Over40.it, our new e-zine dedicated to you, a splendid over forty-years-old woman who looks at life as the best part is here and now.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Fix your marriage with the new alternative to counseling

Marriage Fitness with Mort Fertel is a step-by-step relationship-changing self-help system that saves and restores marriages. Using CD’s, DVD’s, workbooks, and teleconferences, people learn to neutralize their problems and put into practice a system of positive relationship habits that shift the momentum of their marriage. And the best news is—they don't have to dig into their past, dredge up their problems, or practice communication techniques. This is not marriage counseling; it's Marriage Fitness!

World Renown
The creator of Marriage Fitness, Mort Fertel, combines the energy of Tony Robbins and the profundity of Stephen Covey into a marriage-transforming program that has saved thousands of marriages. He appeared on NBC, CBS, PBS, and the Fox News Network. He is also a frequent guest on talk radio programs. His breakthrough program, Marriage Fitness, was profiled in The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Family Circle, Psychology Today, and the Ladies Home Journal.

The Marriage Fitness program is endorsed by John Gray Ph.D., author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” as well as scores of therapists, counselors, and clergy.

Mort Fertel’s most popular program is the Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp. For $399, users get a 15 CD Audio Learning System, The Complete Marriage Fitness Workbook & Personal Journal, access to 10 teleconferences hosted by Mort Fertel, an autographed copy of Marriage Fitness, access to a members only web site, and more.

There’s also a starter/budget program called the Marriage Fitness Audio Learning Program. For $69.95 users get a 5 CD system that includes over 5 1/2 hours of step-by-step instruction for how to save and restore a marriage.

Website URL: http://www.marriagemax.com

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fit and fabulous in fifteen minutes?

Hi, I’m Teresa Tapp

Fit and fabulous in fifteen minutes? I know what you’re thinking. It sounds too good to be true and even a bit sensationalized, doesn’t it? Well, get ready, because in this book, you’re going to discover that “yes you can!”

Welcome to T-Tapp, the wellness workout that works wonders for your body, mind, and spirit. I take a rehabilitative approach to fitness and spent nine years creating this workout—plus over two decades perfecting it. As you learn the exercises in this book, you’ll immediately feel the difference between T-Tapp and other workouts you’ve tried, and you’ll experience head-to-toe results like never before. You’ll also discover how less is more, since T-Tapp’s special form and techniques maximize muscle development, enabling your body to shed inches in record time. In fact, the stronger you get, the more you get out of

T-Tapp—and the less you have to do it to stay in shape!

But first I thought you might want to know a little about me, how I created this workout, and why I’m so excited to be sharing it with you.

I am five feet seven inches tall, weigh about 130 pounds, and wear a size six. I haven’t gone to a gym, lifted a single weight, or done any other exercise program except T-Tapp for over twenty years. Even then, I don’t work out every day—and you won’t have to, either. In fact,

T-Tapp workouts are based on quality, not quantity, with movements designed to give maximum results in minimum time.

I’ma huge jazz and blues fan and love to dance. But there is no music in T-Tapp, and despite its name, tap dancing is not part of this workout. T-Tapp is aerobic, yet there is no jumping or running involved—which means no stress on your joints. You won’t lift a single weight, yet you’ll still reap all the benefits of strength training, such

as stronger bones and prevention of osteoporosis. That’s because

T-Tapp’s focus is on using your own body as the machine.

Moreover, because T-Tapp is no-impact, you can perform these exercises for life—no matter your age or physical condition. In fact, there are hundreds of T-Tappers who are well into their seventies, eighties, and nineties!

I love red wine and firmly believe that life is too short to deny yourself good food. Most days I try to eat a balanced diet, but I cheat frequently. I can rarely drive by a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop when the red light is on, which means the doughnuts are hot and fresh—yum! And my office staff must occasionally hide almond M&Ms from me. The good news is that T-Tapp helps to reset your metabolism to burn at a faster rate, so you can eat, cheat, and still lose inches!

I’m an outdoor person. I love riding my horse, Ivy, and playing with my beloved bichon, Buddy. Most weekends you’ll find me digging in the dirt, planting flowers, and cutting the grass with a push mower. But I’m just as happy curled up on the couch reading anything about the human body. Hours become minutes when I discover new research and studies that reveal statistical patterns about how the human body works. In my opinion, the body is an amazing machine that can rebuild wellness—and wellness is what I am most passionate about in life.

This passion began, believe it or not, at the tender age of five—and for tragic reasons. That’s when I lost my mother, Corenna, to brain cancer. She was twenty-nine at the time and had endured four operations and two years of grueling radiation and chemotherapy. Because of her illness, I spent much of my early childhood hanging out in hospitals. As I watched my mother suffer, I dreamed of becoming a doctor when I grew up so that I could find a cure for cancer.

But there were silver linings to all this sadness. Experiencing the loss of a loved one at such an early age gave me an insight into wellness that was far beyond my years. And as my mother’s condition deteriorated, I instinctively learned to value my own health and recognized the importance of listening to—and taking care of—my own body.

My mother battled cancer with courage and humor, always seeing the glass as half full. When the side effects of chemotherapy forced her to wear a wig, for example, she’d laugh and say, “I may have lost all my hair, but now I get to be a blonde!” Fortunately, I inherited her knack for finding the positive in every negative situation, and her legacy has served me well.

For instance, in high school, a nasty fall from a balance beam in gym class chipped three vertebrae in the mid-lumbar region of my back. That injury, coupled with the scoliosis I’d suffered from since childhood, often left me nearly paralyzed with pain. Yet instead of listening to my doctor, who recommended bed rest, I listened to that inner voice in the back of my head that said I needed to move my body to find relief. After weeks of experimenting with all kinds of muscle movements, I was elated to discover exercises that would alleviate my back pain. I was equally thrilled to discover that I’d shrunk several inches in the process—what a bonus!

At eighteen, I enrolled at Waubonsee Community College, where I received an associate’s degree in science before transferring to Eastern Illinois University as a pre-med major. There, while pursuing

a bachelor of science degree in exercise physiology (with an emphasis on public health and education), I did extensive

volunteer work with cancer patients who were undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. When these women consistently complained of nausea and edema, I was able to further test the effectiveness of my exercises. I had a hunch that certain muscle movements would bring these women relief, and I was right. But the big discovery here was that sequence seemed to matter. In other words, performing my exercises in a specific order helped to diminish puffiness and nausea so dramatically that it appeared to be eliminating toxins from the body.

I realized that I was definitely on to something when every single patient who was using my exercises—in the right order—reported significant relief and reduced swelling. This was extremely exciting for these women, because it meant their bodies would be better able to endure treatments to fight this horrible disease. Needless to say, they were also elated about tightening, toning, and losing a few inches along the way.

While working with these patients, I found a suspicious lump—about the size of a walnut—under my right armpit. I was nineteen at the time, and given my family history, my peers and professors (many of whom were physicians) advised, “Have it removed immediately, or you could be dead by age thirty.” In those days, surgery was the answer to every bump and lump, for fear these would turn into cancer and metastasize. But I wasn’t alarmed. I had noticed that if I didn’t get enough sleep, ate too much sugar, or drank one too many glasses of wine, that lump would swell. But when I performed the same sequence of movements I was teaching the cancer patients I was working with, the lump drastically shrank. Oddly enough, this lump had become a barometer for my body, indicating my level of fitness and wellness. So I was worried that if doctors removed it, I would lose my “radar” and have trouble listening to my body.

Of course, I advise everyone to have any lumps thoroughly checked by a health care professional, as I did. Fortunately, in my case, there was no need for surgery. In fact, that lump is still with me today and continues to fluctuate in size, depending on what I’ve been eating or drinking and how much—or how little—I’ve been working out.

After I graduated from college, Eastern Illinois University offered me a graduate assistantship to study the specific changes that seem to occur in women’s bodies every decade in terms of weight gain. I had always been curious about the “freshman fifteen”—you know, those extra pounds most students tend to pack on in their first year of college. I knew it wasn’t just due to pizza and beer, because even coeds who didn’t drink or eat a lot of fast food were experiencing weight gain, or what I call the notorious “fat shift.”

My study wasn’t limited to college students; it also included older pre- and postmenopausal women. This research empowered me to understand the connection between internal muscle development and how we metabolize calories at rest. I quickly realized the effectiveness of T-Tapp moves in helping the body maintain optimal metabolic processing regardless of age, and that made me even more passionate about my program. Another finding that blew me away: 100 percent of these women reported the results of better hormonal balance—far fewer cramps, bloating, hot flashes, and mood swings—after trying my workout.

