Drab to Fab: Beat Workout Boredom

Common sense tells us that if something is boring, we’re not likely to continue doing it. Think about your favorite class in high school. Chances are, that class was your favorite because the teacher made the content fun and enjoyable. The same is true in the world of exercise. If your workout is such a drag that all you can do is look at the clock to see when it will be over, chances are you’re not going to stick to it for very long. Consider these suggestions for a workout that’s a blast and that blasts lots of calories, too:

-Ever noticed that there’s more to the treadmill control panel than just a speed control and a timer? Beat workout boredom by varying the incline and speed of your workout and by adding intervals of strength training. You’ll burn more calories, and your strength intervals will be all-the-more effective, too. If you’re a member at a gym and all the treadmill buttons make you nervous, ask an associate to give you a treadmill orientation. Fitness Magazine has a great seven-day plan for spicing up your treadmill routine.

Breaking your 30-, 40-, or 45-minute treadmill workout into small chunks or sections, as suggested in this very applicable link, will give you mini-goals to reach along the way, and you’ll probably take fewer glances at the clock. Who knows – you might even increase the length of your workout because you’ll be having so much fun!

-If you enjoy exercising outside, buddy up rather than go solo. The cliché is true – time really does go by faster when you’re having fun. Walkers can find a local pack at ava.org, runners at rrca.org, and swimmers at clubswim.com. One of my favorite spots is Katy Trail, which is walker-, runner-, and biker-friendly. It’s also jogging stroller and pet friendly, if you have little ones. With multiple entry points, concrete and gravel trails, and closely-patrolled areas, you can’t beat it.

-If you’re tired of your weight lifting routine, try spicing it up by no longer counting reps. Instead, lift until you can’t lift one rep further without losing your good form. Or, try Fuentes’ Freeze method: Pause at several points during each rep to increase its’ effectiveness. For example, if you’re doing bicep curls, pause for one count when you’re one-quarter of the way up, again at the halfway point, and one more time when you’re three-quarters of the way up. Lower slowly. If you listen to music while you lift, consider downloading music at a steady 122-128 BPM (beats per minute).

There are many sites online to find workout music. iTunes and Dynamix Music are both great sources. With music in this range of beats per minute, you can lift to the music, which could make all the difference in your workout enjoyment.

So, take your routine from drab to fab and have a blast!

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Gardasil 9

gardasil-logoBy: Kacy Michel, PhD- Client Services Director, Uptown Women’s Center

Just last year, in December 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardisil 9, a new vaccine that prevents diseases caused by nine types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). While the first generation of the Gardasil vaccine protected against only four viruses, Gardasil 9 has been formulated to cover five additional types. The new vaccine adds protection against HPV types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 – which cause approximately 20 percent of cervical cancers.

Even though Gardasil 9 protects against 5 additional strains, there are over 100 types of Human Papillomavirus that exist, and the virus has been known to spread and mutate. Nonetheless, Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said, “Vaccination is a critical public health measure for lowering the risk of most cervical, genital and anal cancers caused by HPV.”

How does it Work?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend females and males aged 9 through 26 receive the three shot series. The initial dose is then followed by shots given at two and six months. The cost of the entire shot series is approximately $300 dollars, and many insurance carriers cover both Gardasil and Gardasil 9. Adverse reactions to the shot include: injection site pain, swelling, redness, and headaches.

So Am I Protected 100%?

While the former Gardasil vaccine provided protection against 70% of HPV cases, the new Gardasil 9 is slated to provide protection against 90% of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers. Even though this is a huge improvement compared to the first vaccine, individuals should be aware that at least 10% of HPV cases are NOT covered. Thus, it is still important that you get screened for HPV as well as get a routine pap smear. The Uptown Women’s Center does not screen for HPV, but we do provide complimentary screening and treatment for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea (the two most common bacterial sexually transmitted illnesses).  Call 214/220-0222 to book a confidential appointment today.

Moffitt Cancer Center Researcher Explains Benefit of New Gardasil 9 Vaccine on YouTube Guardasil 9

Is the Uptown Women’s Center endorsing this vaccine?

