Home Workouts for When You Have Bad Period Cramps


When I’m sofa-bound thanks to the unceasing, painful jabs of my period cramps, the last thing I really want to do is get up and exercise — curling up in a ball and rocking back and forth sounds much more appealing.

But, the truth of the matter is working out, or simply moving around my apartment, is one of the only things that eases my cramps faster. The Mayo Clinic actually notes that physical activity is one home remedy that can help some women manage their menstrual cramps, and I’m one of them!

My tried-and-true cramp exercise of choice is swimming, but since the pools near me have been closed since March, I’ve had to explore other living room-friendly options. Ahead, the four workouts that push me through the awful aches — and even a few other PMS symptoms.

Peloton Yoga

My cramps kick in a day or two before my period arrives, along with a side of mood swings and increased anxiety. This particular combo of emotional and physical discomfort calls for time spent on my yoga mat — stretching through active Sun Salutations and letting all the stress go during Savasana.

I’ve tried a handful of yoga apps, and Peloton Yoga is by far one of my favourites. The Peloton app, which costs about $13 a month, offers a ton of different types of yoga — like restorative yoga, power yoga, yoga flow, yoga basics, yoga anywhere, and pre- and postnatal yoga — for every skill set and need.

When I feel the faint twinge of a period cramp, I usually turn to a 20 or 30-minute yoga flow session — which combines the perfect amount of active sequences and seated poses.

XB Pilates

I’m definitely not at my perkiest during my period — in fact, I’m kind of a drag. Positivity and an upbeat personality from my workout instructor is what I need in those moments. That’s exactly what you can expect from Andrea Rogers in XB Pilates, available on the Openfit app.

The low-impact pulses and thoughtful, small movements in Rogers’s workouts fire up my muscles, and her encourageing messages always push me through those last few challenging reps. It was in Rogers’s workouts that I learned that lightweight dumbbells are dramatically underrated — an arms series with 2 lb. weights left me sore for days.


Sometimes plyometric moves get a hard pass from me — especially during the first few days of my period. So, when I want to focus on toning my legs, I turn to P.volve, a low-impact, high-intensity workout method that utilises small, mobility-focussed movements and tools like ankle resistance bands and sliders to target hard-to-reach muscles.

POPSUGAR Fitness Videos

When I do have more energy to jump around or get my heart rate up, the POPSUGAR Fitness Youtube channel is where it’s at. Living room cardio can get old pretty fast, but POPSUGAR’s cardio and dance fitness workout spice up the average jumping jack. I’m a huge fan of the no-equipment videos, which also pop up in strength training playlists, too. Trainer Taylor Walker’s 30-Minute No-Equipment Cardio Workout is a solid place to start. If you’re in the mood to target your core, check out 20-Minute Obliques Workout With Jake DuPree.

Click here for more health and wellness stories, tips, and news.

Image Source: Getty Images / Peathegee Inc


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‘Red dawn breaking bad’: Officials warned about safety gear shortfall early on, emails show


A high-ranking federal official in late February warned that the United States needed to plan for not having enough personal protective equipment for medical workers as they began to battle the novel coronavirus, according to internal emails obtained by Kaiser Health News.

The messages provide a sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s statements at the time that the threat the coronavirus posed to the American public remained “very low.” In fact, concerns were already mounting, the emails show, that medical workers and first responders would not have enough masks, gloves, face shields and other supplies, known as PPE, to protect themselves against infection when treating Covid-19 patients.

The emails, part of a lengthy chain titled “Red Dawn Breaking Bad,” includes senior officials across the Department of Veterans Affairs, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as outside academics and some state health officials. KHN obtained the correspondence through a public records request in King County, Washington, where officials struggled as the virus set upon a nursing home in the Seattle area, eventually killing 37 people. It was the scene of the first major outbreak in the nation.

