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    9 Quick Health Tests You Can Do At Home Yourself

    These quick health tests, which you can do at home, take minutes (in some cases, seconds) and can reveal a number of things that need attention. Hop onto it. 

    Why Your Should Be Doing Your Own Health Checks At Home

    Reality check: At your last doctor’s visit, how long did it take? 15 minutes? Maybe less? Contending with short doc appointments – problems with that notwithstanding – means you need to advocate for yourself and have info on hand. Plus, knowing your health status only benefits you more in the long run, especially when it comes to being heard by your GP.

    Added to that, self-screenings play a vital role in catching conditions early on when they’re still easier to treat. Arm yourself by doing these speedy checks below and making sure that when your app does arrive, you’ve got all your bases covered.

    READ MORE: This Is What It REALLY Feels Like To Have A Mammogram

    The 9 Quick Health Tests You Should Do Today

    Test 1: Climb The Stairs

    Time: 3 minutes 

    Do it: Try climbing four flights of stairs in less than a minute – no running required

    What It Shows

    Per study author Dr Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist at University Hospital A Coruña, Spain, taking the stairs is a good indicator of how well your ticker is, well, ticking. “If it takes you more than one-and-a-half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor,” he explained in a press release.

    In the study, participants ran on a treadmill and then climbed a set of stairs after a brief rest. 58 percent of patients who completed the stair climb in more than 1.5 minutes had abnormal heart function, the studies revealed.

    Out of breath or feeling a tightness in your chest? See your doc, ASAP.

    READ MORE: 5 Heart Disease Risk Factors Every Woman Needs To Know About

    Test 2: Balance On One Leg

    Time: 40 seconds 

    Do it: Take off your shoes. Now, balance on one leg for ten seconds. Easy enough? Do it with your eyes closed.

    What This Quick Health Test Shows

    Bummer alert: Balance deteriorates as you age. But according to studies, having good balance is a powerful indicator of how long – and healthily – you’ll live. In a 2014 British Medical Journal study, 53-year-old adults were tested by seeing how long they could stand on one leg. When the researchers returned to the study 13 years later, they found that the test had independently predicted the chance of participants dying over that period.

    The highest indicator of death? Lasting less than two seconds. It’s hard because when we remove our eyes from the equation, our body has to work that much harder to keep us upright. But all is not lost. Improve your balance with single-leg deadlifts that build all-over strength, or try yoga.

    READ MORE: Boost Your Morning Routine With This Easy 15-Minute Yoga Flow

    Test 3: Check Your Moles

    Time: 5 minutes 

    Do it: Examine yourself in a well-lit room, checking your back, upper arms and backs of your legs as well as everywhere else. Check for abnormal growths and misshapen moles.

    What This Shows

    Checking your skin for moles is the second line of defence against skin cancer (the first being rigorous use of sunscreen). “Melanoma is a type of skin cancer affecting melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells,” says Pretoria-based dermatologist Dr Tarryn Jacobs. “It is also the most dangerous type because of its potential spread to distant organs and tissues.”

    Even if you’re a POC, checking for moles is vital, says Dr Jacobs. “Although certain skin cancers are less prevalent in non-Caucasian racial groups, when they do occur, they tend to be diagnosed at a later stage,” she says. “The most common location for melanoma in patients of skin of colour is the lower extremities – the soles of the feet, in particular. This is a type of melanoma called acral lentiginous melanoma, which is an aggressive type.”

    READ MORE: Sunscreens For Every Skin Type And Situation

    Test 4: Check Your Breasts

    Time: 5 minutes 

    Do it: Check your breasts for lumps, bumps and abnormalities.

    What This Quick Health Test Shows

    When combined with regular screenings with your doc and mammograms, self-screening is a powerful tool in detecting breast cancer. If you’re a person of colour, check your tatas, even if you’re young. Per a 2020 study, breast cancer in Black women often manifests at a young age. But, as with anything, it can happen to anyone, so check yo’self a few days after every period ends, according to 

    Exactly how to check your breasts

    Stand in front of the mirror, hands at your hips and have a look at your melons. Check that they’re not swollen or distorted. Check for inverted nipples, redness, soreness or rashes.

    Next, lie down with one hand above your head. With your other, press down with your fingers and move them in a small, circular motion. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side; from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage. Breasts should feel firm and not lumpy.

    READ MORE: 11 Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Women That Aren’t Lumps

    Test 5: Check Your Iron Levels

    Time: 30 seconds 

    Do it: Check if the lines on your palm are pale, check for pale gums and eyelids, or cold hands and feet.

    What It Shows

    Around 50 percent of South African women are iron deficient, per an estimate by Ogilvy Health. A frightening statistic, with real implications. “Iron is used in the body to assist in the formation of red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen around the body, to our muscles and organs,” says Dr Eden Lurie, a GP in Cape Town.

