8 Facts You Need to Know About Immune Health

If you couldn’t already tell, we love cooler weather. We stan camel jackets and puffy coats, would much rather get cozy at home than go out, and hot coffee tastes better than iced (#hottake). However, around this time of year, we also start seeing “immune system” pop up in wellness headlines that promise ways to boost your health

I don’t know about you, but I have always been confused AF about what the immune system actually is. As far as I knew, the immune system was like a mystical unicorn that could wave a magic wand and protect us from outside threats. But the immune system is a key part of our bodies and a crucial piece of our wellbeing. We need to understand its function in order to understand how to keep it healthy, and besides, what’s more empowering than knowing our bodies?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the immune system. Since it’s a buzzy topic and (more importantly) a key component to your wellbeing, we wanted to clear up confusion around the immune system, so we chatted with experts to get some answers. Here are eight facts about the immune system that everyone should know, and how you can keep yours as healthy as possible:

 

1. The immune system is intertwined with every other system in the body

We hear about it a lot, but what really is this mysterious immune system? Dr. Tieraona Low Dog M.D., an integrative medical doctor and Chief Medical Advisor at MegaFood, explains that it’s intricately intertwined with every other system in the body. “The immune system is an extremely elegant and complex network of cells that are designed to defend against pathogens that might cause us harm,” she said. “It is intimately intertwined with every other system in the body, constantly surveilling the body threats.”

In other words, the immune system is not a shield covering the body or a wave of a magic wand like I had pictured. Instead, it’s comprised of cells, organs, and chemicals that detect unhealthy cells that can be harmful to the body, according to Dr. Erin Stokes, a Naturopathic Doctor and Medical Director at MegaFood.  So it’s less like a shield of defense and more like a metal detector at the beach–only instead of pennies and the occasional washed up treasure (a girl can dream, right?), the immune system is trying to detect unhealthy cells.

 

 

2. “Boosting” your immune system is often misinterpreted

The phrase and advice that I hear most often is about boosting the immune system. Here’s why that’s problematic: yes, it’s possible to have a weakened immune system, but it’s also possible to have an overactive immune system as well. For example, Dr. Low Dog explained that a healthy immune system doesn’t just know when to react, but it knows when not to. “A dysregulated immune system can sometimes attack the body’s healthy cells, causing auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus,” she said.

So we’re able to (and should!) prioritize practices that keep the immune system healthy, but the goal should be balancing, rather than boosting. Dr. Stokes clarifies what immune health really means. She said, “It’s more about maintaining healthy immune function and providing your immune system with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.” For example, nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc can help support the immune system.*

 

3. Your diet can support (or hurt) your immune system

And now for the good stuff: what we can be doing to actively keep our immune systems as healthy as possible. Both Dr. Stokes and Dr. Low Dog recommended eating whole foods that are rich in nutrients. Dr. Low Dog specifically suggested carotenoids, B-vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc, which she said can be obtained by eating 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, along with whole grains, legumes, and nuts. She also recommended allium vegetables (garlic, onions, leeks, etc.), fermented foods, berries, and culinary herbs and spices because they are powerhouses when it comes to antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activity. Dr. Stokes said to “eat the colors of the rainbow” to make sure you’re getting in a variety of phytonutrients.

Unfortunately for our holiday diets and PSL addiction, just as important as what foods to eat are what foods to avoid. Dr. Low Dog said, “High-sugar, low-fiber foods, as well as overly processed foods, are not good for your immune system or overall health.” The good news is that eating to support your immune system is not rocket science. Focus on getting in a variety of fruits and vegetables with every meal, top your meals with herbs/spices like cilantro, basil, or cinnamon, and eat whole grains and legumes much more often than processed foods. For more info on adding plants to your diet, click here. And if eating clean just isn’t for you, start with small changes like eating berries with your breakfast, adding kale to your pasta, and ordering a side salad with your meal when you eat out.

 

4. Yes, supplementation can help maintain a healthy immune system

We’ve already covered how your diet can affect your immune system with an array of micronutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. And yes, you should be eating fresh, whole foods to keep your body in optimal health. However, sometimes we can all afford a little supplementation to get the nutrients we may not be getting enough of in our diets. In today’s day and age, we have tools and resources to not only stay healthy, but to be as healthy as possible. MegaFood is truly a favorite brand because their products are made with real food and added nutrients. 

Dr. Stokes and Dr. Low Dog both recommend trying the Immune Defense* supplement.

It’s made with herbs, added food, and nutrients to help the immune system, like vitamin C, zinc, black elderberry, and phytonutrient-rich herbs (like echinacea and Andrographis). For regular immune support try Daily Immune Support*, C Defense Gummies, D3 Wellness Gummies, or Zinc.