“We should plan assuming we won’t have enough PPE — so need to change the battlefield and how we envision or even define the front lines,” Dr. Carter Mecher, a physician and senior medical adviser at the Department of Veterans Affairs, wrote on Feb. 25. It would be weeks before front-line health workers would take to social media with the hashtag #GetMePPE and before health systems would appeal to the public to donate protective gear.

In the email, Mecher said confirmed-positive patients should be categorized under two groups with different care models for each: those with mild symptoms should be encouraged to stay home under self-isolation, while more serious patients should go to hospital emergency rooms.

“The demand is rising and there is no guarantee that we can continue with the supply since the supply-chain has been disrupted,” Eva Lee, director of the Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare at Georgia Tech and a former health scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, wrote that same day citing shortages of personal protective equipment and medical supplies. “I do not know if we have enough resources to protect all frontline providers.”

Reached on Saturday, Lee said she isn’t sure who saw the message trail but “what I want is that we take action because at the end of the day we need to save patients and health care workers.”

Mecher, also reached Saturday, said the emails were an “an informal group of us who have known each other for years exchanging information.” He said concerns aired at the time on medical protective gear were top of mind for most people in health care. More than 35 people were on the email chain, many of them high-ranking government officials.

The same day Mecher and others raised the concern in the messages, Trump made remarks to a business roundtable group in New Delhi, India.

“We think we’re in very good shape in the United States,” he said, noting that the U.S. closed the borders to some areas. “Let’s just say we’re fortunate so far.  And we think it’s going to remain that way.”

The White House declined to comment. In a statement, VA press secretary Christina Mandreucci said, “All VA facilities are equipped with essential items and supplies to handle additional coronavirus cases, and the department is continually monitoring the status of those items to ensure a robust supply chain.”

Doctors and other front-line medical workers in the weeks since have escalated concerns about shortages of medical gear, voicing alarm about the need to protect themselves, their families and patients against COVID-19, which as of Saturday evening had sickened more than 121,000 in the United States and killed at least 2,000.

As Mecher and others sent emails about growing PPE concerns, HHS Secretary Alex Azar testified to lawmakers that the U.S. had 30 million N95 respirator masks stockpiled but needed 300 million to combat the outbreak. Some senior U.S. government officials were also warning the public to not buy masks for themselves to conserve the supply for health care providers.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted on Feb. 29: “Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS!  They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

Still, on Feb. 27, the FDA in a statement said that officials were not aware of widespread shortages of equipment.

“We are aware of reports from CDC and other U.S. partners of increased ordering of a range of human medical products through distributors as some healthcare facilities in the U.S. are preparing for potential needs if the outbreak becomes severe,” the agency said.

Simultaneously, Trump downplayed the risk of the novel coronavirus to the American public even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was warning it was only a matter of time before it would spread across the country. On Feb. 29, the CDC also updated its strategies for health workers to optimize supplies of N95 masks.

An HHS spokesperson said Saturday the department has been in “an all-out effort to mobilize America’s capacity” for personal protective equipment and other supplies, including allowing the use of industrial N95 respirators in health care settings and awarding contracts to several private manufacturers to buy roughly 600 million masks over the next 18 months.

“Health care supply chains are private-sector-driven,” the spokesperson said. “The federal role is to support that work, coordinate information across the industry and with state or local agencies if needed during emergencies, and drive manufacturing demand as best we can.”

The emails from King County officials and others in Washington state also show growing concern about the exposure of health care workers to the virus, as well as a view into local officials’ attempts to get help from the CDC.

In one instance, local medical leaders were alarmed that paramedics and other emergency personnel were possibly exposed after encountering confirmed-positive patients at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the Seattle-area nursing home where roughly three dozen people have died because of the virus.

“We are having a very serious challenge related to hospital exposures and impact on the health care system,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, the public health officer for Seattle and King County, wrote in a different email to CDC officials March 1. Duchin pleaded for a field team to test exposed health care workers and additional support.

Duchin’s email came hours after a physician at UW Medicine wrote about being “very concerned” about exposed workers at multiple hospitals and their attempts to isolate infected workers.

