11 Expert Tips for Finding the Right Bra Size and Fit

11 Expert Tips for Finding the Right Bra Size and Fit

Did you know you have more than one bra size?
a woman shopping for bras

For many people, bra shopping falls somewhere on the emotional scale between flat-out disappointing and totally traumatic, and the same could be said for the actual wearing of said bras. Many women are wearing uncomfortable bras that dig into their skin, slip off their shoulders, and create awkward spillage situations—and then rip them off their bodies the minute they get home. A lot of this can be traced back to the lingerie store: If you don’t know how to find the right bra (or even the right bra size!), you’re not going to get one that’s best for you. Put simply, women aren’t getting the support they need to get the support they need.

To make sure you get the most out of this experience, I reached out to three stylists and bra fitting experts who gave a detailed rundown of tips you should consider when buying a bra. Their advice, from breaking down bra components to telltale signs when your bra is too small or too big, is useful for women of all ages and sizes. Read on for 11 things every bra-wearing person should know.

1. Most of the support comes from the band.

Cups hold the breasts in place, but the band is responsible for about 90 percent of the actual support (strapless bras exist for a reason). So while the straps may seem like they’re there to hold up your bust, they are really there to help keep your cup flush with your body and to shape your breast. In fact, if your band and cup both fit well, you should be able to slip off your straps and take a few steps while your bra stays in place, bra expert Kimmay Caldwell from Hurray Kimmay tells SELF.

2. You need to know your size and your “sister size.”

Just like with other notoriously difficult-to-shop-for items, like jeans, there’s a wide variation in how bras of the same size will fit from brand to brand, even from one style to another. That’s why experts say women should know both their true size and their sister sizes. If a bra doesn’t fit in your regular size, it might work in your sister size.

The rule of thumb is as follows: If you go up in the band, go down in the cup and vice versa. For example, a 32C could possibly fit a 30D or a 34B. If you’re a 34C, you might find bras that fit better in a 36B or a 32D.

Knowing your sister size is useful to accommodate for size differences between brands. It is also a good resource if your “real size” is hard to shop for. People with smaller bands and large cup sizes, or larger bands and smaller cup sizes, will benefit most from sister sizing.

3. There’s an equation for figuring out your band and cup size.

Your bra size is a ratio that combines the measurements of your cup (letters AA-M) and band size (numbered 28-44). It’s a really good idea for any woman to get a professional bra fitting at a boutique—you might be surprised what a bra expert will tell you, such as you’ve been wearing the wrong size your whole adult life. You can also measure yourself at home with some tape.

To measure at home, you’ll need two measurements: around your back and under your bust for your band size, and around your back over your nipples for your cup size. You’ll then subtract the difference. For example, if your bust measures 35 inches and your under-bust (or rib cage) 32 inches, you’ll be a 32C because 35 minus 32 equals 3, and that number corresponds to the letter “C” in the alphabet.

4. If your breasts are two different sizes, round up.

It’s totally normal and really common to have one breast that is bigger than the other. If the difference is significant enough that it makes bra shopping even more complicated than it already is, Cora Harrington, lingerie expert and author of the upcoming book In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie, suggests fitting to the larger breast. If you want, you can even out the appearance by adding a bra cutlet to the smaller breast, or getting a bra with removable pads and taking them out on the big side.

5. If bras straps are digging into your shoulders, it could mean your cups are too small…

If your breasts are spilling out around the edges of the cup, they might be putting a lot of extra weight on the straps—and you may find yourself pulling the straps taut to hold them in check. Either way, your shoulders would probably benefit from larger cups.

6. …or your band is too big.

Your straps could also be digging into your shoulders if your band is too loose, making it so your straps are doing all the work. Take a look behind you in the mirror: If your straps are pulled so tight that they’re yanking your strap up, it’s probably too big or is too stretched out to do its job.

7. If your straps are slipping, it could be one of a few signs that your cups are too big.

Another tell is if the center gore, or the center panel on the front your bra between the cups, is floating away. It should lay flat against the middle of your chest. And obviously, if the cups are gapping because your breasts are not filling them all the way, you may want to go down a cup size.

8. The band should be snug, not suffocating or loose.

When you’ve got the right band size, you should be able to fit your finger between your back and the strap with only about an inch of stretch. Your band is too small if the underwire is squeezing or digging in your breast tissue. But looser is not better when it comes to support. Caldwell notes that most people think loose means more comfort (think: caftans or sweatpants), but that doesn’t work for bras. Remember that the band is what accomplishes most of the holding-up of the breasts, so a loose band that rides up between your shoulder blades will not provide the support you need and leave you less comfortable in the long run.

To keep your band fitting as well as possible for as long as possible, Caldwell advises you start off by wearing your bra on the loosest hook, so when you bra starts to feel worn out, you can use the second and then third hook for more grip.

9. “Full bust,” “full figure,” and “plus size” mean different things.

