oh-so-worth it.”
    — Ashley, Contributing Writer

    4. Reserve class spots and commit to certain gym times:
    “Having a set time for my classes or workouts keeps me accountable. Whether it’s a live fitness class on Obé or I reserve a spot at my apartment gym (or a fitness class in person one day—eep!), knowing that I have to be at a specific place at a specific time makes me basically never skip my workouts. I want to see what songs my favorite instructor will pick or get the good treadmill at the gym (you know the one), so I’ll stick with the time I set up for myself.”
    — Beth, Beauty Content Manager & Associate Editor

    5. Assemble the perfect pump-up playlist
    “One of my favorite ways to get myself in the mood to get to the gym is to listen to songs that make me want to run through walls and do backflips. Whether I’m listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s Good For You or Eminem’s ‘Til I Collapse (yeah, I have range), I’ve found that listening to my lineup of motivating hits before I even leave my apartment is key to getting me amped up and moving. My tried-and-true pump-up playlist serves as the perfect pregame dance session for any gym appointment and gets me ready to pick weights up and put them down with a little extra pizazz.” (Psst: try out our Workout Playlist!)
    — Ashley, Contributing Writer

    6. Exercise for the right reasons

    “I started feeling motivated to exercise most days of the week when I stopped working out because I’m ‘supposed to’ or to burn off the takeout I ate the night before. I work out consistently because it helps my anxiety and stress levels, and it is the one time of the day where my focus goes into my body instead of my mind. I didn’t always love working out, but I started to love it when I saw it as self-care instead of a punishment or chore. When you exercise for the right reasons, you find yourself craving it instead of dreading it. Rethink your ‘why’ and you’ll never have to ‘force yourself’ to get to the gym again.”
    — Josie, Associate Editor & Wellness Content Manager

    7. Wear your gym clothes long before your workout
    “I really, truly hate the thought of working out. But I know that when I do get past that mental block, put on my favorite leggings, and get to work, I feel phenomenal after. Any stress or anxiety I was feeling is vanquished by my newly released endorphins. I feel accomplished, strong, and healthy. My biggest hurdle has always been working up the courage to simply start a workout. In order to combat this, I exclusively wear workout clothes during the day so that I’m not held back by having to change after work. (I’m fortunate to work remotely and can do this pretty much every day.)
    When it actually comes time to do the thing, wearing workout clothes tricks my brain into thinking we’ve already overcome half the battle. This, coupled with the promise of burning off excess energy and anxiety, is enough to get me back on my bike or yoga mat 4-5 days a week.
    — Garri, Managing Editor

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