Thursday, February 14, 2008

After-School Program Teaches Girlpower

DVDs and books by Denise Austinby Denise Austin

A former female Ironman triathlete says she's found a way to help young girls successfully navigate the hormonal minefield known as puberty — hit the track! Molly Barker, founder of the Girls on the Run program, set out to counter the tendency of girls to leave sports behind once they enter puberty. Barker says she remembers all too well the pressures she felt as a young girl to fit into what she calls the girl box — an idealized image of femininity that didn't include being an athlete.

Barker's after-school program has helped some 40,000 preteens stay active and build their self-esteem through their successes on the field. A second program,
called Girls on Track, focuses on encouraging middle-school-age girls to keep moving. And guess what? It's working! Girls who participate in these programs report feeling better about their changing bodies and more comfortable in their skin.

If you have a young woman in your life, encourage her not to give up sports and other "sweaty" activities just to fit in! Being a woman doesn't mean sitting on the sidelines. It's a lesson that will serve her for life!

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Monday, February 4, 2008

When Calories Do -- and Don't -- Count

When Calories Do -- and Don't -- Count

Americans have a love-hate affair with calories. At any given moment, more than 4 out of 10 of us say we’re on a diet, yet we are gobbling 300 calories more each day, on average, than we did 20 years ago. And calorie counts sometimes dominate our lives: We choose workouts based on how many calories they burn, shop for calorie bargains at the grocery store, and blame holiday calories for our widening waistlines. But do we really understand when calories do -- and don’t -- put on pounds? Take this true/false test and see how you score.

1. True or False: Women trying to lose weight should eat no fewer than 1,200 calories a day.
True. It’s the lowest, yet still safe, calorie level for weight loss, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet.

2. True or False: Most people have a pretty accurate idea of how many calories they consume.
False. People typically underestimate how much they eat -- sometimes by up to 700 calories a day. “But most of us tend to be off by about a third,” Somer says.

3. True or False: Excess calories go straight to your hips.
False. They go straight to wherever your genes tell them to.

4. True or False: Fat calories pack on pounds faster than carb calories.
True, if the calories are excess calories -- that is, more than your body needs.
5. True or False: Calories eaten at night are more fattening than calories consumed during the day.
False. Calories eaten at night aren’t any more fattening -- but they are more tempting.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Keep Your Heart Healthy!

DVDs and books by Denise Austinby Denise Austin
If you were asked what the number-one cause of death among American women is, you'd probably say breast cancer, right? If so, you'd be wrong. It's cardiovascular disease that holds that title, and on average, 1 out of every 2.6 American women loses her life to this silent killer.

There are things you can do to prevent heart disease, though — including quitting smoking if you smoke, eating a healthy diet, and losing weight if you're overweight. Physical activity also plays a crucial role in keeping the heart healthy, and the American Heart Association recommends exercising for 30 minutes each day at a moderate-intensity level. Your heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle, it needs sufficient exercise in order to stay fit and healthy! Regular exercise helps you to maintain healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It's the key to maintaining a healthy weight.

DVDs, books and more by Denise Austin

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