The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

Health

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You know you do it. After a bad day at work, you crank up the volume to your favorite song, and sing to it at the top of your lungs. You don't even mind that the cute guy in the car next to you is looking at you like you have four heads. It just feels that good.

As a woman, Mimi Sinclair understands that feeling from a personal standpoint; as a board certified music therapist, she understands that feeling from a medical standpoint.

Sinclair, the owner and director of Music Therapy Services in Milford, uses music therapy to treat children and adults with developmental disabilities, mental health issues, physical disabilities, Alzheimers disease and many other conditions.

Music therapy research has demonstrated music's ability to improve immune function, assist with pain relief, promote speech development, facilitate relaxation, reduce anxiety, rehabilitate motor function, increase attention to task, among many others, says Sinclair.

But you don't have to be unwell to benefit from music. According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), healthy individuals can use music for stress reduction via active music making, such as drumming, as well as passive listening for relaxation. "Music is often a vital support for physical exercise," according to the AMTA's Web site. "Music therapy assisted labor and delivery may also be included in this category since pregnancy is regarded as a normal part of women's life cycles."

Well or unwell, Sinclair says anyone can contact us at Music Therapy Services for a consultation to see how music therapy can make a difference in their health and well-being.

"Music therapists are employed throughout the country in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, as well as private practices such as mine to serve the growing population of people looking for non-invasive and non-threatening interventions," she says.

But if you just want to learn how to incorporate music into your healthy lifestyle without a healthcare professionals intervention, Sinclair says there are many ways for women to informally take advantage of music's therapeutic effects. "I always encourage people to engage in music experiences in a way that is meaningful for them," she says. "Joining a community chorus, orchestra or band can provide an outlet for expression, keep the mind and body challenged and promote emotional health. It's never too late to learn to play an instrument if you want."

Another helpful piece of advice she imparts is to take advantage of the relaxing effect of listening to music to induce sleep, as so many busy women today experience sleep disorders. Also, listening to relaxing music can help with anxiety-producing events like visiting the dentist or other medical procedures. Many dentists and physicians provide CD players, or take your own. In fact, some MRI facilities have non-magnetic DVDs or CDs for you to enjoy during the imaging procedure.

There's a plethora of research available online about the health benefits of music, and according to Sinclair, we'll be seeing much more in the future. "There's is a great deal of exciting research being done to compliment the more than 50 years of research studies already published by the AMTA, among other organizations," she says.

For more information about services in Cincinnati, visit Music Therapy Services' Web site at www.mts-cincinnati.com, or go to the AMTA's Web site at www.musictherapy.org.

 

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It's true what they say. Knowing is half the battle. Being aware that STDs exist, being educated about them, knowing the best ways to avoid them, knowing the best treatment options and knowing how to avoid transmission are very valuable, sometimes life altering, things to know.

Chlamydia
Chlamydia is a curable infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It can be transmitted during vaginal, anal and, although less likely, oral sex. A lot of women, and some men, experience little to no symptoms.

If symptoms do occur, they usually show up within one to three weeks after the infection was contracted. Because of this, it is very important for anyone who believes they may be at risk for chlamydia to get tested immediately.

Your doctor can test for chlamydia by taking a urine sample as well as taking a specimen from the infected area. If you fail to get treated in time, chlamydia can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can lead to infertility.

"Chlamydia can damage the Fallopian tubes and cause PID," explains Dr. Glen Hofmann, the medical director at the Bethesda Center for Reproductive Health and Fertility. "When a woman has one instance of PID, they have a 17 percent chance of becoming sterile. The second time, that chance raises to 35 percent and after the third time, it's up to 70 percent, even if they are treated. Those are really high odds."

Increasing numbers of chlamydia infections have made it the most widespread STD in the U.S. In 1996, there were 492,631 reported diagnoses, but by 2005, the annual total increased 98 percent for a shocking total of 976,445 reported diagnoses.

The rate of chlamydia among African-Americans was over eight times higher than that of Caucasians in 2005. Rates among American Indian/Alaska Natives and Hispanics were also significantly higher than among Caucasians.

Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is also a curable infection and it is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea. It can be transmitted from performing or receiving vaginal, anal and oral sex. Typically, men present with symptoms, while most women are asymptomatic.

Women often confuse gonorrhea symptoms for a bladder infection or other vaginal infection so it is especially important to get tested if you think you could be at risk.