According to 2016 a survey of 2,000 shoppers by lingerie retailer Rigby & Peller, the most popular sizes for women across the country is between 32DDD and 34G (that’s 32E and 34F in UK bra sizing). More brands offer bras in a range of larger sizing, sometimes labeled as plus size, full bust, or full figure. They all mean slightly different things:

-Women with a small band and large cup size are considered full bust. That includes sizes of a DD cup or larger and a 36 band or less. Full bust sizes includes sizes like 28G, 30F, 32E, and 34H.

Plus size for bras have a band size of 38 or larger.

Full figure encompasses sizes DD+ with a 38 or larger band. All full figure bras are also plus size, but not all plus size bras are full figure: A 38F would be considered full figure and plus size, but a 40B would be just plus size.

10. Different bra styles and materials serve different purposes.

Ideally, your bra options should complement your wardrobe. You want styles that are versatile, but comfortable enough to take you from day to night. You also want multiple bras so that you don’t stretch a bra out too fast. The experts I spoke to agreed that everyone should have at least:

-Two traditional-style bras, like a smooth T-shirt bra in your skin tone, or in black, which would cover about 70 to 80 percent of your wardrobe.

-A sports bra that minimizes bounce during physical activities, but doesn’t impede your performance. You might want different bras with different levels of support for high impact activities like running versus yoga or Pilates. (Plus, if you work out a lot, you’ll want several so that you’re not constantly washing them.)

-A convertible bra that can be strapless, racerback, halter, or criss-cross for tops with “unusual” necklines and for formal occasions.

-A non-underwire bra or bralette you can wear traveling or lounging. Just make sure you can adjust the straps to get the best fit.

The fabric and technology of a bra is also important to take into consideration, Jenny Altman, fashion stylist and lingerie expert from the blog I Love a Good, tells SELF. “That’s why it’s important to ask yourself a few questions when picking a fabric: What do you need that bra to do for you? Does it wick away sweat? Do you want a lace detail? Or do you have sensitive skin and need a softer fabric?”

11. Bras don’t last forever—even your favorite one has to be replaced when it no longer gives you the support it used to.

The experts I spoke to said that depending on your size, how well you take care of your bras (never throw them in dryer!), and how many you have on rotation, a good, basic bra should last about a year. Washing them gently by hand (after typically after three to four wears) and rotating your bras (that is, not wearing the same one multiple days in a row) will also help keep the bands from stretching out too quickly. But no matter what you do, you’ll have to say goodbye at some point, so keep a lookout for signs, like the band creeping up your back, telling you it’s time to go bra shopping.

PPIs Cut Upper GI Bleeds From Anticoagulants

Bleeding risk was highest with rivaroxaban, lowest with apixaban

Anticoagulation patients at risk for upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding saw their risk reduced by more than a third when a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) was added to oral anticoagulant therapy, according to a retrospective analysis of Medicare claims.

In addition, the choice of anticoagulant can be important for outcomes, reported Wayne Ray, PhD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, and colleagues. During 754,389 person-years of therapy, they found that the highest risk of upper GI hemorrhage was associated with rivaroxaban (Xarelto) but not apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa), or warfarin (Coumadin).

Ray noted in a Vanderbilt new release that an estimated 1% to 1.5% of patients on oral anticoagulants will experience upper GI bleeds every year, and anticoagulant choice and PPI co-therapy could affect the risk of upper GI tract bleeding, a frequent and potentially serious complication of oral anticoagulant treatment. The study, published online in JAMA, found that adding a PPI reduced overall bleeding across all anticoagulants, for an incidence rate ratio of 0.66 and a risk reduction of 34%.

“For patients starting oral anticoagulant treatment, both PPI co-therapy and anticoagulant choice can materially affect risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding hospitalization,” Ray told MedPage Today. “These factors are particularly important for patients with elevated gastrointestinal risk and argue for a GI evaluation prior to initiating oral anticoagulant treatment.”

Ray also noted that without an added PPI the incidence of hospitalization for upper GI bleeding was 4% per year, while adding a PPI reduced the rate to 2.8% per year.

The retrospective analysis looked at hospitalizations for upper GI bleeds among Medicare beneficiaries in the period 2011-2015. The researchers identified 1,643,123 patients with 1,713,183 new episodes of oral anticoagulant treatment for conditions such as atrial fibrillation.

The mean age in the cohort was 76.4, and atrial fibrillation accounted for 870,330 person-years (74.9%) of follow-up. Women accounted for 56.1% of person-years of follow-up.

Warfarin was by far the most commonly used anticoagulant, Ray and co-authors found. Overall, 1,058,807 anticoagulation patients had no PPI co-therapy vs 239,672 with co-therapy, for a follow-up of 754,389 person-years without co-therapy.

During no PPI co-therapy, the adjusted incidence of hospitalization for upper GI bleeding (n=119) was 115 per 10,000 person-years (95% CI 112-118).

Comparing PPI co-therapy (264,447 person-years) with no co-therapy, the researchers found the overall risk of upper GI bleeding hospitalizations (n=2,245) was lower with co-therapy, for an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 0.66 (95% CI 0.62-0.69).