I had every intention of completing my master’s degree and applying to medical school, but tuition money was tight. About that time, the fashion industry made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: the chance to work as a new-face developer and booker, preparing new models for the business. One of the side benefits—and, honestly, one of the main reasons I took this job—was being able to work in Germany, where they were years ahead of America in terms of holistic and rehabilitative approaches to health and wellness. During my tenure, I trained thousands of models—even some supermodels—and realized that it doesn’t matter what you weigh. Inches count, pounds don’t. In fact, no models I worked with were ever put on a scale. Instead, their measurements were their calling cards. And if the clothes didn’t fit, a model didn’t work.

That’s why with T-Tapp, I’m going to tell you to ignore the scale and focus solely on inch loss. I don’t want you to obsess too much about tag sizes, either, because no matter how much you work out, your body type and structure may simply not enable you to ever wear a size four or six. Looking your best is more about having everything fit, firm, and in the right place. Trust me, I’ve seen my share of skinny but lumpy size two models who didn’t look nearly as good as a size sixteen T-Tapper who is fit and firm!

I shared my exercises with these models and not only trimmed their trouble spots but boosted their energy levels. They loved my workout, because it delivered inch-loss results fast. It was also no-fuss. Requiring a mere four square feet of space, these moves were perfect for models accustomed to living out of hotel rooms. What’s more, the same movements I’d been using for years to manage my back pain helped these models alleviate muscle soreness brought on by grueling twelve-hour shoots and the contortionist-like poses that photographers often required them to hold for long periods of time.

Working in the fashion industry was never part of my game plan, but in hindsight, this priceless hands-on experience allowed me to gather valuable statistical data. Working with models of different shapes, sizes, heritages, and figure problems was like taking a course in physiology. Based on what I learned, I was able to fine-tune many of my existing exercises, as well as develop new moves that would trim and tone regardless of one’s body type. Working abroad also exposed me to cutting-edge research in the areas of nutrition and botanical supplements.

The models I worked with often called me “Mother T,” and to this day, many continue to stay trim and toned using T-Tapp moves. In a recent interview with fashion editor Evelyn Theiss, for example, I learned that many of today’s runway models routinely perform one of my energizing signature moves—called Hoe Downs—prior to every fashion show. Many also rely on T-Tapp moves to quickly whip them into shape for swimsuit and lingerie catalog shoots (like Victoria’s Secret), as well as the all-important designer fashion shows, where audiences are virtually a who’s who of the fashion world.

After a decade of globetrotting, I was ready to return to the States, settle down, and share the benefits of my workout with women and men from all walks of life. I moved to Tampa Bay, Florida, and spent the next five years copyrighting my exercises and reconnecting with the medical community. Various psychologists, oncologists, and doctors of osteopathic medicine referred patients to me for rehabilitative training. These clients faced a variety of challenges—from cancer to eating disorders to manic-depression—and it was incredibly satisfying to see that T-Tapping could make a difference in their lives. During this time, I also worked one-on-one as a personal trainer with a handful of models, celebrities, and everyday women who were anxious to achieve their fitness goals.

T-Tapp has always been about empowering others, so typically I would work with clients for only two weeks, making sure they knew how to T-Tapp on their own before letting them go. Despite this policy, my waiting list for new clients soon swelled to eight months. So much for reaching the masses! Realizing that I was maxed out and could help only so many people in a day, I knew it was time for a new strategy.

That’s when Women’s Fitness International magazine approached me about becoming a contributing editor. I saw this as a golden opportunity both to educate scores of women and men and to showcase my exercise program. With each bimonthly article I wrote, I would share my thoughts and theories on health and nutrition, as well as feature one exercise in depth. Reader response was phenomenal, so I began filming my first at-home fitness video, which the magazine agreed to pitch. It was called The Super Fat Burning Inch Loss System. A mouthful, I know, but customers loved the workout.

Two years later, I decided to take advantage of the Internet boom and establish a Web site. I filled it with educational articles and set up a message board to encourage T-Tappers to communicate with one another. I created more fitness videos and offered these for sale at my Web site. I also finally decided to call my workout T-Tapp. Doing so enabled me to brand the name—not to mention that using the Tapp name made my father very proud.

Meanwhile, Women’s Fitness International was sold, and I realized it was time to branch out on my own. I was eager to contribute articles and exercises to non-fitness magazines anyway, as well as spread the word about T-Tapp through other media.

During sweeps week of 2000, KTRK, the ABC News affiliate in Houston, Texas, ran a “Yes You Can” T-Tapp Challenge, which followed eight women over a two-week period. When every single participant lost a clothing size—without dieting—other ABC affiliates picked up the story. I credit WPIV in Philadelphia with putting T-Tapp on the map. In response to their broadcast, I gained twenty thousand new customers in the first week alone!

Excerpted from

Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes
by Teresa Tapp
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble

Product of the day: ZRII

In Ayurveda, the Amalaki fruit is widely considered to be the most rejuvenating super-fruit. For over 5,000 years, Ayurveda has valued Amalaki for its rejuvenating, vitality-enhancing, and anti-aging properties.Scientifically formulated with a blend of Amalaki and synergistic herbs, Zrii is an effective new liquid nutritional drink that is rooted in the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. Created with pomegranate, pear, and grape juice, Zrii is rich in antioxidants, free-radical scavenging polyphenols, and bio-stable Vitamin C. Zrii’s proprietary amalaki formulation also contains the following rejuvenating and detoxifying herbs: Turmeric - Improves circulation, digestion, and reduces inflammation. Tulsi - Improves digestion and intestinal health. Ginger- Improves digestion, absorption, and assimilation. Haritaki- Serves as a mild-detoxifier. Schizandra- Has antioxidant and detoxifying effects. Jujube- Protects the digestive system and has mild rejuvenating effects. Suggested use: enjoy 1 - 3 ounces per day for optimal health and wellbeing.
Available online at Chopra Center

Friday, December 28, 2007

Product of the day: Aminogenesis

Tripeptinon by AminoGenesisAminoGenesis skin care products utilize the most scientifically advanced skin care formula on the planet. Our formula was actually used for over 10 years in the health care industry due to its ability to help rehabilitate and beautify the skin, before becoming available to the general public 5 years ago.

Our products provide users with exactly what they are looking for, a product that actually does what it promises to do. Our award winning, low energy emulsion technology literally bathes the skin in millions of amino acids with each application. Providing your skin with exactly what it needs to do a much better job of it’s own daily repair process.

The AminoGenesis formula is the result of years of research and development and it is truly the most scientifically advanced skin care formula available today.

Website URL www.aminogenesis.com

Thursday, December 27, 2007

8 Minutes in the Morning

How Much Fat

I don't want you to think that you can eat only omega fats on this program. You can still enjoy a variety of fats with your meals, even saturated fats like butter, and you can still use corn oil or whatever other oils you like-just use them in moderation. A complete list of all the fats you can use on this program appears on page 211.

The amount of fat you need depends on your current weight and caloric needs. Don't worry. You don't need to spend any time with a calculator and chart to figure out how much fat to eat in a day. I've done all the work for you. As long as you use your Eating Card System, you will automatically eat the right amount and right types of fat at every. meal.

I've also assembled an easy-to-use general Food List (see page 211) that will help you make smart choices and check off the correct boxes with your Eating Card System (see page 70).


Have you ever lost a significant amount of weight on a diet, only to plateau well before you reached your goal? That's probably because you weren't eating enough protein. Sometimes eating more helps you lose more weight.

Protein is your body's building material. You need to eat protein to provide your body with the materials it needs to build, repair, and maintain your lean muscle tissue. That's incredibly important because without enough dietary protein, all of your 8 Minutes in the Morning moves will be for naught. And over half of your body weight is made up of protein. This includes not only muscle tissue but also hair, skin, nails, blood, hormones, enzymes, brain cells, and much more.

When you don't eat enough protein, your body actually starts to break down and recycle existing body protein (such as lean muscle) to supply your body with the amino acids that your diet is lacking. When this protein breakdown occurs, you sacrifice muscle (your fat-burning machine) and your metabolism slows down. As a result, you burn less body fat.

Protein is important, but don't go overboard. You've probably heard about-and may have even tried-one of the popular highprotein diets. When I interviewed best-selling author Andrew Weil, M.D., for my FitNow.com online television show, he shared with me what's wrong with these diets: They work for weight loss-temporarily-because you're eating more protein than your body needs to repair tissue, and your body burns the excess as fuel. Unfortunately, protein is a "dirty" source of fuel because it contains nitrogen. Instead of producing just carbon dioxide and water, protein produces nitrogenous residues, which are toxic. Your body must pump a lot of water into the urinary tract to flush the toxic nitrogen out. In other words, much of the "weight loss" from high-protein diets is simply water loss. While this is going on, you're also losing minerals from your body, including calcium from your bones. To eat the right amount of protein, all you need to do is follow your Eating Card System and consult the Food List on page 211 for the best sources.

