Fresh Air- Let’s Be Real Sociey Creators Take on Mental Health Issues

By Francheska “Fancy” Felder & Quendole “Que” Johnson

While more entrepreneurs are coming forward and talking about mental health issues, mental health continues to carry a stigma within the Black community. Through their work with Let’s Be Real Society, co-founders, Fancy (publisher of SwagHer Magazine) and Que (host of The Purple Girl Show) often noticed mental health was and is the source of many issues plaguing the Black community. They also realized it was even causing setbacks in their own personal lives and business. Last month, they decided they would recommit to their brand and vision, so upon the release of Future’s “Hndrxx” album and inspired by his song, “Fresh Air”, Fancy suggested they come forward and openly address what living with depression and anxiety is like. Together the two opened up and shared their inner thoughts to raise awareness for others suffering in silence.
“I don’t know what that feels like.” “But Fran I can’t imagine how that might feel.” These are the similar things I’ve heard while trying to explain to loved ones how it feels to live with depression and anxiety. Depending on the person, they may actually pause for a minute and try to imagine the pain, the weight- THE WAIT- the doubt, the negative thoughts I battle within my own head daily. And if you are like my ex (who wasn’t my ex), then you simply blow it off and go back to real sh**, like how you are going to blow money you don’t really have in the club to hide the pain you are carrying). If you are a more caring person, then you may really try to understand but can’t.
For this reason, I began practicing how to describe this feeling, because I think if people know how it feels then maybe more can be done about it, instead of trying to force controlled drugs and propaganda on us.
Greetings, I’m Francheska Felder, but I go by Fancy, and I suffer with both anxiety and depression often. In a study conducted by CNN, “The Dark Side of Creativity: Depression + Anxiety x Madness = Genius”. It was discovered that creatives suffer from “unusually high mood disorders”.
Vincent Van Gogh described it as the following to his brother Theo in a letter, “I am unable to describe exactly what is the matter with me. Now and then there are horrible fits of anxiety, apparently without cause, or otherwise a feeling of emptiness and fatigue in the head… at times I have attacks of melancholy and of atrocious remorse.”

Think back to a time you had a bad thought, for example the thought of losing a loved one. They’re fine right now but the thought just crosses your mind. Ok now did you cut it off and resume your day? In my experiences with depression, my thoughts continue to spiral downward. Now I’m thinking of this person passing, and how they will leave others behind, and how one day I will too, and how there’s so much pain the world, and why is there so much pain, why do we create things like greed, lust, and division amongst us…. and you see where this is going?
I can’t turn them off. I have to work to control them. That’s depression for me.
Other times, I’m waiting for something to happen. What I don’t know, but it’s a big test. Everything is a big test, and I’m waiting but I’m nervous as hell. I’ve studied, I’ve failed. I’ve studied harder. I have opened my mind. I have revamped. I’m ready. Put me in the game coach- but wait I’m going to be sick.
“I need fresh air! I need to get out on my own.” (Future, 2017, Track 8).
Both depression and anxiety have caused me to ruin or miss important moments in my life and career. They have held me back from growing into the woman I aspire to be, but this year I decided I could no longer live trapped in my own mind. I must face these illnesses head on.