Compared with the results of other anticoagulants without PPI co-therapy, hospitalization per 10,000 person-years was highest for rivaroxaban (n=1278) at 144 (IRR 1.97) and lowest for apixaban (n=279) at 73. “Because rivaroxaban is given as a single daily dose intended to maintain 24-hour therapeutic levels, the relative peak plasma concentrations are higher than those for other oral anticoagulants,” Ray and associates explained.

The corresponding hospitalization incidence for dabigatran (n=629) was 120 per 10,000 person-years and for warfarin (n=4,933), 113 per 10,000 person-years.

The association of anticoagulant choice and PPI co-therapy with hospitalization for upper GI bleeding varied according to patients’ underlying disease, with absolute differences driven by the upper quartile of risk.

“For these patients, the difference in the annual incidence of hospitalization for upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding between the treatment strategies with the lowest and the highest gastrointestinal safety (rivaroxaban treatment without PPI and apixaban treatment with PPI, respectively) was 2.1 hospitalizations per 100 person-years,” the authors wrote. “These findings indicate the potential benefits of a gastrointestinal bleeding risk assessment before initiating anticoagulant treatment.”

Ray noted that oral anticoagulants can be extremely valuable in preventing an ischemic stroke — “which is one thing you really do not want to have happen, and we can’t lose sight of that.”

“On the other hand,” he added, “they have potentially very dangerous side effects. What we’ve done with this study is show that clinicians can focus on a high-risk population and significantly improve care for those patients with the addition of a PPI.”

Important Because of Large Patient Numbers

Asked for his perspective, Suneal K. Agarawal, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who was not involved in the research, said: “This a very important study because it reinforces with large numbers of patients what gastroenterologists have assumed for some time, that PPIs reduce GI bleeding. The COGENT trial showed that a PPI reduced GI bleeding in patients on antiplatelet medication, and now we have data on the role of PPIs in anticoagulant as well as antithrombotic therapy.”

The Medicare-based analysis had several limitations, the authors said, including the potential misclassification of anticoagulant treatment, PPI co-therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use, since these variables were determined from filled prescriptions, and Medicare restricts reimbursement for many over-the-counter drugs. In addition, confounding could also have been present by unmeasured factors, such as aspirin exposure and Helicobacter pylori infection.

Furthermore, bleeding risk was measured with a disease risk score, an internal measure suitable for risk stratification within the Medicare cohort and not studied in other populations, Ray and co-authors noted. In terms of generalizability, the cohort excluded patients previously hospitalized for GI bleeding or who switched to a different anticoagulant during the study period. In addition, its Medicare population had a greater prevalence of anticoagulant treatment and GI bleeding risk compared with younger populations.

Shopping can bring long-term happiness

In some good news for shopaholics, scientists have found that material purchases can provide more frequent happiness over time.

A new study has shown that material purchases, from sweaters to skateboards, provide more frequent happiness over time, whereas experiential purchases, like a trip to the zoo, provide more intense happiness on individual occasions.

The majority of previous studies examining material and experiential purchases and happiness focused on what people anticipated about shopping or remembered about items and experiences.

The University of British Columbia’s Aaron Weidman and Elizabeth Dunn wanted to know how people felt in the moment, say the first weeks with a new sweater or tablet computer.

Shopping can bring long-term happiness: Study
Material purchases bring repeated doses of happiness over time in the weeks after they are

They assessed the real-time, momentary happiness people got from material and experiential purchases, up to five times per day for two weeks.

Material purchases consisted of items such as reindeer leggings, portable speakers, or coffee makers, and examples of experiential purchases were a weekend ski trip, tickets to a hockey game, or spa gift cards.

By having people record their thoughts in the weeks following their purchases, as well as one month after their purchases, the researchers showed that material and experiential purchases bring happiness in two distinct flavours.

Material purchases bring repeated doses of happiness over time in the weeks after they are bought, whereas experiential purchases offer a more intense but fleeting dose of happiness.

“The decision of whether to buy a material thing or a life experience may therefore boil down to what kind of happiness one desires,” said Weidman.

“Consider a holiday shopper deciding between tickets to a concert or a new couch in the living room. The concert will provide an intense thrill for one spectacular night, but then it will end, and will no longer provide momentary happiness, aside from being a happy memory,” he said.

“In contrast, the new couch will never provide a thrilling moment to match the concert, but will keep the owner snug and comfortable each day throughout the winter months,” Weidman added.

The clock ticks faster.

The signs of physical and functional decline may take a few years to show
APThe signs of physical and functional decline may take a few years to show
Early puberty, hypertension and diabetes in children, early menopause… The alarming issue of premature ageing points inescapably to our way of living, finds out Sudha Umashanker

Girls as young as seven or eight coming of age, young children being diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes, women with plummeting ovarian reserves in their late 20s or early 30s — the ageing clock seems to be ticking differently these days.

Kousalya Nathan, lifestyle and age management consultant, Nova Specialty Surgery, Chennai, points out, “More than ageing and its associated degenerative disorders, the alarming problem is premature ageing, which implies significant functional decline in various organs due to unmanaged lifestyle disorders.”

