Top Five Wellness Tips We Learned From Lauren Bongiorno!

At Lyfebulb, we’re SO lucky to have Lauren Bongiorno on our T1D Lyfebulb Ambassador Team! Her expertise in countless areas related to self empowerment, fitness, nutrition and health is what makes her such a great influencer. We can all learn a thing or two from Lauren’s expertise!

Today we’re highlighting some of Lauren’s best wellness tips from  IG to share with you today. Her advice is relatable to everyone living with a chronic illness, T1D patients, or  even those interested in creating a well-balanced life.

Check her out at LaurenBongiorno.com !

TIP 1: PENCIL IN VACATION WORKOUT SESSIONS TO KEEP BALANCED

TIP 2: ENJOY YOUR VACATION: DON’T THINK ABOUT “EARNING YOUR MEAL”

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HERE’S THE TRUTH: I aways work out on vacation so I can be less strict about what I eat. yeeeeeppppp. For me it’s not about burning calories/ earning my meal, but with being able to eat waffles, risotto, pizza, tropical fruit, truffle fries without my blood sugars roller coastering all over the place. Sure it would be easier to cook all my meals in the room or only order fish and vegetables out, but i want the freedom to indulge if that’s what I want. For someone like me with #typeonediabetes, if i’m not working out, eating these foods would spike my blood sugar real fast and it would take hours to get it down. When this happens I feel so tired, moody, killer headache… not fun. I feel 10000x better strategically structuring my workouts to support a little more flexibility on vacation. Also, I had 2 waffles for breakfast, pancakes, eggs, + a croissant and it was 💯. The end.

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TIP 3: PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING!

TIP 4: BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT, YOUR BODY, AND LIFE

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part 1/3. New Year Intentions. I should have had multiple burn outs. I’m actually shocked at how all over the place I was last year. I know the only reason I was able to keep moving forward was because I prioritized my health( sleep, food, blood sugars). I heard once that busy isn’t a badge of honor. Couldn’t agree more. December was actually my best, most enjoyable month of the year. I told my best friend Alex it was my month of “yin”, which meant only dedicating time to the things that were absolutely essential, not overextending myself. Towards the end of the month I was so sad it was ending because I felt SO good. But then i realized oh wait i can do this all the time hahah. So that’s what i’m doing. My word of 2019: ESSENTIALISM. My guiding statement: “stay in relationship with what matters.”. Sign: 333 (the number I frequently see which I will use to remind me to trust that i’m on the right path). 2019, we in it. What did you guys set as your intentions? More excited for the next 12 months than I’ve ever been before. Can’t wait to throw these up on a vision board. #yearoftheessentialist

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TIP 5: STICK TO A DAILY ROUTINE

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part 2/3: My 6 new years daily habits💫 Its cool to set intentions in whatever way you’ll feel most successful! For me i’m a lover of checking boxes off + getting real specific. So last week i took some time to map out my 2019 daily habits: 1. Movement: yoga, hiit circuits, weights, pilates, walking. My WHY: blood sugars are best, mood is happy, love a challenge. 2. Tackle the big rocks before 12pm: the things on my to do list that are the most difficult. MY WHY: i have most energy and focus in morning hours. Want to sync up more with sunrise and sunset energy. 3. Be present through listen + feel. MY WHY: i sometimes find myself guessing where convo is going or rushing it to be doing something else. I want to feel a greater sense of connection and appreciation, treating every convo as sacred. 4. Lateral thinking exercise: solve a brain teaser or write down 10 ideas. MY WHY: get outside my box and limitations of habitual thinking patterns. See what blossoms. 5. Study outside my industry of health: book, podcast, documentary, the Economist, become more proficient in SPANISH! MY WHY: expand my knowledge into different areas. 6. Align + Manifest- journaling, card pull, visualization, or meditation. MY WHY: we attract the level at which we vibrate at. Excited for all these! My daily routines were getting a bit stale. What things are you looking to make into habits this year? #newyear #growthmindset

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Chronic Illness & Anxiety: A Chicken & Egg Scenario

Anxiety and depression are prevalent for those who suffer from chronic illness. In fact, one study found that 40% of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients had abnormal anxiety levels and this drastically increases to 80% when the patient is in a flare-up . With chronic illness typically, there is a feeling of loss of control over your own life which can in turn cause stress, anxiety and depression.

Chicken or Egg?

