4 Reasons Flexibility is Important in Fitness

girl stretching with flexibility

When it comes to physical fitness the thought of lifting heavy weights or running long distances comes to mind. This is the case, more than the thought of touching your toes or doing the splits.

Stretching and staying flexible play a big part in maintaining a person’s physical fitness and strength.

Ensure you make it a part of your everyday exercise routine. Here are four reasons flexibility is super important when it comes to fitness.

Keep you and your body injury free

 

According to BHD Orthopedic’s sports medicine page, increasing your flexibility improves your ability to move easily and can reduce your risk of injury. Stretching and staying flexible prevents injury while you exercise. It will also help to prevent injury in your day-to-day life.

You might have a job in which you have to bend down a lot and pick up objects. Flexibility will ensure that you don’t injure yourself while doing it. It can even help prevent injury from seemingly harmless body movements. Things such as getting up quickly out of bed, out of a chair, or even tossing and turning in your sleep are affected.

Help with endurance and strength

 

Flexibility helps your performance at the gym. It allows you to being able to lift more weights, deepen your squat, or lengthen your stride in running.

Being more flexible and improving your flexibility is actually a way you improve in each and every one of these areas and more.

Stretching all of your body after you exercise will help you to achieve and even surpass your fitness goals. It will also help to prevent injury as you push yourself even more physically.

Take the pain out of the gain

 

They say no pain no gain. But in fact, the more flexible you are, the more likely you are going to have not as much pain after exercise or physical activity.

Staying flexible and stretching will help with the recovery process after an especially physically difficult exercise.

It also will help with areas that you may already be experiencing pain in. It might possibly ensure that those areas don’t bother you anymore.

Keeps your mind, body, and spirit open

 

One of the biggest goals of certain types of stretches in Yoga is to open the mind, body, and spirit to be more receptive and to let go of anything it doesn’t need.

Even if you don’t necessarily believe in that type of stuff, flexibility does help to improve your mental state and make you happier because your body will be in a better state and more than likely pain-free.

Flexibility is a great way to relieve stress and to relax, and it really isn’t too hard of a habit to get into for all the rewards you will reap by doing it.

Being flexible in all areas of your life, especially physically, ensures that you are open to improving yourself and doing the things that you want to do without hurting yourself in the process.

5 Habits to Ensure a Healthier Life

woman with healthy habits

Daily habits are the things that can make or break us and, in the end, add up to either help us or harm us.

That is why it’s a good idea to pick up great habits as soon as possible and make sure they stay with us all of our lives.

In fact, there are habits that when added into our daily routines can actually ensure that we have a longer and healthier life.

Here are five habits that will ensure that and will only benefit you and those around you when doing them.

Washing your hands

This may seem like an obvious one and one that everyone should do, but it might surprise and gross you out to find out how many actually don’t do it enough.

Getting in the habit of washing your hands will guard you against many unwanted illnesses and germs, and also help you from stopping from spreading them to other people.

Also washing your hands sets a good example for those around you and hopefully encourage family and friends to wash their hands more.

Getting yearly check-ups

Most people think that the only time they need to go to the doctor is when they are sick or that they only need to go to the dentist when they have a toothache.

But usually, when those things actually happen, it’s a little too late.

By going to your yearly check-ups with your doctor and getting the proper dental care from your dentist, you will find that you actually have to visit both less.

Being physically active

Getting sufficient physical activity is not as difficult when you are younger and have a lot more free time and a lot less on your plate, but as you get older and have more stress and things to do, it can become more difficult.

It’s important to get in the habit of daily physical activity that way even when life gets hectic, you will make time for it.

The more you do now the more your older self will thank you because that is a daily habit that will have many benefits in the long run.

Eat all the veggies and fruits

Remember when your mom told you to eat all your vegetables, so you can be healthy and strong? Well, as you realized, she was definitely right.

Making sure to incorporate as many veggies and fruits into your daily diet will give you and your body so many nutrients and help prevent things like cancer, osteoporosis, and many other ailments.

Get outside

Everyone could benefit from a little more sunshine, and not only because it feels good but also because more and more people are becoming vitamin D deficient, so getting more sun is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting enough of that important vitamin.

Getting outside is also good for the soul and will always help to lift your spirits and clear your mind.