” I can’t breathe” we all heard this phrase before. Rather it was from a senseless act to an asthma attack! Have you ever considered there are people in your face every day who can’t breathe and you don’t even know it! Yep, I am one of those people. Hi, my name is Que Johnson I’m a mother, entrepreneur, smart- oh did I mention cute, and I suffer from anxiety -a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Physiatrist describe it as a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Although it’s not life threating, and it doesn’t have life expectancy on how long you will live with it, it can affect your day to day activities. Women are twice more likely to suffer from it than men. According to the HHS office of Minority Health Black/African American, adults are 20% more likely to report serious phycological distress than white adults!
Now that you have a clearer understanding, I want to let those know who are suffering in silence “you are NOT alone” (Michael Jackson, 1995), (one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs), but really you’re not!
I made the decision to no longer hide, be embarrassed and could care less what people think! Anxiety has at times crippled my decision making, ruined relationships, put off projects. It has pretty much slowed me down from things that were very important to me.
When it came time to do certain things or be around certain people my anxiety symptoms would start to flare up like getting light headed, or a headache, constant nervousness in my stomach sometimes even vomiting. I would get the shakes, sweat or just completely shut down! How do you share this with people? I didn’t, but you can!
It’s time for “Fresh Air” take a deep breathe in and exhale the bull$h!t! It’s time to live again. People say you only live once, but I don’t believe that. You only die once, but you can live again each day you have breath in your body. I’m not completely healed from anxiety, but it no longer has me in bondage! I feel free. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Let’s be real about this! You cannot do this alone. If you feel that you are, shoot us an email, or join our Facebook group, “Let’s Be Real Society- Breathe”.
Williams, L.A. (2014, January 22). The Dark Side of Creativity: Depression + Anxiety+ Madness =Genius.
Manta, King BNJMN, Major Seven, Future. (2017). Fresh Air. [Recorded by Future]. Hndrxx [Album].
R. Kelly. (1995). Heal the World. [Recorded by Michael Jackson]. “You Are Not Alone” HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I [Album].

4 Surprising Reasons Stress May Be Making you Fat

Written by Salina Jivani

Maybe your relationship’s on the rocks.

Maybe your dog’s missing.

Maybe your job’s on the line.

Stress happens. In fact, in life it’s inevitable.

But do you notice your clothes fitting tighter? Or that you’ve sprouted some extra “love” on those love handles?

Unfortunately, stress often affects more than your state of mind. In fact, it might be the very culprit behind the extra weight you’re suddenly lugging around. Understanding how stress can contribute to an unhealthy weight can help you battle the bulge and be more motivated to combat stressors. Here are four key ways stress may be contributing to your expanding waistline—and teetering weigh scale.

Causes insulin resistance

When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, signaling your body to put all “non-essential” body functions on hold until the stressful situation disappears, which is signaled by the dip in cortisol to a normal level. As a result, when cortisol is released, the body tries to preserve as much energy as it’s able through blood glucose, so it signals insulin to stop accepting blood glucose into the cells. When the stress disappears, insulin will once again balance blood cortisol levels, allowing cells to accept glucose again. However, when you’re in a constant state of stress, your body becomes immune to signals to resume activity as normal, such as insulin signaling the cells to accept glucose again, which leads to insulin resistance.

What happens when your body resists insulin? Well, among other issues, your body won’t be able to use up the energy from the foods you eat, since glucose won’t be allowed to enter the cells, which leads to weight gain.

Makes you hungry

In stressful situations, you may either lose your appetite or gain one. If the latter is true for you, you can thank good ol’ cortisol—again. As we already know, our body releases cortisol when it’s undergoing stress. But what you may not know is that this hormone is also responsible for making you feel hungry. So if you’re a “stress eater” that means your body reacts to signals sent by the release of cortisol, which makes you hungry and immediately prompts you to reach for that king-size chocolate bar…or anything else within your reach.

Promotes sleep deprivation

When you’re stressed, you’ll likely notice a disturbance in your sleep patterns and find it more and more challenging to get a restful night’s sleep. Lack of sleep causes more than just grogginess and irritability—it alters your appetite, affecting the hormones your body releases throughout the day.

For instance, ghrelin increases appetite while leptin decreases it—and both of these hormones are released interchangeably throughout the day as your body cues and ceases hunger signals. However, when you’re tired, your body releases ghrelin to keep you going throughout the day, which often will cause you to continuously reach for fatty, carb-filled junk foods (think office vending machines!).

Moves fat to your tummy

One of the hardest places to lose fat from is your belly, yet that’s exactly where your body will store fat during stressful times. And it’s thanks, again, to cortisol. When you’re stressed and your body releases cortisol, that cortisol will direct fat from all parts of your body directly to your belly, where it becomes visceral fat—which extremely difficult to get rid of.

