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Lesley Cornelius

Lesley Cornelius lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She is a graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University, with a double major in journalism and history. She writes for both publications at Goddess Connections, “Women Who Run It” and “How to Put the Fun Back Into Dating,” and is an expert on dating and relationships, health, fitness, and nutrition. Lesley writes novels in her spare time and hopes to one day become a successful author, writer, and journalist. For now, she enjoys exploring her interests, playing and watching ice hockey and living every day to its fullest potential. You can contact her at lesley.cornelius6@gmail.com.

The Craziest Workout Trends of 2013

It’s nothing new that people will do just about anything for their health. Some people have no limits! We are constantly being told about new trends for working out, and we’re always looking for something new that will help us stay fit, or in my case, get fit in the first place. From products to exercises, there is no end to the things people come up with to get in shape.

There have been some crazy workout trends in the past year. The kicker? Some of them actually work! The others, however… the only thing they’ll do is make you look silly. Here are some of my favourite crazy workout trends from the year, and just incase you partake in any of these, I’ll let you know what you’re wasting your time with.

Let’s start with some of the crazy products people have come up with. These are always entertaining because you really get to see the extent some people go to in order to avoid going to the gym.

Here are my top 5 favourite weird products of 2013:

1. Vibration Plates – I saw one of these pedestals that you stand on that vibrate under your feet at my gym one day, and spent a good half hour of my treadmill time trying to think of what it could possibly be used for. Then, a few days later, I saw an older man using it, and it was so loud and obnoxious I couldn’t think of what that possibly could do for your body. According to ABC News, the base is actually vibrating under your feet, which forces your body’s muscles to contract to keep your balance while you do exercises on it. If you want one of these badboys for yourself, you’ll have to fork over about $2,500. There’s a chance it might help with your circulation and bone density, but it won’t help you with weight loss, especially if you’re using it to shorten your workouts.

2. Sound Wave Technology – There is a product called Vaser that uses sonic waves to get rid of your unwanted belly fat. It acts like liposuction and sucks it out. According to ABC News the cost for this procedure ranges from $8,000-$20,000. Sure, it works, but for that much money you’re better off just getting liposuction in the first place, which has long-term proven results.

3. Leg Weights – Apparently you can tone your legs while walking around the office or at work with the invention of leg weights. They are basically weights that wrap around your ankles or calves with the intention of giving your legs a strength workout while doing everyday tasks. Do you really want to walk around all day with weights on your ankles, though? Skip these, especially if you work a job where you sit the majority of the time.

4. The Treadmill Bike – Just incase you can’t decide between running and biking, you can now do both at the same time!  The treadmill bike is exactly what it sounds like: a treadmill on a bike. The bike looks like a giant scooter with a treadmill where the seat and pedals would be on a bike. The bike will cost you roughly $2,000CAD or $2,450USD, which is significantly more than a gym membership or running outside, and the medical bills this dangerous contraption might end up costing you are even higher. The best part of this, though, is that there is a side attachment you can get to “walk” your dog beside you.

5. The Entertrainer – According to Daily Life, this contraption is something you strap to yourself while you’re watching television. It monitors your heart rate, and when your heart rate drops too low, it shuts the television off until you do enough exercises to get it up again. These are perfect for those who can’t pull themselves away from the television for more than half an hour. It costs $139.99 on their website, which is less than the cost of your television, but this product is priceless for any couch potato.

Some people like to do the lazy version of things. That’s why we are hearing about products that shorten your workout time and use minimal effort to get you fit. But some people take it to the next level.

I am now going to share with you my 5 favourite crazy and weird exercise trends of 2013:

1. Backwards Running – This needs no description. Shawn Radcliffe of Men’s Fitness says that some people have reported that running backwards uses 30 percent more energy than facing the right direction. It’s also 100 percent more likely to get you seriously injured. And don’t try this outside.
2. Working out Barefoot – This has been a subject of much debate in 2013 especially, as more and more people are trying to live “like their ancestors did” or “as minimal as possible.” Working out in your bare feet is supposed to strengthen the muscles in your lower leg, feet and ankle as well as increase your balance. If you’re willing to get past the germs, bacteria, and overall dirtiness that comes from being barefeet in a public place, that is. Personally, I’d rather not put my barefeet on a disgusting gym floor just to increase my balance.

3. The High Heel Workout – According to Christine Egan of Blisstree, this workout is led by a professional dancer who leads you through a series of workouts while everyone wears- you guessed it- stilettos. It’s supposed to help you improve leg muscles and posture. To me, it’s just asking for a broken neck or ankle. If I can barely walk in stilettos I’m not going to risk injury (and loss of dignity) exercising in them.

4. Doga – Doga, or dog yoga, is apparently a real thing where people bring their dogs to yoga class. The dogs can either choose to participate or run around knocking the zen out of everyone. Shawn says that people who attend these classes claim that the dogs bring a sense of fun and lighten the mood of the classes. Just make sure you bring a poop bag.

