A New You for the New Year

When crafting New Year’s resolutions, the goal is often finding a better, happier you, whether it be through revamping your look, getting into shape or streamlining your life. One of the most important things to consider, however, is making health a priority, whether through diet and lifestyle changes or making sure to schedule more regular check-ups.

Dr. Christopher J. Wormuth of Ochsner Baptist Medical Center (899-9311, 2700 Napoleon Ave.) recommends that women be sure to schedule annual exams regardless of age, though there are specifics to keep in mind at certain ages. “At 18, women should begin having pap smears and performing monthly breast self exams,” Dr. Wormuth says. “At age 25, you should know your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. At age 40 you should begin having mammograms. (Begin at age 30 if you have a family history of breast cancer.) At age 50, have a colonoscopy and, post-menopause, have a bone mineral density screening.”

He also suggests implementing a fitness routine into your daily life. (See our “Fitness” section for more tips.) “Exercising three times a week (will) help increase your mood as well as improve your health,” Dr. Wormuth says. “And, empower yourself with regular dates with your mate (without the kids) to reconnect your emotional ties and rejuvenate your sex life.” He also recommends making time for yourself without kids or significant others.

Other ways to improve your health in 2011 include quitting smoking, moderating alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight. Dr. Wormuth also says that prioritizing safety is crucial to a long, healthy life. He recommends always wearing seatbelts and he cautions to never talk on cell phones or text while driving.

Dr. Janifer Tropez-Martin of Tulane University Health Sciences Center: Obstetrics and Gynecology (988-5217, 1501 Canal St.) has health tips that are specific for women’s health, including having an annual gynecological exam, breast exam and cervical screening. “Patients should encourage their physician to screen for the human papilloma virus, which is the virus that has been associated with cervical cancer,” says Dr. Tropez-Martin. “If the patient is overweight, she should be screened for high cholesterol and diabetes. Additionally, she should have a thyroid screening to ensure there isn’t a medical reason she’s overweight.”

Dr. Tropez-Martin also stresses the importance of “a balanced diet that’s low in fat and simple sugars, and high in complex carbohydrates,” plus regular exercise and a healthy sexual relationship.

One of the easiest ways to quickly adopt a healthy lifestyle is by eliminating fast food and unhealthy snacking.

Smoothie King (523-2030, see www.smoothieking.com for locations) is a great option for diet-conscious people with an active lifestyle. By using fresh fruit and dietary and nutritional supplements (such as weight-loss, energy-boosting and immune-boosting supplements), smoothies could be used to slim down, build protein and stock up on important vitamins and nutrients.

“One of the things that people don’t realize about Smoothie King is that we have high-protein smoothies that are really good and can average 50 grams of protein per smoothie,” says Rose Kuhnau of Smoothie King. “Your high-protein smoothies that come in pineapple, lemon, chocolate, banana and almond mocha are all very well balanced. (They) break down very slowly in your metabolism and make you feel full longer.

“You can add or leave anything out of the smoothie. If you want to ‘make it skinny,’ you leave out all sugar,” Kuhnau says. “It’s custom-made and custom-blended on site. You can also add enhancers to every smoothie without changing the flavor. If Muscle Punch is your favorite thing and you forgot to take your multiple vitamin, you can add a multi vitamin for 99 cents. We have a special diet formula and a muscle-building formula. We also have low-carb smoothies.”

Adults and kids alike rarely meet their daily needs for fruits and vitamins. “Smoothie King is a great way to get your fruits for the day,” Kuhnau says. “We also have a line of kids’ smoothies that contain 100 percent of the RDA recommendations of vitamins and minerals.”

Many women may, at one time in their lives, need to face the prospect of breast reconstruction surgery, whether it be cosmetic or from an illness. When preparing for such a major event it’s important to be as equipped as possible.

Omega Hospital (2525 Severn Ave., 832-4200) offers tips for preparing for such a big day. Experts at Omega recommend that you avoid aspirin, ibuprofen and herbal medications at least two weeks before surgery, though they say you can take Tylenol as needed. Patients are urged to refrain from smoking –
 at least six months before and six weeks after surgery. Smoking (even second-hand smoke) can cause blood vessel spasm and can damage reconstruction. Experts at Omega say it’s fine to take a sleeping pill (if prescribed) the night before surgery. As for preparation for general surgery, other tips include removing contact lenses, makeup, jewelry and dentures before a surgical procedure.

