Archive for ‘Stay Sexy’

Stay Sexy: Diet, or Exercise?

Welcome to our weekly Stay Sexy column. Please click HERE if you’re looking for the Spring is in the Air BlogHop.

If your goal is to lose weight – whether it’s for vanity, stamina and energy, or overall health – which is most effective: diet, or exercise?

A word of warning – I am not a fitness expert, a trained dietician, or a health professional. The answers below come from my personal experience, along with everything I’ve read about this topic, over more years than I care to confess. That makes me not an expert on what you should do, but pretty much an expert on what has worked for me.

My answer: Whatever gets you started. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a preference. I prefer exercise, for reasons I’ll elaborate below. But any action that constitutes a change, either in how much and how often we move, or in what we chose to eat and how much, is a starting point. We can’t reach our goals if we never start.

Most health experts do recommend a combination of healthy eating and appropriate amounts of exercise for overall body health – you knew that, right? Of course “Diet or Exercise?” was a trick question. My point is that anything that induces you to make a change can start to snowball and lead to even more and bigger changes, especially if you’ve chosen something you can do and will do to start with.

Choosing a starting place: It’s important to identify which starting place will be easier for you. If you can’t decide between diet and exercise, you could try making a list of what you like and don’t like about each option. Or, you could list several small changes of each type that you might make, and see which one has the most appeal. Or even which one is the least noxious, but let’s not go there just yet.

For me, it’s exercise. I love most of the activities I do for my workouts. I love being out-of-doors whenever possible. I love how I feel after I’ve completed an aerobic workout. And I love the fact that once you’ve completed a workout, you can’t really reverse it. Whatever benefit you’ve given your body can’t just be undone.   With diet, if you’ve been “good” all day, you can still cancel out your accomplishment by eating.

If you begin with something you like, you’re more likely to make the effort to get started and keep going. And once you begin to experience success, you’ll be more motivated to take on something more as time progresses. Positive feedback is naturally reinforcing.

The three most important tips I’ve learned apply equally to beginning with exercise or beginning with diet. They are 1) start small; 2) choose something that appeals to you; and 3) find a buddy.

Tips for Starting with Exercise:

Start small: One of my favorite exercise DVD’s (Extreme Makeover, The Workout) starts with just standing up and swinging your arms. Doesn’t sound like much – but it’s a trick I use to get my routine started on mornings when I really don’t feel like making the effort. Arm swings constitute movement, and once I’m already moving, it’s easier to move on to the next element in the series.

This principle applies to whatever activity you choose. After my husband’s heart surgery, daily walking was imperative. The first day, we walked slowly for one minute away from the house and one minute back. The next day, double that, and so on, adding a minute each direction every day until we’d worked up to the recommended forty minutes. You can bet I benefitted from accompanying him every step of the way!

Choose something that appeals to you: We’ve always liked walking/hiking, but there are days too hot or cold or wet to walk. What else appeals to us? Dance: we now have X-Box 360 Kinect, and our dance repertoire ranges from The Beach Boys to Lady Gaga. What’s an activity you love? Something you enjoy or find exciting is more likely to pull you up out of your chair on a blah day and keep you going.

Find a Buddy: As you can tell, I have a built-in buddy: My husband, with whom I also write erotic romance. But it wasn’t always so. Some of my best memories of living in Chicago in my single days were before-work bike rides up the lake shore and back with two friends. Not every morning, but more mornings than not, and not all three of us all the time, but at least two of us. It was harder to skip a morning because I didn’t want to let my friends down. Exercise is more fun with company, and making a commitment to someone else increases the odds that we’ll keep at it.

Tips for Starting with Diet:

Start Small: There are a host of “eat this/not that” apps for smart phones built on this principle – in the grocery store or at a restaurant, you can quickly find a healthy substitute for almost anything you were reaching for. I personally found it easiest to start by adding something rather than subtracting: in reasonable amounts, fiber helps keep blood sugar levels stable and decreases the cravings that can be triggered by simple carbohydrates (sugars and refined flours, for example). I started by switching from applesauce to a fresh apple with my lunch. Next came relying on whole grain breads and crackers, and finally I added steamed green beans (I drizzle just a touch of olive oil and sprinkle rosemary on while they’re still hot) with lunch several times a week. I’ve found it far easier to avoid calorie-loaded snacks and desserts since beginning this way.

