Ridiculously easy at-home exercises that will trim your waist, tighten your abs and tone your arse

Ridiculously easy at-home exercises that will trim your waist, tighten your abs and tone your arse


No excuses.

at home exercises

Welcome to our Marie Claire Masters series, a regular beauty franchise that celebrates and utilizes the expertise of women who are bossing it in their fields. Each month these Masters will educate, demonstrate and impart some of their industry wisdom to you the dedicated Marie Claire reader. From current trends and hot topics to how tos and how not tos, these beauty whizz kids are at our beckon call. So get reading, you never know what you tips you might pick up. KT – Digital Beauty Editor

 

I’m Catie Miller, owner and founder of Xtend Barre’s London flagship studio, where we offer classes that combine dance, ballet and Pilates. I understand that not everyone has the time or money to attend regular exercise classes, and so in my new role as the Marie Claire Fitness Master, each month I will creating simple at home exercises based on the workouts at Xtend Barre.

These exercises are designed to sculpt your muscles through dynamic stretching and increase your heart rate for that cardio burn. You can do these workout moves anywhere, anytime. All you need is a chair and a set of ½ kilo dumbbells (if you don’t have any, use two 50cl water bottles). Start working on three exercises, then work up and combine the six for a longer dynamic workout.

At home exercises

The basic positions

Within the sequences, I mention various ballet positions. Don’t worry if you don’t know them, previous dance experience isn’t needed. Here are the basic positions…

at home exercises

First exercise: Knee Lifts

Muscle Focus: Hamstrings/quadriceps/lower abdominals

Step 1:

Standing center of the floor, feet hip width distance apart and arms out in front in 1st position with dumbbells in hand. Brush the right leg out in front of you bringing the thigh towards your chest, not the chest to the leg. Keeping the back straight and arms strong continue this movement alternating leg lifts with fluidity and strength. (8 reps for each set—up to 2 sets).

at home exercises

 

Step 2: Make it a bit harder

Continue the leg lifts for another 2 sets with added arm movements to challenge the core. Swing opposite arms to legs. Arms should move in a controlled swing reaching to the sky and to the floor.

at home exercises

 

Step 3: Cardio challenge

Add a little hop with each leg lift and swing. I love to make hearts race.

at home exercises

 

Second exercise: Curtsy Plies

Muscle Focus: hamstrings/quadriceps/core

Step 1:

Standing centre of the floor with your legs open to a wide 2nd position. Make sure feet are turned out and the arms are stretched out to the side from the shoulders. Step one leg from 2nd to curtsy (cross foot behind), plié down in each position. The working leg is moving as the supporting leg is still. Arms open from 2nd (when the legs are in 2nd) and 1st (when the legs are in curtsy). 8-16 reps

at home exercises

 

Step 2: Make it a bit harder

Continue for another 8-16 reps. Curtsy the right leg as the right arm reaches towards the floor and the left arm extends up at a high diagonal. Step right foot to tendu side as arms come back to 1st.

Tip: Keep a proud chest, square shoulders and hips and even placement between both feet.

at home exercises

 

Step 3: Cardio challenge

To finish take your curtsy straight to a passé adding a hop at the top before you place it back down into curtsy. Feel the hamstring and quadriceps burn.

at home exercises

Third exercise: Hug and Carriage

Muscle Focus: deltoids and pectoralis major (with advancement quadriceps)

Step 1:

Standing center of the floor begin with your feet in 1st position (heels together, toes turned out) with a soft bend at the knees and arms in 1st position. Begin with arms in front of body (1st), step legs and arms to 2nd, close legs and arms to 1st, step again to 2nd. 8 reps in each direction.

at home exercises

Step 2: Make it harder

Repeat the above but on the last one, extend your inside leg to tendu and sweep arms through 2nd to high 5th. 8-16 reps each direction.

at home exercises

Step 3: Cardio challenge

Continue with the hug and carriage movement for another 8-16 reps adding in a little hop as you take the leg out to tendu.

Tips: Maintain soft knees throughout series. Move gracefully with control and resistance. Remember to pull your abs in and up.

at home exercises

 

Fourth exercise: Tricep Kick Backs

Muscle Focus: Triceps w/ lower body stabilisation

Step 1:

Square off the hips and shoulders. Reaching both arms above the hips with your palms facing each other, bend/extend the arms, keep the elbow lifted. The bend is small, concentrate on extending the arms to engage the triceps fully. 8-16 reps.

at home exercise

Step 2: Make it harder

Add a lunge when you bend the arms and straighten the legs when you extend the arms. 8-16 reps.

at home exercises

Step 3: Cardio challenge

Continue with the lunge/tricep kick-backs and add a kick of the back leg off the floor. Think about extending the leg longer, not higher to activate your core and glutes for an added burn. Hold the leg and arms off the floor for your final balance.

at home exercises

Tip: Try all 3 levels back to back to increase the heart rate. Try slowing it down or pick up the tempo!

Exercise 5: Xtend Teaser

Muscle Focus: Abdominals, shoulders

Step 1:

Begin seated on your mat. Reach arms out behind your body on the mat. Draw knees in to balance on tailbone. Draw one leg to table top and then alternate to the other leg focusing on lifting through the spine and the abdominals to balance. 8-16 reps.

at home exercises

Step 2: Make it harder

Add the opposite arm lift to challenge the core and balance. Alternate to the other side fluidly. 8-16 reps.

at home exercises

Step 3: Cardio challenge

Lift both legs and arms at the same time reaching to a teaser position. 8-16 reps. Hold at the top for your final balance lifting through the crown of the head, lengthening the spine and drawing the abdominals in. 8-16 counts.

at home exercises

Tips: Focus on lifting through the chest and drawing the shoulders down!