“I suspect that we will not be able to follow current CDC [recommendations] for exposed HCWs [health care workers] either,” wrote Dr. John Lynch, medical director of employee health for Harborview Medical Center and associate professor of Medicine and Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington. “As you migh [sic] imagine, I am very concerned about the hospitals at this point.”

Those concerns have been underscored with an unusual weekend statement from Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association, which represents doctors, calling on Saturday for more coordination of needed medical supplies.

“At this critical moment, a unified effort is urgently needed to identify gaps in the supply of and lack of access to PPE necessary to fight COVID-19,” the statement says. “Physicians stand ready to provide urgent medical care on the front lines in a pandemic crisis. But their need for protective gear is equally urgent and necessary.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Photo: Kaikoro, Getty Images


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Is Multitasking Bad? | POPSUGAR Smart Living UK


A few weeks ago, I spent nearly an hour attempting to book a spot in a workout class. It wasn’t because there was something wrong with the studio’s website. It was because there was something wrong with me. I kept getting distracted, forgetting what I was doing, accidentally closing the tab in my browser, doing something else, remembering the workout class, reopening the tab . . . in my quest to do everything at once, I was failing to get even the easiest of sh*t done. Why couldn’t I just focus on one thing at a time? What if I at least tried?

I decided to spend a few days doing just that — which is not to say I think multitasking is purely bad. (In fact, just after I signed myself up for this experiment, the brilliant and prolific Taffy Brodesser-Akner wrote a glorious defence of living chaotically.) I also know the ability to avoid multitasking is often borne of privilege and circumstance. I don’t have young children demanding my attention, I have the kind of job where I can somewhat control my own time and distractions, and I have the luxury of occasional free time. But if the workout class debacle was evidence, I’d gotten so carried away with trying to accomplish several things at once that I was accomplishing almost nothing.

Full disclosure: I initially was going to try this experiment for a week, but I wimped out. I am training for a half-marathon and had to run nine miles over the weekend; there was no way I was going to make it without a playlist (running + listening to music = two things). But even after I downgraded the commitment, I was still tempted to make it even easier on myself. Of course I could listen to podcasts and music while I was driving! Or cleaning up around the house. Or food shopping. But I kept thinking about an episode of Call Your Girlfriend with Jenny Odell, the author of the book How to Do Nothing, which argues against our modern obsession for being productive at all times. Odell recalled a performance art piece by John Cage that encourages people to newly focus on the sounds around them by incorporating noises like a blender or a deck of cards being shuffled. She said the experience forever changed the way she experiences and pays attention to everyday sounds. The thought of having such an epiphany of my own was appealing enough to go cold turkey. So I did.