    People low on iron feel lethargic, short of breath and can even have itchy skin. “If untreated, you can be at increased risk of infection as your immunity is lowered, and in severe cases, it can lead to heart failure,” notes Dr Lurie.

    READ MORE: Um, A Scary 50% Of SA Women Are Iron Deficient

    Test 6: Do The Paper Test

    Time: 3 seconds 

    Do it: Place a small piece of paper on your hands and check if it shakes. It’s better to see it this way than examining your hand by itself. 

    What it shows

    Shaking hands can reveal a few things. It can be hereditary, so see if your folks have shaky hands, too. Had too much caffeine? Stressed? These could cause a case of the trembles. On the other, erm, hand, it could also be a sign of neurological disease or a simple vitamin B12 deficiency.

    If you’re also struggling with rapid weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat, shaking hands could be a sign of hyperthyroidism, a condition when your thyroid gland makes too much of the thyroid hormone. “If your hands are shaking it is best to visit your doctor for a full check-up,” advises Dr Lurie.

    READ MORE: 10 Best Essential Oils To Help Relieve Anxiety and Stress

    Test 7: Ask Yourself These Questions

    Time: 15 minutes 

    Do it: Ask yourself these questions, suggests psychologist Sanam Naran, founder of Conscious Psychology in Johannesburg. 

    What are the three most frequent emotions I’ve been feeling in the last two weeks to a month? 

    Can I easily name my emotions or do I struggle to put a name to them?

    Do I notice changes in my sleeping patterns or eating habits? 

    How often do I do things that I enjoy or put my needs first? 

    What do I do to take care of my mental health?

    On a scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being good) how would I describe my emotional health?

    What it shows

    “These questions are important because they gauge whether an individual’s mental health is good or needs to be taken care of,” elaborates Naran. “It also allows them to reflect a bit deeper on themselves and ask questions that they may have been ignoring.” If your answers to these questions turn out less than satisfactory, it might be time to chat with a therapist, who can help sort through what’s really behind your low feelings. 

    READ MORE: 18 Mental Health Books For Anxiety, People-Pleasing And More

    Test 8: Complete The Sitting To Rising Test

    Time: 2 minutes 

    Do it: Simply stand up, then lower yourself into a cross-legged position, without using your hands or knees. Now, stand back up again – without using your hands or knees. It’s easier said than done.

    What this quick health test shows

    While it might make for great TikTok content, this challenge does so much more than that. A group of Brazilian researchers linked this test to mortality, with those able to perform it being more likely to live longer. “It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio, and coordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favourable influence on life expectancy,” says Dr Claudio Gil Araújo of the Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro in a press release.

    READ MORE: 9 Bodyweight Exercises That Will Improve Your Mobility

    Test 9: Measure Your Waist

    Time: 2 minutes 

    Do it: Use a tape measure and see how large your waist circumference is, measuring right above your belly button.

    What it shows

    “Waist circumference is a good indicator of your visceral fat – namely fat surrounding your abdominal organs that shows on your torso,” says Dr Lurie. When it exists in excess, this kind of fat can be dangerous to your health. “Having an increased waist circumference puts you at higher risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease,” warns Dr Lurie.

    If yours is larger than 80cm, it’s time to make some changes. Incorporate more veg into your diet, reduce stress (cortisol plays a role in fat stores), nix the fast food and pick up more exercise to reduce this kind of fat around your abdomen. 

    This story was published in the March/April 2024 edition of Women’s Health South Africa by Michelle October. More

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    5 ice baths in Dubai to keep you cool after a workout


    by Sarah Joseph
    58 mins ago

    Looking to cool down after an intense workout session?
    Here are five of the best ice bath spots to visit in Dubai to calm your muscles and to ensure you’re ready for the next HITT or spin class.
    Embody Fitness

    Embody Fitness offers state-of-the art recovery suites, Olympic standard gym equipment, sport therapy treatment rooms, luxury changing rooms and a healthy café. For expert sports therapy, customers can utilise the modern recovery suite including infrared saunas, ice baths and sports therapy treatment rooms to improve their performance to the next level. Located in ICD Brookfield, the session is priced at Dhs130 for 60 minutes and Dhs1,200 for unlimited sessions per month.

    Guests can experience an immersive ice bath to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, aid muscle recovery and strengthen mental resilience, making it the perfect modality to complement the sauna experience. As a sanctuary for recovery, visitors can soothe, switch off, rest and recharge. With both hot and cold therapy, guests have the choice to promote relaxation and detoxification. Located at Golden Mile 6, Palm Jumeirah, the Ice Bath is priced at Dhs95 per 30-minute session.
    ReFIVE Spa

    Plunge into the icy cool waters at the Ice Bath at ReFIVE Spa Palm Jumeirah. After quickly becoming one of the top wellness treatments, this cold-water immersion action has an array of epic benefits including faster muscle recovery, improved sleep patterns, stress reduction and even boosting immunity. With the assistance of the trained therapists, you immerse for as long as your body needs while coaching you through with breathwork and meditation exercises. Located at Five Jumeirah Village, the Ice bath therapy is priced at Dhs125 per session.

