More stories

  • in

    I Asked Shay Mitchell’s Trainer How to Get More Toned—Here’s What She Said

    You know her, you love her, and you grew up with her on Pretty Little Liars and rooted for her in You (I’m a Peach fan forever): Shay Mitchell is the relatable-but-stunningly-gorgeous queen we didn’t know we needed. Despite her unreal mansion, undeniable fame, and multi-million dollar company, she’s relatable enough to be our best friend (I mean, she posts herself eating pizza, so that’s something, right?). But there’s another superstar on her team who helps Shay be, well, Shay, and she’s becoming a celeb in her own right.
    Kelsey Heenan is a celebrity trainer, media personality, keynote speaker, and fitness host. Most recently, she was featured on Shay Mitchell’s workout series (it’s like breaking a sweat with Shay for free and from the comfort of your own home). What impressed me so much about Kelsey is not only that she has a celebrity clientele as impressive as her biceps, but her whole mission is to help people love and accept their bodies through food, nutrition, and mindset shifts. So, being the wellness nerd I am, you know I had to grill Kelsey for all her best nutrition and fitness tips to achieve your healthiest body ever. Read on for nine of her best secrets to crush a workout, eat foods that nourish your body, and help you get toned (Shay-Mitchell approved):

    Meet the expert
    Kelsey Heenan
    Celebrity Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and Co-Founder of HIIT BURN
    Kelsey has been featured in publications like Shape, Women’s Health, Forbes, and Nike Training, and she works with clients to improve their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies.

    1. Focus on progressive overload
    Between HIIT, yoga sculpt, or good old fashioned strength-training, there’s a lot of confusion over the best type of workout to get stronger, but Kelsey is a big believer that strengthening is as simple as increasing intensity overtime, whatever that looks like to you. Her #1 tip for clients looking to get stronger is progressive overload. “Over time, increase the amount of resistance and tension you are putting on your muscles. Simple examples of this are lifting heavier weights or increasing reps of challenging bodyweight strength movements like push-ups and pull-ups.”
    In other words, be strategic about reps and weights. When you feel comfortable with one weight or rep count, increase slightly for a greater challenge and to strengthen muscles (but make sure it doesn’t sacrifice form so you don’t risk injury!). Also, be patient. Don’t start with 10 pounds and expect to get to 30 pounds by the end of the week. Take a couple weeks to feel comfortable with 10 pounds, increase to 12-15 pounds for a week or two, then move up to 20 pounds, etc. 

    2. Aim for just five minutes
    Spoiler alert: Even celebrity trainers can lack motivation. Whether it’s a busy day, a change in seasons that makes you feel lethargic, or just a period of life where you don’t feel like getting to the gym, Kelsey tells her clients that the most important thing is just to do five minutes of something. “During days and seasons where it feels impossible to stay motivated, commit to moving for just five minutes,” she said. “Stretch, walk, or do some squats and push-ups. Once you start moving, it’s often easier to keep going. If you still aren’t feeling it after five minutes, then be done for the day. Either way, you stayed true to your commitment and did what you said you’d do.” No, you don’t need to fit in a 60-minute intense workout every day to be fit. You just need to commit to five minutes when you’re lacking motivation.

    3. Prioritize whole foods, but be flexible
    I’m a huge fan of Kelsey because even though she’s a celeb trainer and a top expert in health, her approach is, well, approachable. You know I had to pick her brain for her best nutrition tips (because I refuse to believe that Shay Mitchell eats nothing except pizza, as her Instagram portrays). Her answer: Prioritize whole foods, but be flexible. “Prioritize one-ingredient foods for the majority of your meals like meat, veggies, avocado, nuts, rice, fruit, etc., but also enjoy your favorite foods periodically,” she suggested. Your diet should not feel restrictive (that’s just a recipe for failure), and food should not be separated into two different lists of ‘Eat This’ and ‘Don’t Eat This.’” 
    Instead, a healthy diet is a series of mindful choices to nourish your body and mind as much as possible. Kelsey gave an example of being on vacation: If you know you’re hitting up a delicious pizza spot for lunch, choose a veggie omelet at breakfast instead of French toast or split the French toast with the table so you can have a few bites but can still prioritize nourishing protein and veggies. Bottom line: Make choices that make you feel good while still allowing yourself to eat your favorite foods. “If an approach to nutrition is too strict, it will always be a means to an end.”

    4. Make sure you enjoy the workout
    No matter what workout you heard is best for weight loss, toning, or strengthening, it doesn’t matter if you’re not enjoying it enough to want to do it consistently. When you’re busy or unmotivated, you’re not going to do a workout you dread or makes you bored. While Kelsey likes strength training and HIIT, she said the best type of workout is the one you enjoy most. “There are so many ways to work out; the best one is the one you’ll actually do.” You may have to experiment with various types of workouts, gyms, or even playlists for your daily walks, but try new things until you identify the perfect formula that you look forward to and enjoy, and adjust when you start to feel bored of the routine.

    5. Find a balance of cardio and strengthening (that’s right for you)
    As a wellness editor, I get asked all the time if strength-training or cardio is more important and if you really need both. For example, does a runner really need a day of weight-lifting, or does a gym rat really need to spend some time on the elliptical instead of just the weight floor? Naturally, I asked Kelsey, and she gave me all the tea. “Everyone should focus both on getting stronger and regularly getting their hearts pumping, but there are many ways you can do that,” she said.
    Yes, everyone needs a healthy balance of both cardio and strengthening, but that balance will look different to everyone. For strength-training, Kelsey suggested lifting weights, bodyweight exercises, or carrying heavy groceries as ways you’re working the muscles. Likewise for cardio, whether you’re going for a run, walking, doing HIIT, dancing, spin, hill sprints, or chasing your kid around the playground, you’ll be improving cardiovascular fitness for longterm health. “There is no one type of workout that everyone has to do to be healthy. Personally, I don’t like going on long runs and would instead lift weights while getting in cardio with sprints. I enjoy these things and they align with my goals.”

