6 Healthy Ways To Celebrate Father’s Day With Your Dad This Weekend



healthy ways to celebrate father's day

As you probably already know, this Sunday is Father’s Day. And while buying presents (like these healthy habit-forming ones) might work for some dads, gift-giving definitely not a one-size-fits-all strategy. If your old man (or the father of your kid, or another dad-like figure) isn’t really into stuff, doing something with or for him might be a better way to go. So here are six healthy ways to celebrate Father’s Day with your dearest dad–whether you’re in the same town, or live worlds apart.

If the guy you’re celebrating this weekend is into it, taking him to a yoga class or out in a hike is a great way to spend time together, and get in some physical activity. But if he’s not much of an outdoorsy guy, or he’s older, or he lives far away, there are still plenty of healthy, fun ways to show him that you care.

How are you celebrating your dad this weekend? Let us know in the comments!

Image via Examiner/JC Penney

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Video: Paralyzed Teen, Patrick Ivison, Proves Determination Is Stronger Than A Disability



If there is anything you think you can’t do, meet Patrick Ivison. He’s a 17-year-old paraplegic who vowed to get out of his wheelchair and walk across the stage at his high school graduation. And this week, he did just that. Watch the video and be prepared with some tissues.

Ivison, a senior at Scripps High School in San Diego, was just 14-months-old when he was run over by a car. That accident injured his spinal cord so severely that he was paralyzed from the waist down. He has spent the last 16 years in a wheelchair.

But he never let his disability hold him back. Ivison learned to kayak, ski, hand-cycle marathon-length distances and play rugby. The determined teen even learned to surf and went to Costa Rica twice to film a surf documentary and compete in the U.S. Open of Surfing for five years in a row.

And just this week, Ivison accomplished another one of his goals: walking across the stage to accept his diploma at his high school graduation.

To prepare for his big walk, the teen spent up to six hours a day in physical therapy to strengthen his muscles and coordination. The months leading up to graduation were stressful, both physically and mentally, as reported on his blog:

I’m actually pretty nervous. There’s going to be a lot of pressure.

But that didn’t stop him. On Tuesday night, aided by a custom-made walker with his service dog by his side, Ivison stoood up. And in front of a standing cheering crowd, he walked to accept his diploma.

Talk about inspiration to achieve our own goals!

Take a look at his amazing accomplishment:

Photo: abcnews.go.com


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What Your Running Shoes Say About Your Personality



what your running shoes say about youAccording to a new study, your running shoes probably mean that you’re “agreeable,” at least in the eyes of the people around you. And apparently wearing ankle boots reveals that you’re “aggressive.” But what’s interesting is that researchers found that it’s possible to size up someone’s personality, demographics, and even attachment anxiety with up to 90% accurately, solely based on their, well…soles.

Researchers at the University of Kansas in Lawrence asked 208 college students aged 18 to 55 to bring in a photo of the shoes they wear most often, then fill out a questionnaire to evaluate their personalities. They then asked 63 people to look at the photos and evaluate the user’s personality, age, economic background, and even attachment anxiety. People were best at sizing up a person’s age, sex and income based on their shoes—not surprising. But it did come as a shocker that they were also good at evaluating someone’s attachment anxiety (though researchers aren’t sure exactly how they’re able to measure someone’s fear of abandonment based on their footwear).

A lot of the evaluations are obvious—expensive shoes indicate a high socioeconomic status; certain styles are clearly associated with men and women—but some of the details are interesting. If your shoes are practical or functional (hello, running shoes!), you’re probably “agreeable.” Ankle boots, mentioned earlier, indicate that you’re “aggressive,” and uncomfortable-looking shoes prove that you’re “calm.”

Photo: serious running

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Why Thinspo And Fitspo Are So Popular…And Banning Them Isn’t The Answer



thinspiration fitspiration

Thinspiration, or “thinspo,” may have been banned from social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, but its “healthier” counterpart, “fitspo“—which, for all intents and purposes, is basically the same thing with an emphasis on muscles instead of bones—is still shared on essentially every major channel of electronic communication. One is abhorred as eating disorder trigger, and the other is more widely accepted as “healthy” or “normal,” but neither one is likely to go anywhere any time soon—because the fact is, this kind of imagery impacts us deeply on many levels. So many levels, in fact, that banning it is not only unlikely to erase the problem, but more likely to make those who depend on it become defensive of it.