5. Flirty Girl Fitness – This is the ultimate workout if you want to piss off a feminist. In these classes, which have been described as a “showgirl workout,” stripper poles are used as an accessory. Other accessories, according to their website, are pink feather boas and kitchen chairs. These classes teach you moves you’ll be able to practice at a nightclub if that’s what you like to do for fun.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering if there are some crazy exercise trends that actually do work. The answer is yes, some people aren’t just crazy- they’re actually getting a good workout! Here are some of the crazy workout trends that actually do work, if you can get past how strange they are. Try them out yourself and see how sometimes these crazy people are really on to something.

One of my personal favourites is drum fitness. Not just because I’m a musician, but because my personal workout mentality is that a workout needs to be fun or I’m not doing it. Drum fitness oozes fun from the name alone. In these workouts rhythmic drumming is combined with aerobics, like squats and lunges. It’s a full body workout focusing on your arms that’ll give you killer results (and a super fun time). If you’re interested, “Drums Alive” and “Pound” are the most popular drum fitness classes and you can look them up to see how you can get involved.

Jungshin is another of my favourites. It’s a martial arts workout that uses a sword. How can that not sound awesome? It’ll give you an amazing strength workout as well as a full-body aerobic experience. On top of the amazing results you’ll get, it will make you feel like a warrior and a badass. Who doesn’t like feeling like that? You can hit up their website to find out more information.

One of the most effective weird workout trends of 2013 is tabata training. Tabata workouts can be completed in 4 minutes. That’s right, you’ll have no excuse for not being able to fit it in. In the time that it would take you to drive to the gym you’ll have already completed your workout. Sounds crazy, right? The key is that tabata training uses high intensity interval training, or HIIT. HIIT is an effective way to structure your workouts because your body burns fat at such a high rate you’ll continue burning fat after you’ve stopped working out. This particular Japanese workout consists of 20 seconds of intense training, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated over 8 rounds. To find out how you can get in on this quick workout, visit their website.

The biggest workout trend this year has been mashing up different workout classes. You’ve most likely heard of piloxing, a mix of pilates and kickboxing. Then you’ve got zumba, a mix of latin dance and aerobics, and buti, a mix of tribal dance and yoga. Aqua spinning is another, which mixes swimming and spinning. These are awesome workouts because they change things up and give you something new to try.

Who does single-type classes anymore, anyway? That was so 2012.


Are You Addicted to Being Average?

So you’re stuck.

Settled in to a career where you know you could be doing better, but you stay where you are because it’s comfortable. You put in so much time, but you don’t get rewarded for your efforts. In fact, your efforts are almost unseen. You feel bored at work because you settled for a job that didn’t challenge you enough. You ran into some troubled times and didn’t want to risk going through that again, so you stuck with a job you feel safer with. You made some sacrifices, but it was worth it because you’re getting by and managing with what you have. And that’s enough for you…

You are addicted to being average. When you get into the habit of your addiction, it’s hard to get out of it. You become comfortable and you remain settled in your average job while you let your hopes and ambitions become merely a dream. This ends here. Make those dreams your goals and complete them. It’s time for a challenge. Rise above your average life and start living to your fullest potential. Take that leap you’ve never had the guts to take. Break your addiction today and become exceptional.
Deborah Dubree is an expert at breaking away from average. She went from being a receptionist with just a high school diploma, to being CEO and owner of a successful construction company. Excelling in climbing the corporate ladder, she’s even written a book called AVERAGE IS AN ADDICTION, From Mediocre to Millions! aimed to help people get out of the lives they settled for. Deborah Dubree spoke with Women Who Run It’s editor-in-chief, Fiona Fine, and shared her secrets and advice. Steal her top five pieces of advice and break away from your own average!
1. Be Courageous and Gutsy Dubree managed to work her way up to own a construction company, and now she runs a coaching business, as well as a regular talk show on Kwammie Lassider Sports Talk. How did she do that? As she puts it, “I bet on me.” Dubree credits her ability to ask, “Why not me?” instead of, “Why me?” The difference between these questions will give you the mindset for pushing yourself up the ladder. Believe in what you offer someone, instead of doubting why they would want to choose you. Stop worrying about what other people are thinking or saying about you and do things for yourself. Don’t doubt yourself. Just do it. “I said, ‘I’m doing this for me,’ and I went after it,” says Dubree.

2. It’s Not all About Qualifications Dubree says she sees people all around her who are intelligent and talented who remain stuck at their average jobs in their average lives. They reach excellence, briefly doing something great and worth the recognition, but then they come back down from it. She notices that they all take a familiar pattern, which always ends with them settling for the position they are currently in. They choose comfort instead of risk. Dubree didn’t have a degree or any technical training before she entered the construction business. But she had confidence, and she took the risk. While education is always a benefit, it’s not going to secure you anything. You could be smarter than a rocket scientist, and as educated as one, but if you never take a risk you’ll be addicted to average forever.