How You Can Improve Your Self-Esteem

helping to boost self-esteem

For many people, it is easy to get caught up in self-doubt. You might find yourself often feeling like you aren’t good enough or that you don’t have enough to offer.

We’re here to tell you that simply isn’t true. Every person is unique, has different talents, different beauties.

If you find that you are feeling down on yourself a lot, or lack self-esteem or self confidence, try some of these things to get you feeling good about yourself again.

Think About the Cause

 What is causing your self-doubt? Maybe you’ve experienced low self-esteem for as long as you can remember, or maybe it stemmed from a series of negative occurrences such as:

  • prolonged stress
  • being bullied at school or in the workplace
  • abuse
  • mental health problems
  • physical illness
  • relationship difficulties

All of these stress-causing situations can lead any person to experience self-doubt. But even in these situations, there are ways to find yourself again.

Avoid Negative Talk

It might be second nature to doubt yourself, your looks, or your abilities. But it’s time to recognize that and stop doing it. What is going to stop someone else from talking negatively about you if you do it to yourself?

If you wouldn’t say it to another person you love, definitely don’t say it to yourself.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

 Do you get caught up in feeling envious of those who just look so happy in their social media feeds?

We’re going to let you in on a little secret…that’s not real. That’s not to say that your social media friends aren’t having those real experiences and posting about them, but that’s not the complete story. Many of them probably face similar challenges to you, but choose to only share the good in their profiles.

Don’t compare some of your worst moments to others’ bests.

Focus on the Good

 This might seem cliché, but focusing on the good and keeping a positive outlook can totally help with your self-esteem.

Remaining positive can be extremely difficult, but it’s worth the effort.

Think about the things that you do like about yourself, or the things that others compliment you on. What talents do you have? What can you do well? And remember, talents don’t just have to be a tangible thing that you can make or do well like sewing or cooking. Talents can include being friendly, smiling at others, or the ability to carry on a conversation.

To help you focus on the positive each day, try keeping a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, try to come up with three things that you are grateful for that day before you go to bed. This positivity will start to seep its way into how you feel about yourself.

Change Your Looks

We don’t want this to sound like you need to change how you look. But sometimes we get down on ourselves about how we look, so if there is something that you want to change to feel better about yourself, there’s nothing wrong with that.

For example, many people don’t like there smiles. So they don’t smile in pictures, or hardly ever. And just the act of smiling can greatly improve the positivity you feel. Sometimes there are simple corrections you can make to your teeth to help you feel better about your smile. Just visit a professional like The Village Dental Center to ask about the options available to you.

Sometimes even simple changes in your hygiene regime can help with this too. Switch up your shampoo, take more showers, remember to floss, keep deodorant in your purse.

Just making some of these simple changes can affect your entire outlook on life and yourself.

5 Reasons You Need More Whole Grains

picture of wheat whole grains

When you hear the word “grains” you probably think of a piece of hay or some oatmeal, not necessarily something you want to stuff in your mouth.

Grains do sound healthy, but you aren’t exactly sure why they are healthy and how you can incorporate them into your diet other than at breakfast time or perhaps in certain types of bread that you use.

But grains actually have so many nutritional benefits and are an awesome way to get some much-needed vitamins and minerals into your diet.

And contrary to what many people think, it’s actually pretty easy to incorporate them into meals you make every day.

Here are five reasons you need more grains in your life, and after you incorporate them into your body, you will be very glad you did.

 

They are really good for your heart

 

Grains contain many things that are good for the body, one of them being fiber. Their high fiber content is one of the things that make consuming grains so good for you, and especially your heart.

Eating things high in fiber has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, as well as lowering blood sugar and regulating blood pressure. Also, fiber-rich foods could lower your chances of getting type two diabetes.

Even the American Heart Association says you should eat at least six serving of whole grains a day.

All in all, when you add things like whole grains to your diet, your heart will thank you.

 

They help to keep you at a healthy weight

 

Because grains contain many nutrients and are high in fiber, when you eat them they keep you fuller longer. This is also because they take longer to digest, but all this means is once again they make you think you are fuller and more satisfied.

And staying full with healthy foods will help you to resist sneaking on to many not-too-good-for-you foods, which helps to keep you at a healthy weight.

