Self-Care

How to Finally Lose That Extra Weight

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

If you are someone who frequently struggles with their weight, then you might well be ready to make a change and try to shed those pounds as soon as possible. There is so much conflicting information out there about how to properly lose weight that it can be hard knowing whether any particular method is likely to work or not. However, there are also a number of proven methods you can attempt to use in order to ensure that you can really lose that weight in no time at all. As long as you attempt the following in the right manner and the right order, you should find that you are able to lose that weight much quicker than you had ever thought possible. Let’s take a look at what you should do to make that happen.

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Self-Care

Is it Too Late to Protect Your Vision?

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It’s estimated that 253 people already live with some kind of vision impairment, ranging from moderate impairment to legal blindness. You may already need to wear contacts or glasses, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods for further future impairment. Here, we’re going to look at a few ways you need to keep protecting your sight, no matter what your current condition is.

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Self-Care

2 Easy Ways to be Healthier

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We should always be looking to become healthier people. But are we? Well, no, not all the time. If you’ve grown up with a tendency to snack or live off a diet of junk food, it is a hard cycle to get out of. But if you do manage to break the cycle, you will reap the rewards. Healthier people are usually much happier. Their mind and body aren’t weighed down with all the processed foods that the average person’s diet is. So to help you know what to do to become a healthier person, we’ve listed some of the things you’re going to need to focus on.

Diet Supplements

Some people swear by diet supplements, and for good reason. If you don’t follow a strict diet, like the one listed above, the chances are that you’re not actually doing much good for your body. We need a certain amount of vitamins and minerals a day to keep our bodies at normal function. A processed food diet just isn’t going to cut this. So if you’re interested in how supplements can boost your diet, here are a few interesting facts.  One interesting supplement is inositol. Our body does produce it naturally. But sometimes we might not produce the normal levels needed. What it does help to do is help people suffering from PCOS, and protects against cancer. So it really is a handy supplement to get a little bit extra of. More info on it can be found at websites such as LifeExtension.com.  If you’re always feeling a bit tired, sluggish, and maybe even a bit depressed, it could be due to the fact you’re low on vitamin D for one reason or another. You can get supplements from your local pharmacy or even supermarket that will help to bring this backup.

Diet Trends

There are so many different diet trends out there for you to find. Getting into your own routine can sometimes be a bit challenging, but you’ll often find a perfect diet out there for you. For example, the paleo diet is pretty easy to follow, and the health benefits of it are amazing. It might be hard for you to jump right into something like this, so try doing the diet for five days a week. The paleo diet follows the premise that you can only eat the foods that our caveman ancestors would have. So lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, as well as other things. You’d have to cut out carbs, and definitely any other sugary foods or processed foods. It is all organic and nutritional foods. The meals you can create with it really aren’t that bad either. But it is a strict diet, so doing it for five days a week, to begin with, to ease yourself in is going to help.

(Related Post: The Benefits of Healthy Food Alternatives)

So there you go, just two ways in which you can make steps towards being a healthier person. All you need to do is have the commitment to make sure you’re sticking to it!

Self-Care

4 Ways Your House is Causing Your Back Pain

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In the course of their lives, more than 80% of Americans will experience mild to severe back pain at some point or another, and you have a fifty-fifty chance of developing back pain within a year. It’s a startling statistic, but if you’re currently sat reading this with a hot water bottle resting against your sciatic nerve, then you probably know what I’m talking about.

For the most part, a lack of exercise and a lot of excess weight can contribute to back pain, but did you know that the furniture that you have in your home can make things worse for you? Back pain comes in many forms and for many reasons, but if you can eliminate some of the causes, then you absolutely should. If you don’t adjust your lifestyle, your backache can turn to chronic back pain. Here are some of the most common back pain contributors that your house has to offer you, and how to change things to suit your spine:

Toilets.

Did you know that the place you install your toilet roll holder can be damaging for your back? You likely don’t think about that when you’re on the ceramic throne, but if you are pulling off spectacular gymnastics just to reach for a wipe, then you need to have a rethink. The cheap way to fix this is to ensure you have enough toilet paper when you sit down to do your business. The expensive fix is buying a toilet roll holder that is freestanding and within reach!

Beds.

When was the last time that you replaced your mattress or your bed? I thought so. You should be changing your mattress every three years and your bed set every ten years with BestBedsBoutique.com. You need to be comfortable while being well-supported, and if you can achieve that with the perfect mattress then you should. Add on squashy pillows and fluffed duvets and you have a bed to be worshipped!

Housework.

