Top 10 Reasons Sex is GREAT for Your Health


There are so many elements to being a healthy person – fitness, nutrition, sleep, spirituality, connection, and the list goes on. But one of my favorites is sex. Yes – that’s right, in order to be a truly healthy person sex is needed. Some of us like it more often than others, some of us like it different ways than others, but at the end of the day, it is a fact that part of the key to an overall healthy ADULT is a great sex life.

According to sex therapist Richard A. Carroll from Northwestern University, “We are programmed to do so (have sex). Asking why people have sex is akin to asking why we eat. Our brains are designed to motivate us toward that behavior.”

Humans have sex for a multitude number of reasons from curiosity to exercise, from pleasure to stress relief, and from wanting to pro-create to wanting to boost self esteem. I find it fascinating to find out why people have or don’t have sex. I have personally never understood the idea of withholding sex from your partner as punishment because he or she didn’t do/act/say what you wanted them to. Is that not punishment to both? And moreover, why would you want to punish someone you are so intimate with? The topic of sexual encounters is one that truly intrigues me.

Back to the health benefit of sex! Here are my Top Ten Reasons as to why sex can actually improve your health:

  1. Lowers stress levels
  2. Lowers cholesterol levels and in turn lowers your risk for a heart attack
  3. Sex burns approximately 290 calories per hour – great exercise!
  4. Orgasm can partially or completely alleviate migraines (according to a University of Munster study)
  5. Heart health – with all of that cardio, you’re on a roll to a healthier heart!
  6. Helps keep your immune system on track due to an increased level of antibodies
  7. Improves women’s bladder control – all those kegel exercises and daily sex is helping you in so many ways!
  8. Lowers blood pressure
  9. Lowers the risk for prostate cancer in men
  10. Improves sleep

And of course, an absolute favorite is that it just feels great! Sometimes we need to do things because they feel great. Maybe that’s having an ice cream sundae, or playing hooky from work, or maybe it’s having terrific sex. Do what feels amazing and this world is your oyster.

Back to School, Back to You!


As the start of the school year approaches, parents are breathing a sigh of relief while at the same time undergoing associated stress. For those parents that have enjoyed a summer with their children, they will welcome a relief from the repeated question “what are we doing today?” For those parents that have had to work out of the home, they will welcome the relief from often patch-work child care/camps/playdates and holiday schedules. However with this relief comes a new bag of items to organize: planning, preparing and packing lunches, driving and pick up, homework monitoring and after-school program maintenance and scheduling.

Part of the stress on parents is spurred by the much-needed, but often busy, after school programs. Not only is it a question of what activities to have your children sign up for but also the cost, the driving, planning dinners around it, carpools, equipment, uniforms etc…

So what do parents do to stay calm and level-headed?

While planning your children’s activities, enroll yourself in an activity. This is possible for anyone – as impossible as it may seem. Although easier for some more than others, it is hugely important for parents to take time for themselves in order to relax and recharge for the following reasons:

1 – Improve or maintain health good health: registering in a leisure activity can include a form of physical fitness – whether it is going to the gym, signing up for a kickboxing class or a masters swim team, they all will benefit you in some way physically – as a part of a healthy lifestyle

2 – Reduce stress: whether it is a spin class, cooking class or a yoga class, there are aspects of any of these activities that help to reduce stress. Even stepping away from the house and the kids and doing something on your own, for YOU, helps to slow your breathing and gain perspective. Yoga has meditative qualities and breathing exercises that make you stop to focus on yourself.

3 – Lead by example: children learn how to relax and spend leisure time by watching their parents. Do you read? Do you have a hobby? Do you exercise? Do you know how to relax? Do you take time for yourself? By doing these things teaches children the importance of balance and making “you” a priority.

4 – Perspective: Returning from a walk or a yoga class may help you be much more “level-headed” than before the activity began. These activities force you to step away from the current, sometimes crazy, situation and just breathe. Simply breathing and not “thinking”, per se, allows you to relax, focus and gain perspective. Is the puzzle spread over the flood a tragedy? Is the sink full of dishes going to be the end of the world? If the floor doesn’t get vacuumed today will anyone be worse off in life?