 

5. A “healthy immune system” doesn’t mean it’ll never be compromised

I always thought a minor snuffy nose meant I had a weakened immune system. After all, if you’re healthy, your body is 100% invincible, right? Wrong! “A healthy immune system does not mean you’ll never get sick,” Dr. Low Dog explained. “It means if you do get sick, you’ll be able to mount a great defense, recover, and form ‘immunologic memory’ through the creation of antibodies. This means that when you encounter that pathogen again, you can fight it fast.” In other words, a germ can “slip through the cracks,” and we can get a runny nose, even with peak immune health.

 

 

6. Exercise can affect the immune system

You know that physical activity is crucial for mental health, optimal energy, and increasing strength or endurance, but it’s also important for immune health. Dr. Stokes explained, “The increased movement of exercise helps immune system cells circulate more rapidly.” Dr. Low Dog agreed, saying that moderate amounts of exercise (less than 60 minutes per day) can help improve immune surveillance. Make sure you’re taking more walks, doing yoga flows, taking online kickboxing classes, or however you prefer to fit in regular movement.

On the other hand, both experts warned that there’s an extent to how much exercise can help the immune system. “Athletes who are training intensely for competition often experience a disruption in the immune system due to high levels of inflammation and oxidative stress. For the rest of us, moderation and regularity are key,” Dr. Low Dog said. Dr. Stokes also warned not to over-exercise when you’re feeling rundown. Even though regular movement is good for the immune system, when you do start feeling under the weather, the body needs to rest more than it needs to do a strenuous workout.

 

7. … and stress does too

Now for a reason to take a mental health day from work tomorrow: high levels of stress can negatively impact the immune system. Dr. Low Dog said, “Numerous studies have shown that prolonged stress can increase immune susceptibility.” PSA: feeling run down during finals week every year of college was not a coincidence.

Being stressed alone isn’t going to make us sick, but it can weaken the immune system so that when we are exposed to a harmful pathogen (like we often are, just from exposure to the outside world–AKA why I’m a paranoid germaphobe), our bodies don’t fight it like they normally would be able to. Dr. Stokes cited this study, explaining that the mind and body are closely connected (the mind-body connection is real, people!). She recommended regular meditation and yoga to find some inner zen and help reduce stress.

 

 

8. Prioritize self-love

While this might sound like the fluffy, cliché advice you got from The American Girl’s The Care and Keeping of You when you were in 6th grade, improving self-love can be extremely effective for your overall wellness and, therefore, your immune system. Dr. Stokes said, “One of the best techniques for improving health and wellness is to shift our self-talk and try to develop a more positive voice when talking to ourselves.” Dr. Low Dog agreed, recommending that wellness routines should be simple and we should lead with self-forgiveness. “Life is complicated enough without setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves,” she said. When we’re happy, confident, and treat ourselves well, our bodies (and immune systems) will respond accordingly. 

 

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Please consult a doctor before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

 

This post was sponsored by MegaFood, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

 

The post 8 Facts You Need to Know About Immune Health appeared first on The Everygirl.

Finished Binge-Watching Emily in Paris? Here’s What to Stream Next to Satisfy Your Wanderlust

If you’re anything like me, you plowed through all 10 episodes of Netflix’s new hit Emily in Paris in one sitting. I came for the fact that it was created by the same guy who birthed Sex and the City and stayed for three very specific reasons.

The first being all of the fashion moments I didn’t know I needed. I’m far from a maximalist in my own right but the bright colors, layering, appliques, and ridiculous hat choices were seriously dessert for my eyeballs. Secondly, Gabriel. If they launched a spinoff from his point of view and named it Gabriel in Paris, it would be my Bible. How dare he be so good looking. Did I ask for a handsome French chef to reset my standard of what I’m looking for in a man? No! But did Netflix give that to me because they love me, personally? Absolutely! And last but not least, the scenery in itself was simply perfect.

I’ve never been to Paris and, given today’s current climate, I doubt I will anytime soon. But pressing play on the first episode was like teleporting to France. I lived out my Parisian dream where I could palpate the romance, adventure, and culture. Until my wanderlust can lead me to different parts of the world (obviously, Paris is up first), I’ll let it take me to these 21 shows and movies that will make me feel like I’m traveling far from my studio apartment in Chicago.

 

1. Under the Tuscan Sun

Where to stream: Amazon

Under the Tuscan Sun has everything we love in a movie: amazing scenery, strong female friendships, humor, some fixer-upper real estate, and good-looking men. The main character, Frances, elopes to Tuscany after her divorce but her “quick trip” becomes a bit more permanent when she pulls the trigger on buying and remodeling a dilapidated Tuscan villa. It’s a story of taking chances, surprising yourself, and finding that good things happen when you step outside of your comfort zone.

 

2. The Wine Show

Where to stream: Hulu

Wine and international travel? Say no more. The Wine Show follows two actors (the Matthews) who embark on a journey to understand the beautiful mystery behind the wine labels they encounter—from the selections they enjoy on a day-to-day basis to the rare, expensive pours I can only dream about. The pair uncovers stories of wine from 11 countries on five continents, but more importantly, explores the stories of people and the world that shapes them.

