'I Suffered From An Eating Disorder You've Probably Never Heard Of Before'

What if I told you that I spent five years of my life chewing up food I would pretend to eat and secretly spitting it out?

My guess is you’d probably be shocked. Then definitely grossed out.
 
Unfortunately, I’m not capable of writing a transformational personal essay about how I traded in an eating disorder for total self-acceptance. Because I didn’t—after 11 years of severe eating issues, I still struggle with anxiety around eating and my weight on a daily basis. 

My “journey” began with starvation at age 14, triggered by my parents’ brief separation, and my anorexic habits resurfaced during other stressful times throughout high school and college. But I was never formally diagnosed with anorexia nervosa—mostly because I avoided acknowledging my food and body-image struggles, keeping them a secret from my family, my friends, even my therapist. I never even admitted to myself that I had a problem until a couple of years ago.

Along the road of secrecy and avoidance, I also adopted another debilitating “eating” habit. It’s referred to as chewing and spitting (or “CHSP” among clinicians). And it’s exactly what it sounds like.

RELATED: Do You Have a Food Addiction? Answer These 5 Questions to Find Out

A Perfect Compromise?

One Saturday morning in December 2007 (my junior year of high school), I was at Whole Foods when I saw a clerk offering samples of artisanal pretzels. At the time, I was a devout gym-goer and a staunch dieter. Long story short: a single pretzel wasn’t something I would even go near on a typical day.

But that morning, something shifted. I wanted to taste those pretzels. So I plopped a bag of them in my basket without trying a sample at the store, and walked home with a plan in mind: I would sit in my bathroom and enjoy an illicit snack, making sure to spit out each bite into a paper towel just before I was ready to swallow. It was the best of both worlds, right? No deprivation, no weight gain, and no vomiting. A perfect compromise.
 
That first time I chewed and spit, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of doing so earlier. I hadn’t tasted anything resembling bread in years, and doing so gave me a nearly-orgasmic amount of pleasure. Still, I got the satisfaction of affirming my immense self-control—enough to force myself to spit out gobs of beige pretzel-sludge into paper towels after chewing handfuls at a time. 

For the rest of junior year and for all of senior year—high stress, pre-college time—chewing and spitting was my drug. With an impending move away from home, I was addled with anxiety, and perfectionism helped keep it at bay. I became severely antisocial, as it enabled me to focus solely on schoolwork and SAT prep. In the meantime, I perfected starving myself and chewing and spitting—the latter of which was my only consistent source of pleasure.
 
I thought about it all the time. In class. On the subway. My go-to picks were granola bars, sugary cereal, and bread. Carbs had always been the scariest to me since I first developed anorexia, so anything carb-y (muffins, scones, cereal, crackers) were obvious contenders. My CHSP episodes were almost always done in binge amounts (e.g. more than one person would typically eat at one time), and always in secret—in the bathroom with a roll of paper towels and a couple of plastic shopping bags on hand to help me clean up the evidence. The only times I did it in public involved bread baskets at restaurants. I was pretty good at hiding the occasional chewed-and-spit bite at the table, though sometimes I would bring a piece to the bathroom when I had to pee.

The only visible signs of my behaviour at that point were the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars that disappeared as I’d buy more and more food to chew and spit, and the loaves of bread and boxes of cereal that would vanish from my parents’ kitchen.

The only evident side-effects were my frequent cavities and acute jaw pain. Whether it was stomach acid or simply the excessive amounts of chewing I was doing (or the possible dregs of sugar left in my teeth), I don’t know. But chewing and spitting felt almost as bad for my body as it did for my mind.

The Stress Factor

Things got better in college—somewhat miraculously. Though my chewing and spitting episodes persisted during freshman year (an unsurprisingly anxious time), my busier schedule and less-private living situation cut the frequency down to just a few times a week. On stressful evenings after spending hours at the library, I’d buy a couple of Chocolate Chip Clif bars and a few bags of honey-wheat pretzels from the vending machine in my dorm basement. There was a bathroom down there that people rarely used—perfect for my purposes. These episodes coexisted with my actual diet of beer, pizza, gross dining hall food, and other freshman-15-inducing foods. I started to become skeptical of chewing and spitting as my pants grew progressively tighter.

