I Need to Pull-Up My Pantyhose, But I’m Not Wearing Any!

Posted: 2 days ago in Mirror Mirror

pantyhoseThere is a large mirror in my front hall.

After a run one sunny day, I caught a glimpse of myself in a tennis skirt. — (I don’t play tennis, but I wear tennis skirts to run in. Reference my post, ‘To Go or Not To Go…Commando” and you’ll understand why). — Anyways, my immediate thought was that I really needed to pull up my pantyhose; never mind that I haven’t worn any since 1990 when I’d taken my last National Board exam.

Though I was looking lean that day, my thighs were sagging. That’s right, SAGGING! Who knew thighs could sag?

Boobs? Sure. Neck? Yup. But my freaking THIGHS?!

As far as my share of life’s stages go, I think my thighs went straight from the “so plump the heat index rises when you walk” look, to the “blown-out balloon” look. I don’t think I even got one bathing suit season worth of, “wow, she’s got some great legs!” Life can be so unfair (and God, I know there are much bigger burdens than saggy thighs, and you know I’ve juggled my share of those, so let me just say… I’m grateful I don’t have more).

We all need to resign ourselves to the fact that as we age, the supporting structure of our skin – a.k.a. collagen – starts to wane. You ever lay eyes on an individual pushing one hundred-years-old? They didn’t go from baby bottoms to saggy drawers in one day; it’s a part of life!

Things like sun exposure, smoking and a poor diet can accelerate this. Yo-yo dieting also contributes to saggy skin, hence the balloon reference. In my case sun exposure and weight fluctuations over 4+ decades have taken their toll. But would I trade my life for tighter thighs?

Let’s see…

Although my weight has been up and down all throughout my life, pregnancy was by far the greatest contributing factor to my chubby thighs. Bring it on. I have two beautiful daughters because of it. How about the sun exposure? I’m sure to take some hits for this, but I love the sun. My dad was Italian and thankfully, he passed on his olive skin to yours truly. My dermatologist gives me a once-over annually, and I wear sunscreen…most of the time. But I love the beach, and maintain that tan fat is way better than pale fat. So, all things considered; no. I wouldn’t trade my countless days of loving life at the beach with my family for skin that doesn’t resemble a Birkin bag.

Like most things in life, I strive to find a happy balance, but you can be sure that when given the choice between sitting on the sidelines and diving in, you won’t find me on the bench. And I take the repercussions of my choices with a big smile, sunspots, saggy thighs and all.

I suggest you do the same!

Hemorrhoids: 6 Ways to Reduce Your Discomfort

Posted: 6 days ago in Health Wellness

hemorrhoids

My butt hurts and hemorrhoids are to blame.  

Those of you who have been reading my stuff for a while know I am good for sharing TMI, including Another Childbirth Bonus. I’m not pregnant, nor is this a case of ‘Same Sh*t, Different Day.’

Yet, I have a freaking hemorrhoid.  453851401

For those of you unfamiliar with those little darlings, hemorrhoids are bulging veins in and around your anus and rectum. They can itch, bleed and hurt, and make it virtually impossible to wear thong underwear.

Hellllllllo, visible panty lines. What is the deal??!

Since none of the causes of hemorrhoids currently apply to me, the deal just might be that getting old, frankly, can suck.

Hemorrhoids can be caused by:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • Low-fiber diet

They are also more likely to happen as we age, as the tissues that support the veins, as well as the veins themselves, can weaken and stretch with age.

Well isn’t that just freaking fantastic.

There is no cure, per se, for hemorrhoids, but there are some things you can do to minimize your discomfort and make the swelling go down – for now:

  1. Keep squeaky clean down there! After bowel movements, use an alcohol-free baby wipe to gently cleanse the area, as dry toilet paper can be very abrasive. And as a side note: please don’t flush the baby wipe as it may clog the toilet!
  2. Bathe daily and wear clean, non-thong underwear with a cotton crotch.
  3. Use a home-made or store-bought witch hazel pad, like Tucks brand. These can be incredibly soothing, and I guess since they call them Tucks, you can tuck ‘em right up in there for a bit for some extra relief. Plus, I love their tagline, ‘love the butt’. Couldn’t agree more… p.s. this is not a paid endorsement.
  4. Sitz baths with a little Epsom salts can help.
  5. I’m a big fan of ice packs so here’s the ‘how-to’ on that: put on some granny panties (you know you have them in the back of your drawer), then tuck a soft ice pack way up against your butt where the hemorrhoids are. Then, to hold it in place, put another pair of snug-fitting panties on top of the ice pack. Works wonders for hemorrhoids, and for your girl parts after childbirth, too!
  6. Hemorrhoid creams like Preparation-H contain hydrocortisone, which is very effective at decreasing the swelling.

If those suckers just won’t go away, and/or won’t stop bleeding, though, you may need to visit your doctor….and you won’t be happy with what s/he has to offer you, so get those suckers under control now!

Good luck with that!

Should Your Doctor or Midwife Break Your Water?