 

3. Downton Abbey

Where to stream: HBO

While the dramatic storyline of Downton Abbey is enough to keep your attention, it’s setting is truly icing on the cake. The grand production, made possible by real England castles and architecture, takes us around England to Northumberland, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Yorkshire, and more.

 

4. Salt Fat Acid Heat

Where to stream: Netflix

Salt Fat Acid Heat is the feel-good show you need in your life. The series follows chef and food writer Samin Nosrat on her pursuit around the world to answer the million-dollar question: What makes food delicious? As Nosrat travels the United States, Mexico, Japan, and Italy, you’ll definitely work up a hunger for travel and the cuisine that it has to offer.

 

5. Outlander

Where to stream: Hulu, Netflix

Outlander is a historical drama that takes place in Scotland during WWII. This captivating series will catch your eye for many reasons, a prominent one being the picturesque scenes of Scotland. The show was filmed in different areas of Scotland including Kinloch Rannoch, Falkland, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Glencoe.

 

6. The Affair

Where to stream: Amazon, Showtime

If you’re looking to get sucked into a five-season drama in the heart of Montauk, Long Island, you’re in for quite the treat. This Showtime series follows the extramarital relationship of Noah, a schoolteacher, and Alison, a young waitress. Each episode contains two parts—one from the perspective of Noah and one from the perspective of Alison. With three Golden Globes nominations and two wins, this series is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat and in your feels.

 

7. Big Little Lies

Where to stream: HBO

Besides the star-studded cast of badass actresses (including but not limited to Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz), the panoramic scenes of Monterey, California will blow you away and make you want to work from home from there. If you haven’t already fallen in love with this show, you totally will.

 

8. Mamma Mia!

Where to stream: Amazon, Hulu

If you’ve never seen Mamma Mia!, I promise you that it’ll make you want to pack your bags and fly to Greece. This 2008 musical film is based on the 2001 Broadway musical of the same name and includes a powerful cast including (but not limited to) Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, and Pierce Brosnan. The plot follows Sophie, a bride-to-be who secretly invites three men to her wedding—all of which have the potential to be her father based on her mother’s private diary entries. Come for the music, stay for the drama, and watch it again and again to pretend you live on Kalokairi Island and fulfill all of your Greek Goddess dreams.

 

9. Sense8

Where to stream: Netflix

Sense8 is a Netflix original sci-fi, drama series that follows eight strangers from different parts of the world who realize they are “sensates” who have the power to share thoughts, languages, and skills. The series was filmed in locations all around the world including Mexico City, Berlin, Amsterdam, Chicago, Malta, Brazil, Iceland, London, and more.

 

10. Gossip Girl

Where to stream: Netflix

This was the first show that made me think that New York City girls were the absolute coolest (that thought still rings true to this day). A majority of the show takes place in the Upper East Side of NYC and will make you want to book a trip there STAT.

 

11. Letters to Juliet

Where to stream: Hulu, Amazon

This rom-com takes place in Verona, Italy which is known to many as the home of Romeo and Juliet. In this film, the protagonist, NY-based Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) finds herself on a pre-honeymoon trip to Verona with her fiance where she independently stumbles upon thousands of broken-hearted “letters to Juliet” in Juliet’s Verona Courtyard. In Sophie’s pursuit to answer a letter and help an elderly woman, Claire, find her ex-lover, she meets Claire’s grandson who happens to be handsome as hell and mysteriously broody. My fav. Also, can someone tell me why my eyes started welling up when T. Swift’s Love Story enters the trailer at 1:38? I need help.

 

12. Revenge

Where to stream: Hulu

Speaking of New York, let’s take a trip to The Hampton’s, shall we? Again, this show was the first to let me (a Midwestern gal) know that New York was more than just buildings, bridges, and city lights. This breezy getaway is far from a day at the beach, as it follows Amanda on her journey for revenge. Grab your popcorn and kick up your feet, this one gets good.

 

13. Made in Heaven

Where to stream: Amazon 

This Amazon Prime Original is an Indian drama series that follows Tara and Karan, two wedding planners based in Dehli, India. In this series, old traditions are both honored and challenged while scandals deepen and become prevalent AF.

 

14. Julie & Julia

Where to stream: Hulu, Amazon

Julie & Julia is a biographical comedy-drama featuring the star-studded cast including Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Stanley Tucci. The film jumps between past and present-day, featuring a 1950s Julia Child, who moves to Paris to create a French cuisine cookbook for American housewives, and a 2002 unfulfilled Julie Powel, who embarks on a journey to find herself while cooking all of Child’s recipes in a year and blogging about it.

 

15. Killing Eve

Where to stream: Hulu

Watching Sandra Oh back in action post-Grey’s Anatomy is enough for me to be hooked on this show but honestly, I was blown away by the plot, character development, and scenery. This spy thriller will have you on the edge of your seat while simultaneously dreaming of days in London, Paris, Romania, Tuscany, and Berlin.