As the International Journal of Diabetes Care (1999) states, “Although Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus has historically been characterized as an adult onset of diabetes, it has been shown to be on the rise in young people in recent years, comprising some alarming 30 per cent of new cases of diabetes in the second decade of life. The mean age at diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes in young people is 12-14 years.” (Incidentally, Indian ethnicity is at higher risk.)

Listing out the factors suggestive of the prevalence of premature ageing, Dr. Nathan notes, “Early puberty is a pointer. We also live in an environment that favours unhealthy weight gain in children and adolescents. This has reached epidemic proportions in India, with consequences ranging from inability to play or climb stairs, to hypertension, dyslipidemia, back pain and psychosocial problems. Even greying and loss of skin tone, which are signs of middle age, are seen in 10- to 12-year-olds. In the worst-case scenario, deaths due to non-communicable diseases in those in their 30s and 40s are also happening.”

Nandita Palshetkar, infertility specialist, Lilavati Hospitals Mumbai and Fortis Bloom IVF Centres, says, “Nowadays, more and more girls are attaining early puberty. Earlier, puberty which was seen at age 12 is now seen at the age of seven to eight years, in approximately 15 per cent of the girls. There are several reasons for this — such as unhealthy weight gain, stress, estrogens-like hormones such as bisphenol A found in hard plastics, certain metals that act as metalloestrogens, (eg. tin, cadmium, mercury, lead and aluminium, copper), situations in which the father is absent or the child is living with the step-father, Vitamin D deficiency, early exposure to sex-related messages in the media etc. Higher body mass index is associated most often with lifestyle changes that have occurred in the last couple of decades in our society. Early puberty, in turn, is associated with repercussions such as increased risk of heart problem, osteoporosis and early menopause.”

Rapid depletion of ovarian reserves, and therefore early ovarian ageing in young women, is yet another cause of concern. While it could be due to polycystic ovaries, in several cases, the cause is unknown. “Measures must be taken to reduce contamination by Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) if we want to take steps to decrease reproductive disorders in women of the next generation,” stresses Dr. Palshetkar. EDCs that affect the functioning of the thyroid and ovary are found in pesticides, dioxins (produced when plastic is burnt, certain industrial processes and from improper incineration of waste), bisphenols (found in hard plastics, some baby bottles, water bottles and the insides of some food and beverage cans.) Corroborating the incidence of diabetes in overweight young children, Vijay Viswanathan, head and chief diabetologist, M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Chennai, says that a recent survey in Chennai done by his institution showed that “many children who were overweight had raised blood pressure levels. These children showed aspects of insulin resistance, which makes them prone to hypertension and also diabetes.”

Asked if this can be considered a form of ageing, Dr. Viswanathan affirms, “Yes, this is a type of ageing, since the blood vessels develop stiffness and lose their elasticity even by the age of 10 or 15 in children who are insulin-resistant. These early blood vessel changes make these children prone to developing hypertension at an early stage, and may also lead to heart blocks by the time they get into their 20s or 30s.”

What are the signs that should alert us before visible changes of ageing happen?

Weight gain, skin discoloration in underarms, inner thighs, nape of the neck, frequent infections, tiredness, irregular periods in girls, rough skin, overeating and eating disorders, stress and sleeping difficulties in children,” should put us on the alert, says Dr. Nathan.

While there are molecular-level changes of ageing in children, to see the physical and functional decline, it might take a few years. “It is a complex and multi-factorial process. Lifestyle accelerates loss of genetic materials, causing premature ageing,” Dr. Nathan concludes.

Preventive steps

Lifestyle modification is top priority.

– Opt for an anti-ageing diet — 60 per cent complex carbohydrates (legumes, cereals and vegetables), 20 per cent protein (white meat, dal, paneer, tofu, soy protein), 20 per cent fats (nuts, olives, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds)

– Undertake regular physical activity

– Avoid exposure to estrogens-like compounds and environmental toxins

– Consume organically-grown vegetables

– Teach children to bust emotional stress by taking up creative pursuits


Coconut Oil for Hair: Use this Food for a New Level of Luster.

Story at-a-glance

  • In a comparison study evaluating mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil as possible products for nurturing and conditioning hair, coconut oil was the only oil that reduced protein loss for both damaged and undamaged hair. More porous types of hair may find coconut oil particularly beneficial, such as African and chemically treated hair
  • Researchers have compared the effectiveness of a coconut oil and anise spray versus the commonly prescribed permethrin lotion for the treatment of head lice. The coconut oil/anise spray was significantly more effective at treating head lice, successfully curing 82 percent of cases, compared to the 42 percent cure rate of permethrin lotion
  • Coconut oil can also help improve the appearance of skin with its inherent anti-aging benefits. When absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple.
  • Coconut Oil for Hair

Did you know one of the best personal care products you’ll ever find may be sitting in your kitchen cupboard right now?

I’m talking about coconut oil, which is equally beneficial externally as it is taken internally, and can be used for both skin and hair.