I was diagnosed with IBD 9 years ago and while I have learned to (mostly) manage the symptoms of my disease over time, I have yet to master the feelings of worry and anxiety. After having a bowel resection surgery, I have been in clinical remission but not without its bumps along the way. The fear of the unknown can do a number on one’s mental health. The possibility of a flare-up always lives in the back of my mind. I can remember the countless visits to the hospital, procedures, medications, and extreme pain. I was barely able to take care of myself, and now that I have children, I worry that if I were to have a flare-up, I wouldn’t be able to take care of them or participate in their lives in a meaningful way.

I know that having a chronic illness has increased my anxiety levels, but does stress and anxiety exasperate my symptoms? Research shows that stress can worsen symptoms and cause a relapse of remission. From WebMD “When someone is under stress, the body gears up for a fight-or-flight response by secreting certain hormones, including adrenalin, as well as molecules called cytokines. They stimulate the immune system, which triggers inflammation. In people whose ulcerative colitis is in remission, this sets the stage for the return of their symptoms, known as a flare-up.” This is something I’ve experienced and heard from talking to fellow chronic illness sufferers. Lack of quality sleep and environmental stressors have often caused a revival of symptoms which can be a slippery slope to a full-on flare.

Anxiety definition (from Merriam-Webster):
an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.

Stress definition (from Merriam-Webster):
constraining force or influence: such a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
Anxiety = Fear

When speaking about Generalized Anxiety Disorder it is often associated with people who have irrational fears or worry for no reason. When talking about sufferers from chronic illness, often the anxiety is derived from perceived AND real fears. From my experience, my anxiety stems from a fear of a past trauma reoccurring. Fear of pain, a flare-up, of being out with no access to bathrooms. Fear of foods and eating, procedures, fear of damage caused by long term use of medications (i.e. Remicade can cause an increase in cancer). Fear of missing work, fear that people don’t understand, fear of drug/procedure costs and benefits coverage. This can be scary stuff and can plague your thoughts even when in remission.

From diagnosis to remission the fear still exists, it just changes in size and scope. A newly diagnosed patient can go through stages of grieving and without having the tools to manage the illness it can be very scary. Fast forward to remission, chronic illness has many layers and can be unpredictable. No matter how much you’ve done to manage your illness, there is still a possibility you can have a relapse. The feeling of helplessness can trigger depression, but on the flip-side depression can slow recovery. This begets a vicious cycle which can be hard to get under control.

Coping Physically and Mentally

Patients must cope with not just the disease itself but the mental health side effects of it. While I believe I’ve received excellent care from my Gastroenterologist, he deals with only clinical IBD symptoms so often the mental health aspect of the disease gets overlooked. It is important to bring up your emotional health to your doctor when suffering from a chronic illness despite the perceived stigma. Having that aspect under control could potentially help with physical symptoms. Anxiety and chronic illness can be a chicken and egg scenario where consideration must be given to both to have a holistic treatment plan.

Strategies for Coping With Anxiety:

Find your support: whether that be a close friend, family member, a fellow patient, or support group like Lyfebulb, knowing you aren’t in this alone makes a world of difference.

Don’t assume the worst: challenge those negative thoughts! Remember that you have survived thus far, and all those experiences make you stronger.

Try yoga, meditation, or deep-breathing:  Research has shown this to be an effective complementary therapy for patients with IBD.

Seek counseling – an impartial third party can help instill coping techniques

SOURCES: [Sharma P, Poojary G, Dwivedi SN, Deepak KK. Effect of Yoga-Based Intervention in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Int J Yoga Therap. 2015;25(1):101-12. doi: 10.17761/1531-2054-25.1.101. ]
Cannabis is an increasingly popular therapy for IBD with cannabidiol (CBD) showing promise as an anti-inflammatory and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a pain reducer and sleep-aid. [Ahmed W, Katz S. Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2016;12(11):668-679.]

– Krystal Laferriere, Lyfebulb Ambassador (Instagram @xtra_ordinary_girl )

Caregivers: The Greatest Blessing of All

ibd-caretakers

As we wrap up Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week,

I reflect on the greatest blessing of all in my IBD journey: my caregivers, my dear mother and husband. From the constant rides into the city for doctors’ visits to packing wounds and changing PICC line dressings while helping me walk and shower after surgery, Mom, you picked me up when I was at my lowest points in life. From driving me to Cleveland Clinic and flying me to Mayo Clinic for surgery while spending countless sleepless nights in the hospital, Anand, you stood by my side when society told you you could have done better.