At the Uptown Women’s Center, we strive to meet the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health needs of all clients. However, we do not specifically endorse any vaccine or medical treatment. As always, you need to talk to your health care provider about any medical procedure or vaccination based on your personal health needs and history.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/286893.php

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Tinder: What isn’t so ‘Hot’ about the Increasingly Popular Dating App

By: Kacy Michel, PhD- Client Services Director, Uptown Women’s Center

“Oh I met him on Tinder.”

From the spring of 2013 until the present, I have heard an increasing number of my clients and students refer to a dating partner they met on Tinder or one of the many dating applications. Sites such as Match.com and Eharmony.com claim to help you find that ‘one special person’ by charging a small fee and promising scientific pairing. While these fee-based sites have shown some success, even more of my clients in the 18 to 25 year-old demographic are turning to free dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, Grouper, and Blendr. While Grindr really started the free mobile dating app trend in 2009, Tinder’s launch in the fall of 2012 has helped the app gain more users than all other dating app combined. In fact, it is estimated that there are over fifty million active users on Tinder, who check their accounts on average eleven times daily and spend almost ninety minutes per day on the app (Newall, 2014).

So what is Tinder you ask?

1672215-inline-1-tinder-screen-greyAccording to the description in the app store: “Tinder finds out who likes you nearby and connects you with them if you’re also interested. It’s the new way to meet people around you. Tinder is how people meet. It’s like real life, but better.” Tinder works by connecting your Facebook account to get access to your photos and basic information. It then uses GPS to pinpoint your geographic location and connects you with singles in your area. You can adjust settings like distance and age, and from there, you are shown individual pictures of other Tinder users. You have the option when presented with each individual’s photo of pressing either a green heart button or a red X button. Users are notified when someone clicks a heart (i.e. “like”), but aren’t notified when someone opts for the X (i.e. “don’t like”). If both users “like” each other, a chat session opens (Younger, 2014).

While Tinder may seem rather harmless, even engaging, new research is revealing that dating app users such as the individuals using Tinder are more likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection (Greenberg, 2014). One reason for this has to do with the fact that Tinder users are often looking for quick, casual sexual encounters. An individual could feasibly connect to another random user in a matter of minutes and be meeting that other person face-to-face in a few hours. Not only is this unsafe, it also has the opportunity to spread common STIs such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

With the hook-up culture in full swing, it is little surprise that an app that relies solely on physical appearance would be this successful. However, the old adage to “not judge a book by its cover” is a point well taken here. Perhaps with Tinder you shouldn’t “judge a dating partner by their Tinder profile?”

A few words of caution:

1)      Since the Tinder app works by revealing a user’s location via GPS software, it isn’t a safe way to meet potential dating partners. Tinder is a free application that doesn’t require background checks or any form of identification. Thus, the person you are going to meet at the bar around the corner could be anyone from a convicted felon to a genuinely nice guy. The point is you don’t know, and that should caution you from meeting someone on a free mobile app.

2)      Tinder definitely has its share of shady individuals. In fact, an entire website (http://www.tindercreeps.com/) is devoted to posting pictures of questionable users.

3)      The overall connotation of Tinder is a casual, superficial connection. Therefore, many of the users are looking for casual, one-night-stand encounters. As stated above, this puts Tinder users at greater risk for contracting STIs. If you think you may have an STI, be sure to get tested to know your status. We offer complimentary STI screening and treatment here at the Uptown Women’s Center.

4)      Lastly, realize that relationships are built on much more than an outward appearance. While beauty and looks can and do fade overtime, character and conviction remain. Do you really want to base an entire relationship on a 2-second Tinder swipe? Think about it. If you want a long-term relationship, you would be wise to avoid a short-term hook-up.

Thoughts or questions? Feel free to email the author, Kacy Michel, at kacy@uptownwomencenter.com.


·         Greenberg, A. (2014). Dating App Users More Likely to Contract STIs. http://www.yourtango.com/experts/alexander-greenberg/study-finds-dating-app-users-are-more-likely-contract-stis#.VIIfmYeRlss.