 

16. The O.C.

Where to stream: HBO

As far as I’m concerned, The O.C. is the OG teen drama of our generation. This four-season series begins by following Ryan Atwood, a troubled teen from a broken home who later becomes adopted by a wealthy family in Newport Beach. Even though life in the O.C. appears comfortable and happy, it’s not all that meets the eye as Ryan and his peers deal with growing pains, familial issues, and relationship struggles. Also, of note, everyone in this series is painfully good-looking. 

 

17. Eat, Pray, Love

Where to stream: Amazon

Before it was a film, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia was a memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert in 2006. The memoir is an account of Gilbert’s travels post-divorce which was later made into a film starring none other than our girl, Julia Roberts. Her story is one of finding nourishment, prayer, and love around the world and is an account that’ll give you an appetite for life.

 

18. Lost

Where to stream: Hulu

This series is a whole ass rollercoaster. It’s a mix of sci-fi meets supernatural drama and is like Survivor on steroids. The six-season series was filmed in Oahu, Hawaii and is the tropical getaway that none of the OG plane passengers asked for. Thankfully for us, we get to experience the scenes sans being stranded in the middle of the Pacific. 

 

19. Outer Banks

Where to stream: Netflix

This show was the teen mystery series that I needed in 2020. This series will make you want to move to the Outer Banks, take up a simpler Pogue life, and hunt for hidden treasure with your friends. At the very least, it’ll make you want to book a trip to Charleston where the series was actually filmed.

 

20. Normal People

Where to stream: Hulu

Take a trip to Ireland’s Atlantic Coast and marvel over the lovely Hulu Original that is Normal People. This series follows the complex, developing relationship of Marianne and Connell from secondary school to undergrad and beyond. It’s a modern, messy love story that tells the tale of two wildly different individuals who find themselves as they embark on an on-again, off-again relationship.

 

21. Crazy Rich Asians

Where to stream: Hulu, Amazon

I could watch this movie over and over and over. Crazy Rich Asians was based on the 2013 book of the same name by Kevin Kwan. The story follows Rachel, an NYU professor and New York native, who travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend Nick’s family. To her absolute surprise, she quickly learns that Nick’s family is among the wealthiest and most influential in Singapore. To say that things get complicated is the understatement of the century.

 

 

The post Finished Binge-Watching Emily in Paris? Here’s What to Stream Next to Satisfy Your Wanderlust appeared first on The Everygirl.

12 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Single Self

Let me introduce you to a much younger, more fun, and less stable version of me: Single Josie. I always prioritized my life and my friends over boys, no matter what stage of life I was in (good job, single Jo!), but I had my fair share of staying up late to text with boys who weren’t worth my time, keeping up with ex-boyfriends I didn’t even want a future with, and even lusting after the occasional douche here and there (I mean, don’t we all fall victim to a douchebag every now and again?).

Five months spent in Paris ended up changing the entire trajectory of my life for more reasons than one (quick personal apology to my coworkers who have to listen to me say this one time when I studied abroad in ~Paris~ about three times a day). It was the first time in my life I really, truly discovered who I was, in the most Carrie-Bradshaw-cliché way possible. Before I came to Paris, I pictured I would start up a love affair with a frenchman who would say romantic things to me in adorable broken english while baking soufflé au chocolat (a girl can dream, right?). Spoiler alert: that is not what happened (though that sounds like a killer rom-com premise).

Instead, I spent every day in French classes and working at ELLE magazine, an internship I had longed for all my life. I spent every evening exploring the city by myself, sitting in cafes and people watching with a glass of wine and a croque monsieur. I traveled every weekend, sometimes on my own. I started to know myself in a way I never had before. And then a funny thing happened — despite my swearing off relationships, a cute baseball player from back home’s consistent reaching out finally got to me and I decided to respond.

A Facebook conversation turned into phone calls for hours, and phone calls turned into mailing gifts, and before I knew it, I was head over heels before I even crossed the Atlantic to come back home. I traded in a frenchman for a baseball player, and years later, I swear it’s because of the ways I got to know what I really wanted during my alone time in Paris. The End. Thank you for reading my memoir, I’m hoping it becomes an Eat, Pray, Love kind of best-seller and maybe Julia Roberts will play me in the movie adaptation, but don’t want to get too ahead of myself.

While I still have much to learn in my life, looking back at the girl who was drinking a little bit too much punch at frat houses (relatable me) or crying in a Paris métro station because she couldn’t find which train took her to the Champs-Élysées (bougie me), here are the 12 things I wish I could tell my single self, and maybe you’d want to tell your single self too:

 

1. Your relationship status is the least of your problems.

Not to be such a Debbie Downer, but guess what, single Josie – you’ve got a lot more to worry about than which frat guy you should bring to formal. Your young adult life will bring a lot of major changes that will be bigger than the box you check under “relationship status.” You’ll want to find a career that fulfills you, feel financially stable enough to do so, and move across the country multiple times to find the place you’re meant to be. Enjoy your life, laugh a lot, and have a whole lot of fun, but spend more time figuring out how to create a life that will fulfill you more than you spend swiping through Bumble. You have the rest of your life to be in love — for now, just be in love with your life.

