15 Quotes About Beauty to Live By

By Alicia Sparks • 1 min read

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So many of us exercise and eat healthy to improve our physical appearance, and while that’s definitely a perk (though, I’ve already expressed how it’s only one of the many perks of healthy living!), there’s so much more to beauty than the physical.

We forget this from time to time (sadly, some of us never actually know it).

As a reminder (or lesson), I’ve dug around and found 15 quotes about beauty — real, meaningful personal inner beauty, as well as external world beauty — to live by.

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The Best Healthy Living Advice I’ve Ever Gotten

By Alicia Sparks • 1 min read

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I hope you’ve excused my absence, sweet readers. I’ve spent the last week trying to organize a move, which has taken most of my time. As anyone who’s moved can imagine, a lot of things get put on the backburner when a move takes place!

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Life Hack: 9 Ways to Start Running

By Alicia Sparks • 4 min read

Some of you know I joined a gym in January and, as a quick update, it’s been great! I’ve stayed accountable with my workout buddies, gotten to know a few of the other gym members (as well as the owner, who’s super helpful), and overall taken the panic and anxiety out of joining a gym in the first place.

However, now that I’m getting regular strength training, I need to work some cardio into my routine.

Sure, I hope on the treadmill and speed walk a couple miles, but what I really miss is running, which I haven’t done since last summer…

…and, given it’s been that long, I feel a bit like a newbie.

So, how do I get started again? The same way any newbie runner would!

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Eating Disorders Awareness: “I Had No Idea…”

By Alicia Sparks • 1 min read

The National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week kicked off on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

This year’s NEDA theme, “I Had No Idea…”:

[…] aims to promote public and media attention to the seriousness of eating disorders and improve education about the biological underpinnings, environmental triggers, warning signs and how to help those struggling.

In honor of that, I thought I’d join the movement and share with you some facts about eating disorders you might not have known, and I encourage you to click on the source links to learn even more about eating disorders.

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POLL: Before-and-After Pictures: More Harm Than Good?

By Alicia Sparks • 1 min read

beforeandafter240I have to admit: I love before-and-after pictures off all kinds. Home renovations, furniture restorations, even makeup transformations — you name it, chances are I love looking at it.

Except when it comes to before-and-after pictures of our bodies. I’m a bit on the fence about those.

On the one hand, it’s inspiring to see someone get in great shape; it can make you feel like you, too, have the power to be your fittest self (not to mention, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside for the person who’s succeeding his or her goals).

On the other hand, it could make you feel as if you’re not measuring up.

If this person can look this way after this period of time, why can’t I?

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Feeling a Little Unfit? 13 Reasons NOT to Get in Shape

By Alicia Sparks • 1 min read

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Lately, I’ve been super focused on getting fit.

After my father’s death (and all the subsequent life-altering experiences that came with that while trying to juggle “regular” everyday life such as work), I put on a few pounds, made excuses not to run or attend yoga classes, and — well — just basically put my physical health on the backburner.

Now that I’ve had some time to adjust, it’s time to get back on track. I joined a gym in January (and am proud to say I’ve made it out of the “January Club”!), started cleaning up my diet again, and have been browsing various yoga classes to find something that’ll get me out of my living room and back into the studio.

(Now, if only this pesky bitter cold winter would pass, I could get off the treadmill and back to the park!)

Anyway, during this journey back to getting fit, I’ve done some thinking about why I want to get fit. Simply put, it’s for me. I want to feel better physically (which always makes me feel better mentally) as well as feel comfortable in my own skin again (another mental perk!).

During these musings, I started wondering about the reasons not to get fit. That’s right; while I firmly believe in physical wellness and how it impacts our mental health and wellness, I also believe there are reasons you should avoid when getting in shape…and I think many of you will be able to relate.

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National Wear Red Day: 3 Ways Women Can Combat Heart Disease

By Alicia Sparks • 2 min read

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Happy Friday, ladies!

If you get out and about today, you might see a sea of red — and it’s not just that everyone decided to make a bold fashion choice!

Nope, today is the annual National Wear Red Day 2015, hosted by the American Heart Association (AMA) Go Red for Women campaign.

According to the AMA:

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!

Fortunately, there are many ways we can combat heart disease — starting TODAY — even if you’re new to the game!

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Life Hack: 15 Ways to Repurpose an Old Yoga Mat

By Alicia Sparks • 1 min read

My old yoga mat has downed its last dog, I’m afraid, and I’m in the market for a new one.

However, my yoga mat and I have been through so many good (and bad, and grueling, and kiss-my-ass!) times together that I’m not ready to let her go just yet — completely, that is.

I’m Terrified of Yoga Inversions (& Other Random Confessions)

Thus, I’ve done some research on how to repurpose yoga mats. Reusing old yoga mats both helps you cut back on your environmental impact and get a few helpful tools around the home.

I mean, win/win, right? :)

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8 Resources for Clean Eating (& Improving Mental Health!)

By Alicia Sparks • 2 min read

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Over the years, research has shown that food affects not only our physical health (um, duh?), but also our mental health.

For example, a well-balanced diet can help reduce depression symptoms, prevent mood swings related to blood sugar levels, and help improve concentration.

We all know that, right?

However, what about clean eating? You know, cutting out all that heavily processed junk like frozen meals and even some “healthy” pre-packaged weight loss snacks?

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How to Overcome the Panic and Anxiety of Joining a Gym

By Alicia Sparks • 3 min read

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Although I’m a strong advocate of running outdoors, I’m not at all opposed to joining a gym (especially when exercising outside or even in your home just isn’t an option). They’re full of all the equipment you want and need, they’re great places to meet new people, and — let’s face it — Netflix marathons aside, going to the gym gives you a much better reason to wear those sweats.

However, joining a gym can be intimidating — for some (like me), it can even cause panic and anxiety.

Even so, I decided to join a gym this year as part of my physical wellness plan, and my experiences shopping around helped me figure out a few tips for joining a gym that might help you, too.

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