Many of our IBD journeys

would be incomplete without creating awareness for our caregivers and the act of caregiving. You see, folks, caregiving takes courage; it takes guts! When most people disappear from our lives, our caregivers stick around and show us our true worth as human beings, as partners, as sons or daughters, and not just as sick patients. Caregiving takes a real, unconditional love for the person who needs care and help during major illness. And, in the case of my caregivers, it has taken true dedication and perseverance to care for me through 20+ surgeries and hundreds of hospitalizations and procedures. In many ways, for my two caregivers, giving me life again has become their modus operandi, and for me, their love and support has become my ode for survival.

The thing is when we are young and chronically ill, it is next to impossible to ask for help. It makes us feel useless and ashamed that we can’t be as able-bodied as the rest of our peers. But to have two caregivers who swoop in every time, like the guardian angels that they are, is truly my greatest blessing. Thank you, Mom, and thank you, Anand, for being my two rocks. Every time I have wanted to give up, you have encouraged me to press on, insisting that my existence matters oh-so-much. So, if there is a single reason as to why I have kept fighting and facing this monster of a disease, it’s you both. You are my lifeline, the embodiment of love, and truly, my entire universe.

So, own your Crohn’s,

own your need for tender love and care, for there is nothing wrong with being taken care of sometimes. We too will have the opportunity to pay that kindness forward one day in our very own ways.

**This blog and my advocacy work are an extension of the love and support I’ve received from my caregivers over the years. It is an act of paying their compassion and humanity forward to you all, my followers and supporters. I dedicate this blog to my mother, my husband and my late father who fought Crohn’s Disease and colorectal cancer so valiantly and passed nearly 27 years ago. My IBD journey would be incomplete without the three of you.**

Rebecca Babcock: IBD Warrior

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais NinDueing

December 1-7 is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week,

and as an IBD Warrior, it is an important to take a pause and look at REAL life with a silent, incurable illness. There is no question that is hard, but it is also what WE choose to make of it. As I often say, each of us can do hard things.

rebecca-babcock-ibd-crohns

Having a chronic illnesses can understandably leave you living in fear of the next flair up… like becomes an insane game of “illness athematic”: trying to time the onslaught of debilitating symptoms with work or personal commitments (as if we have an ounce of control over any of it!), lying in wait of medication’s terrible side effects, or perhaps planning around the anticipation of potentially embarrassing social encounters. Aka: life can get very small… if you let it.

Last weekend I experienced a beautiful reminder that I can live a full life even during the hard times when I don’t feel well, or I am not sure I am up to it, I don’t look my best or can’t give it 100%. I went to a baby shower for a very best friend and then a “Friendsgiving” celebration, and while I could not partake in either of the beautiful and likely delicious cakes, I was reminded that showing up is most of the battle.

rebecca-babcock-life-ibd-crohns

The bottom line is my disease doesn’t define me and it doesn’t need to define you. It certainly takes courage and more than a fair amount of humility and honesty to show up to life, maybe not at my best, but on life’s terms. It is a lot better than not showing up at all.

#nocolonstillrollin,

Rebecca

Lyfestories: Incorporating Exercise Your Life with an Invisible Illness

Hi, I’m Zoe and I am actively autoimmune!

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I felt like I had lost control of my health and body. As a physiotherapist, I have always believed that movement is key and began to use exercise as a way to take back some control. Whatever the illness, injury or challenge, I believe exercise will support our health and recovery.

In saying that, I know how difficult it can be to motivate yourself to be active. Pain and fatigue, alongside juggling work, family or school plus hospital appointments and medication regimes; exercise can just seem unachievable. Health can fluctuate on a daily basis preventing consistency and progress. Here are my top 5 tips into how I incorporate exercise into my life with a chronic illness:

 

  1. Be kind to yourself!

Sounds simple, but I find adopting the right mentality about why I am exercising, helps to motivate me. A lot of social media is aimed at fit and healthy people, striving for excellence. With chronic illness, we are striving for different goals.

You are not exercising to punish your body. You are not a bad person if you miss a workout. And you should not feel guilty if you cannot keep up with what others either on social media or in the gym are doing. Find what feels good for you and be kind to yourself.

