Feb 15, 2018

Health and Fitness - Why is alcohol worse than a fatty cheat meal?

Now that summer and the holiday season are over, it's time to go back to serious dieting, exercising and weight watching. Remember: Summer bodies are built in Winter time!

I do not claim to be the perfect diet guru or health specialist but I am good in reading, research and I love learning about health and diets.  I know what the dietitian is going to advise me because I'm good in theory. And I know that if I followed the theory I know, I would definitely be having the model's look by now!

Based on the theory talk, I noticed lately from everyone who is on diet or on a weight watching program their eager wait for the "cheat portion" in order to consume alcohol.  Personally, I wait for my cheat meal to have a burger or a pizza. What can I say: I love food! But my choice falls away from alcohol for several reasons and the main one is that the after-effect of alcohol is worse than the after effect of a fatty cheat meal.

Now read on.....

"This drink is on 86 cal" some would say. "The salad you are having has more calories than my drink" others would utter. True! But is the calories count the only criteria to binge on alcohol consumption?

To make it all easy, below are some simple facts about alcohol:

1- Alcohol contains what we call "empty calories" i.e. calories without any nutrition to the body.
2- Alcohol contains twice the calories than proteins and carbs.
3- Alcohol is an appetite simulative; the intake never stops at a drink or two. There is always a big meal that follows!
4- Alcohol slows down your metabolism. How? It lowers your testosterone (which is responsible of fat burning and lean muscle gains), which lowers your metabolic rate, which makes you burn less calories for the hours to come. Asking yourself how many hours? 48!! Yes. 2 full days after only 1 drink!
5- Aside from its negative effect on your metabolism, alcohol directly damages your stomach, liver and kidney, while affecting your heart indirectly.

Now while drinking is a social activity and some really enjoy -and need!- a good drink from time to time, what's the best choice to make?

1- Never drink on an empty stomach, it facilitates alcohol absorption.
2- Avoid "bubbly" drinks as they are faster to get through your system.
3- Cut cocktails! They are full of sugar and therefore extra fat!
4- Keep healthy snacks at hand. Vegetables go perfectly with drinks.
5- Have water in parallel of your drink and between drinks.
6- Sweat it out! Let your cardio be your breakfast tomorrow morning!

All that being said and while your drink totally fits your calories count for the day, think twice before taking your next sip!

Feb 8, 2018

7 gifts ideas for girls to... themselves this Valentine

If one does not love oneself, one will never be able to love others.

And so, ladies…. This Valentine you should probably think of buying a little something for yourself, whether you are single or not.

I did my little research and found the 7 little things every lady should buy herself every once in a while and guess what… all options are below 60 US$!

1- A sexy underwear set - At normal times such a set would cost way above 100 US$ but hey, sales are everywhere and some of your favorite lingerie stores even reached their 70% discount!

2- A spa treatment – maybe not a full treatment at a limited budget but you can sure buy yourself a 60 minutes massage at a fairly good renowned place or even check those ongoing online deals.

3- A VIP movie ticket – I (too) used to think those VIP theaters were overprices and overrated until I tried them out… if you’re a movie freak, the VIP treatment will definitely not be your daily treat but there is nothing wrong with watching a movie in a Lazy-Boy chair, well covered, sipping a flute of champagne.  Go ahead lady… treat yourself!

4- A fair bottle of red wine – Wine bottles prices can reach way above 60 US$ but just by going a little above the commercial average you’ll see the difference. And once you try the “good” wine, you’ll know that it is worth every dollar.

5- A box of good chocolate – just like wine, chocolate comes in different prices and tastes.  Those of you who are fans of those little gems would definitely know that a good box has its price.

6- A long bubble bath – you know those bubble bath bombs making the craze all over the internet? Get them, along with a couple of scented candles… and draw yourself a long, hot, bubble bath with soft music in the background.  You’ll never want to get up!

7- A dinner out – whether you do it alone or with the girls, make sure to enjoy a good meal on a night out.  If you lack options, there are plenty of applications that can help you pick your favorite cuisine within a budget!

Now ladies... what are you waiting for?

Feb 2, 2018

Beauty Talk - 34 and fabulous!

34 years in a week. WOW! What a number.

I always said I will never be ashamed of my age or hide it.  Everyone thought I was not talking straight until I started counting my years after my 30thbirthday.  Unlike many of my friends, my age did not stop at 30. I am 34 today. 34. Scary, I must admit.