The featured coconutoil.com article written by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy discusses several of the lesser-known benefits of coconut oil for your hair.

According to one study, which compared mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil as possible products for nurturing and conditioning hair, coconut oil was the only oil that reduced protein loss for both damaged and undamaged hair.1

These findings were true when used as either a pre-wash or post-wash grooming product, but coconut oil achieved the greatest results when used as a pre-wash treatment.

Part of the reason for this is because coconut oil is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water.

So when applied as a pre-wash conditioner, it inhibits the penetration of water into each strand, which would otherwise cause the cuticle, or surface of the hair shaft, to rise, making it prone to damage and breakage.

Furthermore, when applied as a pre-wash treatment, a small amount of the coconut oil is able to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft during the wash, when the hair fiber swells slightly.

This can also explain why so many rave about the oil’s ability to prevent “the frizzies” in humid weather—this is another feature of its hydrophobic activity.

According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science:2

“The findings clearly indicate the strong impact that coconut oil application has to hair as compared to application of both sunflower and mineral oils. …

Both sunflower and mineral oils do not help at all in reducing the protein loss from hair. This difference in results could arise from the composition of each of these oils. Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft.

Mineral oil, being a hydrocarbon, has no affinity for proteins and therefore is not able to penetrate and yield better results. In the case of sunflower oil, although it is a triglyceride of linoleic acid, because of its bulky structure due to the presence of double bonds, it does not penetrate the fiber, consequently resulting in no favorable impact on protein loss.”

More porous types of hair may find coconut oil particularly beneficial, such as African- and chemically treated hair. The featured article on coconutoil.com includes a couple of videos demonstrating how some people are using coconut oil for hair care.

Can Coconut Oil Successfully Treat Head Lice?

Another interesting study relating to the use of coconut oil on hair was published in the European Journal of Pediatrics two years ago.3 Here, the researchers compared the effectiveness of a coconut oil and anise spray versus the commonly prescribed permethrin lotion for the treatment of head lice.

According to the authors:

“We designed a randomized, controlled, parallel group trial involving 100 participants with active head louse infestation to investigate the activity of a coconut and anise spray and to see whether permethrin lotion is still effective, using two applications of product 9 days apart. The spray was significantly more successful (41/50, 82.0%) cures compared with permethrin (21/50, 42.0%…). Per-protocol success was 83.3% and 44.7%, respectively. Thirty-three people reported irritant reactions following alcohol contact with excoriated skin. We concluded that, although permethrin lotion is still effective for some people, the coconut and anise spray can be a significantly more effective alternative treatment.” [Emphasis mine]

Isn’t it wonderful to see how nature provides us with the answers to so many of our ills? And does so in a way that is oftentimes more effective than our chemical drug concoctions!

Another anecdotal Hawaiian head lice treatment from a woman named Linda (quoted in the featured article by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy4) is to first soak your hair in vinegar and leave it in to dry (don’t rinse). Next coat your hair with coconut oil over night. I’d recommend sleeping with a shower cap to protect your bedding. The following day the nits reportedly comb out easily.

Yet another anecdotal head lice treatment was received from one of my own readers, several years ago, named Patty. She suggests just using a nit comb in lieu of toxic chemical treatments like Kwell and Nix. However, in order to be really effective it’s best if you can pull the comb through your or your child’s hair quickly and smoothly. To address tangles, she suggests using two tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of water. Rinse your hair with the solution after shampooing and leave in, which reportedly leaves your hair silky smooth and easy to comb through.

Coconut Oil as a Skin Moisturizer

One of the core principles to remember when it comes to skin care is that whatever you slather onto your skin will absorb into your body and enter your bloodstream. This is why it’s so important to avoid personal care products containing questionable chemicals! Your skin is an excellent drug delivery system, so you should be just as careful with what you put on your skin as you are with what you eat, if not more so, as your gut actually helps protect you against some of the toxins you ingest by filtering them out…

I’ve long advocated using plain organic coconut oil for your skin care needs.

It’s been used for decades by professional massage therapists to knead away tight stressed muscles, and coconut oil is well-known for its skin care benefits. It helps protect your skin from the aging effects of free radicals, and can help improve the appearance of skin with its anti-aging benefits.

In fact, physiologist and biochemist Ray Peat, Ph.D. considers coconut oil an antioxidant,5 due to its stability and resistance to oxidation and free radical formation. Plus, he believes it reduces our need for the antioxidant protection of vitamin E. Like Dr. Peat, many believe coconut oil may help restore more youthful-looking skin. When absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple. It also aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother.

Part of the “secret” that makes coconut oil such a healthful oil is its high lauric acid content—about 50 percent of coconut oil is lauric acid. This fat is quite rare in nature, and has a unique set of health promoting properties. For example, your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties,12 which may also help explain its potent healing powers when used topically for skin and scalp issues. Capric acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, has also been found to have antimicrobial activity.