So this “back to school” time, make it “back to you”. Put yourself on the ever growing “to-do” list. Ask for help when you need it. Enroll in that class. Make yourself a priority. Do not feel guilty or make excuses why you can’t. You and your family will be better off for it.


Ronda Rousey Athletic Body Shaming


Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s Women’s Bantamweight Champion, and in my opinion currently the undisputed toughest woman on the circuit, has been under fire for her body, with critics saying she is “too masculine”. Similarly less than a month ago online bullies took to Serena Williams saying she is “built like a man”.

This type of body shaming enrages me!! First of all, who is anyone to call out what another woman’s body looks like? Who are YOU to say that she is “manly” or “feminine”? Hot or not? Sexy or not? Let’s pause and think that maybe these women are building their bodies the way they are because THEY want to look that way. Because THEY want to be able to do things with their bodies that others cannot. Because THEY think they look beautiful, strong and sexy. Maybe they aren’t doing it for a man’s or the media’s approval.

On Facebook this week I posed the question to my friends what they felt of the recent body shaming of Ronda Rousey. The conversation lead to asking the question – why is fit, athletic and muscular only to be associated with men? Are women’s physical traits only to be soft and curvy and thin? I feel that a strong, fit and athletic woman in fact is the ULTIMATE female – there is nothing masculine about this type of female warrior. She is what I define as WOMAN.

We also had many of the men comment on how sexy and hot and attractive she is. And don’t get me wrong, I definitely agree that she is. But that is still objectifying her as body type of men are drooling over rather than looking at her body as she would describe it – using every single muscle for a purpose. If that is not the ultimate female body, I don’t know what is.

In the North America, roughly 25 million women and 12 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or OSFED (Other Specified Feeding Eating Disorder). For various reasons, many cases are likely not to be reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and sub-clinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, and the best-known contributor to the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa is body dissatisfaction. By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life (Source:

If we as a society continue to point out all the things WRONG with women’s bodies – from being too fit, to too fat, to too skinny – what are we doing to the minds and confidence of the girls and women of the world? Do we not want to live in a world that is full of confident, self-assured, happy women? Why must we bash others’ appearance in order to feel good about ourselves?

Fat shaming has been something that has been an issue in our society for decades. Now that women are searching for a more athletic build, we are beating them up over that. It is not any different. Making fun of someone because they have a few extra pounds and making fun of someone because they have lots of muscle is simply cruel. Don’t take on the mindset that ‘she can handle it’ just because she is physically strong. That’s a weak excuse and this shaming of women’s bodies needs to stop.

Sleep is Gold!


With a 3 week old baby at home, I feel like I am performing a personal sleep deprivation experiment. In the past 3 weeks, I have averaged only 4 hours of sleep each night. These 4 hours total are broken up into shorter durations. Oh the joys of newborns!

The lack of sleep has me wondering how our sleep affects our lives. Yes, we are more tired with a lack of sleep. But what else is affected? After doing some research, I have discovered that many things can suffer or conversely improve by either not getting enough sleep or enough.

Better health. Getting a good night’s sleep won’t grant you immunity from disease. But study after study has found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Although most of these only become serious after years of sleep loss, recent studies have shown that even four days of lack of sleep can be enough to have blood glucose levels of pre-diabetics.

Less Stress. A good night’s sleep can help lower blood pressure and levels of stress. Stress can degenerate cells, which propel the aging process. Getting enough sleep slows these effects and encourages relaxation.

Better Sex Life. Although it’s a bit of an ongoing joke between couples “I am too tired to have sex” – it is actually true. According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, up to 26% of people say that their sex lives tend to suffer because they’re just too tired.

