OK, this is funny/interesting, so I had to share. Nearly 70 percent of women are unable to identify the major parts of their lady parts, according to the folks at Summer’s Eve. That stat seems super high to me, so I took their ID the V quiz (Warning: Possibly NSFW, depending on your workplace) to see how I’d do. Rest assured, you’re in the hands of a competent health editor–I got them all right. (Whew!)
How well do you know your body? Let us know in the comments after you take the quiz. No worries if you have some wrong answers. It’s never too late for a little sex ed! Bonus for those who ace it: Summer’s Eve will donate $1 to i am that girl, a nonprofit that helps further women’s empowerment and body awareness.
Like 86 percent of women polled in a recent survey, I had never heard about CMV (cytomegalovirus)—until, that is, it affected one of the strongest moms I know, Casey, and her beautiful daughter, Gracie. (Read their story here.)
Now I know that CMV is a very common, often symptomless virus that infects up to 80 percent of people before age 40. Usually it’s harmless. The scary part: If you’re infected during pregnancy—or even before getting pregnant—there’s a chance you could pass it along to your unborn baby. According to the CDC, one in 150 babies are born with congenital CMV and it’s the top cause of birth defects, including blindness, deafness, disability and even death.
June is National Congenital CMV Awareness Month, so I wanted to put these prevention tips from the CDC on your radar in case you’re in baby-making mode, already preggo or have a loved one who is. Since CMV is transmitted through bodily fluids (saliva, urine, tears, blood, mucus, etc.) and infected children easily spread the virus, it’s especially important for pregnant women who are around young kids often to protect themselves.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers, feeding a young child, wiping a young child’s nose or drool or handling children’s toys.
- Don’t share food, drinks or eating utensils used by young children.
- Don’t put anything that’s been in a child’s mouth (pacifier, toothbrush) into yours.
- Avoid kissing children on the mouth.
- Clean toys, countertops and other surfaces that come into contact with children’s urine or saliva.
Click here for more information on the Stop CMV campaign.
Did you catch the premiere of ABC’s new summer show Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition last night? Each episode chronicles one person’s yearlong fitness and weight-loss transformation. Motivational fitness trainer (and cutie!) Chris Powell and a team of medical and nutrition experts at the California Health & Longevity Institute near Los Angeles coach the show participants.
We asked Terry Schaack, M.D., the medical director of the institute who monitored the participants’ progress, to share his best tips for finding social support when you’re trying to lose weight. Since temptations arise daily—often several times each day—when trying to lose weight in the real world, having an encouraging team nearby can make all the difference.
Dr. Schaack’s Top Five Support Secrets
- If you are getting together with a friend to catch up, go for a walk instead of meeting for a drink or meal.
- When a friend asks you to sponsor her for a race or walk-a-thon, say yes (if you can) but also ask if you can join her for the event.
- The next time there’s a work event where food will be served, request that there be a low-cal option.
- Check out your town’s Parks and Recreation division, which can be a great resource for low cost fitness activities. You will find that many of the people who go to the events are there for the same reason as you.
- If a friend or family member is not supportive, understand that your continued success and dedication is the only way to show them that you are on the path to better health. It will be easier for them to support you when you are taking steps toward your goal.
Now tell us: Where do you find social support to keep you on track?
We’re all breaking out our cute sundresses and shorts here in the FITNESS offices now that we’re finally getting a little warmth and sun in NYC. And I’ve been thinking of all those beautiful bare legs after I learned from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise program that it’s the body area where 20 to 25 percent of all melanomas occur in women.
While I’m religious about using daily SPF on my face, I usually don’t think about protecting my exposed limbs unless I’m off to the beach or spending most of the day outside. So in honor of SunWise’s Don’t Fry Day (cute!) today, I’m vowing to start using a daily SPF body lotion to protect my whole body.
The organization’s catchy “Slip, Slop, Slap & Wrap” sun-savvy motto is now stuck in my head:
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on SPF 15+ sunscreen.
- Slap on a wide-brimmed hat
- Wrap on sunglasses
More from FITNESS: You can take a two-pronged approach and tackle cancer prevention from the inside out too. Check out what to eat to beat skin cancer.
If you’re traveling for Memorial Day: Will you stick with your workout and diet plan or reward yourself with a (deserved!) day or two off?
Only 45 percent of Americans say they try to avoid gaining weight on vacation, according to a survey of 1,000 people commissioned by Marriott’s SpringHill Suites. Other interesting stats:
- 55 percent say walking or jogging is their favorite way to exercise on vacation
- Three times as many travelers use cardio machines compared to jogging outside
- The top three ways that women stay fit while traveling:
- Cardio machines (31 percent)
- Jogging path (9 percent)
- Pilates, yoga or stretching (6 percent)
Now tell us: What are your favorite ways to get a fitness fix and eat right during a trip?