 In addition to preparing for surgery, it’s just as important to prepare for recovery. Fortunately, Gifted Nurses (831-2123, 2748 Metairie Lawn Dr., No. B, Metairie; plus Northshore, Baton Rouge and other locations) provides expert post-operative care. “Returning to one’s home immediately following a surgical procedure can be an uncertain and stressful experience for most people,” says Mullady Voelker Alford of Gifted Nurses. “Clients often feel a significant measure of anxiety as they are unsure of what are ‘normal’ physical and emotional changes after surgery.

When clients are facing the difficult and sometimes painful recovery period, Gifted Nurses aids in not only performing daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, dressing and exercise but also in the crucial medical attention that is needed, including “caring for surgical incisions, bandage changes, wound cleanings, assistance in bathing, assistance in self-care and medication oversight.”

Voelker-Alford says that of all the services Gifted Nurses Provides, the greatest is peace of mind. “There is nothing more reassuring for both our clients and their families than having an experienced professional personally care for and watch over you in your home. Our nurses are there to recognize signs of distress or complications and to monitor recovery. They are able to communicate directly with our client’s physicians, with their permission to ensure continuous care, and will provide our clients with written documentation of their observations that they can present to their physician during a scheduled follow-up visit.”

Along with aging comes a whole new world of health issues – and not just for you. Many people are dealing with the decisions that come with aging parents and how to care for them. Charlotte Thomas of Poydras Home (897-0535, 5354 Magazine St.) offers a fulfilling and diverse option for those seeking help. “Poydras Home is a continuing care retirement community that has been serving the needs of the local area since 1817,” she says. “(It) is known nationally for its quality of care and innovative programs that allow our residents to enjoy life to the fullest in a beautiful and historic setting.”

Poydras Home caters to a variety of needs, from independent living to highly individualized care, and also features a very high ratio of nursing staff to residents. “All rooms are private and overlook beautifully landscaped grounds,” Thomas says. “Poydras Home’s state of the art Alzheimer’s unit, Hunter House, provides unparalleled special care with unique individualized activities, a secure outdoor garden and walking path.”

One of the easiest ways to “start fresh” in 2011 is by giving yourself a mini-makeover. Now is the time to try out some new looks or embrace some winter trends you’ve been eyeing. From skincare to makeup to pampering, highlighting your beauty is easier than you think.

Tisa Camet of Tisa’s Beauty Bar (891-8992, 5421 Magazine St.) has some expert tips for a New Year look. “I always invite clients to bring in their vanity – their tools – and we weed out and start fresh,” she says. “Before makeup is skincare and taking care of your skin is the most important,” Camet says. She recommends an at-home non-aggressive peel to exfoliate dead, dull skin. “They offer no down time, no redness, no flaking,” she says.

Once the skin is fresh and exfoliated, Camet recommends a pigment-rich foundation or concealer. “If you have something that’s more pigment-rich, you need less to achieve what you want,” she says. “If you use a pigment foundation over this fresh, radiant, luminous skin, you need very little (of it) to achieve the clear radiance that we all want.” She also recommends using a brightener to conceal dark circles. “It will reflect light away from the darkness underneath the eyes,” she says. “That will give you that light, bright, radiant look, without being too makeup-y. Everything is about clear, clean, fresh skin going into spring.”

As for color, violets and coppery metals are in. “When you have a violet lipstick or a blue-based lipstick, your teeth tend to look whiter,” Camet says. “It’s a great trick. It’s something I sell out of every month.” She says that using brick or copper-toned metallics will pair perfectly with the violet colors.

“The other thing that brightens up winter doldrums is an airbrush tan,” she says. “That’s something that’s really great for making us feel fit and ready for spring to come.”

Another way to rejuvenate yourself is with a series of spa and beauty treatments from the Guerlain Spa at The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel (648-1200, 123 Baronne St.). Vera Bibb at Guerlain recommends a complete facial, which is a 90-minute service. “The facial is always customized based on the clients skin needs,” she says.

“Furthermore, it includes Guerlain’s signature facial techniques, an eyebrow tailoring and paraffin treatment for the hands, as well as a scalp, neck and décolleté massage.