Less Injuries. This may seem like a no brainer – but sleeping enough might actually keep you safer. Your attention, reaction and responses are negatively affected when you are tired. From driving, to cooking, to accidents at work, being overtired makes you more likely to fall, trip, cut yourself or when driving, even falling asleep!

Better mood. “Not getting enough sleep affects your emotional regulation,” says Mindell. “When you’re overtired, you’re more likely to snap at your boss, or burst into tears, or start laughing uncontrollably.”

Weight management. Aside from being too tired to go for a walk or go to the gym, not getting enough sleep may be responsible for weight gain. This is because of the hormone leptin – the hormone partly responsible for making you feel full. When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels drop. Therefore if you are tired, you may just be hungrier than normal and may crave high calorie, high fat foods.

Brain function. “Sleep loss affects how you think,” according to Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, a professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and author of Sleep Deprived No More. “It impairs your cognition, your attention and your decision-making.” Sleep loss could be to blame for forgetfulness too. Our brains process and consolidate our memories from the day when we sleep. This is why one of the recommendations given to elderly patients to improve memory function is to ensure they are getting enough sleep.

Stronger immunity. A recent study has shown that people who get seven hours of sleep a night or less were almost three times as likely to get sick as the people who got at least eight hours of sleep a night. “Your body produces extra protein molecules while you’re sleeping that helps strengthen your ability to fight infection and stay healthy. These molecules help your immune system mend your body at a cellular level when you are stressed or have been exposed to compromising elements such as pollutants and infectious bacteria.”

So now that you know why sleep is so important, ask yourself if you get enough. If you’re not getting 7 or 8 hours a night, you are not. If this is the case (as is with most of us), make the commitment to get more sleep. Turn off your iPad, TV, or device of choice and get to bed earlier. Start tonight – even if it is only a half an hour earlier to start. It’s something you don’t have to sweat over or work hard at. Just relax and head off to dreamland!

Sources: Better Sleep Better Life.Com, WebMD, Harvard Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Health.Com

Goal Setting 101


Goal setting helps us determine our priorities, make big decisions, and realize our dreams. To achieve what we want in life we have to set our sights on exactly what it is that we want. Determining what we want is the first step on how to get to where you want to go – a definition of what your success looks like. Whether it be a life goal (to be happy and healthy), a career goal (to be rich and successful) or a fitness goal (to be in the best shape of your life) you have to set a concrete definition of what all of this looks like. What is “rich” to you? What is “healthy”? Determine this and then align them with some numbers. This way when you achieve your desired result, it will be easy to measure and pinpoint success.

After determining what the ultimate goal, break down the goal into manageable and realistic steps on how to get there. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon and you haven’t ran more than one mile, set a smaller, more short-term goal – such as running a 5K race. This way you will be more likely to achieve the goal and provide positive reinforcement to help you move forward with success to your next goal – maybe 10K – working towards your end goal of the marathon.

To help you stay on track, it is also advised to set a deadline or time line for your ultimate or “dream” goal and work backwards for your smaller stepping stone goals. Ensure that these are realistic to set yourself up for smalls “wins” working toward the end goal.

Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals periodically. If you are working toward your ultimate goal and it turns out that a stepping stone goal isn’t being completed by the time you had pre-determined, it’s ok. Give yourself the flexibility to adjust as needed. Without flexibility you may set yourself up for frustration or to give up.

Once you have done the work to set your goals, communicate them. Share with others what you want to achieve. Not only will this make you accountable but will also provide you with support and encouragement from others.

Finally remember that no goal is too lofty. Dream BIG. If you believe you can do something, you will. Set plans to take the logical steps to make it happen. Surround yourself with others that believe in you and are positive sources of encouragement.

The great thing about life is we can have every single thing that we can think of and dream of with a positive and welcoming mindset. We can create, be, have and do anything that we set our minds and hearts to. Now go set that dream goal. Do it – now!