Choose something that appeals to you: The same smart phone apps work for this principle, too. Craving a steaming slice of apple pie a la mode (my favorite)? Core any apple, place two or three pecans in the center, set in a ramekin, drizzle the tiniest bit (1/4 tsp) of butter over it, sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 for an hour – and when it comes out of the oven, pour skim milk or soy milk over it. Keep your favorite fresh fruit on hand for that moment when you want to reach for a high calorie dessert. I was never a celery fan, but now I love the crunchy taste of celery with my favorite hummus flavors, roasted pine nut or roasted red pepper.

Find a Buddy: A diet buddy is a tad different from a workout buddy – I’m not sure anything can make eating healthy as much fun as some exercises can be. Getting and staying fit and sexy is very hard work. There’s great payoff, to be sure, but like any sports athlete, we need cheerleaders, coaches, mentors, trainers. Weight Watchers knows this. If you can’t find a friend or relative for a buddy, search on line for local or virtual groups and get to know them.

I hope these tips are helpful – and I’d love to hear from you what has worked for you. Have fun, and stay sexy!

 

Stay Sexy ~ Check out the Erotic Heritage Museum!

Welcome to our weekly Stay Sexy column! Click HERE if you’re looking for the Lucky in Love Blog Hop!

Erotic Heritage Museum

Is Las Vegas on your radar screen for a future adventure? When you come to Vegas, do you mostly stay on the strip? Last week we took friends and spent an afternoon at the Erotic Heritage Museum, just off the strip on Industrial Road, north of Desert Inn Road.

Before you get all titillated just thinking about this, we want to let you know this is a serious museum, curated by staff who hold advanced degrees in sexology. Here’s a little information from the Museum’s home page:

The Erotic Heritage Museum maintains a mission of preservation for erotic artifacts, fine art and film.

The Erotic Heritage Museum houses more than 17,000 square feet of permanent and featured exhibits designed to preserve wonders of the erotic imagination as depicted through the artistic expression of acts of sex and love. It is dedicated to the belief that sexual pleasure and fun are natural aspects of the human experience, that such pleasure must be made available to all, and that our individual sexuality belongs to each of us.

It wasn’t our first visit – my husband and I were privileged to participate in a book signing there in March, 2009, not long after the museum opened. We fell in love with it and have been eager to get back and share it with friends.

Because its range of interest is so broad, the exhibits run from the sublime to the ridiculous. One of my favorites was a collection of Oriental “pillow books,” etchings of sex positions carved on bone and given by families to their offspring upon marriage. How would my life be different if my sexuality had been welcomed and provided such a resource early in life?

 

Hmm…that one begs for a close-up:

 

I’m afraid we all laughed when we looked at this dress up close and realized what it was made of – condoms, opened or in the package. I’d been ignoring it, actually, because it wasn’t “lovely,” but our curious friends took a closer look and made the discovery.

   

There’s an amazing collection of early 1900s German erotica that was condemned and burned by the Nazis during the 1930’s – apparently, some copies survived, and the Museum is fortunate to have them. (My apologies for the flash reflections).

Dildos? Sex Toys? The range is comprehensive, and some of these devices have a long history. And the list goes on – erotic playing cards, penis art, erotic poker chips…

 

Part of the Museum’s mission includes sex education – present and past. Here are a couple great posters for safe sex:

   

An exhibit that was an eye-opener for me in 2009 has been upgraded and fills several display cases on the first floor. It chronicles our journey as a culture from repression and prosecution of explicit sexual content and activities toward the protection of our first amendment rights – a battle that still rages. It is a moving acknowledgment of how much those who preceded us have sacrificed – and a little scary, actually, to learn how tenuous our right to read, write, publish and distribute erotic materials still remains.