Learn healthy ways to combat stress so that you can keep a normal routine going in your life to avoid the negative impacts of stress. Yoga and other forms of exercise are terrific stress reducers, plus they’ll help you stay in good shape. Also consider things like talking to someone you trust or journaling your feelings—all wonderful ways to let go of some of the burden. Remember, a healthy mind makes for a healthier body.

5 Strange Things That Could be Diminishing Your Lifespan

Written by Salina Jivani

In middle school, my classmates and I used to secretly launch silly games and websites on our browsers when the computer lab teacher wasn’t looking. One that used to be pretty popular was a death clock that predicted the date and time of your death, counting down years, hours, even seconds. Sounds pretty morose, even perverse, as I’m writing about it now. But hey, it was middle school. We were only getting warmed up with the crazies!

The good news is the death clock was actually pretty generous and didn’t predict anyone would clonk out before the age of sixty.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work nearly as favorably and it certainly doesn’t dance to the tune of the death clock, granting everyone plenty of time to live out life.

As most of us know, promoting longevity requires effort and healthy practices like staying away from drugs, exercising and eating healthy. But here are five weird habits we bet you (and that death clock) never thought would shave off years from your longevity calendar.

You don’t laugh enough

We’ve all heard that we need a healthy dose of laughter in our lives. It’s why concepts like laughter therapy exist! But did you know your sense of humor can impact how long you live? In fact, studies prove that women who have a healthy sense of humor are 43% less likely to die from illnesses, infections and other ailments than those who don’t. And men have a 74% reduced risk of passing away from those same ailments.

You’re not getting any action in the sack

Everyone needs a little lovin’. But men in particular who haven’t had sex in a long time or have vowed celibacy can push their mortality rates up double of those who do get some sack action at least once a week. (A great way to bribe your woman into having some fun with you, especially when she needs some prodding!)

You don’t drink

No, that’s not a typo. You’re probably used to hearing quite the opposite, but recent research proves that, given you’re drinking responsibly, a regular helping of alcohol can actually combat diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia and heart disease. Another surprising fact: a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that mortality rates are actually higher in non-drinkers than those who drink heavily. Quite a shocker, yeah?

You don’t get along with others

Relationships are an important part of your wellbeing, because they affect your mood and stress levels, which have an impact on your body. So your relationships with people you spend a lot of time with—namely your family and co-workers—has a huge impact on your health. Studies show that those who get along pleasantly with their coworkers had a higher life expectancy because of lower stress, which promoted healthy cholesterol and blood pressure ranges.

You eat food that’s been sitting around

You’re in desperate need of bread and you’ve got exactly two slices remaining—just enough to make a sandwich for lunch. Problem is, one of the slices is slightly molded all the way in the corner. You look around, tear off that edge and toss it in the trash. And no one’s the wiser, right?

Well, not quite.

According to studies, eating food that’s even slightly spoilt or has been hanging around your refrigerator shelves just a bit too long can actually cause you to lose your lifespan. When scientists performed experiments on yeast, fruit flies and mice, they found that those that consumed a diet of ingredients derived from older components lived an average of 10% less longer than those that consumed fresher components.

In humans, when we eat foods that are old, we end up accelerating the aging of our cells, which ends up hindering life expectancy.

So while you’re out there piling on leafy greens and vegetables in your grocery cart, don’t neglect to toss out the items in your fridge that are past their due dates!

Top 5 Ways To Get Your Body Summer Ready

Written By Ariel Wallace

Summer time is approaching! No more flat tires, or muffin tops allowed! We all desire that wash board abs firm bottom, or just plain old celebrity phisque. I know a lot of fad diets that will but go out the window by third day. Join the 20 day challenges on social media would be one way, but these five ways are a sure way to get the Best Results.