    6. Protein and carbohydrates are key before and after a workout
    So you’ve already mastered the eating-whole-foods-with-flexibility thing? If you’re looking to get even more specific, veggie-filled meals with a balance of fats, protein, and carbohydrates are always important, but Kelsey recommended especially focusing on protein and carbohydrates before and after workouts for energy and recovery. “Before a workout, protein and carbohydrates can give energy, while after a workout, they both help refuel the muscles,” she said. But before you grab protein powders or processed bars, try to refuel using whole foods. Kelsey is a fan of eggs and fruit, chicken and sweet potatoes or rice, and a protein shake with some fruit. But more importantly, get to know what’s right for your body. “Everyone is different, so identifying what foods help you feel fueled well is really important,” she suggested.

    7. Rest is crucial
    Do you feel like you’re lazy or behind if you take a day off? FYI, you’re not lazy or behind, you’re healthy. We’ve talked a lot about why rest days are not only crucial for recovery, but taking time off also helps you be as fit as possible, and Kelsey totally agreed. “Rest is essential,” she stressed. “Rest days help the body and mind repair and recover as well as help avoid injury and burnout.” Take at least one or two days off every week to do light stretching, relaxing yoga flows, or gentle walks. Also, prioritize sleep (yes, that means even before that early morning workout) and never overdo it with your workouts. Listen to your body when it’s asking for a break, knowing that your body cannot be its fittest, strongest, or healthiest without it. 

    8. Honor hunger and respect fullness
    Being toned and healthy is not only about what you eat but also when and how. Kelsey knows that true health is freeing, so she doesn’t coach her clients to count calories, weigh their food, or have intense restrictions. Bottom line: If you’re hungry, eat. “A lot of people try to ignore hunger cues and eat a small meal or wait until the next meal because they feel like they ‘shouldn’t’ be hungry but then end up thinking about food all day, snacking more, or overeating later,” she said. “It’s not a bad thing to be hungrier on some days than others. Honor the body by feeding it when it’s hungry, pay attention to when you are starting to feel full, and slow down to evaluate if your hunger is satisfied.”  

    9. Prioritize your relationship with your body
    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Mindset is everything. You can work out every day and eat totally plant-based at every meal, but if you don’t have a healthy relationship with your body, you cannot be truly healthy. Even if you’re looking to lose weight, look more toned, or change the way your body looks in any other way, you can still accept your body for where it is now. “There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to make changes to how your body looks, but even in the midst of body changes, we have to practice respect for our bodies,” Kelsey said. “Most people struggle with body image, but no matter your jeans size, it’s crucial to learn to accept the body.” 
    Why is body acceptance so important, besides that your mom used to tell you to love your body when you were in middle school? Negative language about our bodies can cut deep into our self-worth. We start working out and eating nutritious foods as a way to punish or change our bodies rather than because our bodies inherently deserve nourishment as they are. So how do we work on the relationship with our bodies? Kelsey recommended gratitude. “No one is going to love every part of their body every day, but practicing gratitude for what our bodies do for us will help us experience more grace and respect for our bodies.” Now that’s a fitness tip that I can get behind.

    7 Secrets To Maximize Your Workouts From a Personal Trainer


  • in

    The French Girl’s Guide to Self-Care

    “Self-care” has become one of the trendiest buzzwords: We spend money on scented candles, at-home facials, matcha lattes, and quinoa; meditation apps are as popular as the latest Netflix show; and if you’re not glowing with the confidence that comes with “I Woke Up Like This” athleisure style, you’re not doing self-care right. We Instagram our “true selves” with #nofilter and post mirror pictures of our fat rolls because models and fitness bloggers made it fashionable.
    While all of these wellness movements are promoting important (and even revolutionary!) ideas in body positivity and health, I learned after living in Paris that self-care looks a little different to French girls. Parisians do not always feel the need to spend fortunes on health treatments and workout classes, cook the latest health-food crazes from TikTok, or feel stressed out and guilty when they don’t fit in gratitude journaling or meditation. The way they care for themselves is muted, private, and not trend-driven at all. Read on for five lessons I learned about self-care from Parisian women.

    1. They indulge regularly in what they enjoy
    No doubt, Parisians will have a glass of wine with lunch or an Èclair au Chocolat after work for no other reason besides wanting to enjoy it. Because they don’t fight cravings, you’d rarely find a Parisian overindulging. She enjoys every bite because she does not restrict herself from eating what she wants or hate herself when she indulges. PSA: Joy is a nutrient too. Yes, caring for yourself means giving your body nutrients that help you feel your best, but it also means knowing that food (and life) is meant to be enjoyed. 

    2. They accept their flaws
    No one is totally exempt from insecurities and pressure, Parisian or not. We can (and should) all be working on more self-acceptance, but I did notice a difference in how we think about and address our insecurities. When I left for Paris, I had the mindset of covering up flaws with makeup and fake tanner and adapting my beauty routine to whatever was trending or considered “beautiful” in society. I soon learned that covering up flaws is not very French. Parisians know how to accentuate, appreciate, live with, and maybe even love flaws. Makeup is used to emphasize unique features and fashion is used to show off curves instead of hide them. Parisians show up consistently as who they truly are rather than faking the beauty trend, clothing style, or personality du jour. 