Monolaurin (converted from the lauric acid in your body) is potent enough to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as:

  • HIV, herpes
  • Measles
  • Influenza virus
  • Various pathogenic bacteria
  • Protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Feeding Your Skin from the Inside Out

Ideally, you’ll want to avoid toxins and feed your body with proper nutrition both inside and out. If your diet and overall lifestyle is poor, it tends to be reflected in your skin and hair.

For example, if the skin on the top of your hand is not smooth as a baby’s behind, it’s a strong indication that your body is deficient in omega-3 fats. I believe most people need to be taking a high quality omega-3 supplement as omega-3 deficiency is as rampant as vitamin D deficiency. My favorite is krill oil, as its overall health benefits surpass that of regular fish oil, largely because it is far more bioavailable, better protected with antioxidants and therefore not rancid, and far more sustainable than fish oil.

Krill oil also naturally contains another excellent skin benefactor, namely astaxanthin—a potent antioxidant that has been identified as being beneficial for your complexion. Not only can astaxanthin give your skin an attractive glow, it may also help prevent wrinkles from the inside out, and can help protect your skin against a variety of radiation, both from medical scans and harmful UVA sun rays. Yes, it actually works like an internal sunscreen.

One of the most profoundly effective ways to improve your complexion is by consuming vegetables and fruits that are high in carotenoids. Carotenoids give red, orange and yellow fruits their color, and also occur in green vegetables. Astaxanthin, which is also part of the carotenoids family, is produced only by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. It is what gives shrimp and flamingos their pink color, courtesy of the astaxanthin in the algae that is part of their staple diet.

Studies have shown that eating foods with these deeply colored pigments can help make your face actually look healthier than being tanned. In one study, the more red and yellow tones found in the person’s skin, the more attractive they were found to be.13 The redder tones are caused when people are flushed with blood, particularly if the blood has lots of oxygen in it. Dr. Stephan found that, given the choice between skin color caused by suntan and skin color caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin color, so if you want a healthier and more attractive skin color, you are better off eating a healthy diet.

I’m also convinced that astaxanthin can be a profoundly beneficial supplement for most people, much like omega-3 fat, because of its multi-varied health benefits.

Not only is it a potent antioxidant, but it is probably the most potent natural anti-inflammatory we know of, and it is likely to help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the US. While krill oil contains astaxanthin naturally, it does not contain what is now believed to be therapeutic amounts, so I recommend taking a separate astaxanthin supplement for most people. Studies suggest the ideal dose is around 10-12 mg per day for clinically relevant benefits.

How to Break the Habit of Procrastination.

Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.” ~ Mason Cooley

I used to be the procrastination queen.

I’ve waited until the last minute to book trips (painfully increasing my travel costs); took too long to get my yearly car inspection (resulting in a ticket); and cut my work license renewal way too close (causing more stress then I care to remember). And please, don’t even get me started on filing my marriage license…

After many such experiences, I decided to break the habit of procrastination. I realized I had to clarify my plans, thus defining what was important to me. I had to commit to myself to stay more focused when working on my to-do list. Most importantly, I had to learn to prioritize.

We’re all busy. We have lots of people who want our time and attention, and we have lots of interests we’d like to give our time and attention to.

To change the procrastination habit, it can help for us to learn how to dig deeper when deciding what to take on, and what to put aside for the time being.

Here are some questions that can be very helpful to ask ourselves when deciding how to prioritize, questions that will help us break the habit of procrastination:

1. Are we avoiding the task itself?

I personally despise transcribing; also, its very time consuming (for me). I recently decided to hire a contractor to do it for me. This has opened up more time then I ever imagined.

When exploring why, I realized I had not only been spending a lot of time on the actual transcribing, I had also been spending probably twice as many hours being unproductive in various ways, to skip the task. I’d guess it was taking me 6-9 hours total for a 3 hour task, due to the avoidant behaviors. Not a very good use of time.

2. Are we dodging the task because we don’t really desire the outcome the task is attached to?

I remember chatting with a friend about how she was procrastinating about her running training, in preparation for a half-marathon. We teased out that she actually didn’t want to run the marathon at all – she was feeling some pressure from her partner to do so.

How many things do we do each day that are benefiting or pleasing others more then ourselves? (I’m not talking about sucking up to the boss or pretending you enjoy playing “go fish” with your nephew.) Growing our comfort and willingness to say “no” to actions we really don’t want to take helps keep our focus laser-like on the actions we do want to follow through on.

3. Do we need help with the task?

There are things I’d like to do on my own that I simply don’t have the skills to do. While occasionally this requires hiring a professional, there are lots of times when I can dip into my network of friends and associates and pick their brains.

Calling on a friend who has better WordPress skills then I do can save me several hours of googling, asking questions on forums (which don’t seem to get answered), and frustration. I am always certain to express my massive appreciation, as well as my willingness to assist them in kind, should a need arise.

4. Is the task really necessary?

Let’s say we’re procrastinating about cleaning out the hall closet (yea, true story). Based on what is going on in life right now, and how much free time we have, how important is it that this clean-up occur now?

Will finishing the task increase our quality of life? Will it somehow help in our day-to-day experience? If so, make the decision and go for it. If not, why not put it aside until our time opens up, or it’s a rainy day, or we’re home with a sick child?