No one likes to get down on their hands and knees to clean, but if you have cleaning equipment that has you hunched over while you use it, then you need to adjust what you are doing. Bending, reaching and carrying heavy equipment like vacuum cleaners can cause some real aches and pains when you are cleaning. Think of it as a sport, with stretching as your warm up and use your equipment wisely. Invest in fancy gadgets like this one if you don’t want to do it yourself – the money is worth it!

Hard Floors.

The way you walk can impact your back. Hard floors that have no give in the same way that carpeted floors do can make each step that you take quite stressful for your lower back. Use rugs and rubber mats where you can and if you have the cash, you should install softer surfaces like cork!

Your back is supporting you the best that it can, the least that you could do is look after it!

4 Ways Your House Is Causing Your Back Pain - The Southern Smiths: Figure it out, and then fix it!
Cooking, Self-Care

The Benefits of Healthy Food Alternatives

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

We aren’t always the best at putting healthy alternatives into our diet, are we? There’s so much temptation around is no matter where we go. Even with the best intentions, it is hard to stay focused on a healthy diet. Nearly all of the people who attempt it fall within the first week. But this is because getting into the routine of a healthy diet is like getting into a routine at the gym. You have to give it a few weeks before you can go the week without thinking anything of it. It will then become natural to you. So to try and show you why healthy alternatives are the way forward, we’ve listed some of the benefits for you, and a negative that binge eating and unhealthy foods can do to you.

(Related Post: 3 Health Tips For The New Year)

The Bad Foods

We might as well start with the bad foods first to try and highlight how good the good foods truly are for you. We are terrible at giving into bad foods. Frankly, it is because some of them are known to be addictive. Because of the way in which certain chemicals within chocolate, or crisps, or other such junk foods react in our brain, we get addicted to the feeling of happiness eating the junk food gives us. So actually breaking the cycle of eating them is harder than you might think. For a food to be addictive to us, you know it can’t be too good for you. There are times of the year where we eat a lot more than we should of, the holidays being the main one. We overindulge because we feel there is a reason to. But the short-term effects of this are weight gain, higher cholesterol, not enough energy, and crankiness. As good as junk food might make us feel, it does give you a little binge eat hangover which can make you a little more touchy than you realize. But there are plenty of holiday eating tips out there to help you try and reduce your calorie and fat intake at a time when it will usually be highest. If you carry on binge eating, the long-term effects are really bad. Weight gain and possible obesity is the main one. This can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and long-term high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

The Good

If you switch your diet up and cut out all the foods full of additives, high sugar and salt content, and fat, the first thing you’re going to notice is your energy levels will be increased. That sluggish feeling we seem to get on a daily basis will soon fade away. You’ll also notice your weight will drop. The benefits of this being less chance of developing the issues we mentioned in the above paragraph, and it can actually help to improve other functions within your body. Your cardiovascular system will improve when it isn’t clogged up with all the cholesterol from all the fatty foods, and your digestive system will also improve. It is so much easier for our digestive system to process the organic foods you will be eating, the processed ones often clog the system up, and most likely are the reason you have a bad belly a few times a week.

The Benefits of Healthy Food Alternatives - The Southern Smiths: Beat your habits!
Self-Care

3 Health Tips For The New Year

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

You have a pain in your neck and an irritating itch on your leg; the little things like this can often brush by us and we forget to take care of ourselves. When was the last time you went to the doctor and got all of the health checks you need? It’s understandable that life gets hectic, but your health should be a priority. More often than not we tend to neglect our health needs and they can worsen over time. Take a few minutes to consider the small things that are bothering you and see if these tricks and tweaks make you feel any better.

(Related Post: 4 Essential Health Checks For The Entire Family)

Natural Nutrients

If you’re feeling groggy or tired you might not be nourishing your body with the nutrients it needs. Try creating a diary for a week and see how the food you are eating can affect your mood on a daily basis. Perhaps dairy makes your skin flare up or starchy carbohydrates give you a bloated belly. Once you pinpoint the foods that are making you feel dreary you can begin to cook dishes which agree with you and make you feel energized. Consider taking a multivitamin each day to provide your body with the different minerals it might need. Ensure you’re consuming calcium-rich foods to keep your teeth and bones strong too. An array of rainbow-colored foods on your plate will be sure to provide you with the nourishment you need to keep fighting fit.

Never Ignore Injuries

Exercise is an excellent way to keep yourself strong and it can have positive effects on your mental health too. Carry out daily physical activity to maintain good heart health, but make sure you’re feeling well enough to do so. If you’re suffering from a long-standing injury you might want to check with your doctor before starting a workout regime. Perhaps you’re suffering from ongoing pains after a car accident or feel you may be suffering from whiplash. Visit a professional such as Full Spectrum Chiropractic, who can help you recover from injuries such as this. As long as you tend to any minor pains as soon as you can, you can be sure your body is being looked after well. Only carry out exercise you feel capable of doing, if you’re pregnant you could take up specialist yoga classes to keep your body strong and supple. Never push through a pain or injury and take special care when starting up a new regime.

Brain-Power Practice

As well as your body, your brain needs stimulation to keep it busy. Consider doing a daily puzzle or downloading a mind game app on your phone. You can improve your cognitive skills and memory by carrying out daily brain exercises that will keep your mind feeling marvelous.

Take care of your body and listen to what it is telling you. Nourish yourself with fresh foods, enjoy a brisk walk in the park and always get your aches and pains seen to by a professional. You will soon be back in tip-top form and your whole family will be feeling fit forever.

Self-Care

How Our Senses Change As We Age, and What To Do About It

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

It is a fact of life that we are all getting older. It sounds depressing, but it is inevitable, we all hope to live to a fine old age with all of our faculties still intact. The good news is that with modern technology developing so quickly, advancements in keeping the aging process at bay is almost tangible.

When people think of getting older, thoughts usually veer towards the way we look. We spend thousands on procedures to keep wrinkles at bay, eliminate grey hairs and create a youthful body shape. Not much thought is given to how the aging process affects our five senses – taste, sight, hearing, touch, and smell. Without our five senses, our life would not be as enjoyable. So how does aging affect our senses and is there any way of maintaining them?

Hearing

Did you know that hearing loss increases with age and can begin when we are in our 40’s and 50’s? Some people don’t experience any hearing impairment at all, that has any impact on their daily life, but if you find that you are asking people to repeat things, it may be time to visit your medical practitioner. Although most hearing loss is irreversible, there are many hearing aid styles available that are discreet and will offer an enhanced level of hearing.

Sight

Our eyesight deteriorates with age and often people who had 20:20 vision in their younger years may find that they need reading glasses as they age. Thankfully the wearing of glasses has become more of a fashion statement rather than a hindrance to our looks. There are so many trendy styles to choose from, finding out that you need glasses can actually be an enjoyable experience! There’s also the option of wearing contact lenses or laser treatment too.

Taste

As we age the number of taste buds we have lessen and shrink, which affects our enjoyment of food. This occurs gradually over time and you may not even notice it. If you find that your enjoyment of food is affected, become more creative in the use of herbs and spices, to add a little pizazz!

Smell

Your sense of smell works closely with your sense of taste and they affect each other is impaired. To enjoy food you need to be able to smell it, as well as taste it. Your medical practitioner will be able to give advice, it may be that you have a sinus infection affecting your sense of smell. Ear, nose, and throat specialists are experts in this field.

Touch

To help prevent your sense of touch deteriorating it is important to keep active. Exercise increases blood flow to your fingertips and feet, which in turn keeps your nerve endings healthy. Unless you suffer from nerve damaging conditions such as diabetes your sense of touch will only deteriorate very gradually.

To conclude it’s just as important to be aware of how aging affects our senses as to how it affects our looks. Be aware of changes and try to lessen the speed of deterioration.

Self-Care

5 Ways to Keep Your Gut Happy

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Digestive problems can develop at any age. They may include allergies such as gluten intolerance or conditions such as IBS. Looking after your gut can prevent these problems from taking hold or at the very least relieve the symptoms. Here are just five ways that you can keep your gut healthy.

Stay hydrated

Drinking lots of fluids is essential for keeping the gut healthy. Water is the healthiest drink you can have – we should all be drinking 8 glasses a day. Sugary drinks aren’t so good for the gut – if you’re constantly drinking juice or fizzy drinks throughout the day, it could be worth reducing your intake replacing some of these drinks with a glass of water. Even if you’ve got a bad case of the runs, it’s important to keep drinking fluids to keep your body from getting dehydrated, as your gut is likely to be passing liquid without letting your body absorb it.

Eat probiotics

Whilst unhealthy bacteria can be bad for our gut, there is also good bacteria found in probiotic foods that is essential for keeping our digestion healthy. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut and goat’s cheese are all great probiotic foods to help get your fix of healthy bacteria.

There are also many supplements on the market for those that don’t like these foods. It’s possible to eat too many probiotics and end up with stomach cramps and diarrhea – you’ll know if this is the case. Be wary of taking antibiotics too often as these kill the healthy and unhealthy bacteria in your digestive tract, often leading to digestive problems.

Stay away from triggers

Many people have triggers that can cause digestive problems. These may be any kind of food and can result in mild to severe side effects. Dairy, wheat, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar are some of the most common triggers.

If you find such foods or drinks are causing digestive problems, you may want to consider limiting their consumption or even cutting them out altogether. Allergies can develop at any age and it can be difficult to pinpoint triggers at first – you may want to start a food diary. It’s common for pregnancy to develop triggers, but these will usually go away after pregnancy.

Know when to see a specialist

Certain conditions could require seeing your GP or even getting an appointment with some gastroenterologists. This could include cases of IBS, stomach pain or bleeding in which off-the-shelf medication has little impact. Don’t ignore these symptoms – in some cases they could get worse if not properly treated as with gallstones and infections.

Reduce stress

Growing research shows that stress is bad for the gut. The stress hormone cortisol puts our body into fight or flight mode, focusing our body’s attention on processes that are needed for survival mode. Digestion is not seen as necessary for a survival situation and so it’s common to end up with digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea or bloating when under stress as the gut isn’t getting the neural signals it needs. Taking time to reduce stress, particularly before eating, can help to keep your digestion working as it should.

General, Self-Care

3 Ways Aging in the 21st Century is Better Than Ever

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

For most of us, the idea of aging is not a concept that we are particularly comfortable with.

In fact, the “fight” against aging is everywhere. The term “anti-aging” has come to encompass everything from the moisturizers we use to the clothes we like to wear. The overall message is constant: youth is good, and aging is bad.

It’s easy to see where some of this perception comes from. Most of us grew up with grandparents, some of whom will have had health issues that made aging seem rather scary to us. When we shy away from wrinkles and “old” hairstyles, it’s not really the wrinkles that are the problem– it’s the fact they are associated with advancing years. A huge number of people dread the idea of aging, and that’s a real shame for two reasons:

– Aging is inevitable. It’s actually fortunate to have the opportunity to grow old when you think about it. There’s nothing you can do to slow or stop the aging process so, ultimately, many of us go through life dreading something we cannot do anything about.

– We’re basing our fears about aging on outdated facts; the situations that our grandparents went through.

It’s the latter point that we’re going to focus on. Aging in the 21st century is nothing like aging even 20 years ago; times have changed, technology has advanced, and the golden years we experience have every chance of glittering with joy…

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Our Understanding Of Health Is Better Than Ever

Many illnesses and conditions used to be written off as “old age”; something that just happened, and few people spent time trying to fix. It was just accepted that when you reached a certain age, your body begins to deteriorate.

However, in the 21st century, medical science is investigating aging in a way it never has before. Dementia is no longer seen as an inevitability that should just be accepted; it’s seen as a condition that is worth researching, treating, and possibly even preventing. No longer are people required to just cope with poor mobility; operations and treatments are available that can give an incredible quality of life no matter what your age.

Finally, geriatricians specialize in those over the age of 70; aging now has an entire medical specialty dedicated to it. Research is ongoing and the developments that result will ensure a comfortable retirement for us all.

Technology Allows A Full Life For Longer

On the back of the advanced medical understanding comes technology; technology that has been designed to step into the breach when our bodies begin to show a little too much wear and tear.

There are countless examples of tech that can help older people live wonderful, fulfilling lives. Deafness was viewed as just something that happened as you got older, even treated as a punchline by sitcoms. Now, the matter is handled very differently; if you ever experience diminished hearing capacity, then you’ll be referred for testing and hearing aid fitting, which will result in a return of normal hearing function. It’s not just your ears, either; if your eyesight begins to fade, then laser eye surgery can give you 20:20 vision once more, all thanks to advances in technology.

Japan – who have a rapidly aging population – are pioneering the research into aging technology, and are producing some stunning results. Take, for example, this bed that converts into a wheelchair to promote mobility in later life. Technology, it seems, will be able to set us free from so many of the age-related limitations our grandparents experienced.

The Internet Allows For Social Connections

One of the biggest risks in old age is social isolation, but this is a problem that the internet is helping to eradicate. When you reach an age where socializing is difficult in person, you will still be able to communicate with friends and family thanks to Skype and social media, ensuring that you will be able to enjoy those valuable connections in the later years of life.

In Conclusion

Aging is not quite what it used to be. If you have a fear of aging or try to ignore the issue altogether, then hopefully the above will have helped to calm some of your nerves. The inevitability of aging is something we all have to deal with, but at least it looks like life for older people in the 21st century is going to have plenty to enjoy– so there’s no need to fear what the future may hold for you.

(Related post: Aging: Health Tips For A Great Life)