    3. They are choosy with friendships
    Maybe you’ve heard the stereotype that the French can be cold or abrupt (I did not find that in my experience, BTW). I don’t think they get this reputation from actually being rude; rather, they’re selective about who they give their time and energy to. When I first arrived in Paris, mon professeur gave me tips on assimilating to French culture. I’ll never forget hearing that topics like religion and politics are commonly discussed with friends, coworkers, and strangers alike. Small talk like the weather that is considered “polite” to Americans is simply boring, and Parisians would rather talk about things that matter, even with a stranger on a bus or during dinner with friends.
    I found that French women are less likely to be “fake-nice” to someone they dislike out of politeness and won’t waste time or energy with people who don’t bring them joy. Therefore, friendships are always deep, meaningful, and lifelong. They find the people they click with and then are fiercely loyal to those friendships. After all, one of the best ways we can care for ourselves is to foster joy in our connections with other people we care about. 

    4. They have rituals that they stick to
    I’ll admit I’m a sucker for basically any new wellness fad or self-care trend (as a wellness editor, I tell myself it’s all for “research”). In France, you’re less likely to find cycling wellness trends or health practices that come and go. Instead, French women have tried-and-true go-tos for when they’re feeling extra stressed or their pores need unclogging (many that they learned from their mothers instead of fashion magazines). Bottom line: They prioritize rituals and routines that work for them instead of what’s making headlines, and they listen to what their bodies need, knowing they have an arsenal of go-to rituals to help it feel its best. 

    5. They prioritize simplicity
    There’s a reason infamous French beauty routines consist of a good moisturizer, a swipe of mascara, and smudged eyeliner: Parisians know that simple is best, and that goes for other areas of life too. Their meals aren’t complicated or packaged. Instead, they keep it simple: a cup of espresso, freshly baked bread, or a homemade salad dressing with Dijon, vinegar, and olive oil. They find pleasure in the details, indulge in whole ingredients, and spend money on the highest quality of fewer things instead of the cheapest, biggest, and fastest. The book French Women Don’t Get Fat explains that French women eat fewer, whole, high-quality ingredients instead of stocking a pantry full of complicated vegan snack foods in the name of health (not to out myself or anything) or grabbing something quick on the go. 

    I Used Self-Care as a Cop Out for Self-Love More

  • in

    10 Celebrity Workouts You Can Try at Home RN

    PSA: Most celebs credit more than just good genes for their I-woke-up-like-this glow or flawless looks. It’s not like there’s something in the Hollywood water that keeps every A-lister in tip top shape and otherworldly beautiful (but if there is, I will get to the bottom of it). Most celebrities have entire teams behind them to help them be their best selves and put in a lot of effort to get fit for a movie or build up endurance for a world tour. 
    Lucky for us, celebrities are no longer just faces in our favorite films or voices on the radio. It’s the age of social media—we can look to the stars for hair inspo or beauty tips and can even use celebrities to plan workouts. Our favorite stars and their famous trainers have been sharing at-home workouts on their social media accounts so that us mere mortals have access to the behind-the-scenes teams, getting our own sip of the Hollywood water. Here are 10 celebrity workouts that you can do (for free!) RN:

    What you’ll need: One set of medium to heavy weights

    What you’ll need: One set of light weights and one set of medium to heavy weights

    3. Lizzo’s Strength Training Intervals

    @lizzoSeen a lot of slim chicks posting they workouts on here so I thought I’d join the fun. If you’re watching this just know you’re beautiful!♬ Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott) – Lizzo

    What you’ll need: Cable ropes and resistance bands or hand weights

    [embedded content]
    What you’ll need: A medicine ball, resistance band, and one set of medium to heavy weights

    What you’ll need: A 10- to 25-pound kettlebell, Bosu ball, and a set of medium weights

    [embedded content]
    What you’ll need: A long resistance band and a set of sliders (or use a folded-up towel!)

    What you’ll need: A Yoga mat or soft surface

    [embedded content]
    What you’ll need: A pair of light to medium weights

    [embedded content]
    What you’ll need: A yoga mat or soft surface

    [embedded content]
    What you’ll need: A yoga mat or soft surface

    The Best Workout Equipment You Can Get on Amazon More

  • in

    Sit at a Desk All Day? We Asked a Physical Therapist What To Do About It

    It’s currently month who-knows-what of working from home. After months of jumping from the couch to the desk to the kitchen table, I finally decided it was time to upgrade my WFH situation to a legit office setup (#adulting). But thanks to the countless hours I’ve logged hunched over a laptop, I’ve noticed my posture has gotten worse, my neck and shoulders are stiffer than ever, and my back is in knots. Sound familiar? I think all of our bodies could use a major mobility tune-up, but who has unlimited funds to have a masseuse on speed dial (a girl can dream)?
    According to, the average person sits for 12 hours a day. If you’re like me and go from sitting at a desk to sitting on the couch after work, those hours are much longer. With endless to-do lists, back-to-back meetings, and unlimited binge-worthy Netflix shows, it’s easy for me to let hours pass without moving. So how do we be more mindful throughout the workday and feel our best? I asked my physical therapist Kayla Hamm, PT, DPT at Myodetox to share her top tips and tricks to giving your body all the TLC it needs. The best part? They won’t cost you a dime. Read on for Hamm’s expert advice and four at-home mobility movements that will have you saying “bye-bye” to your aches and pains and “hello” to a healthy bod. 