The point is, as with all things, we can benefit from spending a little time considering what we really want, and then making a decision on how to proceed.

It’s not important whether we decide to procrastinate or decide to get the job done; what’s important is that we made the conscious decision and followed through. This is a far more self-empowering and productive experience then beating ourselves up for procrastinating.

What techniques do you use to combat procrastination?

5 Steps to Let Go of Your Past with the Healing Power of Storytelling.

Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. ~Henry David Thoreau

I told my Mum that I had something very important to talk about with Dad. With tears running down my face I approached him and started with “Dad, I want to talk to you about your affair with that woman and how it has been affecting me for over 10 years now.”

Telling stories is not that easy especially when it comes to deeply personal things which we’ve been carrying with us for a long time being unable to voice our pain and fear. Opening up makes us vulnerable which is a challenging thing to cope with. That’s why so many people prefer to suppress their feelings and go with the flow. The problem is that the devastating power of untold stories grows within us year by year making us powerless to create the life of our dreams.

Since I was 11 I’ve been suspecting my father was having an affair with a woman who was his business partner, our neighbor and my mother’s best friend. I remember myself watching their every interaction, trying to find the evidence of a betrayal in the way they greeted each other, the way they talked, in the looks and smiles they’ve exchanged. I sensed every slightest shift of the energy, the dynamics happening between them. I knew something was wrong. I remember how I was afraid to go to school and leave my Dad alone at home. Anxious and frustrated I was always expecting something bad would happen. That woman wasn’t happy with her family life and she wanted to steal a family from my mother. How sweet she was, how frequently she would bring me presents and try to sweet talk her way into my child’s heart.

I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl, I adored this man. We’ve spent long hours talking, walking in the park, watching movies together, playing the fool all the time. The day the truth was revealed to me I felt like the world has crashed. My suspicions were justified – my dearest and closest friend has betrayed me.

The emotional wound was ever since affecting my relationship with men. Subconsciously I was always alert when my partner would interact with other girls. I would feel anxious, frustrated, rejected and fearful of betrayal. And the worst thing was because of that state of alertness I would never be completely free to enjoy conversations with people around me, being open, feeling free, being Myself. I would almost shrink myself in a worry, fear and anxiety.

That’s when I realised that my past should never again control my present and the power of storytelling has started transforming my life. All of us have our own skeletons in the closet and if you are ready to take control over them, there is no better way to heal than to:

1. Tell your story to yourself

Admit that you have an emotional baggage and that it controls your life. Decide at once that you are the architect of your own reality and you are not going to allow your past to hold you back from who you truly are and who you have the potential to become.

I’ve realized I had a tremendous potential to love, grow in love and help those next to me grow. I realised that if I don’t let go of my past I will never become the person I can be. All the great things ever created came from the place of love.

2. Share your story with your loved ones and your close friends

If people who are already in your life love you for who you are, they will still love you even when they get to know the darkest stories of your past. Some of them will need time to process what you’ve just shared but in any case they will support you and moreover they’ll appreciate the fact that you opened up and trusted them in the moment of the highest vulnerability. True love accepts shadows along with lights.

For me things started sorting out when I allowed myself to be vulnerable and shared the story about my father with my partner. Everything that was bottled up for all these years just came out in an avalanche of tears, words, emotions and unbearable pain. I was blessed to have a person next to me who was ready to listen, hear, accept and help me go through this healing.

3. Get into details of your story on a paper

They say that paper doesn’t refuse ink. When you write down every tiniest detail, scene, emotion of what happened to you in the past, you separate yourself from the story, it just stays on paper. Writing helps you live your story again, burn yourself down in the pain of the feeling that you’ve been trying to suppress for such a long time and be reborn from the ashes as the Phoenix.

I did it. I was typing and typing with tears suffocating me and I felt like I was back in those times, I was that little Alla again who was trying so hard to prevent the nightmare of betrayal to happen. After the writing was done I remember myself going back to bed with the feeling of emptiness. There was nothing. No pain, no fear, no happiness, no joy. Nothing. And that was a huge step to stop identifying myself with my past.

4. Talk to those who were the reason for your wound

It is the scariest thing to do but it’s worth it whatever the consequences of the conversation might be. Just face you fear. It is going to be liberating.

I travelled back home for just one thing – to tell my Dad how I felt. I’ve always loved him but the pain of betrayal distanced me from him and kept me from being a truly loving daughter. The conversation happened. I felt that I’ve always been loved and I learned that compassion for those who hurt you is another important step on your way to healing. So do not hesitate to ask, listen and hear those who hurt you for they have their own story to share and they also need to be heard.

5. Share your story with the world through art

To me the biggest beauty of storytelling lies in the fact that telling your story is beneficial for both yourself and the world. When you’re telling your story, not only you are healing yourself, you also stop identifying yourself with it. The story becomes just a story and no longer a part of you. The magic starts when you realise that when sharing your story, the heavy traumatic wound of yours transforms into a lesson others can learn from. It becomes a gift you can give to the world. Write an article, a song, a book, do a spoken word poetry, shoot a short film (or a long one?). Do anything that feels right. Not only you will get your story off your chest but others will get an opportunity to learn from you, get inspired and free themselves from their baggage. Isn’t it beautiful?