 

2. When you feel lack of something, give it.

It may sound counterintuitive to give away whatever you feel is lacking from your life, but it’s the secret to filling voids that I wish I had learned sooner. Feeling a lack of something — whether it’s time, money, support, or love — is all mental, no matter what. It’s a glass-half-empty situation — realizing you have enough water (or Pinot Grigio!) to give some away will show you it’s half-full instead.

If you’re constantly stressed about not having enough money to buy the expensive skincare treatments you want or go out to the nice restaurants with your friends every week, consider donating $5 a month to a charity that needs your money more than expensive skincare treatments or nice restaurants do. You’ll start to focus on what you do have. Likewise, during those moments where you leave a bad date feeling hopeless or lay in bed at night feeling lonely, give love instead of wishing you had it. Call your mom and tell her how much you love her, ask a friend that’s struggling how she’s doing, or better yet, stand in front of the mirror and compliment all the things you admire about yourself, knowing self-love is the most worthwhile kind of love to give.

 

3. Invest your time, don’t just spend it.

Also like money, some people are naturally investors and some are spenders. We often think of time as something to spend — spending the day going to work, spending the night going out with friends, spending an hour taking a nap (because I need a damn nap!). But what if you thought of time as something to invest?

Instead of thinking of spending time between relationships, think of how you can invest your time to become the person you want to be when you do find the right relationship. More importantly, invest your time so that you’re not waiting to find the right relationship. Think of every moment as something you could be doing for your future self, whether it’s learning a new skill or working on building up your friendships. Just like financial investing, you’ll be buying yourself more time to spend later.

 

Source: Bruce Mars | Pexels

 

4. Take note of the moments that make you feel unsafe.

We are all strong, confident, capable women (after all, we truly run the world — Beyoncé knows best!). But there’s still a lot of inequality we’re working to overcome. Spending the time alone that you need to spend, whether it’s traveling or being alone in your own city is necessary, but can also put you in situations that give you that uh-oh feeling in your gut.

No matter how much you try to protect yourself when you’re alone like your mom and Freshmen Seminar taught you, you’ll still have consistent moments where you’ll be wearing a scarf and jacket and the Uber driver will say something to you that makes you feel like no amount of layers is enough. You’ll have moments where a stranger on the Paris Métro looks at you in broad daylight in a way that makes you uncomfortable in your own skin. There will be times that someone will not take no for an answer, and something so momentary will feel so scary for the rest of your life. As painful as these moments are, or as normal as they feel, take note of them all. Use them to feel empowered when you’re alone. And when you notice them enough, “gentle” will show up on your list of who you let love you, even above handsome or funny (but don’t worry — you’ll get all three).

 

5. Cut it off with your ex-boyfriend already!

There’s a lot of reasons we stick around with the people we know are not good for us. Maybe they’re a security blanket, maybe you’re worried you won’t find love again, or maybe you’re subconsciously seeking their approval. For me, it was too much time and history that felt like a lot to give up, even if I knew I’d give it up for something better; it felt easier to gradually grow apart. As you can imagine, breakups don’t work like that, and it caused a lot more pain in the end. No matter the reason the wrong person is still in your life, as soon as you realize they’re not the one for you, that should be the end of it, not the beginning of the end. Know what you deserve, be honest with yourself and the other person, and don’t settle to avoid pain. Bonus tip: unfollow on social media. Just do it!

 

6. Let your friends fill the lonely spots.

I’ve always been a girl’s girl — all of the boyfriends and guy friends in the world can’t compare to the connection I have with my female friends. But friends to me have always just been people to have fun with; I’m not good at opening up or really depending on them. But my college roommate became my family as she cried with me through things like a breakup and the death of a family member, and more importantly, becoming my inherent plus one and other half to the point where I still want to tell her whenever something’s wrong.

If anything, this flashback is a lesson in depending on people. I wish I had been more vulnerable in other relationships, because I learned that good female friendships really do fill the lonely spots. Also, Single Josie, you’re currently obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw’s wardrobe and job, but when she says “maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates,” take note of that too. Even with as happy as I feel in my relationship now, I do wish I realized then that sometimes all you need to feel true happiness is a trashy show, a whole lot of Indian food, and the kind of best friend you make the effort to keep for a lifetime.

 

7. Dating is about finding out what you want (and it’s supposed to be fun!)

Let’s make one thing clear: single Josie and in-a-relationship Josie has always been good at keeping high standards. But there were times when I got more caught up in being wanted that I didn’t even think about what I wanted out of someone else. Dating is supposed to be about finding what you want, not becoming what someone else wants. Oh yeah, and don’t take it so seriously! Some people will like you and some people won’t. No matter if a second date follows, it should be fun meeting new people. If it’s not, take a break from dating to reflect on what you’re really looking for in your dating life — is it just to feed your own ego and heal an insecurity or are you actually looking for a partner?