    Meet the expert
    Kayla Hamm, PT, DPT
    Physical Therapist for Myodetox
    Kayla Hamm is a licensed physical therapist and personal trainer in West Hollywood, California with a background in sports rehab and performance training. She has worked with a wide range of professional and college athletes as well as patients dealing with chronic pain and neurological dysfunction.

    How to change up your routine for a healthier body

    1. Build movement breaks into your schedule
    We rely on our calendars to keep us on task and make sure we don’t miss a beat. If it’s not scheduled into our busy day, chances are, it won’t get done. Therefore, Hamm suggested adding a minimum of three to four 10-minute movement blocks into your schedule. The idea is to stop what you’re doing when that reminder pops up and get your blood pumping. These movement breaks will allow your mind and body to come up for air and, in turn, prevent burnout (yes, please!). Even just a 10-minute walk on your lunch break or a 10-minute yoga flow in between meetings can make a huge difference.

    2. Switch things up
    I don’t know about you, but I can work for hours straight without even realizing I haven’t moved once all day. As tempting as it might be to power through the workday at your desk, Hamm advised against it. “Changing positions every hour is ideal,” she said. For example, the change can be as simple as alternating between sitting and standing, moving from your desk to a couch so your body can sit in different positions, or heading to a nearby coffee shop to fit in a quick walk and change of scenery. And if you do like standing (we stan a standing desk!), “it’s OK to shift your weight from left to right. You don’t have to stand rigidly and distribute your weight evenly all the time,” Hamm explained. Whether you park it at home or turn your favorite coffee shop into your office, think of changing your position every hour.

    3. Start your day on the right foot
    Picture this: Your alarm goes off and you immediately reach for your phone to scroll through Instagram (after hitting snooze a few times). We all do it, but taking the opportunity to move your body instead of scroll through your phone is crucial. Hamm said to ditch the phone and get yourself moving first thing in the morning. “Whether it’s walking your dog, following a stretch video on YouTube, or jumping on your Peloton, making movement a priority sets the tone for the day,” Hamm said. Bonus points if you get your sweat on, but it doesn’t have to be long or rigorous in order to make a drastic difference in your body. “Do something intentional with your body every morning, even if it’s 15-20 minutes,” Hamm suggested. Your body will thank you.

    Poses to try at home
    Below, Hamm breaks down four easy-to-do mobility movements you can do at your workspace or at home. Spoiler alert: Not only will your posture improve and your stiffness dissipate, but Hamm said that these exercises have also been shown to decrease cortisol and increase work performance. Need I say more?  

    1. Seated Cat-Cow
    [embedded content]
    Take a seat at the edge of your chair with your feet planted hip-width apart. Placing your hands over your chest, inhale and begin lifting your chest and eyes up toward the sky, lengthening through the back of the spine. As you exhale, turn your gaze down and bring your chin toward your chest. Continue to deepen the stretch by rounding the back until you’ve come to your end range. Alternate between these two movements about eight to 10 times as you inhale and exhale. 

    2. Seated Figure Four
    [embedded content]
    Sit up tall in your chair with both feet planted hip-distance apart. Cross your right leg over your left thigh, then place the outside of your right ankle just above your left knee, creating a Figure “4.” Slowly hinge forward without rounding the spine until you feel a mild stretch on the outside of your right hip. Hold this for one to two deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat five times before switching sides. 

    3. Standing Lateral Line Stretch
    [embedded content]
    Stand with the right side of your body next to a wall or chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot over your left and drive your hips away from the wall or chair. Next, raise your left hand up toward the sky and gently reach toward the wall or chair until you feel a stretch along the left side of your body. Return to the starting position and repeat six to eight times before switching sides.

    4. Standing Posterior Chain Stretch 
    [embedded content]
    Stand behind the back of your chair and fully extend your arms forward, placing your hands about shoulder-width apart on the chair. Keeping the arms outstretched, slowly shift your hips back while softening the knees until you feel a light stretch in the back of the legs and arms. Hold this position for one to two deep breaths and then return to a tall standing position. Complete six to eight reps.

    How to Improve Your Posture While Working From Home More

  • in

    9 Ways to Become a Morning Person (And Not Feel Miserable)

    As someone who is used to staying up until early hours of the morning to write (it’s good for the creative process) and has been known to not eat dinner until 9 p.m., I am a self-proclaimed night owl at heart. I’ve always pictured “morning people” as those irritatingly chipper, yoga-at-sunrise-just-for-fun, birds-help-you-get-dressed-in-the-morning type of people. *Major eye roll.* But here’s the funny thing about becoming an adult: Unless you have a cool job like an entertainer on a cruise or a night-shift security guard (Night at the Museum style), you kind of have to become a morning person if you want to be as healthy, productive, and happy as possible.
    I’ve been on a long quest to become said “morning person.” My quest is especially interesting because I live on the West Coast but my office is based in Chicago, which means my workday starts at 6:30 a.m. I had to get serious about becoming a morning person (like a real morning person) if I wanted to have a morning routine. And guess what? With a few tips, tricks, and early morning hacks, it happened. And if it happened to me, it can happen to you. So here are nine ways you (yes, you!) can become a morning person without having to fake it.