2. Set realistic goals

Find a balance between something realistic but challenging, and something you care about or enjoy doing. Our bodies cope with enough medically, so we don’t want to add to the stress it goes through!

I find comparing where I am and what I want to achieve is very different to the average #goals on Instagram. Realistically running 5k and doing 50 burpees are not possible at the moment. But to aim to get on my mat 5 times a week, whether for a gentle workout, stretch or yoga is attainable and helps motivate me.

 

3. Be flexible

“Be stubborn with your goals, but flexible how you get there”

Health is unpredictable (the number of days I wake up with my list to do and due to how I feel, I achieve zero of them). Add in spontaneous hospital trips and appointments and it can feel disheartening not achieving what you set out to do that day. I try to use these moments to mix up my routines, walk instead of run, stretch instead of workout or on really bad flare days, simply sitting and doing some breathing exercises. Frustrating as it can be, it is about listening to what your body needs.

4. Learn when to rest and when to progress

Lots of my clients used to ask me:

“If I feel unwell should I still exercise?”
“Do I stop if I have pain?”
“Should I keep pushing past fatigue?”

For those of us with invisible illness, if we listened to our bodies every time they were unwell, in pain, or fatigued we would never exercise. That being said, we can be too brave and push past symptoms we should pay attention to. It is a really difficult balance and often ever changing due to drug changes and disease activity.

The best way to find out your limits is to test them! I started very lightly and monitored how I feel during, immediately after and the next day. A gradual increase in activity is a lot wiser than getting stuck in a pattern of over exerting yourself and then needing days to recover.

 

5. How to push through

Everyone has bad days, either physically with raging symptoms, or mentally due to a lack of motivation or simply fed up. It is absolutely okay to have these days off! However, it is often on these days when I am feeling rubbish, getting on my yoga mat can have the biggest positive effect.

Sometimes it is the thought of exercising that can seem overwhelming more so than the workout itself. The process of getting in my activewear and getting out my mat can sometimes seem a big a task as washing my hair aka. huge. One method I use is to break down the task so it seems more manageable. I give myself a target of 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes, my symptoms are still horrible or worse, then I stop but more often than not, I carry on.

 

I hope a few of my tips helped, for more guidance or if you have any questions please reach out to me on @activelyautoimmune or on www.activelyautoimmune.com

Real Talk With Dave: Sleeping Through The Night

One thing that we as Type 1 Diabetics often worry about is going to sleep. I have experienced myself, as well as heard other Diabetics discuss how sleeping can be one of the most stressful things as a Diabetic because we are always unsure what to expect. What we worry about is not waking up in the morning as a result from a severe low blood sugar, ripping our pump sites out as we toss and turn in bed, then waking up with a high blood sugar due to no insulin going through all night, or just about anything else you can think of relating to Diabetes in the night. But that shouldn’t be the case. Sleeping at the end of the day should be a time to unwind and rest from the busy day prior. Everyone has their days when they are constantly on the go and working so hard that when they come home at night, sleep is an essential to healthy living. There are things that we can do, to the best of our ability, to ensure a peaceful sleep and a restful night.

After living with T1D for so many years and knowing your own unique and individual sleeping pattern and Diabetes routine, going to bed is much more relaxing and you are able to worry less. It just takes time and practice. I can remember countless times in which I would wake up from a low blood sugar at 4 AM and run downstairs, practically eat the whole kitchen as it is a common feeling to be so hungry and in a state of panic, to bring me back up from that horrific low. That is just me, but some others may not be responsive to lows in the middle of the night, as well as highs. In that case, having different ways to ensure you’ll wake up can include having a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to make a loud alert when you do go low or high, having someone close by to your room at night to check on you every once in a while, or setting an alarm to wake you up every few hours to check and monitor your blood sugars. Any of these scenarios can be essential in ensuring a safe and peaceful night.

I can remember countless times in which I would wake up from a low blood sugar at 4 AM and run downstairs, practically eat the whole kitchen…

I have struggled recently with waking up in the morning feeling terribly sick and nauseous, with a headache and all, resulting in me having to put off my plans for the day until a later hour, having a slow start to my morning, or even just being foggy minded and unfocused for a few hours into the day. That was all getting to me and I didn’t know truly why that was happening. I figured that it must have had something to do with my blood sugars. I reached out to the Diabetic community over Instagram and asked if anyone has ever experienced those symptoms and how they handled them. After receiving so many helpful tips and advice, it came down to these helpful tips!