    Guests can opt for this regimented training technique to regulate the nervous system and train the vagus nerve which is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system. Beneficial to anyone, ice baths are recommended to be between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. This experience is designed to improve mood, completemental clarity, reduce inflammation,muscle soreness and conquer fear. Located in Dubai Studio City, the sessions are priced at Dhs100 for Boxica members and Dhs150 for non-members.

    Longevity offers a variety of wellness treatments focused on athletic recovery and performance, including infrared saunas, sports massages, yoga, stretching, and mobility treatments, in addition to ice baths. Founder Dani Afiouni is a passionate mountaineer with extensive experience in endurance sports and brought his expertise to Dubai to allow athletes and health enthusiasts to use cold water immersion to unlock their bodies’ recovery potential. Located at Umm Suqeim, Warehouse #S6, the cold dip is priced at Dhs115 per session.
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Supplied More

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    Biohacking 101: Wellness expert Dr Frank Lipman shares all you need to know

    Is biohacking a breakthrough or a buzzword?
    The quest for longevity and living a better life are getting a lot of airtime in the wellness space. Those who are in the know are turning into biohacking, also known as do-it-yourself biology, to optimise their physical and mental health through technology, medicine and science.
    The term itself may seem like a daunting subject if you’re getting started so Emirates Man have asked the expert: Dr Frank Lipman, functional and integrative medicine specialist at Wellth, a Dubai-based holistic wellness hub on Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 2, to share all we need to know about biohacking, how it works and what it could do for you.

    What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine and non-negotiable practices?
    I try to meditate for 20 minutes first thing in the morning. I then exercise most days, either weight training, riding the bike or going for a long walk. I usually have a cup of black coffee only throughout the day and I have my first meal around noon.
    Biohacking is using science, technology, nutrition and lifestyle to optimise one’s health. It’s such a loose term – what does it exactly mean and is it a good idea?
    Do-it-yourself biology is also referred to as “biohacking.” Biohacking, is basically about finding clever solutions and shortcuts that focus on smarter strategies to improve health, wellness and, ultimately, longevity. When I talk about biohacking it’s about applying safe and sensible practices – drawn from the latest discoveries from the worlds of biology, nutrition, and neuroscience – to support and enhance your physical and mental performance now, and for decades to come. And, depending on your needs and goals, there may occasionally be a device involved. The kind worn on the body (think smart watches and step trackers) – not in it.

    “for the rest of us, bio-hacking is really about taking a multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach to health and longevity, as efficiently and safely as possible.”

    What have been the driving factors that played a pivotal role in the growth of the biohacking movement?
    The basic idea of biohacking has been simmering since the early 2000s when hard-charging Silicon Valley types and amateur DIY biologists began exploring ways to more actively control their biology, their energy levels, physical and mental performance. And while some on the fringes of the biohacking culture have taken the philosophy far beyond what most of us would consider reasonable – take for example the California biohacker who currently holds the world record for most implanted technological devices – for the rest of us, biohacking is really about taking a multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach to health and longevity, as efficiently and safely as possible. It’s also worth mentioning that you’re probably already doing a good bit of biohacking whether you realise it or not, like, eating better, getting more sleep, staying hydrated, and taking supplements. However, as technology has advanced, biohacking has expanded to include the use of many tools and gadgets. Continuous blood glucose monitors, fitness wearables and rings to measure sleep enable people to track their health and make data-driven decisions. Since last year, biohacking has grown from a niche interest to a mainstream trend. Regular individuals have become more focused on optimising both their cognitive and physical performance through biohacking techniques, and while customisation comes with its own set of risks and unknowns, it is safe to say that it is preferable to a one-size-fits-all or one product solution-based strategy. Those who are most interested in biohacking have significant disposable incomes. While some people would pay a premium to prevent their biological clock from aging, others would spend hundreds of thousands to implement biohacking devices and principles throughout their homes, such as smart beds that monitor sleep patterns and air purification systems designed to improve indoor air quality. Even individuals who cannot afford to spend a million bucks on anti-aging therapies are joining the bandwagon. Dietary supplements, blue light blocking glasses, and eyewear designed to relieve eye strain from screen time have all become biohacking staples since their WFH-inspired surge.

    “…you’re probably already doing a good bit of bio-hacking whether you realise it or not, like, eating better, getting more sleep, staying hydrated, and taking supplements.”