Over the next two years, my chewing and spitting habit receded. Sophomore year saw me settling into my routines and making connections with mentors, friends, and activities that gave my life meaning beyond chewed-up food. I only ever found myself chewing and spitting on especially stressful days—never in the same compulsive and addictive way that had plagued me those first three years.
 
Junior year was characterised by a different trauma—an addiction to the amphetamine-based stimulant Adderall, which I abused in response to academic pressure. As a result, chewing and spitting found itself in the metaphorical backseat of my psychiatric issues. Since Adderall decimated my appetite (an added bonus, I felt at the time), I simply never wanted to chew and spit. So I didn’t, and the habit came to a halt without my thinking about it. I stopped using the Adderall after my junior year, and it felt like I’d just fallen out of the habit of using CHSP as a tool for myself. 

Since then, I haven’t chewed and spit. I’ve thought about doing it, but the distance I now have from the habit gives me the space I need to remind myself of how awful it was. As for on-and-off anorexia, I finally came clean to myself, my family, my friends—and my shrink—about my history of starving myself. I have begun opening up about my self-esteem issues in therapy, which has helped me get to the “root cause” of my struggles with eating.

In 2015, I landed on the right medication for my diagnosed anxiety and have continued to explore new ways of trying to be kinder to myself with hobbies like yoga, meditation, and writing poetry. Since then, my obsession with thinness and hyper-restrictive ways of eating has ebbed. Yet with all that said, feeling fat and out of control is still my Achilles heel. When I face a tough moment—be it a fight with a friend or work stress—body insecurity is the first place my mind goes. Luckily, today my eating habits don’t change accordingly. On the surface, I eat a pretty normal, healthy-but-not-too-healthy, diet.

RELATED: How To Help Someone Who Suffers From Anxiety And Depression

Diagnosis Or Symptom?

Unfortunately, you never really hear about chewing and spitting as an eating disorder behavior quite like you hear about restricting, binge eating, vomiting, or laxative abuse.

Recent changes in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) have even brought about confusion regarding where to “place” chewing and spitting on the eating disorder spectrum. In the DSM-4, published in 1994, chewing and spitting was listed as an example disorder of the EDNOS diagnosis—Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Curiously, in the DSM-5, released in 2013, the EDNOS acronym was changed to OSFED (Otherwise Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder), and chewing and spitting was no longer listed as a common “otherwise specified” disorder.

Several studies, however, including one from Johns Hopkins University, have identified it as a common behaviour in individuals with anorexia, bulimia, and/or other eating disorders, and have suggested it may be a marker of disorder severity.
 
What still remains unclear to clinicians is pinning down what diagnosis exactly corresponds with chewing and spitting. Is it a sign of anorexia? Bulimia? Something entirely different? There’s a bit of controversy.

However, this doesn’t mean that chewing and spitting has been forgotten in the clinical landscape. Jennifer J. Thomas, Ph.D, co-director of the Eating Disorders Clinical Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, clarifies a possible meaning for the change: “Chewing and spitting is very rarely a stand-alone syndrome. I think dropping chewing and spitting from DSM-4 to DSM-5 was not meant to diminish its importance, but to recognise it as a symptom rather than as a stand-alone disorder.”
 
In my case, chewing and spitting was one of many symptoms involved in years of on-and-off anorexia. I did it because I wanted the pleasure of a carbohydrate in my mouth without the risk of gaining weight. Others may do it amidst bulimia—as a gentler alternative to vomiting.
 
Experts, too, feel that information is too scarce to make formal statements about how, why, and when chewing and spitting occurs in eating disorder patients. Evelyn Attia, M.D., Director of the Centre for Eating Disorders at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Centre and Weill Cornell Medicine, explains, “We don’t know enough about how many people engage in chewing and spitting, and whether the behaviour always, sometimes, rarely, or never exists together with other symptoms of a given disorder.” One thing is clear: Chewing and spitting still exists in the shadows.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health.