In 2005, Ohio was ranked as the state with the fifth highest rate of gonorrhea. In 1978, the annual number of reported gonorrhea diagnoses in the U.S. reached a record high of 1,013,436. Following decreases each year between 1985 and 1997, the annual number of cases hovered around 365,000.

If left untreated, gonorrhea can also cause PID and infertility. Although the 2005 rate of 115,600 diagnoses is one of the lowest ever recorded, gonorrhea remains the second most commonly reported disease in the U.S.

The rate of gonorrhea among African-Americans was 18 times higher than among whites in 2005. American Indian/Alaska Natives and Hispanics are also disproportionately affected.

Syphilis
Syphilis is a curable infection caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. If it is left untreated, it will progress through four stages with symptoms that get increasingly more severe.

Syphilis can be contracted if the skin of the mucous membrane inside the vagina, urethra or anus, or a cut, comes into contact with infected lesions. These lesions will appear during primary and secondary syphilis.

You can be tested for syphilis by getting a blood test, which looks for antibodies that your body has developed. It can take from a week to a few months for these antibodies to show up in the blood test, which can lead to false-negative tests during the early stages of syphilis.

Syphilis can be cured through antibiotics such as penicillin. It reached a high of 94,957 cases in the U.S. in 1946 and a low of 5,979 in 2000. Since the turn of the millennium, the number of reported cases rose to 8,724 in 2005.

Of counties that reported, 78 percent of them reported no cases of syphilis in 2005. Syphilis remains a problem in the South and also in urban areas that have large populations of men who are having sex with other men. In 2005, the rate of primary and secondary syphilis was six times higher among African-Americans than among Caucasians.

HPV
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of viruses that infect the skin. There are more than 70 different types and certain types cause warts on the hands or feet, while other types can cause warts on the genitals.
Most people with HPV do not know they have it, as a portion of the infected population never present with visible warts. About 30 of the types of HPV are sexually transmitted and cause genital HPV. If warts do not appear, HPV can still be detected by abnormal cell changes on the cervix and this can only be detected by getting a pap smear.

"Of all of the STDs, HPV is the most common in the paps I see," explains Hofmann. "HPV can kill a woman, so you and your partner should be tested and have trust in one another." If caught early enough, it can be treated.

But even if caught and treated, it can still have a negative impact on your life. "HPV requires a lot of aggressive treatment," says Hofmann. "If diagnosed early enough we can take care of it, but once child-bearing is over, you can have a hysterectomy to get rid of it."

HIV and AIDS
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV can be transmitted through the blood, breast milk, vaginal fluids or semen of an infected person. If any of these fluids enter the bloodstream, you could be risk for HIV. People can also become infected with HIV while injecting drugs using a shared needle.

Over time, HIV can weaken the immune system and the infected individual may experience difficulty fighting off certain infections. These infections are usually controlled by a healthy immune system, but they can cause problems or even be life threatening in someone with AIDS.

The immune system of someone who has AIDS can weaken to the point where medical intervention may be necessary to prevent or treat serious illness. A blood test can determine if a person is infected with HIV, but if a person tests positive for HIV, it does not necessarily mean that the person has AIDS.

AIDS was first identified in the U.S. in 1981. Since then, the epidemic has been steadily growing and by the end of 2004, it was estimated that there were just over 1 million people living with HIV and approximately 415,000 people living with AIDS. AIDS is also thought to have killed over half a million Americans. This is nearly 10 times the number of people who were killed in the Vietnam War.

Prevention
Since knowing is only half of the battle, there are many steps you can take to insure your health and keep from contracting STDs.

"Number one is abstinence," says Hofmann, "and number two is barrier methods, though condoms are not 100 percent full proof. They have a 20 percent failure rate for pregnancy, so they aren't going to be 100 percent effective in preventing STDs either."

Another great way to keep yourself safe is mutual monogamy, being intimate with only one uninfected partner. You can't be certain that you haven't contracted an STD even if you practice the above methods, so make time to get tested and set your mind at ease.

Education
Sexual health awareness efforts and STD education effectively save lives, but we still have a long way to go. A 2004 survey found that while 99 percent of Americans knew that having unprotected sex and sharing needles might transmit HIV, 38 percent thought that kissing could transmit it, 25 percent by sharing a drinking glass and 18 percent thought that touching a toilet seat could infect them. Clearly, more needs to be done.

"Awareness is really important," explains Hofmann. "I can council my daughter about abstinence all I want and she can have all of the best intentions, but I can't control what her husband-to-be has done in the past."

Being aware of the symptoms that STDs can cause, getting tested because not all STDs have symptoms and practicing safe prevention methods can save your life and the lives of those around you.