  1. Drinking plenty of water (16oz-32oz) right before bed, as well as right away when you wake up, can help cleanse and support blood sugar regulation throughout the night and morning.
  2. Avoid eating (especially foods high in carbs/sugars) late at night before bed, it can be one of the worst things you can do if you are trying to get a good night sleep as highs and lows are affecting your sleep and extra insulin could result in severe lows at night.
  3. Eat a dinner high in protein to help stabilize the blood sugars throughout the night and keep them in a steady range, reducing the amount of blood sugar fluctuations during your sleep.
  4. Drink some decaf tea before bed, such as green tea or chamomile, to put the body in a state of peace and relaxation as it can help steady your blood sugars at night.

Real talk, always be prepared for the worst. Make sure to always have a fast acting form of glucose, such as juice or glucose tablets nearby at night and within range, just in case you were to wake up low in the middle of the night. Also, make sure to have water close by to help treat high blood sugars if that were to be the case. Have your phone next to you and have someone in mind whom you can call in case of a Diabetic related emergency at night. These are just some things to keep in mind and always have with you, whether you are sleeping at home, on vacation, or taking a nap on an airplane, because us Diabetics get tired pretty quickly, so sleeping can happen just about anywhere honestly.

Per usual, everybody is different, so I can’t guarantee these tips and tricks will work for everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a try as we are constantly reminded by our doctors and other health care specialists that these are the main ways to get a good night sleep as a Diabetic. These are just some different tools and tricks I have used in my 9 years of being a Type 1 Diabetic as I sleep and they have helped me tremendously. Though I still struggle from time to time and have nights where I am terrified to go to sleep, not knowing what to expect, I try my best every night to do what I know is right in terms of maintaining my numbers and that’s all I can really do for myself.

So don’t stress your sleeping routine all because of your Diabetes, it will be just fine and you will be able to conquer many nights in which Diabetes is just a thought, but sleep is so important in healthy living as a Diabetic.

So go ahead, sleep the night away and count those sheep!

Live well,

Dave

5 Best Ways to Increase Your Energy, Focus, and Productivity

The energy-in-a-bottle industry is booming. Visit any checkout counter in America and you’ll likely see a variety of energy drinks and supplements with questionable health qualities.

Increasing your energy, focus, and productivity doesn’t come from a convenience store, it’s about how you treat your body. Getting exercise, good sleep, proper nutrition, managing your stress, and yes, maybe a little caffeine are some ways of increasing your energy and focus.

1.Exercise!

You’ve heard this before. If you are feeling drained, you should head to the gym. This is easier said than done when you are feeling lethargic, but the data doesn’t lie. A University of Georgia study says that those who are most sedentary stand to gain the most from light to moderate exercise.
People from all different activity levels can stand to gain from exercise. According to the same study, a group of mostly sedentary people who began a light workout regimen saw a 65 percent increase in energy levels. A simple walk in the morning can help you wake up for the day, burn a few calories, and even reduce stress.

2. Get the Appropriate Amount of Sleep

Setting a sleep schedule that works for you is vital to maintaining healthy energy levels. Being sleep deprived or sleeping too much are both causes of fatigue. Your brain and body need you to sleep!

A University of Rochester study determined that during the day proteins build up in your brain as a byproduct of cognitive activity. While sleeping, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid increases and washes away the toxins. Without this process, the brain cannot function at full capacity. This is why it is hard to focus when sleep deprived.

Sleep position is also key to getting proper rest and avoiding fatigue. Having bad sleeping posture can lead to a laundry list of problems including back and neck problems, acid reflux, snoring, premature wrinkles, and fatigue.

According to various medical specialists, side sleeping is the best solution to the issues mentioned above. In order to get better rest, make sure that you choose memory foam pillows and a comfortable mattress designed especially for side sleepers. For further information regarding the benefits of using a high-quality mattress, click here.

3. Don’t Neglect Nutrition!

Proper nutrition is one of the most effective ways of increasing your energy and focus. You are what you eat! Garbage in, garbage out. Getting advice to eat nutritious foods for energy is not news to anyone, yet as a society, we still eat sugary, non-nutritious foods.