Exercise 6: Plank

Muscle Focus: Core, Hip Extensors

Step 1:

Begin with legs together in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Hold your plank for 8-16 counts.

at home exercises

Step 2: Make it harder

Continue holding your plank and add a passé with the leg to focus on core strength and lower abdominal connection. Alternate leg passé. 8-16 reps

at home exercsies

Step 3: Cardio challenge

Continue alternating leg passé and pick up the tempo to a mountain climbing run. 8-16 reps.

Tips: Remember to focus on your core strength. Lower down to your forearms if you have any wrist injuries. Keep abdominals in and shoulders down.

It really is as easy as that. Repeat these moves three times a week, until I’m back next month with more easy to do at home exercises.

See you then!

The post Ridiculously easy at-home exercises that will trim your waist, tighten your abs and tone your arse appeared first on Marie Claire.

I tried Kim Kardashian’s diet for two weeks and the results weren’t what I expected

I tried Kim Kardashian’s diet for two weeks and the results weren’t what I expected


What happens when you eat and exercise like celeb royalty for a fortnight? One writer investigates…

Kim Kardashian Diet

Words by Lamya Tilmatine

Kim Kardashian has been on a fitness mission of late and, frankly, has never looked better.

Her recent body debut at the CFDA Fashion Awards last month showcased a lighter, tighter and fitter Kim – arms of envy I tell you – to the point where she may actually de-throne Khloe’s revenge-body title…

I decided I wanted in.

Kim Kardashian diet

Let’s get one thing straight from the off; I am not trying to ‘get’ a body like Kim’s, nor do I endorse her stance on Instagram marketing and promoting certain lollipops.

However, I have definitely seen her eating slices of cake and McDonald’s as well as a variety of nutritious meals, showing that she must have a well-balanced outlook on food.

I looked into her diet plan and found out that she was following the Atkins 40 diet and getting great results at a healthy rate. Her trainer Alcantara explained to People that it’s all about clean eating and strength training.

Sounds promising – so what does it actually entail?

Who is it for?

People who want to lose weight or those that just want a healthier lifestyle and reign in their intake simple carbohydrates.

What this is also about is achieving a fitter version of myself that I can sustain without starvation.

What is the Atkins 20/40 Diet?

There are two options: Atkins 20 or Atkins 40, and the numbers are the total net carbohydrates you can have in a day, with 20 being stricter on the carb intake but quicker in weight-loss in comparison to 40.

Like the old Atkins, you are limiting your carbohydrate intake, cutting out sugars and processed foods, eating high protein, vegetables and healthy fats to curb those hunger pangs.

The science behind the diet is quite simple: eating foods that are high in carbohydrates makes your body produce more glucose and insulin. Glucose is your body’s first point of energy that it uses, leaving stored fat just that, stored fat. Make sense?

So, the decreased intake of carbs means your body is pushed to burn fat for fuel hence the weight loss. Still with me?

Kim Kardashian diet

Is it the same as the Ketogenic diet?

There are similarities in the beginning as your low carb diet means that your body goes into Ketosis but after that, you’re allowed to increase levels of healthy carbs in your diet which essentially means ketosis will decrease too.

What you can eat on Atkins 20 and 40

Poultry, seafood, dairy (like yoghurt and cheese), vegetables (particularly your greens), healthy fats from nut and seeds, avocados, almond/olive/coconut oil.

Also, you do eat carbohydrates though from healthier sources like legumes, whole grains and fruits, but all under a net total of 20g/40g depending on what you choose to do.

I opted for Atkins 40 as it’s recommended to those who want to shift a smaller amount of weight. If it works for Kimmy (who isn’t a stranger to a treat or two) then I’m game.

The workout

I’ve always been a bit of a gym bunny but have never gotten the right cardio/strength training ratio to create the muscle definition I want. I tend to do more of one or the other, which means I get quite slim without any definition or I bulk up (sad emoji).

So I got myself a personal trainer, explained my fitness goals: defined arms, firm abs and strong hamstrings. Some people love morning workouts as it boasts optimum fat burning but I’d rather the extra 2 hours in bed and workout in the early evening.

Keep scrolling to see what it’s like eating like Kim Kardashian for two weeks – will I get the results or will it just be another fad diet?

The meal plan

Below is what I ate during the first week of the plan, following a similar approach in week two.

Monday

Breakfast: poached eggs with spinach and a drizzle of olive oil.

Lunch: grilled chicken, broccoli, spring onions, spinach, kale and homemade chilli sauce.

Dinner: baked salmon with a grilled vegetable medley.

Snacks: coffee with cinnamon, turmeric tea x2 and six almonds.

How I felt at the end of the day: Hungry! But I drank loads of water and tea to suppress my sugar cravings – but not having something sweet has proven to be tough on day one.

Tuesday

Breakfast:Noatmeal‘ – made with almond flour and shredded coconut with a spoon of peanut butter.

Lunch: one boiled egg, sliced cucumbers, sweet corn, red peppers, green olives, rocket salad with turmeric and a teaspoon of olive oil.

Dinner: Grilled chicken breast seasoned with Moroccan herbs and spices, grilled onions, peas and green peppers.

Snacks: Celery, six almonds, two cups of tea and two litres of water.

Wednesday

Breakfast: I had no time to cook so I boiled an egg with one Weetabix biscuit along with organic almond milk and coffee.

Lunch: one boiled egg, sliced cucumbers, beetroot, olives, spinach, green peppers topped with cashew nuts and a slice of avocado.