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There is nothing quite like laying on the couch on a weekend morning and flipping through the channels only to find that 75 percent of them have infomercials running. Of course, over half of them are “guaranteed” ways to lose weight or get a kick butt workout from the comfort of your own living room. You start to feel guilty, are tempted to call the 1-800 number before the end of the program to get the special deal and decide it’s time to make a change. But before handing your credit card number over to a stranger, you decide a gym might be better.

Problem. You hate the idea of joining a gym, you can’t seem to find the time, or you just don’t have the dough to fork out for a membership. Even worse—the thought of a sitting on the same piece of equipment that the guy with the visibly sweaty butt just sat on sends a full body shiver down your spine. Alas, there is still hope! Infomercials aside, there are a ton of things you can do, all from the four walls of your own home or the space of your backyard.

Opting for a work out from home has its perks. You get to work on a schedule that is best fit for you rather than the gym’s, you save money not only on gas but also membership fees/dues and you can cast those fears of looking like you don’t belong. More importantly, you are doing something rather nothing.

“DO THESE SHORTS MAKE ME LOOK FAT?”
So why exactly do women choose a home workout instead of the gym? Jeannine Roth, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Jazzercise Instructor/Franchisee, says there are several reasons. First of all, it’s convenient and they can workout whenever they can squeeze it in. Second, there are the fears that and lack of self-confidence come along with attending a gym. “What is this thing for?” “Am I doing this right?” “Are they making fun of me?” “I’m too fat to be in here with everyone else!” “I look like a hobo in this outfit!” How many of us are guilty of buying new clothes just so they can look fashionable in that huge wall length mirror? Another reason is there possibly isn’t much income, and many women put their needs lower than others when it comes to their family.

If any of these reasons so far have you nodding your head in agreement, or ypu just want to try something new, check out what you can do, and what you should avoid.

THE FREE WORKOUT
Roth emphasizes that a good workout consists of three exercises; cardio, resistance and flexibility. Of course all three don’t have to be done everyday, but you should get 3-5 days of cardio, and 2-3 days of both resistance and flexibility per week. Here are some easy (and free) ideas she gives for each:

Cardio:
For cardio, all you need to do is anything that raises your heart rate and keep doing that 20-30 minutes.

  1. Put some upbeat music on and dance, dance, dance! (editor’s note: to eliminate humility, close curtains)
  2. Walk up and down a staircase at home, your apartment or office building. For an added kick, use the bottom step for a modified version of step aerobics.
  3. Got kids? Grab a jump rope, hula hoop or get on the backyard trampoline. How about a dog? Throw a ball or chase them around the yard. Actively playing with your kids or pets adds up, plus it is great for bonding and just having fun!
  4. Dig through your garage or storage unit and break out the old bike or skates. Roth says that these offer both a great cardio workout and a lower body workout.
  5. In another month pools will be open or your’s will be functioning. Take a dip and do laps or stationary movements. Water aerobics isn’t just for arthritis anymore!
  6. Escape your home for a little while and enjoy nature with a hike. Even though this technically isn’t “staying in," it’s not the gym and it can very peaceful and serene.


Resistance:

Use your own body or items around the house. There are a lot of things you can do with no equipment.

  1. Push-ups, abdominal crunches/planks, squats, lunges and leg lifts can all be done equipment free. For a modified version of a push-up when it’s hard to do them off the ground, lean on a wall or counter and push yourself up using your arms (not your legs).
  2. No hand weights? Use milk jugs or water bottles filled with liquid or sand and adjust to desired weight. Canned goods are a good alternative to hand weights too. Use your cans of spinach to lift and then eat—you’ll look like Popeye in no time!
  3. Are crunches literally a pain in the neck and back? Roth gives this handy tip: roll up a small towel and place it under the small of your back for support.
  4. While you have that towel out, toss it on the floor, sit in a chair and try grabbing it with your bare toes. This helps strengthen muscles in your feet!


Flexibility:
Flexibility training is easy, free when doing traditional stretches and it really feels good. Any activity that focuses on lengthening muscles is great when working on flexibility, as well as anything that safely moves your joints through their full range of motion.

  1. Traditional stretches are self explanatory, but keep in mind not to bounce or strain. Stretching out those muscles should be a smooth and relieving feeling.
  2. Here’s another use Roth gives for a towel: “Let a longer towel assist you in a number of stretches such as a hamstring stretch in which you hold the towel with one hand at each end, loop it underneath the foot and allow the towel to give you leverage as you pull your toes toward you.”
  3. For a good stretch session, hold each single stretch for 20 seconds or longer, or 10-30 seconds for each static stretch.