 

They give you all the good nutrients

 

According to the Mayo clinic grains contain minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and selenium, and they also contain fiber and certain types of grains even have calcium and vitamin c.

Selenium is good because it prevents the oxidation of blood, magnesium, and potassium help build strong bones, and they also contain iron, which helps oxygen be transported throughout the body.

 

They are wallet friendly

 

The great thing about whole grains is that most of the time it’s pretty affordable to buy them, especially in larger quantities.

You’ve probably driven by farms and seen Dome Technology grain storage silos, and while you don’t have to go to those lengths to buy affordable whole grains, you can go to some grocery stores and buy certain types of whole grains in bulk to use for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

 

They make your tummy happy

 

Eating a lot of good, whole grains have many digestive benefits which in the long run mean you will more likely have a happy and healthy tummy which will make a happy and healthy you.

Whole grains contain things like lactic acid, which help to create good bacteria in the intestine system, specifically in your large intestine, which will make food easier to digest but also will help to make your immune system stronger and help your body to absorb the nutrients from your food.

Also, the fiber in whole grains helps you to have more regular bowel movements, meaning fewer stomach aches or discomfort from things like constipation.

5 Ways to Help Aging Teeth

individuals with aging teeth

Most people have experienced that nightmare at least once in their lives, the nightmare of looking into a mirror and seeing yourself with little to no teeth or that all your teeth have fallen out.

When you wake up you quickly rush to the mirror to make sure it’s not true, and luckily, it never is.

The thing is, even as you get older, losing your teeth doesn’t need to be an inevitability, if you take care of your teeth throughout your life you can keep them for the rest of your life.

As you age your teeth change, so there is definitely something to keep in mind to ensure your teeth stay healthy and strong for as long as possible.

Here are five ways to help your aging teeth, and to make sure that nightmare about your teeth never becomes a reality.

 

Eat foods that include good bacteria

 

There are some important bacteria in your mouth that play an essential role in keeping it healthy and keeping the bad things out.

As you get older, or really at any age, it’s a good idea to eat foods that help create and keeps these bacteria in your mouth.

Some foods that help in the production of these are fermented foods such as kefir, butter, cheese, and fermented yogurt. Some other foods and vegetables that are fermented and good for your mouth are foods like kimchee, sauerkraut, and drinks like kombucha.

Along with eating these types of foods, it’s important to eat foods that can help your immune system, which can help to prevent infections in your mouth.

Some of these foods are leafy green vegetables, garlic, spirulina, and coconut oil.

 

Maintain your dental work as well as your visits to the dentist

 

Most of us have had to have some form of dental work done throughout our lives, and the important thing for lasting and healthy teeth is to ensure that the dental work is well maintained and updated when needs are.

The best way to ensure that this happens is visiting the dentist regularly and listening to what they have to say about your teeth and mouth.

If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist visit websites such as www.grovecitydentalofblackfoot.com to make an appointment, or search google for a dentist local to you that can help you to keep your teeth well maintained as you age.

 

Keep your mouth full of moisture

 

Having a mouth that is moist seems kind of obvious, but as you get older your mouth can actually get drier and it may be not as easy as it used to be to have a mouth full of saliva.

Saliva is very important for healthy teeth because it cleans off the teeth which in turn helps to prevent tooth decay.

Some things that might be contributing to drying out your mouth could be medications you are taking, which most of the time are completely necessary, so good news is there are ways to counteract that.

One of the biggest ways to do this is just making sure you are drinking enough water, and when you do just having it rest in your mouth for a minute or two before swallowing can help. Drinking tap water also has the added benefit of having fluoride, which is also good for your teeth.

Also chewing or sucking sugarless gum or can help to increase the saliva in your mouth.

 

Be aware of any bad habits

 

If you notice or if your significant other points out that you tend to clench or grind your teeth at night, make sure to ask your dentist about getting a mouth guard.

Grinding your teeth slowly wears away your teeth, so the only way to prevent that is protecting your teeth with a mouth guard.

 

Have a good toothbrush

 

This is true at any age, but really a good toothbrush is so important especially as your teeth and gums age.

A toothbrush with gentle bristles is best, but also investing an in an electric toothbrush is a good idea.