Bonnie Brennan, MA, LPC, and clinical director of the adult partial hospitalization program at Eating Recovery Center, says that both thinspo and fitspo are about more than just motivation—and, she says, they’re more similar than you might think.

“The amount of time in the brain spent on engaging in the activity looks very similar,” says Brennan. “At Eating Recovery Center, we have patients whose eating disorder is about fitness. One thing that’s common, from in-patients to those who are just exploring disordered eating, is an attempt to change the body as a way to create or get rid of emotions. ”

What is it about these images that not only make them popular, but make them feel so essential to so many individuals that they’re constantly looking for a new outlet to share and consume them once they’ve been banned? Here’s how Brennan explained it:

The way that I look at it and try to explain it to my patients is that people are human beings, looking for relief from pain. We want to avoid negative emotions, and we experience emotions in our body, and there’s a bodily sensation that happens. So we go and look at this kind of imagery for whatever it means for the person looking for it. It provides the fantasy of relief from whatever we’re struggling with. It’s almost like a drug–you’re chasing something impossible.

Unfortunately, the rationale behind many bans of the material—that it can trigger or cause eating disorders in young people—isn’t quite accurate. Because, says Brennan, while it can be a trigger, for many individuals suffering from emotional distress or disordered eating behaviors, it goes well beyond that initial shift–it’s what fuels the fire, and fills a void.

The trigger is not often what maintains the eating disorder for the long-term, so for those who go back to looking at the images, they’re usually finding a maintenance piece. It’s almost like voyeurism. It’s a sense of intimacy,  to connect with others who feel this way… A lot of time, with the fitspo stuff, they come with a recipe or a workout guide. They can serve as a template, or a guide to life. You can work toward achieving a goal and feeling better about yourself, but it’s not long-lasting.

And many women struggling with an eating disorder (whether it be exercise bulimia, ED-NOS, full-blown anorexia, or another form) grow protective over thinspo and fitspo, because it does become so integral to maintaining and continuing their disorder. Much like drug addicts, they’ll be upset if they think they can’t get what they need—which is why bans often don’t work. Bans also enforce the secrecy that accompanies eating disorders. When it’s hidden away and forbidden and banned, says Brennan, it’s harder to know when someone you love may be spending too much time engaging with it, because they’ll either hide it–or they’ll go find a more “acceptable” substitute, like fitspo.

At the end of the day, says Brennan, individuals or groups who gather around thinspo or fitspo are just looking for an answer, which they believe will come as the result of a thin or a fit body. And that’s the real root of all of this—that many of us believe we would be happier, or feel better, or be more successful if we were more fit, more toned, more thin, more whatever—which is unfortunately true, in some cases. (Thin women have been statistically shown to make more money and be more respected in the workplace.)

But banning certain kinds of images and persecuting those who find solace in them only attacks a symptom of a much larger disease—society’s obsession with thinness and fat-phobia. When there’s no need for thinspo and fitspo (or when we can be inspired by these images without needing them to feel better about ourselves), then maybe they’ll begin to recede. Until then, promoting diversity in mainstream imagery (natural models, more emphasis on positive body image, more exposure to various body types) can help build a more supportive culture of non-thin bodies. But as long as there are women (and men) in pain and seeking relief, these images will find a way to get online for anyone who wants them (and those of us who don’t).

Image: Mandrakephoto via Shutterstock

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Olympic Hopeful And Amputee, Oscar Pistorius, Shows What Our Bodies Can Really Do



Runners are just awesome, inspirational people. Last week, we told you about high school track star, Meghan Vogel, and how she showed us what true sportsmanship is all about. This week, we have Oscar Pistorius, Olympic hopeful runner who is showing us what our bodies are truly capable of–even though he has no legs. Take a look–because you can’t help but be inspired.