Waist Training: Waist Training is a quick fix, it helps you shed off inches on your waistline, sure to give you a coca cola shape that eyes can stand to bare. Celebrities like Pre Madonna make a living in perfecting the Women’s body for better looking curves and flatter tummies. You can find these at your local mall or order them online.

Water Intake: Just by drinking two small cups of water before dinner studies show that you may loose up to five pounds alone. Trading in your favorite sugary drinks for this pure nutritionist liquid is sure to keep the extra pounds off. Eight cups of water is good for your body alone. Not only your body, it cleanses and brightens your skin. If intaking water is hard for you try adding fresh fruit to your water to flavor it, or Propel flavored water will work just fine.

Joining A Gym: Find a local gym you can join. Couples workouts are the best. Nothing better than love and motivation at the same time. Doing Cardio 3x a week for 30 minutes a day will give your body toner results, long walks in the park or neighborhood, or excercising with can goods instead of dumbells, start a workout regime. Everyone loves Exercise Guru Sean T, creator of Insanity sure to get your body fit and right.

Balanced Diet: the key to a healthy lifestyle is to eat a balanced diet. Making sure your body is consuming from the basic food groups. Lean proteins, Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole grains. Subtracting carbohydrates and keeping calorie intake under control. Try a homemade smoothie with a blend of vegetables and fruits.

5 Easy- Peasy Ways to Stop Getting Sick

Written by Salina Jivani

Don’t you just hate the itchy, scratchy, painful feeling of having a sore throat? Or being clogged with congestion? No one enjoys being under the weather. And while this time of year is notorious for eliciting on onslaught of cold, flus, viruses and untamable bugs, you don’t have to make your body more vulnerable than it already is.

Creating a healthy immune system starts from the inside. By following a few simple practices, you can help yourself remain in good health and (in turn) in good spirits year round.

Eat healthy

Nutrition is key to having a well-functioning body and immune system. Pile up on fruits, veggies and also yogurt, which contains probiotics that help stave off illnesses.

If you have any dietary restrictions for religious or personal purposes (ex: limiting meat or certain foods), be sure to supplement your diet with a multivitamin that’s appropriate for your age and gender. One-a-Day and Centrum brands are great because they have multivitamins designed specifically for this purpose.

Limit the booze

Yes, we all know an occasional red wine is healthy, key word being occasional. While alcohol is expected, sometimes even unavoidable at parties and gatherings, be responsible and don’t overindulge. Doing so over time will certainly affect various organs in your body, mainly your liver, and cost you your good health.

Immunize yourself

Make sure you get your vaccinations on time. Doing this will prevent you from unnecessary hospitalizations and protect you from a whole slew of diseases that are otherwise quite unnecessary to contract—because a simple vaccination can prevent them in the first place!

Stop smoking

Remember that old high school indulgence that quickly turned into a horrid lifetime habit? Kick it! Smoking can not only damage your health, but over time, it can weaken your lungs and immune system. Studies show that puffing often can also make you more susceptible to repeated bouts of serious illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis. So if you don’t want to spend your life being bed ridden with illnesses thanks to that cig, chuck this habit to boost your longevity and health.

Get some Zs

Yes, we know it’s impossible sometimes to get a good night’s rest. Especially if you’re running a start-up or have a house full of wee ones around. But sleep is detrimental to a well-functioning immune system and it’s something we all need enough of. So try, try, try to get the recommended amount of shut eye, which for adults is 7-9 hours.

Surprised that these tips sound an awful lot like the ones you always hear for everything from looking younger to having a hot bod? You shouldn’t be. Because at the core of having a healthier you is creating a healthier you, and the steps to that building that foundation remain unchanged. So adopt them and you’ll automatically help yourself (and your body) get a clean bill of health…and maybe a hot bod to spare 😉

5 Surprising Reasons You May be Feeling Constantly Drained

Written by Salina Jivani

The birds are chirping, the sun is blazing…and you feel like you just need to snuggle under the covers another few…days. And no matter how much rest you get, it feels like it’s just not enough.