Sometimes moms are great health role models. Other times, not so much.
Young women who use tanning beds were four times as likely (42 percent) to say their moms use tanning beds compared to young women who don’t indoor tan, according to a new survey by the American Academy of Dermatology. The group reminds that indoor tanning increases your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by a whopping 75 percent!
When it comes to skin cancer, you definitely don’t want “like mother, like daughter” to be the case.
For more on this important topic, read up here:
- What’s That Spot? A Photo Guide to Skin Cancer
- 10 Smart Ways to Lower Your Skin Cancer Risk
- What to Eat to Beat Skin Cancer
Now tell us: What’s your smartest sun protection tip?
In our May issue, actress Cheryl Hines, spokesperson for Go Red for Women and a star of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, shared some of the best health advice she’s gotten from her mom, Rosemary Harbolt. Her mom’s healthy wisdom: “If you’re stressed, take a deep breath and let it go.” Good advice! (We fact checked it: Mindful breathing helps people gain a healthier perspective on repetitive negative thoughts, a recent study found.)
Cheryl is a fit-minded lady we love because health is a topic close to her heart. After her father suffered a massive heart attack, Cheryl has been building a more heart-healthy lifestyle for herself and her daughter, and making it her personal mission to spread the word that heart disease is the number one killer of women in America.
We think Mother’s Day is the perfect time to join Cheryl in getting the message out to all the amazing moms and women we know. Click here to Tell 5 Friends how they can fight heart disease.
And visit the Go Red for Women Facebook page, where you can Tell Mom “Thanks” with a free Mother’s Day card through their sponsor, Macy’s.
Tell us: What health advice has your mom shared with you?
How does self-compassion help with weight-loss?
Most weight-loss plans revolve around deprivation and neglect. You’re supposed to stick to the plan no matter what. If you’re starving, keep eating tiny portions. If you’re exhausted, keep moving—no pain, no gain. Going on vacation? Keep counting…calories, carbs, points. It’s not a very compassionate or effective approach, and it’s no fun.
What I’m saying: when you treat yourself with self-compassion, you’re more apt to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full; rest when you’re tired and move when you feel energized. When you do that, you lose weight naturally.
So what is self-compassion, exactly?
Most simply put, self-compassion is treating yourself like you’d treat a friend or a loved one—with care and concern.
My favorite definition comes from research psychologist Kristin Neff, Ph.D., who defines self-compassion as having three essential ingredients: mindful awareness, loving-kindness and common humanity.
We had marathon fever in the office yesterday (as we mentioned last night). Many of us were glued to our computers following the Boston Marathon on Twitter. Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest marathon ever (2:03:02)! And Americans Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher ran personal bests (2:04:58—the fastest ever by an American—and 2:24:52, respectively). It was a wonderful day for running greats.
And today is a sad one, with the news that legendary Norwegian marathoner Grete Waitz, nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon and an Olympic silver medalist, has died of cancer at age 57.
“If Grete had to go, it is somehow fitting that she lived until the day after one of the greatest weekends in the sport of marathon running,” Mary Wittenberg, President and CEO of New York Road Runners said today.
I remember seeing pictures of Grete running the New York City Marathon in Runner’s World magazine while I was growing up and thinking that I want to run a marathon, too, someday. She was one of the first women marathoners I knew about and who inspired me. Grete will be missed.
Last week I met Patricia Field, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning fashion and costume designer known for her work in Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada and Ugly Betty, at a press event for U by Kotex. Patricia partnered with the company for their Ban the Bland online design contest*, where girls can submit their own designs for restyling fem care products for the chance to work with Patricia personally and attend Fashion Week in New York City. She also designed a limited edition of carrying tins (perfect for fashionably stashing compact tampons and liners in a gym bag or purse) for the brand that will be available in July.
I found out Patricia loves to swim, so I asked her to share a few more of her good living secrets with FITNESS readers.
- My favorite way to workout: Swimming, because 1.) It is complete exercise including strength, movement and muscle toning. 2.) It produces a lean body. 3.) I personally enjoy it.
- Dressing for the gym is all about… Function. I wear a simple tank suit and bathing cap.
- My body confidence secret: Good genes. Active lifestyle and work style. Daily oil and salt baths.
- The key to a healthy life: A healthy diet, which is high in protein, low in fat and low in carbs. Activity. Intellectual stimulation.
- I’m happiest when… I am with friends, challenged creatively or when I am learning new information.
Good stuff—though I’m wondering how she gets all that fabulous red hair into a bathing cap!
*For everyone who submits or likes a design online, $1 goes to Girls For A Change, a non-profit that empowers girls to create social change in their communities.