Friday, January 21, 2011

Bra Bulge Be Gone! « Everyday Fitness


Bra Bulge Be Gone! « Everyday Fitness

back fat

There you are standing in the dressing room getting ready to try on that hot new form-fitting cotton tank top you want to wear to your first outdoor spring party. Excited, you whip off your oversized end-of-winter T shirt, and dive into the tank, pulling it down over your jeans. As you twirl in front of the mirror, instead of gleeful exuberance, you gasp and let out a stifled scream.

“On no … you’ve got a major case of bra bulge!”

Layers of fat hang over the back clasp, your straps are digging into more upper back fat resulting in endless rolls of the fluffy stuff showing the world a perfect undie outline. Worse still, as you stare at your front, you notice you now have two more breasts. Up at the corner of each arm pit hangs a new out-pouching of fat that looks like a mini-breast waving in the breeze. With horror, you realize that you’ve got a matching set. Peering directly into the mirror, it looks like you have a big smile across your chest — four breasts in a semi-circle. “Yikes! I can’t go out in public like this!” Tossing the tank, you stomp out of the store, bound and determined to banish your bra bulge.

Sound familiar? The good news is that there is plenty you can do to say sayonara to the extra fat. Where does this stuff come from anyway? Clearly, if you eat more than you’re burning, you’ll pack on the pounds throughout your body. However, it’s even more obvious as women cross the over-forty threshold. As estrogen begins to wax and wane during the perimenopause, women begin to notice a shift in fat distribution from their bottom half to their abdomen and chest. Some women can go up a cup size, and most notice extra fat accumulating throughout their chest and back. Thus the bra bulge. This happens to skinny women as well. Here’s the good news. You can shed most of this and proudly wear that sexy t-shirt. But you’ve got to work it to wear it!

It’s Time for a Bra Fitting
First up, no matter what you weigh, you need a properly fitting bra. This goes both ways. Interestingly, I have patients who have dropped lots of weight and are still wearing the same bra, which now looks like it fits a family of twelve. Others imagine themselves smaller than they are; desperately try to squeeze into that teeny tiny sexy lacy Victoria’s Secret number and ending up spilling out all over the place. So, girlfriends, please get a proper bra fitting.

Here’s Your Reality Check …
There’s no exercise or eating regimen that can target one particular part of your anatomy. You need to do physical activity as well as eat appropriately to remove excess fat from any part of your body. Let’s start with how you’re nourishing yourself.

If you’re not mindful of every mouthful, you’ll be wearing those extra calories. So, start paying attention to your quality, quantity and frequency of eating.

  • Quality
    Women eat way too many carbs in general. Minimize or eliminate the white refined processed sugars in your life, including white sugar, pasta, rice, potato and bread. Eating these bad boys increases your insulin levels making it super easy to do the bra bulge.
  • Quantity
    Brown rice is great, but eating a mountain of it isn’t. Do something radical like read the food labels. Know what a recommended serving size is and stick with it. Try to avoid eating out of large bags and boxes as that’s a sure fire way to mindlessly overeat. Choose smaller plates, and slow it down already! This isn’t a fire drill. Take a walk on the wild side and instead of always grabbing and going, or dashboard dinning, sit down with the TV off and enjoy your food for a few minutes.
  • Frequency
    Eating a smaller balanced meal or snack every 3-4 hours results in decreased appetite and hunger throughout the day. Include lean protein along with healthy carbs (veggies, fruits, small amount of whole grain) and fats. You need all three to get the essential nutrients to support health and energy. And Lord knows we need the energy!

Now, let’s work it out to de-bulge. Here are my favorite activities. You can mix and match them. Experiment and have fun.

