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Oprah’s Committed To Weight Watchers, In Spite Of Criticism

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Oprah Winfrey has been open about her efforts to lose weight. She even made a video that she posted on her website about what her weight-loss journey has been like thus far.

“I am one of those people who has dieted and gained and dieted and gained, and since I’ve started dieting I’ve gained 70 pounds,” the former talk show host and OWN founder said in a video clip from 1985. “It’s been the battle of my life,” Winfrey said in a voiceover for the video. “It is a battle that I’m still fighting every waking moment of my life.”

Now, she says in a new interview that it’s understandable people may not think her current 42-pound weight loss is for real. “People who say, ‘She’ll put the weight back on’—they’re right,” Winfrey told People. “I will if I don’t manage it. It’s not like I’m home free.”

Winfrey joined Weight Watchers more than a year ago after she purchased stake in the company, and she says she’s finally on a plan that she enjoys. “This has been the easiest process that I’ve ever experienced,” she says.

Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF the weight-loss rollercoaster that Winfrey has experienced is “extremely common.”

Part of the reason people have such a hard time losing weight is because there are so many misconceptions about what weight loss is really about. It’s a wildly different process for each person, which is why following a specific eating plan or workout regimen may boost someone’s results while not making a difference for another person. (For some people, such as those who have or are recovering from eating disorders, strict plans aren’t appropriate or healthy.) It also involves much more than just eating and exercise, though those are important components. Losing weight is also dependent on stress, sleep, hormones, and any health conditions that may not even be under your control.

Another reason this often happens is that people typically have a general set point for weight that their body likes to maintain, Stanford explains. “In the efforts to lose weight, their body is going to do what it can to defend its set point,” she says. That’s why someone can lose weight but may struggle to keep it off.

Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF that many people who struggle with weight loss also do so because the way they originally lost the weight wasn’t sustainable. “Once they go back to their ‘regular’ eating, they regain the weight,” she says. “This cycle of yo-yo dieting is very common.”

The mental aspect of weight loss can also be a challenge, and Jessica Cording, a New York-based R.D., tells SELF that this topic comes up a lot for her clients. “Something I hear a lot from people who have struggled to keep weight off is, ‘I know what to do—it’s doing it that’s the hard part,’” she says. “The mental and emotional components to weight loss are so important—I consider them at least as important as the physical.” Cording points out that she can tell people what to eat, but the real work often involves identifying what a person’s barriers are to reaching their weight-loss goals and how they can work through those challenges to establish a stable eating pattern that leads to weight loss that stays off.

Stanford agrees. “The mental aspect is important, and it’s important not to give up,” she says. “In order for this to be continuously successful, people need to continue their efforts.” People often get to a certain point of weight loss and then think their efforts are done, but Stanford says the healthy habits need to be “lifelong.” And, if you find that one method of weight loss isn’t working for you or isn’t sustainable, she says that it’s important to find another.

For most people, baby steps are key for weight loss instead of drastic measures, which are often difficult to maintain. “Focus on small, simple changes to start, and you’re less likely to get overwhelmed and more likely to continue those changes for the long term,” Rumsey says.

Cording says it’s also crucial to have a plan for keeping the weight off in addition to getting it off in the first place. “Knowing what your barriers and problem areas are and planning ahead for how to address those can help you avoid falling into the same old traps,” she says.

If you’ve struggled with weight loss in the past and have people in your life who aren’t convinced that you can win this battle, Stanford says it’s important to shut out the criticism and surround yourself with those who will support you. “Having a group of individuals that support you, that’s going to help you eat healthy,” she says. “Surround yourself with those people and drown out all the naysayers.”

Finally, be mindful of what works for you—which may be totally different from what works for a friend. “I’ve worked with plenty of people who eat bread and dairy and drink wine and still lose weight and keep it off successfully,” Cording says. “You don’t have to go all or nothing.”