DAY ONE: Monday

  • 7:10 a.m. — I get in my car and do not turn on NPR or the Rap Caviar Spotify playlist. I am already experiencing everyday sounds more acutely — has my dashboard always made that annoying rattling sound? I feel a muscle-jerk reaction to turn up the volume knob even though nothing is on. My brain starts playing a TV advert jingle. In fact, I discover, I am whistling it out loud.
  • 7:30 a.m. — Coincidentally, I start the day with a meditation session with the serene Megan Monahan, who wrote the book Don’t Hate, Meditate! and has worked at the Chopra Centre (as in Deepak). She tells me to think of meditation like that little Fisher-Price game we had as kids — you know the one with the little plastic fishing bowl and magnetic fish. Meditation, she says, is like purposely selecting a thought fish from our mind bucket. It is not about clearing your brain of thoughts. If your brain were clear of thoughts, she reminds me, you’d be dead.
  • 11:53 a.m. — My first notable failure to singletask comes at 11:53 a.m. I’m reading a Washington Post article when I see a Slack notification from a colleague. She asks me to send her a link to a Google doc, and I pop back into my browser, where the half-read article is languishing. I’m sure I’ve f*cked up myriad other times before this, but this is the first time that it’s egregious enough for me to notice.
  • 1:17 p.m. — Lunch is monotonous. I get out of a meeting late, so no one else is eating in the office kitchen. I mindfully chew my paneer masala while staring at a wall. Eating in solitude, without any distractions, feels both decadent and sad. It strikes me that much of our multitasking is just accounting for our society’s transition to a more antisocial structure. If lunch breaks used to be a time to venture into the outside world while chatting and forging bonds with our coworkers, scrolling Instagram or scanning our inbox are the handiest substitutes for human and environmental interaction.
  • 5:47 p.m. — On my drive home, I find myself thinking about the finale of Mad Men, which I viewed for the first and last time approximately four years ago. I am supremely bored and suspect this experiment is actually making me worse at driving. I keep staring at buildings or signs, at people walking down the street, at dogs hanging out of windows. I slam on my brakes to narrowly avoid rear-ending someone twice. Normally, I’d spend my commute learning something new on a podcast, catching up with my mom on the phone, or just enjoying some music. This is joyless.
  • 9:56 p.m. — My partner and I are watching a movie, and I don’t look at my phone once. At one point, I think of a good line for a short story I’m working on, so I pause the film to write it down. (Does this count as cheating?) It’s one of those indies that makes no sense but still has the audacity to contain a lot of plot intricacies. I feel extremely self-satisfied when I don’t miss even a single one of them. I’m paying so much attention!
  • DAY TWO: Tuesday

  • 7 a.m. — I have a four-mile run on my half-marathon training schedule. Luckily, my boyfriend is a runner, too, so we set out together. Running without music is fine with me — as long as I’m running with someone. We’re going at an easy pace so we can actually have a conversation. We even stop and look at some baby turtles in a fountain, which is kind of weirdly romantic, I guess. We part ways when I’m a half-mile from home. The silent, short distance solo is not that bad.
  • 9 a.m. — I’m working from home, and while my boyfriend is getting his things together to leave, he starts telling me about something he heard on a podcast. I’m not uninterested, but I catch myself half-reading an email. I shut my computer and feel like a jerk.
  • 11:45 a.m. — My willpower is waning. I am tired today and want nothing more than to flit between tabs, Slack conversations, and petting my dog to try to keep up my energy.
  • 1:17 p.m. — Speaking of my dog, he is extremely unsupportive of my singletasking journey. While I try to discuss some Facebook best practices with a colleague, he barks relentlessly. It is past time for his walk. Still, I insist on finishing my conversation before we go.
  • 3:26 p.m. — I catch myself slipping again. I am editing a story and slide on over to Twitter without even realising it. And, as I was writing that last sentence, my phone screen lit up, and I stopped typing to look at the notification. This is taxing.
  • 4:57 p.m. — The Democratic debates are starting, which I should watch for work, and I also have to leave for a dinner reservation in an hour. I am going to have to do it: MULTITASK. I turn on CNN while I’m getting dressed and fixing my hair and makeup. At least I’m not going to tweet during it? I think in mental upspeak, because I know I inevitably will, and I do.
  • DAY THREE: Wednesday

  • 8:45 a.m. — Oh my god. I am so over this sh*t. On my way to work, I crack and listen to the author of a running book I just read on a podcast. It is glorious. I feel like my brain has been dipped in an oxygen bath. I decide to abort the experiment after 50 hours instead of 72 and don’t feel even a little bit guilty about it.

I won’t deny that I gained something by trying to do fewer things at once for a while. My average screen time went down by more than an hour a day; then again, being very online is part of my job, so this may not even be an objectively good thing. I was reminded to do a few things better: listen with my whole self to the people I love when they speak to me, read with attention and care, and stop worrying about the incessant demands of iPhone notifications when I am doing something else important or enjoyable. But let’s be honest — there are tiers of tasks and the mindfulness they require. Do I really need to give my full attention to putting away the groceries? (That seems like the kind of insidious, brain-dulling advice a guide to being the best possible 1950s housewife would include.) We reportedly think up to 70,000 thoughts a day, and, as it turns out, most of mine are stupid and do not require my undivided focus.