A WORKOUT UNDER $20
For those of you that want to have that added kick, there are a ton of videos and tools for under $20. Resistance bands are great for resistance training, and you can even find them in adjustable strength sets. These little numbers provide numerous ways to tone up without the use of free-weights or machinery (check out the websites given at the end for great ways to use these too). Yoga mats are inexpensive as well, and are great for a bit of cushioning when doing any kind of floor routine.

Then, of course, there are the videos. I think it’s fair to say that there are thousands of them out there. Roth says that these are great “for those who needs extra motivation and/or instruction as to what do and how to do it correctly,” and that “a good exercise video can be a useful substitute for a group class with a live instructor.” With such a vast selection, Roth does want to stress the importance of finding a worthy exercise video.

Here are some tips she suggests:

  • Find a video led by a knowledgeable instructor who not only motivates you, but makes your safety their first priority.
  • The instructor should be demonstrating the exercises at different levels with modifications. You should be able to adjust the intensity to suit your own needs.
  • Find a video where the music and setting appeals to you so you will want to play it again and again.


“AS SEEN ON TV”
How tempting is it not to call within the next 30 minutes when Daisy Fuentes or Chuck Norris is showing how easy it is to get a full body workout in no time? And the deals—who can resist the equipment, two free videos and a food guide tailored to your body type—all with a full 30-day money back guarantee? A slimmer waist in 10 days, all by doing (insert product here) just 2 minutes a day! But wait, there’s more! You can get all of this for not $200, not $100, not even $50, but for one easy payment of $19.95!

Sounds way too good to be true, and the truth of the matter is—it probably is. Roth’s opinion when it comes to “as seen on TV” items is you get what you pay for. A five-minute workout is not going to get you the proper results, much less the ones the infomercials claim you’ll get. Roth states, “There is no substitute for consistent exercise at the appropriate intensity for the proper duration.” However, she does say there is decent home exercise equipment that is sold on TV, but you need to be able to separate the good from the bad.

Ask yourself:

  • “Does the item interest me?”
  • “Does it seem to be good quality and priced accordingly?”
  • "Will I actually use it?”


When it comes to purchasing equipment, Roth emphasizes not wasting your money. If you don’t think you’ll use it every day then it’s a waste of your money, and you’re better off skipping the purchase. She feels that women are better off going in person to a store that specializes in such equipment so they can ask questions and try it out before making a purchase.

GET STARTED!
Are you now motivated to start an at-home-workout? Roth list these websites as the best for finding correct and informative routines (and they are free):

  1. www.acefitness.org This site provides lists of local certified trainers.
  2. www.shape.com/workouts
  3. www.collagevideo.com This site actually tests the videos they sell and rates them!


Last but not least, Roth says to remember safety. Be sure to get clearance from your doctor, and if you are alone, keep a phone near you in case of injury or illness. Choose safe exercises that you enjoy, and change up your workout periodically to prevent not only boredom, but overuse injuries.

Now all that’s left is to check the batteries in your smoke detector, because you are on your way to being one healthy, hot momma!

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Q: Dear Rocco,
I have a major cellulite ass and I have been walking every morning and doing exercises trying to tone my flabby butt. I want a fabulous bikini butt for this summer! Any suggestions?
– Tone this Tubby Tush, Morgan Township

A: It's incredible to me that you tell me that you are doing exercises to tone your "ass" but forget to tell me what kind. Needless to say, the exercises you're doing are probably not what you should be doing since you're complaining of a problem and asking me for help.

There is one major problem with your exercise program: WALKING. If your goal is to get rid of cellulite, then walking is not what you should be doing. Actually, walking usually makes the problem worse.

When you walk you are not performing a hip movement throughout its full range of movement and therefore will not cause any muscle building in the gluteal region, better known as the "ass." In order to decrease the ugly orange peel look of cellulite, you need to build muscle and round out the backside. The muscle pushes fat and your skin out from the inside and reduces the craters that are formed from the lack of muscle. Here are some exercises to help get a great bikini butt for the summer.

• Mountain climbers
• Lunges
• Stairs
• Fire hydrants

Depending on your fitness level, and the amount of junk in your trunk, you may need to increase or decrease the number of repetitions for each set of exercises you do. If you have no clue to what any of these exercises look like please feel free to log on to askrocco.com and request a free food journal and I'll be happy to send you an exercise card with descriptions of all four exercises. Here's to people complimenting your new "ass-et!"