    What are some of the biggest misconceptions that surround it or any precautions to be aware of?
    There are several misconceptions and misinformation surrounding the biohacking wellness craze, including:
    • Biohacking works for everyone: In general, biohacking can have a direct impact on your body, albeit in different manners. So just because a bio-hack works for your peers doesn’t guarantee that it will work for you. Keep in mind that biohacking is very personal and unique.
    • Information on the Internet is correct: Though the Internet is one of the best sources of information available to everyone nowadays, it is not always wise to believe everything you read or see on it and take the information with a grain of salt. You may need to consult a variety of sources to obtain the required information to begin your biohacking journey.
    Biohacking offers multiple benefits. Certain forms can be easily followed at home and, in the event that something goes wrong, reversed. Experimenting with oneself without taking the proper precautions may lead to unanticipated difficulties and negative consequences. If you stick to research-validated lifestyle changes, particularly those tailored to your specific geno-metabolic mix, you should be fine. The same is true for the majority of wearables, as long as their readings are accurate and cross-verified with professional equipment. However, implants of all types can be detrimental, particularly when performed without proper medical supervision. Therefore, before engaging in any biohacking methods, it is imperative that you consult with your physician.
    What are the top accessible biohacking practices and its benefits – and which ones have you implemented in your life?
    Some of the accessible biohacking practices that I do and actually work include:
    • Supplement with Nootropics: Nootropics, often known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers, are a group of substances that can improve learning and memory. These substances include caffeine, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, peptides and sometimes prescription medications.
    Image: Instagram @thenueco_
    • Meditate: Biohackers may practice various types of meditation in the aim of relaxing their minds or improving their general health. Therapeutic techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, and transcendental meditation have been shown to improve health. These health benefits include better sleep, less fatigue, and a more positive mood.
    • Don’t eat round the clock: Time restricted eating, or TRE, is a simple, highly effective, metabolism-boosting hack that just about anyone can do. By extending the natural fast between dinner and breakfast you’ll prompt your body to make the most of what you consume, resulting in decreased blood sugar and insulin levels, less fat accumulation, and reduced inflammation – all of which does wonders for your life-and-health span. Three or four days a week, start with 12 hours between your last and first meal of the day, and work your way up to a 16-hour window.
    Image: Supplied by Wellth
    What are the most common issues in men (in the region and beyond) you are seeing with your clients today that can be solved with biohacking treatments available at Wellth?
    One of the commonest issues I see with men is a low testosterone and the level of consequences from it- low energy, decreased libido, mild depression, losing muscle and gaining fat around the abdomen. So, getting a comprehensive blood analysis (probably one of the most important biohacks to be done), which we do at Wellth, offers evidence about your present health and uncovers factors and deficiencies which may be contributing to someone not feeling as good as they would like to. I have seen too many men in their late 40’s and early 50’s who after doing a consultation, getting their blood results, and then changing their diets accordingly and giving them a few supplements and often testosterone replacement, feel like “new” men.
    Tell us more about the Dr. Frank Lipman method.
    The Dr Frank Lipman method is– listen, measure, intervene and monitor.
    That means I take a good history and do extensive testing of biomarkers to get an in depth analysis of someone’s health. I then design personalised action plans to support longevity, using dietary and lifestyle interventions, supplements, peptides, hormones and medications if necessary, and sometimes more innovative longevity tools. I then closely monitor the effects of someone’s program, making upgrades and adjustments as needed, to guide the client towards their longevity goals.
    What does “a better you” mean to you?
    A “better you” is a happy, optimised and well-functioning you, full of energy and optimism, with few aches and pains and dysfunction whatever your age. Your weight is stable, you exercise frequently, sleep well, deal with your stress, have good healthy relationships at home and at work and are kind to yourself and others.
    To book a consulation or for more information, visit
    – For more on how to look smart and live smarter, follow Emirates Man on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Pexels and Supplied More

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    Fall Asleep Faster With These 7 Hacks For Better Sleep

    20 Minutes. That’s all that stands between feeling exhausted and the best sleep ever. It’s also how much more sleep a woman needs than the average man, according to professional James Horne, a leading sleep expert in the UK.A good night’s sleep is kind of like an orgasm – you have friends who experience it on the reg, your guy gets it right every night and you’ve only managed it a couple of times over the past few months. Sleep deprivation affects women more than men… fact! We sleep lighter and find it more difficult to go back to dreamland once we wake up. So, what gives? Well, turns out that your daytime habits and your pre-sleep routine could be to blame. So, if you’re keen on catching a little more shut-eye tonight, start by making these easy changes to fall asleep faster.

    Fall asleep faster with these hacks

    Start bright

    Within five minutes of waking, try to expose yourself to sunlight for 30 minutes to give your brain the “It’s morning!” signal, says sleep specialist Clete Kushida. If it’s still way before sunrise, turn on a bright light to simulate sunlight as closely as possible. Getting exposure to light as soon as you wake up sends important signals in the body. It regulates your body’s internal clock – called the circadian rhythm – and suppresses melatonin while boosting cortisol levels. In this case, cortisol isn’t the demon we make it out to be, but rather helps wake up the body and allows you to become alert.