    1. Create a ritual you look forward to (even if that means waking up earlier than you need to)
    Not all of us can be the wake-up-and-workout type of people. If the thought of 50 squats or a yoga flow gets you pumped to get up and going, more power to you. But if you’re not the kind of person who gets excited for exercise, don’t force yourself into it first thing in the morning. You’ll get up much earlier and easier when you’re getting up for something you’re looking forward to the night before. My ritual consists of a cup of coffee, telling Alexa to play French café music, and reading for 20 minutes. But if French music doesn’t relax you and coffee isn’t your thing, don’t do my ritual—find your own. What’s something that centers you, inspires you, or gets you excited? Is it 20 minutes of meditation, taking your time to cook a nourishing breakfast, or a 10-step skincare routine? Rearrange the way you plan your mornings so that they’re not spent rushing out the door with a smoothie to-go but instead an entire ritual that you look forward to the night before.

    2. Streamline your morning routine
    In order to make extra room for all the good things you will look forward to, take care of all the things you won’t look forward to the night before. Make a list of every little thing you do in the morning that doesn’t bring you joy. Is there any way you can do these things the night before or at least do some prep work so it takes less time tomorrow? For example, make your lunch, clean the kitchen, get gas for your car, pack your gym bag, and lay out your outfit before your head even hits the pillow. Do everything you can to make sure you wake up every morning feeling prepared, calm, and ready for the day.

    3. Go to sleep five minutes earlier each night
    So you know you need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but how many of us are actually getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night? The honest answer: not many. Of course you will struggle to wake up if your body needs more sleep. While an earlier wake-up time is the goal, in order to feel your best, you still need to reach those seven to nine hours. To train your body, start by getting into bed five minutes earlier. The next night, get into bed five minutes earlier than that. In just two weeks, you’ll be getting into bed over an hour earlier. Not only will it seamlessly adjust your body so you’re not lying in bed awake, but for those of you who are thinking, “I don’t have time to go to bed earlier!”, you’ll realize you actually do. Everybody has five minutes to spare. 

    4. Get natural light right away
    The first step after your alarm goes off should be to open your curtains or blinds so you’re getting light right away. Sunshine isn’t just a cheery way to start a new day; it’s a physiological need to wake up and feel energized. According to Sleep Advisor, sunlight tells the body to suppress melatonin, or the chemical that makes us fall asleep. In other words, natural light tells your body that it’s time to wake up even better than a cup of coffee can. If you’re waking up earlier than the sun or don’t have access to natural light first thing in the morning, try a wake-up light alarm clock that mimics the sunrise. Take “rise and shine” seriously, people! 

    5. Make it a habit
    Habits make change possible because they free our minds from decision making. In other words, morning people don’t think about getting up early, they just do. So don’t just set your alarm and hope for the best; know that early rising takes time to become a habit, and put in the work for a couple of weeks or until your body is used to the early wake-up call. As tempting as it may be to sleep in on weekends, try to wake up within an hour of your weekday wake-up time, at least while your body’s getting used to it. Use apps like Streaks to hold you accountable and help you make early rising a habit.

    6. Try “inverted snoozing”
    “Inverted snoozing” is kind of like playing a mind game on yourself. While it may sound silly, this technique has been the only thing to effectively break my snooze button habit. The trick is that you actually do hit the snooze button, but you don’t keep sleeping. For nine minutes (one snooze cycle), I do everything I can to not go back to sleep: brush my teeth, open the blinds, drink water, make a cup of coffee, etc. The trick is that I tell myself that once the snooze cycle ends, I actually can go back to sleep if I’m still tired. However, nine minutes of activity is more than enough time to tell the body to wake up. I’ve never felt the need to go back to sleep after the nine minutes are up, but having a fixed milestone (nine minutes) feels much easier than willing myself to wake up for the whole day.

    7. Don’t check your phone or computer for 30 minutes after waking up
    My typical morning goes like this: I groggily shut off my alarm clock, lay in bed for approximately 60 seconds while internally complaining that nap time isn’t a thing for adults too, and then grab my phone and scroll through Instagram for five to 10 minutes (or until I can will my tired body to get out of bed). Starting your day off with a scroll through social media instills in your mind that you’re already missing out on something. Plus, that’s approximately 10 minutes (more like 20, if we’re being honest) that I could spend doing something good for me. Break yourself of your phone habit by not checking texts, calls, or even emails until at least 30 minutes after waking. If it’s too hard to resist, keep your phone in a different room and use an actual alarm clock to wake you up.

    8. Work on saying “no”
    Ah, the mythical work-life balance: It’s an age-old conundrum that few claim to achieve and most struggle to find. But no one said balancing your well-being with professional and personal responsibilities would be easy. The truth is that getting enough sleep and feeling good the next morning requires mastering the art of saying “no.” If your roommate presses you to watch another episode of Love Island or your boss assigns you a last-minute project that will take you all night, don’t people-please your way out of your chance at better sleep. Of course, there will be the nights that are worth losing sleep for (life is about enjoyment, after all), but don’t stay up until midnight watching TV because you don’t want to say no to your roommate, and try suggesting to your boss that you’ll do better on the project the following day when you’ve had ample time to recharge.

    9. Schedule more things in your week that you look forward to
    Your appointment book or weekly calendar might be reserved for work meetings and doctor’s appointments, but start scheduling in things you’re excited about and can look forward to all week long. Honor and respect those “appointments” as you would everything else in your calendar because they’re actually just as important. Have at least one thing scheduled every day that you look forward to, whether it’s after-work drinks with coworkers, a fun Zumba class, or a packed lunch you’re especially excited to eat. Don’t go through every day following the same routine and going through the motions and to-do lists. The simplest way to get yourself out of bed: Give yourself a reason to get out of bed.