  • Breast Stroke It
    There’s no wonder that swimmers have such awesome chest and backs. You don’t see a lot of bulge on these water babies. See if you can find a pool somewhere and once or twice a week swim the breast stroke and work up to doing 20 or 30 laps. The more intensity you add (speed), the greater the reward. If you don’t have access to a pool or don’t like to swim, no worries. Simply get into a squat position and fake it like you’re in the water by doing the same arm movements. To add resistance that water normally gives you, strap on arm weights (1-5 pounds).
  • Move Your Bulge
    Just get up and cook some calories every day with aerobic exercise. Get movin’ and try to make it fun. Dancing is a great cross trainer. You have got to try Zumba, the Latin fitness dance. I love the music and swinging my hips with the best of them. Talk about intensity intervals! The time passes before you know it. Walk, bike and use the elliptical with intervals of intensity. You’ll shed your bulges when you get up and move on a regular basis. Commit to 30 minutes every day for sure.
  • Arm and Leg Lifts
    This is such a simple yet effective way to work your back. Lie on your tummy with your arms straight over your head and your toes pointed to the ground. Lift your left arm and right leg slightly off the ground and hold for a count of 5 and then slowly lower. Repeat with the right arm and left leg. Work up to doing ten times. You’ll feel tension in your lower back muscles which is normal. However if you feel any pain or discomfort, stop and discontinue the exercise.
  • Don’t Resist Those Bands and Tubes
    Elastic resistance tubes and bands are one of my all-time favorite ways to trim and tone. They’re cheap, lightweight, portable and effective. The bands come with instructions for doing every sort of exercise from chest to back. Try them all and throughout the day, pick’em up and just do a few here and there. To attack the bra bulge zones, try these:

a) Seated Row: You’re going to row-row-row your boat anywhere you want, whether it is at your home, a hotel or at the gym. Grab the tubing and sling it around the leg of your bed or a heavy table. Sit on the floor (a mat is helpful) scooting far enough away so that you have moderate tension on the elastic. Legs together and keeping your back straight, allow the tension from the tubing to pull you forward to about a 30 degree angle. Then carefully come back to your sitting position, keeping your back straight. Avoid hunching over. If you don’t have enough tension, move a bit further away. Do three sets of ten repetitions each. Do not do this exercise if you have any back issues unless cleared by your physician.

b) Chest Fly: Grab your tubing and double it over so that each hand is holding the strap as well as the doubled over tubing. Hold directly in front of you at breast level with slightly bent elbows. Each arm pulls away from the center causing resistance and muscular tension across your chest. You’re working your pectoralis muscle. Aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

c) The Kick-Back: Lie face down on a mat with your legs together and a resistance band under your chest holding one end in each hand with your arms by your sides. Lift your chest and reach your arms straight out at shoulder level in front of you, keeping your shoulders down. Hold for a count of 2 and come down. Repeat ten times.

Music to Banish Your Bra Bulge

  • Duffy ‘Mercy‘ (Rockferry)
  • Eurythmics ‘Wrap It Up‘ (Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This)
  • Funky Green Dogs ‘All Fired Up‘ (DJ Mix ’97 Volume 2)
  • Joan Jett ‘I Hate Myself for Loving You‘ (Up Your Alley)

Posted by: Pamela Peeke, MD at 9:41 am

WebMD: Better Information. Better Health.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Taken from safety Tips, Exclusively From Deedee Crossett |



Things Spas Can Do to Maintain Sanitary Conditions


Be sure and look for these minimal steps at EVERY spa visit!

  1. Wash hands before every service and announce it to your clients. After you speak with them and before you start touching their skin say, “I’m going to wash my hands so we can get started." It’s obvious to you as a spa professional; however, communicating it will show the client that you are practicing basic sanitation guidelines. Linen or cloth towels should only be used when each client can have their own towel. Paper towels or hand air dryers are more sanitary then all the clients using the same hand towel to dry their hands.
  2. Post valid licenses in a place where clients can see them. In some states, you are required to post them in the reception area or in the treatment room. Make sure that they are posted and not expired.
  3. Wax pots should always be clean and free of debris. They should be covered. A wax stick should NEVER be sticking out of the pot even if it is to just test the wax; throw it away. No double dipping.
  4. Keep clean tools in a closed, clean container. For example, put tweezers in a clean box or zip lock bag labeled "clean." If you are using a drawer on your facial trolley as clean storage, it should be labeled "clean." It should also only contain clean implements to be used on a client. Mixing tips, pens and a client's traveler creates an unsanitary environment. Clean linen should also be kept in a closed, clean container labeled "clean."
  5. Soiled tools should be cleaned immediately or place in a container marked "soiled." If you have six facials in a day, have six mask brushes and six sets of tweezers. Put the tools in a container marked "soiled tools" and clean them at the end of the day. Just keep them separate from the clean tools. The pocket of your esthetic jacket is not a clean, closed container. Soiled linen should be placed in a closed container marked "soiled linen."
  6. After every client, wipe down all the equipment with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectant. Read the manufacturers directions; most of the EPA sprays and wipes should air dry for 10 minutes.
  7. Makeup precautions. Sharpen and wipe makeup pencils before using them on each client and do the same before you put the pencil away. Anything used around the eyes, nose or mouth should be disinfected or thrown away. Avoid doing makeup on a guest with a fever blister or open sores. UV sterilizers are not recognized in most states as an approved form of disinfection.
  8. Foot spa precautions. If you are using a pipeless foot spa system, then you will just need to soak the disinfectant in the spa tub for the required time according to the manufacturer’s directions. If it is a piped system, you will need to run the disinfectant through the entire system; just soaking the tub will not kill any microbacteria in the pipes. (This includes all of your hydrotherapy tubs.) Also, nail files should be one per client.
  9. Illegal tools. Illegal tools and implements should not be used or found in your establishment.
  10. Three staples. Everything you use on your clients should be one of three things: Laundered per your state’s requirements, cleaned with an EPA-registered disinfectant (bleach is not an EPA-registered disinfectant); or thrown away (i.e. spoolies, wax sticks, cotton swabs, sponges and nail files).

