You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

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We all know that eating out, especially at fast food restaurants, is not usually the healthiest option. Eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium, and saturated fat for an entire day, but, of course, the fast-and-easy temptation is tough to resist. However, as an informed customer, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the convenience of fast food restaurants. Here are a few of my tips for enjoying fast food in a “healthy” way:

•    Drink water with your meal. If you’re going to indulge in fast food, skip the soda all together. There is nothing nutritious about soda!

•    Watch portion size. I always order a small size to help reduce unneeded calories and fat. If the “small” is not that small, I will share it with Mal or take the other half home for later.

•    Make careful selections. I pay attention to menu descriptions and sometimes ask employees for clarification about a particular menu item, if needed. Seemingly healthy items can be deep-fried, batter-dipped or breaded, which adds extra calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats to the meal. Similarly, if nutritional information is available on-site or on-line, I will check it out before I make my meal decision.

•    Nix the extras. For example, if you order a burger, nix the cheese and/or “special” sauce, and eat your burger plain or with healthy toppings like lettuce, tomato, salsa, pickles, etc. Same goes for salads: I order mine without cheese and the dressing on the side.

•    Eat mindfully. Savor each bite, chew your food thoroughly, stop eating when you are full, and try to avoid eating on the run.

•    Enjoy the splurge! And don’t feel guilty about it! Of course, moderation is key, but if I over-do-it, I just get back on track the very next day with extra healthy meals and some exercise.

 

Tina Haupert- Carrots ‘N’ Cake

 

Question of the Day: What are your favorite “healthy” fast food options? We would love to hear some feedback!

(Images: from Flikr, Jayna)

 

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As we age we start to become concerned with the effects of sun damage or photo damage to our skin. Photo damage is damage done to our skin due to sun exposure which causes us to show signs of aging sooner.  Sun damage begins with our first sun burn as a child and continues through out our life.  The effects of the damage caused to our skin and cells can begin to be seen even in our twenties, depending on our lifestyles.  Sun damage is caused by free radicals which attack cell membranes and interfere with normal cell functions.  These unstable molecules create a series of biochemical reactions that lead to and eventually cause the breakdown of major support structures of the skin such as: collagen and elastin.  The obvious signs of sun damage are hyperpigmentation (dark spots), and wrinkles.  Depending on the amount of damage we caused our skin we may experience more severe effects such as thickening of the skin, a leathery texture, a loss of elasticity and firmness of skin, redness in the skin due to broken capillaries, as well significant discoloration and splotchy skin tone, and deeper, more numerous wrinkles especially on the neck, cheeks and chest due to repeated sun exposure are common signs of severe photo damage.

Treating photo damaged skin is a process. It takes time and dedication.  You can’t just receive a treatment and think your problems are over.  To truly correct photo damage a program of treatment working with homecare must be followed. There are 6 major concepts that must be combined to treat and prevent photo damage:

  • Prevention- using daily broad-spectrum sunscreen protection
  • Use of AHA (Alphahydroxy acids) or an other exfoliating agent
  • Daily use of topical antioxidants
  • Use of topical peptides and collagen stimulants
  • Use of lipid based products to improve barrier function of skin cells.
  • Daily use of good hydrators which will attract and bind moisture to the skin.

Prevention is key to beginning to treat sun damaged skin. Even a skin that is extremely damaged will benefit with a daily application of broad-spectrum sunscreen because it will prevent further damage as well as give the skin a better chance to respond well to treatment. Wearing a daily sunscreen is the greatest action one can do to protect themselves.  Often people only wear a sunscreen if they are going to be out in the sun for many hours, such as when they go to the beach.  Unfortunately though people forget that sun damage occurs on a daily basis; while driving, running errands, or playing out side with our children. Honestly it is very important to start wearing a daily sunscreen to protect our skin.  

Exfoliation is the next step in fighting sun damage.  It aids the cellular turnover which naturally slows down with aging, but significantly slows with sun damage.  As the cellular turnover slows a build up of dead skin cells forms in uneven layers; causing a rough, dry, scaly appearance which aids in the development of wrinkles.  The use of alphahydroxy acids (AHA’s) by an esthetician is a great tool to fight photo damage. It is a deep exfoliation which helps to reorganize the skin, smooth out the skins surface, lessen the appearance of wrinkles, reduce uneven coloration, as well as improve hydration and firmness.  This treatment will not completely reverse the signs of sun damage especially in advanced cases but it will improve the skin.