I look to my reflection in the mirror and smile proudly (Oh yeah! I’m quite proud of myself); People still think I am 28 or 29 and I must admit, while my genes play a role in this (I owe my baby face to my late gramma),  my plastic doctor is the main person to thank here J

In fact, since my youth, I was always a hard supported of plastic surgeries and interventions…. But only when done right.  When I had my nose job (with a different Doctor than the one I follow-up with now), I was very transparent about it and did not hide my operation for a second.  The same went with my first lip liner injection or my first botox filler.  But while I had nothing to hide to my friends, family, or the people I cross in society, I always defended interventions as long as they looked “natural”.  As such, I am with breast augmentation if a lady is flat for instance, but I am against it if a lady already is a “C” cup!  I am with a botox injection for a lady in her mid-thirties to look in her twenties, a lady in her forties to look in her thirties, a lady in her fifties to look appropriate and decent, but I am totally against injections that turn a lady in her fifties to look like a ridiculous Barbie girl who is 23!

And so, in my quest of the “natural” look, and as I am fast approaching the “wrinkles” age, I sat down with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Chadi el Murr * and broke down the injections interventions for the face that girls my age could undergo – if and when needed – in order to help my friends realize the options they have out there.

1- Botox Injections:
Botox injections can be made for the forehead and the eye corners. Botox injections last between 4 and 6 months depending on the area treated and the depth of the wrinkle and the results appear within 48 hours of intervention.

2- Dark Circles Injections:
The treatment of under eyes hollowness and dark circles is made either with hyaluronic acid fillers injected, through a cannula, in the under eye area - a procedure which shows immediate results that last up to 10 months or with PRP (please check number 3 below).

3- PRP Treatment:
Platelet Rich Plasma injections - known as PRP - are injections made from the patient's treated blood (a portion from the patient's blood with high concentration of platelets) and that promote the regeneration of tissues and collagen.  Done over the course of 3 month - once monthly - PRP results are shown shortly after the first session and last up to 15 months.

4- Cheeks fillers:
These fillers are mainly used after an extreme and quick weight loss affecting the face. Hyaluronic acid is inserted around the cheek bones with a cannula and create a perfectly natural effect to the eye and touch. The results are immediate and last up to 6 months.

5- Nose filling:
A new technique in nose enhancement is introduced to the market for some cases where a full surgery is not needed.  Only a plastic surgeon can decide who is the right candidate for such injections and they are made with hyaluronic acid and lasts for 6 months.

6- Nasolabial fillers:
The nasolabial area is one of the first areas (after the forehead) affected by age.  This area is also treated with hyaluronic acid inserted from the lip corner up to the nose corner.  The results are immediate and last up to 6 months.

7- Lips fillers:
While lips filling has nothing to do with age, it is one of the most common interventions undergone nowadays.  Lip filling is done with a specific type of hyaluronic acid created just for the lips area and can either create a clearer contour for the lips or add more volume to them – depending on the way the product is injected by your doctor.  The results for lip fillers can vary between 4 and 8 months, depending on the patient’s lip biting habits, the use of lips scrubs, etc…

8- Gummy Smile Injections:
Treatment of gummy smiles can now be done with a simple botox injection at the inner side of the upper lip.  The results for this treatment are shown within 48 hours after intervention and can last up to 6 months.

9- Chin correction:
Chin corrections depend on the patient’s case; they are either made by hyaluronic acid injections shall the patient have a narrow or small chin or by liposuction for patients suffering from the double chin syndrome.  The results for the hyaluronic acid injections last up to 8 months while the liposuction results – shall the patient gain no weight – last a lifetime.

When asked about the most common precaution patients must undergo when visiting a plastic surgeon, Dr. el Murr stresses on the importance of the integrity and transparency of the practitioner: “A Doctor should be transparent with the patient. He should show the product he is using and explain everything regarding the procedure including the side effects or probable reactions. Also, a Doctor is here to assess the case and advise the patients on which procedure suits best their case: I studied face anatomy and beauty proportions and traits and I wish all patients would trust me when I say they had enough fillers on their lips or cheeks for instance.  I aim to turn my patients to the better versions of themselves and never to transform them into someone new or overdone dolls.

As for the most common mistake patients face when picking their Doctor, Dr. el Murr stresses on the importance of not picking the “less costly” doctor on the market: “I invite the patients to ask around for good doctors and about each intervention cost.  Of course, some Doctors are overpriced and I will not discuss those.  But also some Doctors go for very low pricing and it is important to make sure, when visiting those doctors, of the products they are using on the patients face. Patients should keep in mind that good products are more costly that medium or mediocre products and I am sure people want to inject the best available products into their face.

And on the most important note, remember to keep it simple ladies because simple is beautiful.

You can check Dr. Chadi el Murr's work and follow him on the below platforms:

Jan 10, 2018

Men, women - Post break-ups breaks

What happens after break-ups?

One of the most common debates I have post break-ups (whether theirs of mine) with my friends, mainly the girls, is whether a woman can or cannot live alone, if she should spend some time on her own after a relationship and if she can operate properly as a "single" lady.

And my current opinion in all of that goes towards a firm conclusion:
A woman can and should have time-off after a break-up.

Now here is why…

A few years back, I – myself – felt empty, incomplete and lonely when single.  I would miss on every girls outing, stayed in bed over weekends and even thought I cannot operate without a man in my life.  I needed a male validation for every outfit, every new hair color, every outing and even every new friend; and the only validation I would “accept” was one coming from a “relationship”.  And so, I went in and out of dates and relationship trials and failures.

But as they say, “to every downside its upside”, and in the middle of my social reclusion and my days in bed binging over movies, TV series and books, I read a lot about relationships, breakups and self-love and it is only then that I learned, page after another, about the importance to find a complete version of myself, a version that would not break with every break-up, one that would not feel empty with every goodbye; it is only then that I learned that I, as a woman, did not need a male companion to complete and validate me.  I did need a male companion, but only to share my time with.

While the most common piece of advice I got after break-ups was to “spend some time alone”, I must admit my mind I got overly confused as I heard a lot of contradicting statements telling me that the only way to “get over someone is by getting under someone else”. But, with time, I developed a personal conviction based on psychological readings and testimonials that I currently debate non-stop with all of my friends: the best way to get over a break-up is to spend some time alone learning to love something new about yourself.

Psychologically, taking time off for yourself between relationships helps you develop a better understanding of your latest relationship (the break-up) and a better vision of your next relationship.  The time off helps you get over the trauma whether it was an emotional or physical abuse, a cheating story, a social failure etc. and, most importantly, it helps you evaluate your wants and needs out of your next relationship.  Moreover, the time off will help you draw out of comparison during your next relationship and set the bar (higher or lower) for the next person to walk into your heart; after all, you just learned a new lesson through your break-up and you know today, better than yesterday, what you deserve.

Now remember girl: you do deserve what you think you deserve, so never (ever) settle for less than that!

Jan 3, 2018

2018 is the pills year...

This year I’ve got no resolutions but 1: the resolution of offering pills all around, all year long!

2018 is the pills year.

Yup, you read it right!

This year I’m going to be holding a big box of various pills and I will be distributing them around as may be needed and fit. Why? Simply because I’ve had enough of negativity and people spreading negative vibes.

So here is the count:

1- The Happy Pill:
Also known as the most uncommon kind of pills, the Happy Pills will be distributed for all those who see life in black and white only.  Some should really learn to see what comes in between and all of the other rainbow colors… After all, life is full of ups and downs and one can only survive by counting the blessings.

2- The Forgiveness Pill:
No one is perfect except God. No one is mistakes free except God. No one will not harm you except God.  At a certain time of life, you’ll even harm yourself in a way or another.  And this is why God created the Forgiveness Pill and I’ll be distributing it to each and everyone around who needs it.  Drooling over arguments and bad events will spread nothing but negative vibes and stress and I strongly believe people should learn to forgive as part of their daily healing process.

3- The Blame Pill:
Unless one has a good, valid reason, supported by logical and palpable arguments… no one is allowed to blame anyone for anything around me.  We are all adults around here so stand up for your own decisions and respective consequences and remember: anything bad is a lesson learned.

4- The Chill Pill:
My second favorite pill! You know those times when you can’t handle my blunt advise, opinion or sarcasm? That’s when I’ll offer you the chill pill.  I’ve got tons. I’ll also offer it when you’re angry, upset, annoying or feeling frustrated as I really do not need that kind of negative vibes flying all around me. The Chill Pill is kind of cool you know?

5- The Brain Pill:

My favorite! J You’ve got brain, now use it. Everyone has got brains and whomever don’t use it around me will be offered my favorite pill.  Google can be of help sometimes not to utter stupid things and to limit the usage of Brain Pills in order not to overdose.

Now what about you? Is there any sort of special pill you suggest to add to my list? 

Oct 27, 2017

Friendships.... the worst kind of break-ups!

Break-ups suck.

Whether you are happy in a relationship or miserable and want out, when the moment of truth comes out and the break-up is final, you will have some sort of a bad feeling: Was it a good decision? How lonely will I be feeling now? Who will I share my week-end with? And my promotion, what about my promotion… who is the first person to call now?

And as bad as break-up feel, there is nothing worse than friendship break-ups, trust me!

In fact, when you are dating someone new, there is always a little voice in the back of your head telling you that it might not work out and that tomorrow might be your last day together. Even when you’re walking down the aisle you would still think “if it doesn’t work out, we will get a divorce”. You always have an end figured. But with friendship…. Friendship is different. You don’t enter a friendship expecting it to end! On the contrary in friendships you are trustful to an extend of becoming vulnerable. Who would think you and your BFF will walk side-by-side like strangers one day?

Friends are the people you become family with. They are the people you confide to about the hard thing going on with you. They are the ones you build closeness with, share memories with, have intensive moments with… etc.

Friends are the ones you safely call when you’re out and feeling tipsy. And when that break-up happens nothing in the world can prepare you to such loss.

Absolutely nothing.

Sep 11, 2017

I admit I was a "People Pleaser" and I have healed...

Being an only child, I grew up trying to please everyone around me; I felt the urge of pleasing my parents and family members, the urge of pleasing my classmates to the extent of doing their homework at times, the urge of pleasing friends and acting up to their needs and expectations, regardless of mine, because I had no brothers and sisters and felt lonely.

But as I grew up I learned that being a “people pleaser” is a full-time, exhausting, non-full filling job.  I learned that brothers and sisters are the friends who stick by me every step of the way.  I learned that family will love me no matter what. And I learned that the hidden gems between friends and cousins are the back bones I will always have. And those people do not need me to please them. They will stick by no matter what!

Years after my recovery, and as I have recovered from the symptom of being a “people pleaser”, I decided to write down my thoughts and steps in order to remind myself what needs to be done and remind those around me that it is ok not to suffer in silence.

1- Not being a “people pleaser” does not mean you are not a giver
It is very important to keep in mind that life is all about give and takes. In order to receive respect, love, attention and support, one must always give those.  However, the most important thing to learn is that, though giving sometimes means sacrificing, one must never give without receiving anything in return, and turn into a “people pleaser”.

2- Love yourself more than you love anyone
The more you love yourself, the more you will be able to love everyone around you. Appreciate yourself. You are valuable in your own way. Remember that no one is complete and eventually the people around you (the good ones, the ones worth keeping) will see the good in you and love it as well.

3- Learn that it is okay to say “no”
“no, thank you”. Read it again: “no, thank you”. You see? It’s not rude. It’s not impolite. It’s actually quite easy! Practice and use (and abuse if you must) the use of the sentence. So the next time the gang are going for a night swim and you feel like having a drink, do not hesitate. A simple “no, thank you” is the answer. After all, spending the night at home relaxing or investing in an activity that you like is far more satisfying than joining everyone in an activity that you dislike.  However, keep in mind that life is all about give and takes and that sometimes it is okay to do something for the ones you love, every once in a while.

4- Learn to let go of toxic people
You know those few who always used and abused you with requests and demands? Those you stood by and yet never stood by you? That friend who always planned your Saturday nights out based on what he/she felt like doing? Let. Them. Go. You’ll lose a couple of people, it is true. And no matter how hard it feels now and how sad it might sound (especially that, if you’re a “people pleaser” you probably hate to let people go) you’ll thank me later! I promise.

5- Take time for yourself
Your “me” time should be sacred. Being a “people pleaser” probably made you forget all about your own hobbies, likes, dislikes and even dreams. Take time to discover yourself and make your daily “me” time sacred. Re-discover yourself.
Bonus comment: you’ll love what you discover ;)

6- Congratulate yourself
Yup! You’ve read that last one right. You will never learn to love yourself and continue walking away from toxic people or from being a “people pleaser” unless you congratulate yourself for every time you say no. For every time you speak your mind. For every time you say what you really think (without being rude of course and without hurting others).

You see? There is a thin line between being a “people pleaser”, voicing your opinion and being a total douchebag! Discover the balance and learn the equation by heart. After all you don’t want anyone to step on your toes but, at the same time, you want to respect and love the people around you and earn back their love and respect – without losing your own personality and comfort (I can’t stress on this enough!)

Welcome to the new you…. Enjoy!