“After the facial, I would recommend a makeup session,” Bibb says. “The spring 2011 makeup trends call for a bold lip in orange or pink, including a matte finish.” She says that a “natural look” for the face is popular but still requires the correct concealer and foundation to look just right. “The smoky eye is also still very popular, although gray and plum are being utilized a little more instead of black.”

To complete your new look, Bibb recommends a new hairstyle. “The hair trends for spring are the messy natural waves (for curly hair), super sleek and shiny, extreme side parts, low knotted buns and low pony tails – all of which we are able to do in our spa.”
With the start of a new year, many women will be looking for ways to stay healthy, get into shape or just feel better about themselves. Implementing a new and exciting fitness regimen will improve wellness as well as boost confidence and endorphins – all musts for a newer, happier you.

Every woman has dreamed of becoming a ballerina. At Xtend Barre Studio (621-5066, 6268 Vicksburg St.) workout classes include a “fast-paced, 55-minute full body immersion that fuses dance, Pilates and sculpting exercises at the ballet barre to give you a chiseled body – and fast!” says Kim Munoz of Xtend. The studio is opening second location in Metairie this month (3225 Danny Parkway, Suite 201), including a grand opening celebration on January 22, the proceeds of which will go toward the LSU Breast and Cervical Health Program.

“Our goal is to donate the revenue from the classes on the third Saturday of (every) month to a worthy and needy organization that we will determine each month,” says Munoz.

Munoz says that there are universal needs that must be met for a successful fitness routine. “In order to start the year off right you must find what will motivate you. For each individual that varies, but what I find universally is that consistency and commitment are the primary factors in a successfully executed workout regimen for the New Year. It helps to love what you do,” she says. “Xtend Barre is something that people love, love, love and they remain committed to it, frankly, because they are constantly challenged and it is just plain fun!

Hour Blast (301-1967, 7611 Maple St., Suite 103) offers a variety of fitness options to accommodate all exercise levels, including cardio and circuit training classes, treadmill classes and personal training. Karen Bendall and Courtney Montgomery of Hour Blast recommend these tips for starting 2011 off right: “Create a plan before the New Year starts, and make it realistic and measurable.” They say that “exercise and diet go hand in hand. For the best results, incorporate healthy food choices and 30 to 60 minutes of exercise into your daily routine.” Then, “Mix it up! If your workout consists of the same thing day in and day out, it’s time to make a change. Hour Blast workouts are never the same so your muscles are constantly ‘shocked’ during every workout.” And, finally, “Stick to your plan! If you fall off the wagon one day, don’t beat yourself up – just get back on the next day.”

Pilates and yoga have both become quite en vogue in the fitness world in recent years, and for good reason. “I recommend Pilates for its many benefits and the broad range of people that can participate in (it),” says Andree Khalaf of The Pilates Loft (836-0005, 617 Metairie Road, Suite B, Metairie). “Pilates offers a full body workout using spring resistance. (It) improves posture, increases flexibility, rids the body of weaknesses and strengthens the spine.”

The Pilates Loft offers mat classes, equipment tower classes, private instruction and semi-private instruction, as well as restorative yoga and Hatha yoga. Khalaf recommends finding a class that suits your lifestyle and sticking with it. “Most people make grand plans for the New Year and quit just after a few weeks because they have set themselves up for failure,” she says. “Everyone can fit three days of exercising in. That is a realistic goal. Write down your plan and check it weekly to ensure accountability. Partner up with a friend. Make measurable long-term and short-term goals.”

Khalaf says to think of the human body as a finely tuned machine. “In order for a machine to work properly, it must be taken care of properly. This includes fueling your body with proper nutrition, rest and moderate exercise. One very important factor is hydration. Water, water, water! You must not wait to feel thirsty. One must drink water all day long. Without water and lots of it, we feel lethargic, hungry and have no desire to exercise.”

For the busy schedule of women always on the go, the folks at Priorities (899-2212, 5523 Magazine St.)
recommend finding the right active wear to suit your lifestyle. “It’s great if you have something that you can throw on and you can run your errands, pick your kids up and also go to Pilates or go for a walk around the park,” says Marloe Goodman of Priorities. “Tennis and golf are becoming more of a lifestyle the way that yoga has become,” she says. “With the tennis skirt or a golf skirt, if you just change your tennis or golf shoes into a flip-flop, you are making your day easier by not having to switch out of everything.” She says the goal is “taking a sport lifestyle and combining it into your actual life.”

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