The South African sprinter has not officially qualified for the London Games this summer yet, but we are already rooting for him.

Pistorius has shattered records in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing and in the Paralympic Games. Last summer the 25-year-old also set a new record in the 400m at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, UK, and just two months later, he made history in Italy by running his fastest time yet in the 400m–against able-bodied competitors. It seems his disability is not a disability at all.

And Pistorius would likely agree. In an interview on RyanSeacrest.com, he reminds us that “you are not disabled by your disabilities but rather, abled by your abilities.” An attitude that surely came from his strong, positive mother:

In the mornings my mom said to my brother that he must put on his shoes and I must put on my legs, and that was the last she wants to hear of any sort of disability.

Oscar’s mom also gave him, perhaps, the most valuable piece of advice ever:

A loser is not someone who gets involved and comes last, but  it’s someone who doesn’t get involved in the first place.

In order to qualify for the London Olympics this summer, Pistorius needs to run the 400m in 45.30 seconds or faster in an international race before June 30. If he succeeds, he will become the first amputee athlete to compete at both Paralympic and Olympic Games.

With an attitude like his, we have a feeling he will make it.

I view challenges, not as barriers, but as boundaries that can and will be pushed.

Take a look at Oscar’s story and be inspired:

Photo: ryanseacrest.com


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Video: 75-Year-Old Bodybuilding Grandma Proves Age Is Nothing But A Number



World's Oldest bodybuilder

“If ever there was an anti-aging pill, I would call it exercise,” says 75-year-old Ernestine Shepherd, of Baltimore, who runs 10 miles per day and is more ripped and strong than most 20-somethings. But here’s the most inspirational part: the bodybuilding grandma didn’t start training until she was 71. So…what’s your excuse for not hitting the weights today?

Shepherd, who says she loves to help her fellow churchgoers discover exercise and a healthy lifestyle, made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest female competitive bodybuilder in the world. She says she started exercising at age 56, because she wasn’t happy with how she looked in a swimsuit. But following the death of her sister, Shepherd says she became more dedicated.

This awesomely inspirational woman is living proof that, as she tells her fellow congregates during their workouts today, “age is nothing but a number.” Super-fit, lively, and able to wake up at 2:30 am (yup. In the morning. Every morning) to go running, the cheerful grandmother demonstrates what the human body is capable of achieving, even years after “retirement age.”

Watch this amazing video by the BBC, and think about what you’d like to be doing at age 75. My newfound goal: have arms like Ernestine.

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Exercise Out; Ketamine In: This Week’s News In Depression Remedies



Exercise it out; ketamine is in. Take a look at some of the discoveries in depression research this week—we’ve got blood tests and guilt signals gone haywire and a reason it may be better to skip the therapist’s office and opt instead for a phone session. As always with this kind of stuff, there’s a lot of genuinely interesting news here, but don’t trust any headline touting the depression ’cause’ or ‘cure.’ [And exercise probably isn't so bad, either.]

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High School Athlete Meghan Vogel Shows True Sportsmanship; Watch And Be Inspired



Say what you will about kids these days, but an Ohio teen has just proved that kids deserve more credit than we give them. Meghan Vogel was in the middle of a track meet for her high school when she decided to sacrifice her own race to help another girl–from the opposing team. Take a look and break out the tissues.

The junior at West Liberty-Salem High School in Ohio had just set a new record for the 1,600 meter race last week, but her true victory came when she finished last in the 3,200 meter race.

Vogel was on her way to the finish line when she saw one of her competitors from another school, Arden McMath, on the ground and struggling due to severe cramps. But instead of doing what most people would do and run past her, Vogel stopped, helped her competitor up and carried her to the finish line, arm-in-arm. After crossing the finish line, both girls received a well-deserved standing ovation.

It was a true demonstration of selflessness, empathy and compassion, and it just might revive our hope in our future generation.

Vogel told the Springfield News-Sun exactly how that made her feel, proving once again that giving is better than receiving:

Helping her across the finish line was a lot more satisfying than winning the state championship.