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This Engagement Tradition Is Officially Over, According To An Expert

It’s long been believed that when your man (or woman, hopefully very soon) gets down on one knee, you’ll be seeing three months salary-worth of bling gliding onto your ring finger.

But cult-favourite jeweller, Anna Sheffield, says that tradition is officially over.

“I believe the rules have really shifted, particularly for younger generations,” she told Metro US.

“The idea of any equation dictating what to spend on something this personal and special is kind of tied to that same status quo of a white diamond/white gold solitaire being the only ring to get.”

“The idea of the engagement ring now, I feel, is more tied to values and integrity of the material and the maker, as well as the people who will ultimately own the rings. They are symbols of their love after all!”

So if we’re not spending 90 days of hard earned cash on rock, how much should we be expect to be splashing out?

According to recent stats from Tiffany & Co, we’re spending on average between $15,000 and $20,000 on an engagement ring in 2017. In their store, perhaps…

In 2014, Choice reported that Aussies were spending a far less eye-watering figure: $5000.

But hey, let’s be honest, the most important thing isn’t how much your rings costs it’s what it symbolises. 

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You Have To See How Hilary Duff Just Shut Down Her Body Shamers

Hilary Duff is not letting body shamers ruin her vacation.

The 29-year-old, who is on a tropical trip with her friends and son, Luca, posted a photo on Instagram on Friday, August 4, of herself standing in the ocean. The picture, taken from the back, shows Hilary in a checkered one piece, carrying her 5-year-old, and a small amount of cellulite on her butt and thighs.

RELATED: Sofia Vergara Bares All Revealing The Food And Fitness Regime Behind Her Body

“I am posting this on behalf of young girls, women, and mothers of all ages. I’m enjoying a vacation with my son after a long season of shooting and being away from him for weeks at a time over those months,” she captioned the shot.

“Since websites and magazines love to share ‘celeb flaws’ – well I have them! My body has given me the greatest gift of my life: Luca, 5 years ago. I’m turning 30 in September and my body is healthy and gets me where I need to go,” she continued. “Ladies, lets be proud of what we’ve got and stop wasting precious time in the day wishing we were different, better, and unflawed. You guys (you know who you are!) already know how to ruin a good time, and now you are body shamers as well. #kissmyass”

RELATED: Demi Lovato Shares An Inspiring Pic Of The Body Part She’s Most Insecure About

The Younger star’s photo quickly went viral, with commenters praising her for being so real.

“Thank you for this!! #real #beachbody,” user bcarrera34 commented. Another follower, volleym07, wrote, “Hilary you look awesome!!!! Haters will always hate.”

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health.

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5 Reasons Hitting the Snooze Button Is Wrecking Your Body

You’ve had a late night. Hitting the snooze once or twice the next morning to give yourself more time to ease into the day isn’t a big deal, according to W. Chris Winter, M.D., Men’s Health sleep adviser and author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It

But when it becomes a chronic habit—say, slamming that snooze button multiple times, every day—you may actually be causing some changes to your body that aren’t so great.

“Everyone loves the relief of knowing you can go back to sleep,” says Dr. Winter. “That’s understandable, and it’s why we hit snooze. But you might be paying a higher price than you think for that all-too-brief relief.”

Your mind might be loving the cozy time, but here’s how your body is getting screwed up when you hit the snooze.

YOUR HORMONES GET JUMBLED

When you begin to wake up, your “sleep hormone” melatonin naturally begins to drop, and your go-go-go hormone, cortisol, starts rising. That causes a cascade of other chemicals—like serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline—to surge as well. That’s important, since these other hormones are what motivate you to feel awake and to get moving.

“When you’re hitting snooze 10 or 11 times a morning, your brain doesn’t understand when it’s supposed to make this change,” says Dr. Winter. As a result, your body doesn’t trigger the release of the hormones per usual, so it’s more difficult to feel refreshed.

YOU GET “SLEEP DRUNK”

There’s a phenomenon called “sleep drunkenness” and when this happens, your cognitive processes aren’t quite switched on, according to Dr. Winter. Overuse of snoozing could be part of poor quality sleep, which increases your risk of feeling disoriented during the post-sleep hours.