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2021 Will Be a Year of Vaccines, Says a Feng Shui Expert

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The coming year will be the Year of the Metal Ox, according to the Chinese calendar. Consequently, experts speculate that 2021 will be a year filled with massive inoculation as the world comes head-to-head against the dreaded novel coronavirus that has already claimed more than a million lives. COVID-19 vaccines will be provided for many, finally allowing people to reclaim a semblance of pre-COVID-19 life.

“It’s a ‘metal’ year, so it’s a year of vaccination because of the metal element. The metal aspect is the needle (used in syringes to administer the vaccine),” explains Marites Allen, a feng shui guru who is popularly called the “Queen of Feng Shui,” in a recent virtual meeting with various writers hailing from different countries. Allen conducted the said meet-up from London where she and her family are currently based. During the digital gathering, she provided the participants with several predictions for the coming year.

In line with Allen’s forecast, the United Kingdom and the United States have already launched their vaccination campaigns. Other countries are following suit as many of them are also slowly rolling out COVID-19 vaccines among their citizens.  

As regards the economy, Allen predicts that investors will turn to technology-based businesses. “Those that have something to do with earth, such as real estate, may also expect a good year,” she shares.

Nevertheless, she mentions that not everyone will be going all-out in terms of investments and other life-changing decisions. This will be due to the fact that 2021 will lack the element of Fire, a major factor that provides optimism to all.

“Some have doubts in their hearts and minds. Trust will not be there in full swing,” Allen adds as she reiterates the need to save up and only spend money on things that are absolutely necessary.

Aside from finances and COVID-19 vaccines, she also mentions several Chinese zodiac signs that will be lucky next year. People who were born in the years of the tiger, ox, rooster, horse, and rabbit may experience a better year ahead, Allen says. Those, however, who were born during the years of the dog, rat, sheep, boar, snake, and dragon must be prepared to face the different challenges that will arrive.

Nevertheless, Allen points out that she, like other feng shui practitioners, does not do fortune telling. “We are just offering them guides on what the general atmosphere may bring,” she shares. She is scheduled to provide a more in-depth look into the different things that 2021 may bring.

Allen mentions that she is trying to embrace the challenges of the New Normal, adjusting to the demands of the new way of life. She claims that it is important for people to do so, as well. Despite the hopeful promise of COVID-19 vaccines next year, she reminds others to continue being careful so as to prevent the still rapid spread of the deadly disease. Furthermore, those who may want to read more about her predictions can find her via her different social media handles.

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The Truth About Covid-19 Vaccines

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It is noted that the Covid-19 vaccines were created in a short limited time. The technology Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have already gone through the US regulatory process and have been in the pipeline for more than a decade, and was made precisely for pandemic events. 

The developed technology works as a plug-and-play technology that requires the virus’s genetic code and is already available after the new coronavirus was identified and isolated. 

Vaccines usually take time to develop because production must be considered to gain a guaranteed market. In this light, the US government has shelled out billions for companies to secure and create vaccines that will undergo clinical trials that would last for months. 

Where can you get the Covid-19 vaccine? 

The trials were done immediately as the pandemic affected so many lives worldwide. Also, academic laboratories and hospitals did their own testing to speed up the trial. The US Food and Drug Administration scientists who probed the data worked non-stop to double-check the information to formulate a vaccine. 

Conversely, the FDA submitted all results to an independent entity called Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. With this, they voted that both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are effective and safe. For curious individuals, you can quickly review these results as they were posted online and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

People with allergies cannot get the vaccines

People who have an allergic reaction to the vaccines’ ingredients are not allowed to get them. However, its listed ingredients are short and might only include polyethylene glycol. 

Flu vaccines grown in eggs are not allowed for people who have egg allergies and are warned not to get such vaccinations. Consequently, flu vaccines have been developed and reformulated over the years, making it egg-free. Additionally, the Covid-19 vaccines did not maximize eggs and did not contain preservatives that might trigger allergies. 

According to Dr. Elissa Malkin, an assistant research professor of Medicine at the George Washington University and a co-investigator on the Moderna vaccine clinical trials stated that anaphylaxis and other adverse allergic reactions are always considered a potential risk for every licensed vaccine. 