Sound familiar? If you feel like your exhaustion is borderline abnormal, your suspicions might be spot on. What does feeling fatigued indicate? Should you be concerned about a deeper health concern? Not necessarily, but maybe. Most culprits of fatigue are quick fixes but a few can indicate an underlying problem.
Here are the more sneaky, lesser known reasons you may be feeling constantly sluggish regardless of how many cappuccino shots you’re downing.
You’re dehydrated

Are you drinking enough water? Believe it or not, water is an integral to making sure your body functions at its optimal. In fact, it uses that precious H2O for everything from ensuring proper metabolic function to making sure your digestive system remains on track. And yes, not ingesting enough water could be a cause for fatigue.

But wait, don’t get too excited with that gigantic water jug just yet—being overhydrated closer to bedtime can be counterproductive and also cause you to lose sleep thanks to the multiple nighttime bathroom trips you’ll be forced to make.

You live in a mess

Remember when your parents used to nag you about keeping your room clean? Not only would heeding their demands have paid off by making you a more organized individual, but also, you’d benefit from a better night’s sleep. Studies prove that those who live in messier environments have more disturbed sleep than those who sleep in more organized surroundings. So tidy up!

It’s too hot

Ever notice you twist and turn more frequently when it’s just too hot? That’s because it’s tougher to catch some sound Zs when temperatures are uncomfortably high. Before you go to bed, make sure you set your thermostat at a decent temperature close to around 72 degrees, but not much higher. You’ll rest a lot more peacefully and wake up feeling less groggy, making for a more energized, productive day.

You have no consistent sleep schedule

Of course for most of us it’s near impossible to fall asleep at the same time every single night, but attempting to establish some consistency with your sleep schedule can help you more easily fall asleep and avoid a night of twists and turns as you attempt to grasp some shut eye.

If you have a varied work schedule or have a few nights where you’re out a little later than others, creating a sleeping schedule can be difficult, but try to strive for as much consistency as possible. Getting yourself into a sleep routine will make it that much easier for you to find sleep, which means you’ll waste less time trying to fall asleep and have better chances of starting the morning feeling well rested and refreshed.

You have an underactive thyroid

If you’re practicing healthy habits and can’t seem to pinpoint the reason for your feeling sluggish, an underactive thyroid may be your perpetrator. Other signs of an underactive thyroid include brittle nails, dry skin, unexplained weight gain, and hair loss. If you feel you might be exhibiting some of these symptoms alongside sluggishness, visit your doctor.

Practicing healthy habits will always prove rewarding for your body, so make a conscientious effort to do what’s best for it. And remember that if at any point your exhaustion seems prolonged or worse, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor right away. Here’s to hoping your 2017 is filled with good health and restful nights!

How You Could be Suffering from Anxiety and Not Even Know

Written by Salina Jivani

Anxiety mental health symbol isolated on white. Mental disorder icon designMy grandmother was nuts. We used to laugh at her seemingly endless and silly list of worries. Everything from having to eat lunch at precisely noon to taking a shower to something as simple as going to the bathroom would stress her out. She would share stories about her bowel movements with intense seriousness and gravity and it seemed her entire universe started and ended in the bathroom. Ironically, that’s where she ended up passing away. That’s right. On the royal throne.

Jokes aside, what we should have known was that she suffered from something called anxiety disorder, which, unfortunately, is no laughing matter.

When you think of an anxious person, you probably conjure a picture of someone whose legs are restless, forehead is beaded with sweat, hands are wringing, and possibly someone who stutters. But anxiety is actually a lot more than just that, and maybe even a little different. Affecting nearly 14 million people in the U.S. alone, anxiety disorder is one of the most common types of mental illness in the U.S., but many people don’t even know they have it.

What is anxiety, really?

Have you ever had to prepare for a huge deadline? Or present something in front of a large audience? It’s normal to sweat over these kinds of common work situations. After all, no one wants to be a failure or be perceived as a dumb-dumb.