There are countless studies backing up a balanced diet, but reading those aren’t likely to change behavior. Try an experiment on yourself. Keep notes of how you feel on your current diet, especially if that diet is high in refined starches and sugars. Then for a few days, cut out the processed foods and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Take note of your energy levels! When you realize that your energy and focus, and therefore your productivity has increased, you may finally be convinced to make those changes permanent.

Nutrition isn’t just what you eat. It’s what you drink as well. Being dehydrated can cause low energy. If you find yourself feeling low during the middle of your day, the first thing you should do is take a brisk walk to the water cooler. The walk, plus the hydration can be just what you need to catch your second wind.

Alcohol can also affect energy levels, especially when consumed right before bed. Having a night cap might help you fall asleep, but on average you’ll be awake again in a few hours leaving you sleep deprived the next day.

4. Consume a Proper Amount of Coffee
Caffeine is a classic and often abused tool in the arsenal of ways of increasing your energy and focus. However, excessive consumption can lead to awful side effects, affecting cardiac rhythm and raising blood pressure.

On the other side, moderate caffeine consumption can improve your focus capacity. According to various studies, 4mg of caffeine per 1 kg of body weight can improve focus and memory. In other words, when used properly, caffeine will certainly increase your productivity!

5. Stress

Stress triggers the body’s fight or flight impulses. This is very useful in short-term circumstances, but when the body is exposed to chronic stress, including job-related stress or relationship stress, many adverse symptoms can arise including exhaustion.

Sleep can be a self-defense mechanism and when faced with constant stress, your body wants to “check out” by sleeping. If sleeping means your body can avoid the stressor, then that’s what your body wants you to do. Rooting out the causes of chronic stress or better managing the demands of your daily life can allow your body to get better rest when it’s time to be restful and therefore have more energy and focus daily.

Conclusion

Energy and focus are valuable commodities. You don’t have to buy them at the convenience store, you can control your energy levels by following the five steps above.

When the body gets proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep there is no doubt your energy levels will rise.

Is It Possible You Should Slouch More?

You’re at work. Your back is killing you. You’re shifting in your chair to try to stay as upright as possible, but it actually kind of hurts.

But, you’ve been told to sit upright, so it must be better for you, right?

“Sit up straight.” “Pull your shoulders back.” “Don’t slouch.”

Are these thoughts that you tell yourself? When you’re sitting at your desk chair? Or while driving? Or even just sitting at the dinner table?

So many of my clients come to me with back pain, and as soon as I get them on a video call, I can see immediately one of the major contributing factors to their pain.

In an honest attempt to protect their spine, they have actually begun to make the issue worse!

It’s not their fault. I used to do the same thing! We’ve been told these things all of our life!

After all, slouching doesn’t look very professional in school or in a meeting.

Did you know that excessively sitting upright can actually be just as bad for you as excessively slouching? Yup, turns out there literally is no research that shows a direct correlation between slouching and low back pain. Crazy, right? I know. I thought the same thing.

That’s why with certain clients, based on what we observe after scheduling a video consultation (click here to schedule your complimentary video consult!), I often prescribe this exercise:

Still confused? Because you’ve been told the spine should always be kept straight?

The body simply loves movement VARIABILITY. That’s why the body doesn’t respond well to lots of sitting OR lots of standing. Neither is inherently bad, but it’s the lack of movement and the over-abundance of the same posture.

I’ll even let you in on a little secret. This fundamental principle which I teach my clients in my programs is:

The best posture is the posture that changes most often.

Let me give you a little analogy to help make sense of this craziness. If I were to tell you to hold a bicep curl all day long, do you think you would get stronger? Or at some point, would your muscles actually fatigue and get weak and tight? Yeahhhh… I think you know the answer ?

The same goes for our spine! When we hold our spine straight all the time, we are essentially doing a plank all day long. No wonder our back ends up feeling tight and weak! It needs a rest!

This is counterintuitive, I know. But if you’ve ever experienced back pain, you’ve probably noticed that pulling your knees into your chest feels amazingly good.

Ain’t no coincidence! Want to know why? Because when you pull your knees into your chest, your back is rounding and finally getting the rest it wants so badly!

If you’re curious to better understand how your body’s unique movements/postures are impacting your pain, your health and your fitness, send me an email! Just simply ask any question you may have and I am happy to answer it for you!

You can also click here to schedule a 60-Minute Video Call where we can take a look at what’s going on with your body specifically to determine some concrete actions you can implement RIGHT away to start alleviating your pain.