Antioxidant Therapy is very important when correcting photo damage because they reduce visible signs of aging as well as help the skin cells work better.  Antioxidants fight free radicals, reduce production of damaging enzymes that can breakdown elastin and collagen, as well as prevent and treat sun damage. There are many types of antioxidants such as: vitamin C, Vitamin E, green or white tea or grapeseed extract. Most often antioxidants are produced as serums to apply to the skin before a moisturizer and sunscreen.  Many antioxidant serums also involve topical peptides and collagen stimulants which are wonderful serums or creams for homecare use that will aid in preventing loss of collagen and maintaining what collagen we do have in the skin. 

Hydration is key to having healthy, more youthful looking skin, so lipid based products and good hydrating moisturizers are very important to locking in hydration and maintaining the affects of exfoliation and antioxidant therapy. Lipid based products are often made of ceramides and fatty acids. They increase hydration, improve firmness and smoothness of the skin, as well as reduce inflammation from over dry, irritated skin.  When a lipid based product is combined with a good hydrator they should attract water to the skin, providing soft, supple, healthy nourished skin.

Along with these main steps in treating photo damage there are several treatments which can aid in the battle to reverse the effects of photo damage.  It is always best to discuss you options with your esthetician what treatments they have in the spa which can aid in the treatment and prevention of skin damage.

 

Stephanie Keenan

Please Visit: Healthworks Fitness

 

We Want to Know: How do you prevent yourself from getting sun damaged skin?

(Images: from Flikr, Baubcat)

 

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Confession: I have a lengthy internal dialog every time I consider going to the gym. It goes something like this: 

“I really should go. I ate that cupcake at lunch…but I’m really tired. I deserve to just veg out in front of the television.” 

“It’s so cold out; I just want to go home and lie under a blanket. But I feel so bad about myself when I don’t exercise, so I really should…”

Sound familiar?  Well, here are a few small tips that have really helped me. They are not going to make you skip all the way to the gym with a huge grin on your face, but hopefully they will make the daily and weekly decisions to work out just a little bit easier.

1. Make yourself accountable in some way. Recently, I negotiated with myself that I can only watch television in the evening if I exercise that day. So, when I hit the treadmill, I know I’m going to spend the rest of the evening watching my favorite shows. It’s motivating and it’s a win – win, right?  

2. Load up your iPod with podcasts. Podcasts are like radio shows, and they are available on iTunes. I love to download self-help or motivational podcasts to listen to while I am sweating on the elliptical. I think of it as exercising my body and my spirit. And it keeps my attention, which helps the time fly by. You can also download audio books, which is another great way to stay entertained. 

3. Find a gym buddy. This doesn’t have to be as structured as you meeting your best friend at the gym every Tuesday at 7 pm (although that is great too)! It can also be a friendly relationship with a staff member, or your favorite step teacher. When you enjoy seeing certain people on a regular basis, it will motivate you to get your butt in the door. For instance, I had an enormous girl crush on a Body Sculpting teacher a few years ago. She was so cool that I would literally go to her class in part to chat with her at the end.

4. Find work out clothes that you are excited about. Whether it’s a cute new t-shirt, (Target has great, affordable work-out wear) or a pair of shorts that show off your hot legs, you’ll feel more excited about heading to the gym if you feel good about yourself while you’re there.

5. Most importantly, remember that exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Some days as I am driving home from work, and deciding between taking a left turn (towards the gym) and going home, I remind myself that I can go for just 30 minutes. I tell myself: “Okay, 30 minutes is nothing. By the time I change, get to the elliptical, read a few magazines, and drink some water, I’ll be done. I can do that!” And most of the time, I end up staying for closer to 45 minutes anyway. Trust me, it works.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me directly at naturally nina at gmail dot com. Also, check out my personal blog Naturally Nina (http://www.naturallynina.com) to learn more about me.

 

We Want to Know: What keeps you motivated to workout?

(Images: from Flikr, zeema99)

ZoombaClass

Spice up your lunch break and get your summer started with Healthworks this Thursday, May 28th. Grab your coworkers, friends, or family members and take part in a free Zumba class. Healthworks’ fitness professionals will be leading two 30 minute Zumba classes, which is a blend of Latin American music and dance moves. The Zumba classes will take place in Downtown Crossing on Summer Street (in front of Macy’s) at 12:15 or 1:00 pm. Athletic clothing and footwear is recommended, but not required. You’ll be having so much fun swinging those hips you won’t even realize you’re working out!