She also stated that it is expected that more people will show allergic reactions to the newly developed vaccines as more people get vaccinated. 

During Pfizer and Moderna’s clinical trials, 80,000 people were involved, and no allergic reactions were seen. However, it is most likely that allergic reactions to the vaccine will appear as it would roll out to millions of people. 

A health worker who experienced an allergic reaction in Fairbanks said that she wanted to get vaccinated again because anaphylaxis is rare and an expected side effect that is treatable and has no long term health implications Covid-19.  

“I’ve seen firsthand the suffering and death of COVID patients, and my adverse reaction to the vaccine pales to what Covid infection can do to people.”

Rumors about the Covid-19 vaccine

There are speculations that the vaccine will permanently alter your DNA. However, this is not true because the vaccines used RNA, which does not stay long in the body. 

Former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden came up with this analogy:

“An mRNA vaccine doesn’t actually contain the virus itself. Think of it as an email sent to your immune system that shows what the virus looks like, instructions to kill it, and then—like a Snapchat message—it disappears. Amazing technology. ” 

The vaccines are also far safer than getting Covid-19 because they only impose minor temporary side effects. 

Lastly, the coronavirus is not a myth. If it were a conspiracy, then thousands of nurses and doctors, along with every nation, should be against this lie. Unfortunately, it is evident as many people have posted and attested their sufferings because of Covid-19. 

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Beauty Brands are Now Turning Focus on the Home

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Work-from-home (WFH) arrangements and stay-at-home routines are now preventing many from using their makeup collections. These days, most do not have the opportunity—and need—to wear those red lipsticks or smoky eyeshadows that used to drive women in droves to boutiques, salons, and other beauty stores. In fact, many beauty brands have been experiencing a drastic decrease in sales due, especially, to the prolonged onslaught of the epidemic.

Just last week, Ulta Beauty Inc. reported an 8.9% decline in sales during this last quarter. For the upper echelons of beauty brands and products, the NPD Group reports an unfortunate drop of 17% in sales during this year’s third quarter as compared to that of the same period last year.

Nevertheless, the waning of foot traffic and walk-in clients are only some of the reasons why many beauty brands are experiencing massive setbacks. Experts believe that the reasons are more intricate and convoluted that these mere numbers stipulate. Fortunately, these beauty brands including their retailers and resellers understand the root of the problem.

While it is understandable that most people have no reasons to purchase these beauty brands during this time—due, of course, to the lack of opportunities to dress up during this pandemic—many of these beauty brands draw a bulk of their sales from having prospective clients try on their lipsticks, eyeshadows, pencils, liquids, and creams.

Because of the necessity of heeding the anti-COVID-19 protocols, however, many customers are not provided with this age-old activity. So, the less opportunity to check out this makeup implements in person, the less sales are made.

As it happens, several beauty brands like Sephora and Ulta were forced to label their testers as “For Display Only.” This means, then, that customers are hindered from outrightly experiencing these products first-hand, which causes a huge fall in potential sales. Key selling strategies like open conversation between salesperson and client, for instance, have been made limited as well. To that effect, many of the beauty meccas have become ghost towns since the onset of the pandemic.

However, there is hope for these beauty brands—they can cater to stay-at-home individuals, increasing their products for people who are forced to work from home. Because, beauty and self-care are not only needed outside of the home. It is essential for people to maintain a sliver of their beauty regimen even as they are driven to remain within the enclosures of their houses.

Nail care products saw a 13% increase in sales as compared to last year’s third quarter. Body exfoliating products witnessed a 48% climb as well. Hair colors, masks, and other treatments also saw a 48% sales increase.

There is still hope for these beauty brands, then, if they turn their focus on products that can be utilized within the safety of the home. In truth, these cosmetics can even provide psychological and mental health improvement especially for those who are used to being in beauty salons regularly. These do-it-yourself beauty treatments can help.  

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