3. Find Your Self-Identity Moving up the ladder is not entirely about your intelligence or talent. You need an edge. Dubree says, “We all have an edge, and the edge is really who we are. The problem being is that most people have forgotten who they are.” When you’re stuck at average, you lose track of who you are. Figure out what your edge is. Your edge is your leverage to get ahead in the world. Look at what areas in your life you can leverage and which areas need to be improved on to include leverage. Within your self-identity, you have an edge that will put you ahead of the others. Find it. Dubree named her coaching company “Clear Edge” because of this. She says it was the edge that moved her forward.

4. The Six A’s The six A’s are Dubree’s steps to take for the process of moving your life up the ladder. If it’s time for a change, follow these steps first. This is where she says you need to make a decision about where you are and where you want to be. If those two don’t match up, you need to break away from average.

  • The first A is admitting what areas you’re average in.

  • The second A is asking what you need to do to start breaking away from the average and how you need to be behaving, thinking, and feeling to achieve this. Changing your behaviour and your way of thinking is one of the most effective things you can do.

  • The third A is to access your imagination. Open up your mind and see what you want to see. Create the end result you want in your imagination before you start, so you can visualize what you want it to look like.

  • Then act in the real world to make it match up. This is the fourth A: action. Take action and start the steps to success. Take any action that has held you back in the past and act on it.

  • The fifth A is assess. Take a look at what you’ve done so far and figure out what worked and what didn’t. You need to be doing more of what went well. The things that didn’t go so well need to be looked at and you need to figure out what you should be doing differently.

  • The sixth and final A is to appreciate. Dubree says you need to step back and appreciate everything, even what didn’t work. If it went right, appreciate that it did. If it went wrong, appreciate that you had the opportunity to do so and you have the opportunity to make a difference.

5. Emotions as Signals Emotions are always labeled as good or bad. But Dubree says, “emotions are not good or bad. Emotions are just signals.” And you can use emotions in a beneficial way when you’re moving up. “If you’re having a negative type of emotion,” says Dubree, “it’s a signal that you need to make a change.” Analyze what caused your emotion, whether it was negative or positive. You need to change what makes you feel bad. It sounds like a simple concept, but it’s important. Then, manipulate your brain into generating a positive emotion. This can be done through first deciding what state, mentally and physically, you would like to be in. Dubree says next you need to ask your mind a question, because your mind needs something to focus on so it doesn’t wander off into negative thought territory. Think, “What would it take for me to be at my best right now?” The answer your mind will come up with will encourage you. Dubree’s advice for this is, “the mind will give you negative responses if you ask it negatively.” So feed your mind positivity and you’ll power through all those stressful situations.
Don’t let your life fall through the cracks. Take control of your life and keep moving up. If you’re sick of being in an average life, rise above it and get to the place you want to be. Dubree did it, so you can too!

False Fitness Facts Debunked!

Fitness myths are everywhere. There are rules for everything about your health. Some you might already know and some you might not, but whose advice can you trust? That’s a tough question to answer. With all the research that’s constantly being done about fitness and health it’s hard to keep track of what’s been proven wrong.

There are a lot of common fitness myths that are generally mistaken as true. You might even believe them. Hey, it’s not your fault. People who advise others on health and fitness should really be doing their research first. With the amount of information out there, how are you supposed to know what’s true and what isn’t? We’re here to help. Here are 10 of the most popular fitness myths you should know about:

Myth 1: Doing ab workouts will help you get a flatter stomach. This is not true at all! A flat stomach depends on your body fat, which won’t be affected by ab workouts. So if you’ve been doing extra crunches to flatten that stomach, you’re wasting your time. Crunches won’t take effect until afteryou’ve flattened your stomach. Belly fat is what covers your abs. The best way to lose body fat is to combine cardio and strength training elements. If you don’t lose belly fat you won’t see your ab muscles no matter how hard you work on them. It’s as simple as that.

Myth 2: Swimming is an effective weight loss workout. Swimming is a good activity if you want to improve and tone your upper body muscles or increase your lung capacity. But it won’t make you lose weight. Swimming allows for the water to hold up your body so you’re actually doing less work, even though it might feel like more. Unless you’re swimming for several hours each day, don’t replace workouts with swimming. Swimming also causes you to eat more because you’re usually hungrier coming out of the pool. This is why poolside snacks are so common!

Myth 3: The more you sweat, the more effective your workout is. This is wrong because every person’s sweat glands work differently. Some people sweat excessively, while others doing the same workout barely glisten. It’s all dependant upon your body type and your hydration level. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself down and not overheating, and you need to keep yourself hydrated because you’re losing water from your body. When you keep yourself hydrated, you’re putting that water back in your body. So don’t worry if you think you aren’t sweating enough. Your heart rate is a better indicator than sweat is when it comes to the effectiveness of your workout.

