About Claire Owens

Claire Owens occasionally pulls herself away from pilates class long enough to contribute her opinions on health products and topics. When not working out, she enjoys pampering her Yorkie with lavish treats and days at the spa.

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Claire Owens

Author Archives: Claire Owens

December 17, 2018

Cheat on Your Diet and Not Ruin It

how to cheat on your diet without ruining it

Everybody knows that if you want to lose weight, you need to watch what you eat. However, it can be tough to stay disciplined and make healthy food choices. Some diet plans are extremely rigid and don’t allow for much that is appetizing, making it even tougher to stick with it.

But, it is OK to cheat every once in a while. Just don’t make it a habit! If you’ve been looking for a little bit of an escape from your diet plan, here are a few ways that you can cheat on your diet without ruining it.

Why Cheat Meals Are OK

I came across this article on cnn.com and it came up with some good pointers on how you can “cheat” on your diet, but still not ruin your diet goals. The first thing that really popped out at me is to stop referring to it as “cheating.” Cheating implies that it is a bad food, as opposed to all the other, accepted items in your diet as good foods. I think it is pretty poignant to think of it this way. “Treating” just sounds so much better, and it can act as an indulgent reward for staying disciplined otherwise.

There are a lot of positives to having these indulgences in your diet. For one, it gives you something to look forward to. As long as you aren’t indulging in these less-than-healthy foods all the time, they can be a great treat to work towards.

Make a schedule on when you can eat these foods, like having a scheduled “cheat meal” each week. They are a great way to have a break from your meal plan that can become pretty monotonous otherwise.

have a cheat meal once a week without ruining your diet

It is a bonus to having these foods on a regular basis. Otherwise, if you forego these foods altogether, the next time you cheat you are much more likely to overindulge and binge on these treats. When it is restricted to one scheduled time per week, you are less likely to overdo it, and it is much easier to get back into your diet and stay in good health.

You can also work small treats into your everyday schedule, instead of having one total cheat meal once per week. You could treat yourself to one piece of chocolate after dinner, a small scoop of ice cream before bedtime, a small cookie with lunch, etc. For some, having one small snack on a more regular basis can be more pleasing that abstaining from unhealthy food altogether for a week.

Key Takeaway

It is very tough to stay on schedule with a calorie-restricted diet. It takes a lot of commitment and self-discipline to stick with the plan. Likewise, it takes discipline to also not let cheat meals or snacks turn into something more. Have a plan on how much you can indulge and stick with it! Remember what you are working towards, why it is important to you, and what it would feel like to go back on your plan. Consider keeping a food diary, or taking “before” pictures as a constant reminder and motivation. You can do it!

December 12, 2018

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

tips for maintaining healthy weight during the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or so the song goes. Sure, it is full of joy and festivities, but it is also full of a lot of eating! A lot of us just accept that we’ll gain some weight during this time of year. Between all of the family gatherings with a large spread of food, the holiday parties with all those scrumptious bites to eat, and all the candies and sweets that mark this time of year, gaining a little bit of weight is almost an inevitability.

But – it doesn’t have to be! A recent study in the U.K. called Winter Weight Watch has some simple tips that you can incorporate that can help you keep the weight off during the holiday season. Continue reading below to see what they said!

Tips to Keep Weight Off During the Holidays

The study was recently published in BMJ and has a lot of good advice that is easy to implement. It doesn’t involve starving yourself – you can indulge a little, but don’t go overboard. Rather, the things that were controlled were the amount of information the test subjects had in regards to their holiday festivities.

The participants, of which there were 272, were split into two groups called an “intervention group” and a “control group.” The intervention group was instructed to weigh themselves at the beginning of the study. They were also to weigh themselves twice per week during the study, as write their reflections on their weight.

This group also received literature that had tips on maintaining weight. Information included sticking to portion control at meals, keeping alcohol and sugary drinks to a minimum, and keeping a regular exercise routine. Most impactfully, they also received a sheet that showed how many minutes if exercise would be required to burn off popular food and drinks that are common during the holidays.