You have more trouble making decisions, you feel confused more easily, and you might even opt for some bad choices like, “That job performance review isn’t that important.” It’s very similar to being actually drunk, Dr. Winter says.

YOUR MISS YOUR MORNING POOP

Sleep and digestion work together, and both rely on circadian rhythms, according to Dr. Winter. When you wake up, it kicks off peristalsis, a series of wave-like muscle contractions that move food along in the digestive tract. That’s one of the reasons you’re more likely to poop in the morning.

But like other processes, if it gets thrown off schedule, your body may not create those necessary cues for regular evacuation. The result? Potential constipation and bloating.

YOUR HUNGER CUES ARE MESSED UP

Ideally, Dr. Winter says, you should wake up somewhat hungry. Like other morning hormone surges, ghrelin— a hormone that regulates appetite—should come online when you awaken.

The body reduces ghrelin production while you sleep, and when your sleep stops and then starts again, the hormonal triggering process goes awry. This could change up your hunger cues.

That might cause ghrelin to kick in earlier— cue the night eating beforehand—or to get delayed until later in the morning, when it comes roaring back. Neither scenario is ideal, says Dr. Winter (Want to super-charge your fat-frying routine? Try this insane interval workout).

YOU GET GROGGY

Snoozing does have its place if you’re someone who benefits from waking up in stages, adds Jerald Simmons, M.D., a sleep expert at Comprehensive Sleep Medicine Associates in Houston. If you need an extra three-to-five minutes to rouse yourself, that can be helpful, he believes.

But if you try to go back to sleep in that timeframe, it can make it more difficult to transition into your day. Usually, a high level of grogginess occurs because your body is trying to figure out if it is going to be getting more sleep, or if it should start that chemical cascade that comes with being awake.

This grogginess may even be a red flag that you have a sleep disorder, Dr. Simmons says, and that can range from insufficient sleep syndrome—which, true to its name, is simply not getting enough sleep consistently—to obstructive sleep apnea. With that condition, your throat muscles relax too much or your tongue falls against the back of the throat, with both of those causing a temporary airway block—cue the snoring and snorting when the body jerks you back awake to restore airflow.

If it seems literally impossible to get out of bed without ferocious snoozing first, he advises getting examined for a possible sleep problem.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health US.

RELATED: This Is The Best Position To Sleep In

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This Is The Best Position To Sleep In, According To A Health Expert

When it comes to sleeping positions, most of us have a go-to. But your choice of snoozing situation might be impacting your overall health.

In his book, A Life Less Stressed, Dr Ron Ehrlich outlines the five pillars of health and wellness that help us live happier, healthier and more resilient lives. And sleep tops this list.

The holistic health expert says it’s the most important part of the day, affecting physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and it’s the foundation for any wellness journey. It’s not just the quantity of sleep that’s important but the quality. In particular, how well you breathe while you sleep and the way you hit the hay plays an important role in this. 

Here’s his take on the most common sleep positions. 

Stomach

“Stomach sleeping is the worst. It places strain on the muscles of the head, neck and jaw, strains the jaw joints, can also twist the lower back and pelvis. Imagine wringing out a wet towel and that’s pretty much what you do to your muscles and joints while you are asleep on your stomach. It can also restrict your ability to breathe well while sleeping.”

Back

“Sleeping on your back is better, but it may also predispose your lower jaw, to which your tongue is attached, to drop to the back of the throat and restrict or even completely block your breathing and airway. It’s a problem that sometimes appears as snoring, but can also be obstructive sleep apnoea, which can dramatically affect your mental and physical  health and even be life threatening.”

Side

“Side sleeping is probably the best, particularly with a well supported pillow for your head and an additional pillow down by your side to support the leg not resting on the mattress. From a structural, neurological and muscular perspective, as well as for your airway it is kinder to the body. It also happens to be better for digestion, particularly lying on the left side, considering where the oesophagus enters the stomach.”