Besides getting protein in the right amounts, you also want to focus on the right types. Some types of protein-especially the type found in animal products-contain a high amount of saturated fat, which can not only hinder your weight-loss efforts but also destroy your health. Focus on high-quality protein sources like fish, skinless white-meat chicken, turkey meat, soy products, egg whites, legumes, and beans.

Soybeans are a quality protein source that is naturally low in saturated fat. If you're a vegetarian, eating soy is the best way to ensure that you consume all of the amino acids you need. Even if you're not a vegetarian, I recommend adding soy to your diet because it has been shown to reduce heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, menopausal symptoms, and more. You'll find it in veggie versions of burgers, hot dogs, lunchmeats, and cheeses as well as in tofu, miso, soy milk, and soy nuts. Tofu is a great meat extender. Mix it with meat or cheese to lower the saturated fat in your recipes.

When you have a hankering for red meat, go ahead and have it, but choose lean sirloin or round cuts, eat a small portion, and trim off any visible fat. Limit your red meat consumption to no more than twice a week. Beef comes marbled with nonessential fat that is mostly saturated. It is the worst animal fat in terms of chemical composition, containing 51 percent saturated fatty acids (SFAs). In comparison, pig lard, still very bad, has 41 percent SFAs.

Complex Carbohydrates

My Eat Fat to Get Fit program includes carbohydrates because they play a critical role in achieving fat loss. You read it right: Carbohydrates can be used to get you lean. The key is to avoid simple carbohydrates that are high on the glycemic index, which rates how fast a particular food turns into glucose (blood sugar), and eat complex carbohydrates that are much lower on the index. The higher the number, the faster it turns into glucose. Simple carbohydrates such as processed white bread and rice release quickly. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are usually whole grain and unprocessed.

How does avoiding simple carbohydrates help you burn body fat? When your insulin is balanced, more of the hormone glucagon is available to help unlock body fat stores. You can help balance insulin levels further by avoiding the foods that drastically increase insulin levels: simple carbohydrates.

Simple vs. Complex

Simple carbohydrates not only prevent you from burning pre-existing body fat but also encourage you to gain more body fat. When you eat a large meal that is made from simple carbohydrates, you are left with an immediate abundance of glucose, more than your body could ever need or use. Some of the glucose that is not used right away by your muscles is stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen (stored blood sugar). The rest is converted and stored as body fat. This is why you can remain overweight even though you are eating low-fat or nonfat foods.

The solution is to eat complex carbohydrates, which provide you with just the right amount of energy while burning excess body fat. Imagine that you're starting a campfire. You would light the big logs by using lighter fluid or kindling. That's exactly how complex carbohydrates work in your body. Instead of wood, it's body fat. By trickling in small amounts of complex carbohydrates, the fat will burn steadily for a long time. If you pour too much lighter fluid (simple carbohydrates) on at one time, you get a flash fire that flares quickly and then burns out almost immediately. Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates are not rapidly released into your bloodstream because of their complex molecular structure. This means that complex carbohydrates never overwhelm your body with sugar rushes because they take more time to break down. They provide the ideal amounts of time-released sugar to burn fat. This allows your body to use body fat as its primary fuel.

To find out which foods are complex carbohydrates and which are simple carbohydrates, consult the Food List on page 211. But you can also use this simple rule of thumb: The more "whole" or natural a food is, the more likely it is to be complex.

Whole Grains

Whole grains-those that contain their outer shells-are more complex than refined grains, which have been stripped of their outer coatings. In other words, slow-cooking, whole grain oats are better than instant oats, brown rice is better than white rice, whole grain bread is better than white bread, and whole grain pasta is better than regular pasta. Another good rule of thumb is to check the fiber content. Foods that are higher in fiber-with at least 3 or more grams-tend to be more "whole" than foods that lack fiber.

Whole grains are also incredibly good for your health. That outer covering of the grain contains disease-fighting fiber and important phytochemicals. Here are some ways to add different grains to your diet.

  • Treat yourself to whole grain breads from an old-fashioned bakery.
  • The slower oatmeal cooks, the more "whole" it is. Irish oatmeal (also called Scotch or steel-cut oats) is your best source of whole grains. If you don't have time to wait for it to cook on the stove, add it to other recipes, such as meat loaf and stuffing.
  • Breakfast cereals are a great source of whole grains if you buy the right kind. The high-sugar, overly processed "kiddie" cereals are not going to cut it. The better breakfast cereals, such as Cheerios, Total, and Uncle Sam (visit www.jorgecruise.com for more information on this cereal) contain at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 1 gram of total fat.
  • High in protein and free from gluten, quinoa is a great grain substitute if you are allergic to wheat. It also contains lots of calcium, iron, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and folate. It is one of my favorite hot cereals. Add quinoa to soups, stews, and cold salads.


Dairy is supposed to be good for you-its main selling point being that it's high in calcium-but what if you are allergic to it? It was after I read Eating Well for Optimum Health, an amazing book by Dr. Andrew Weil, that my viewpoint on dairy changed. The protein found in dairy products, called casein, is a known allergen that can cause asthma and sinus problems and can be an irritant to your immune system. Casein has been shown to trigger an autoimmune reaction that destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. That can lead to juvenile diabetes. And digestion of lactose (the sugar in milk) requires the enzyme lactase, which many adults lack. This can cause major digestive distress.

You can get the calcium you need from fortified soy products such as soy milk and soy cheese instead. These are both delicious and healthy alternatives that I use every day. You can also get calcium from fortified juice. Most people don't realize that all green plants have high levels of calcium, particularly broccoli, collards, and kale. And you can always take a calcium supplement. If you don't have asthma, chronic allergies, hay fever, or sinus problems, you can eat traditional dairy products in moderation; I use dairy mostly as a condiment. Just make sure you use products that are low-fat or made from nonfat milk.


Although vegetables are a type of carbohydrate, I've grouped them in their own category because of their unique beneficial effects on fat loss. Vegetables have a very high water content, which means that they are also very high in oxygen. In order for your lean muscle tissue to burn fat, it needs oxygen to help convert the fat into energy. When you eat vegetables, you will flood your body with water, which will dramatically increase your oxygen levels, improving your metabolism.

Vegetables are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, are probably the most filling low-calorie food you can eat. And since vegetables need to be chewed more and take longer to consume, your brain has time to realize that you are eating and turns off the "hunger switch" sooner. Once in your stomach, that fiber takes up a lot of space, making you feel full.

Most vegetables are also very low in simple sugars. Vegetables have almost no calories. This means you can literally eat them to your heart's content and not put on excess body fat. For example, to consume a paltry 20 calories, you would have to eat half a cucumber, 4 cups of a butterhead lettuce such as Bibb or Boston, or 1 cup of radish slices.

Besides promoting weight loss, vegetables are superfoods when it comes to your health. They are an important source of vitamins and minerals, and research has...

Excerpted from

8 Minutes in the Morning: A Simple Way to Shed up to 2 Pounds a Week Guaranteed
by Jorge Cruise, Anthony Robbins
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble

Cleopatra's Choice: Dead Sea cosmetics

Cleopatra's Choice is the the most reliable, trustworthy and professional retailer of Dead Sea cosmetics. Their products are also an alternative and natural way to help relieve psoriasis, eczema and acne!

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SeaOra Mineral Lift Serum

Imagine taking all the legendary beauty properties of The Dead Sea Minerals and salts and concentrating them all into a highly potent serum. Now imagine adding to that an advanced formula of anti-aging ingredients and vitamins including Bearberry, Green Tea, Seaweed, Vitamin C and more. What you get is our highly concentrated, mineral rich serum designed to effectively smooth and firm the skin.

This deep absorbing, light gel is formulated with natural ingredients to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing your skin's elasticity and firmness. Based on a unique formula of Vitamin C, Evening Primrose Oil and Dead Sea minerals, it instantly moisturizes to improve your skin's texture - giving you a radiant, smooth and even complexion. Amino acids combined with Green Tea extract and Vitamin C help your skin naturally regenerate - creating a firmer, more youthful appearance. Additionally it protects skin from daily pollutants and weather damage that can clog pores and cause wrinkles and breakouts.