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Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women and GirlsoxNation.com have come together to bring the “nation’s better half” a one of a kind fitness experience inspired by Boston’s beloved baseball team. The Official Girlsox Nation Workout will be available to both Healthworks members and the general female public. The class will incorporate drills and signature movements inspired by Boston’s beloved ball club. A themed soundtrack will motivate and excite participants to get into the spirit of Boston’s favorite pastime. Participants of the class have the opportunity to receive great prizes from O Water, BSO/Boston Pops, The Girlsox Nation T-shirt store, Twins ’47 and Healthworks.

Call Back Bay to register (617.859.7700) or log on to Bookings Plus! Wear Red Sox gear to the class and get a free smoothie from our cafe after your workout!

 

Announcing a special quiz challenge for Healthworks Members: Sponsored by Girlsox Nation

Members, visit http://www.girlsoxnation.com. On the bottom left hand corner, click on Stats Free Trivia Challenge. Once you have registered, click on Log In Here. Log in and you will be redirected to the quiz. The highest scoring Girlsox fans will be entered to win prizes, with a new winner announced each week in the month of June!

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The conventional wisdom about the US FDA is that it needs to be rebooted; companies are not required to test their manufactured goods for safety nor even effectiveness.  In addition all products have hidden legacies: that is how they impact the environment, our health, ecosystem, and the people that actually make them.  This starts the moment ingredients are extracted and is called the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).  Manufacturers have always had access to this information.  Now thanks to Skin Deep (skin care products) and Good Guide consumers can get a more complete picture of a specific products impact on their health and the environment to determine its real cost beyond the sale price.

Skin Deep (www.cosmeticdatabase.com) focuses solely on cosmetics.  They say they pair ingredients in more than 42,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases to determine the safety and effectiveness of consumer goods.  The rating system is simple: Low Hazard 0-2, Moderate 3-6, High Hazard 7-10, but they provide the details of why they arrived at their assessment.  The searches are not limited to products, you can check ingredients as well.  My OMG moment came when I read about a sunscreen that aside from being expensive, carcinogenic, and environmentally toxic, was ineffective.

Good Guide (www.goodguide.com) covers a greater range of categories – Household Chemicals, Toys, Food, organic and vegan products as well, and Personal Care which covers over-the-counter meds.  Their evaluation includes health performance, environmental impact and the social consciousness of the manufacturer.  My OMG moment was learning that Dean Foods producer of Horizon Organics had a complaint filed against it by The Cornucopia Institute because the company does not meet organic standards.

Both Skin Deep and Good Guide make it clear that using “expensive is better” as a purchasing guideline can be detrimental to not just your health but also the environment’s.

 

Debbie Jones-Steele

Please Vist: Healthworks Fitness

 

We Want to Know: How closely do you pay attention to how safe your products are?

(Images: from Flikr, Marzk)

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In life we all search for a space that allows us to be our Full Self. They are moments when our age is an entrance to a space or maybe our joy of reading, places us in a Book Club space. Our journey to create balance in our life allows us to focus on such spaces as Healthworks.

Some members come in early in the day as a way to jump start their heart and mind. Others like mid afternoon because it gives them the boost to get through the rest of their work day. Then they are those who come in the evening to release the struggles of the day, to refresh their body and soul for the next day.

Whatever your entrance is to this space, Healthworks at some point, who you are, how you identify yourself allows you to develop new spaces.

Here are a few examples. My language is very important to me. When I speak Spanish, I feel light, my cup runeth over. We have many Spanish speaking members and at first some assumed that based on the color of my skin, that I only spoke English. When I shared that I was born and raised in Latin America we had a common space. Our interactions changed. It is like we jump at the chance to be our Full Self,” en Español.”

The same goes for women from the Caribbean. Because of my Caribbean background, I find joy in sharing stories of food and Carnival.

I find a connection with women from the Middle East from my work at the United Nations. I have shared powerful moments with women from this region in their journey to speak their truth. South Asian women are dear to me because of my special and dear friendship with Veena since the sixth grade.

I also find strength in the Black women that present a great amount of resiliency and understand the times when race defines the space.

It is important to share these moments because it is these moments that made me think of doing the blog and the Women of Color Circle.

The Circle is a way to bring us together through our cultural lenses to share our language, our native country our depth.

Exercise is seen differently in many of our cultures and our needs to feel comfortable in the Healthworks space might be lead by our cultural lenses. This is true to many as I have written in prior blogs.

We hope for inclusion not exclusion of our Full Self at the Circle. Inclusion of the diversity we walk with that allows us to use the term Women of Color Circle.

A Circle allows us to connect from our sides and our center. I do hope that this will be a beginning of new spaces within Healthworks. I look forward to meeting new women and sharing our stories.