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9 Women Share What Sex On Their Wedding Night Was Really Like

When you imagine your wedding night, you probably envision champagne and rose petals, steamy sex, and maybe even a bubble bath. But the reality is that it’s not always that romantic. Many brides are extremely exhausted, some are drunk, and some are just worn out from a long day. 

We asked nine women what their wedding nights were really like, and many were less than picture-perfect. But, hey, maybe it’s as Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw said after her best friend Charlotte’s disaster of a wedding: “The worse the wedding, the better the marriage.” Same goes for the wedding night.

RELATED: This Is the Number 1 Sign You’re in a Serious Relationship

THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW

“As much as I wanted to [have sex], we passed out. We were both exhausted from a really long day and it just didn’t happen. The night after our wedding, the sex was incredible but nothing happened the night of.” —Kristi, 33

UM, YOU STILL WITH ME?

“After endless travel delays and frustrations, we arrived at our small destination wedding nearly half a day after we had planned, meaning that we had to do all the legal legwork and last-minute details *literally* last minute in the 100-degree Las Vegas summer. By the time our wedding, the photos, and a small dinner reception were all over, we went back to the hotel utterly exhausted! I ducked into the bathroom to freshen up (remember 100-degree weather plus frantic stress sweat…) while my new husband sat to watch the Bellagio fountain dancing from our hotel window. I spent maybe 15 minutes in there and came out to find him sound asleep in the bed. So—no wedding night nookie for us.” —Liz, 38

LIFE OF THE PARTY

“We lived together before so it was not going to be a big deal, but the funny thing was I wanted my 82-year-old grandma with Alzheimer’s to be part of our wedding so we booked a hotel room near ours for her with my maid of honour, thinking she would be exhausted after the wedding [and] would sleep well. No. She was up wandering the halls. My maid of honour ended up helping put panty hose on her just up to her thighs so she could not really walk, or get up out of bed. The four of us were laughing so loudly, people probably thought we were really having some fun in our room, as we worked to put them on her. We ended up finally putting her between us so that she could not escape. It was not the wedding night of my dreams, but it is one part of my wedding day I will never forget. It is now a funny remembrance of her.” —Denise, 35

NOT IN THE CARDS

“We eloped and I got my period that day and was super bloated and not looking for much action. Also, we ate way too much at dinner and I fell asleep in a food coma while half giving him a hand job, but he passed out too so it was all good.” —Jenny, 27

NOTHING SEXY ABOUT IT

“We got married a couple years ago in a small civil ceremony at a historical estate. We walked around for an hour or so afterwards, taking photos as we strolled the beautiful lawns and gardens. Unfortunately, it had been very wet for the previous week and every biting midge and flea was out celebrating the warm sunshine. Turns out my flowy, empire-waist dress gave them a giant buffet tent to hang out in while they bit me along every elastic seam around my undergarments! Waist, hips, bra-line… and everything in between. I was covered in miserable, itchy welts by evening! Plus, we had family staying with us for that week, so even if I hadn’t been a gross, itchy [mess], we wouldn’t have gotten a moment of privacy, so perhaps those bites saved us from some embarrassment in the long run?” —Brandy, 37

SO THAT’S WHERE YOU WERE

“I was planning an out-of-town wedding and was traveling back and forth to meet with vendors often. By the time the wedding came, I was pretty stressed. It was an early ceremony (noon) follow directly by the reception and it was all over by 5 or 6 p.m. I was amazingly tired and sore.

“The wedding party, my groom, and I rode back to our hotel so we could change and head to a local place to unwind, grab some drinks, and continue celebrating. We got to our room, forgoing the ‘carry over the threshold’ thing, shut the door, and laughed and kissed. [Then I] went straight for the clothes I’d decided to wear out.

“I remember laughing and saying I was tired, and that we would have more time to enjoy ourselves later that night. It really hurt his feelings though, and then I felt pretty bad about not sliding directly into a more romantic frame of mind.