Life is brief, and I want to crowd mine with good things. Multitasking is often a way to do that. For example, if I didn’t call my mom on my drive home, when we both tend to have a free moment, we would probably talk a lot less. Believe it or not, she is calling as I write this conclusion — and, sorry, but I’ve gotta take this.


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Insights on board management for healthcare startups from building trust to managing bad news


If you read the first and second  installments in this series, you understand 1) the board’s role and when a startup should consider assembling one and 2) the profile/backgrounds of individuals you want on your board.  An effective and engaged board can be the difference between success and failure. Bad boards have destroyed countless companies. Next to family and/or significant others, no other relationship is likely to have as big an impact on the management team’s quality of life as the one with the company’s board. 

Having both served on and reported to multiple boards, here are a few insights I wish I had known when leading my first startup.  

Building trust 

The foundation of every relationship is trust. Trust is developed over time and requires consistent and honest communication. To borrow from Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing about Hard Things,” (mandatory reading for all startup CEOs and founders), the need to communicate is inversely proportional to the level of trust. If you are a first-time or less experienced CEO, you have not earned the board’s trust. Therefore, a consistent cadence of open communication is mandatory. This typically includes written updates using a flash-style template between board meetings describing highlights and lowlights, financial metrics, burn rate, cash on hand, budget variances, hires and fires, customer metrics, churn rate, etc.  A clean crisp summary reflects well on you and your team. 

If you are in the midst of a major dilemma or strategic discussion, more frequent interim communication is advisable. Additionally, sending written quarterly updates to all your investors is  simply a good business practice. And I mean ALL investors. Aunt Mary placed a lot of faith in you when she wrote the pre-seed check for what may seem like a small amount relative to your total capital raise, but was likely significant to her. She deserves updates on your progress and her investment. 

Managing bad news 

Major setbacks are inherent to startup life. Few startups succeed without a few near-death experiences. A very bad day is always just one phone call away and bad news does not age well. The appearance of covering up bad news or minimizing the damage will hurt your credibility.  That said, resist the temptation to approach your board when still in the “What the hell just happened?” phase. Let the dust clear and the emotions settle. In the words of Colin Powell:  “It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.”  

Of course you must approach the board promptly after a setback, but only once you can articulate a clear understanding of the hows and whys along with a cohesive defendable plan for moving forward. In general, you are asking for feedback on your plan — never “OMG, what should we do?” Your leadership team’s ability will be revealed by the way crises are managed. If assistance in developing the plan is needed, approach board members on an individual basis who bring the most relevant operational expertise.  

The Golden Rule 

“He who has the gold makes the rules.” Your lead institutional investor effectively controls the company even if they don’t own more than 50 percent.  While all board members may have a single vote, all board members are not created equal. You must have the lead’s buy-in for all major decisions. During my tenure as CEO of a health tech startup, I was at complete loggerheads with the lead investor regarding the company’s go-to-market plan. Ultimately, I had to make one of the toughest decisions of my career – to step down from a company that I co-founded and poured my soul into rather than go to war with the lead investor.  If your biggest investor does not believe in your plan and the relationship becomes contentious, numerous issues will arise. Raising your next round will be nearly impossible.  

Teach your board how to treat you 

A great board is an invaluable asset. As mentioned in a previous article, many entrepreneurs don’t appreciate the impact of a strong board.  Pattern recognition and insightful guidance by a board accelerates progress and avoids missteps. Seasoned, successful executives that dedicate time and effort toward your success are to be highly valued. That said, young CEOs sometimes “fangirl” renowned board members or simply view them as their boss and as a result, are too deferential. The job of the CEO is not to make the board happy–it is to make the company succeed. Success is the only form of job security.  