The control group, on the other hand, received minimal literature relative to that of the intervention group. They got a leaflet that talked about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. This leaflet did not have any advice that was specific to the holiday season.

Participants were weighed before Christmas, in November or December, and again in January or February. In the end, it was found that those in the control group gained about a pound of weight over the holidays. Those in the intervention group did not gain any weight.

My Thoughts

Overall, these aren’t groundbreaking tips. Don’t go overboard on unhealthy snacks. Keep an exercise routine. These aren’t revolutionary, but it pays to take heed. While the difference is slight, at only around a pound, every pound of unhealthy weight you can keep off is a big gain in terms of its impact on your health. One pound can become two, can become three, etc. over the long term.

It pays to be informed about healthy lifestyle habits. Make smart choices for good health. Be disciplined even when food and drink are aplenty. Go ahead and enjoy your holidays, but be aware of the consequences of overindulging yourself!

Body Fat Linked to Breast Cancer Risk

body fat linked to breast cancer

I came across an article today that really opened up my eyes to even more reason to be watching your figure. As a woman, it is something that I am always conscious of anyway, but now with this article I read on cnn.com today I have even more motivation to keep my healthy physique.

Excess Body Fat and Breast Cancer

According to the article, women who were measured to have an excess of body fat, even if their height and weight fall into what would be deemed a normal range in the Body Mass Index, are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Having a history of breast cancer in my family, this concerns me greatly. It’s just one more reason to always be health-conscious, as there are so many things that can go wrong when you are not lean. Besides obesity, which heightens the risk of diabetes and other issues, now I have to worry about an increased chance of breast cancer on top of everything else.

The study found that those who have an excess of body fat showed a doubling in the risk of estrogen-dependent cancers, also called ER-positive breast cancer. This type of cancer develops when receptor proteins latch onto estrogen hormones and use it to grow and spread.

One caveat to this study is that it was conducted on post-menopausal women, so it is not conclusive if this means that it applies to women of all ages of adulthood. It researched over 3,000 American women who were in the age range of 50-79. They had their body composition measured at the beginning of the study.

From these women, 146 had ER-positive breast cancer, and the test conductors looked for data that they could gather from this group relative to those who did not have breast cancer.

It was found that a gain of 11 pounds of body fat, across the whole body, would result in a 35% greater likelihood to develop breast cancer. Even further, an 11 pound gain of fat in the trunk area (torso) indicated a 56% greater risk of this type of cancer.

the link between body fat and breast cancer risk

What to Do With This Data

The conclusion is very apparent here. If you want to lower your risk of breast cancer as a woman, you need to keep your body fat down. Follow a proper diet and exercise routine to keep your body lean and muscular, as opposed to fatty.

One great way to lower fat levels in your body is by adopting a ketogenic diet. In this diet, your body is forced into burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. There is a lot of literature you can find to begin adopting this eating regimen, and there are a number of resources on this site regarding this topic. Take a look at the below for ways to transition your body into ketosis to burn more fat.

Aside from following a keto diet, you can also take keto supplements that help you attain ketosis faster. A couple have been reviewed on this site, which you can find below.

December 4, 2018

XYZ Smart Collagen Review

rejuvenate your skin with this collagen cream

As you get older, it is inevitable that the signs of aging start showing in your skin. What was once youthful and radiant, your skin now begins to droop and sag and lose the luster that it used to have in your younger days.

The main culprit behind this downward turn. Just like how men start producing less testosterone as they age, all adults begin to make less collagen in their skin as they get up there in their years. However, there are ways of correcting that and bringing back your younger beauty with the use of skincare products like XYZ Smart Collagen.

What is XYZ Smart Collagen?

Collagen is the key building block to having healthy and supple skin. This key component of skin health begins to slow down as you enter old age, and gets progressively worse as you get into your elder years. By the time you reach the age of 35, production has already been cut in half from its prime output. What once was elastic and tight skin, it now shows fine lines, wrinkles, and more susceptible to skin issues due it thinning out.

tighten the skin with XYZ Smart Collagen

The cosmetic pharmacists behind XYZ have formulated a “smart collagen management” program to combat these signs of aging with their formula that strikes the perfect balance between collagen production and breakdown. Use of this cream can help to restore your body’s natural production of this building block to reduce the signs of older age and bring back elasticity and firmness to the skin’s surface.

