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Archive for ‘Stay Sexy ~ Stay Healthy’

Stay Sexy ~ Conversation with top selling author Cassandra Carr!

Cassandra Carr joins us today for Stay Sexy – find out what the Ellora’s Cave Cavemen inspired this fabulous author to do!

ADRIANA: Welcome, Cassandra, and thanks so much for being our first “victim!” As you know, hubs and I have just launched a new weekly column on our blog, Stay Sexy. Both of us have faced some health challenges, and we’ve thrown ourselves into learning and doing whatever’s in our power to maximize our health and our future.

Over the last year we’ve noticed other erotic romance authors posting about weight loss, diet issues, workouts and health challenges, so we decided it would be great to involve you and others like you in the conversation and give our readers a chance to benefit from what you’ve learned.

You drew my attention because sometimes on Facebook you’ve posted about successful loss of weight and fitting into a new clothing size. So my first question is, what are the health-related changes you’ve been focused on recently – what are your goals?

CASSANDRA: There’s a rampant history of diabetes in my family, so I was focused on weight loss and reducing my sugar intake. My cholesterol, etc., is pretty good, so I wasn’t worried about that kind of thing. But I could definitely stand to cut out some of the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup I was consuming.

ADRIANA: Good for you! Health issues are behind our lifestyle changes, also – heart issues on my husband’s side, late onset diabetes plus Alzheimer’s for my mom.

What prompted you to begin making this change?

CASSANDRA: This is going to sound silly/funny, but meeting the Cavemen at Ellora’s Cave Romanticon conference. The idea had been in the back of my mind for quite some time, but when I met them and saw the commitment they’d made to their bodies it was inspiring. The fact that commitment resulted in ten smokin’ hot guys didn’t hurt, either. 😉

ADRIANA: I totally love this, not silly at all! So it’s a combination of health and decadent inspiration! Here’s a confession – even though health is my major motivator, vanity is a close second.

Is there a particular person or event that serves as inspiration and motivation for you?

CASSANDRA: Not really, other than what I mentioned above with the Cavemen. Mostly it was just getting to the point where I was ready to sacrifice and do what it took to lose the weight.

ADRIANA: This is what I wish we could package and hand out to peeps that need it – that magic moment of decision and commitment, whatever triggers it!

What about these changes has been most difficult for you?    

CASSANDRA: Weaning off of/staying off of Pepsi. I was about a one can per day drinker, which is a lot less than many people drink, but even that’s too much.

ADRIANA: Agreed! I’ve never been a big pop drinker, so I’ll cop to my husband’s story here – HUGE coke drinker. His academic office used to feature a pyramid of coke cans…And, high fructose corn syrup is one of the worst offenders, health-wise. So kudos to you and him.

When you bump up against one of these hurdles, what are your most tried and true tactics for overcoming it? What works for you?

CASSANDRA: It depends on the circumstances. If it’s hard to control what I’m drinking (i.e. there are few choices, etc.) I forgive myself. If it’s something I can control, I try to drink something else I like, such as Diet Raspberry Snapple.

ADRIANA: I agree, forgiveness is crucial – it’s what enables us to pick back up and get on track again. Personally, I’ve come to love water and hardly ever drink anything else (well, unless it’s a little wine…).

What do you find most rewarding so far?   

CASSANDRA: Fitting into clothes I haven’t worn since before I got pregnant nearly five years ago!

ADRIANA: Totally! Here’s a confession – I also reached my pre-pregnancy weight in 2012, but said son just turned thirty one…So here’s another piece of advice: it’s never too late! That also leads me to another question for you – did you set a target weight loss, and have you reached it?

CASSANDRA: My target weight loss was getting back to the pre-pregnancy weight. I’m not quite there but it’s only three or four pounds more, so I’m optimistic.

ADRIANA: You go, girl!!

Sometimes we start out with one purpose and goal, and as we get going, we find that the changes we’re making spill over into other areas of our lives, hopefully in a good way. Has anything like that been happening for you?

CASSANDRA: While I’d like to say I’ve started exercising an hour a day and have tons more energy, that’s not been my experience so far. I’m not a big fan of exercise, but I do have a trainer for my bike (it makes a regular bike into a stationary bike), so I’m planning to set that up so I can bike during Sabres games. They play 3-4 times a week now, so that could be a lot of exercise!

ADRIANA: Sounds like a plan! Hubs and I decided finding something fun to do together was crucial – but we no longer have young kids taking up all our spare time, so it’s been a tad easier. X-Box 360 Dance Central did the trick!

CASSANDRA: We have the four-year-old, but we did buy a dance game for our Wii because she loves to dance. Really need to fire that baby up. 😉

ADRIANA: What has been the reaction of other people you’re close to? (family, friends; support? Any undermining?)

CASSANDRA: My hubby eats healthy for the most part since he’s got cholesterol issues, so he was supportive. I haven’t had anyone trying to undermine me, which is good.

ADRIANA: That’s the best kind of support imaginable.

Have you written a character who faces any of these same issues? Tell us about him or her.

CASSANDRA: I’ve written several “curvy” heroines. I made a point to do it in Master Class, particularly because it was a BDSM book. People who practice BDSM come in all shapes and sizes and I wanted to show how sexy a woman could be even if she carried around some extra pounds. I was particularly happy when Loose Id was able to find a great-looking model who wasn’t a stick figure.