Why I FINALLY Threw Away My Scale

Healthy Body Image

We obsess over numbers. How much money do I make? How many square feet is my house? How many pounds do I weigh? We need a SERIOUS shift. We need to shift towards how things make us FEEL. Am I living a lifestyle that I love? Is my home a place of comfort and love? Do I wake up in the morning and feel great about my body? THESE are the questions we should be asking, and in turn, making shifts in our conscious behavior as needed.

I tell my friends and family all the time ‘It doesn’t matter what the scale says it matters about how you feel’. But there I am, day after day obsessively weighing in. I can honestly wake up and look at myself in the mirror and say ‘I look amazing today’ and then quicker than a shake of a lamb’s tale say ‘I wonder how much I weigh today?’. And if that number doesn’t coincide with where I thought I should be, it turns things around just as quickly.

WHO CARES?!?! Does it really matter if I have gone up a pound or two or down a pound or two if when I look in the mirror I am happy with what I see? Does it really matter that I should ‘take 2 pounds off for clothes and one pound off for the coffee and water I had already’ to really get my “true weight” if I love the way I look? Does it really matter what that number is if my body is capable of doing 200 pound squats and 50 pushups and 25 pound bicep curls?

The answer is so obvious right?! Then why do I (and maybe you too) care so much about what that number is? We shouldn’t. It is unhealthy for my physical and mental well being to obsess over that number. It makes you want to eat less, eat different, take pills, binge sweat – whatever the reaction it has on you, it needs to stop.

So I have stopped. I have ridded my home of a scale. Instead, I am going to wake up each morning and ask myself how I physically feel. And then I will look at myself in the mirror while I’m getting ready for my day and ask myself how do I physically look in MY eyes. And when in doubt, I’m going to remind myself of five things I did this week in the gym to prove that the scale doesn’t run me, I do. So the fact that I can throw a mean right cross or killer roundhouse kick, or that I can do upside down pushups until the cows come home, or that I can throw my nieces in the air a hundred times to make them giggle. My body is more physically fit at 37 than I ever have been and I need to celebrate that. Every day. Screw the numbers. F the scale. I am looking at my successes from a different lens.

Meditation 101



I have been hearing more and more lately that people should meditate as a part of their overall health regimen. I have to admit, I am a skeptic. When I think of meditation, I think of hippie yogi types that burn incense and wear only recycled cotton. Considering how much I am hearing about it recently, I thought I would do my own research on why and how this could benefit me. Here is what I have discovered…

1. The US Marines meditate and so do NFL players – gone is my hippies only idea!

2. It increases your immune function.

3. It decreases pain and inflammation at a cellular level.

4. It increases your brain functionality – it increases your brain’s cortical thickness – increasing attention and memory, and the ability to multitask. It also increases brain volume – in areas of emotion regulation, positive emotions and self-control.

5. It allows you to be more creative and “think outside the box.”

6. It has been shown to decrease anxiety, stress and depression.

7. It increases social connection, makes you more compassionate and reduces loneliness.

All of these effects have been scientifically proven. So I am more convinced than before. However, I personally don’t have 2 hours a day to commit to meditation. Even if I would get these benefits.   In my research I discovered that I actually don’t need to meditate for 2 hours a day. You really only need about 20 minutes to meditate. So I could cut down my Facebook or TV time by the amount. This is a bit more realistic.

I know that there are many other myths about what meditation should look like. Most of the myths are just that – myths. There are many different forms – you can Google any of the following if you want to check each out: mindfulness, Transcendental, compassion, mantra, Vipassana, Art of Living breathing practices, yoga nidra, yoga, insight, loving-kindness, tai chi etc…

For me, “mindfulness” sounds like the most basic and welcoming form from this list. I found out that this consists of: “taking a good seat, pay attention to your breath and when your attention wanders, return.”  This, I think I can handle. I will give it a try and report back. If you are looking to have any of the above benefits come into your life, I’d suggest you give it a try too. It doesn’t cost a dime and if anything, it will at least make you stop and relax for 20 minutes in the craziness of your day.

Alzheimer’s or “Forgetfulness”?