Myth 4: You have to stretch before you work out. This is surprisingly untrue. Stretching is not necessary before a workout, and some studies have even shown that it’s not good for you. This is because your muscles will become destabilized and less prepared for your workout, which can cause injury. It can also limit your range of motion so you won’t even be able to properly complete your reps. The proper way to start a workout is with a warm up, which will get your blood pumping. Always stretchafter your workout.

Myth 5: As long as you burn off the calories you intake, you’ll lose weight. Contrary to popular belief, this is not true. Nutrition is just as important as exercise itself. You need to make sure that your diet is giving you the nutrients you need to maintain your fitness. Just because that cheeseburger had the same amount of calories that you burned off at the gym (which is probably not true in the first place), doesn’t mean you should be eating it. Make sure your diet is rich in lean proteins and fibre so that your muscle tissues can repair after working out. Always make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients from every meal. Include super foods and antioxidants whenever you can.

Myth 6: Diets that don’t allow for cheat days are the most effective. You can rest assured that giving yourself a cheat day is completely fine. Diets that deprive you of a little bit of wiggle room can, and usually do, completely backfire. Depriving yourself is not the answer. Once you deprive yourself of certain foods, you’ll end up binging and losing control the next time you eat them. When you allow yourself to have a cheat day once a week, you’re allowing yourself these delicious foods in moderation, which will satisfy you until the next time you get to eat them. Just knowing that you will get to eat them again will also help you maintain self-control until then. But that being said, just because it’s a cheat day doesn’t mean you can binge and eat badly all day. Allow yourself to have that dessert you want, or get that candy at the movies. You deserve to have some fun now and then. Don’t starve your body, either, because that will also cause you to binge eat.

Myth 7: Women who lift heavy weight will end up big and bulky. Women and men are built differently. Men are filled with testosterone, which is what allows them to bulk up so fast and end up representing the Hulk when lifting heavy weights. In fact, the lower testosterone levels that women have will actually cause women who lift weights to lose weight and slim down faster. Women will not look like the Hulk if they lift heavier weight unless they’re taking steroids. In fact, heavier weights will help women to get their bodies more toned. Don’t be afraid of looking manly, because it won’t happen! If you want to increase your strength training, start with a lighter weight that you’re comfortable with and work your way up to the heavier weights.

Myth 8: Sports drinks are good for exercising. The only time your body ever benefits from a sports drink is if you’re doing high intensity or endurance workouts that last longer than an hour. Forget the drink if that’s not you. These drinks can actually have negative effects on your body post-workout. Your body doesn’t need anything but water after a workout, and sometimes the added sugar and calories from a sports drink can backfire on you. There are also tons of ingredients in sports drinks that are not only questionable, but have no scientific backing to them, despite what the commercials say.

Myth 9: You have to work out at least 5 days a week to lose weight. Everyone’s body is different. That being said, you don’t need to work out every single day. Working out even twice a week is still better than not working out at all. In fact, our bodies often need to reset to repair muscle tissues. This is especially true if you’re doing higher intensity workouts, which you shouldn’t do more than 3-4 times a week in the first place due to risk of injury and muscle tears. You should also keep in mind that working out 5 days a week doing the exact same thing every day won’t help you any more than if you work out twice a week.

Myth 10: The best time to work out is first thing in the morning. Wrong! There is no proper time to work out. It’s all up to you, your schedule, and your body. If you’re not a morning person and can’t get out of bed early, you’ll be less motivated to maintain a fitness routine and will probably fall out of that routine very quickly. There’s no difference whether you’re working out at 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. as long as you’re working out in the first place. So don’t worry about going to the gym after work because you will benefit just the same as if you worked out before work.

While these are 10 of the most common fitness myths, there are still hundreds more out there that you should watch out for. The best defence against a false fitness rule is to do your research. Make sure you have a reliable source, like a fitness trainer, telling you how to work out. If you don’t, you could end up injuring yourself or deterring your fitness results. If you’re not getting the results you want in your current workout situation, you might be following a myth without realizing it.

So if you hear a fitness rule that sounds a little crazy to you, don’t believe it until you have proof it works!

Anti-Aging Myths Debunked

We live in a world where looking younger is something everyone desires. No matter how old you are, it’s likely that you’re always trying to look and feel younger. Due to this cultural obsession, you’ve probably heard so many tips and tricks about anti-aging. There are countless tools and techniques out there for anti-aging and making yourself look younger. These also range from beauty products, to foods, to physical activities.

How do we know what works and what doesn’t? You may be hearing about all the newest things you have to try, but how do you know that they’re not just one of the countless myths surrounding anti-aging? Everyone could use a little clarification, so look no further. Here are some of the most popular anti-aging myths debunked just for you!

Moisturizing can prevent wrinkles. Unfortunately, this is not true. Dr. Oz says that moisturizer doesn’t go deep enough to have an effect on wrinkles. Wrinkles happen because as we age, the cells that hold up our skin get weaker and lose their ability to fill out our skin. Moisturizing is an effective tool against dry skin, but it won’t go much farther than that. To avoid wrinkles, Dr. Oz says the main thing to do is avoid the sun! The sun is one of the main factors in creating wrinkles, so make sure you’re wearing enough sunblock when you’re in the sun, as well as re-applying it every 2 hours.