ADRIANA: And what a great cover it is! I do love it when an author writes a heroine real people can identify with. The same is true in the swing lifestyle, which we write a lot of. People of all shapes and sizes – and quite the age range, as well! I think at least in part, staying sexy has a lot to do with loving and enjoying the body you’re in.

What advice or tips would you like to pass on to our wonderful readers?

CASSANDRA: Start small. Eliminate one thing at a time. Be gentle with yourself.  Lifestyle changes aren’t easy to make.

ADRIANA: Funny, that’s the one piece of advice I’d start with, too: start small. Find something you can do and will do, commit to it, and start it. Who knows where one small step can lead!

I can’t thank you enough for agreeing to our debut author interview here on Stay Sexy. You’ve sure given me food for thought, and I know there are lots of readers out there who will find it helpful.

How about it, readers? What works for you? Any questions you’d like to ask Cassandra? Can’t wait to hear your comments on what she’s had to say.

Have fun, and stay sexy!

 

Stay Sexy: The sexiest thing you can ever do…

…is get your heart rate up there!

Okay, so you already know being sexy probably has to involve our hearts – we want to be sexy with the person we give our heart to, right? And after all, this week is Valentine’s Day, so talking about our hearts is a natural.

But here’s the thing: elevating our heart rate into that aerobic target zone, even a little bit, does something magical for both our bodies and our brains. Turns out it helps us be both more desirable and more interested in being sexy!

Body-wise, it helps us burn fat (and, if you saw our Stay Sexy column last week, you know having sex burns as many calories as lots of other forms of exercise). Plus, there’s more, according to the Mayo Clinic. It makes our metabolism more efficient. It’ll improve our stamina, in case we’re aiming for a marathon session. It reduces pain – maybe that’s why my migraine episodes decreased as my workouts increased. I’ll take it! It revs up our immune system, reducing our likelihood of getting sick. And, naturally, it’s good for our hearts. It strengthens the heart muscles and helps clear out our arteries by boosting our HDL cholesterol (the good kind).

Did that list sound sexy? Not so much, by itself – but even just sticking with what it does for the body, I’ll look better, feel better and live longer, and that’s sexy.

The brain magic is even more impressive – and less well known. According to Dr. John Ratey, in Spark, spending time in our target heart rate zone decreases depression, reduces anxiety, relieves stress, decreases dementia in later life, and even increases our brain capacity. Personally, I think that’s very sexy – I’ll be happier, more relaxed, smarter, and possibly even more inventive!

I hope this list of benefits has piqued your curiosity – I’d love to answer questions about how all this works (see, I told you it makes us smarter 🙂 ). Stay tuned – in future Stay Sexy columns, we’ll be sharing more personally about the impact this information has had for both my husband and myself.

In the meantime – Happy Valentine’s Day, have fun, and stay sexy!

 

Stay Sexy ~ Does sex really burn lots of calories?

Did you catch Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News this week when he reported that sex really doesn’t burn a lot of calories? Just in case you didn’t, here’s the LINK.

Both my husband and I have backgrounds as academic researchers, so we went looking for the data behind his statement. Turns out it’s true – in a way. The study was reported this past week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers set out to examine commonly held beliefs about weight loss, dieting, and burning calories, and came up with the conclusion reported on the news: Sex really doesn’t burn a lot of calories.

But, the statement is also not true, in an important way. Here are the facts, quoted from a summary of the Journal article:

Fact: You’ve probably seen calculations saying that sex torches up to 300 calories. Yet the only study that actually measured the energy output reported that sex only lasted an average of six minutes and burned just 21 calories.

Did you catch that? The “sex” that doesn’t burn a lot of calories lasts an average of six minutes.

Hmm. The elliptical machine at the gym where I work out gives me a constant readout of how many calories I’m burning. I typically go for ten minutes and move on to another machine – yesterday, my ten minutes burned about 32 calories. If you do the math, that comes out almost the same as sex: 35 calories in ten minutes. Advantage, sex.

So the issue isn’t really how many calories you’re burning having sex – it’s how long you stay at it!

For a fun take on this issue, we’d like to report on someone else who is doing some exciting informal research on sex and calories. A couple weeks ago at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, we chatted with Monique Hallowell, author of the new book Exersexology. Technically, that term means “The study of calorie burn during sex.” Truly!

Monique is a fitness expert who started an informal study by sending fitness professionals home with heart rate/calorie monitors to record their activities and the calories burned. As she explains, “within two weeks of the case study, some of the fitness professionals wore the devices while having sex.” What she found corroborates the data shared by the New England Journal: having sex burns about the same calories as many other forms of exercise.

She was inspired to pour her data into creating her new book, Exersexology, which offers twenty six different sexercises: cycles of sex positions, along with a report of the average calorie burn of participants who completed the cycle and shared their data. There’s one for each letter of the alphabet, from The A Game to The Zodiac. Definitely an invitation for fun!

You can participate, if you’d like – anyone is welcome to put on a heart rate monitor while engaging in one of her sexercises, then log onto her site and report the data. You can bet the two halves of Adriana are pledged to do this – looks like a lot of fun!

We highly recommend the book and Monique’s website, and we hope to be back with an interview of her later in our Stay Sexy series.

Links for Exersexology

Exersexology WEBSITE

For a sample “sexercise,” click on About the Book

Buy at Amazon

 

Have fun, and Stay Sexy!

 
© 2017 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.