But while the average worry-wart spends about 55 minutes sweating over such scenarios, those with anxiety spend almost five times the amount, or over 300 minutes in a single day, worrying about the same exact issue. Anxiety is when you feel an overwhelming sense of worry or experience nervous behavior or internal unrest to a degree that it affects your everyday activities.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Surprising signs of anxiety

It could be stage fright. Or perhaps you feel like all eyes are on you when you’re in a room. Suddenly you feel nervous. You can barely concentrate on your surroundings and in your mind you’re constantly berating your every action, your every word.

Anxiety is painful, yet many people who have these feelings of constant doubt, internal uncertainty and overwhelming anxiousness in seemingly simple situations don’t even realize what they’re suffering through.

And that’s because common symptoms aren’t what you might expect them to be. Common signs of anxiety include:

Chronic indigestion
Problems sleeping
Shortness of breath
Tingling or numbness in extremities like your hands and feet
Heart palpitations
Irrational fears
Panic attacks
Compulsive behaviors
The worst part about anxiety is that it affects your everyday life. You dwell on your problems and fears to the point where you can’t lead a normal life and move beyond what’s consuming your thoughts. People who have this disorder may feel like their life comes to a standstill anytime they’re faced with something that causes them this kind of extreme discomfort.

How to get cured

Anxiety disorder is a form of mental disease, so the cure for it is much like how other mental illnesses like depression are treated—with medication and psychotherapy.

Going back to the story of my grandmother, we know she was suffering through anxiety and she took regular medications for it. But the one day she ran out of her dosage or forgot to take it was hell to pay in our home. She would go nuts and drive everyone around her nuts, to the point that my father would go berserk and lash out at everyone around him. Not fun times for sure. But the bottom line is, if you decide to go the medication route, remember that every medication has its side effects and can cause dependencies. So if you don’t take your medication or happen to skip a dose, it’s likely you’ll feel a significant change within yourself.

If you’re looking for a more natural route, some specialists might recommend remedies like yoga and acupuncture.

Whatever you decide, make sure you do your research and consult with a specialist first. However, the most important thing you can do—and the most crucial step—is recognizing that anxiety disorders are a true illness and should be treated with as much care and attention as any other.

The Simple Secret To a Slimmer Waistline

Written By Salina Jivani

Slim waistWe live in a society that’s fixated on calories, from food packaging crammed with nutritional facts

where calorie takes the lead to large light-up menus at fast food restaurants where calories counts compete for space among the smorgasbord of pictures and pricing.

And it’s this fixation that’s got us all going stir crazy over every morsel of anything we put in our mouth. I’ll say I’m equally, if not more, guilty than anyone out there.

But perhaps my story’s a little different than everyone else’s. Until my late teens, I never paid any attention to food and had a naturally slender figure of 125 pounds on my 5’ 7” frame. But my lack of interest in meals cost me to lose a lot of weight and people soon started asking me if I was anorexic—which to me was a huge insult that called for immediate action.

So I went to the local Walmart, bought several bags of fun size chocolates and started stuffing face.

The weigh scale didn’t budge. So I ate more and more and more until I felt absolutely sick. But alas, I’d gained five pounds—and the compliments began. I remember the feeling of elation. Of feeling like if a little bit of weight got me this much attention, more would make me feel and look even better.

So I ate more and more and more, until I’d gained 15 pounds. By then, my unhealthy eating habits were second nature. Chocolates took the place of meals and fast food options began to be the healthiest picks of my day.

Soon, I found that where I fit comfortably into my clothes before, I was now struggling. And then came the reality check: a picture of me and my boyfriend where I actually looked heavier and bigger than him! Being that he was no small guy, I found this utterly embarrassing. Even my dad, who never commented on my weight, mentioned in passing to my mom that I’d seemed to have stacked on a bit of meat.

And there I was back at square one again, listening to people, being hurt by their opinions and wanting to ignite immediate change in my body. So I went on a diet and started counting calories. And I did for the next 10 years.