Dinner: cod fillet with homemade parsley sauce, cauliflower mash, leafy rocket salad. Yum!

Snacks: Nak’d bar, coffee, turmeric tea, English breakfast tea. And of course, a lot of water!

Thursday

Breakfast: one poached egg on a bed of spinach with an apple, celery, cucumber, mint and kale smoothie.

Lunch: Tuna salad with mixed leaves, olives, onions and beetroot.

Dinner: Cod fillet with mushroom and broccoli

Snacks: Nak’d bar, turmeric tea, six almonds, red pepper slices.

Speaking to a personal trainer I got some advice on my workouts, he advised I focused on HIIT sessions in combination with strength training (which I have been doing). However, after a hard core session with him I realised I could push myself even more.

Already, I train five to six times a week – the ideal to see a real difference – and after a week my legs feel more defined, my core feels stronger but my arms are a bit slow at catching up.

Friday

Breakfast: Mini coconut pancakes with peanut butter and coffee.

Lunch: Chicken and broccoli soup.

Dinner: Cod fillet with peas and a mixed cabbage salad topped with homemade mayonnaise.

Snacks: Turmeric tea, six almonds and a slither of cake (I caved).

The weekend was more of the same but with Nutella pancakes for brunch on Sunday (cheeky I know).

Some may argue that the rotation of protein based meals can be boring, but I found that having a structure to start with was much easier to follow, especially with a hectic work schedule.

The verdict

I’ve realised that Kim’s diet has the same principles of a keto diet; Ketosis does occur, but at a healthier pace that I found more sustainable. She allows for oatmeal pancakes and the odd treat.

But, as seen on her Instagram account, her diet mainly consists of protein in the form of chicken and fish, accompanied by an array of vegetables. I found this hard at first so I made my meals richer in protein where I could.

KKW has an advantage though; she reportedly has a chef that creates personalised meals guided by her personal trainer. But we have the internet with endless recipes, advice and inspiration – we can do this!

Results so far? I’ve lost two pounds – but, more importantly, my sugar cravings have all but completely gone. This approach gets the thumbs up from me.

The post I tried Kim Kardashian’s diet for two weeks and the results weren’t what I expected appeared first on Marie Claire.



There is now a vagina skincare line and I am officially done.

There is now a vagina skincare line and I am officially done.


Picks jaw up from floor

vagina skincare

Just when I thought I’d seen all the beauty industry had to offer, I recently discovered that there is a team of people in Sweden who have developed a line of skincare for your vagina.

Yep, you read that correctly. This is not a hoax. The Perfect V is a 8-piece luxury skincare collection designed and formulated for your foof.

Last year, we revealed that we had discovered a lipstick for your fanny, but clearly someone out there decided that we needed a more comprehensive regimen for our nether regions.

The range includes a wash (fair enough), cleansing wipes (which they suggest carrying around in your pocket for on-the-go needs), an exfoliator (cue the gasps), a hydrating cream (I didn’t realise my lady garden was dehyrated), a highlighter (your guess is as good as mine), a soothing cream (this I can get on board with as it calms irritation from hair removal) a firming serum (WHAT?!) and wait for it: a mist.

Each product is PH Balanced, has been rigorously tested by dermatologists and gynecologists, and is paraben, SLS and fragrance free.

I’m all for caring for my friend down there, but what’s wrong with a bottle Femfresh and water?!

Oh and they have also coined and trademarked the term Vanicure, so yep put a fork in me for I am done.

What do you think? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page.

The post There is now a vagina skincare line and I am officially done. appeared first on Marie Claire.



How to check moles properly this summer, according to experts

How to check moles properly this summer, according to experts


Skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK so learn the ABCDE method to ensure you’re monitoring them correctly

Moles
Moles

As well as the best sun cream, knowing how to check moles properly is essential for summertime as we spend more time outdoors with the warmer weather.

According to the NHS, it’s totally normal for babies to be born with moles, new moles to appear, moles to fade over time or disappear with age and for them to darken during pregnancy.

The majority of moles are completely harmless, but can develop into a type of skin cancer known as melanoma.

Research conducted this year by Boots found that a whopping 80% of us have never checked our backs for signs of melanoma.

When you consider that skin cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer in the UK, those statistics aren’t great; that’s why we’ve compiled this handy guide on how to check moles.

As well as sun protection and covering moles with clothing, you should keep an eye on moles for any significant changes.

Below, ScreenCancer UK’s Donna Smart explains the ABCDE method of changes in moles, courtesy of Boots.

ABCDE of moles

The ABCDE acronym is a handy way of remembering the warning signs of changes in moles; asymmetry, borders, colour, diameter and evolving.

Asymmetry

Normally, if you were to draw an invisible line through the centre of a mole, both halves should usually be the same.

Borders

Watch our for unclear, irregular or ragged borders against normal skin.

Colour

Keep an eye out for any changes in colour, especially black, blue or uneven colours.

Diameter

A melanoma is usually more than 5-6mm in diameter, about the size of a pea. Look out for any changes in size.

Evolving

Be aware of any changes in size, colour, crustiness, itching or bleeding of existing moles or lesions or if a new mole/lesion appears. Taking a photo will help you monitor any changes.

If you’re unsure about a particular mole, see your GP or pop into Boots’ in-store mole scanning service.

Here’s to all of us being more mole-aware.

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Melasma: What is it and how can it be managed?

Melasma: What is it and how can it be managed?


It’s one of the lesser-known skincare conditions, despite so many people having it

melasma

Despite its prevelance, a lot of people have never heard of skin pigmentation condition melasma.

Celebrities like Jenna Dewan and Drew Barrymore have opened up about struggling with the skin condition, so what exactly is it? We spoke to the experts to get the low down.