The pricier the product, the better the results. As we know from experience, this is almost never true in any aspect of beauty and skin care. It doesn’t matter how much your product cost you. According to Everyday Health, what matters is what’s in it. Amy J. Derick, MD, who is a contributor to Everyday Health, says what you’re looking for is tretinoin. Tretinoin is one of the most important creams for wrinkles, and it’s only available by prescription. The price of it varies depending on the specific product. Talk to your dermatologist to get a recommendation for the best cream for you to use to fight aging. Often, the generic brands are just as effective as the name brands when the right ingredients are involved.

Everyone’s skin ages the same way. This is not true. How your skin ages depends on your genetics, how you treat it, and your skin type. Oil naturally moisturizes and protects skin from aging, so if you have oily skin, you won’t see signs of aging as fast or as clearly. If you’ve got dry skin, it’ll start showing fine lines and signs of aging earlier due to less moisture in your pores. The rule of thumb if you want to look and feel younger is the drier your skin, the more effort you should put in to your anti-aging routine.

The more products you use, the better. This might be true for some daily moisturizers, but not for anti-aging products. Dr. Derick advises against this, saying that using more won’t translate to the effect it takes on your skin. These products are formulated to work in recommended doses. If you’re being generous with the amount you lather on your face, you might see some reversed results. When you start piling on the different products, they can start to cancel each other out and you won’t see any effects. There’s also an increased risk of irritation if you use too much of a product, and no one wants that! To top it all off, most anti-aging creams are pretty expensive, so you’re wasting your money if you’re using too much of it. Save your money and your effort by using the right amount.

Products that are made with all-natural ingredients are better because you won’t get side effects. Ladies, this isn’t true. You can just as easily have a reaction from a natural ingredient as you can from man-made chemicals. Some vitamins and plant products can cause irritating reactions in people of any age, depending on your specific skin type. Sometimes man-made chemicals aren’t worse than natural ingredients if your body or allergies have it their way. If you’re using a product and you begin experiencing skin irritations or other uncomfortable side effects, stop using it immediately. See your dermatologist if the reaction is severe.

There is a point where you don’t need to wear sunscreen anymore. This is extremely wrong and dangerous! There is never a point where you don’t need sunscreen, even if you already have sun damage! Some people think that the window for sun damage closes when you’re 18 or a fully grown adult but a lot of sun damage occurs as you get older. Dr. Derick says that anything stating otherwise is a myth. For most people, your time spent outdoors increases as you age, doing things like golfing and gardening. Don’t just rely on anti-aging skin care to save you from the effects of aging, because those products won’t even matter if you’re setting yourself up for sun damage. Your best option is finding a daily moisturizer that has SPF 30 or more built in.

Once you see results and improvements, you can stop using anti-aging products or cut back on their use. Some anti-aging products do allow for this, but depending on the product this isn’t true. Cutting it out will not help you maintain that look for very long, because after you stop using your products many times your skin will just revert back to its old ways. It’s like dieting until you get skinny, and then going back to eating unhealthy. Your body doesn’t just stay skinny if you don’t keep eating healthy, and your skin won’t stay firm if you don’t keep maintaining it. If you’re not sure about your own routine, especially if you’re using a prescription product, ask your dermatologist if it’s safe to stop.

Just to lighten things a little, here are 5 very true facts about anti-aging that you can go on believing with no worries:

  • Sleeping on your back will prevent wrinkles.
  • Having sex helps fight aging.
  • Wrinkles are formed by facial expressions.
  • Your diet has a direct effect on your skin and the aging process, so always maintain a healthy diet for better, younger looking skin.
  • You can get wrinkles at any age.

Don’t believe everything you hear about fighting aging. Some people will tell you whatever they think you’ll believe if it means they can promote their own products. If you’re questioning something you’ve been told, see if it’s got evidence to back it up. If someone’s done research on it, it’s more likely to be true.

The best way to fight aging is by regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and plenty of rest. This will work better than any anti-aging creams or supplements. But if you want to do something to give yourself a little bit of a push, there’s no harm in that as long as you’ve got the right information.

Be Proud of Your Body, No Matter What

What is a healthy body image? There is a contrast in today’s culture that doesn’t give a clear answer to this age-old question. If you pay attention to popular culture you’ll already know that there are so many mixed messages about beauty for women. There’s a surge of companies with campaigns for “normal” women, the most well-known being Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, as well as movements for body peace. On the flip side, actresses still have thin bodies, advertisements feature beautiful “perfect” looking women and working out to look fantastic in a bikini is a prominent feature of women’s magazines.

There is so much contradiction out there that it’s hard for women to learn to love their bodies the way they are. Why would we be okay being on the curvy side when all of the sexiest women in the world look like Anna Kournikova? Men drool over pinup pictures of skinny women in bikinis and fantasize about spending a day at the Playboy mansion. It’s no wonder, then, that women are constantly trying to look skinnier and need a bit of reassurance from body peace campaigns.