Photos are allowed only on the first floor, so I can’t share visuals of my favorite second floor exhibit, entitled “petals.” It consists of twenty-four large photographs of female genitalia, demonstrating not only the beauty, but the wide variation in how nature has arranged us. In a recent interview, Museum Event and Education Director Amanda Morgan talks about the powerful impact this exhibit has on women who may have never seen anyone else’s and think they’re hopelessly abnormal.

After we’d finished exploring the museum and were browsing the museum shop, we were thrilled to see one of our books, The Merry Widow, on sale in their display case:

If you go:

The Erotic Heritage Museum
3275 Industrial Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89109‎
(702) 369-6442
eroticheritagemuseumlasvegas.com
Hours:
Friday and Saturday: noon – 10pm
Sunday, Tuesday through Thursday: 11am – 4pm
Closed Mondays
Fee: $15 (discounts for seniors, students)

We hope you can include the Erotic Heritage Museum on a future trip to Las Vegas, and we’d love to hear from you when you do. Until then, have fun, and stay sexy!

 

Shaping Up with Sex

Oh my! A few weeks back on Stay Sexy we ran a column on exercise and sex and mentioned Monique Hallowell’s book, Exersexology. We promised to try one of her “sexisodes” and report to you. Here’s the scoop, but first, a little info about the book:

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 was that 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.

Here’s what we learned: First off, the fun doesn’t begin when you start one of the sexisodes – it begins when you open the book, look at the diagrams with your partner and start talking about which ones you’d like to try. It’s like browsing through thumbnails of the Kama Sutra – an amazing array of possible sex positions, many familiar, a few we’d never tried, and probably a few that are reserved for a much younger set than us baby-boomers.

Just the planning phase was a heady mix of laughter and arousal – we very nearly derailed our plan to be planful. I’m sure if we hadn’t been so set on gathering specific data about calories burned, just scanning the diagrams would easily have led to a steamy encounter, which is a major reason we’re recommending the book for couples.

But persevere we did – ultimately selecting a sexisode we thought we’d (a) enjoy and (b) be able to complete. “Quintet” filled the bill pretty nicely – but we have to confess, we cheated. We tend to like a little oral play before going for penetration, and the five Quintet positions don’t offer any – so we chose to steal a position from “Famish,” which is all about the eroticism of your oral zone.

That gave us six positions, and we decided to engage in each one for three minutes. We just happen to already own a heart/calorie monitor, a purchase I made a while back after reading another book we’ll be blogging about in the near future. It’s a simple wrist monitor, made by Sportline, that requires occasional finger taps to record heart rate, and will calculate calories burned based on age, gender, elapsed time and average heart rate.

We decided hubs would wear the monitor for this round, since it looked like the positions would offer more exertion for the male than the female (this varies greatly across the sexisodes, so women get their turn, too). This sexisode was definitely aerobic – his heart rate stayed up about where it does when he’s on his stationary bike with his cardio workout, and at one peak moment J actually exceeded his normal workout data. At three minutes a position, we lasted just about eighteen minutes, and the monitor reported a total of sixty calories burned for his effort. This is pretty close to data reported by another source, that six minutes of sex burns twenty-one calories.

Are we going to skip the gym and confine our workouts to just the bedroom? Probably not – even couples much younger than ourselves might find it daunting to have sex often enough and long enough to meet all their workout needs. But was it fun, challenging, and a positive addition to our sex life? Absolutely!

We warmly recommend this book as a resource for amping up the spice in any couple’s sex life. We do have one caveat – the positions and illustrations are geared to a heterosexual couple, thus obviously focused on the sex acts that can be enjoyed by a male and a female together. Many of our friends, our characters, and our readers are part of the LGBTQ community. If this includes you, we encourage you to change it up to fit your needs, and we’re sure Monique would welcome feedback from you.

Monique has agreed to let us interview her for our blog, so we’ll be back with more about this sexy book later this spring. In the meantime – have fun, and stay sexy!

LINKS TO STAY SEXY POSTS

Stay Sexy
Does Sex Burn lots of Calories?
The Sexiest Thing…
Interview with Cassandra Carr
Erotic Fantasies
A Sexy Workout Fave

 
© 2020 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.
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