“He laid me across the bed, kissed me briefly, and we had the shortest, least romantic sex of our relationship up until that point. I remember laying there after, thinking…this cannot be how I’ll remember my wedding night. He was still half dressed! After, with a much happier groom by my side, we made it the after-party where everyone joked that we were a little late. Although I’m not sure if they weren’t really joking that we should have been MUCH later.” —Kris, 40

YEA, THAT’S NOT HAPPENING

WORTH WAITING FOR

“My husband and I actually did have sex on our wedding night. It was hyped up for us because after some medical issues (and months without any nookie), I was given the clear to do the dirty not too long before our wedding. Even though we had some time before the nuptials, we decided to wait and let the excitement build up, which ended up being a great decision. We spent the night before separately, and I packed different toys and lubes for the hotel so we were more than ready the night of. Our wedding was super small and the restaurant we had our reception at wasn’t equipped for the Spotify playlist we made for the occasion, so we had our first dance in our hotel room and some damn good love-making followed directly after—definitely a top-three romp session. It’s worth noting that we’re also not big drinkers so there was no whiskey-dick issue to speak of and that the christening of our married genitals wasn’t something that either of us really showed any excitement toward until after the medically-induced dry spell.” —Megan, 40

RELATED: The Surprising Thing Happy Couples Have in Common

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health.

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6 Common Questions About Pregnancy Sex, Answered

Just because you have a bun in the oven, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the sheets. Yup, as scary as it might sound to mix his P with your growing B, there is no reason you shouldn’t enjoy a romp sesh whenever you feel like it (unless your clinician has told you otherwise).

“The biggest question I get is, ‘Can I have sex while I’m pregnant?’” says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., gynaecologist and co-author of The Complete A to Z for Your V. (We’ll say it again: Yup, you can.) But while Dweck says a lot of women don’t ask their gynos about pregnancy action because they find the topic taboo, it’s totally normal to have tons of other questions about getting it on while you’re expecting. Some of the other burning questions that Dweck says come up a lot: How is your sex drive affected when you’re pregnant? Will getting it on harm the health of your baby in any way? Which sex positions are best when you’re preggers? And that’s just for starters. 

And no matter how awkward you might feel about getting it on with a baby on board, you should absolutely ask your ob-gyn about any sex concerns you have.

In the meantime, that’s where we come in. We went ahead and tapped two pros for the most common “not dumb” pregnancy sex questions they get all the time because, let’s be honest, nine months is a long time to wait for sex.

RELATEDHere’s Exactly Why Your Sex Life Is Non-Existent

 

Sex is not going to cause a miscarriage, says Leah Millheiser, M.D., ob-gyn, director of the female sexual medicine program at Stanford. Even during the first trimester, when the risk for a miscarriage is higher, you’ve got the green light to get it on as much as you want.

But, there’s a caveat! If you’re having what docs call “a threatened miscarriage,” meaning you’re spotting and your doctor doesn’t know whether that bleeding is a sign of a future miscarriage, you should avoid sexual activity, says Millheiser. Similarly, if you’re experiencing any bleeding, premature labor, or placenta previa (your placenta is unusually low in the cervix), then you should not have sex. But if you’re symptom-free and your ob-gyn doesn’t tell you otherwise, doing the deed during any trimester won’t lead to miscarriage.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this one. Pregnancy libido varies person to person and depends on what term you’re in. “In the first trimester, lot of women are feeling nausea, fatigue, and they aren’t really in the mood,” Dweck says. But, in the second trimester, which Dweck calls “the holiday trimester,” you may see your libido soar. After those less-than-fun months of morning sickness, fatigue, and increased hormones, you may finally start to get into a rhythm and feel more energized—and ready to get busy.

In the final trimester some might be eager to get your freak on, but others might feel less sexual as a result of weight gain, back pain, and fatigue. At the end of the day, every woman experiences pregnancy differently, and you might not feel any change in your libido at all.

RELATEDThe Crazy Thing That Might Make Your Sex Life Way Hotter

 

Odds are that your partner’s penis isn’t big enough to reach the placenta. Plus, there’s plenty of protection between the foetus and your vagina, including the cervix, the amniotic sac, and the uterus. Even during the third trimester, when your cervix might be a little bit dilated, the answer remains the same, Millheiser says.