To learn more about Melanie Daly and her personal training, please visit her website: http://www.backpainpersonaltrainer.com/

16 Health Benefits of Pilates, According to Science

In the 1920’s, a man by the name of Joseph Pilates observed people doing yoga, and animals moving how they naturally do at the zoo and came up with a series of movements that allow a human to stretch and build muscle that he called pilates.

Pilates is considered to be a “low-impact, big result” workout regimen. It was intended to be a workout for dancers with injuries.

Knowing it’s intended purpose it should come as no surprise that the series of movement works out the entire body but also tends to focus more on the core muscles and balance. (1)

Pilates is series of movements that are slow, methodical, require a lot of focus and accuracy coupled with controlled breathing.

Because it is not considered cardio, yet it is considered exercise and because it is so adaptable, pilates is perfect for those just starting out in the exercise world or those coming back from an injury.

Pilates is very much like yoga, but it is stepped up a notch.

Pilates is more balance, more muscle toning, more stretching, more flexibility, more mind/body connection. (2)

Pilates can be done as a stand alone exercise if it is challenging enough in itself but many do pilates on their “day off” from a stringent workout routine.

Regardless of why you choose to do pilates, the health benefits are amazing.

Here are 16 amazing health benefits of pilates and 10 tips for beginners.

  1. Pilates improves flexibility
  2. Pilates increases strength
  3. Pilates increases core strength
  4. Pilates is safe for rehabilitation
  5. Pilates increases circulation
  6. Pilates increases lung health
  7. Pilates improves concentration
  8. Pilates increases coordination
  9. Pilates improves balance
  10. Pilates improves posture
  11. Pilates lowers stress
  12. Pilates can bring increased self-awareness
  13. Pilates can prevent injury
  14. Pilates can improve your brain health
  15. Pilates fights insomnia

To read more in-depth into each of these benefits of pilates, and for 10 tips for beginners, check out this post, courtesy of Jen Reviews.

Keep Your Fitness Resolution All Year Long

Year in and year out, fitness and New Year’s resolutions seem to go hand in hand. Every year a promise of a livelier, healthier, fitter you comes to the front of your focus —at least for a few months, anyway. In order to keep your fitness resolution well into the new year and perhaps even carry it into the next year, you must build a momentum and stick with it! The only thing standing between you and your ideal of perfect health —is you.

Find Your Tribe

The good thing about having an extremely common resolution such as health and fitness is how easy it will be for you to find people to connect with. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are on the same quest as you will indeed keep you from slacking on your goal. A good support system will aide in assisting you with making sure your fitness stays a priority. If your support team isn’t in your immediate family or circle of friends, no worries, there are several other ways you can meet them.

One good resource for finding your tribe is a social media outlet such as Facebook. You could pose a question via status to your friends’ list asking if any of them have a new year’s resolution in fitness. If Facebook isn’t your thing you can always go the organic route and meet people by attending classes at your gym or workout facility. Once you’ve found your accountability partner(s) you can either workout together, or contact each other on a regular basis to make sure you are still focused on your resolution. You will be more likely to accomplish your goals when you feel like there is someone cheering on your progress!

Prep your meals ahead of time

One of the quickest ways to thwart your efforts in the gym is unhealthy eating. In a world where convenience is king, drive-throughs and processed foods have just about taken over healthy, planned, wholesome meals. If you are serious about sticking to your resolution, it will be wise to avoid the pitfalls of poor food choices. Heavy snacking and less than healthy meals will definitely put a monkey wrench in your progress.

In order to beat this, it’s best to plan and cook all of your meals at the beginning of the week. Also choose healthy, easy to grab snacks to ensure that you won’t reach for the nearest bag of chips when you get that midday urge. Poor dieting choices have the tendency to make you sluggish and unmotivated. Be sure to load up on foods that will give your body the fuel and energy it needs to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Your health journey is a marathon, not a sprint

A lot of times in all the hype surrounding the new year, people tend to set goals that may not be feasible or realistic to attain. A fast start almost always guarantees a burnout, so be mindful of that when setting your fitness resolutions. Give your mind and body time to adjust to your new fitness regimen —do not over do it. Start at a pace that feels natural to you, then work your way up from there. Track your progression and allow yourself the opportunity to feel good when you cross a milestone. The more you treat your fitness goal like a lifestyle, the more likely it will become integrated into your day to day routine. Let your new year’s resolution guide you into a lifestyle that you can look back on next year with pride and contentment!

