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Review: Get in Pre-Pregnancy Shape and a Dancer’s Body with Ballet Body DVD series

As most people know, the abdominal area is the area of a woman’s body that is THE hardest to return to pre-pregnancy shape. A lot of women suffer from a condition called distastes recti when pregnant which involves a separation of the two segments of the abdominal muscle area as the uterus grows.

Ideally, the abdomnial wall would stay intact and the uterus would grow behind it. Women who have this effect have an even tougher time at getting their tummy back in tip top shape.

I had it and each time I was pregnant I was I could always rely on Pilates to help me get my body back into shape to counter the effects of this condition. Pilates and Ballet are great because they are low-impact yet focus on strengthening one’s core, which includes the abdominal muscles. 
I swear by these exercise formats to  help develop a strong core area, to tone the total body, but especially to help shape and tighten the hips, buttocks and arms (aka the problem areas).

After getting the okay from their doctors, new moms should make sure they include cardio in their post-pregnancy routine, but they should also definitely include strength and core conditioning. They are a must.

This winter, I was offered to test out the Ballet Body series: The Ballet Body Lower Body ($16.99); Ballet Body Upper Body ($16.99); and Ballet Body Core ($16.99) DVD, which is distributed by Acacia Media group, which sells other popular exercise DVDs. 
Oh my! The bomb! Do people still use that term? Amazon.com Widgets
I must say the exercises are rigorous though fitness professional Leah Sarago who designed and stars in each DVD shows viewers plenty of adjustments for their skill level: beginner or intermediate. I could ascertain from going through each of the 40-55 minute DVD in the series that they were well planned and designed to work and tone every muscle in the body. The Ballet Body series is a perfect blend of core and other exercises for the serious woman looking to get fit and toned this summer. 
I have reviewed several different exercise DVDs and programs from dozens of instructors over that past decade, starting from those that came on VHS tapes, and I do believe that Sarago’s is among the top and best in this genre.  
If you stick to it, combine it with a healthy eating regimen, and actually do the DVDs  periodically for a continuous period of time, you are almost guaranteed to see weight melt off, and inches disappear, with muscle replacing fat.

Buy the DVDs or series on Sarago’s website where you can also get digital downloads in lieu of a DVD.

If you do decide to test it out based on my recommendation, I am eager to learn how it works out for you and would appreciate getting a line back at JJ (at) bellyitchblog.com!
Good luck, new moms! Get that body in shape!

Enjoy this sample of the work out for a segment Sarago starred in:

 NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather

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National Wear Red Day is Tomorrow – Tips for Managing Stress & fighting Heart Disease in Women

Tomorrow, Friday, February 7   Go Red for Women  to show your support to fight Heart Disease, the No. 1 killer of women in the United States which claims more lives than all forms of cancer. Recent studies also found that cardiac disease in pregnancy is becoming more common.
For over 10 years, the American Heart Association has sponsored National Wear Red Day® to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women.
Practically speaking, you can support by educating yourself and your female friends and loved ones on how to stay heart healthy.
There are 4 simple things you can do to improve your chances of living a healthy life and avoiding heart disease:  1) Quit smoking,  2) Get Consistent exercise,  3) Manage your Stress and Eat healthier including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish and nuts,  and avoiding red meat, as well as sugary and processed foods and foods that are high in sodium.
40 Red dresses under $100





The Go Red website offers tips for managing stress:





Think ahead

Practicing effective time management is key to lessening stress in the workplace. Jacobs recommends starting projects far ahead of deadlines to guard against scrambling at the last second. Take note of how long tasks or projects take you to complete so you can best manage your own expectations and those of your colleagues. Avoid the stress of being late to meetings by setting your watch five to 10 minutes ahead.

Focus on one thing at a time

Instead of trying to deal with everything at once—answer emails, make calls, organize your desk, finish a report—focus on accomplishing one thing at a time. For example, answer emails for an allotted amount of time, then stop and focus on something else, like the report you need to finish. This helps minimize stress by allowing you to focus on the objective at hand instead of feeling scattered.