    The Morning Routine I Follow For the Busiest Work-From-Home Days More

  • in

    7 Weight Loss Tips You Haven’t Tried Yet (We Promise)

    I’ve been writing about health for years and have coached dozens of women through their health journeys. In my experience, I’ve learned that nothing is as clickable or buzzworthy as weight loss tips. However, what makes headlines doesn’t usually pan out in everyday life, and the universal obsession with weight loss is not a sign that we’re prioritizing our health but rather that we don’t feel worthy as we are. If you clicked on this article expecting the usual “Eat less sugar” or “Do a HIIT workout” tips, know that that is not what this is. This is not your typical weight loss article you’ll read through and feel discouraged by at the end or forget to actually apply to your life. 
    And that’s because Dr. Adrienne Youdim is not your typical weight loss specialist. She isn’t telling her patients to count calories or work out more as a solution. Instead, she focuses on the “why” behind both the desire to lose weight and the inability to lose weight to help each patient achieve self-love and lasting healthy habits. Dr. Youdim is an internist who specializes in weight loss and nutrition and served as the medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Center for Weight Loss before opening up her own private practice in Beverly Hills. Read: She’s helped a lot of patients achieve (and maintain) a healthy weight.
    As if her long list of credentials and experience wasn’t enough, she’s also the author of the book Hungry For More, which explains how our emotions or life circumstances affect weight. While she’s a weight loss expert on paper, she’s not like any other weight loss expert. She not only changes her patients’ numbers on the scale but also changes their lives. Struggling with reaching the weight you want to be? Read on for Dr. Youdim’s best tips to achieving your best self. 

    Meet the expert
    Dr. Adrienne Youdim, MD, FACP
    An internist who specializes in medical weight loss and nutrition
    Dr. Youdim served as medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Weight Loss Center before opening her own practice in Beverly Hills. She wrote the book “Hungry For More,” an empowering memoir and how-to guide for women looking to reach their health goals and love their bodies.

    1. Start with mindset
    When you want to change your weight, what’s the first thing you do? Do you start cutting out sugars or processed carbs or increasing your workouts? Dr. Youdim suggested that before any tangible goal, habit, or action, you must work on mindset first if you want to achieve your goal weight (and then sustain it). “How we approach a habit is so critical to our ability to change in a durable or lasting way,” she said. “Without a proper mindset to address the process, the ups and downs, the waning motivation, the negative self-talk, and all the other mental barriers we create, we will not be able to maintain the necessary changes that result in healthy weight.” 
    First, identify why you want to change your weight. Is it to feel best in your body, to live a long and happy life, or to get more energy? Coming back to this core motivation frequently will help you stay inspired and make changes based on self-love instead of self-consciousness (more on that below). But if your reasons have more to do with not feeling enough as you are, disliking your body, or because someone else told you you have to, you won’t achieve what you’re looking to feel, no matter what pant size you get to. 

    2. Identify the “why” behind your eating patterns
    If you feel disconnected from your eating habits, are unable to control yourself, or eat more than you know you need, the problem is not your “laziness” or “lack of willpower.” The problem is that you’re suppressing an emotional need that you’re subconsciously using food to attempt to soothe. In fact, Dr. Youdim wrote an entire book about the emotional reasons most of us eat a certain way or have certain cravings. “So many of us use food to soothe—this is actually hardwired in our neurobiology,” Dr. Youdim explained. You might think you’re craving a donut or absolutely need a slice of pizza, but your body is actually trying to tell you it needs something else, whether it’s a break, stress relief, emotional comfort, or something deeper. “Know what you are trying to soothe with food. We need to identify what is at the root of our ‘hunger.’ What are you truly hungry for?” 

    We need to identify what is at the root of our ‘hunger.’ What are you truly hungry for?

    3. Focus on your routine
    Imagine this: You’ve (finally) reached your goal weight, so you become less conscious about keeping up those healthy habits and then are frustrated when your body goes back to its old ways. Or maybe you eat more plants, exercise more, and prioritize sleep for a week, and then you get annoyed and stop because you saw no changes after those seven days. Or you’ve tried diet after diets for years, always hop onto different workouts, and never stick to your meditation practice. Sound familiar? The key you might be missing is routine.
    “Routine is critical. It allows us to show up for ourselves, even when we don’t feel like it. Every practice that helps us achieve a goal weight help us maintain healthy weight as well.” Be patient with your body. Know that physical changes take time, and you should find comfort instead of frustration in the practices you do for your body. Turn practices that make your body feel good into habits, and give your body some consistency. 

    4. Stop restricting
    In the past, you might have restricted calories or food groups in order to lose weight. You might have tracked macronutrients in an app or cut out dairy or sugar, all in the name of a few less pounds. Maybe your doctor or nutritionist even told you to restrict, so you were convinced it was a healthy way to lose weight rather than a detrimental practice that could cause weight gain or disordered eating. In reality, restricting and limiting might be stopping you from achieving your health goals. “Restriction invariably makes us want to do the very thing we are trying to restrict: It focuses attention on scarcity, which makes the body thinks it needs more of that food. Restriction also causes hunger, which is just not sustainable,” Dr. Youdim said.
    So how do you eat for weight loss instead? “I tell my clients and patients to eat in terms of abundance. Eat so much of what serves you, so that you have less room for what doesn’t.” Yes, that means add more plants to every meal, and you’ll be subconsciously crowding out the foods that don’t make you feel good. Most importantly, eat intuitively rather than based on numbers or percentages.

    5. Eat your protein
    Between Keto Diet, low-carb, high-fiber, and everything in between, there’s a lot of confusion over the best type of diet and what percentage of macronutrients is best for reaching a goal weight. While the most important step for actually being healthy is to stop worrying so much about dieting and percentages (see #4), Dr. Youdim said that a common issue she sees with her patients is not enough protein. “Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and also helps preserve muscle mass, which then preserves a healthy metabolism,” she said. But before you pull out your macronutrient-tracking app and load up on protein powders, focus on adding more whole foods and nutrient-rich plants to your diet while also eating a balance of clean protein sources like fish, chicken, eggs, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, etc.