One of my mentors was fond of saying, “You teach people how to treat you.”  Same goes for your board. If the board says “jump,” and you keep asking “how high,” this creates a subordinate relationship.  This includes not following up on each item in the inevitable list of well-intentioned but ill informed suggestions, also known as WGC’s (Wild Goose Chases).  I have been on boards where, if one of the board members suggested the management team run naked through Times Square, the CEO would ask for input on the date and time. 

Final thoughts

While CEOs are keenly aware of the need to manage their team, many don’t realize that proactively managing the board is essential. Having to manage up does not stop when you become CEO.  In fact, it becomes more crucial. Your skill and style will develop over time, but following a few of the basic tenants outlined above will bypass a steep section of the learning curve.  

With sincere thanks to Kate Shay, Esq., Brandon Hull, Glen Bressner, and Chuck Hadley for their input on this article. 

Photo: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury, Getty Images 


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Is It Bad to Work Out Every Day?


working out

No matter what your fitness goal is — whether you want to gain muscle or shed fat — having a consistent workout routine (like this one!) and eating healthy is the only way you’ll see results. But, what about those people you know who hit the gym on the regular? And, we mean daily. One expert believes exercising every single day isn’t a good idea.

Is It Bad to Work Out Every Day?

NASM-certified personal trainer Guychard Codio, cofounder of New York City Personal Training, told POPSUGAR that, put simply, our bodies need rest in order to heal. “When you work out, your muscles are basically tearing, and they need time to build and become stronger,” Guychard explained. It’s the same concept as injuring yourself, he said. (Note: that’s why you feel so sore after a hard workout — you’re experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.) So, working out every day doesn’t give your muscles enough time to repair.

According to Guychard, workouts are better after a rest day, meaning you can get more out of them. “If you’re working out every single day and your body’s not resting, you’re not giving that 100 percent because your body hasn’t fully healed for you to give 100 percent,” he explained. He compared not taking rest days to tanning after a sunburn. “You can’t just go back out into the sun to get a better tan,” he said. “You have to let your body heal first.”

Guychard even went on to say that resting completely might be better than an active rest day depending on the activities you do. To repair sore muscles, active recovery, like walking and yoga, is encouraged and has been proven to help ease the discomfort associated with DOMS. Sometimes, though, a yoga class can be too intense (think of a flow class and all those Chaturanga push-ups) to be considered recovery. Sleep and rest, he said, are most important for letting your body heal.

Though the number of rest days you implement into your workout schedule also depends on your activity level, Guychard suggests taking two to three rest days per week. You can also break up your workouts by muscle group. For instance, you do a really intense leg routine on Monday. Take five to six days off from that specific muscle group, and do other activities the remainder of the week. Ultimately, breaking up exercise with rest days is a good call after all, and listening to your body is key.


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Is Kombucha Bad For Your Teeth?


Three beautiful girls taking a selfie while sitting at a city cafe.

Kombucha is the wellness drink of the moment, and for good reason. The fermented tea is rich in probiotics and prebiotics, which help increase the good bacteria in the gut, improving digestion and overall health. But if you really love kombucha, sad news: it may not be as great for your teeth.

“The dominant type of bacteria in kombucha creates acetic acid,” Jeffery Sulitzer, DMD, chief clinical officer at SmileDirectClub, told POPSUGAR. “On the pH scale, white distilled vinegar tests around 2.4 pH. A properly brewed batch of kombucha may fall anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5.”

Acid is known to wear down tooth enamel, but “the acidic pH found in kombucha also allows the ‘bad’ bacteria already found in your mouth to potentially create an unhealthier environment for your gums,” Dr. Sulitzer said. “Drinking kombucha can be just as harmful for your teeth as drinking a sugary soda since the net result is lowered pH and the potential of having an increase in tooth decay and gum disease.”

Like other dark beverages, including wine and coffee, kombucha can also cause the surface of your teeth to become discoloured. “Because kombucha contains tannins, drinking it over time will stain your pearly whites,” Dr. Sulitzer said.