Posted: 11 days ago in Pregnancy

Give the New Year New Meaning

Posted: 23 days ago in Everything Else Inspiration

new-year-new-meaning

With the new year here, I can now ask… how many of you made inner peace a stipulation of your new year’s resolution?

I know for those of us who work on a yoga practice those couple hours a week can make a big difference.  But if you leave the mat just to get pissed off the moment you realize your kid didn’t do their chores…. again… then what good has your yoga practice really done?

Here’s what I’m getting at:  I’m talking about practicing that whole Namaste thing throughout your day and throughout this new year; and not just when your yogi is watching.  It takes practice – that is why they call it yoga practice, right?  But doesn’t it crack you up when the same chick that was OM-ing like her life depended on it gives you the finger when you inadvertently cut her off while leaving the parking lot?

Please don’t be one of those girls.

And don’t just play nice with each other, practice yoga off the mat by finding traits within yourself that bring out your peaceful nature. Such as selflessness.  Or patience.  Yeah, I gotta work on that one myself.

I came across this story of a guy named Scott Harrison on one of my favorite websites, Marie Forleo dot com. Scott was once a NYC club promoter who more regularly did drugs than he did volunteer work.  He partied, jet-setted, and generally exploited every living vice there was to offer.  Until he realized that life was about a whole lot more than that.  Scott has now raised over 100 million dollars for wells in developing countries; 100% of the proceeds donated to his cause, ‘charity: water‘, go towards digging wells.

I’m sharing this with you because no matter how selfish or greedy our hearts can be sometimes — deep down we long for something so much more meaningful. Please watch.

Yup.

With lot of practice, I am finding it easier to hit my own little ‘pause’ button, do a few yoga breaths, and move forward with much more focus and calm. Bringing what good I can to a world that needs it.  Desperately.

Much love my friends, and best wishes in 2015!

Vince Lombardi on Ingenuity

Posted: 24 days ago in Inspiration

withwhatwehave-quote

Stop Crossing Your Legs

Posted: 34 days ago in Health Lifestyle Wellness

LEGS-CROSSED

When I say stop crossing your legs, I mean it. 

You started doing it because your mother did. I bet she even told you that ladies are supposed to sit like that. Am I right?

Well, did she also tell you that crossing your legs would give you varicose veins and lower back pain?

It will, and I don’t want to have to say, “I told you so.”

Crossing your legs can kink up the blood vessels in them. Bloodflow then backs up, causing a widening of the vessel.

Hello, spider veins! 

As we age and the walls of these veins naturally weaken, they can become full-on varicosities. This is when the valves that propel blood up toward your heart cease to function, and those tiny spider veins now enlarge, appearing ropy and bulging. They look bad and can feel worse – and may require surgery to correct.

fulldisclosure

It’s also virtually impossible to sit with your legs crossed and not have your pelvic bones get all torqued out. This will almost certainly lead to back pain. And if you’re pregnant, a torqued pelvis can increase the likelihood that your baby will be breech or transverse – betcha didn’t know that, did ya?

So sit up nice and tall, with both feet on the floor and your knees demurely together. If the addict in you can’t sit without crossing something – cross your ankles like the Queen of England. It’s the lesser of evils.

Plus, your mom will still approve.

Ultrasounds: Pretty as a Picture?

Posted: 41 days ago in Pregnancy

ultrasounds

Ultrasounds. Sonograms. Whatever you call them, they are the grainy black and white pictures that many women get of their unborn babies.

Ultrasounds were traditionally taken if there was a suspected problem with a woman’s baby, or perhaps to see if there was more than one kid in there.

91584560Then, they started being used routinely to ‘confirm’ or ‘date’ a pregnancy.

And seemingly all of sudden, women are having multiple ultrasounds to check if baby is ‘too big’ (btw – what’s too big?), or just to have another photo to add to the picture album.

Does any of this improve outcomes for mom or baby? Not so much.

Before you start screaming at me, please know that I think an ultrasound is a great tool to use if there is a suspected or known complication of pregnancy. For sure. However, the vast majority of pregnant moms are ‘no’ or ‘low-risk’.

Not to mention, ultrasounds in fact do a really poor job of determining the size of baby in utero. How many of you know someone (or are someone!) who had their baby induced early because an ultrasound estimated that he or she was getting ‘too big’ to deliver vaginally, only to have a petite 6 pounder? And again, what the heck is too big? A 4’11” friend of mine had a 12 pound baby. At home. With no drugs.   No problem!

And let’s not get into the false positives that happen all too often. I was in the room when a good friend had an ultrasound.  She was told that her baby would have one leg that was significantly shorter than the other. It’s no surprise that she was a nervous wreck for months before the baby was born – perfectly healthy, with no leg issues. Or my friend who was told in no uncertain terms that her baby had multiple physical deformities – to the point where they considered termination of the pregnancy – only to delivery a healthy baby.

My advice to you? Ask questions and be an informed consumer.