What is melasma, and what causes it?

It’s estimated that 90% of people who get melasma are women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

‘Melasma is a common disorder of facial pigmentation, which can be recognised by the appearance of blotchy dark brown or grey patches on the face,’ explains consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk.

‘They tend to occur on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and nose and are usually symmetrical. In some cases, the skin may also be a little bit red at the onset.

‘It typically appears for the first time between the ages of 20 and 40 and is more likely to affect those with darker skin types or tanned skin. In most cases, it’s thought to be triggered by pregnancy, hormonal medication like the contraceptive pill and medical conditions that cause altered hormone levels.’

When it comes to pinpointing an exact cause however, things are a bit more complicated.

‘The exact process isn’t fully understood; however we know that the increase in facial pigmentation seen in melasma is due to excess production of melanin by melanocytes (the pigment-generating cells in our skin),’ says Justine.

‘Exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight deepens the pigmentation by activating the melanocytes to produce more melanin.

melasma

‘It is important to remember that there are a number of skin disorders that affect facial pigmentation. Treatment for these other disorders will be different,’ the doctor adds.

‘A consultant dermatologist is the only doctor expert in the diagnosis and treatment of skin disease. Please make sure you are receiving advice from someone qualified to give it.’

Melasma in pregnancy

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, 50% of women may be affected during pregnancy.

‘Because of the association with hormones, especially during pregnancy, it is sometimes referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” or “pregnancy veil”,’ explains Justine.

What melasma treatments are available?

As well as professional-strength treatments, there are a number of skin pigmentation products that can help treat melasma.

Dr Dennis Gross, internationally-renowned dermatologist and dermatological surgeon, says that the best course of treatment is a combination of in-office treatments with an optimised skincare regimen.

‘We commonly treat brown spots or patches with chemical peels which exfoliate the outermost layer of skin, removing the dark spots, light therapy and lasers (the energy blasts away pigment),’ he says. ‘At home, I recommend the Alpha Beta peel pads, from £16, Space NK.

‘They have five alpha and beta-hydroxy acids, which improve skin’s texture, firmness, vibrancy and radiance in addition to reducing dark spots, and also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, pores, scars, acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation.

‘You should also be using products with vitamin C, which prevents the production of melanin. At night, I recommend Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum, £85, Space NK. It boasts a trifecta of retinol, which promotes melanin’s disintegration, ferulic acid and niacinamide to get a more even complexion while diminishing the appearance of wrinkles.

Finally, the doctor orders are to never skip out on your best sun cream, a daily essential.

‘It is imperative to wear SPF – sun is the number one culprit when it comes to hyperpigmentation,’ he explains.

‘Your body produces melanin to protect you from the sun – an over production shows up as brown spots and hyperpigmentation.’

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5 things every wannabe wellness guru needs

5 things every wannabe wellness guru needs


Promotional feature with Pearl Drops

Busy women (read: all of us) are realising that me-time isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. 

We all want glowing skin, a strong core and a healthy, white smile that proclaims we’re on top of our game. But, let’s be honest, there have been times when food-exercise-rest hasn’t been a priority.

This year, more than ever, self-care is a mantra hot on the lips of all the wellness gurus. From meditation apps to a new crop of über-healthy food trends (golden milk, anyone?), a healthy lifestyle is key to getting that all-essential joie de vivre.

Mindfulness apps

The next time you’re feeling anxious, stressed and can’t sleep, use an app like HeadSpace to guide you back to calmness with meditation and mindful breathing exercises. What’s great is that you can do quick 3-minute sessions on your commute to work or during the day, then longer ones in the evening when you’ve got more time. The app makes meditation seem easy and the music is so relaxing.

A bright smile

We all know the power of a smile to spread the love… And thanks to brilliant whitening toothpastes and a positive change in teeth trends, a whiter smile that’s true to you is now more desirable than Hollywood perfection every time. Want to whiten your teeth using natural ingredients? Pearl Drops Pure Natural White Toothpolish, £6.99, is destined to become your gleam go-to. with  90%  of its ingredients sourced from natural origins, including white clay extract, it will remove stains, giving you naturally whiter teeth in just two weeks. Boom.

Healing crystals

Today, spirituality is as important as fitness to many of us and crystals are the latest thing we’re intrigued by. We’re not entirely convinced that keeping a rose quartz on your bedside table or carrying a black tourmaline in your handbag will open your heart chakra or beautify your complexion, but some of our fave celebs are getting into this new age vibe. Want in? Then treat yourself to The Little Book of Crystals – it covers everything a beginner needs to know about crystals.

Beauty boosts

What you eat is as important as your skincare routine, so make sure you’re eating plenty of foods that are rich in nutrients to help repair, maintain and boost your skin, hair and nails. All brightly coloured fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants… so try cooking with as many different colours as you can each night. There are so many amazing companies, such as Abel & Cole, offering fresh fruit and veg boxes with heaps of variety. By the end of the week you’ll be able to say you ate a rainbow.

A fitness buddy

What’s the one thing that can make exercising more fun? Doing it with a friend – which is why we’re all over partner workouts. From smashing a HIIT session together on your lunch break to trying a new fitness trend like Aerial Pilates, working out together is not only fun but effective too. Psychologists say it creates a tribal effect, so before long your girlfriends will want to get in on the act. We guarantee it’ll be way more entertaining than the usual jog-and-gossip session. Now who’s smiling?!

The post 5 things every wannabe wellness guru needs appeared first on Marie Claire.