Sipping tea through a straw can help. “Place a straw behind your front teeth, so that the acidic beverage has less of a chance of coming in contact with your teeth,” said Tricia Quartey, DMD, FAGD, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “After consuming any acidic beverage, it’s good to drink fluoridated water, which will rinse your mouth and help keep acids under control.”

This helps protect that precious enamel, which not only makes your teeth appear whiter, but also serves as a barrier against bacteria that can cause cavities and infection, Dr. Quartey explained. So, have your kombucha — but not without taking some precautions.


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Kim Kardashian And The Toxic Trend Of Bad Celebrity Health Advice


We’re living in a time when wellness is a booming industry fueled in part by conversation on social platforms. And if celebrities and influencers want to get in (read: capitalize) on the discussion, they need to do so wisely.

Take Kim Kardashian, who recently shared a sponsored Instagram post with her 111 million followers where she was pictured sucking on a Flat Tummy Co “appetite suppressant” lollipop. The company’s website claims the product “helps control food intake, cravings and weight.”

In the caption of her post ― which has since been deleted ― Kardashian called the product “literally unreal.” Social media users and celebrities slammed her for promoting unhealthy weight loss habits. (Kardashian and Flat Tummy Co did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story.)

Kardashian isn’t the only entertainer who has peddled health advice. From former “The Bachelor” contestants to Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” to various A-list actors, there’s a ton of noise in the marketplace, and not all of it is trustworthy. Social media posts rarely paint the whole picture, according to Laura Manning, a clinical dietician for the Susan and Leonard Feinstein Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

“Celebrities have access to so many things that may help them achieve the appearance that we see,” Manning said. “Maybe they’re able to see trainers all the time, maybe they have personal cooks. They might have wardrobe assistants, they have makeup artists… and that’s just not reality [for the rest of us].”

Moreover, promoting any kind of “get thin quick” strategy ― whether it’s cleanses, suppressants, drastic calorie-cutting or something else ― can send the message that food is the enemy and an appetite is something undesirable. This mentality can lead to unhealthy eating habits, Manning explained.

“Having an appetite is a very normal thing,” she said. “To think that’s a negative sign in our bodies is wrong. You want to be fueling your body to achieve whatever it is you’re doing.”

Mental as well as physical health risks

Research shows that social media browsing can lead to social comparison ― the phenomenon where viewers stack their lives up against someone else’s, often to damaging effect. This in turn can pave the way for further mental health issues.

“People often do not realize that the online look or image of a person can be highly curated or manipulated, and this can lead a viewer to have really inaccurate impressions or expectations of themselves ― how thin they should be and how to get there, what their hair or physique should look like,” said Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer of the Jed Foundation, a mental health organization. “This can contribute to self-consciousness, frustration, anxiety and depression.”

“People often do not realize that the online look or image of a person can be highly curated or manipulated, and this can lead a viewer to have really inaccurate impressions or expectations of themselves.”

– Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer, the Jed Foundation

Celebrity weight loss posts in particular can trigger disordered eating or crash dieting habits, which can also have negative mental health consequences.

“Ads or communications that show someone who appears very thin and are suggesting ‘magical’ ways to be super thin can create unreasonable and dangerous expectations about what is a normal or healthy appearance and how one gets there,” Schwartz said. “When inevitably a person does not reach this level of thinness as quickly as they feel they’ve been promised, they can be left feeling like a failure. This can again lead to dangerous methods trying to reach the goal.”

Ultimately, if celebrities are going to dole out wellness wisdom to their thousands or millions of followers, they should do so with caution and care.

“On the simplest level, many people ― and maybe especially young people ― imagine celebrities to be successful, knowledgeable and cool, and as a result seek to emulate them,” Schwartz said.

And as consumers of this content, we should make an effort to separate appearance from reality. Miracle products are rarely what they seem, and the public figures soliciting them are rarely benefiting solely from the product itself.

“When you are making decisions about your health, and most other important things for that matter, you should try to find objective, factual, reliable information as much as possible,” Schwartz said.

That’s likely not going to come from an Instagram #ad.


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