Directions: Apply a few drops of serum to the face and neck, especially around the eyes and mouth where wrinkles tend to develop. Using Mineral Anti Age Serum on a regular basis will result in skin restored with a smoother texture and a soft supple appearance. This serum is concentrated so just a little bit goes a long way!

SeaOra Salt Scrub - Ocean Breeze

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Reduce wrinkles and fine lines while quickly firming your skin with SeaOra's unique anti wrinkle formula. Composed of deep-hydrating, natural Almond Oil and essential Dead Sea minerals, this fast acting cream will firm and tone your skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and helping prevent the formation of future wrinkles. Also contains Silicon and Vitamin A, which increase the firmness and overall vitality of your skin.
* Smoothes out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
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This cream is a must have for any woman over 25, because it not only fights existing wrinkles - it helps prevent formation of new wrinkles and fine lines.


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Monday, December 24, 2007

Product of the day: AVON Ageless Results Nightly Nutrient Peel

Overnight, resurfaces and restores healthy, younger-looking, glowing skin. In one week, renews skin, refines pores and visibly reduces fine, dry lines. Slip under your nighttime moisturizer. Avon Daily Skin Allowance
Formulated with the nutrient Phytic Acid to help peel away dry survace cells so healthier cells can appear. 1 fl. oz.
Find it at AVON.comicon website

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Low Back Pain First Aid Chest

What to Do if You’re in Pain Right Now

After a low back injury, follow these simple steps to ease your pain and begin your healing.
* Focus on and regulate your breathing. Proper breathing in a slow, controlled rhythm is the fastest pain reliever you can use. It shifts the mind’s attention away from the pain and triggers the body’s natural relaxation response. You can do this in any position, but if possible:
* Lie flat on the floor on your back with your knees up and your lower legs resting on a chair, an ottoman, or some pillows, or lie on your side in bed in a fetal position with a pillow between your knees. These positions should take the strain off your lower back, but if another position feels better, that’s fine. Every injury is different. Let your body guide you into the least painful position possible.
* Slow your breathing down as much as possible. Exhale fully, then inhale deeply and hold the breath in your lungs for a count of three. Exhale fully, and continue breathing in this way for at least two to three minutes.
* Repeat this process throughout the day to calm yourself and to deliver extra oxygen to overstressed muscles and disks, allowing them to begin to relax, breathe, and take in nourishment.
* Use visual imagery to guide your breathing and enhance the relaxation response. For example, try imagining your breath as a wave of golden light flowing through your entire body. Another good technique is to picture yourself in a favorite spot, real or imagined, where you feel safe and at ease.

The more relaxed your breathing becomes, the less pain you will feel. As you become better able to focus on your breathing for a few minutes at a time, you will also prepare your mind and body to work together in the rest of your healing.
* Pain or Gain. Being overly stoic may actually slow your recovery. Take anti- inflammatory and pain-relief medication to speed healing.
* The most readily available over-the-counter pain relief medicines are aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Ibuprofen is generally the best choice for low back pain, because unlike acetaminophen, it combines pain relief and anti- inflammatory benefits.
* Liquid gel pills work best, because they are absorbed more readily in the bloodstream. As a general rule, unless a doctor prescribes otherwise, you should take two liquid gel ibuprofen two to three times a day.
* Everybody reacts to medicine slightly differently, and you may find that it helps to to combine ibuprofen with acetaminophen, taking the first for pain and inflammation and the second for additional pain relief. In any case, do not take more than eight pills a day, total, unless your doctor prescribes otherwise.
* People with diabetes should be especially careful not to take high doses of these medicines for extended periods, because of the potential for kidney damage. Anti- inflammatory medication is also contraindicated for those with a history of gastric ulcers or compromised kidney function.
* If severe pain persists after seven to ten days of taking ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen, you should consult a physician.
* If over-the-counter medicines don’t lessen your pain and inflammation significantly, don’t wait a whole week to go to the doctor. More powerful pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants are available by prescription, and they are safe if used as directed.
* Like over-the-counter remedies, these medicines should only be taken short term. If they have not brought you any significant lasting relief after a few days, you should re- consult your physician.
* A number of herbal and other remedies are available for treating low back pain. These include herbal medicines prescribed by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and packaged natural and synthetic compounds sold by health food stores. Herbal medicine has great potential health benefits. The problem with herbal remedies, however, is that their benefits and drawbacks, if any, have not yet been tested in controlled studies. Some of them contain substances that could cause serious harm. For example, many Chinese herbs contain atropine, a substance that affects heart function. Equally important, the quality of herbal remedies varies widely. You cannot always be confident that you are getting the advertised ingredients in the right form. It is far safer to stick with well-tested over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
* Take modified bed rest for two to three days. This means that you should:
* Spend most of the day resting quietly in the most comfortable position you can find. The two positions that work best for most people are on the side in a slightly fetal position with a pillow between the knees, or flat on the back with the legs raised. The second position really encourages the lower back muscles to relax because it takes all the strain of gravity off them. These are also generally the best positions for sleeping at night.
* During the day, get up every hour or couple of hours to walk around a little and arch your back backward, to prime the body for a gradual return to full activity. You can also try some light stretching, by pulling each knee up to your chest for a moment or two. Go just to the point where you feel the strain about to become intense, stop there, and take two or three slow, controlled breaths. This is also a good idea if you find you can’t sleep through the whole night, which is often the case when a low back injury is fresh.
* Avoid chair-sitting.
* Avoid lifting anything heavy.
* Instead of walking and stretching in the initial recovery phase, seniors should substitute riding a stationary bicycle. Seniors may also find chair-sitting comfortable, because their low back pain usually comes from stenosis, or narrowing of the spine, rather than from a strained muscle or herniated disc. See Chapter 2 for more on these age- related differences.
* If you have access to a pool, aquatherapy can speed your recovery. Your buoyancy in the water will take all the pressure off the low back.
* In the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after a low back injury, apply ice to tender areas two to three times a day for ten to fifteen minutes at a time, in order to lessen inflammation. Keeping the ice on for longer won’t give you any added benefit; it reaches its maximum efficacy after about ten minutes.
* After twenty-four hours apply moist heat in the shower or with a heating pad for up to thirty minutes at a time as desired. Unlike cold, gentle warmth may continue to provide an increased benefit if it is applied for a longer period of time.
* After twenty-four to forty-eight hours, use heat and ice in sequence. As a general rule, apply heat in the morning and before physical therapy or other activity; apply ice after activity and in the evening at dinnertime or bedtime. But some people get more relief from heat, whereas others get more from ice, so modify the sequence to fit your own needs.
* Apply liniments and rubs like Tiger Balm, Sportscreme, and BENGAY to soothe injured areas. The “active” ingredients in such products are usually some form of rubbing alcohol, and they never penetrate below skin level. But the act of applying the rub, or having a partner or relative do so for you, can itself be calming and beneficial from an emotional and psycho-physiological point of view.
* As the pain of your injury decreases, gradually increase your activity following the guidelines in Chapter 6 and begin Back Rx Series A.

Excerpted from

Back Rx: A 15-Minute-a-Day Yoga-and Pilates-Based Program to End Low-Back Pain
by Vijay Vad
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble

Saturday, December 22, 2007

40 Things Every Woman over 40 Needs to Know about Getting Dressed

40 over 40: 40 Things Every Woman over 40 Needs to Know about Getting Dressed

It's tough to be a woman over 40 in a world where fashion is dominated by youth and unnatural body images. But help is on the way! With generous doses of humor, 40 over 40 speaks to the 40-something woman, helping her develop style and expression through her clothes with 40 helpful hints and strategies. The book provides compassionate support for the busy woman who, already befuddled by fashion, may be really lost now that she imagines she's over the hill fashionwise. While acknowledging the changes time brings, 40 over 40 promises to help a woman create a closet of clothes that provides deep satisfaction and makes getting dressed an enjoyable experience. Tackling scenarios such as shopping for a bathing suit, dressing for a high school reunion, and exploring alternatives to plastic surgery, 40 over 40 dissects the fashion and beauty business, pulls out what works, and shows the reader how to toss away what doesn't.

Buy this book at Barnes & Noble

Friday, December 21, 2007

Menopause Well-Being product

Menopause Well-Being
Menopause is a time of transition and transformation in a woman's life. But, with common symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, insomnia, and forgetfulness, it can be more challenging than nature intended. That's why we created the menopause support formula - Menopause Well Being. Rich in Ayurvedic herbs, trace minerals, and phytosterols, it's formulated to relieve symptoms, address the causes of menopausal discomfort, support your overall health, and provide general menopause support. One ingredient, Black cohosh, has long been used for women's reproductive health, and clinical trials have shown it to be safe and effective for helping relieve menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes. Menopause Well Being has a proprietary blend of soy and herbal extracts rich in isoflavones, shown to provide menopause support by relieving discomfort and providing cardioprotective and bone-strengthening benefits. Suggested Use: Take two Menopause Well Being tablets daily. 60 Tablets per Bottle.
Find it online at Chopra Center

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Say Hello to the Real You

"Who do you think you are?" For much of my life I probably would have pulled a blank to that question. When you are a natural-born people pleaser like me, it's easy to lose touch with yourself as you focus on satisfying everyone else. Looking back, I have to wonder why I was so inattentive to my own need for happiness.

In my case, the reason is partly cultural. I was brought up in the best British tradition, where girls are raised to be modest, independent and selfless. Some of us British keep a "stiff upper lip" even in the worst of times, but I've learned that ignoring weakness is not always such a good trait. That's why I encourage my girls to recognize and feel their emotions and I teach them to deal constructively with the source of their sadness, anger or frustration.

Why is it that so many women, regardless of age and nationality, struggle so hard to hold everything together, only to lose themselves in the process? In this chapter you'll meet Weight Watchers leader Sharon Walls, whose esteem and sense of control was eroded by loneliness and the stress of raising a young family while her husband worked half a world away.

When Sharon made a conscious decision to get control of her weight she turned to Weight Watchers for help. She expected to lose weight by dieting, but the experience proved much more than that as Sharon rediscovered her needs and goals while also understanding the emotional root of her eating. We see from her story that food alone is not to blame for weight gain and that dealing with a weight problem means dealing with behavior and lifestyle issues as well.

I tell my friends that when it comes to dieting, "start with your mind and your bottom will follow." How we think really does affect who we are, which is why I'm a fan of Weight Watchers "Tools for Living," a set of wonderful techniques that help you get what you want. Sharon uses a visualization technique that lets her focus on the good feelings that she'll enjoy upon reaching a goal. This is the tool called Motivating Strategy. We've both embraced the tool we call Positive Self-Talking to better manage our "inner critic" and turn up the volume on thoughts that encourage us to succeed and feel good about ourselves.

The potential for change is in each and every one of us. Change calls for taking lessons from our past to create our future. New and better things are possible because of change, so don't let fear hold you back.

Rethinking Who I Want to Be

For most of her adult life, Sharon Walls had been about 20 pounds overweight. She wasn't happy with the extra pounds but she could live with them. After she gave birth to her first child, and added another 25 pounds to her 5-foot 11-inch frame, she decided to do something about it. Sharon joined Weight Watchers in 1990 and lost 45 pounds without a problem. Life was good until Walls gave birth to her third child, and found herself 45 pounds overweight — again. "I felt a little smug because I'd done this before," recalls Sharon, now 42, a Weight Watchers leader in southern California. "And I thought I should be able to lose the weight all by myself. But I couldn't."

Compounding matters, the family had recently moved to southern California, the land of the slim and beautiful — and Sharon felt completely out of her element. The family had spent four years in New Zealand, where Walls had built up a wonderful support network and loved the adventure of living in a new country. "When we moved to southern California, I literally felt like I was starting from scratch again," she explains. "And there were moments when I felt like I wasn't anywhere I wanted to be. I felt invisible — I was always doing everything for everybody but I was feeling so empty inside. I was being a victim; I let everything happen to me. I was living with a just-get-through-the-day mentality, and I was totally in a stuck mode. I would dwell on negative things, such as conflicts, instead of dealing with them and moving on. But I also had a sense that there was more to life than this. I started searching for something. I was really trying to redefine who I wanted to be."

In 1996, Sharon decided to take the first step — by addressing her weight issues. "I was really at rock bottom," she recalls. "I weighed 200 pounds. My husband is a runner and very fit, and I was embarrassed to be seen with him. I had the lowest self-esteem of my life. I felt dowdy and completely out of control of my life. And I just had this feeling that if I didn't start, I would be 200 pounds for the rest of my life and I didn't want to be there." She rejoined Weight Watchers, and within nine months she'd peeled off those extra 45 pounds by changing her eating habits, exercising portion control, taking up walking, and finding other outlets (instead of turning to food) to relieve emotional frustration. "It's not just a matter of knowing what to do," she says. "It's whether you're ready to do it. And I was ready to embrace this."

Not only did Sharon lose the weight and become a Weight Watchers leader in 1997, but she was so committed to revamping her lifestyle that she joined a running club. As Walls increased her mileage and trained closely with a buddy, she set her sights on running the Los Angeles marathon in March of 1998. "It was something I really wanted to accomplish by the age of 40," she explains. "With this marathon and losing weight, it was about moving forward, instead of moving backward; about dwelling on what I was going to be instead of on what I wasn't. Before this, I was always putting my three children or my husband first and I wasn't taking care of me. I decided to become a person who took her needs into consideration. This taking care of myself helps me take care of my kids and my husband and everything else. It's a real choice. The conflicts, the demands, and the emotional upheaval are still there, but taking care of myself helps me stay centered so I can deal with it all."

Sharon got serious about training for the marathon and treated her running time as sacred. She learned to carve out time for her workouts and protected it fiercely, setting limits with other people and saying, "No, this is Sharon's hour" when necessary. "The marathon — running 26 miles after having three children — was pivotal," she recalls. "I was building an emotional bank account while I was doing my training. The stronger I felt about taking care of me, the more competent I felt about going out there and taking chances." Even with all the preparation and her positive mind-set, however, the marathon itself proved to be a formidable challenge. At the twenty-first-mile mark, Sharon's energy reserves were completely drained. "I sat down at the side of the road and cried and decided to quit," she confesses. While tears were streaming down her face, she looked up and saw a man with two prosthetic legs walking the marathon. "When I saw that, I just screamed at myself: You can do this — now get up!" she says. "I figured if he could do this without any legs, I could do this with two even if they hurt." Sure enough, Sharon got back on her feet, made herself get moving and finished the marathon.

But Sharon didn't rest on her laurels. Shortly after the marathon she enrolled in a class called Introduction to Counseling. She found it so stimulating that she decided to go back to school to earn a master's degree in marriage and family therapy. Her goal: to become a therapist. "I kept searching for what I wanted and I kept putting myself out there," she says. "It was like I kept drawing new things toward me. Going back to school has been a huge commitment and I have a lot of guilt because my kids are still young (they're three, eight and nine), but I just try to muscle through it. This is about who I am inside."

For Sharon, making one change sparked a desire to take another risk or try another experience and so on, until Sharon was well on her way to becoming who she wants to be. "Ever since I was a kid, I've been a striver," she explains. "I've always had a sense of wanting to accomplish something and give something of myself back to the world. It's a competitive spirit inside — to be the best I can be. I feel like I'm a totally different person than I was five years ago. Back then, I was looking to the outside world for my happiness and for feeling okay about myself. I look inward now for that voice that tells me what I need and what I need to do to get to a place where I feel okay. That voice helps me stay in the moment more and be more accepting of where I am, which I think is the most valuable gift I can give myself."

WHO ARE YOU? It's a simple enough question but it's often hard to answer. If you're like many women, you might say, "I'm a mother, a wife, a lawyer (or architect or accountant or whatever the case may be), a daughter, a friend, a short-order cook, a housekeeper, a laundry expert, a gardener." And while all of those answers might be true, they all reflects who you are in the eyes of other people, in terms of what you do for them or with them. The truth is, you are more than the sum of your roles, responsibilities and accomplishments. None of these responses reflects who you are as a unique, separate person, and none of them addresses what makes you tick, what gets your energy flowing or what you feel passionate about in life. In short, lost in these descriptions is the sense of who you are in your own eyes, which is where it counts the most.

And that's too bad, because if you lose sight of who you are, deep down in your heart and soul, how can you possibly have a pulse on what you really want out of life? How can you feel grounded in this world? How can you make sense of your experiences? And how can you make decisions for your future?

Your image of yourself (in psychological terms it's called your self-concept) has a powerful influence on how you view the world and your life. In a nutshell, your self-concept reflects how you see yourself and what you believe about yourself. Over time, this contributes to your sense of identity. Your self-concept isn't a fixed entity, though; it can shift slightly from one situation to another, from one day to the next, depending partly on how you feel physically and emotionally. For example, you might feel full of confidence at your own birthday party, where you may be surrounded by people who know and love you. But you could feel like a mass of insecurities, possibly even downright inferior, a few days later when you're asked to brief your colleagues on a subject you know little about. In the first setting, your self-concept may be primarily positive; in the second, it could veer more toward the negative.

Your Roles, Your Well-Being

Several studies have found an association between the number of roles people occupy in their lives and their psychological well-being. One body of research has found a consistent connection between having numerous social ties and good health and psychological well-being. Another body of research suggests that juggling work and family roles promotes mental well-being. And numerous studies have found that married people tend to live longer and more healthfully than single people do.

Nevertheless, other research has found that women often respond differently to these factors than men do. For example, being employed boosts a woman's sense of well-being directly or may serve as a buffer against stress experienced in other roles (such as that of wife and mother). But it also appears that women may be especially vulnerable to role conflicts (clashes that occur when fulfilling the demands of one role jeopardizes a person's performance in another) and role overload (having so many demands related to a person's roles that performing well becomes virtually impossible).

In fact, a recent study involving 296 women who simultaneously cared for aging parents and occupied the roles of mother, wife and employee found that when women attached a greater sense of personal importance to these roles, they tended to have better psychological well-being. The theory is that people gain more meaning, a greater sense of purpose, and stronger guidance in how to behave in their lives when they're carrying out a role that they perceive to be essential to their concept of who they are. It also may be that they're more attuned to the rewards of that role. But at the same time, this sense of role importance can increase the potential for distress when the pressure mounts. Specifically, when women valued the roles of wife and employee highly, they were more vulnerable to the effects of stress in these areas. (Interestingly, this wasn't true of the mother role!)

Trying to be Superwoman can be a losing proposition. Which means that it's up to you to take steps to broaden your self-definition and safeguard your emotional health. It's not just a matter of functioning well in each area of your life or warding off effects of stress. It's a matter of empowering yourself to lead a more gratifying life.

Self-Concept, Deconstructed

Your self-concept isn't completely dependent on the environment. On the contrary, it's a complex phenomenon that incorporates a variety of factors. Your self-concept includes personality traits — such as shyness or intelligence — that may have been present since birth. But your beliefs about yourself also develop in response to experiences and your understanding of the roles you play in your life. Moreover, your self-concept also encompasses your body image, your sense of your own worth as a human being (your self-esteem, in other words), your sense of how other people see you, your sense that with some effort you can control events in your life, and the level of acceptance you have of yourself. In addition, your values, goals, plans, attitudes and moods also affect your sense of self.

When it comes to a person's definition of herself, all of these elements are intricately intertwined. But research from Vanderbilt University has found that men and women tend to think of themselves primarily in terms of the roles they hold; indeed, the social roles they occupy are powerful sources of their self-concepts. And for many people, self-esteem also plays a starring role. In a series of studies, psychologist Jennifer D. Campbell, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia, found that a person's self-esteem deeply influences the clarity of her self-concept; in other words, how she feels about or evaluates herself colors what she believes about herself. What Campbell discovered is that the self-concept of people with low self-esteem is more dependent on outside influences: what other people think of them or how they handle a particular situation. People with high self-esteem, in contrast, tend to have clearer, more stable self-concepts from one situation to another.

The moral of the story: If you don't have a clear sense of who or how you are, it may be worth taking steps to bolster your self-esteem. How? By accentuating the positive — particularly, your strengths and unique qualities — rather than dwelling on your weaknesses. By increasing your comfort zone by taking on challenges that are slightly out of reach but reasonable. By reminding yourself of your successes. And by facing your fears and working through them. In the process of boosting your self-esteem, you'll also be taking steps to strengthen your self-concept.

And that's worthwhile because your self-concept helps you interpret external information that's relevant to you. It helps you frame goals to guide your behavior in the future. It helps to convey a consistent image of who you are to other people. And a clear self-concept may even protect your health: A study from the University of Washington found that people with uncertain self-concepts were more vulnerable to stress-related lapses in health than were those with a strong sense of identity.

The Hazards of an Unexamined Life

If you don't have a clear sense of who you are, it may be because you've been batted around by stress and turmoil in your life or because you've grown too accustomed to looking outward, not inward. Especially in these high-speed times, it's all too easy to get swept up in the current of life and to lose sight of yourself as a separate, distinct person. It's a common hazard of leading a busy, hectic life, especially for working mothers. And it's hardly surprising when you consider that after fulfilling work responsibilities, caring for children, and completing chores at home, employed mothers have only an hour a day of personal time during the week, according to a recent survey by the Families and Work Institute in New York City. What's more, in a survey of 3,000 executives, 55 percent reported that they work at least 60 hours a week, and 29 percent confessed to 70 hours or more. No wonder 58 percent of working mothers in another survey reported that overtime work was a frequent cause of family squabbles.

When you feel pulled in multiple — and often conflicting — directions, or you're catering to the demands of too many people, it's easy to overlook your own wants and needs. Thinking about those can seem selfish or like an unaffordable luxury. Besides, when your plate is full of stress and responsibilities, sometimes it's just easier to avoid examining some of the unpleasant realities of your life — whether it's dissatisfaction with your career, your weight, your marriage or something else entirely — and simply carry on with business as usual. Indeed, many people make their way through life surrounded by a bubble of denial and self-deception. It's less painful that way. On some level, they probably figure that if they don't face the truth about a certain aspect of their lives, it won't exist. Or maybe they're secretly hoping the circumstances will magically change one day and they'll suddenly be happy. That's not likely to happen.

In all likelihood, the status quo will be maintained, and it can slowly, insidiously eat away at your sense of happiness and well-being. More often than not, continuously operating on automatic pilot eventually takes its toll, leaving you depleted of physical, emotional and spiritual energy. You could begin to suffer from depression, anxiety, stress overload, fatigue or other health conditions. Or you could wake up one day with a profound feeling of emptiness inside. None of these possibilities is good.

If there's one thing you can count on, it's this: If you don't take charge of your life, no one else will do it the way you would want him or her to. You're the director of your own show; in other words, you're accountable and responsible for your life. Of course, being passive is a choice, too, but it's one that will not serve you well in the end. After all, if you find yourself squelching your desires and simply following someone else's lead, you could wind up resenting it — and them.

Priority #1: You

The odds are, you probably already have some inkling of what you want for yourself and your life. What many people need most is permission to make themselves a priority and pursue what's really important to them. We're all works in progress. Month after month, and year after year, we're all trying — on some level, conscious or not — to figure out who we are and how we can strive to create the lives we want to live. Even so, there comes a time in many people's lives when they're ready to make significant changes, whether it's in their lifestyles, their careers or marital status, their geographical location or some other area of their lives. They might wake up one morning wondering how they arrived at the life they have. Or they may be walking around haunted by a vague sense of uneasiness. Or they may have a sudden epiphany about what they really want.

However the desire for change is sparked, the trouble is, many people don't know where or how to start to make a difference in their lives. They become so intent on moving forward that they may not be fully aware of their present circumstances or of what they really want deep down. Then they feel frustrated and disappointed when they end up with a result they hadn't quite planned on, or they don't understand why they wound up where they did.

The truth is, if you want to effectively change some aspect of your life, you have to understand what you want and why you want it. You need to chart your course toward a goal and to start altering your behavior. But before you try to change your behavior, it helps to understand why you've been doing whatever it is that you've been doing: to understand yourself, your thought patterns and habits, what motivates you, what holds you back, and so on. Without gaining this self-understanding, you'll just end up repeating the same old ways of thinking and doing and you'll feel stuck in a rut.

The journey to positive change or self-improvement has to begin in your head. Why? Because, as psychologists point out, beliefs reside in your mind, and your thoughts, ideas and attitudes, all of which originate in your mind, spur you into action and affect your perception of everything that happens. They guide your behavior. They act as a filter through which you experience situations and events. And they act as an expert commentator when it's time to analyze what has already happened. In this way, the landscape of the mind has the power to shape your entire life. For example, if you believe you can't do something — whether your goal is to lose weight, learn a new computer program or master a new sport — you probably won't be able to do it. And that's because your mind will be holding you back, discouraging you when you most need encouragement, setting up obstacles where there aren't any, or letting you give up when you need to persevere. On the other hand, if you believe your goal can be accomplished, your mind — and hence your behavior — will do nearly everything it can to help you succeed.

While research has found that women who have both a family and a career generally find their multiple roles fulfilling, conflicts inevitably arise that can cause a woman's stress level to soar. It's not a matter of perception; it's a fact. And although you can't make these conflicts go away, you can often change the way you think about them and deal with them, which can have a powerful effect in easing your burden. In a study involving married professional women with children, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin discovered that striving to meet existing role demands — by becoming more efficient and planning their time more carefully — and changing their attitudes about these work-family clashes were the most powerful coping mechanisms for handling them. Which suggests that your state of mind can be a potent ally in many aspects of your life.

If there's one thing that's entirely within your power to change, it's your attitude. As the English poet William Blake wrote in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." The key, then, is to open the doors of your mind to the possibilities of life and particularly to the possibilities of change. In order to do this, you must be willing to examine life from more than one angle, to shift your point of view. But first you'll need to cultivate a sense of self-awareness, an understanding of how you see yourself now and how you view the world, then you can address how you want to develop as a person.

Putting Yourself on the List

The truth is, most women take better care of other people — their spouses, children, friends and parents — than they do themselves. It shouldn't be that way. You are just as worthy of such tender, loving care as anyone else is. Besides, why should you be continuously self-sacrificing when, chances are, no one else in your household is? As Harvard psychologist Alice Domar, Ph.D., points out in her book Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself as Effectively as You Care for Everyone Else (Viking/Penguin), "What women need is to learn how to nurture themselves. We need to shower as much loving kindness on ourselves as we habitually shower on loved ones...the only way we can have fully formed selves is by granting ourselves the same tenderness and fierce protectiveness we'd otherwise reserve for a beloved child."

Indeed, the potential benefits of self-care are enormous. Taking psychological and emotional care of yourself helps shore up your self-esteem when it might be flagging. It makes life seem more multidimensional, more manageable, and more enjoyable. It can help improve the quality of your relationships by making you less needy or stressed out. And it helps replenish energy that's been spent on everyday activities, energy you'll need to maintain motivation to make the changes in your life that you crave.

But all too often, women treat themselves as second-class citizens: We've been socialized to be sensitive to other people's needs, but many women take this to an extreme, believing, on some level, that everyone else's needs come before their own. And they figure that after everyone else has been taken care of, they'll finally be able to focus what's left of their time, energy and attention on their own concerns. The trouble is, there's not much left after everyone else's wants and needs have been catered to. As a result, many women end up giving themselves short shrift.

But the reality is, if you want to improve your life, you need to start with the way you take care of yourself. And the key is to make changes from the inside out. It's all well and good to try to lose weight to feel better about yourself. Or to find a more fulfilling career to give you more satisfaction in life. Or to pursue a promising relationship that provides you with a deep sense of connection. But often real transformation starts from within when you explore the yearnings that underlie those goals. Indeed, if you focus on taking good care of yourself, on figuring out what gives your life meaning and what your personal values are, and then find a way to get more of those good things into your life, you'll naturally gain a healthy dose of self-awareness and a clear sense of your priorities. And often feeling grounded and good about yourself can set off a cascade of subtle events that bring improvements to your life.

The Benefits of Self-Care

Let's say you embark on a regimen to eat more nutritious food and exercise regularly in an effort to improve your health: With commitment and perseverance, you may end up losing weight and feeling better about your body. This could lead to a boost in self-confidence, which could affect how you present yourself to other people and what risks — emotional and physical — you're willing to take. Because you feel stronger and more capable, you might decide to go after a job promotion or try a new sport. These pursuits might encourage you to begin networking professionally or meeting new people socially. And things might just start to happen for you in many areas of your life. At that point, it may seem magical, as though you're attracting luck. But it has less to do with simple good fortune than with taking charge of one aspect of your life and putting yourself out there. With daring to present yourself in a new way.

The good news is, self-presentation seems to take a step in a stronger, more distinctive direction as we get older. Research from Wayne State University in Detroit has found that with the passing years, adults tend to shift away from emphasizing what they have in common with others and how they conform to social conventions; instead, they increasingly present themselves as unique individuals who have a complex personal history, both psychologically and chronologically. But you don't have to wait for the hands of time to move; you can nudge your self-presentation in a more distinctive direction now.

And it's worth the effort, because when you begin to feel special and distinctive, you tend to put your best foot forward and send a confident message about yourself into the world. This can have an effect that's almost like a magnet pulling good things toward you. Have you ever noticed how "lucky" people often seem to be in the right place at the right time? How good fortune seems to smile upon them? It's not that they have any mystical secrets to their success. Indeed, psychologists have found that people who see themselves as lucky or unlucky often dwell on the aspects of their lives that support their perception, a phenomenon called selective recall. When asked to recall key moments in their history, "lucky" people reflect on the situations that made them feel fortunate, and this focus perpetuates their ability to see themselves in a positive way.

In other words, luck has less to do with whether you're smiled upon by Fortune than with how you view your experiences. It also has to do with your approach to life — how much control you feel you have, how independent and persistent you are, whether you know when to cut your losses, and, of course, how you present yourself to the world. Lucky people capitalize on opportunities that appear for them and they do the necessary legwork to prepare for challenges. Among the key elements in luck's existence is a trait called self-efficacy — a can-do spirit and a sense of self-confidence that give you the gumption to strive for what you want. People with a strong sense of self-efficacy feel in control of their fate. They figure out what they want, set goals, work hard at achieving them, and notice promising opportunities. They're not afraid to go after what they want because they've made themselves a priority in their lives. They treat themselves as if they were special and often present themselves as lucky to other people. In other words, they create their own luck, and it has a transforming effect on them in the process.

How Body-Esteem Fits into Self-Esteem

Intimately connected with how you see and feel about yourself is your body image — how you see and feel about your physical self. Research from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, has found that body image makes up about 25 percent of a person's self-esteem. A woman's perception of her own body has a more significant impact on her feelings about herself and her sense of self-worth than it does for a man; most men aren't as emotionally invested in their physical selves. If a woman is happy with her body, her movements and expressions are likely to be confident, flowing and graceful; if she feels distressed about her appearance, on the other hand, her movements and expressions may be awkward, self-conscious and constricted.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of American women are unhappy with their bodies, regardless of where they fall on the weight charts. In large measure this is due to the pressure women feel to conform to cultural standards of beauty that are depicted on television, in movies and in magazines — standards that are completely unattainable for most women. To some extent, these treat women as sexual objects, a phenomenon that can be highly damaging. In a recent study at Duke University, researchers examined the link between being preoccupied with one's own physical appearance, body shame and eating disorders. What they found is that women who were extremely focused on their physical appearance were at increased risk for disordered eating habits. The reason: They felt ashamed of their bodies. As the researchers noted, this body shame can, in turn, have a profoundly negative impact on a woman's sense of self.

But not every woman who feels dissatisfied with her body suffers from disordered eating habits or a poor sense of self. Indeed, recent research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that women who harbor a negative view of their bodies but have normal eating habits tend to have healthier coping strategies — problem solving, seeking social support, reducing tension, emphasizing the positive — which help them cope with not feeling as well as they could about themselves physically. They're also better able to isolate their poor body image so that it doesn't affect their broader view of themselves. In other words, they're able to maintain positive beliefs about themselves, even if they don't always feel comfortable in their own skin.

Once again, these results highlight just how important it is to have an expansive view of yourself, one that allows you to feel positively about many different facets of yourself and your life.

Assessing Yourself

Before you can take steps toward enhancing your sense of yourself or improving your life, you need to get reacquainted with your strengths, your weaknesses, your hopes, your dreams. Think of it as a way of becoming intimately familiar with your inner world. This self-awareness will serve as a prelude to change. Chances are, your inner landscape has changed from what it was, say, 5, 10 or 20 years ago. So it's time to update the picture with a little self-exploration. Get out a pen and pad of paper or a journal book, and do the following exercises.

Self-Exploration Exercise #1: My Life in Review

Choose a time when you're not rushed, when you have the luxury of being alone with your own thoughts, and ask yourself these 20 questions. Write down the answers; they hold valuable lessons: They can help you frame your actions, set priorities and overcome stumbling blocks as you pursue new goals.

1. Am I doing what I want to do with my career — or am I doing what's easy or comfortable?

2. What would I consider my ideal job or vocation?

3. What's my greatest triumph in life so far?

4. What is my most precious unrealized dream?

5. Do I have a secret ambition?

6. Who in my life has had the most profound influence on me?

7. How do I want to live?

8. What's been the biggest disappointment or trauma in my life so far and how has it shaped me?

9. What do I fear most in life?

10. What would I do if my worst fear actually happened?

11. What makes me feel most competent in my life?

12. What special ingredient seems to be missing from my life?

13. Where do I pour most of my time and energy?

14. If I didn't have to work, how would I choose to spend my time?

15. What activity makes me feel happiest and most fulfilled?

16. How would I describe the ideal marriage?

17. How would I most like people to remember me after I'm gone?

18. What would I most like to change about myself?

19. How would I describe my philosophy of life? Am I following it?

20. If I could rewrite one part of my history, what would it be?

Coming to Terms with Disappointment

As you review your life and your dreams, you may feel a sense of disappointment. Even if you've achieved many of the things you thought you wanted — buying a house, getting a new job, marrying and starting a family — you may feel unfulfilled. And if you feel chronically disappointed — over the loss of your dreams or the failure of your expectations, for example — this can affect your general attitude toward life and lead to feelings of sadness, anger, or despair, according to psychologist David Brandt, Ph.D., author of Is That All There Is? Balancing Expectation and Disappointment in Your Life (Impact).

But there are valuable lessons in disappointment, which is basically nothing more than unmet expectations or the loss of an anticipated outcome. If you examine your disappointments and your pattern of becoming disappointed and express your feelings about them (individually or collectively), you can often uncover your true desires in life. The key is to first reveal your underlying expectation and then to ask yourself why it's important to you. For example, if you recently felt disappointed by the squabbling that went on at a family reunion and you examine how and why you feel let down, you might realize that what you really want is to have a family that gets along; on a deeper level, you might discover that what you truly crave is a sense of peace in your life. Then, if you examine this desire objectively, you might realize how unrealistic it is to expect an extended family to get along famously all the time. Once you accept that, you can let go of your dashed hopes and the downward emotional pull they can exert.

After you've moved away from the feeling, you might also start to think about ways to modify your expectations so that they are more realistic in the future. Or you might consider how you can take steps to attain your underlying desire on your own. If a sense of peace is what you crave, for instance, you might pursue avenues that lead to developing inner peace — learning to meditate or do yoga, taking nature walks or keeping a journal — instead of expecting a sense of calm to prevail in the external world. The bottom line is: If handled the right way, disappointment can actually inspire you to take steps toward improving your life.

Self-Exploration Exercise #2: Where Your Energy Goes
Versus Where You Want It to Go

To figure out how you currently divide your time and energy into different aspects of your life, draw a pie chart like the one below. Draw lines wherever you see fit to indicate how much of your life — and yourself — is devoted to your career, your marriage (or romance, if you're single), your children, your parents, your friends, home management, physical activity, other leisure activities, self-care, volunteer or civic duties, spirituality, and other pursuits.

Next, draw another circle and divide it to indicate how much of yourself, your time and energy, you'd like to spend in the 8 to 10 aspects of your life that you value most. These can include your career, romance, family, friends, hobbies, fitness or other health activities, spiritual pursuits, community involvement, or something else altogether (but be specific about what it is).

Now, compare your two circles. Note the discrepancies in how you spend your precious time and energy. For each area where there's a considerable difference, write down two things that you can start doing now to improve that area of your life. In the area of romance, this might include making a weekly lunch date with your honey or spending 20 minutes catching up on each other's lives after the kids go to bed. In the area of spiritual pursuits, this could include spending 15 minutes a day in solitude, thinking about your values and beliefs or meditating, or taking a class in religious studies. In the area of fitness, you might choose to take a walk twice a week during your lunch hour or sign up for a spinning or yoga class one night a week. By mapping out things you can do to improve various aspects of your life now, you'll see that you do have the power to make small but effective changes that will add up to significant improvements over time.

Self-Exploration Exercise #3: Facing the Mirror

If you were to look at yourself as a friend might look at you, who would you see? Read through all the qualities that are listed below and next to each indicate how well they describe you as you are today. Rate them on a scale from 1 to 3 — with 1 indicating "very descriptive of me," 2 meaning "somewhat descriptive of me," and 3 being "not at all descriptive of me." This will help you create an honest but uncritical profile of what you believe about yourself today.

Note: Save your answers because you will refer to this self-evaluation again later.

Caring Patient Friendly Gentle

Energetic Creative Articulate Cooperative

Clever Resilient Likable Independent

Resourceful Intelligent Assertive Spontaneous

Passionate Considerate Lighthearted Ambitious

Funny Reliable Organized Thoughtful

Playful Tactful Warm Competent

Self-Exploration Exercise #4: Rating Your Perceptions of Yourself

Now that you have a clearer sense of how you see yourself, it's time to evaluate what you see. Based on your perceptions of yourself, take a look at your traits and honestly assess those you like and those you don't by answering the following questions:

1. Write down the three qualities you most like about yourself.

2. Why do you like each of them?

3. How do you use these qualities in your life?

4. How could you put them to further use in your life, to improve yourself or gain new opportunities for personal growth?

5. Write down the three qualities you least like about yourself.

6. Why don't you like each of them?

7. How has each of these qualities influenced your life, for better or worse?

8. What, if anything, could you do to change or improve them?

Hopefully, you've gained some insights into yourself with this exercise. But it's also important to put these insights into practice by taking steps to use your positive qualities more effectively or to improve upon the less desirable ones. Make a conscious effort to take small steps in these directions daily.

Self-Exploration Exercise #5: How Do You Operate?

Now you've got a pulse on your values and your personality traits. But a key question is: How are you putting these insights to use? Use this questionnaire to assess how you generally conduct yourself in your life. For this exercise, ask two close friends or loved ones to answer these questions about you, too.

  • Do you generally act in accordance with a strong sense of purpose or a philosophy of life?
  • How well do you prepare mentally and emotionally for challenges that lie ahead?
  • Are you effective at managing your time — or does it manage you?
  • How well do you deal with adversity or unforeseen crises?
  • Is your attitude generally positive and constructive, or negative and critical?
  • How well do you bounce back from disappointment or setbacks?
  • Do you take time for yourself — for mental or emotional refreshment — each day?
  • How do you manage stress?
  • Does your life have a healthy balance between work and pleasure, between social involvement and introspection?
  • Generally speaking, do you feel that you have the power to control your life or do you see yourself more as a victim of circumstances, constantly reacting to whatever life throws your way?

After answering all these questions, go back through this list and look at your patterns. Use your friends' evaluations as a reality check: If there's a discrepancy between your response and theirs, take a closer look at your own behavior. If you feel comfortable doing so, it may even be helpful to discuss their perceptions of your behavior with them. They may see you doing things that you're not aware of.

Next, jot down at least two things you could do to improve upon what you've been doing in each area. For example, if you don't usually prepare well for challenges that lie ahead, think of what you could start doing — whether it's developing contingency plans in case something goes wrong, or mentally rehearsing how you might deal with potential obstacles. Similarly, if your attitude tends to gravitate toward the negative, critical end of the spectrum, think about how you could steer it back toward the middle or positive end — by making an effort to look for the silver lining in distressing situations or by using more encouraging thoughts to refute negative ones, for instance. If you practice taking these steps on a regular basis, soon enough they'll become second nature. And you'll be on your way to achieving a better you.

Putting Yourself on the Agenda

Why spend time doing all these exercises? Because they'll help you begin to see yourself in a clearer light. They'll help you rediscover what makes you tick, what gets your creative or intellectual juices flowing, what once-treasured aspects of yourself you may have lost touch with. Hopefully, these exercises will also give you a clearer picture of your values and of what's truly important to you in your life. You might just realize that it isn't what you thought it was.

When you take a step back from your day-to-day existence and reflect on all these different aspects of yourself and your life, you'll begin to see that you're greater than the sum of your parts. That there's more to you than being a wife, a mother, a working woman; that there are valuable traits and cherished dreams inside you that deserve to be nurtured. And that you deserve to carve out time and devote resources to allowing yourself to become the best you that you can possibly be.

After all, this is your life — and it's the only one you're going to get. So why not give yourself permission to make taking care of yourself and pursuing your dreams a top priority? Remind yourself that it sure beats the alternative — feeling exhausted or unhappy, or flirting with burnout, in which case you won't be much use to yourself or to those who depend on you. But if you do make self-care a priority — and learn to set limits with other people in order to do so — you'll be setting up a win-win proposition for everybody. Chances are, you'll feel happier, stronger, and more grounded in the world; you might even gain a sense of peace within yourself. And as a result, you'll probably have more energy, patience, attention, tolerance and goodwill to give your loved ones and friends. What could be better than that?

Assignment Write a blatantly honest obituary for yourself as you are today. Put in as much detail as possible about your accomplishments, your strengths and weaknesses, your values, the qualities that make you unique, how you've lived your life, and how friends and loved ones are likely to remember you. Then take some time to reflect on how you feel about the person you've just described. Do you like her? What would you want to change about her if you could?

Excerpted from
Reinventing Yourself with the Duchess of York

Copyright © 2001 by The Duchess of York and Weight Watchers International Inc.
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