Make sure to floss in between your teeth each day as well, and you are on your way to keeping your smile going as long as you are.

How Having a Pet Can Keep You Sane

young lady with her pet dog

Most people equate those who have cats to a crazy cat lady, particularly if they love their cat more than people. But have you ever thought that having a pet might be keeping that person from completely losing their marbles?

Pets are known to help people with their mental health problems. It’s why a doctor can sign a pet off as a comfort/therapy animal, because they really do have therapeutic benefits – whether you realize it or not.

Stress Relief 

Petting your fur baby feels good. When you’re cuddled up with your pet on the couch, petting them, it can be hard to leave because it makes you happy. This action helps lower blood pressure and helps your body release serotonin, a relaxation hormone. Plus, it also cuts down on stress hormones like cortisol.

An added benefit is that this also soothes your pet. So keep calm and pet on.

Socialize

Pets, dogs, in particular, can help people who have a hard time socializing connect with others. It’s easier to start a conversation with someone about yours or their dog then if they didn’t have one. A dog is almost a forced social experience because dogs do need to be socialized and walked, so when their owners take them for walks or to the dog park, there are many opportunities for socializing with other people as well.

Not to mention taking your pet for a checkup to a professional like Sunnyside Veterinary Clinic. Vet visits are social interactions too.

 

Sense of Purpose

Being a pet owner generally makes people happier. This is often because it creates a sense of purpose, a reason to get up each day. As humans, we need something that motivates our sense of responsibility, and having a pet can do just that. They need to be taken care of, but more than that, you want to take care of them because they are another member of your family.

Ease Depression

A pet loves you unconditionally and is there when you need them. If you need to talk, they are there to listen, even if they can’t actively participate in the conversation. And as mentioned, petting your animal will help calm you and boost your mood. Animals take you away from yourself and put your focus towards helping them and being productive. Its a great opportunity to help your mental health.

Fitness Boost

Pets can definitely help you achieve a more active lifestyle which has its own list of benefits. Dogs need to get outside and play and release energy, and the pet owner is responsible for that. Even a playful kitten can help you become more active as you let it chase you around the house or play tug-of-war with a string.

Pets also make at-home exercise more fun and interesting. Have you ever tried doing yoga with your dog?

More Independence

Service animals can help people with disabilities to be more independent. It’s difficult to need to rely on other people all the time, but having a pet can help with that. Service dogs can help the blind find their way around easier, they can provide support to people with Parkinson’s disease, and a comfort animal can prevent the need for regular therapy sessions with a counselor.

Pets provide so many benefits to us that we don’t even realize. What does your pet help you with?

5 Habits That Can Drastically Help Your Life

connecting with others habit

Everyone is striving every day to be a little better; to be the person that they have always wanted to be. That usually starts with creating certain habits that will help you to achieve that goal.

Sometimes in creating good habits, you have to work extra hard to leave the bad ones behind, but even if takes extra work, in the end, it’s worth it.

But for most of us, it can be hard to even know where to start and what habits are really going to actually be those good ones that shape us into the person we wish we were.

Luckily the answer to that question can be found here, and with habits that can put you on the path to reaching your goals, whatever they may be.

Here are five habits that can really help your life and help to drive you to the success that you deserve.

Be grateful

Gratitude is a great skill to have and it can really lead to an improved life because it allows you to take the time to be grateful for the things you have rather than constantly thinking about all the things you don’t.

Try to take time each day to think about or write down the things you are grateful for. You can even create something like a gratitude journal to keep the things you write down every day, that way if you are having an off or bad day you can have something to look at to help you remember as well.

Make the most of your mornings

It may seem small or impossible for some but waking up early and creating good morning habits really does set the tone for the rest of your day.

Wake up and create a little morning routine with all the things that will have you starting off on the right foot, whether that’s meditation, a nice big breakfast, a yoga session, riding your bike, or dancing to your favorite songs.

Take the time each morning to do whatever you choose and make it your morning ritual.

Always be learning

There is always something more we can learn, and always adding new skills to your repertoire can only benefit and help you in some way in the long run.

Have your friend teach you something they are good at, or teach yourself a new skill, or take a class from your local community college.

There are also places such as dwinc.org which offer life-skill classes and there are also many websites such as those that can help you sign up for classes that will help you with day-to-day learning such as how to budget or how to have a good job interview.