These are the signs that your job is making you ill

These are the signs that your job is making you ill


With hundreds of thousands UK workers affected, GP and author Ellie Cannon lifts the lid on key signs that your job is making you ill

When it comes to your job, a gripe here and there is normal and to be expected – but for many of us work-based woes are far more intrusive than simple Sunday-night blues. More than half a million workers are suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety: of 100,000 women in the workplace, 1,880 suffer – a figure that is far higher in careers such as nursing and teaching.

In 10 years of general practice, I have treated a range of women affected by work-related illness – and a substantial part of recovery comes from adopting trivial changes which leave you both healthier and happier. Here are my top tips.

1. The classic sign of stress is feeling there is so much to think about, you cannot concentrate on a single task: your mind is racing so much that it all feels like an enormous hurdle rather than an easy-to-define to-do list. Feeling out of control starts to feel uncomfortable, as you feel you are not coping with your workload. Nurture yourself by taking control: of course that can be hard with a boss-from-hell, so look at other areas of your life. Improve or change your journey to work (could it be better and calmer?), mix up what you have for lunch (why not boost yourself with a homemade lunch?), or even re-think who you spend your breaks with. Empowering yourself will improve your confidence to cope with the larger, destructive situations at work.

ellie cannon

Dr Ellie Cannon, GP and author of Is Your Job Making You Ill?: How to survive and thrive when it happens to you

2. Lacking motivation and losing pleasure in activities you should enjoy like socialising or hobbies can be a clear sign of work-related depression. Resilience at work can be cultivated by supportive healthy relationships – whether that is through the mentorship or support of a good leader, or friendship with colleagues. Any relationship you invest in at work will improve your mood: take every opportunity to connect.

3. Trouble at home can start at work: work-related stress can have a very negative impact on all relationships – not just partners but parents and children, too. When hours meant for your personal life are dedicated to overtime, worrying about work or feeling ill, the fallout will be felt in your relationships. A digital detox will get you back in the home-zone and allow you to concentrate on these important people. Make certain times, activities and places in your life phone-free zones: start with all mealtimes and the bedroom. Buy an alarm clock and a watch so you are not constantly looking at the phone as a clock.

4. Insomnia is a classic sign of work-related stress, anxiety and depression. It affects you physically but it can also have a profound impact on mental state causing anxiety and low mood. This vicious cycle worsens your sleep and further worsens your mood. Even minor sleep improvements will break that cycle. Think carefully about what you do in the last hours before bed: opt for relaxing things like reading or taking a bath, rather than working, screens or eating. Eat early in the evening and likewise avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the later hours. Exercise is essential but it is too stimulating in the hours before bed.

ellie cannon

5. For a long time there has been a known association between how our minds are feeling and how our digestive system reacts. It is no surprise that work stress can cause digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, pain and nausea. Consider how your dietary habits at work are contributing to your gut issues: grabbing a processed breakfast as you fly out your door is not conducive to good gut health. Sit down and have a proper breakfast, even if it means getting up earlier. Plan what you are going to eat at work and take snacks such as nuts, fruit, yoghurt or wholegrain cereals, so you have something to grab when you need.

6. If you feel like you are ill all the time with coughs and colds, it may be the result of stress you are feeling at work. Stress and emotional issues weaken the immune system; combine that with a germ-filled commute and minimal TLC and it’s a perfect storm. Exercise is one of the lifestyle changes you can make that has a significant impact on this and your mental health. Be realistic in your goals: do nothing drastic, just walk more. Take the stairs, walk some of your commute (10-15 minutes) or take time out to go for a walk. As simple as that.

 

Is Your Job Making You Ill?: How to survive and thrive when it happens to you by Dr Ellie Cannon is available in trade paperback (Piatkus, £14.99)

The post These are the signs that your job is making you ill appeared first on Marie Claire.

What’s your gut telling you?

What’s your gut telling you?


They say the way to a person’s happiness is through their stomach and they weren’t lying…

gut health

Trust us when we say the gut is far more interesting than it sounds. You’ve probably heard that scientists call it the ‘second brain’ because it has the ability to affect everything from heart health and premature ageing to weight gain and depression. Cue our easy-to-digest guide to gut health and happiness…

Unless you suffer from IBS, colitis or Crohn’s disease, you probably don’t pay much attention to your gut. Why would you? But the gut, or gastrointestinal tract – a tube that runs from the stomach to the bowel, via the intestines, forming the digestive system – is integral to our health.

‘A weakened, damaged gut affects everything from our heart, brain and immune system to our skin and how happy we feel,’ says Dr Vincent Pedre, a New York-based physician and author of new book Happy Gut. It can lead to so much more than bloating and food intolerances.’ Put simply, if our gut isn’t healthy, we aren’t healthy.

I can just tell by looking at somebody’s face how healthy their gut is,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson. ‘An unhealthy gut and overloaded digestive system will show in dull, tired-looking eyes, dark circles, eczema, inflamed spots and a puffy face.’

A recent study from the University of Turku in Finland found that eczema sufferers have slightly different gut bacteria to those who don’t have eczema. ‘The gut has a tissue layer that’s similar to that of skin, so if you’re experiencing imbalances in this layer, it will show on the skin’s surface,’ adds nutritionist Norton. ‘Similarly, if you’re not effectively absorbing the nutrients from your food (because of low levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut) you may not be getting enough skin-nourishing vitamins.’

Gut health and bloating

Most of us don’t even realise what a healthy gut feels like, according to nutritionist Amelia Freer (Brit winner Sam Smith credits her with his two-stone weight loss). ‘Many people think it’s normal to wake up with a relatively flat stomach then gradually see and feel it expand throughout the day. But it’s not,’ says Freer, author of Eat, Nourish, Glow. ‘A healthy gut means no daily bloating, gas, constipation, discomfort or tiredness after eating. You’ll also have better-quality sleep, more energy and fewer mood swings.’