    6. Improve your sleep and stress levels
    If the only factors you’ve considered in your weight loss journey are nutrition and fitness, you’re missing out on key players that can make or break reaching (and keeping) your goal weight. Stress levels and sleep are just as important as food and exercise when it comes to being healthy and reaching a healthy weight. But don’t believe me: Ask Dr. Youdim. “Sleep is crucial. Countless studies show that sleep deprivation results in surging hunger hormones, greater appetite for calorie-dense foods, and weight gain. Stress is also a huge contributor, and it affects our hunger too, both physiologic and emotional.” Your health plan and wellness routine need to include a sleep-care routine and stress-relief plan (whether its daily meditation, weekly therapy, or all of the above). 

    You don’t accept your body once when you reach certain health goals. You can reach health goals because you accept and love your body.

    7. Love yourself as you are now (no, really)
    While this might sound like some fluffy self-help advice your mom used to tell you in middle school, it is actually tangible, concrete advice to reach your goal weight. “We can want to change our bodies and still accept ourselves as we are in this moment,” Dr. Youdim explained. “This is critical because we’ll sabotage ourselves if we don’t accept ourselves. Picture this: You get on a scale and are disappointed at the results. If you accept yourself and hold that disappointment with compassion, you’ll be able to focus your attention on the habits you want to adopt. If you don’t accept yourself (i.e. you get mad at yourself, put yourself down, or feel hopeless), you’re more likely to throw in the towel.” 
    In other words, you don’t accept your body once when you reach certain health goals; you can reach health goals because you accept and love your body as it is right now. Love yourself first, and then make changes or form habits because you know what your body deserves. For tips on where to start with self-love and body acceptance, click here for expert advice or here for 10 ways to love yourself more. 

    This article is intended to provide inspiration to help you reach your health goals, not as treatment for an eating disorder. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or with disordered thoughts or behaviors regarding food and eating, please seek help. Call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 for support, reach out to a qualified medical professional, or, for a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.

    Why Losing Weight Didn’t Make Me Love Myself More
    and what actually did instead More

  • in

    How to Get Over the Fear of Not Being Good Enough

    I was terrified to start my own business. Even after years of success, I have fearful moments every day. Sometimes I worry that I’m not smart enough, not productive enough, or not talented enough to make this work. I’ll tell myself that I’m not competent enough to be successful, while other days I’m convinced that any success I’ve had thus far is a fluke, due to luck and timing (not my own skill and hard work). Of course, some days I feel more confident, but it’s hard to avoid the fear of not being good enough or feeling like an imposter. 
    The fear of not being “good enough” is pervasive. No matter how much success we get, we still doubt if we truly deserve it. And it’s not just in our professional lives: we might worry we’re not good enough in our relationships and friendships, or as a parent. No matter how universal the feeling is, it doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) the norm. It’s detrimental to our personal lives, professional goals, and, most importantly, the relationship we have with ourselves. Read on for how to get over the feeling of not being good enough, once and for all. 

    So why can’t you get over feeling inadequate?
    There are a lot of factors that can contribute to not feeling good enough, like the unrealistic portrayal of women in the media, pressure from external sources like a parent or boss, or our own lack of self-confidence. If we recognize and pay attention to the source of our self-doubt, there’s a greater likelihood that we’ll be conscious of it and able to work through it once it starts to creep in. No matter what the root of your imposter syndrome is, it likely comes from one (or both) of the biggest proponents of low self-worth. Read on to for the two reasons you’re not able to get over the fear of not being good enough:

    You’re constantly comparing yourself to others
    As a society, we’ve identified tangible markers of success: a nice house, a long term relationship, making a certain salary, or a certain body type. We compare ourselves to friends, family members, and accounts on social media who have reached these “accomplishments,” regardless what their reality might actually be like. Social media plays a huge factor because it’s easy to compare the worst parts of your life to the highlight reel of someone else’s. We’re constantly being bombarded with and exposed to people that have what we want or are doing something better. 

    You have high expectations of yourself
    Sometimes the fear of not being enough comes from internal, rather than external sources. If you call yourself a perfectionist or rarely pause to celebrate goals you reach and instead focus on reaching the next one, your own expectations might be setting you up for imposter syndrome. As Brené Brown writes in The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, “Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect.”
    Of course, you should be setting high expectations, prioritizing self-improvement, and pushing yourself to pursue your greatest goals. After all, you are worthy and deserving of so much, and you should know how much you can (and will!) accomplish. But you can still love who and where you are right now while still looking forward to your future. If it feels like you’re never reaching goals or living up to expectations, they might be unrealistic and impossible. 

    3 ways to get over the fear of not being good enough: 
    Be honest and ask for help
    If we were all a little bit more transparent about our lives, fears, and where we feel we’re falling short, we might learn that no one has it all together and very few people actually feel “good enough.” When one person is brave enough to share where they feel inadequate, everyone feels permission to do the same. Plus, when you ask a coworker for help with a skill you fall short in, lean on your significant other during a difficult week, or open up to your best friend about your insecurities, you’d be surprised to find that no one else expects you to be perfect expect you, and that falling short is actually normal. We are not “good enough” when we can do it all perfectly or achieve a certain body type. We’re good enough as we currently are, knowing when to ask for help and being open about where we’re struggling. 