Make time for you

Making time for you and giving yourself time for self-care is a practice that is really important and really beneficial.

Take yourself out on a date and do all the things you love to do. Get to know yourself and reflect on how you are doing mind, body, and soul.

Having and creating a deep relationship with yourself will only benefit all your other relationships with other people, and it will give you the time to address any issues or needs that you have that you can only sort out yourself or can come to understand when you have to seek other outside help from friends, family, or a professional.

Connect with others

Whether it’s talking with a co-worker at lunch or calling an old friend and meeting them for ice cream, find ways to get out and talk with people face to face.

Not only will it be fun, but it will help you to get out and step away from things like work and social media which can sometimes drag you down.

A connection is what drives us as human beings and allows us to create friendships that can help us to be better people.

6 Reasons to Get Your Exercise Today

person exercising in the gym

You might have made a goal to start exercising so you can get into shape, but it’s usually easier said than done. Especially if you’ve fallen into a  remarkably sedentary lifestyle, that goal alone may not be enough to get you up and moving.

When that happens, the best thing to do is give yourself another reason–an immediate reason–to get moving right now. Lucky for you, we’ve already got six.

Because It’s fun!

Before you try to contradict me, hear me out. Exercise doesn’t have to be a means to an end, so don’t waste your time on a workout plan that kills you a little bit inside. If you wanted to try a new activity and it’s just not for you, that’s okay! Pick something else until you find the right fit.

Exercise doesn’t have to be running on the treadmill or bench-pressing your bodyweight surrounded by bodybuilders. Do you like riding your bike as the trees are blossoming? Extend your route. Do you think throwing frisbees is far out? Get together with a group to play ultimate frisbee.

So You Can Socialize

If you can’t stand being alone at the gym, left at the mercy of the critical voice in your head, recruit a few buddies to keep it at bay. Exercise is a great excuse to spend time with good friends or making new ones.

Even having one other person next to you can help the time pass more quickly between the latest gossip on your favorite TV series, witty banter, and their motivational support meant just for you. You may find yourself spending more free time being active just so you can be around those people.

To Gain More Confidence

With everything you face every day, it’s easy to get discouraged and doubt your abilities to do and be all that you want. Taking time to fit in a workout can help boost your spirits because when you prove to yourself that you can do something that’s physically difficult, you’ll recognize that you have the ability to make it through whatever else comes at you.

To Distract Your Mind

When the same thoughts and ideas keep replaying in your mind with no forward momentum, it’s time to take a break. Putting in a workout is a great way to channel that cyclical energy away from the problem at hand. Try to go somewhere else (like the gym or a nearby hiking trail) because the change of scenery will help you to get some distance from the problem.

Whether you’re trying to understand string theory or need to blow off loads of steam, physical exertion will give you something else to focus on so your mind is fresh when it’s time to return to go back and solve the problem.

So You Can Stretch Your Muscles

Sometimes, you’ve just been sitting too long and a good reminder of your physical capabilities is just what the doctor ordered. With a quick outfit change, you’ll be able to keep your health in check. You’ll avoid the need for hammertoe surgery by giving your feet some comfy gym shoes to wear as well as allow yourself to improve flexibility and range of motion.

Don’t forget that even simple exercises can help prevent injuries to important parts of your body like your spine.

Because You’re Preparing for Something

Did you set a goal that has a hard deadline? Often runners will use these types of deadlines to keep them motivated throughout a training period, but your goal doesn’t have to be running a marathon, or even a 5k.

Maybe you have an awesome vacation planned that requires walking all over a foreign city or hiking a gorgeous mountain. Whatever it is, remind yourself of how much stronger you’ll be if you don’t miss this workout! And remember how much more enjoyable the event will be if you’re physically prepared!

4 Ways to Support Loved Ones After a Cancer Diagnosis

people crying after cancer diagnosis

You just received a call from someone very close to you. A family member or good friend shared the devastating news that they have been diagnosed with cancer.

You are probably feeling pretty shocked and saddened that your loved one must deal with the condition. But you also know that you want to be there for them in any way possible.

At the same time, this is a first for you. You have never navigated the territory of someone you love going through this kind of hardship, and you have no clue how to act around them or how to ask what they need.

