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Divas’ Sommer Sports/Iron Girl Triathlon 2, 3, & 4 series finale!

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Striking Divas at Americana Sommer Sports Triathlon Series July 12 2014

10 Easy Tips to Eat Your Way to Lower Cholesterol.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Do you have high cholesterol and need to lower it? That is no surprise considering how many people have high cholesterol these days. To help lower your cholesterol, here are 10 tips you can get started with today.

As with anything health related, diet and exercise are the two crucial components. What you eat is critical to lowering your cholesterol levels, so that is what is included here.

One thing you should know is the difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol. Simply think of HDL as “healthy” and LDL as “lousy.” HDL can actually help carry cholesterol out of your blood vessels while LDL allows it to deposit inside your artery walls.

The good news is that you can change your cholesterol for the better. Here is how to do just that:

wwbread1. Have a nice sandwich on whole wheat bread or a pita with some lean turkey and lots of fresh veggies. Skip the hot dogs, bologna, and salami, and hold the Mayo. All of those are highly processed and filled with fat and cholesterol.

2. Fish, like salmon, is good. Look for wild red salmon varieties, which are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids (good fat.) Also, flax seed is a good source of Omega-3s.

3. Avoid Trans fats! Not only do they raise the lousy LDL cholesterol, they can also lower your HDL levels! Stay away from foods like margarine, shortening, and processed foods containing partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

4. Go ahead, go nuts! Look for walnuts mainly but also try almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, and pecans. Nuts are high in fat, but it’s the good kind. (Also, use nutsdnatural peanut butter instead of the normal kind which contains unhealthy Trans fats.)

5. Limit desserts and try to eat only the healthier ones like angel food cake, graham crackers, Jell-O, and fat-free frozen yogurt.

6. Eat foods that are high in fiber. Examples include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and some cereals. (Look for the boxes that say “may help lower cholesterol.

7. Use the grill. If you’re going to have steak or burgers, grill them at home and use lean meat. This practice avoids the grease, is fun, and the meat tastes great.

8. Find a new salad dressing. Most of them are full of Trans fats and cholesterol. Olive oil is good, and maybe add vinegar or lemon juice. Also, skip the bacon bits, croutons, and egg yolks.

9. Go overboard on fruits and vegetables. They contain no cholesterol and they have lots of nutrients like antioxidants.

Here are some examples: green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, oranges, mangos, papaya, pineapple, tomato, garlic, onions, spinach, water chestnuts, bananas, apricots, blueberries, and kiwi.

10. Avoid fast food like french fries and anything else from the deep fryer. Those foods will raise your cholesterol like crazy, so stay away no fast foodfrom the burger joints if you can.

11. Bonus tip: Use spices like pepper and oregano to add flavor to your dishes. They are a healthy alternative to other toppings like Mayo.

That was easy, wasn’t it? Just make some of these changes and get plenty of exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, or playing basketball. You will have lower cholesterol in no time!

 

3 Ways To Drink More Water

After a little research it is apparent that nobody really knows where the saying that you need to drink 8 cups of water per day comes from. Some people trace it back to a study in the 1980’s, and other people claim that doctors starting telling people that amount because it was a good goal, but didn’t have any scientific research to back it up with.

After a little research it is apparent that nobody really knows where the saying that you need to drink 8 cups of water per day comes from. Some people trace it back to a study in the 1980’s, and other people claim that doctors starting telling people that amount because it was a good goal, but didn’t have any scientific research to back it up with.

water2Either way, the point is clear, water does wonders for your body, and your brain. Water is well known to cleanse your body of harmful chemicals through your intestines and also throughout your urine tract. Without proper water intake, our bodies break down very quickly, in a matter of days. Without food, however, some people can live for a week or two. That just shows how important water is to our bodies.

Here are 3 quick tips for taking in more water.

drinkingwater1. Always have water available.

I like to buy the 12 ounce bottles of water and keep them in the fridge. Whenever I go to the gym I grab a bottle. On my way out the door to work, I grab a bottle. Before a trip that will be 30 minutes or longer, I grab a bottle. When I watch a movie, I grab a bottle.