Typically no. “The chance of orgasm causing pre-term labour would be extremely small and rare,” Millheiser says. When you orgasm, your body releases the hormone oxytocix, which causes your uterus to contract, so it’s common for a woman to experience cramping after climaxing. Unless these contractions are happening for one to two hours and are getting closer together, they’re probably not labor contractions.

That being said, an orgasm could make you go into labour if you’re 38-weeks or more pregnant, says Millheiser. If you’re close to the end of your term and the post-orgasm contractions happen frequently for a long duration post-O, you might be in labour.

On the other hand, if you’ve had pre-term contractions or pre-term labour, orgasming could bring on a “spell of contractions,” which might falsely appear to be labour contractions, Millheiser says. You might also experience something like a “practice cramp,” which is just mild cramping post-orgasm. But, again, these do not turn into labour.

Positions that take pressure off your uterus (woman on top, cowgirl, doggy style) are great for pregnancy sex. “Lying on your back can cause your blood pressure to decrease because your uterus is getting bigger and heavier,” Dweck says. “So it weighs down on the vein that is behind the uterus called the vena cava.” Millheiser adds that by lying on your back you can also temporarily compress the vessels that delivering blood to the baby in the uterus. Though it’s not harmful to try this position for a short period of time, it definitely runs the risk of being uncomfy. Instead, try other feel-good options like side-by-side or any kind of rear entry.

As long as your partner’s not blowing air up there, receiving oral sex while pregnant is a-okay—and should feel damn good. Umm, air? “There is a very rare event called an air embolism, where air enters the blood stream and blocks a blood vessel,” says Millheiser. “That can happen if you blow air into the vagina of a pregnant woman.” While very rare, the risk of air embolism is higher in pregnant women because the blood vessels in their pelvis are dilated. So blowing air into the vagina could “traumatize” the vessel wall and cause air to pass through, Millheiser says. Otherwise, you’re free to enjoy as much oral action as you want.

This article originally appeared on Womenshealthmag.com.

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Pro Surfer, Steph Gilmore Reveals The Surprising Ways She Stays Fit In & Out Of The Water

#ISupportWomenInSport

Surfing is not easy, says pro surfer Stephanie Gilmore. It takes patience and resilience, we all get frustrated and we all fall off a million times over! Yep, for this six-time world champion, what happens in the water applies on shore, too. People say, What do you take out of surfing into your everyday life? and Im like, Everything – be patient, if youre getting smashed and held under a wave, you just have to go with it. You cant overpower it. Wait for things to run their course.’”

 

Gilmore takes this same go with the flow attitude to her fitness. Because I travel so much its hard to keep one set routine – I am the least self-disciplined athlete youve ever met! she confesses. But I like to mix it up, its good for the body and its good for the mind.

 

In LA, her class of choice is kickboxing. I just love having that release. Im not an aggressive person but theres something about having that high-cardio, high-intensity work that I really like, she says. Ill mix that in with stretching at home, the foam rollers are the best thing ever invented. I travel with a cricket ball and roll on it, its so painful!

 

Gilmore also smashes out weights in the pool. You get dumbbells and you crawl underwater with the weights. Youll go down with the weights to the bottom, squat and then come back up and then get a breath before you sink back down again. Its really good on your joints because its not as intense as if youre in the gym.

Something for all of those cute, petite waves around the world. @dhdsurf #XRS 🌟

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Back home in Australia, Gilmore goes for a more unconventional approach with her fitness. I work with Nam Baldwin, he mixes in martial arts with circuit work, then he does spatial awareness and balance training. Turns out, Baldwins equipment of choice is a broomstick! Hell run it back and forth around you and you have to duck and move around it, so youre dancing around this stick. The whole time your legs are burning. Hell come straight at you and you have to move your body, matrix style! Hell also get you balancing on a Bosu and hell throw tennis balls at you and you have to duck and miss the tennis balls.

So how does she prep for the wipe outs? Baldwin has a solution for that, too. We do breath enhancement training in the pool, she explains. Its all about showing your body that youve actually got oxygen running through it everywhere, you dont have to rely purely on your breath all the time. For big wave surfing, this is really handy! Youll think, Wow Im going to drown, and then be like Actually, nah, Im okay, Ive still got about another 30 seconds.’”