    See the light

    Once you’re seeing the light, continue to bask in it. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found office workers who scored natural light during the day got an average of 46 minutes more sleep per night than daylight-deprived colleagues. That’s because being exposed to sunlight signals to the body that it’s time to be alert and awake. As the day wears on, lower your exposure to sunlight as you signal to your body that it’s time to slow down.

    READ MORE: Struggle Sleeping? Here’s How To Create A Bedtime Routine, Per Experts

    Hit the weights

    Any resistance exercise you do, whether it’s at 7 am or 7 pm, will reduce the number of times you wake up during the night, according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In a review of research in Sleep Medicine Review, researchers found that “resistance exercise training improves anxiety and depression” – which makes sense since these conditions can keep us up at night. Moreover, they found that when compared to aerobic exercise (the kind that pumps your heart rate), resistance workouts scored higher for sleep. One theory is that weight training boosts growth hormone and testosterone in the body, which is in turn linked to better sleep.

    Save carbs for dinner

    The insulin spike you get from eating foods such as brown rice, sweet potato or pasta may help you fall asleep faster, says research published in the journal Cell Reports. That’s because carbs increase the levels of a hormone called tryptophan, which works in the brain to produce serotonin (your happiness hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone). Have a portion with dinner to help you fall asleep faster when bedtime rolls around.

    Play your soundtrack

    To set the stage for sleep, play a slow jam – songs with a continuous rhythm of around 60bpm, which sync up with your resting heart rate, says therapeutic practitioner Lyz. And it doesn’t have to be Enya – try Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing” or Beyoncé’s “Flaws and All”. Per the popular sleep app Calm, there’s a plethora of sounds that signal the body to wind down. That includes white noise, ocean waves, rain, nature sounds and sleep stories. By creating a sense of peacefulness, you allow the body to enter rest mode and can fall asleep faster.

    READ MORE: We Tried Morphée: A Screen-Free Sleep Device To Help You Actually Doze Off

    Find your calm

    Women who had hypnosis got up to 80 percent more deep Zs in a study by the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Try this from hypnotherapist Dr John McGrail: sit with palms on thighs. Raise your index finger and imagine it getting lighter. Lower it as you silently count down from five then think “deep sleep”. You could also try meditation apps or sleep-time podcasts to lull your body into a sense of calm and fall asleep.

    Banish glare

    If you must watch a series in bed, set your gadget’s brightness to the lowest possible level. U.S. research shows that the light from computer, tablet and smartphone screens suppresses melatonin. Use an app like f.lux, which filters out blue light from your device, or wear blue-light-blocking glasses, which helps.

    READ MORE: The Greatest Sleepytime Products That’ll Take You To La-La Land, STAT More

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    What To Look Out For When Picking a Water Bottle

    Here’s an unexpected win for the environment: reusable water bottles are having an it-girl moment, thanks in part to the wildly popular Stanley cups. While we’ve successfully eschewed single-use bottles and opted for giant tumblers from which to sip iced coffees and sparkling mocktails, it’s worth investigating the materials used. So, which material is best? We chatted to an expert for the low-down on how to pick a water bottle.

    Meet the expert: Charlotte Metcalf is the CEO of the South African National Bottled Water Association.

    What to look out for when picking a water bottle

    Check its sustainability

    “Every single material used to manufacture reusable/re-fillable beverage bottles has an impact on the environment,” says Charlotte Metcalf, CEO of the South African National Bottled Water Association. “This impact differs between each material be it plastic, aluminium, glass or stainless steel, or any other less well-known packaging materials which may be used for this function.”

    Having said that, the longevity of your reusable water bottle plays a role in its sustainability. Stainless steel, for example, will last longer than single-use plastic, making it a more sustainable option. Bottom line: the longer you hang onto your water bottle, the better for the environment, since this lowers its impact.

    Check for scratches

    Another factor to consider, when picking a water bottle, is how likely it is to harbour bacteria. “What is particularly important to consider is that all materials are prone to scratching, pitting and wearing from regular cleaning,” says Metcalf. “These surface imperfections offer the ideal breeding ground for bacteria as they trap and protect bacteria and are difficult to clean.” To keep your bottle clean, experts advise that you wash your water bottle once a day with vinegar or bicarbonate of soda and water. Bleach will leave an odour and is unsafe, so steer clear. Another note: avoid abrasive products in your water bottle, as these create tiny scratches where bacteria flourish.

    READ MORE: TikTok’s Viral 30-30-30 Challenge: Does It Work For Weight Loss?

    Consider the design

    By this, we don’t mean a water bottle with aspirational wording or cute colour. Rather, Metcalf explains that ridges, bends and other design features inside the walls of the bottle could create crevices where bacteria flourish. “Good design will feature no parts, voids, ridges, liners and spaces in which bacteria can accumulate and that cannot be properly cleaned,” says Metcalf. “With these design features, a reusable bottle can easily become like your pet’s water bowl, lined with slime-forming bacteria or even air-borne disease-causing organisms.”