Every state has unique requirements; however, the intention is the same. Consumer protection, consumer protection, consumer protection!

10 Spa Safety Tips, Exclusively From Deedee Crossett |

Friday, January 7, 2011

How to have the most perfect skin

I have asked clients to ask me questions regarding their skin and skin care, providing subject material that you, my readers will find interesting.  All that provide questions, comments and concerns will be entered into a drawing every month for prizes.  Thank you to Donna Shook for this question:

I would like to know a daily, monthly and yearly routine/schedule for skin care...Meaning what should I be doing daily, monthly and yearly to take care of my skin. I would imagine certain treatments such as facials are recommended monthly. It would be good to know all the options for skin care and what are the expected results.”

Old school leaning is Cleanse, Tone, Exfoliate, Treat, Moisturize and Protect.  You know what?  I don’t think much has changed except we have more products to choose from.  Ah ha!  That’s the problem.  There are SO MANY products to choose from.  So . . . let’s go back to the basics.

skin textureFirst we need to know what our skin is all about.  The skin is the body’s largest organ and provides a protective barrier against the environment.  It’s an organ?  Yep!  Too bad that we so often take our skin for granted and if we want to keep it in tip top shape it needs consistent daily care.  If our skin gets even a teeny tiny crack in it it opens up our bodies to infection, viruses and bacteria.  Having said that just makes us realize that dry, cracked, unhealthy skin is a really big deal besides being unpleasant and just plain unattractive.

Humans have oily skin, dry skin, combination skin and some would say just normal skin.  We all have a natural oil production.  This oil is actually called sebum and is produced by glands in our skin.  Oil is actually good for our skin because it lubricates the surface of the skin and our hair,  No one wants dry, cracked, flaky skin just like no one wants slick, oily skin.  So having said that, you must first know exactly what type of skin YOU have in order to know how to properly take care of your skin.

The first step in a good skin care regimen always begins with cleansing.  I do not think you have to spend a ton of money in order to use good products.  You’ll need to find a good cleanser formulated for your specific skin type and stick with it.  I personally think the absolute most important key to good skin is consistency!      washing-face

You can purchase a good cleanser at Target or Wal-Mart, however, I do have excellent, pure products in my treatment room made by SANITAS (  Unless you have very oily skin, I suggest that you stay away from bar soaps, as they have a tendency to dry out most skin.  A good rule of thumb tends to be a clear cleanser for oily skin and a creamy cleanser for dry skin.

Now then, you do not need to OVER cleanse your skin.  A morning splash of cool to lukewarm water should do to remove excess overnight oils.  Every night – and I do mean EVERY NIGHT – wash your face with warm water and the appropriate cleanser. NEVER, EVER, EVER go to bed with your makeup on.  (I have previously written on just this and HIGHLY suggest another read!) Pat dry, don’t rub, your face as pulling and tugging with the wash cloth and towel is not good.

Follow with a good facial toner.  Toner is an essential cosmetic product that everyone who is interested in having perfect skin should consistently be using. A toner basically removes cleanser residue, helps restore the pH balance, removes any excess oil and even helps minimize and prevent acne breakouts.

Some of you are missing the boat by not adding exfoliation to their skin care routine.  When you begin a regular exfoliation regimen you’ll begin to see a brighter more radiant complexion. 

So, what is exfoliation? Exfoliation removes the layer of dead skin and can create glowing, smooth skin. Too much exfoliation can actually damage your skin. How often exfoliation is recommended depends on a number of factors, including what you exfoliate with, your skin type, and your general skin health.

As a general rule, the softer an exfoliant is, the more often you can use it. Some exfoliating scrubs are so gentle that you can use them on a daily basis; many exfoliants designed for the face, for example, are soft enough for daily use. Coarse scrubs which are extremely grainy should be used no more than once a week, while scrubs which fall somewhere in between can be used two to three days a week.