Our body is home to 100 trillion bacteria, and most of them live in the gut, where there’s a constant tug of war between good and bad. The build-up of bad bacteria, caused by toxins in the food we eat, is neutralised by the friendly bacteria to keep our immune system stable.

‘Anything that alters this delicate balance – such as stress, poor diet, hormonal contraceptives and antibiotics – can inhibit digestion,’ explains Freer. ‘And this causes bloating, discomfort, constipation and/or diarrhoea.’ Another culprit is anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.

Gut health and what not to eat

A key player is the modern diet. Pedre says ‘We’ve moved too far from eating from the earth. Sugar, refined carbs, processed food and alcohol all overwork the good bacteria that are trying to break down food during digestion. Organic meat, fish, vegetables and eggs, on the other hand, promote a healthy gut.’

Dr Simone Laubscher is the formulator for WelleCo – the supplement brand founded by Elle Macpherson – agrees, ‘these all lead to an acidic lifestyle, which all destroy your good bacteria and feed your bad bacteria. You want a more alkaline diet.’

‘An unhealthy gut can become “hyper-permeable” or leaky,’ says Pedre. ‘The gut becomes inflamed and mesh-like, so food particles get through to the bloodstream. Your body develops antibodies to fight them, and that’s where food intolerances come from.’

Nutritionists agree that wheat, gluten and lactose (the natural sugars found in milk) are the biggest triggers for food intolerances, but don’t rule out other, more obscure, food groups – even trout and red wine have been found to cause allergies.

‘Your gut is nature’s best nutritionist, because it will react to what it can’t tolerate,’ says Dr Stephen Domenig, medical doctor from The Original FX Mayr Clinic in Austria, where the philosophy is healing to gut to heal the body. He recommends cutting out all processed, sugary foods, as well as chewing thoroughly and avoiding drinking between mouthfuls, as it slows digestion.

Gut health

Gut health and your mood

Bacteria don’t just dictate your digestive health, they’re crucial to you mood, too. There’s a reason why you feel butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous or excited – it physically knots up in response to your emotions. ‘The gut contains the second largest number of neuro cells, after the brain (Hence the second brain thing.),’ says Dr Domineg. ‘So inside your gut there’s a huge entity of bacteria that impacts on the neuro cells to influence moods and emotional well-being.’

Experts are now increasingly looking at the link between the gut and mental health, with a recent study from McMaster University in Canada finding that poor gut health equates to heightened anxiety and depression.

Dr Laubscher explains that research has shown that poor gut health is also linked to lowered immunity, because 70% of your immune system is actually housed in your gut, so there’s an increase in inflammation, increased disease, obesity, diabetes and even depression. ‘The Gut is often referred to as our second brain for it contains 100 million neurons and even though serotonin is mainly known as a brain neurotransmitter (or your happy hormone), it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is actually made in the digestive tract! Therefore it is essential to have a healthy gut if you want to have a healthy mind and body.’

Gut health and what to eat

Dr Laubscher gets that we’re not all health freaks though, ‘I recommend maintaining an 80/20 balance. Try to eat more organic whole foods that come from nature (with lots of greens of course) and eat clean six days a week, swapping white rice for quinoa, and steak for fish, for instance. Then one day per week you’re free to relax and eat a takeaway (YAY!), drink wine, eat ice cream, or whatever you prefer.’

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso soup and kombucha tea are great for gut health. ‘Eating small amounts of fermented foods daily is good for you, because fermentation makes the food easier to break down, and this protects the good bacteria,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson, author of new book Gut Gastronomy.

Fermented foods also contain natural probiotics to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria. Try a shot of apple cider vinegar in warm water every morning. Miranda Kerr swears by this to boost her digestion and clear her skin.

Top tips for a healthy gut

1) Eat more protein

‘The gut is full of serotonin (the happiness hormone) and carbs are the quickest way to feed it,’ says Dr Pedre. ‘But this can result in an energy crash, which is why depressed people often crave carbs. What you need is protein for longer-lasting energy levels.

2) Drink more H2O

We know, you’ve heard it before but water really is the easiest and cheapest resource. Drink a minimum of two litres per day.

3) Do the plough

gut health yoga pose
‘This yoga move is like wringing out a wet towel – it removes toxins,’ says Dr Domineg. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms down. Inhale and life your feet off the floor, slowly raising your legs until they go over your head, touching the floor behind you if you can. Hold for ten seconds.

4) Eat mindfully

Chewing thoroughly and slowly breaks food down and stimulates saliva production to aid digestion. ‘Fast, stress-eating is bad for your gut,’ says Edgson. ‘Breathe rhythmically to slow your eating right down.’

5) Up your fibre

A recent study from Stanford University found friendly gut bacteria thrives on dietary fibre, and a lack of it weakens the gut lining. So eat more fruit, veg, grains, nuts and seeds.

6) Embrace probiotics

Probiotics help restore balance in your gut. ‘Good-quality ones will survive the acidic environment of our stomach,’ explains Freer. Symprove was rated the most effective by UCL’s School of Pharmacy.

7) Drink your greens

Add two teaspoons of WelleCo Super Elixir Greens to water every morning to keep your gut healthy and pH balance on the right track.

8) Stick to one Americano

Reduce coffee to one per day maximum, and that’s only if you drink your two litres of water.

9) De-stress

We know this is much easier said than done, but go for a walk at lunch rather than sitting at your desk. Go swimming in the evenings or even take up yoga.