Until 2016. That’s when I decided I needed to make a lifestyle change, and not stick to a process that made me feel like I was constantly ball-and-chained.

But with this decision to put an end to my religious counting habits came consequences. It didn’t take long for my weigh scale to begin an outrageously slow ascent, fooling me into thinking it wasn’t real “weight” that I was gaining. Perhaps just water retention or that extra salt I’d ingested through that family-size bag of potato chips I’d indulged in. But I was wrong. Soon, I’d put on 10 pounds.

But this time around (after more than a decade of calorie counting) I knew that I was under NO circumstances ever going to resort to calorie counting again. I was tired of being imprisoned to my calorie counting app. I was tired of feeling like a prisoner in my own kitchen. And I was tired of not relishing food just because some stupid number limited me from enjoying it.

So as the weight wheedled its way back up on my hips and thighs, a newfound resolve cemented itself into my brain. I wasn’t going to count calories anymore, but at the same time, I was not going to starve myself. Something about this thought sparked a realization in my mind. I’d become so focused on calories and stuffing my face during binges, I’d forgotten how to eat.

What do I mean?

Well, the secret to weight loss for a lot of us dieters is actually quite simple if we stop focusing on calorie counting. In fact, it’s as simple as…eating when we’re hungry.


Wait, don’t give up on me yet. Hang tight just a second.

I know you’ve heard it a million times, but in all reality, if you’re overweight or obese, it’s likely to do with your eating habits.

Remember when mommy used to sit you down on that dinner table and force you to eat every bite of your chicken before you were allowed to take your tush off that chair? Yeah, well, it’s likely her good intentions, no matter how noble they were, that taught you to suppress, at a young age, the hunger and fullness signals our bodies naturally emit.

And it’s a vicious habit that’s hard to beat.

In the past week, I’ve been listening—actually listening—to my tummy. Gauging it for signs of hunger, before actually taking a bite of food. And I’ll say it’s already helped me lose two pounds!

Simple tricks to determining hunger

If you’re not sure you’re eating when you’re hungry (or don’t even know what that means anymore) here are some simple :

1) Close your eyes and focus on your tummy. Does it feel empty or full?

2) If you think it’s empty, drink a glass of water and wait five minutes.

3) If you still feel a rumbling or emptiness—you’re ready to eat!

Other rules to keep in mind

Remember that just because you’re hungry doesn’t give you a free ticket to pigging out until you feel like puking! Keep reminding yourself that you’re no longer restricting calories or any types of food and that you can eat anytime you’re hungry. This really was key for me. Once I understood that restriction was off the table, it was easier to focus on my tummy and how much food I really needed to feel satiated.

If you feel you’ll go overboard, here are some things you can try:

1) Always start with a healthy meal. Don’t reach for the sweets when you hear the rumble!

2) Use a small plate and break your portions up with healthy helpings of veggies and leafy greens. Then leave enough space (about the size of your fist) for an entrée of your choice.

3) Eat slowly! Don’t engulf your food. Savor every bite.

4) Give yourself twenty minutes after you eat to determine if you need more. That’s about how long it takes for your tummy to know whether it’s full.

5) Reach for fruits first when the sweet tooth kicks in, but if that doesn’t cut it for you don’t stop yourself from enjoying dessert.

6) Remember to continue listening for signals from your tummy that say: That’s enough!

Like any new practice, this may take some time. Give yourself a week to a few weeks to get into the swing of things. Just trust in the tummy and you won’t go wrong!

Saving Your Newborn’s Cord Blood: Is it Worth the Investment ?

Written by Salina Jivani


I remember when I was pregnant for the first time and a friend of mine asked me if I was planning on saving my baby’s cord blood. My response: What’s that?

Of course as a soon-to-be mother, I felt compelled to Google and learn ounce of information I could get my hands on to make sure I was making the best choice for my baby.

For those of you who are expecting or plan to start families in the future or even if you already have children of your own and want to learn a little about this concept, here’s some good information to know. Plus, if you know the decision of whether you should save your child’s blood cord is one that looms in the near future, we’ll share important facts that will help you make an educated decision.