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14 Health Benefits of Avocado, Proven by Science (+ 5 Delicious Avocado Recipes)

The average avocado is nutrient dense, delicious, and will clock in at about 140 calories. With this comes 14 grams of fat – roughly 70 percent of the calorie content. In these calories are an incredible balance of nearly twenty vitamins and minerals. Infused alongside these nutrients are many antioxidants – and the fat content of avocado is monounsaturated, meaning that it helps your body balance its intake of other fats.

Avocados can help your body with a wide range of ailments. Aside from being able to clear up vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can cause a host of problems on their own, avocados can help prevent aging from oxidation (helping you live longer and be more active), improve immune function, manage your blood fat content, eliminate cholesterol, improve digestion, and more.

Avocados have been the subject of intense study and research. Their speculated benefits have helped people for centuries. Science has recently been able to find truth to the legacy behind the avocado’s medical usage in history. Mexico, Chile, and other Central and South American cultures have used the fruit in medicinal preparations and health remedies for many years.

avocado with tomato and cilantro ingredients chopped

 Here are 14 health benefits of avocado, as backed by science.

1. Avocado is a very good source of lots of vitamins
2. Avocados beat bananas in terms of potassium content
3. Avocado helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
4. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fatty acids
5. Avocados help your eyesight
6. Avocados can prevent osteoporosis
7. Avocados have a great fiber content
8. Avocados can fight against cancer
9. Avocados can reduce depression
10. Avocados improve digestion and detoxification
11. Avocados have a synergistic mixture of antioxidants
12. Avocados can help your skin stay young and healthy
13. Avocados are helpful for people trying to lose weight
14. Avocado helps bolster the gut’s intestinal flora

To read more in-depth about each of the listed benefits below, and to learn some delicious avocado recipes, click here.


Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (@Lyfebulb) and Twitter (@Lyfebulb) and use the hashtag #EatWell to show us your healthy recipes!

Endurance Training

Endurance exercises cause us to breathe hard. Maybe you know this type of exercise as cardio or aerobics. No matter what we call it, it’s cardiovascular exercise, meaning we’re using our cardiovascular and respiratory systems, which include the heart, blood vessels, and lungs.

Doing cardio increases heart and breathing rates from resting rates, improving endurance, cardiovascular and respiratory health, and physical fitness. Key components include the mode, intensity, and frequency of endurance exercise. Some examples include walking, running, and riding a bicycle.

How do you choose which endurance exercise is best for you? Look around.

What’s available? It might be a gym, park, swimming pool, or stairs. You can run on a treadmill or elliptical machine or outside in a park. You can climb on a stair-master in the gym or run up and down the stairs.

What are you able to do and what do you enjoy? Maybe you are unable to run and you would prefer to walk. Pick up the pace and walk a bit faster. Maybe you were a dancer as a child; go to a barre class and get your heart rate up.

Maybe you really don’t like cardio. Try getting to places early and walk around to kill time. Park far away from wherever you’re going or get off the subway a stop or two early to keep your heart rate up for a little while longer.

Maybe you get bored of doing the same exercises over and over. Mix it up! Ride a bike instead of running. Try different exercise classes…sometimes this will even save you money! Gyms and studios love to give discounts to first time students.

And…what do you want and/or need to get out of endurance exercise? Maybe you want to improve your daily energy levels. As we improve our endurance, our ability to perform daily activities increases because it is easier to breathe.

Each person’s endurance training is different, so it’s important to be conscious of our bodies as we increase amount of time or intensity of endurance exercises. If you haven’t been aerobically active in a while, take time getting back into aerobic activity. Like I’ve said about other forms of activity, take baby steps. Drink plenty of fluids. Dress in appropriate layers whether you’re running outside or inside. Exercise outdoors during the day or in well lit areas at night. Warm up. Exercise. Cool down. Stretch.
Where you begin depends on initial your fitness level, age, medication, and medical conditions. Start with 10-15 minutes of walking and gradually work up to 30 minutes per day. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Combine endurance training with flexibility, strength, and balance exercises to improve overall physical fitness. But first, consult with a doctor, physical therapist, or a well-educated personal trainer to make sure your body is up for the challenge.

Woman running. Female runner jogging, training for marathon. Fit girl fitness athlete model exercising outdoor.

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