10) Up those zzzzzs

Make sure you get good quality sleep of 6-8 hoursand if you struggle to drop off try a calming tea before bed and invest in a pillow mist, like This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Mist.

gut health this works

We told you there was more to the gut that you realised.

Stick to these handy 10 steps to help with your own gut health.

 

The post What’s your gut telling you? appeared first on Marie Claire.



What’s your gut telling you?

What’s your gut telling you?


They say the way to a person’s happiness is through their stomach and they weren’t lying…

gut health

Trust us when we say the gut is far more interesting than it sounds. You’ve probably heard that scientists call it the ‘second brain’ because it has the ability to affect everything from heart health and premature ageing to weight gain and depression. Cue our easy-to-digest guide to gut health and happiness…

Unless you suffer from IBS, colitis or Crohn’s disease, you probably don’t pay much attention to your gut. Why would you? But the gut, or gastrointestinal tract – a tube that runs from the stomach to the bowel, via the intestines, forming the digestive system – is integral to our health.

‘A weakened, damaged gut affects everything from our heart, brain and immune system to our skin and how happy we feel,’ says Dr Vincent Pedre, a New York-based physician and author of new book Happy Gut. It can lead to so much more than bloating and food intolerances.’ Put simply, if our gut isn’t healthy, we aren’t healthy.

I can just tell by looking at somebody’s face how healthy their gut is,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson. ‘An unhealthy gut and overloaded digestive system will show in dull, tired-looking eyes, dark circles, eczema, inflamed spots and a puffy face.’

A recent study from the University of Turku in Finland found that eczema sufferers have slightly different gut bacteria to those who don’t have eczema. ‘The gut has a tissue layer that’s similar to that of skin, so if you’re experiencing imbalances in this layer, it will show on the skin’s surface,’ adds nutritionist Norton. ‘Similarly, if you’re not effectively absorbing the nutrients from your food (because of low levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut) you may not be getting enough skin-nourishing vitamins.’

Gut health and bloating

Most of us don’t even realise what a healthy gut feels like, according to nutritionist Amelia Freer (Brit winner Sam Smith credits her with his two-stone weight loss). ‘Many people think it’s normal to wake up with a relatively flat stomach then gradually see and feel it expand throughout the day. But it’s not,’ says Freer, author of Eat, Nourish, Glow. ‘A healthy gut means no daily bloating, gas, constipation, discomfort or tiredness after eating. You’ll also have better-quality sleep, more energy and fewer mood swings.’

Our body is home to 100 trillion bacteria, and most of them live in the gut, where there’s a constant tug of war between good and bad. The build-up of bad bacteria, caused by toxins in the food we eat, is neutralised by the friendly bacteria to keep our immune system stable.

‘Anything that alters this delicate balance – such as stress, poor diet, hormonal contraceptives and antibiotics – can inhibit digestion,’ explains Freer. ‘And this causes bloating, discomfort, constipation and/or diarrhoea.’ Another culprit is anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.

Gut health and what not to eat

A key player is the modern diet. Pedre says ‘We’ve moved too far from eating from the earth. Sugar, refined carbs, processed food and alcohol all overwork the good bacteria that are trying to break down food during digestion. Organic meat, fish, vegetables and eggs, on the other hand, promote a healthy gut.’

Dr Simone Laubscher is the formulator for WelleCo – the supplement brand founded by Elle Macpherson – agrees, ‘these all lead to an acidic lifestyle, which all destroy your good bacteria and feed your bad bacteria. You want a more alkaline diet.’

‘An unhealthy gut can become “hyper-permeable” or leaky,’ says Pedre. ‘The gut becomes inflamed and mesh-like, so food particles get through to the bloodstream. Your body develops antibodies to fight them, and that’s where food intolerances come from.’

Nutritionists agree that wheat, gluten and lactose (the natural sugars found in milk) are the biggest triggers for food intolerances, but don’t rule out other, more obscure, food groups – even trout and red wine have been found to cause allergies.

‘Your gut is nature’s best nutritionist, because it will react to what it can’t tolerate,’ says Dr Stephen Domenig, medical doctor from The Original FX Mayr Clinic in Austria, where the philosophy is healing to gut to heal the body. He recommends cutting out all processed, sugary foods, as well as chewing thoroughly and avoiding drinking between mouthfuls, as it slows digestion.

Gut health

Gut health and your mood

Bacteria don’t just dictate your digestive health, they’re crucial to you mood, too. There’s a reason why you feel butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous or excited – it physically knots up in response to your emotions. ‘The gut contains the second largest number of neuro cells, after the brain (Hence the second brain thing.),’ says Dr Domineg. ‘So inside your gut there’s a huge entity of bacteria that impacts on the neuro cells to influence moods and emotional well-being.’

Experts are now increasingly looking at the link between the gut and mental health, with a recent study from McMaster University in Canada finding that poor gut health equates to heightened anxiety and depression.

Dr Laubscher explains that research has shown that poor gut health is also linked to lowered immunity, because 70% of your immune system is actually housed in your gut, so there’s an increase in inflammation, increased disease, obesity, diabetes and even depression. ‘The Gut is often referred to as our second brain for it contains 100 million neurons and even though serotonin is mainly known as a brain neurotransmitter (or your happy hormone), it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is actually made in the digestive tract! Therefore it is essential to have a healthy gut if you want to have a healthy mind and body.’

Gut health and what to eat

Dr Laubscher gets that we’re not all health freaks though, ‘I recommend maintaining an 80/20 balance. Try to eat more organic whole foods that come from nature (with lots of greens of course) and eat clean six days a week, swapping white rice for quinoa, and steak for fish, for instance. Then one day per week you’re free to relax and eat a takeaway (YAY!), drink wine, eat ice cream, or whatever you prefer.’