First, let’s start with the basics.

What is cord blood?

Quite literally, cord blood is as its name suggests—blood taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn. This blood is known for its richness in hematopoietic stem cells, which are what cells are before they become blood cells. Because of how fresh these cells are, they can be used in successfully treating certain diseases like leukemia, sickle cell anemia and lymphoma and repairing important body components like tissues, vessels and organs.

The beauty of blood cord is that its benefits aren’t specific to only the person whom it comes from—it can be taken from anyone and benefit anyone at any time—in infanthood or adulthood.

Why parents choose to save cord blood

Many parents choose to save their baby’s blood cord as insurance in the unfortunate event their child develops a serious disease. The thought is that if a health emergency ever occurs in their child’s future, or perhaps in that of another family member’s, the blood cord serves as a security net to help cure the disease better than any other alternative.

What other options do I have ?

You can either save your baby’s blood cord in a blood bank for your family’s use or you can choose to donate it to a public blood cord bank where it will be available for other people who may need it.

If you decide to save your child’s blood cord and store it in a prmivate bank, there is a monthly cost associated with this choice—and it comes with a hefty price tag.

On average, most private banks charge a one-time fee of between $1,500 – $2,000, plus an annual fee of $100 – $300.

The pros and cons of saving cord blood

Of course as a parent, we want to make the best possible decisions for our kids, and like with any other major decision in life, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of saving blood cord for private use so you can decide whether it’s a good option for you and your family.


· Assurance for your family’s future health in the event of specific diseases

· Can be used to benefit anyone in the family

· Can be life-saving


· Heavy price


3 Health Risks You Might Be Welcoming If You Don’t Exercise

Written By Salina Jivani


We hear it all the time—exercise! Live an active lifestyle! Thirty minutes a day will keep the fat at bay!

You know you should exercise. It’s just as common sense as knowing you should brush your teeth after every meal and shower every day. But the magic question is: are you doing it? Are you investing in your body just as seriously as you do in your career, your appearance or your home? If the answer is no, you’re probably causing a lot more harm than you realize.

Several studies and research show an inverse correlation exists between lack of exercise and your chances of having these three health risks—among others.

Heart disease

This one’s probably the most obvious of the three. But do you ever wonder how exercise affects heart disease?

Exercising improves your body’s blood circulation, also lowering the bad (or LDL) cholesterol levels, which can form fatty deposits in your arteries and clog them, and helping lower or regulate your blood pressure.

When you don’t exercise, the reverse happens. Fatty deposits quickly take residence in your arteries, your blood circulation is affected, meaning you have an increased chance of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks, and your heart, because of all these pressures and obstacles, has to work harder to do its job, putting it at heightened risk of disease or an attack.

Certain cancers

Exercise reduces the risk of cancers such as colon and breast, but people who lead sedentary lifestyles increase their chances of contracting such cancers. Certain studies have shown that adults who take exercise seriously and look to challenge their workout regimens by continuously increasing them in duration, intensity or frequency can lower risk of colon cancer by anywhere from 30 – 40%. With breast cancer, the risk decreases anywhere from 20 to 80%, and with endometrial and lung cancer, the risks decrease at a similar rate beginning at 20% and going upward to 40% for endometrial cancer.


Like many parts of the human body, joints are healthiest when they are put to work routinely—meaning when you exercise regularly. People who have made exercise a part of their daily routines are less likely to develop arthritis. And if you already have it, you may still have a shot of reversing some of its painful effects. An established exercise routine can help reduce joint aches and increase strength and flexibility while also helping fight fatigue.

Of course exercise benefits more than just your body. It helps you maintain a healthy frame of mind and fights depression. To add icing, regular exercise can help many of us maintain a fresher appearance, younger-looking skin and toned bodies well into the later part of our lives. All the more reason to spend those thirty minutes a day on your body; think of it as an investment you’ll never regret.