If you have oily skin  you can exfoliate two to three days a week without any ill effects. People with more dry, delicate skin should exfoliate one to two times a week, ideally with a gentle exfoliating scrub which will not irritate their skin.

If you're not sure about whether or not you can exfoliate with a particular product, test it on your inner elbow, where the skin is especially tender. If the scrub causes irritation, it indicates that it may not be a good choice. If no irritation is experienced, you can safely use that product to exfoliate on a regular basis.

Your skin health also plays a factor in how often you should exfoliate. If you suffer from eczema or other skin conditions, you may want to ease back on your exfoliation schedule, especially if your doctor recommends the use of gentle skin care products only. If you've recently been sunburned, you should also avoid exfoliating until the sunburn starts to peel, because you don't want to pull new skin off while it is trying to heal.

The next step is the treatment step.  bigstockphoto_woman_applying_concealer_4135410_s600x600Interestingly enough, some treatments are also exfoliants.  This could be something like a Retin-A or Retinol Product.  A skin lightening treatment or specific anti-ageing product could be used in this step.  Also, this is when you would be using any eye creams.  The skin around the eye contains no fatty tissue, is extremely thin and unfortunately, quick to wrinkle.  There are special products containing Vitamin-K and/or caffeine that are formulated to help eliminate darkness under the eye area and this is the time to apply any of those.

Now comes the important moisturizing step.  This is SKIN CARE LAW!!!  Everyone needs moisture, every if your skin tends to be oily.  I also recommend a moisture mist that contains a humectant.  This is a big word and one I think is important to know what it is and what it does.  I pulled the following from   moisture



From Heather Brannon, MD, former Guide

Updated April 13, 2007 Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board


Humectants are a key ingredient in moisturizers and cleansers. They benefit the skin by:

  • Attracting water from the dermis into the epidermis, increasing the water content in the epidermis
  • When humidity is higher than 70 percent, humectants can also attract water from the atmosphere into the epidermis
  • Increasing the pliability and flexibility of the skin, preventing it from cracking  
  • Promoting consistent desquamation (shedding of the outer layer of skin) by degrading the corneodesmosomes that hold skin cells together
  • Reducing skin irritation caused by dry skin
  • Preventing outside chemicals from contacting the dermis.

Ok.  Got that?  Basically a humectant attracts and traps moisture into your skin.  It’s good stuff.

sunshineFinally - - - da, da, da daaaa - - - apply SUNSCREEN!    Even on a cloudy, overcast, dreary, rainy, snowy, whatever day UVA (ageing) and UVB (burning) rays reach down from above and do their damage if your skin isn’t protected!  Poll any skin care expert and you will hear them all say the same thing.  It is the single one thing they would pass on to their daughters!

The number 1 cause of wrinkles is sun damage!  Having said that, I recommend the purchase of TWO moisturizers.  One for day that has UV protection of 30 (I suggest looking for the ingredient Helioplex, or Mexoryl) and one for night that does not contain sunscreen.  Sunscreen is not meant to be used 24/7 and can cause problems with overuse.

Now here’s a little extra tip on scalp care.  Your hair tends to trap dead skin cells.  If this builds up and begins to flake it is dandruff.  Dandruff can be eliminated or avoided by washing hairwashing your scalp at least two to three times weekly.  Daily shampooing is not necessary and can be even detrimental  unless you have oily skin/scalp.  When you shampoo, thorough scrubbing of your scalp with your fingertips is necessary to loosen the oils and debris.  Don’t shampoo in hot water because the heat actually can cause your hair to appear limp, rather use cool water both before adding shampoo and to the rinse.  Some say it is a good idea to alternate between two or three different shampoos so remove residue or build up left by others.  I don’t know how I feel about that – you decide.

So this is all good daily care.  It’s really not at much as it appears.  Cleanse, Tone, Exfoliate, Treat, Moisturize and Protect.  Once you know what products work for you, it is just a matter of getting into the routine.  You may need to change products as seasons change by adding heavier moisturizers, cutting down on minutes in the shower and lowering the water temperature in the winter.