  • “What is the indication for this test?”
  • “What will you do differently with the information gained from this test?”
  • “What are the side effects?”

To this last question, I’m quite sure most doctors will say there are no negative side effects. However, I will leave you with this direct quote from the National Institutes of Health: “Despite widespread application of ultrasound imaging and Doppler blood flow studies, the effects of their frequent and repeated use in pregnancy have not been evaluated in controlled trials.”

I’ll pass, thank you very much.

The Myth of the Due Date

Posted: 47 days ago in Pregnancy

duedate

If you are pregnant, fuggedabout your due date.

It’s a myth. Mmm-hmmmm, you heard me right. Due dates don’t really mean anything.

Think of how unique each of us are; we are many different combinations of height, weight, hair and eye color. No two noses look exactly alike, and let’s not even get into how different Kim Kardashian’s rear end is from Chelsea Handler’s.

So why do we think that each and every baby should be born exactly 280 days from the onset of their mom’s last period? That, my friends, is the myth of the due date.

There is, in fact, a window of 4-5 weeks in which babies can be expected to come and be considered full-term, with no complications.

Why babies come when they do is a little-understood science. Some theorize that when a baby’s lungs are mature, this triggers a hormone that starts labor. Others say that since those last weeks are when baby shows the most growth, they come when they are at their peak survival time – fat stores, brain growth and reflexes are ready for the outside world.

So if most babies will be born healthy and happy between 38-42 weeks, why do so many doctors start talking induction 38 weeks (or earlier!)?

I dunno, but I can guess.  

An induced labor is a controlled labor. There is no mystery about when, where or how labor will start. It’s all nice and tidy, tied up in a package of hospital gowns, Pitocin and a 9-to-5 work day. Nice for the doctor, but is it good for the baby or mama? I think not.

The contractions stimulated by Pitocin are waaaaay stronger and more painful than those you would have had if labor had started naturally. The use of Pitocin also necessitates that you have other interventions like an IV and constant fetal monitoring, not to mention it increases the likelihood of the need for a C-section.

Not. Cool.

Who are we to think we know better than nature about when a baby should be born? In a complicated, high-risk pregnancy, perhaps yes. But in the vast majority of healthy pregnancies? Step away from the induction, please!

Our belly buttons may pop out toward the end of pregnancy, but alas, it’s not the same as the turkey thermometer. There is no “done” button.

Only Mother Nature knows when the time is right for your baby to come. So, Listen to your mother, ya hear?

Empty Calorie Foods

Posted: 54 days ago in Lifestyle

empty-calorie-foods-3

We all know what empty calories are.

They’re foods that you can eat a lot of, and shortly thereafter, feel hungry again.

What about those times, though, that you just have a light snack, and surprisingly, it gets you through the day? What’s up with THAT?

What’s up is this: if the food you are consuming isn’t actually nourishing your body, you will feel hungry again until you give your body what it needs. And what it needs isn’t necessarily what you’re putting in your mouth.

empty-calorie-foods-smallEmpty calories are foods made up of solid fats and added sugars. According to the USDA, “Solid fats are fats that are solid at room temperature, like butter, beef fat, and shortening. Some solid fats are found naturally in foods. They can also be added when foods are processed by food companies or when they are prepared. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added when foods or beverages are processed or prepared.”

Though your body is getting an extremely high dose of calories with empty calorie foods — they bring with them little-to-no nutritional value. And our society is running rampant with them! The inspiration for this piece was an ad I recently spotted for Taco Bell that was luring customers with their new “waffle breakfast sandwich”; because who wants to eat a waffle OR a breakfast sandwich when you can have them at the same time?!

TacoBell_Breakfast_sign_300If this isn’t shocking to you, my guess is, you’re eating too many empty-calorie foods.

On the flip side, if we choose nutrient-dense foods, our bodies can run on them for a good long while. To explain, let me paint a picture for you. Wouldn’t you be pissed if you went in for an oil change and they put sugar in your tank? Of course! Your car needs oil, not sugar. The same goes for your body; it’s looking for vitamins and minerals, not solid fat and sugar.

Case in point? I recently participated in a cleanse – really an elimination diet in disguise – and was super-surprised at how little hunger I experienced. Even though I was consuming far less food, it was of GREAT caliber. Tons of fresh veggies and fruits, healthy grains and nuts and beans. So what if I pooped like 3 times a day because of all the roughage? I slept better, had more energy, and had nary a hunger pang.

And then it all went to hell in a hand-basket.

The cleanse ended, the temperatures dropped and I fell face-first into some bagels and pasta. My body didn’t know what hit it. However, I was close enough to the cleanse to remember how good I truly felt, so I put on big girl panties and reigned in the feeding frenzy.

donutI’m eating more thoughtfully now, and focusing on quality of food, not quantity. Guess what? My body likes it! So regardless of how poorly you have been eating lately, we’re all capable of better.

Resolve to give your body what it really needs — not what it wants on an impulse. If not at this very moment, consider making it your New Year’s resolution.