Take a break

“We all need to build in rest periods during the day,” Jacobs says. “Working through lunch is a terrible way of managing stress. Try taking 30 to 60 minutes to step away from your desk and decompress. You will come back with a sense of replenishment.”

Adjust your expectations

While it is important to challenge yourself at work, taking on more than you can handle can create a tremendous amount of stress.

“If you have no chance of meeting expectations in the workplace, it can cause feelings of demoralization,” Jacobs says. “Find ways to decrease the demands made upon your self, if that means being less self critical or having a frank conversation with your superior about adjusting your workload.”

Use emergency stress stoppers

Emergency stress stoppers help you deal with stress on the spot. These can be extremely effective in the work environment when you’ve got a lot on your plate, your mind is racing and the stress is mounting. You may need different stress stoppers for different situations and sometimes it helps to combine them.

  • Count to 10 before you speak.
  • Take three to five deep breaths.
  • Ask for time to handle a stressful situation, so you can accomplish it to your liking and on your terms.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry,” if you make a mistake.

If you shop at Party City stores nationwide, from  February 2nd through March 1, 2014, it will collect $1, $3 and $5 donations from customers in stores with all proceeds raised to be donated to Go Red For Women.

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10 Tips to protect you & your kids from catching the flu

It’ flu season again.

Kids are back in school and susceptible to coming home with a virus they pick up for a classmate. There are things families can do to try to prevent catching the flu. Dr. Muhammad A. Mirza, Medical Director at the Allied Medical & Diagnostic in Clifton, NJ, offers these flu prevention tips for parents and their children.

  1. Wash your hands—The most effective way to prevent the spread of germs and the flu virus is to constantly wash your hands.  For those occasions where you are unable to wash your hands properly keep a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 70% isopropyl alcohol or 60% ethyl alcohol) nearby. 
  2. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing—Rather than into your hands, try sneezing into a tissue (if handy) or into the fold of your elbow. 
  3. Avoid frequently touching nose, eyes & mouth—Even with frequent washing, your hands are still covered in germs, so keep them away from the most common germ entrances  of the body. 
  4. Keep surfaces and objects used daily clean—The flu virus can live and be transferred on a variety of surfaces.  So regularly wipe down desks, phones, tablets, doorknobs, counters, light switches, etc.
  5. Eat right—Help your body fight off flu viruses with a well balanced diet filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and foods that are rich in Vitamin-C.
  6. Stay active—Whether it is taking a quick walk or going to the gym, any type of cardio exercise will activate your body’s infection-fighting defenses and stimulate your immune system. 
  7. Sleep—Let your body recover and fight off any germs that may have gotten into your system by getting plenty of sleep.   
  8. Stay hydrated—Drinking fluids, especially water, is a great way to flush out any toxins that may have found their way into your system
  9. Manage stress—Stress can affect your immune system, reducing your body’s ability to fight off the flu virus or other germs.  Find ways to keep your stress low this winter season.   
  10. Get vaccinated—One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated.  So save yourself the misery and visit your doctor and get the shot. 

Hope these are helpful. Stay well!

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4 YouTube Maternity Fashion Videos to inspire your Style

Sydney – The Day Book Blog
Looking for some inspiration on how to dress your bump? YouTube offers wonderful short tutorials and fashion look book, styling tips and more. Here are four videos curated just for you to inspire you this Winter. Happy Styling !
First up, Keisha J from Glam Everything styled one cardigan four ways and shows you how to remix one piece for maximum usage
Cardigan Empire shows how to dress your bump without buying maternity clothes.
This Not Maternity, but the very fashionable The Chic Naturale has THE best video look books and tutorials and in this one, she showcases hot winter 2014 trends, some of which are accessories and can actually be worn by a pregnant woman.
Finally, Cardigan Empire shares some top  maternity brands to explore:

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