    Dedicate your bottle to water

    Even if you’re a flavoured water queen or have a penchant for cooldrink, aim to consume those from a different container. “It is important that reusable bottles must be dedicated to water,” explains Metcalf. “Once you fill the bottle with other beverages containing sugar, fats and flavouring, it becomes difficult to clean all traces of these ingredients as these ‘added nutrients’ will fuel the growth of unwanted organisms.” Yikes.

    READ MORE: 11 Avo Toast Recipes That’ll Fill You Up For Less Than 350 Calories

    How to pick a plastic water bottle

    While plastic uses the least amount of resources to manufacture, its health impacts are murkier. For starters, studies link the popular water bottle material BPA (Bisphenol A) to adverse health outcomes like hormonal disruptions. While you can look to BPA-free bottles, their alternatives, like bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF) are also used in plastic water bottles and the studies on their health impacts remain to be seen. Per Metcalf, bottles made from PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) are seen as safe. “The inert PET bottle is a well-accepted package all over the world and is completely safe to drink from,” says Metcalf.

    If you’re using a plastic water bottle, make sure you clean it regularly and prevent scratches and pitting on the inside. “Reusable/refillable [water bottles] must be regularly examined for pitting and wear-and-tear, regardless of the material they are made from, and discarded as soon as they become worn and difficult to clean,” says Metcalf.

    Plastic water bottles

    How to pick a glass water bottle

    Glass, generally speaking, is good. They’re much easier to spot when dirty, making it easier to keep clean. They’re also free of chemicals, are natural and are dishwasher-safe.

    Glass water bottles, however, are not the most sustainable of the bunch. “Although glass is inert, it takes a lot of energy to produce, transport and recycle. Glass breakage in the environment is dangerous and extremely difficult to remove,” explains Metcalf. If you treat it well, however, it could last a long time.

    Glass water bottles

    READ MORE: 10 Things That Happen To Your Body During Dry January

    How to pick a stainless steel water bottle

    Steel’s known for its ability to keep hot drinks warm and cold drinks cool, making it a versatile option to lug around to the gym and everywhere else. If you’re leaning towards metal, Metcalf suggests opting for something other than aluminium, which can leach toxins into the environment.

    Stainless steel, if made from low-quality materials, can be a problem. “Low-quality stainless-steel bottles can present toxic lead levels from the sealing dot on the base,” says Metcalf. To mitigate this, she suggests checking that your stainless steel water bottle is 18/8 food-grade stainless steel.

    Stainless steel bottles

    Michelle October

    Michelle is the features editor at WH. She’s immensely curious about the world, passionate about health and wellness and enjoys a good surf when the waves are good. Find her on Instagram here. More

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    6 mental wellness clinics for a therapy session in Dubai

    Life by Sarah Joseph 1 hour ago With the high-pressure society we live in, mental health is quite often an overlooked subject. To delve into the matter, it’s important to provide an opportunity for people around the world to make mental health care a reality for all. As the UAE continues to break the stigma surrounding this, mental health clinics have gained popularity to address factors surrounding depression, fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks and more. With the previous outbreak of COVID-19, several clinics have adapted to Zoom healthcare services, adding a new meaning to virtual sessions, along with in-person sessions as per usual. If you, or anyone you’re aware of, might require these services, Emirates Woman has curated a guide to all the mental health clinics here in Dubai. The LightHouse Arabia With a team of over 30 psychologists to address different areas in one’s life, The LightHouse Arabia provides high-quality services to help with a wide range of mental health and well-being challenges. From adoption support to psychotherapy, the in-depth sessions make it one of the leading mental health clinics in the UAE. With various events hosted every month, the interactive sessions make it helpful for people to address their problems in a community-driven environment. Located in Villa 1, Al Wasl Road, Al Safa 2, it’s open daily from 8am to 8pm with Fridays being closed. For more information visit Priory Wellbeing Centre Each treatment programme is tailored to the specific needs of each individual ensuring the best possible outcome is achieved. Knowing that everyone has a different pace, the sessions are tailored to each person’s potential in their own time. With a team of professionals, the therapies provide an experience to suit each patient. From cognitive behaviour therapy to individual therapy, the clinic helps everyone to work through their problems and discover more about themselves. Located in Dubai Healthcare City, Block F, it’s open on Sunday and Monday from 8am to 7pm, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8am to 6pm and Thursday and Saturday from 9am to 5pm, with Fridays being closed. For more information visit Thrive Wellbeing Centre In a judgment-free environment, this clinic helps clients accomplish their goals while supporting them in a warm, empathic and seamless manner. Combining the latest research, the professionals know that mental health is just as important as physical health. From parenting support to individual therapy, the expert psychologists support people through a range of challenges including depression, anxiety, grief, relationship issues and trauma. The clinic also conducts a host of workshops for people together in a group. Located in Office 706-710, HDS Tower, Cluster F, it’s open from  Saturday-Thursday: 9am–8pm and Friday: 9am–5pm. For more information visit Wise Mind Centre This clinic is committed to building a sense of community and belonging ensuring that anyone who visits is never treated as an outsider. Creating a confidential space to explore and harbour lasting change, Wise Mind Center ensures its clientele is kept small for quality over quantity. With individual access to each therapist, the services are provided in Arabic, English and Dutch. Located in Lake Central Tower, 1209, Business Bay, it’s open daily from 10am to 8pm, except Friday’s are closed. For more information visit American Wellness Centre As the ever-increasing societal pace wears people down, the clinic was born to make the brunt of modern life a lot easier. This multi-specialty clinic ensures every session is carefully tailored as per the customer’s surrounding concerns. From mindfulness training to parenting skills training, both children and adults are looked after in a safe environment with highly qualified experts. Located in Al Faris Building 39, Dubai Healthcare City, it’s open from 8am to 10pm. For more information visit Camali Clinic With a step-by-step guided programme created to address any challenges, the clinic creates a personalised schedule to overcome each obstacle. By identifying the root cause of each patient’s personal challenges, clinically proven counselling sessions provide a holistic approach to addressing its client’s mental health. Various emotional and behavioural issues are addressed with love and support. With two locations, it’s situated in Block A, Ibn Sina building no. 27 in Dubai Healthcare City and Cluster M, HDS Center, in JLT. For more information visit – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram Images: Supplied & feature image: Unsplash @priscilla-du-preez More