Alzheimer’s may be one of the hardest diseases to deal with as a family member. It is a disease that attacks the brain and can change the person you know and love into someone that doesn’t even know you. This must be emotionally draining for family and caregivers of the people with the disease.

So what is Alzheimer’s? It is the most common form of dementia (60-80% of cases) that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

In Canada, women make up 72% of Alzheimer’s patients.

Alzheimer’s has no cure. However, there are treatments available and support for caregivers. Although Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life.

I know many people my age are dealing with parents and some level of forgetfulness. The obvious concern is that this may be the beginning of Alzheimer’s. However, almost 40% of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. When there is no “underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is known as “age-associated memory impairment,” which is considered a part of the normal aging process.”

But how do you know what is normal aging “forgetfulness” and what is dementia? The Alzheimer Society of Canada has a list for you to help determine if behaviors are “normal” or if they are a reason for you or your loved one to seek medical advice.

Normal Aging  Dementia
· Not being able to remember details of a conversation or event that took place a year ago · Not being able to recall details of recent events or conversations
· Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance · Not recognizing or knowing the names of family members
· Forgetting things and events occasionally ·Forgetting things or events more frequently
· Occasionally have difficulty finding words · Frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words
 · You are worried about your memory but your relatives are not · Your relatives are worried about your memory, but you are not aware of any problems


If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, the best advice is to ask your health professional. If you would like more information about support in your area, tips for coping with normal age-related memory difficulties and ongoing research, please visit

How To Lose Weight By Loving Yourself


Last night I hung out with a dear old friend who called needing my help and advice as it relates to her health. On January 1 she decided to weigh herself and began to cry. She is at her all time heaviest weight. Our discussion had three main areas of focus that I feel are imperative to a healthy weight and healthy body image that I wanted to share with our Fit Communications community.

1. Fitness

If you want to be healthy, you MUST workout. There are tons of opinions on what type of workout is best, how often you should do it, and for how long. But there is ZERO question or debate that if you want to be healthy, a workout routine is a MUST. As adults we should be working out as much as we can – it leads to a healthy heart, bones, and blood. It keeps disease as bay including heart disease, diabetes, cancer – almost all disease prevention mentions exercise. Your body will be healthier. Your mind will be healthier. YOU will live a longer, healthier, happier life if you exercise frequently. This is not up for debate. Exercise is a must.

2. Nutrition

There is so much information out there to weed through about what it means to have a healthy diet. Each human being requires different supplements and diet requirements. The way you eat has direct correlation to how you look and how you feel. I remember years ago my brother called me and said he had been feeling down for the last few days. I asked him what he had been eating that may have something to do with it. As a high level athlete his concern is not focused on calories to say the least. But he noted he had eaten McDonald’s for three meals in the last three days. He stopped eating McDonald’s that week. You need to shoot for the 80/20 rule when it comes to your nutrition. 80% of the time it should be healthy, nutritious food. 20% of the time you can slack a bit. The way you eat directly relates to how your feel – physically and emotionally. This is so important.

3. Self Love

This is the part that everyone forgets. If you workout consistently and eat a healthy diet, what’s left? There is more to it. You need to start to love the body that is yours. Once you begin to love your body you will only want the very best for it. You won’t want to pack it with cola and potato chips. You won’t want to skip workouts for a week, a month, a year. You will want to feed yourself nutritious food and exercise frequently because that is what is best for your body and you can FEEL the difference. You can feel how much better your body and mind are when you treat your body like a temple rather than like a garbage dump. And you can try every single diet, every single workout fad, every pill, every shake, and every wrap. But until you LOVE YOUR BODY you will never be healthy. Because if you don’t think your body deserves nothing but the best, you are throwing it all away.

It doesn’t take a new year to make new promises to yourself – it takes courage and commitment. When you start to love your body you will start to see the change that you have yearned for. So try to make this year about this your want to DO, rather than things that you want to LOSE. You want to lose belly fat and weight and a few extra pounds. Instead, shift your thinking to bringing things INTO your life like exercise and nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. We need to shift our thinking about healthy lifestyle from being things we want to lose or get rid of into a mindset of things we want to gain like more years, more energy, more health.