Source: Purpose Fairy

Supplements: Nutrition in a pill?

Supplements aren’t for everyone, but older adults and others may benefit from specific supplements.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans make it clear that your nutritional needs should be met primarily through your diet. For some people, however, supplements may be a useful way to get nutrients they might otherwise be lacking. But before you go shopping for supplements, get the facts on what they will and won’t do for you.

Supplements vs. whole foods

Supplements aren’t intended to be a food substitute because they can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. So depending on your situation and your eating habits, dietary supplements may not be worth the expense.

Whole foods offer three main benefits over dietary supplements:

  • Greater nutrition. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C plus some beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. A vitamin C supplement lacks these other micronutrients.
  • Essential fiber. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, provide dietary fiber. Most high-fiber foods are also packed with other essential nutrients. Fiber, as part of a healthy diet, can help prevent certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can also help manage constipation.
  • Protective substances. Whole foods contain other substances important for good health. Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many are also good sources of antioxidants — substances that slow down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.

Who needs supplements?

If you’re generally healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish, you likely don’t need supplements.

However, the dietary guidelines recommend supplements — or fortified foods — in the following situations:

  • Women who may become pregnant should get 400 micrograms a day of folic acid from fortified foods or supplements, in addition to eating foods that naturally contain folate.
  • Women who are pregnant should take a prenatal vitamin that includes iron or a separate iron supplement.
  • Adults age 50 or older should eat foods fortified with vitamin B-12, such as fortified cereals, or take a multivitamin that contains B-12 or a separate B-12 supplement.

Dietary supplements also may be appropriate if you:

  • Don’t eat well or consume less than 1,600 calories a day
  • Are a vegan or a vegetarian who eats a limited variety of foods
  • Are a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during your menstrual period
  • Have a medical condition that affects how your body absorbs or uses nutrients, such as chronic diarrhea, food allergies, food intolerance or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas
  • Have had surgery on your digestive tract and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly

Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about which supplements and what doses might be appropriate for you. Be sure to ask about possible side effects and interactions with any medications you take.

Choosing and using supplements

If you decide to take a vitamin or mineral supplement, consider these factors:

  • Check the label. Read labels carefully. Product labels can tell you what the active ingredient or ingredients are, which nutrients are included, the serving size — for example, capsule, packet or teaspoonful — and the amount of nutrients in each serving.
  • Avoid megadoses. In general, choose a multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides about 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of all the vitamins and minerals, rather than one which has, for example, 500 percent of the DV for one vitamin and only 20 percent of the DV for another.
  • Check expiration dates. Dietary supplements can lose potency over time, especially in hot and humid climates. If a supplement doesn’t have an expiration date, don’t buy it. If your supplements have expired, discard them.
  • Watch what you eat. Vitamins and minerals are being added to a growing number of foods, including breakfast cereals and beverages. If you’re also taking supplements, you may be getting more than you realize of certain nutrients. Taking more than you need is expensive and can raise your risk of side effects. For example, too much iron can cause nausea and vomiting and may damage the liver and other organs.

Keep up with supplement safety alerts

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps a list of dietary supplements that are under regulatory review or that have been reported to cause adverse effects. If you’re taking a supplement, it’s a good idea to check the FDA website periodically for updates.

Source: Mayo clinic



white�pn�t� X1� font-size:9.0pt;font-family:”Arial”,”sans-serif”;color:#666666′>And, I’ll tell you right now, after this last year, leaving Waiheke Island, going to Hawaii (as detailed in Going Out On A Limb), well… I feel freer, happier, more peaceful and more my true self than I ever have in 35 years and I categorically COULD NOT have done it if I had not reached out for support.


So, I implore you, if you are someone who is afraid to reach out for support, please… for the love of all things… swallow your fears, your negative self-talk, your pride or whatever is keeping you stuck and please, please put your freaking hand up! The Universe will deliver what you need if you will only step up to help yourself. People will materialise to support you. Information will find its way to you when you move forward to open your arms to receive it. You will find help in the most unlikely of places if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone. Do not judge how things may have gone before… perhaps once before you reached out and you didn’t get the response and support you needed. The past is gone and it has no bearing now. Life is short, don’t waste one second of it when the support you need lies all around you, beckoning you to call upon it.


Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Turmeric is a wonderful superfood that is a must have!

(it’s so good at helping skin problems we accidentally wrote it twice!)

The health benefits of turmeric include:

  • Helps prevent gas
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • Natural Antibiotic
  • Aids in weight management
  • Natural antiseptic
  • Reduces the side effects of chemo
  • Natural analgesic
  • Improves skin conditions
  • Speeds up wound healing
  • Anti-arthritic
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves asthma
  • Heals stomach ulcers
  • Helps coughs
  • Blood Purifier
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