    Identify what you truly want out of life
    When I find myself in comparison mode, I try to decipher between my perception and reality. It may seem like my college friend’s side business is way more successful than mine is, but how am I defining success? Is it because she has more Instagram followers or has a fancier website? Success can mean so many different things, whether it’s the ability to have a flexible schedule or passion for what you’re doing. Someone else’s definition of success doesn’t necessarily have to be mine, and success very rarely looks the same for everyone.
    The same thing goes for standards of beauty: The ideal body that you feel best in should look and feel vastly different from everyone else’s. When you find yourself feeling lesser than out of comparison to other people, whether it’s their career, relationship, or body type, identify if what you’re comparing is truly what would make you happy. Happiness looks and feels differently to everyone. Identify if these comparisons would actually matter to you, or if you’re just caught up in the mindset of not being good enough. 

    Realize and remember the wins
    When you find yourself comparing your behind-the-scenes to the perfectly-filtered highlight reel of someone else’s life, remember that everyone has private struggles,  failures, and insecurities. There is no such thing as a perfect career, relationship, body, or life, so instead of focusing on where you inevitably aren’t “perfect,” focus on where you do have success. For every missed opportunity, mistake, or flaw, you have so much more to be proud of. When we’re bogged down by where we fall short, we’re blind to everything we do have going for us. Take more time to notice your strengths, successes, and wins. Write them down and return to them when you need to.

    7 Steps to Take When Imposter Syndrome Creeps In More

  • in

    How To Turn a Detox Into a Lifestyle

    Juice cleanses run rampant on our favorite celebrities’ Instagrams, popular headlines promise recipes for three-day detoxes, and the number of retreats dedicated to detoxification has spiked in the past few years, as more and more people are looking for a quick detox after an indulgent weekend or before a big event.
    “Detox” is such a trendy word, but what does it even mean? “Toxins are toxic molecules that can be ingested by the body through external sources,” explained Dr. Alejandro Junger, MD, an LA-based cardiologist, founder, and medical director of the Clean Program and best-selling author (and also commonly known as “the father of detox”). “Fortunately, a majority of these toxins can be converted and expelled, thanks to the ‘detoxification system’ in the body,” Dr. Junger said. That’s right, the body is meant to detoxify all on its own (no pricey juice cleanse required). 

    However, if there’s an overexposure, the body cannot work fast enough to get rid of them all. Plus, the liver, digestive system, and kidneys need some TLC in order to do their job. For more information on what “detoxifying” really means, click here, but the bottom line is that you know your body works best when you treat it well, and that goes for the detoxification system too. In other words, a three-day diet or wellness retreat isn’t how you detoxify. Instead, you treat your body a certain way that helps the body’s detoxification system in the long run. So stop the juice cleanse, cancel your short-term meal prep subscription, and get on with your life already! (In a detoxifying way, of course.) Here’s how.

    Get in your greens daily
    No surprise: What you eat matters. But you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) focus on cutting out food groups or limiting what you can and cannot eat (that can lead to bingeing or an unhealthy relationship with food). Instead, focus on adding in more of the fruits and veggies that support the body’s natural detoxification process. Leafy greens are especially beneficial, so aim to add them into at least two meals a day. For example, add spinach to an omelet, throw kale in a pasta sauce, and order a side salad when you’re eating out, or check out some of these delicious ways to eat your greens.

    Increase your water intake
    “Drink more water and stay hydrated, as water helps the kidneys flush out toxins more easily,” suggested Dr. Chris Airey, MD, the medical director at Optimale and a practicing physician with the NHS. One of the major ways we get rid of those toxins is through—you guessed it—our urine. So not only does hydration assist the kidney’s flush of toxins, but it also makes you urine more frequently, meaning you’re eliminating more toxins (so I guess it’s not a badge of honor that you can hold it through a six-hour flight?). Forget detox teas, powders, or juices. All you need is good ol’ fashioned water to help the body get rid of what it needs to. 

    Opt for organic when available
    Do you ask every restaurant you go to for their list of organic vs. conventional farms and grocers or only eat at a salad bar if every item is certified organic? No, you can enjoy your life and get in those fruits and veggies wherever you can. However, if you’re deciding what type of produce to get when shopping for your home, consider going organic when possible. “By purchasing organic foods, you can avoid many herbicides, pesticides, and other hormones that contribute to toxic waste,” explained Dr. M. Kara, MD, a longtime doctor at The Cleveland Clinic and founder of KaraMD.

    Move the body every day
    Exercise is good for your strength, mood, and well-being—all things that help keep your body working as it should. As if you needed more reasons to exercise, sweating is another form of detox that your body naturally does on its own. “Exercise promotes lymphatic circulation and sweat, both of which are crucial to the body’s detoxification process,” explained Dr. Airey. The lymphatic system is another important part of the body’s detoxification, and one of the ways to move “waste” to the lymph nodes is through moving and working the muscles. Plus, sweat not only expends electrolytes and water, it also rids the body of toxins. Win, win! 

    Make changes to your home
    Besides just helping your body be healthy overall so it can work optimally, you can also make some changes to avoid exposure to toxins to reduce the amount of detoxification the body has to do on a regular basis. Many toxins are unavoidable (especially in our modern world), but be aware of where you can make simple swaps or changes that are not only better because they reduce your body’s exposure to toxins but are also better for the planet. There are lots of different ways to reduce your toxin exposure, so it’s all about identifying which ways are best for your lifestyle. A few examples are filtering your air at home or using non-toxic/clean cosmetics, toiletries, and laundry products.

    How to Detox Your Sleep Routine More