Happy 2015!


Food Rules…What’s Your List?

rsz_relationship_with_foodI have been doing a lot of thinking on the concept of one’s relationship with food. I personally think everyone should have the 80/20 Rule when it comes to food – 80% of what you eat and drink should be healthy, while 20% ‘not so much’. I also feel everyone should strive for 85/15 then 90/10 then 95/5. And under the category ‘not so much’ that doesn’t mean absolute horrid junk – a medium place.

Secondly I think that many of us, myself included, think WAY too much about food. What are we going to have for dinner? I shouldn’t have eaten that second cookie. How many calories/grams of fat/carbs have I eaten today? I have a craving for X, Y and Z. And so much of our social world revolves around food – we have celebratory dinners, depression induced binging – all emotional ends of the spectrum. And because food is something that we MUST have to survive, it is impossible to not think about it.

Then there are the ‘food rules’. I think that to best understand your personal relationship with food – is it healthy or a disaster or somewhere in the middle – you must have a clear idea of how many rules you have and perhaps how much you obsess over them. And even though your personal list of rules might be keeping you healthy, the lists can be exhaustive. I personally have food guilt. Something I wish I didn’t, but I do. So in hopes of one day not, I have decided I need to better understand my personal relationship with food in order to think of it always in a positive light. I know WHY I have the guilt – pressure from society, family, the opposite sex, myself – to look a certain way. And eating bonbons and chips doesn’t adhere to that standard. So even if I only indulge in junk food once in a while, I still have a negative space in my head that obsesses over it.

So what are my food rules? My list, although quite healthy ideologies, is exhaustive. And to be quite honest, some are borderline concerning to me once I wrote them out. I won’t get into the ‘why’s’ of each for now, although in the spirit of sharing and becoming a healthier woman every day, here goes:

  1. When it comes to meat, I only eat chicken and fish/seafood. No red meat, pork, game, etc…
  2. I do not eat dairy
  3. I do not eat processed cereal
  4. If I buy anything processed I read labels and ensure there are no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving, no more than 500 mgs of sodium per serving, and pay close attention to the calories per serving
  5. I have a healthy and substantial breakfast every morning that includes a carbohydrate (wrap or toast), protein (usually eggs), vegetables, fruit and coffee
  6. I have a salad every day and make homemade dressing when possible
  7. I pay attention to the ‘dirty dozen’ when it comes to grocery shopping and buying organic when I can
  8. I have turmeric, cayenne pepper and aloe (to eat) every single day one way or another
  9. I take a handful of vitamins and minerals every single day
  10. If I eat ‘too much’ one day, I try to make up for it the next
  11. I weigh myself almost every day
  12. I do not eat white starches
  13. I avoid pop and sugar-filled ‘fruit’ juices as well as alcoholic beverages that are full of sugar (I mostly stick with wine and vodka)
  14. I cook only with raw, organic coconut oil or cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  15. If I have a heavier carb in the morning (i.e. bread) I do not eat any other starch-carbs that day (i.e. no more rice, bread, potatoes, etc)
  16. I have flax, chia and/or hemp seeds every single day
  17. I try not to eat three hours before bed

I do feel that the majority of these ‘rules’ I have made for myself are for the most part healthy (with the exception of numbers 10 and 11). That said, having so many rules also has it’s own drawbacks. Does having such a regimented way of eating affect my ability to have a healthy relationship with food? I do feel that food is something that should be consumed to maximize your health and longevity. But am I over thinking it all? Is this list of ‘rules’ contributing to my overall food guilt when I go off the rails? Absolutely it is. But it is also absolutely keeping me healthy. My internal investigation on this subject will continue. I think making this list has helped me understand that even though I have my own fair share number of rules, for the most part they are all centered around healthy habits.

So what about you? What does your list look like?