What they call “the next generation of skincare”, XYZ Smart Collagen can visibly lift and tighten even the most stubborn wrinkles and fine lines that form in the most susceptible areas like the face, neck, and chest.

How It Works

In your skin, there is a balance of collagen synthesis and collagen breakdown. The problem with many other collagen skin care products is that they are formulated to boost production, ignoring that there is an optimal balance to be had. When production is uncontrolled, and an overabundance is made, your body begins to produce collagen of lower quality.

This product works by finding the delicate balance and keeping your skin at optimum levels. It stimulates fibroblasts, which is similar to how other products work to promote collagen production. However, other products also increase the production of leukotrienes in the skin, which sends the synthesis of collagen through the roof. What XYZ does is stimulates only fibroblasts, and switches off the synthesis of leukotriene to not interfere with the natural inflammatory response in your skin.

The end result is that the new collagen that is produced is healthy and strong and more efficiently utilized by your skin cells to bring lasting results.


The key ingredient in XYZ Smart Collagen is cultivated from the leaf sap of frutescens, a South African plant. There are powerful compounds within this sap that have been scientifically studied for their effects on collagen production, as well as inhibiting its breakdown. These also promote an optimal balance by not triggering your immune response that leads to an overload of lower quality collagen.

ingredients in XYZ Smart Collagen

What To Expect

By incorporating this product into your skincare routine, you can expect to experience:

  • Reduction of wrinkles and fine lines around the face and eye areas (like this eye serum)
  • Lifting and contouring of sagging skin, visibly showing the contours of the face
  • Tightening and firming of the skin with more elasticity
  • Improvement in the tone and texture of the skin
  • Reduction in the size and appearance of stretch marks and scarring

Dermatologist Approved

XYZ Smart Collagen was clinically studied on 21 women between the ages of 45-65 using the formula two times per day over an 84-day period. In the beginning, midway point, and end of the trial, all participants were examined by a qualified dermatologist. The results were confirmed to show significant improvement with measurable and visible results at the midway point and end of the study.

results of using XYZ Smart Collagen

How To Use

Integrating this skin cream into your daily routine is quite simple:

  • 1
    Apply it twice per day, morning and night, after cleansing your skin.
  • 2
    Smooth the product over your entire face area, as well as your neck and upper chest, in a gentle upward motion. Gently rub the cream into the skin until it is fully absorbed.
  • 3
    Very delicately apply it around the eye area, making sure to avoid getting it in the tear duct.
  • 4
    For maximum results, apply sunscreen after your morning application, as sun exposure is the greatest contributor to the aging of the skin.

Where to Buy

You can find the best price for XYZ straight from their website here. At $49.99 for a 60 mL bottle, it is more expensive than what you would pick up from the drugstore. But unlike those generic products, it works! Yet it is on the lower end of the pricing for products of this type. Each bottle lasts a few months, so at around $50, it is quite a deal.

November 30, 2018

Holiday Gifts For Women Wanting to Lose Weight

what to get a woman who wants to lose weight during the holidays

We all know that it can be tough to maintain your figure at any time, but it is especially tough during the holiday season. All those family gatherings and holiday parties, all of the amazing meals and sweets, it is tough to stick to a diet and keep your body in check. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s almost to the point where I have a winter wardrobe where I know my other clothes won’t fit.

That is why I’m putting together this list of holiday gifts that are great for women who are trying to lose weight. Mind you, this should be done sensitively. You need to know whether or not that this is a gift that the woman in your life would want. Don’t just throw it in front of her as a silent meaning of “Hey, lose some weight.” Be supportive of her weight loss goals. If there is someone in your life that has expressed this ambition, these could make great gifts.

(But don’t make this all your gifts – mix it in with nice things!)

Christmas Gifts to Help Lose Weight

Here are a few ideas to get you started. You know her better than I do, so not all of them will apply to everyone’s tastes, but should be good to get your brain in the right line of thinking.