Whenever I am sitting watching TV or a movie, I will keep the bottle in my hand with the lid off. I take a lot of little sips until the bottle is gone. A great way of making sure you drink more water is to make sure it is easily accessible.

icedwater2. Keep it cold.

I don’t know many people who like to drink room temperature water, I sure don’t. If you keep your water cold, you will drink more. I make sure there is always ice in my freezer, this make it very easy to have a cold glass of water anytime.restaurantwater

3. Chose water in restaurants.

Whenever I go out to eat, I always drink water with some lemon. The lemon adds a little spunk to the taste and the water is always nice, cold and refreshing. After a short time you will stop craving your old drink of choice and will begin to appreciate the taste, or lack of taste, that water provides.

Give water a shot and your body will be thankful! Please!

Diets, Restaurants and Friends

friends
When on a diet, it is wise to go out to restaurants less frequently, because you won’t always know the number of calories in everything you will be served, especially the secret sauces. But whom do you usually meet at the restaurants? Your friends, is the most likely answer. So if you cut back on restaurants, you might end up with too much free space on your social calendar. I find this unacceptable. I always want to have time to see my friends.

Realizing that I could not justifiably boycott dinner plans with friends, I decided to always have a backup plan. The reasoning behind this is that I wouldn’t always know what restaurant we would eventually choose. My backup plan was to order the least complicated salad, with the dressing on the side. This allowed me to keep control over my calorie intake and see my friends as well.

I did not always believe that I could control my hunger when I frequented many different restaurants. Seven or eight years ago, I was very frustrated with myself over my failing diets. I felt like I needed to keep myself under control 24/7. When a friend would suggest that we meet up somewhere to grab a bite, I felt my control starting to slip. I would make up excuses like, “Oh, I just ate dinner,” or I would pretend that I had committed myself to a different dinner that night.

I even started to worry that friends might unexpectedly call me up for dinner on any given night. When my phone rang, I tended to let the answering machine pick it up as I listened to the caller leave a message. Suddenly, I didn’t want to talk to my friends. What if they wanted to buy me dinner…Oh my, what a crime! I always had my standard excuses ready to tell my friends. It is interesting to note that these excuses are made because we don’t want to eat. These are different than the excuses we make to explain why we ate something. Here are some of the excuses I use when I don’t want to take in extra calories:

· I’m having a medical procedure tomorrow and I can’t eat anything after 3:00 p.m.

· I just learned that I’m very close to becoming diabetic, and I’m on a very strict diet.

· I’m just so full right now, but I can take some home with me (then give it to a homeless person).

· Pretending to throw up in the bathroom (make sure someone hears you), and pretending to clean it up.

· Hiding some of the food where they might not find it (the oven, on top of the fridge). This way they don’t realize how much food they actually have left.

I think most of my friends knew what was going on inside my head. They didn’t call me on it. I’m sure they recognized that I was going through some pretty hard times, and luckily, I outgrew that phase.

When I ate with my friends at various restaurants, I noticed some recurring themes in the advice they offered. Almost all of my friends were very surprised to find that I was eating so little. They would say things like, “Johnny, you’re a big guy. You have to eat more than that,” or “You’re not really fat, you’re just a big, husky guy.” To that I would say, “Oh yeah, you’ve never seen me naked.” Sometimes that would draw laughter, other times silence.

These were times I had to reconcile what my friends were saying with the sanctity of my diet. I felt I had to take a side. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that most of my friends were just trying to make me feel better and save me from the misery of my diet. They really did like me just the way I was. The problem was that I didn’t. I knew I had to hold my ground and order that Caesar’s salad instead of that juicy steak nine out of ten times. Somewhere in this phase of my life, I learned how little I would have to eat, or how much I would have to exercise each day to lose weight. From that point on, it was up to me to perform.

Losing weight is an arduous battle that takes some time to accomplish. We can have our friends and our restaurants at the same time if we are willing to modify our thinking just a little. We all have habits we will need to change, patterns we will need to break, and emotions we will need to quell.

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