Earlier this week, I was going through my email, looking at articles, deleting some, and unsubscribing from others. While doing so, I found an article about skin cancer that scared me. It was horrifying actually and made me regret past decisions in my life. The main theme around these decisions? Tanning.
Ever since I was little, I love when my olive skin is tan. My definition of a perfect summer day involves basking in the sun on the beach while listening to music as the day passes by. Just writing about it makes me want to jump on a plane to somewhere sunny and 75. Now growing up, my mom would slather SPF 50 on my little brother since he didn't inherit my dad's Sicilian skin and burns easily. On the other hand, I would run away as soon as she approached me with the sunscreen. I hated the gooey, smelly stuff. I preferred the Banana Boat tanning oil my cool teenage cousin used.
Fast forward to high school and my friends introduced me to my new frenemy: the tanning bed. Living in a small town, there were only two salons. Of course I went to the one where around prom time, they offered buy one, get one month of unlimited tanning. After the final school bell, so many junior and senior girls would rush to the tanning salon. Ah, what nice memories waiting for the tanning bed. That was the beginning of my bad habit.
This bad habit continued throughout college, especially when working full-time at my internship prohibited me from laying out during the summer. Even after graduation, I used my full-time job as an excuse to frequent the tanning salon. I could transform into a bronze goddess any time of the year! How cool is that?! Except here are some facts from Redbook Magazine that I wish I wouldn't have ignored for the past six years:
1. Your risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent when you use tanning beds before the age of 35.
2. Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer shifted indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category: "carcinogenic to humans." (They were formerly classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans.")
3. Tanning can be addictive. For some people, UV radiation can have a druglike effect; they feel dependent on it and can experience withdrawal symptoms, says David Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.
4. Not only are tanning-bed users more vulnerable to melanoma, they're also 2½ times more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and 1½ times more susceptible to basal cell carcinoma.
5. Starting this July, you're going to pay a 10-percent tax every time you slip into the tanning booth.
So this year, I'm going to finally kick my vice and make some changes:
Yesterday, Jake, Boh, and I made a quick trip to my parents' house to see my family. While I was talking to my dad, he told me that a recent visit to the doctor revealed that his cholesterol levels are uncomfortably high again.
Sidenote: Heart disease runs in my family. My grandfather had a stroke when I was born and then died from a heart attack when I was eleven years old. My dad had a 95% blockage, had a stent put in, and suffered from a heart attack when I was a junior in high school.
Anyways, I'm worried about him. Exercise isn't a problem with him. He does at least 30 minutes of cardio daily, despite being over 60 years old and having a hip replacement. He loves it and because of him, I love it too because of him. What I am worried about is his diet and his naturally slower metabolism. So since I'm home with the flu, I've been reading up about what he should focus on eating, what food he should avoid, etc.
My goal is to make a little meal plan guide for him by the end of the week. What I can email him today is a great guide on lowering your cholesterol by making therapeutic life changes. You should check it out too!
So I read that Women's Health did something really cool. They asked their readers what they could improve on in the New Year. The readers talked and Women's Health listened so that the magazine's audience encounters a positive experience. When 2016 rolls around, you'll no longer see "bikini body" and "drop X sizes" on the cover or anywhere throughout the magazine. Kudos, Women's Health!
I, myself, read Women's Health from time to time and enjoy the magazine. However, I agree with the readers' who were in favor of getting rid of the two phrases. Healthy isn't dictated by being a certain size. It's dictated by how you feel physically and mentally. In my book, a healthy person has energy, a healthy heart, a good immune system, gets enough sleep at night, eats well most of the time, exercises regularly, etc. To sum it all up, a healthy person listens to and respects their body - just like Women's Health listens to and respects their readers.