 

Click here to get your "One Day Free Pass" for Rocco's boot camp.

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Q: How do you get rid of boob fat around your armpits?
– Caroline Caruso, Miss Massachusetts Teen USA

A: Boob fat can be rather embarrassing, especially when you're seemingly fit everywhere else. It absolutely sucks when a swimsuit fits great out front but the fat around the boobs hangs on the sides like melted candle wax – not very attractive – and quite uncomfortable to say the least.

Many women believe this calls for drastic measures (lifts, tucks and/or duct tape). Don't worry, save the toolbox for home renovation. There's a very simple solution. More often than not, there's something I call "The Empty Bag Syndrome," where a loss of muscle and or fat has produced an empty bag effect on your skin around your armpits. The loose skin needs to be filled up. Personally and professionally, I'd rather it be filled with muscle.

Your armpits, although under your arms, are actually part of your upper back muscles. Your armpit or "boob" fat is actually the lack of latissimus dorsi (upper back muscle).

An effective way to build up your upper back muscle muscle and create a thinner looking waist is to perform good ol' jumping jacks. I know what you're saying: "Come on Rock, I haven't done them since third grade." And that's actually the problem. If you did them, you probably wouldn't be asking me this question! When done correctly, they give an all around full body workout that brings symmetry back to your body, because the body is working in tandem with itself.

If the gym is more your bag, strength training exercises that I recommend are the lat pull down or a horizontal row. Most fitness professionals can show you how to perform these exercises, or you can go to askROCCO.com and receive a free Boot Camp workout.

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First, I would like to define the word "rut" and "diet" as defined by the Webster Dictionary. A rut is a settled and tedious routine. A diet is the daily intake of food and drink. So if you are in a diet rut, this could lead to deficiency in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The problem with eating the same foods everyday is that our bodies will not get the essential nutrients it needs to provide the energy we need to feel good. You can get out of a diet rut by trying some of the following ideas for breakfast, lunch, midday snack and dinner.

I recommend starting with your breakfast meal and making a list of your favorite choices from starches, such as oatmeal, multi grain Cheerios, whole grain toast, whole grain waffles or whole grain bagels. I recommend higher fiber choices over three grams at least per serving. You should rotate these choices through out the week and select a favorite fruit to go with the starch like one that maybe high in vitamin C, such as strawberries, oranges, grapefruit or blueberries. Then decide on a low fat milk choice such as 1 cup of 1% milk or six ounces of yogurt. These three categories are sure to give you some variety and will change your breakfast, especially if you only have a latte in the morning!

The lunch meal can be just as fun to change up. Try a whole wheat tortilla, stuffed with a lean protein choice like turkey, chicken or tuna fish, and top with spinach leaves, alfalfa sprouts and reduced fat mayonnaise and avocado slices. Add a fresh fruit and have a well balanced meal. This type of meal can save you from the rut of grabbing a fast food meal like a cheeseburger, French fries and a diet coke.

032607HEALTH.JPG Midday, I would suggest a snack like almonds and fresh fruit or string cheese and a whole wheat cracker choice like All Bran crackers, that run high in fiber and fill you up. Also, a yogurt can add calcium, and protein to your afternoon snack. Even chopped raw vegetables, about one cup can fill you up paired with the string cheese, would be a great snack.

The dinner meal can be a challenge for various reasons. We have a tendency to eat the same dinner menu cycle like chili, pasta, chicken, meatloaf and pizza. You need to try something new, by selecting an interesting recipe each week and trying the recipe and rating it according to how much you liked it. This is a way to build your recipe and menu ideas to get out of the rut of eating the same foods you always eat for dinner. A Web site I like to recommend is www.mealsforyou.com . This Web site will allow you to look at various ideas and give you a chance to get out of your rut you maybe in for dinner time. There is always fish, and there is always a meat alternative like tofu or veggie crumbles for a chili or pasta dish. Think outside of the box and you will find that variety will become a part of your daily intake, and the diet rut will be over! Spring is here and it’s a great time to have your meal at a local park and go for a walk afterwards to stop your diet rut!

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It just seems so simple. Everyone seems to know that vegetables are good for them, But most of the population seems deficient in choosing them in their daily food regimen. Green 031207_big_HEALTH.jpgvegetables are one of the very important parts of healthy eating. There are probably at least a hundred reasons to incorporate greens into every day balanced nutrition, but here are just a few to get you motivated to go to the fresh vegetable section and pick up some broccoli, spinach and green beans:

10) Green vegetables contain “phytochemicals,” which act as antioxidants and can help keep cancer-causing substances out of the body.