Subscription to a Meal Delivery Service

A lot of times we gain weight because we don’t take the time to prepare a healthy meal. Between the stresses of a job and family life, there just isn’t time to do all the grocery shopping and food preparation.

Consider buying her a subscription to a meal delivery service like Green Chef can make home-cooked, healthy meals much easier. And to top it all off – cook them yourself! The recipes are easy to follow.

Food Processor

One great way to get more vitamins in your diet is through blending smoothies at home. Buy her a food processor like SharkNinja and she can make a wholesome smoothie at the press of a button.

Do the grocery shopping for her and make it even easier! Plus, it’s not limited to just smoothies, as you can chop vegetables and make a delicious salsa and other great treats.

holiday gifts for weight loss like a Shark Ninja food processor

Sleep Therapy Machine

Another component of losing weight, as well as for overall health, is getting enough sleep. I talk about the importance of sleep for weight loss in another post, and it can’t be understated.

There are things you can do like making sure the room is darkened, turning off all devices, etc., but sometimes you need a little extra help to get some good slumber. I have this product from iHome in my bedroom and absolutely love it.

sleep therapy machine from iHome

It has settings for different sleep therapy sounds as well as therapeutic light. It can also function as an alarm clock and FM radio!

Additionally, you could also consider getting her CBN for better sleep.

Athletic Shoes

Any weight loss journey involves two things: the kitchen and the gym. I’ve covered the kitchen with the meal delivery service and the food processor above. When it comes to working out – whether it be in the gym or pounding out miles on the pavement – you need good shoes. She probably has a pair that are already worn out that she loves, so you know what she likes. There are so many options available on Amazon, as presented in the women’s athletic shoes seen below:

November 30, 2018

Jenna Jameson Weight Loss Tips

Whenever I’m looking for diet and fitness tips, as a female, there are certain influencers and personalities that I turn to. Jenna Jameson is not someone who I would think of if you asked me to tell you who’s diet I follow. However, when I was browsing through Google News today looking for updates on weight loss, apparently she was interviewed by People magzine recently where she let the readership know what she does to keep in shape.

Jenna Jameson and Weight Loss

I’ll have to be honest, I’m not a big porn viewer at all. But, Jenna had become so mainstream that even if you don’t view adult material, you probably know who she is. I can’t say I’ve kept tabs on her over the years. I had no idea that she had ballooned up in recent years. She had a banging body back in the day. No clue that she lost that sexy physique.

She recently lost over 80 pounds in just eight months through the use of the keto diet as well as intermittent fasting. That’s wonderful to hear, as those are two topics we talk about on this site here as a means for weight loss! You can find them linked below if you want to learn more about these diets.

So apparently the weight she gained was due to childbirth, so that explains it. It’s not like she just let herself go after her time in front of the camera (showing every inch of her body) ended. I understand! Outside of following keto and intermittent fasting, she had a number of other tips that helped her get her body back into shape.

weight loss tips from Jenna Jameson

Photo by Daily Mail

The first is to not obsess over your weight. A woman’s weight will fluctuate day to day, particularly in regards to the time of the month. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t weigh yourself every day and obsess over it.

The next thing she says to get more exercise, which is basic but valuable advice. Whenever she goes somewhere, if it is within walking distance, she walks! Don’t be lazy, get off your butt! Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Another way to get more of this exercise is to not buy groceries in bulk. Walk to the grocery store every couple days and buy what you need. This forces more walking and helps you stick to a diet.

Another thing she says is to not worry about hunger. It’s OK to be hungry. She used to give into cravings all the time and that caused her to overeat. Now she says she listens to her body and is better able to stick to her diet.

The last tip, which I fully support, is documenting your progress. Take a “before” picture as the motivation of where you were. Keep a diary of your weekly weight and it will do wonders for your motivation when you see the progression.

What do you think? Is this solid advice? I sure think so. I’m especially happy to see the keto diet in there, as I have been inching my body towards ketosis as well so I burn more fat instead of carbs. It’s done wonders! If you want more info on the keto diet, definitely take a look at the resources below: