Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month across the world, urging women to look after their health and look out for the early signs of breast cancer. It is a disease that is often shrugged off by women, convinced that they and their friends and family will not be affected by it. However, the reality is that, a woman is diagnosed every few minutes and despite the best efforts of medicine and charities, it remains a life-threatening disease. This month of October, around 5000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to dispel the myths, and perceived embarrassment that surrounds breast cancer, by encouraging women to look out for the early signs and to openly discuss the disease and its consequences within their social circles. Any concerns are worth getting checked out- leave no room for doubt.

It is important to understand the tell-tale signs which many women are first confronted with when checking for breast cancer. For a large proportion of women, the cancer will present itself as a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast. Reassuringly, doctors say that breast lumps are 90% non-cancerous, but they urge you to have them checked anyway- always better to be safe. Other signs include unusual changes to the shape or size of your nipples, a rash in that are or discharge from your nipples. All warrant a check-up with your Doctor. At your appointment, the doctor will perform a manual check-up before referring you for a mammogram.  This procedure is painless, and takes only ten minutes.

 

While certain factors such as family history may make you more predisposed to contracting breast cancer, there are certain preventative measures you can take to help lower your risk, and maintain good physical health. Here are some of Curves’ top tips on how to best look after your health:

  • Be as physically active as possible. Exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, can help to reduce your risk of breast cancer. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, as well as strength-training at least twice a week. So whether that’s walking the kids to school, taking the dog for a long walk or making sure you get to every one of your Curves classes, any and all exercise is welcome!
  • Limit your alcohol intake. Research has linked drinking to the development of breast cancer. Make sure that you adhere to the weekly unit recommendations.
  • Control your weight. Being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk of contracting breast cancer. Regular exercise and a healthy and balanced diet will help keep you in shape and joining a club like Curves ensures you get the support and advice needed to keep you on your path to fitness!
  • Limit the dose and duration of hormone therapy. Studies have shown that combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years can increase the risk of breast cancer. If you’re undergoing hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, it is worth seeking information on alternative therapies and medications from your doctor.

At Curves, we are committed to doing all we can to eradicate this disease in the future. That’s why, during the month of October at participating Curves clubs, we will be offering a special discount on our club’s memberships. Clubs will be donating to a breast cancer charity. Look after your health and fight back against breast cancer!

For more support on your journey to optimum health and fitness, book your free consultation now so contact your nearest Curves club.

 

 

 

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RECIPE: MINESTRONE SOUP

By Curves

Minestrone Soup
Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil

1/6 whole onion, chopped

1/3 stick celery

1/3 medium carrot

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 T basil, ground

1 dash black pepper, to taste

1/2 c tomatoes, canned, diced (no added salt)

1/4 c tomatoes, canned, crushed (no added salt)

1 c water

1/4 T dill, fresh or dried

3/4 c chickpeas, canned, no added salt

1 T parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 c green beans, trimmed

 

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the green beans, garlic, oregano, basil, and pepper and cook 3 more minutes.
  3. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chickpeas and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with the Parmesan and chopped dill.

 

Calories 403, Fat 13g, Saturated Fats 13.5g, Protein 22g, Fiber 17 g, Carbohydrate 53 g

For Phase 3:  Enjoy with bread for dipping and/or a larger portion.

 

 

RECIPE: CHOP SUEY

By Curves

This recipe was submitted by a Curves Complete participant. It is simple to prepare, has great Asian flavors and is loaded with veggies. Mix it up with your favorite veggies. Enjoy!

 

Chop Suey
Serves 4
Ingredients:

2 T brown rice

1/2 T low sodium soy sauce

1 T hoisin sauce

3/4 tsp ginger root

1/4 tsp garlic

3/4 tsp cornstarch (cornflour)

2 T low sodium beef stock

1/4 tsp sesame oil

pinch crushed red pepper (chili flakes)

3/4 tsp canola oil

3/4 c mushrooms

1 rib celery

1/4 c onion

1/4 head baby bok choy

1/4 c snow peas

2 oz water chestnuts (canned)

1 green onions (spring onions)

1 basil leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  2. Grate ¾ tsp ginger and mince 1 small garlic clove. 
  3. Combine the following ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside: 2 T low sodium beef stock, 2 tsp hoisin sauce, ¾ tsp low sodium soy sauce, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cornstarch (cornflour), 1/4 tsp sesame oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes (chili flakes).
  4. Chop the following vegetables: mushrooms, celery, onion, bok choy, green onions and basil.
  5. Heat oil in a large pan or wok over high heat. In the same pan, add mushrooms, onion and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the bok choy and snow peas and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the water chestnuts and green onions. Stir reserved sauce and add it to the pan. Cook for a couple minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves.
  6. Serve with brown rice.

 

Calories 390, Fat 11g, Saturated Fats 3g, Fiber 6 g, Carbohydrate 38 g, Sodium 672

 

WHY YOU WILL BE MORE MOTIVATED TO WORK OUT IF YOU BRING A FRIEND

By Curves

Most things in life are better with a friend, and that’s especially true of our fitness pursuits. Admit it, sometimes it’s really difficult to find the motivation to work out: you’re too busy, too tired, or discouraged by your progress. Going to Curves with a friend will erase potential roadblocks on your path to fitness and good health. Here’s what a fitness buddy can do for you:

 

  1. She’ll keep you true.

Though you might bag a date you’ve made with yourself, you’re far less likely to cancel plans with your friend. So make a workout date with a friend.

 

  1. She’ll give you a pep talk when you need one.

Good friends have each other’s back, right? So on days when you just don’t feel like hitting the circuit, turn to your workout pal for a pep talk. Someday you’ll return the favor, reminding her how important Curves is to fitness but also how great you’ll both feel after just 30 minutes.

 

  1. She can offer tips on technique.

Make a pact to point out any slip-ups in technique that you spot (it can happen to the best of us). When you work out in good form, you avoid injury and you get your best results.

 

  1. She’ll push you to your highest level.

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to get you working harder around the circuit. A best effort gets best results. And when you are stronger and slimmer, you’re happier and more motivated to keep coming back to Curves to achieve your ultimate goals.

 

  1. She makes it fun.

Studies show that those who exercise with friends, enjoy their workout more. A friendly face on the circuit, sharing remarks on recovery stations, catching up during the post-workout stretch, and maybe heading for a cup of coffee afterward—all of it makes the experience more enjoyable. You’ll look forward to your next visit.

 

So rather than hope that your Curves buddies will be there when you go, plan ahead of time to meet on the circuit at the same time. Don’t have a Curves buddy? Talk with your Curves Coach about getting a buddy pass so you can introduce a friend to fitness and fun.

 

 

WHY BOOSTING YOUR MUSCLES CAN BOOST YOUR MOOD

By Curves

It’s a given that resistance training builds muscle and physical strength. Perhaps less obvious are the ways that it strengthens your mood and mind.

 

Researchers at the University of Georgia did an extensive review of studies—specifically, randomized controlled trials–that looked at the relationship between resistance training and its effect on mental wellbeing. They concluded that regular strength work may produce the following positive outcomes:

  • calm anxiety
  • reduce depression, particularly in those who are clinically depressed
  • improve sleep
  • enhance cognition and memory
  • raise self-esteem

You can learn more here: http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/resistance-training-improves-mental-healthstudies

 

 

Strength training, like aerobic activity, also promotes the release of feel-good endorphins and raises your level of energy to help drive all the activities of your life.

 

One of the most powerful mood boosters you reap with regular resistance training is greater self-satisfaction. Every 30-minute workout on the Curves circuit is an accomplishment. And with every week that you complete those workouts, you get a little stronger. Over time, you’ll find that everything you do, from carrying groceries to playing with your kids in the backyard to your morning walks with friends around the neighborhood, becomes easier and more enjoyable. And, you’ll notice new muscle tone in your arms, legs, and abs. You’ll feel really good about you.

 

To cultivate that stronger self-esteem and all of the mood- and mind-boosting benefit of your Curves workouts, follow these five tips:

 

  1. To benefit from the mood-boosting effects of resistance training, you need to do it consistently and regularly. Mark your calendar with three or four Curves workouts a week and treat them like appointments with your doctor—not to be missed.
  2. Make plans to work out with a friend. Strength-training with a buddy keeps you accountable, and it adds to the fun.
  3. Consider CurvesSmart®*. This program uses a computer to track your optimal effort on each machine as set by you and your coach. It’s challenging, and facing and meeting that challenge provides a real boost to your self-esteem.
  4. Enjoy the moment. You know that good feeling you get at the end of every workout? That combination of accomplishment and endorphins? Revel in it.
  5. Meet weekly with your Curves consultant to review your progress toward your goals and celebrate every accomplishment. Success is one of the best mood-boosters of all.

 

HOW TO GET BETTER POSTURE AND WHY

By Curves

“Stand up straight.” It’s one of a mother’s many excellent pieces of advice. Her reason—appearance. You look better—more confident—when you stand tall. But good posture provides even greater rewards.

 

Prevents back pain. Holding your head high, torso vertical, and shoulders back keeps your spine in proper alignment and helps you avoid back pain. Slouching curls your spine and puts extra stress on back muscles that have to work harder to keep you stable and upright according to sources and the Mayo Clinic.

 

Makes you look slimmer. Want to trim your tummy instantly? Stand tall. Slouching compresses your torso and pushes your midsection outward. Pull your shoulders back and belly in.

 

May boost your mood. A few studies suggest that adopting good posture may improve affect among people with mild depression and those under stress. More research needs to be done to confirm these results, but next time you find yourself in a figurative and literal slump, sit up, stand up, pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, and face those challenges with confidence.  You can learn more here:source

 

Moves that Improve Posture

Certainly be aware and attentive to how you stand and sit–head up, shoulders back and in line with your hips—but your best strategy for achieving and maintaining good posture is to strengthen your back, shoulders, and core says Megan Johnson, senior manager of programs and CurvesSmart. Here’s how the Curves Circuit does just that.

 

The Dip Shrug. “The move you perform on this machine requires you to stand nice and tall,” says Johnson. “And it helps sculpt your shoulders.”

 

The Chest-Back. This machine—as the name reveals—strengthens your chest and back muscles.

 

The Ab/Back.  “You might not think of this machine when you think about improving your posture,” says Johnson, “but a strong core is the foundation of good posture, and the ab/back machine will strengthen your core.”

 

The best move you can make toward improving your posture is to get yourself to Curves regularly every week. You’ll walk out stronger, slimmer, and happier.

 

 

VACATION NUTRITION TIPS TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK

Claire Kowalchik

Going on vacation doesn’t mean you get to take a vacation from your healthy lifestyle—at least not a significant one. Unfortunately, temptation greets you everywhere, whether it’s the ice cream and pizzerias along the boardwalk, the cotton candy and caramel corn at the county fair, or pina coladas and margaritas at the resort hotel. The lure to splurge is great, and willpower under the influence of fun and frolic can be a little challenging. Here are several tried-and-true tips to keep you faithful to your healthy eating goals while allowing a touch of indulgence.

Don’t skip breakfast
You’ll get the brightest and most energetic start from a breakfast that combines protein with carbohydrates, such as a vegetable omelet with whole wheat toast or nonfat plain Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular yogurt) with fruit and a sprinkling of nuts. It will keep you feeling satisfied longer and offers a steady supply of energy throughout the morning.

Be smart about snacks
You already know that eating a snack between meals prevents you from getting too hungry and overeating at lunch or dinner. When you’re on vacation and on the go during the day, carry a snack in your purse. Having one handy will help prevent you from diving into the ice cream shop or the pizza parlor when hunger strikes. A perfect option is one of the Curves Snack Bars. If it’s a hot, sunny day and you simply crave a cool treat, opt for a fruit popsicle, or frozen yogurt topped with fruit, over higher-calorie ice cream.

Dine wisely
When dining out, choose a meal with lean proteins (chicken, fish, beans or tofu), lots of vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid fried foods, high-carb entrees, and dishes made with cream sauces or lots of cheese. Share a meal with a friend or family member, especially if you select a menu item that’s a little higher in calories and fat than you might otherwise eat. If no one at your table is willing to share, ask your waiter or waitress to divide the meal and put half in a doggie bag before she brings your food to your table.

Indulge judiciously
Okay, you are on vacation, and it’s only fitting that you relax—just a bit—your tight rein on drinks and desserts, the empty-calorie but full-of-pleasure indulgences. “If you want to have a special splurge on vacation, you can plan for it and stay on track with your weight-loss goals,” says Darcie Anderson, Curves nutritionist. “Phase 2 of Curves Complete allows 400 combined calories of snacks throughout the day, and occasionally, you can enjoy all those calories in one delicious indulgence.”

If celebratory cocktails call to you, Anderson suggests making a wine spritzer with sparkling water, wine, and a splash of fruit juice. “You can have two for the same caloric impact as one glass of wine,” says Anderson. “This is a refreshing way to stretch your drinks out over the evening.”

Move a little more
For all of your efforts at calorie control while you’re on vacation, you’re likely to consume a few extra. “Try to find creative ways to get in more steps, or try a new activity,” advises Anderson