Not only did Vogel help her competitor finish the race, but she made sure to finish behind her:

She was in front of me the whole race, so she deserved to finish in front of me no matter what it took. Distance runners take care of their own.

Paul Hunter, coach from the opposing school added:

What a selfless act. She could have just gone around Arden. But she chose to help. I’ve never seen that at a state meet. That’s real sportsmanship.

True sportsmanship indeed.

Take a look, but be forewarned, you may want to grab a tissue first:



Photo: toledoblade.com


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‘Bath Salts’: What You Need To Know About The Stupid, Dangerous (And Legal) Drug



bath salts drug

Several violent, horrific crimes (including cannibalism) across the United States have authorities looking more closely at a widely-available, legal synthetic drug known as “bath salts.” Unfortunately, much like “Spice,” the synthetic marijuana that Demi Moore was rumored to have used before she was hospitalized last year, bath salts are made up of various chemical compounds and sold under a variety of names–making them harder to criminalize than drugs like cocaine or marijuana. They’re also much, much more dangerous.

Not to be confused with the lavender-scented crystals you buy on Etsy and keep near the tub, the bath salts that have been blamed for deaths from coast to coast for several years are sold in bodegas and smoke shops to anyone over the age of 18. They’re usually sold under names like “Purple Wave” or “Bliss” for the purpose of being snorted or otherwise ingested (sometimes intravenously, like in the case of this woman who lost an arm shooting them directly into her bloodstream)–despite being labeled “not for human consumption.” And because they’re not being marketed as a drug, so far, there’s been little effort to criminalize them, despite the fact that they’ve been behind plenty of terrifying events.

Senator Chuck Schumer in New York was one of the first politicians to speak out about the drug, way back in January of 2011–but at the time, little was known about the drug or its impact. However, following the recent string of violent crimes (like the “face-eating” horror in Miami) and increased hospital visits and overdoses as a result of using the drug, more lawmakers and drug enforcement agencies have caught on to the drug’s dangerous effects. This week, is seems, everyone wants to crack down on bath salts. Just yesterday, the city of Detroit announced a ban on the drugs–and in May, the US Senate voted in favor of a ban, as well.

But unlike other, illegal hallucinogens (like mushrooms or LSD), bath salts, like Spice, can be made up of a variety of difficult-to-control chemicals, making criminalization sort of a moving target.  And because the drug is sold so inexpensively and produces such a powerful high, it’s become popular not only with teens, but with at-risk adults and the homeless. Which points to the more pressing concern: that, despite the risks, when dumb, dangerous, potentially lethal drugs are legal and inexpensive, people will buy them.

That’s an argument that’s made some in the pro-marijuana legalization camp speak up on behalf of cannabis, which is much easier to regulate and is far, far less dangerous than synthetic drugs like Spice and bath salts. Just today, a report of areas surrounding medical marijuana dispensaries found that neighborhoods are not negatively impacted by their presence. And, when regulated and monitored, marijuana essentially never contains the kinds of things that cause psychotic breaks, hallucinations, or violent crime.

Unfortunately, where there’s a profit to be made and consumer demand, there will always be products to fill the demand. And as long as less-dangerous drugs like marijuana remain illegal, these legal “synthetics” will continue to skirt the law (even after criminalization, which seems like a sure thing at this point) and flood the market. At this point, the best we can do is educate potential buys of the dangers.

Image: Kei Shooting via Shutterstock

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Sarah Silverman Says She Would Adopt To Avoid Passing Depression On To Her Kids



Sarah Silverman is known for her blunt comedy, and apparently that straight-forwardness doesn’t end with her humor. On Amanda DeCadenet‘s amazing show The Conversation, Silverman spoke about her battles with depression. The discussion wasn’t new for Sarah, as she spoke candidly about her mental health issues in her book The Bedwetter, but it was the first time that I’ve known her to discuss the illnesses impact on her future path to motherhood. Quite simply, Silverman would rather adopt than risk passing depression on to her future children. More »

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