  • Mainstream “Fat Shaming”

In a world where obesity is considered a national epidemic and there are countless campaigns targeting obesity, it’s hard to feel comfortable being more curvy or bigger boned. Everyone is on the anti-obesity bandwagon, pushing for healthier diets everywhere and more active lifestyles. Even fast food restaurants, notorious for contributing to obesity, have begun to make small changes like putting calorie counts on their menus. This, of course, is a good thing because obesity is a serious health risk.

The problem with this lies in the classification of obese. Many people who are bigger are seen to be obese, even if they aren’t overweight at all. Just because someone isn’t skinny doesn’t mean she’s overweight, and that’s what people don’t realize because we’ve always been told that anyone who isn’t skinny is ugly or fat. This is definitely not the case. Just because someone is plus sized does not mean that they’re fat.

Mainstream media doesn’t help lessen the “fat shaming” at all. How many movies have you seen that have a lead female character that isn’t skinny? Even if you can think of one, think of how she was portrayed and what the media said about her. Melissa McCarthy was recently called a “hippo” and “tractor sized” by film critic Rex Reed regarding her role in the movie “Identity Thief.” Even though she is a successful actress, she is still being called out on her body size instead of her acting talent. This is why the body peace campaigns will not work until everyone in the media is on board.

  • Dove Versus Victoria’s Secret: the Body Image Showdown

Recently a photo went viral of Dove’s “Real Beauty Campaign” where underneath was a photo of Victoria’s Secret “Love my Body Campaign.” There is a noticeable difference in these pictures, particularly the body type of the women featured. In Dove’s picture the women are full-figured and curvy, while the Victoria’s Secret women are noticeably slimmer. Is it really fair to compare these ads, though?

The debate surrounding this viral image is that women are being pitted against each other. Curvy women are hating on skinnier women, and vice versa. Both of these brands produce products that will make you feel beautiful no matter what your body type is. Making your skin glow with Dove products and wearing a sexy nightgown from Victoria’s Secret have the same effect on your self-image, just in different ways. There is no right answer when it comes to this debate.

This also goes for the sayings like, “real women have curves” that are found all over the Internet. This is essentially propaganda for this war between skinny and curvy women. Saying this is feeding the fire for women of different body types to be against each other, when in reality women should be working together to stop these attitudes. The idea of “real” women being more curvy or voluptuous is offensive to women who are naturally thin. All women are “real” women and should be celebrated.

  • Skinny Women Have Body Image Issues Too

There’s a common stereotype out there that thin women are snobby and full of themselves, and curvier women are self conscious and over-friendly. This is so wrong ladies! Tall, thin women have their own share of body image worries, just like some curvier women don’t have a problem with their bodies at all. When people comment on too-thin women saying they are “just skin and bones” or “disgustingly thin” it is just as hurtful as fat shaming.

In fact, thin women are often more likely to have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s a young girl’s disease, either, because at least 10 percent of women over the age of 40 have an eating disorder. In fact, one of the main causes of eating disorders for women in their 30’s and older is due to a poor body image that stems from trying to maintain the standards set out by today’s culture. When you look at Hollywood celebrities who are in this age group it’s hard not to be concerned, but people often forget how much work has gone into making Cindy Crawford look fabulous at age 47.

  • “Healthy” is Not a Certain Body Type

If you ask someone what their preferred body type for a woman is, the majority of people will not say “skinny.” They’ll say “healthy.” In fact, women with a little more meat on their bones aren’t unhealthy at all, despite what popular culture might have you believe. Some women have bigger bones and larger body frames, and there’s nothing they can do to change that. As long as you’re eating healthy and exercising, you are healthy and beautiful the way you are.

If a man is only attracted to skinny, “perfect” looking bodies then he’s shallow and not worth your time! So don’t waste time worrying about what your body looks like to your significant other. All that matters is that you’re happy and confident with yourself. The right person will love you for who you are, and will be attracted to you no matter what your body looks like.

  • Moving Forward With a Healthy Body Image

Credit does have to be given to some of the game changers out there. The previously mentioned Melissa McCarthy is among some successful actresses who have plus sized body types and are proud of it. While there’s still a long way to go, these ladies are paving the way for progress.

Women’s magazines that include fashion sections all have a “dress for your body type” attitude. They showcase different clothes for different body types, allowing all kinds of readers to find what works for them. The only problem is that sometimes they don’t include all of the possible body types or allow for a combination of body types. For example, if you’re curvy and petite like me, you’re going to have an awful time trying to find out which clothing works for both aspects. However, it’s still a step in the right direction when it comes to incorporating all body types. Plus sized clothing is also more stylish than ever, which is a huge bonus!

So don’t be jealous of other women who you think might have a more perfect body than yours, because they probably don’t even think that about their own body. In fact, they might even be jealous of you! There is no definition of a perfect body because everyone is different and what’s perfect to someone might not be the same to someone else. Your loved ones and the people who matter the most truly don’t care what your body looks like because they love you for who you are.

