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WHAT:  Life Time Fitness Vestavia Hills, outside Birmingham, is set to open its doors to the public Dec. 30 to Jan. 2 to encourage residents to kick-off 2017 with a New Year's commitment to their health. During each of the four days, Life Time will feature a variety of health and fitness experiences and activities for all ages.

                                                                             Sponsored by: 

By Sheena Gregg


As a self-proclaimed foodie, Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. However, as a registered dietitian, Thanksgiving can also prove problematic for my clients trying to keep their waistline in check. With a little strategy, Thanksgiving can be both a delicious and nutritious event with friends, family, and football. Here’s a few of my top tips for enjoying your favorite family dishes while staying in check with your health goals.

Don’t Show Up on an Empty Stomach

Though it seems like tradition to “save up your appetite” for the family function, this isn’t always ideal if you’re trying to watch your weight. If your family get together is at lunch time, consider having a light and balanced breakfast to keep your appetite level in check by the time lunch rolls around. Having a small snack or meal a few hours before your gathering can help curb your appetite enough to avoid large portion sizes but also enjoy your holiday favorites in moderate portions.

Eat the Healthiest Foods First

Beware of starting your celebration with mindless munching of refined carbohydrates like chips, crackers, or bread. These foods offer little satisfaction and are typically loaded with calories. Instead, choose to first eat dishes featuring non-starchy veggies to slow down digestion with fewer calories. Protein foods can also be helpful with helping you feel full sooner.

Take Time to Savor Your Meal

If you’re interested in enjoying your holiday favorites in smaller portions, consider eating at a slower pace. It takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes for your brain and stomach to register that you’ve eaten and provide the sensation of fullness. Often times, we eat so quickly that we’ve already got the next bite of food ready to go on our fork before we’ve even swallowed our first bite of food. Consider putting the fork down between each bite or taking a sip of water or other low calorie beverage to create natural pauses during your meal.

Be a Healthy Host or Hostess

Thanksgiving is infamous for casseroles and dishes with multiple mystery ingredients that often involve copious amounts of butter, cream, and salt. If you are a host or hostess wanting to provide healthy options to your guests, variety is key. Instead of having all starch-based sides, consider having colorful salads or other vegetables prepared with heart healthy fats such as olive oil. Fresh fruit salads made with Greek yogurt or sugar-free pudding can offer a sweet alternative for someone trying to watch his or her weight.

No matter the menu, Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season can be a great time for catching up with friends and family. It can also be the perfect time to find recipe twists on holiday classics! 

Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino Foodie.” Follow her adventures at www.afilipinofoodie.com


Article sponsored by Bradford Health.

Find them on the web at: https://bradfordhealth.com


By Tori Linville


Back to school isn’t just about backpacks and new classes. It’s the one time of year that a student’s immune system is re-exposed to millions of germs after a three month break. It’s back to the cafeteria for school lunches instead of food at home. It’s back absent-mindedly touching doorknobs and noses. If you’re not too grossed out, here are some reminders and tips to helping the transition from home to school easier on the whole family.


Stress the importance of common sense when spreading germs, meaning:


·      Washing hands after using the restroom to reduce the spread of sickness. For little ones, reminding them to wash their hands through the duration of the Happy Birthday song two times in their heads can be a helpful tip.


·      Cover mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing


·      Keep hands away from eyes and mouth


·      Regularly use hand sanitizers and disinfectants, especially after touching eyes, mouth, keyboards, community tools such as scissors, etc.


·      Don’t share food, drink or personal items with classmates in order to reduce illness and other possible contagions


·      Double check for possible sicknesses before arranging any play dates or sleepovers


·      Pack a lunch complete with more whole grains, fruits and veggies. Low-fat dairy products and low-sodium and low-fat choices are best along with portion control to make a healthy meal


·      Ensure plenty of exercise and sleep for a healthy body



Some products that are backpack and pocket-friendly and can help slow down sickness include:


·      Pocket sized Germ-X

·      Personal Tissue Packs

·      Tea Tree Oil (to prevent lice)

·      Sanitizing Wipes

·      Vitamin C Drink (or drink mix)


Photo Credit: Barterco.com


Article sponsored by Med Center Urgent Care.

Find them on the web: http://www.medcenterurgentcare.com

By Tori Linville


One of the best accessories of summer is a great tan, but frying skin in ultraviolet rays is not the way to go. Tanning beds are also out, as the health risks have been under the microscope for a while. The newest way to achieve glowing skin without the threat of skin cancer? Spray tans. Don’t worry about researching what to do and how to get one, because we’ve done it for you. See how you can maintain a glistening complexion that takes no time at all.


Before You Go


Spray tans aren’t your normal everyday situations. They vary, but usually last five to seven days, with careful maintenance before and after to achieve the best results. One of the best things you can do to minimize spray tan muck ups has to do with your prep before you even step into a booth.

·      Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate: This helps skin maintain a more even tan, because your skin will be refreshed, and pores will be minimized.

·       Get rid of unwanted hair: Shave and/or wax before your spray tan. This doesn’t necessarily mean go crazy and shave arm hair (unless that’s your regular routine). It just means be sure to nix any stubble that will have the potential to cause funky tan lines later. As the tanning solution sticks to leg hair, it’s best to take care of it before the tan.

·      Get nails done first: Most spray tan services provide some type of barrier cream to apply to the nails so they won’t end up with a wonky tan color that looks unnatural on anything but skin. Even so, getting a manicure after a spray tan can result in paler hands from all the friction and lotions applied during a mani.

·      Wardrobe choices are vital: You’ll want to pick some loose clothing that doesn’t cause much friction against the skin, so this is one outfit that deserves some forethought. As the spray tan settles, residue will rub against clothing, so something you’re not afraid to stain is ideal. Outfits like maxi dresses or big t-shirts are the best choices. Some choose to wear undies; others don’t.

·      Bring something for hair: A ponytail holder will do just fine here. The main point is that your hair will need to be up and away from the skin for the rest of the day.

·      Get comfortable with a color: This is the time to play it safe with tones. Opt for less bronze sprays if you’re more fair skinned. Olive toned skins can get away with more, but it’s always best to consult your spray tanner for advice. Basically, avoid looking like a Dorito at all costs.


Tan Time


With all these rules, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. What can you actually have on your skin as your getting your tan? Do you have to be in a bubble after the tan? Well, no. But there are a few activities all spray tan services wish you wouldn’t do while you’re waiting for the tan to set.


During the tan, certain things are allowed, such as lip balms, deodorants and mascaras as these areas are as effected by the spray tan.


After the tan, avoiding moisture is key.


·      While washing hands is unavoidable, most services recommend restricting the washing to the palms only.

·      Sweating, rain and swimming are total no-nos after a spray tan for the first day, as you’re basically washing your money down the drain. Make up shouldn’t be applied either.

·      If you’ve received an original formula spray tan, it’s recommended that you don’t shower anywhere from 10 to 12 hours. For express spray tans, the time is reduced to four to six hours.


Last but not least, spray tans smell. Not in a bad way, but just a special spray tan way. This usually goes away quickly, but it can be startling for first time spray tanners. A small price to pay for healthy skin!

Birmingham Post-Herald (BPH) is Birmingham, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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