 

8. When you meet the right person, you build the relationship you want, it doesn’t just happen to you.

I’ve learned a lot about what a “soulmate” means since Single Josie was running around college like a chicken with its head cut off. To go back to those high standards previously mentioned, I truly believed my perfect match would know how to ballroom dance, never get frustrated by me, and love poetry as much as I did. I only considered seriously dating people with certain and extremely specific characteristics (AKA no one), as if I could create my own soulmate like a computer game (I mean can’t The Sims just be real life!?).

But when you find someone who gets you and loves you more than you even knew to add to your list of high expectations, you realize the other things don’t matter. You trust them and their love for you enough to grow the kind of relationship you’ve always wanted together. So don’t write someone off because they don’t play guitar or have never been to Europe. The right person will support who you are and what you want out of life, so sign up for ballroom lessons and book an Italian vacation together. Together, you build the relationship you want, but you can’t (and shouldn’t want to!) change the person.

 

Source: Raw Pixel | Pexels

 

9. “No” is a complete sentence

Inherently, I’m what some would call a “people-pleaser” and what the honest of us would call a “pushover.” I spent much of my dating life feeling bad about people’s feelings and cradling men’s egos. I came up with excuses like “I have a boyfriend” rather than “I’m not interested” to persistent men at bars, and spent too much time texting back boys I didn’t want to talk to, just so I wouldn’t hurt their feelings. I wish I could tell single Josie that one day, she will find strength, rather than silence, in her dominant empathy. Until then, work on saying no when you mean no.

 

10. Focus on growing so much that you crave the feeling of trying something new

Change used to be much harder for me. It affected my dating life because I resisted putting myself out of my comfort zone and didn’t try new things if I could help it. Not only did this prevent me from meeting new people, but more importantly, it prevented me from being my best self. No matter what, focus on growing so much that change becomes your comfort zone. The little things every day make a difference — ordering a new drink at the bar, reading a different kind of book than you’re used to, trying a workout class you’ve never done, and talking to people you’ve never met.

 

11. Eat the damn pastry!

I’ve never considered myself to be insecure, but looking back on my life, there have been a lot of foods I didn’t eat and a lot of unhealthy meals I regretted eating. The guilt surrounding eating is only a representation of the long-standing societal pressure that women are supposed to look a certain way. I want to hug 20-year-old me and tell her she’s perfect just the way she is, like all those American Girl puberty books tried to tell me over a decade ago. I also wish I could tell her the stress about eating is worse for her body than any piece of pizza or cone of ice cream, and her worthiness of love has nothing to do with her weight or what she eats. Enjoy every bite of your life, and eat with mindfulness instead of insecurity. No matter what magazines or lingerie ads tell us, confidence will always be more attractive than however we look.

 

12. Wait for a love that feels like a fairytale.

When you’re looking for a relationship, it’s so tempting to romanticize the people you meet or stick around with someone that has some endearing qualities, hoping that it works out because you just want to be in a relationship already. Even if all your friends start to get married or it seems like everyone and their mother makes Saturday night into their “date night” (I mean, can’t people have date night on a boring night, like a Tuesday!?), you’ll be so much happier enjoying alone time than being in the wrong relationship.

You’ll learn one day, Single Me, that love will only be worth having when it feels like a fairy tale — not a Cinderella story, per se (I definitely do not want to lose a good pair of shoes!), but it will feel too good to be true. This person truly loves the you that you love; they’ll think it’s hilarious and cute when you’re on your period and crying over reality shows, and they’ll do a lot of unromantic things for you every day that make you smile. You’ll get into disagreements, but they’ll care more about how you feel than about being right. They may not have a horse and carriage (à la Prince Charming), but seeing them will feel like coming home after a long day. Doesn’t that sound like a much better fairy tale? Dear Single Josie, for all the wrong you go through (and will continue to go through), one day there will be a right that makes all the wrongs worth it. Don’t settle for less, and enjoy your life while you’re not settling.

 

What do you wish you could tell your single self, whether it’s your current self or past self? Let us know in the comments, below!

The post 12 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Single Self appeared first on The Everygirl.

The Best Way to Train All 6 Major Muscle Groups

Deciding which muscle groups to train together can be confusing.

Most people say chest and triceps should be trained together, since they’re both involved in bench and overhead pressing.

Others say you should train biceps with chest because your arms will still be fresh after benching, so you might as well train them together.

Arnold was known for training his chest and back together, and if that was good enough for The Oak, then it should probably work for you, no?

Other people still say that you shouldn’t program your workouts around individual muscle groups at all, but should simply focus on doing a lot of heavy squatting, deadlifting, and bench pressing or full-body training.

So, how are you supposed to put all of this into an effective training plan that you enjoy?

Well, I have good news for you:

There is no “best” way to combine muscle groups together in your training. So long as you understand a few basic principles, there are many ways to combine them into workouts that not only work, but that you enjoy and can stick to.

Body-part “bro” splits, push pull legs, and upper/lower routines can all work equally well, and which one you use really depends on how many times per week you want to train, how many years you’ve been training, and what muscle groups you want to work on most.

And we’re going to break it all down in this podcast.

By the end, you’re going to know which muscle groups to train together and why, the best exercises for each, and how to create a workout routine that’s guaranteed to deliver results.

Let’s begin.

Oh and if you like this episode and want to get notified when a new one goes live, head on over to Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, Soundcloud, Podbean, or Google Play and subscribe.

Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!

Timestamps:

7:24 – What is a major muscle group? 

8:06 – Chest training 

10:39 – Back training 

18:20 – Arms training

30:16 – Shoulders training 

35:40 – Legs training 

50:47 – Core training 

Mentioned on The Show: 

Shop Legion Supplements Here

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

 

The post The Best Way to Train All 6 Major Muscle Groups appeared first on Legion Athletics.

Polysilicone-11: What You Need To Know

What Is Polysilicone-11? Polysilicone-11 is a type of silicone that helps to improve the feel of skincare and cosmetic formulations and helps to form a protective film to prevent moisture loss.  The terms ‘silicone’ and ‘silicon’ are often mistakenly used interchangeably, when in fact they are quite different. Silicon is the 14th element on the …

The post Polysilicone-11: What You Need To Know appeared first on The Dermatology Review.

Why Is Potassium Cetyl Phosphate Used?

What Is Potassium Cetyl Phosphate? Potassium cetyl phosphate is an ingredient that is used in a variety of cosmetics and skincare products as a surfactant and emulsifier. Potassium cetyl phosphate is a potassium salt of a complex mixture of esters of phosphoric acid and cetyl alcohol, a multi-functioning fatty alcohol. It is classified as an …

The post Why Is Potassium Cetyl Phosphate Used? appeared first on The Dermatology Review.

Why Is Salt In My Skincare?

What Is Sodium Chloride? Sodium chloride, more commonly known as table salt, is not a skincare ingredient that you may expect to see in your product but sodium chloride functions as a binder, oral care agent, gentle abrasive, thickener, and preservative in a variety of cosmetics and skincare products. Sodium chloride is an ionic compound …

The post Why Is Salt In My Skincare? appeared first on The Dermatology Review.

6 Ways to Wear Your Plaid Blazer

While we’re suckers for new, shiny trends, there’s really nothing like those pieces in your closet that are familiar and dependable; the ones that you reach for year after year and that never do you wrong.

One of the pieces at the top of that list? Our plaid blazers. There’s really nothing they can’t do, and when the six cooler months of the year are in town, you can bet that we’re wearing ours multiple times a week, everywhere from the office to drinks with friends to date night. It makes up the bones of our fall capsule wardrobes—and we’ve never, ever regretted having one in our closet.

Since we’re leaning into our capsule wardrobes a little heavier this year, we’re finding new and improved ways to style our plaid blazers this year, and while we aren’t ones to toot our own horns, we think they’re better than any year past.

 

1. With a sweater, jeans, and boots

blazer / jeans / sweater / boots / bag

 

2. With a sweater dress and knee-high boots

blazer / dress / bag / boots

 

3. With a graphic tee and leather leggings

graphic tee / leather leggings / blazer / white sneakers / bag

 

4. With all white

jeans / sweater / necklace / boots / blazer

 

5. With a graphic sweatshirt and chelsea boots

sweatshirt / beret / jeans / chelsea boots / blazer

 

6. With a sleeveless sweater and corduroy pants

sweater (perfect for under jackets!) / corduroy pants / loafers / bag

 

Our favorite plaid blazers

 

H&M

Woven Patterned Jacket

Shop it now

BB DAKOTA PLUS

That Checks Out Blazer

Shop it now

Madewell

Caldwell Double-Breasted Blazer in Mandell Plaid

Shop it now

COLLUSION Plus

Plaid Blazer

Shop it now

Monki Wonder

Checkered Blazer

Shop it now

Stradivarius

Oversized Brown Checkered Blazer

Shop it now

 

The post 6 Ways to Wear Your Plaid Blazer appeared first on The Everygirl.

Ectopic Pregnancy: The Common Condition OBGYNs Want You to Know About

In my first year as a nurse, I had thought that I’d seen it all. I’d cared for a middle-aged man who got a pulse back after three rounds of CPR. I saw the symptoms of stroke disappear before my eyes with the quick administration of the life-saving medication, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). I had witnessed a woman give birth to her first child. I was there to hold the hand of a burn victim while we waited for his family to arrive to the hospital. I was an active listener when patients shared their fears of a new diagnosis.  

As a nurse, it’s easy to compartmentalize situations when they seem so far from your own. As a young female, I felt different from a lot of the patients I had previously helped. Whether it be age, self-care practices, or preexisting health issues, I was usually able to separate myself from the patient’s experience so that I could perform my role systematically, professionally, and without too much emotion.

Toward the beginning of my second year functioning as a registered nurse, there was one particular case that felt more difficult to separate than the rest. She could have been my sister. My friend. My coworker. Selfishly, I thought, that could have been me.

She was a 27-year-old female who had come in for lower abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding. I knew what the workup looked like for a woman of childbearing age who was experiencing bleeding and abdominal pain: urine tests, blood work, and an ultrasound. All to rule out what I had read about in my nursing textbooks: ectopic pregnancy.

The interaction was brief. After her ultrasound showed an implanted egg outside of the uterus, we threw in an IV, got STAT bloodwork, hung fluids, and sent her to the operating room. During the madness, she hid her fear with jokes, but I could hear the panic in her voice with some questions I didn’t know how to answer. During transport out of the ER, I had a Meredith Grey moment: I noticed that we had the same backpack. She was youthful, otherwise healthy, and one of us. 

When we talk about women’s health issues, ectopic pregnancy rarely comes up. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “The prevalence of ectopic pregnancy among women presenting to an emergency department with first-trimester vaginal bleeding, or abdominal pain, or both, has been reported to be as high as 18%.” If you’re sexually active—even if you’re not trying to become pregnant—you are at risk. 

Enter OBGYNs Kate White, MD, MPH and Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG who I spoke with over email to help us uncover the common pregnancy condition many of us don’t know very much about. 

 

What exactly is an ectopic pregnancy?

First things first: what exactly are we dealing with here? Let’s take a trip back to our seventh-grade sex ed course to review: during fertilization, an egg is supposed to implant in the uterus, where it attaches and grows for the remainder of the pregnancy. Say the egg doesn’t make it to the uterus and instead attaches to a fallopian tube, in the abdomen, or the cervix. The egg will grow, but the pregnancy will not be sustainable as it enlargens.

 

What are the symptoms?

Kecia Gaither, who is double board-certified in OBGYN and maternal-fetal medicine, has encountered multiple cases of ectopic pregnancy in her career. In our email exchange, she noted that the most common symptoms include “pain and [vaginal] bleeding.” In later stages, if rupture occurs, a woman can experience more severe symptoms that are caused by internal bleeding and hemorrhagic shock. These later symptoms include “shock, dizziness, and tachycardia,” Dr. Gaither continued. Dr. Kate White, associate professor of OB/GYN at the Boston University School of Medicine, acknowledged via email that “sometimes a person has no [early] symptoms” and only becomes aware of ectopic pregnancy symptoms after rupture.

 

Who is at risk?

Gaither went on to note that those who have had a history of “prior ectopic pregnancies, pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal surgeries, smoking, or IVF” are all at risk for developing an ectopic pregnancy. White explained similar factors and went on to add that being “older than 35 years old, endometriosis, and having multiple lifetime sexual partners” also increases one’s risk.

 

Source: Caleb George | Unsplash

 

How is it diagnosed and managed?

If a patient presents with symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, Gaither stated that “diagnosis is made by ultrasound.” White agreed and shared that while she can “sometimes visualize the ectopic pregnancy on an ultrasound,” this isn’t always the case. She continued to explain that “sometimes, a person has symptoms of a miscarriage, undergoes a dilation and curettage, which reveals that the pregnancy is not in the uterus.” 

As far as management goes, both OBGYNs mentioned surgical and medical treatment that, per Gaither, is dependent on the “size, presence of a heartbeat, and location” of the pregnancy. White went on to detail that surgery may range from “cutting into the [fallopian] tube to remove the pregnancy” to “removing the entire fallopian tube.” She went on to explain that “only one medication can be used for the treatment of an ectopic pregnancy: Methotrexate.” She noted that after two injections of the medicine, which stops the egg’s cells from dividing and multiplying, a woman will need and follow-up bloodwork to trend the pregnancy hormone which should decrease as the medication takes effect.

 

Can it be prevented?

Prevention of ectopic pregnancy is aimed at reducing the risk factors that we can control. Dr. White noted that quitting smoking and practicing safe sex are the best ways to reduce our risk of ectopic pregnancy. “This is another good reason to quit smoking,” she continued. “We don’t know if vaping puts you at risk, so I wouldn’t consider vaping to be a safe alternative.” Additionally, she noted that “you should always protect yourself from STIs. Use barrier protection with any partners you’re not monogamous with and be sure to get tested for the common STIs at least once a year.”

 

What are the implications for fertility moving forward?

If you have an ectopic pregnancy, what does that mean for fertility in your future? Dr. White noted that, “If you lose one of your fallopian tubes as part of treatment for ectopic pregnancy, your fertility can be affected.” Additionally, she shared that “having the ectopic pregnancy can signify an underlying fertility issue, which might make it more difficult to conceive in the future.” Gaither stated that “whether tubal damage or loss has occurred precludes whether infertility will be an issue.” She added that “women without fallopian tubes can still become pregnant via in vitro fertilization,” as the fertilized egg can be implanted directly into the uterus without the presence of the fallopian tube. 

It’s important to note that whether you’re trying to conceive or not, an ectopic pregnancy is a form of loss. If you or someone you know has suffered from an ectopic pregnancy, we see you. We hear you. We feel you. Let’s continue this conversation, Everygirls.

 

Please consult a doctor before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

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