 

Peace

Yvette

 

“Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”    Arundhati Roy

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The Healthworks Restaurant Club has partnered with Ivy Restaurant to bring you Tasting Tuesdays. On Tuesday, May 19, join Executive Chef Mark Cina for “Rieslings From Around The World”. After work, come and enjoy this relaxing wine tasting event with your friends and co-workers. Each Riesling wine will be paired with one of four delicious hors d’oeuvres. Additionally, wine experts will be present to discuss the pairings and the Riesling wines. Stop by Ivy Restaurant at 6:00 PM and enjoy this event for only $20. Space is limited so be sure to make a reservation by calling (617) 451-1416 or by emailing tastingtuesdays@ivyrestaurantgroup.com, and be sure to mention that you are with Healthworks.

 

Please email Matt Harrington mh@healthworksfitness.com for more information on this on this event and all future Restaurant Club Events.

 

Picture Courtesy Of: http://www.ivyrestaurantgroup.com/

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If you haven’t yet considered dancing in your arsenal of workout choices, take a closer look—because now Healthworks offers, included in your membership, what’s arguably the best fitness dance class ever created.

Zumba.

This African-sounding name embodies an hour-long, cardio-intensive, and ridiculously fun dance class based on pulsating Latin and international music, to which you are welcome to “move your hips” and “shake your booty” with no shame, judgment, or embarrassment.

Do you watch Dancing with the Stars? Are you, like millions of viewers, in awe of how graceful, strong, and slender those professional dancers look?

Still doubt dancing is a superb workout?

Granted, you are not going to be spending six hours a day practicing like they do on Dancing with the Stars, but the benefits of dancing—especially Latin—will boost more than your physique. Dancing is more than just exercise. It really will turn your frown upside down (in a weather-challenged city like Boston, who can’t benefit from that?), give your self-esteem a boost, and reinvigorate your senses.

Dancing gives you a different perspective on your body, making your suddenly aware that you possess hips, legs, and arms with potential to move in a way that can create art. In a way that will make you feel like a million bucks, erasing the weight of years from body and soul. In a way that reinforces your body’s natural movements—no complicated cardio machines with limited mobility. With each hop, step, and turn, your core will have to support you, as is its natural purpose—without twisting yourself on Pilates equipment to separately strengthen your abs.

And unlike ballroom, which is a graceful, albeit different animal, that electrifying mix of Latin and international beats—everything from reggaeton to African—will make your body want to anticipate each new song and each new routine. Fatigue and sweat be damned. You’ll be having too much fun to notice.

As the saying goes, true genius lies in simplicity. To be effective, exercise doesn’t need to be complicated, with an array of trainers and nutritionists by your side. Running is simple, for example. So is ZUMBA.

The workout is easy to follow. You don’t need any equipment. Just show up and have an open mind.

Be warned though—this may make you an addict. To dance, that is. You’ll want more. Luckily, Healthworks delivers. ZUMBA is offered on weekends and weeknights at various times in all locations. You don’t have an excuse not to try it. The worst that can happen is you’ll learn. Go satisfy your curiosity.

 

Julia Timakhovich

Picture Courtesy Of: http://www.kansan.com/

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I’ve been battling it out since January trying to tone and tighten for my wedding in less than 40 days.  Last week I started Bootcamp with Tina, 2 times a week to try and speed up the process.  You could say that the sessions are tough.  You might also want to die just after the warm-up portion of the hour long sweat-a-thon, or maybe that’s just me.  I do think this was actually a really good thing for me to do since I didn’t want to pay for a trainer but I was having a hard time on my own.  Bootcamp is small group training and there are only 5 people in my class so you really get a lot out of it, I certainly do, and the price is right.  I work so hard that I feel like I can barely move when I’m done, but the following day I’m just a little tight and sore.  After the first session I really thought I had made a bad decision because I was in so much pain, but funny enough I woke up feeling pretty good the next day. I’ve also been experimenting with reducing my carbs, basically just white rice, white pasta, and bread.  Honestly, I’m not really sure how that is going.  I’m feeling a bit more run down than I’d like, but I do feel slimmer in the tummy area, which is nice.  I really do fantasize about bagels and consuming an entire bag of chips, so maybe I need to back off a little bit there.  I have exactly one week till my final dress fitting…I’m nervous.  I feel like I’ve been working so hard, and I just haven’t seen the results I’ve been looking for just yet.  Although I do have 40 more days!

 

Laura Miscowski

 

Readers: What exercises helped you get in shape for your Wedding Day?