Now what about facials?  There is no absolute law regarding how often one needs to have professional treatments.  As women, we have hormonal ups and downs that effect our skin.  During times of extreme stress, menopause or any other event that causes our skin to go on mutiny, THAT is when you need me most.  It is ok to have a professional facial as often as weekly if necessary and at minimum once per quarter (4 times each year).  I recommend every 4 to 6 weeks for good, healthy skin care.

skin care professional


Special skin care treatments like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, ultrasonic/micro-currents are designed with specific results in mind.  These are not considered necessary for good skin health but rather a skin “resurfacing” or “re-training” series.  Discuss these options with your skin care professional and see how they would benefit you specifically.


Donna, I hope I answered your question.  I probably provided much more than you asked for.  Please keep the questions coming, folks. 

This is it for now . . . just another day in skin care heaven!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter Skin Rx


old%20man%20winter_4c54f733cb735It’s cold . . . Brrrr. It’s warm. It’s cold . . . Brrrr, again. Yep! That’s our South Carolina winter weather. Not only do we have trouble know what to wear, our skin doesn’t know what to do! Have you noticed your skin changing – oily to dry? And then . . . even drier? And the crazy thing is, this can happen seemingly overnight! Interestingly, I thought about writing about dry winter skin care and when I logged into my Facebook this morning, I found several inquiries about just this very thing.

Changing seasons, means changing temperatures. These changing environmental conditions mean that we need a change to our skin care routine, no matter where you live. Making just a few small changes can make a difference between a dull, even itchy, flaky complexion and your beautiful radiant glow – harsh, winter weather, or not!

The very first thing to know is that hot, steamy baths or showers need to be put on hold. Those are a BIG winter no-no. Rather dial the temperature down to just warm. Now here’s a real hint: before you step out of the shower, turn the water down to cool for about 10-15 seconds. Then, turn the water warmer than before for about 15-30 seconds, then repeat. Are you kidding me? Nope! This hydro-therapy technique refreshes and revitalizes your skin by stimulating your blood flow. You might think this is crazy, but it is really beneficial and invigorating. Try it and then let me know how you feel about it. You’ll be clean, refreshed and your skin will NOT be dried out and unhappy.

Now, your wrapped up in your fluffy towel, but you skin is still damp. Pat or blot your skin until it's just barely dry, then apply apply your moisturizing CREAM – not liquid, light lotion - moisturizer immediately to help trap water in the surface cells. Look for a product that has antioxidants, grape seed oil or dimethicone, which helps keep your skin hydrated. For very dry, cracked skin, petrolatum-based products are preferable. They have more staying power than creams do and are more effective at preventing water from evaporating from your skin. I like to apply a shower oil right in the shower, then pat, pat, pat my skin dry.

Apply moisturizer to your hands and body as needed. Apply after bathing or showering, before exercising outdoors in cold weather, and every time you wash your hands. Although often ignored, your hands are more exposed to the elements, especially soaps and chemicals, than is any other part of your body

Don’t forget your lips! Chapped lips are just plain UGGGly, and may be the most noticeable problem a girl will face in the winter. I suggest regular lip exfoliation all year long, but EXPECIALLY during the harsh winter months. Here’s a easy little tip: regular Vaseline with a soft baby toothbrush. Easy does it . . . but do it! I really like Vitamin E for your lips, but remember a lip balm sunscreen if you are ONLY using gloss, rather than lipstick. Use your lip balm every single night before you go to sleep. Keep it on your bedside table.

Keep on exfoliating – at least two times every week. Removing those dried out dead skin cells will allow your skin to absorb the extra moisture you’re applying. Even if you have summer-time oily complexion, that oil is no longer being produced during the cold winter temps. Also, think about going in and out of central heating and back into the elements – havoc on your body’s largest organ. In addition to drying out your complexion and having your skin look grey and puffy, this can cause premature aging, lines and wrinkles.

Water! Water! Water! Keep on drinking. Here’s a little bit of education . . . your skin just can’t get enough water. You know that your body is made up of mostly water – we learned that in elementary school. Your internal organs are constantly pulling water in, and pulling it away from your external organ – your skin. Your skin only gets what water is left over.

A little Chinese herbal treatment is a glass of hot water with fresh, squeezed lemon. This is de-toxing for your liver and gall bladder and pretty darn energizing. Your body will be able to rid itself of toxins and wastes that contribute to bad skin.

Finally and really, really important – money can’t buy the benefits of real healthy beauty sleep. I’ve done blogs before on not enough sleep. Lack of sleep will absolutely ruin you! If you don’t turn off your day clock and s-l-e-e-p your night clock can’t kick in and cell regeneration cannot begin. Shoot for those desired eight.

OK . . . what do you think? Willing to try? These tips just might be the prescription you need to better winter skin.

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