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    How One Woman Overcame Diet Pill Addiction And Reclaimed Her Life

    Monique Eloff has regained control of her body and eating habits and is now South Africa’s own Supreme Queen Global Earth Africa. But when she was 18, a bad breakup saw her struggling with diet pill addiction. Here, she tells her story to inspire and educate other women about the dangers of weight loss pills and how she regained control of her body – and eating habits.

    The impetus

    For four years, Monique had been battling with her weight and was trying to shed unwanted kilos. In 2005, when Monique was 18, a heartbreaking break-up sent her into depression and she tried to regain control by becoming fixated on losing weight. “My addiction started after going through a major relationship breakup and my inability to deal with the pain, the loss, the rejection and feelings of ‘not being wanted’,” Monique reflects. “I became obsessed with losing weight.” Monique visited a dietician but it didn’t work, mostly, Monique thought, because of a hormone imbalance caused by prolonged chronic stress that threw things out of whack in her body.

    The beginning of a diet pill addiction

    Thereafter, Monique tried an endocrinologist, but her treatment was expensive and she opted out.

    It was around this time that Monique discovered weight loss pills. “I was introduced to a substance called ephedrine. In year one, I mixed ephedrine with cayenne pepper to make my own weight-loss tablets,” she says. “That worked really well. I started to lose weight and I experienced increased energy levels and I also experienced higher performance at varsity and even better grades in my studies.” Unfortunately, Monique started building up a tolerance to the drugs and needed more to keep losing weight. To get there, she turned to ephedrine in its purest form. “At certain points, I even refined it for snorting,” she confesses.

    “One thing led to another. I could not sleep because of the adrenaline rush effect one gets using ephedrine. Then, I started taking sleeping tablets at night. I could not eat, because ephedrine is a potent appetite suppressant and I battled with fatigue and in turn, balancing my studies and my part-time work became extremely difficult. I was already on my way to complete burnout. My ability to cope, concentrate and perform was diminished,” she says.

    READ MORE: 10 Wellness Quotes By Miss SA Natasha Joubert (That We Absolutely Loved!)

    The turning point

    There were signs of the diet pill addiction that others could see – but she couldn’t. For one, she had limited self-control, talked a lot and experienced severe reactions to stress.

    On the inside, Monique was privy to extreme thirst, heart palpitations and shakiness. She felt depressed, anxious and sensitive. “Ephedrine certainly kept the weight off but the weight of the addiction literally crushed the life out of me and it left me feeling a great deal of shame, guilt and regret,” she says.

    Added to that, she was experiencing gastrointestinal disorders, mood swings and shortness of breath. Her central nervous system was beginning to shut down and Monique was forced to get help. “I had no choice; my body made the decision for me,” she says. In 2007, Monique was hospitalised and underwent treatment.

    READ MORE: Author Janine Jellars Shares Her Simple Wellness Routine

    The change

    “I received treatment that was aimed at opening up the receptors in my brain in order for the normal flight or fight response mechanisms to start functioning again,” Monique explains. “My body experienced inefficiencies in secreting adrenalin, serotonin and other key hormones. I had a complete imbalance in my body.”

    With treatment, Monique slowly started to improve, but the road to healing was long. “Diet and sleep played a crucial part in my recovery. I had to teach my body what a normal healthy intake of food consisted of and looked like, at frequent and consistent intervals,” she says. “Over time my mood and concentration levels improved. I could literally feel balance coming back to my body, and it felt amazing. The toughest part was the realization of how far I’ve taken my addiction and the damage it has done. The impact it had on my loved ones. What I’ve lost in the process and the fact that I had to drop out of varsity in my third year. I felt like a complete failure. I think my mental scars outweigh the physical scars, and for me, the biggest battlefield was my mind.”