 

Unsurprisingly, Gilmore doesnt stick to a regimented diet to fuel this training. Ive never been the most strict. The thing people dont do is just listen to their body, take a moment to be like, How did I feel after I ate that? Its something simple like that, which helps you really learn about what feels good for you. I love fresh seafood, salads and vegies. And coffee and cake! Its about balance.

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Study Says You Should Buy A Present For Yourself

If you buy your mate a cute yoga mat for their birthday, science says you should buy one for yourself, too. Research in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that gift recipients are happier with a present if the giver got themselves that same present. We love science!

This, FYI, is called “companionizing”. Ie, that yoga mat is a “companionized gift”. “The fact that a gift is shared with the giver makes it a better gift in the eyes of the receiver,” says study co-author Evan Polman, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin School of Business. “They like a companionized gift more, and they even feel closer to the giver.” 

In the study, participants rated a list of gifts. They were asked how likeable, thoughtful and considerate they found each of the gifts – or how likable, thoughtful and considerate the gifts would be if the attached card included a message like, “I hope you like the gift. I got myself the same one too!” The scores went up for gifts that the giver got for themselves, too. This even worked for pretty dull gifts, like staplers and wool socks.

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Plus, the authors found that the giver and receiver didn’t have to be close for this “companionization effect” to work. So if you have to get a gift for your boyfriend’s awkward aunty, you may want to swing a scented candle her way and get one for yourself, too.

Caveat: the study authors note that it’s not enough for the giver to just say, I’ve heard these socks are extra cosy – the online reviews said so. You also won’t get the same outcome if you’d just happened to buy the same socks ages ago. The gift selection has to happen at the same time. One for you, one for me…

“There’s an inexorable link between similarity and liking. The more similar you are to someone, typically the more you like them,” Polman says. “When you receive a gift that someone has also bought for themselves, you feel more like them. That leads you to like your gift more.”

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The authors gift giving advice: “If you are faced with buying a gift for somebody, and you’re uncertain if they’re going to like it, maybe you instead find something you would like for yourself,” Polman says. “Then buy the recipient the same thing, and communicate the companionizing. It makes the gift more special, like the giver is trying to communicate something: ‘I like this, and I like you. So maybe you’ll like what I like.’” Let’s hope so… because we’ve just bulk bought scented candles.

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This Married Woman’s Incredible Response To A Cheating Husband Has Gone Viral

When a married woman was messaged by a man asking her if she would like to “go out sometime,” initially, she was flattered. 

She replied in a polite manner, saying that she was married, but if she wasn’t he did genuinely seem like “a catch.” 

However, she was seriously mistaken.

After clarifying she was indeed taken, the man responded. And it will make your skin crawl.

“OK so am I but we just won’t tell. It will be fun lol,” he wrote.

RELATED: ‘Should I Tell My Boyfriend I Cheated On My Ex?’

After at first ignoring the creep, the woman was prompted by a crying face emoji (really?) before she replied with an incredible shut down message. 

“When I got diagnosed with cancer last year I didn’t have the heart to tell my boys (whom I have always protected) that I could die” she started.

“My husband had to look in their eyes and say that I was sick. He subsequently took care of me during multiple surgeries, emptying drainage bags, giving me blood thinner shots, holding my hand while I was in pain an going to get chemo infusions.”

RELATED: Apparently If You Do This During Sex, You’re More Likely to Cheat

“During this time there was a song lyric that would constantly loop in my head “Love is watching someone die.” So my question to you is… Who is going to watch you die?”

She finished with simply: “Get your house in order and please stop messaging me.”

After sharing the sleazy messages to the picture sharing website Imgur, along with the caption: “Unless you’re ready for the BOOM! Please excuse my typos as I was a little heated,” the post has gone viral.

“Brutal. Love it,” one person wrote below the screenshots. 

“Appropriate response and what a bastard,” someone else replied.

This article originally appeared on marie claire.

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