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The Dangers and Long-term Health Risks of “Natural” Abortions

Dr. Kacy MichelBy: Kacy Michel, PhD- Client Services Director, Uptown Women’s Center

 While the ‘natural’ or ‘green’ trend is seen everywhere from soaps to toilet paper to cosmetics, there is a new trend appearing in which women attempt to give themselves so-called “natural” (or self-induced) abortions. While academics first took note of ‘natural’ abortions beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, there has been a recent resurgence in the number of women attempting such acts. This post will discuss various methods of ‘natural’ abortion, give short and long-term health risks associated with such a practice, and suggest guidelines on how to properly seek healthcare in the event of pregnancy.

There are a plethora of websites devoted to giving women step-by-step instructions for how to perform these ‘natural’ abortions. These methods include ingesting copious amounts of Vitamin C via supplements and food sources like papaya, pineapple, and tangerines (Boldsky, 2013), taking a concoction of cinnamon, black, and blue cohosh (n.d., 2014), and swallowing herbs such as Dong Quai, Tansy, Pennyroyal (n.d., 2014). Others way to induce a ‘natural’ abortion deal with lifting very heavy weights, walking up several flights of stairs, and exercising for more than 4 hours daily (Boldsky, 2013). Some women even turn to black market drugs and potions like Cytotec that can result in hemorraging and in certain cases death (Hellerstein, 2014).

Dangers of a ‘natural’ abortion are varied. For one, ingesting a very large amount of certain herbs or vitamins can result in toxicity. Also, taking something like quinine or other dangerous substances can result in death of the mother and congenital abnormalities (i.e. birth defects) for a child (Smith, 1998). Pennyroyal can cause severe hepatotoxicity, disseminated intravascular coagulation, shock, and death (Smit

h, 1998). If Tansy is taken internally, it can result in convulsions and psychotic reactions (Smith, 1998).


Furthermore, performing ‘natural’ abortions may potentially result in infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, and in some cases death. Also, since many of these herbs and substances have not undergone the FDA review process, it is unknown the long-term health implications of taking such substances.

A few tips to remember:

1)      If you are pregnant, make sure to have a lab-grade pregnancy test as well as a sonogram. Only after confirming a viable pregnancy via a sonogram can you be sure you aren’t having a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or blighted ovum. We perform all of these services at the Uptown Women’s Center.

2)      Make sure to be seen by licensed professional healthcare workers. You may have a positive result on a home pregnancy test, but you still need to see a professional healthcare worker in order to confirm your pregnancy. We have licensed registered nurses and sonographers on staff waiting to assist you.

3)      Realize that attempting a ‘natural’ abortion may leave the surviving child with life-long special needs and health issues.

4)      Previous cases of women attempting this act have resulting in infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even death (Hellerstein, 2014).

5)      Use common sense. Does exercising more than 4 hours a day or ingesting herbal concoctions even sound like a good idea? If something sounds harmful or dangerous, don’t subject your body to it.

6)      Be smart! Not everything that claims it is ‘natural’ is actually beneficial for you or your body.


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Making Peace With Your Past

Whenever I lead a recovery group in post-abortion healing, I tell them about my approach to recovery.  It’s called ‘AAAIH.’   Everyone looks at me with a curious look, then I explain it’s not some kind of insurance.  I ask:

  • What’s your Awareness level?
  • What are you Afraid of?
  • What are you Angry about?
  • Why are you Isolating yourself?
  • What are you Hiding?

It takes weeks (often longer) to peel away layers of fear, anger, resentment, guilt and bitterness built up over years.  It’s hard work to make peace with your past, but I’ve never ever had anyone say it wasn’t worth it.

Guest Blogger Debby Efurd is Director of Post-Abortion Support for Involved for Life, Inc., Dallas, Texas (Downtown Pregnancy Center, Uptown Women’s Center, Sonograms-On-Site), leading post-abortion Bible studies and facilitator training. You can read more at http://debbyefurd.com/

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