    READ MORE: Weight Loss Pills: We Delved Deep Into The Science To See If Any Actually Work

    The glow up

    Through all this, Monique feels that she’s grown a lot as a person. “My mess has become my message and today I get to tell my story unapologetically. I still have feelings of shame, guilt and regret; however, it shows that I am human and that it matters to me,” she says.

    Now, 16 years later, Monique is at a happy weight and is taking things further in her life, earning her spot as the reigning Supreme Queen Global Earth Africa for 2023. “My wounds have given me great wisdom,” she notes. “This journey on earth is all about unbecoming to become, letting go of the things that are no longer serving you well.” More

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    It’s Possible To Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, According To One Woman Who Did It 

    Type 2 diabetes is often referred to as a lifestyle disease. Even so, it can be a lot to manage, with injections and closely monitoring blood glucose levels throughout the day, as well as closely managing food intake to make sure levels don’t go off-kilter. But is it reversible? Some say yes, with a healthy lifestyle and most especially, with weight loss. One woman managed to remove the disease from her life when she underwent bariatric surgery and lost weight in the process. Here, Jo-Anne Campbell’s story of how she could reverse type 2 diabetes.

    It started with tumours

    My journey started very strangely, with my sister having a dream in 2010 that I would die in January 2011. She has a foresight for these things. I put this dream of hers aside just to be confronted with a hard reality in January 2011. It was a very hot day as I remember and I decided to drink my husband’s last beer in the fridge. After falling asleep for a few hours, I woke up with pain in my abdomen and found that it had swollen significantly. I looked nine months pregnant.

    After seeing specialists and having tests and scans done it was determined that my liver was the issue. The scans showed my liver, which looked like pencil holes punched in it. It contained 43 tumours called adenomas in it. Each tumour has a possible 3 percent of becoming cancerous. One of the tumours had bled inside itself and became hard. It measured 5 by 7 cm in size.

    At this stage, I developed diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. My specialist did not know what the tumours were exactly or how to treat them. Fortunately, I was referred to the best liver specialist in Africa. He could only remove four tumours – the liver and the tumours were fused together. There were just too many and because it was my hormones causing these tumours, I could not receive a liver transplant as my body would only make more tumours. The specialist did the surgery and it was successful. After one to two years, I managed to lose 20kg. I regained all and more weight over a span of five years and just accepted all the weight for another three years until I felt unwell again. I started eating increased portions and dropped all the exercise completely. That combination allowed the weight gain to increase. I weighed close to 110kg.

    Spiralling out of control

    With this increase in weight, my diabetes spiralled out of hand and no medication could help bring the sugar levels down. I was at this point very unhealthy and had to manage my increased blood pressure and diabetic medication. Every time the diabetic nurse saw me, she recommended to my doctor that they increase the insulin. In the end, I was on 120 units of insulin per day.

    I was plagued with exhaustion, not only physically but mentally as well. I became anxious when my sugar levels increased as well as my insulin medication at each visit with the diabetic nurse. That’s when I realized I was in a bad space regarding my health when one Sunday afternoon my left leg went numb and experienced heart palpitations. I thought I was going to have a stroke. That’s when I decided I was dying a slow death.

    The change

    I spoke to my doctor and told him I felt like I was dying and I knew I would not make it to 50 and my youngest child was only three years old at the time. With that, he gave me my last and most invasive option. Bariatric surgery, better known as a gastric bypass. That surgery happened in 2019 and has been very successful thus far. My diabetes disappeared within four days, as well as my high blood pressure and cholesterol.

    My lifestyle changed drastically after the surgery. I lost 35kg in ten months, a rapid change because of the reduction of my food intake and only managing to each certain food. After the operation, I could only manage a few tablespoons of soft foods a day. Then I could manage half a cup or 125ml three times per day. I drank a supplement most of the time. Now, I can manage about a 200ml of food but I must remember to eat slowly. I increased my exercise by two hours per day and started running.

    Jo-Anne Campbell who worked to reverse type 2 diabetes.

    The glow

    Now, I’m in a much healthier space. The bariatric surgery was by no means a quick fix. Life as I knew it changed drastically for me, especially after losing 35 kg in 10 months. I am able to do things like running, weight lifting and many other physical activities I never thought I would attempt.

    Today I feel like my past was a terrible dream that I woke up from. My confidence and energy levels have spiked instead of my glycaemic levels. I have a new love for life and have discovered that I should make the most of the health that I have gained during this time. I have no regrets about starting this journey as I can be alive to see my family grow and not have the fear of leaving them due to my health.

    Jo-Anne has written a book about her experience, called Memoirs of a Diabetic Survivor, available soon. More