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso soup and kombucha tea are great for gut health. ‘Eating small amounts of fermented foods daily is good for you, because fermentation makes the food easier to break down, and this protects the good bacteria,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson, author of new book Gut Gastronomy.

Fermented foods also contain natural probiotics to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria. Try a shot of apple cider vinegar in warm water every morning. Miranda Kerr swears by this to boost her digestion and clear her skin.

Top tips for a healthy gut

1) Eat more protein

‘The gut is full of serotonin (the happiness hormone) and carbs are the quickest way to feed it,’ says Dr Pedre. ‘But this can result in an energy crash, which is why depressed people often crave carbs. What you need is protein for longer-lasting energy levels.

2) Drink more H2O

We know, you’ve heard it before but water really is the easiest and cheapest resource. Drink a minimum of two litres per day.

3) Do the plough

gut health yoga pose
‘This yoga move is like wringing out a wet towel – it removes toxins,’ says Dr Domineg. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms down. Inhale and life your feet off the floor, slowly raising your legs until they go over your head, touching the floor behind you if you can. Hold for ten seconds.

4) Eat mindfully

Chewing thoroughly and slowly breaks food down and stimulates saliva production to aid digestion. ‘Fast, stress-eating is bad for your gut,’ says Edgson. ‘Breathe rhythmically to slow your eating right down.’

5) Up your fibre

A recent study from Stanford University found friendly gut bacteria thrives on dietary fibre, and a lack of it weakens the gut lining. So eat more fruit, veg, grains, nuts and seeds.

6) Embrace probiotics

Probiotics help restore balance in your gut. ‘Good-quality ones will survive the acidic environment of our stomach,’ explains Freer. Symprove was rated the most effective by UCL’s School of Pharmacy.

7) Drink your greens

Add two teaspoons of WelleCo Super Elixir Greens to water every morning to keep your gut healthy and pH balance on the right track.

8) Stick to one Americano

Reduce coffee to one per day maximum, and that’s only if you drink your two litres of water.

9) De-stress

We know this is much easier said than done, but go for a walk at lunch rather than sitting at your desk. Go swimming in the evenings or even take up yoga.

10) Up those zzzzzs

Make sure you get good quality sleep of 6-8 hoursand if you struggle to drop off try a calming tea before bed and invest in a pillow mist, like This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Mist.

gut health this works

We told you there was more to the gut that you realised.

Stick to these handy 10 steps to help with your own gut health.

 

The post What’s your gut telling you? appeared first on Marie Claire.



Psoriasis: How to deal with the frustrating, flaky skin condition

Psoriasis: How to deal with the frustrating, flaky skin condition


Plus where to get the help and support you need to manage your condition

psoriasis

Counting eczema among its unsightly friends, psoriasis is another uncomfortable skin condition that can leave its sufferers feeling incredibly self-conscious.

It’s estimated that some 125 million people have psoriasis worldwide, according to the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations.

But you may not be 100% sure if you have it, or what exactly it is (we’re guessing that’s why you’re here, anyway).

We asked Dr Justine Kluk, Harley Street dermatologist, to answer the most common questions about the skin ailment below.

What is psoriasis?

‘Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition of the skin that affects approximately 2% of the population,’ Dr Kluk explains. ‘The outer layer of our skin is constantly generating new skin cells and replacing old ones.

‘But in psoriasis, this process is sped up significantly and occurs over days rather than weeks. This increase in cell turnover leads to the typical symptoms that we see.’

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

‘Psoriasis causes salmon pink patches to appear on the skin. These often have silvery scale on the surface. Sometimes, they cause soreness, discomfort or itching and sometimes they don’t,’ explains Justine.

‘Any part of the skin can be affected, however the elbows, knees, belly button, scalp and ears are some of the most frequently affected sites. Psoriasis can occur on genital skin, between the buttocks and in the armpits, where the patches are typically smooth, red and shiny rather than flaky.

‘If the nails are affected, pits or ridges can appear on the surface, or the nails can become thickened and discoloured. In certain individuals, psoriasis can also affect the joints by causing swelling, pain and stiffness and this is known as psoriatic arthritis.’

psoriasis

What causes psoriasis?

There are a fair few factors that can contribute to a person developing and having the condition.

‘Your genes play an important role, meaning that if one or more of your parents or siblings has psoriasis you will have an increased chance of developing it compared to someone who doesn’t have any affected family members,’ Dr Kluk tells us.

‘Environmental factors, such as stress, smoking, infection and certain medication, such as beta blockers, can also act as triggers.’

Are there psoriasis treatments?

Unfortunately, like a lot of skin conditions, there is no ‘cure’ per se for psoriasis. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to keep its prevalence under control

‘The choice of treatment really depends on how severely you are affected and includes creams containing a steroid or vitamin D, tablets and injections that modify the immune system, and phototherapy, which is a form of outpatient light treatment carried out in hospital Dermatology Departments,’ our doctor explains.

‘Most psoriasis sufferers will benefit from frequent and liberal application of a moisturising cream or ointment, and scalp symptoms can improve with the regular use of a coal tar-based shampoo or scalp lotion containing coconut oil,’ she adds.

‘If you are suffering with psoriasis and are finding it difficult to put your feelings into words and get the right support from friends, family or even your doctor, charities like The Psoriasis Association or the website skinsupport.org.uk from the British Association of Dermatologists are a good place to start.’

The post Psoriasis: How to deal with the frustrating, flaky skin condition appeared first on Marie Claire.