9) Greens, such as broccoli, can aid in digestion and keep the bacterium that is bad for you, out of your body.

8) These “phytochemicals” for leafy greens can keep you from going blind when you are older.

7) Green vegetables contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, which also helps with sight, the immune system and healthy skin.

6) Potassium, which helps to regulate the heart and muscle contraction, and calcium, which maintains strong bones, are all found in dark leafy green vegetables.

5) Maintaining an adequate amount of dark green vegetables in the diet can actually reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

4) Because green vegetables, such as spinach, have a higher potassium content, they may reduce the risk of kidney stones.

3) The fiber found in greens reduces the bad cholesterol in the body, reducing clogging of arteries.

2) Folic acid is important in pregnancy, especially the first trimester. Folic acid reduces risks of birth defects. And guess what, folic acid is found in green veggies.

Ok, so if you are not completely convinced to eat your green vegetables every day, the number one reason on this list, may just win you over.

1) In order to maintain a healthy sex life, you must maintain good nutrition. Along with the grains, legumes and fruits, a person must include green vegetables to keep an unobstructed blood flow, healthy hormone levels and good nerve function.

So, do your research, go to the grocery store, invest in some healthy dark green vegetables and enjoy. You are ultimately doing your body nothing but good!

Resources:
vickids.tamu.edu
www.webmd.com
Reader’s Digest, www.rd.com

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“Say a person consumes 2000 calories in a day. During the course of that same day works out and burns 1000 calories. Is the total number of calories taken in for the day 2000 (calories eaten) – 1000 (calories burned from exercise) = 1000 for the day?”
— Bridget, Cincinnati

Actually, no. That’s why dieticians and nutritionists go to school to learn this stuff. There are too many factors that go into this for me to explain. That’s why I recruited my friend Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD. All the letters after her name means she’s better qualified to answer this question than I am.

So here’s her answer:

Whew! When do you have time to eat when you're burning up 1000 calories in one day?

The incoming calories versus outgoing calories equation is not quite that simple. Calorie requirements will vary depending on age, sex, metabolism, activity level, stress, heredity, etc. Most individuals require at minimum, 1200 calories per day just to function (maintain heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, etc).

When you dip below your body's baseline needs, by either not eating enough or by exercising too much, your body will burn lean tissue (from muscle) as well as fat to provide enough calories to function. Don't lose the muscle you've built by under eating.

I’d even suggest visiting a local dietician to figure out how many calories you need and then work from there figuring out how many you want to burn.

There it is from the horse’s mouth.

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1. Buy a jump rope. They're inexpensive and it’s super good for you.

2. Stop buying fatty foods, such as chips, cookies and soda at the market. This will save you money. And if they aren't around, you cant eat them, which saves you calories, too.

3. Do the "half diet.” This is when you go out to dinner, go ahead and order whatever you'd like, eat half of it and take the rest home. American portions are huge anyway; this cuts the calories in half for the meal, and offers you a gourmet lunch for the next day!

4. Don't be afraid to ask for a lunch portion at your favorite dinner restaurant. Most establishments will do this for you, even if their lunch hours are technically over. This meal will mean fewer calories and fewer dollars you have to shell out at the register.

5. Drink more water. It saves tons of cash and it's so much better for you than a carbonated or sugary beverage.

6. If you’re not in the mood for water, or you need something with a little taste, try the Crystal Light "On the Go" drink mix packets. Just add them to your water bottle and you have a tasteful drink without having to reach for that soda.

7. Check our your local parks. Some are either free or just a few dollars for a year's pass and you get numerous paths and beautiful scenery to walk along, so it doesn't seem like a workout.

8. Get out your old roller blades or bike, grab a friend and go!

9. Plan an hour or so walk with your friends every week to catch up on gossip and spend some time together. You will be surprised how quickly the time goes by!

10. Check out the tennis courts, pool or track of your local school. There are usually open to the public as well, so find a time when the teams aren't practicing and vary up your workout.

11. Find the farmers markets around your area. Their prices are very competitive and their produce is so fresh!

12. If you tend to overeat, try using smaller plates for a while to get your portions back in check.

13. Bring your own tea to the office so you aren't tempted to go out every morning for coffee. Tea is much better for you, and plus, you save so much with each $5 frappulattemochachino you pass up!

*The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or substitute for professional care.