Not everyone looks like a Victoria’s Secret Angel, and that’s okay. You are still beautiful, strong and powerful the way you are. You don’t have to have a perfect body to be fabulous! You’re fabulous already!

Confidence is the New Sexy

You’re an alpha female. You run your own life according to your terms. An alpha female is already a pretty confident woman. You’re independent and do what it takes to get what you want out of life. You’re hardworking and motivated and you won’t stop until you’re successful and happy. You have confidence, and that will take you places in your life, your love and your career. This is a very sexy thing. One of the most common areas where some women feel they need a confidence boost is in the bedroom. Sexual confidence is your most important tool to boost your sex life and maximize your sexual pleasure. Here’s why you need it and how you can get it.

There’s a big misconception that confidence is easily mistaken for selfishness. Don’t let that worry bring you down. It should not limit you from being your true, confident self. In reality, it’s not hard to pick out who is actually selfish and who is actually confident. If you’re not a selfish person you won’t come across that way.

  • The difference between confidence and selfishness is how you treat and interact with other people. 

Confidence is self-esteem. It’s important for you to love yourself before you can love other people the way they deserve to be loved. Confidence means that you are happy enough with yourself to be able to put others first. Being selfish is worrying about only yourself and doing whatever you need to ensure your own happiness, even if it’s at someone else’s extent.

  • Confident women are sexy women. 

Women who are confident know what they want and aren’t afraid to get it. Men are attracted to confident women because they are successful and aren’t afraid to be themselves. Women who need to be reassured all the time can turn men off. This also goes for clingy women who don’t have their own life. Confident women are also happy women, and both sexes are attracted to happiness. No one wants to be with someone who’s miserable all the time. A lot of men like women who will take charge in the bedroom. You don’t have to go and be a dominatrix, but you don’t have to sit back and let him do all of the work either. If there’s something you want to do during sex, go for it! If there’s something your partner is not doing, don’t be afraid to tell your partner what you like! It’s also important that you make sure you let him know when he’s doing it right. The more you reassure him, the more he’ll continue that really awesome move you love so much.

  • Your partner is just as intimidated as you are. 

Sex is intimidating for both participants. Being naked can lead to paranoia, and it becomes easy to worry about whether you look fat instead of enjoying the moment. This can hinder your sexual experience and cause you to have difficulty reaching climax. It can also prevent you from trying something new, like that move you saw in a magazine and wanted to try. Here’s the thing…men are intimidated too! They worry about things like their penis size, how they look and if they’re doing a good job. That’s right! Men do worry about whether they’re making you feel good! To top that off, most men aren’t even focusing on those body parts you’re worried about. A friend of mine once told me that as long as your boobs and butt are on display, men aren’t even looking at your stomach! They’re too distracted by those more exciting naughty parts. The more confident you are, the less intimidating sex will be for you.

  • A big part of a woman’s sexual pleasure is mental.

The key to bedroom confidence is focusing on pleasure. Once you stop worrying about how you look, you can focus on what you’re feeling. How you feel about your body is directly linked to your ability to orgasm. The more confident you are, the more likely you will climax. Eighty percent of women can’t orgasm from intercourse alone, and 30 percent can’t reach orgasm from any type of sexual activity. This means it’s hard for women to climax in the first place, without the added worries of how good you look. Focus is the key to a woman’s orgasm. Up to 90 percent of a woman’s orgasm is mental. You have to be in the right mindset to achieve sexual bliss. If your mind is wandering and thinking about everything but the pleasure you’re feeling and how turned on you are, you won’t be focused enough to climax. So stop worrying about what happened at work today or if he can see your cellulite and live in the moment.

So now you know why confidence is sexy. You might still be wondering what you can do to increase your confidence and give off that cool, sexy, confident vibe in the bedroom. Sexual confidence can exist in two forms: mental and physical.

  • Positive thinking is the key to sexual confidence. 

Worrying about all your flaws and faults is going to get you nowhere, especially if there are things that you can’t fix. You have to concentrate on your assets instead and find ways to showcase them. Maybe you’re a bit flat chested but you’ve got a fantastic booty. Try a position where he gets a nice view of your butt, like doggy style or reverse cowgirl. If you’re the opposite and have a great upper body but a not-so-fabulous bottom, do girl on top and missionary. Doing sex positions that showcase your best assets will give you a confidence boost and stop you from worrying about what part of you is jiggling.

  • Exerting sexual confidence is all about body language. 

Making eye contact during sex can be a very powerful thing. If you’re one of those people who have a problem with eye contact, try to look at the bridge of your partner’s nose. Confident body language during sex can be anything that shows you’re feeling good. It can be anything from digging your nails into his back, to kissing his neck, to making noises. This is where you can do whatever comes naturally to you, and I assure you that he won’t judge you. This is where what I call the “circle of sexual pleasure” comes in. Most men are turned on by their ability to sexually satisfy their partner so the more pleasure you show the more pleasure he will get, which in turn means more pleasure for you. So it moves in a big circle and comes back to you. In simple terms, show pleasure and you’ll get more pleasure.

Confidence is sexy and attractive. When you get in the bedroom, own it and don’t be shy. You will increase your pleasure once you let go of everything holding you back. So stop worrying and enjoy the ride…literally!


Fitness and Your Love Life: They’re the Perfect Match

Most of us know the saying “the couple that works out together stays together.” Well, there’s truth to that. Getting active will make your relationship stronger, your love life better, and your sex drive higher. Fitness has a huge impact on your love life, and here’s why you should merge the two together.

Couples have been working out together for a while, and this is nothing new. So why is it relevant now? As the modern world becomes more focused around being healthy and active, it is important to keep up. The obesity and laziness epidemic is something that has put a negative impact on our world, and you don’t have to fall in with it. You are a go getter, not a couch sitter! Nothing bad has ever come from getting in shape.

I’m not suggesting anything drastic, like leaving your comfortable woman-centered gym to go and work out with your husband’s bodybuilding friends. You don’t need to go and watch him bench press while making grunting noises and creating a large pool of sweat on the floor. That’s not fun for a lot of women. I’m simply making some suggestions to include fitness in your life, if you don’t already do so. Even if you do, here’s some insight you might not realize. Adding some fitness to your life will benefit your relationship in many ways. If you’re single there are also a lot of benefits, so don’t think that you don’t count here.

  • Fitness has an effect on your energy levels, as well as your body both inside and out.

There are the obvious long term benefits that come from being active, such as decreasing your risks for heart disease and diabetes. If you are married, or in a long term relationship, those are things to be thinking about when it comes to your partner. You both want to be around as long as you can! If you have children together, this is also important for their sake.

  • Working on your fitness also gives you self confidence, which is crucial for your love life.

When you work out regularly, you feel better and you feel that you look better- because you do. When you feel better about yourself, your sex drive will increase.

  • Unleash the sexy!

This brings me to the sexual benefits of exercise. There are many. Naturally, the most obvious one is you will feel more comfortable naked and in an intimate situation. You’ll also have the energy to keep going as long as you want, and maybe longer than you could before. Your legs won’t get tired. Your arms won’t get sore. Exercising also releases endorphins that can boost your sex drive. Sex also counts as an exercise!

If you really want to boost that sex drive through the roof, you can take some of the sexier exercise classes, like burlesque and pole dancing. Those are sure to increase your sexual activity and awaken the temptress in you.

  • Your relationship will go sky high.

Where does fitness come into play in a relationship? Find some common interests. Do you both enjoy hiking? Take a Saturday morning hike together. Walk your dog or go for a jog in the park. Go on an adventure in a place that you’ve never been to, or haven’t been to in a while. Go to the beach and play some volleyball. Join a co-ed recreational sports team together. Doing activities like this together will boost your bond and make you a stronger couple.

Working out and getting active with your partner will boost your relationship in multiple ways. If you choose to do some of the more exhilarating activities together, like rock climbing, you’ll help bring back those feelings you got when you first started dating- when you were in the “honeymoon phase” and everything was new and exciting. It’s also a good motivator to stay on track and keep with it, because you have each other as support. Your attraction to each other will also increase. You’ll be able to watch each other get into shape and improve yourselves. That’s an empowering thing.

  • You can take fitness with you on vacations.

Even when it comes to going on a trip, you can add fitness. Go on a weekend getaway and do some sightseeing by foot or bicycle. Some places have running tours. If you’re going on vacation together, being active will help you get the most out of your time away because you can go on excursions and outings and be able to keep up physically.

  • Meet someone amazing!

Single? There are plenty of ways to meet men through fitness activities and events. Joining a recreational sports league is an excellent way to do that. A couple in my hockey league not only met playing hockey, but also got engaged right there on the ice after a game a few years later in that same league. Joining a team will give you something in common with him that you can build off and form a base connection with. You can also meet people in classes and organized sporting events.

Many single men are looking for women who are active and enjoy either being outdoors or being adventurous. These outdoorsy, active men want to be able to take you on a canoe trip without you complaining that your feet hurt or your arms are sore from paddling. Being in shape would prevent both of those things from happening. However, so would wearing proper shoes. Keep that in mind.

If you scroll through some of the usernames on online dating sites like Match.com, you’ll see that a lot of them are sports related or activity related. Those dating sites, Match.com in particular, have organized events where you can go to meet other singles. Many of those organized events involve fitness activities. You can filter your online dating search to find men who are interested in the same activities that you are, and you can use those activities as dates. This will give you something to bond over, and that will give you a good starting point on a first date- or a second, third or fourth!

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, dating, in a partnership, or anything else, being active and involved with fitness will always give you an advantage. It can be something as small as walking your dog together. Whatever you choose to do will have a positive effect on your love life, and that is worth the effort.