A cancer diagnosis is obviously most difficult for the one who has received it, but it can also be hard for those that surround them and just want to help.

Here are four ways to help someone you love after a cancer diagnosis that can also serve as a launching point for the support that they will need in the next couple of months or years.

Reach out

The very first thing you can do for your friend and family member is to actually just be there for whatever they need.

In difficult situations, people can feel like they don’t know how to act. Therefore, they won’t reach out to the person who is sick because they don’t want to seem weird around them.

In reality, the last thing that this person wants is to feel more alone than they probably already do. So even though it may seem weird or strange, just be there for them. Be honest with them when you don’t know what to do or say. They probably won’t know either, but they will be appreciative of your support and company.

Take care of the miscellaneous

When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, the last thing they want to worry about is the dishes they left in the sink or soccer pick-up next week.

As their new support system through this crisis, you can take care of those everyday, mundane things without them asking. When they come home from a treatment or from a doctor’s visit and find them done, they will be so grateful. Now, they don’t have to worry about any tasks at hand.

Research with them

Once they receive a cancer diagnosis, some people want to find out all they can about their diagnosis. This includes all the possible research and studies being done on it.

Offer to help your loved one with that research. Look up places like tetoncancer.com or other institutes that treat different types of cancers and see what methods they have for different types of treatments. You can also look at the major cancer research sites such as the American Cancer Society or the National Cancer Institute.

Be their research buddy and they will be happy to have another set of eyes to help them process and battle through.

Be there

Your loved one will likely have to sit through a lot of doctors’ appointments. They will be meetings with oncologists, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy.

Since everyone else’s lives don’t seem to be halted in the same way as theirs, they might feel guilty asking someone to accompany them to all of these.

When you can, be that support person for them through all the crazy appointments. Offer to bring games, books, food, or their favorite movies to pass the time. They will be grateful to have support through it all. Plus, you will get to spend time with someone you love at a difficult time in their life.

The Truth About Appearances

woman with resting appearance

It’s a topic you’ve been hearing about your whole life, and yet it’s still alive and kicking like we haven’t talked it to death. People put a lot of stock in appearances and how they define a person. But, there has been a huge push against this with the growth of our feminist and LGBT movements.

Everyone has an opinion on this topic. This is because they each have at least one story about how appearances and judgments have hurt or helped them.  Or its affected someone they know in the regular ebb and flow of life. As much as we try to avoid it or ignore it, how you present yourself (and how you see others present themselves) has an impact on our communities.

Judging What You See

It’s easy to pass judgment on someone due to their disheveled hair or dirty nails, but we put more stock in those observations when we don’t know someone. What we see with a stranger is literally all we have to go off of, until we take a chance to speak to them. But our first impressions may prevent us from doing just that.

Whether it’s due to social constraints or personal safety, these cautious choices are still judgments of appearance.

We see it with political campaigns and celebrities, too. Because of the way someone is dressed or perceived, you may be more likely to interact with them, believing that they have admirable qualities because of that appearance. Often our interpretation of subliminal signs is correct, but this doesn’t justify our accepting them without further exploration.

Why Fit a Mold?

We are continually urged to “be ourselves”, yet any slight differences from the mainstream can have vast consequences. In the United States, where dental care is so important, anyone with slightly crooked teeth might suffer in social or career situations because of their smile.

So instead, they may seek to conquer the system. They’ll suffer through braces for the sake of fitting in–but it’s also an opportunity to beat the system. By conforming completely, they can master the system and use it to their advantage.

These characteristics honed over time, mainstream or not, can affect your success and your self-confidence. When its over–you’ve got the charisma, the suit, and the job–are you being the person you want to be?

Being Yourself

It can be difficult to be true to yourself while pursuing leadership roles if you don’t have that ideal leadership persona. The key is to learn the necessary leadership skills without rewriting who you are as a person. Your unique self is an important piece of how you move forward and interact with the world.

Let those new qualities function as tools that your personality wields rather than hiding who you are. Think of it this way: you may be held to a certain dress standard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your own spin on it.

Rewriting the Narrative

For now, it’s about that balance between satisfying the world’s expectations in small ways while exposing them to the wonderful, unique people who don’t conform. We can’t do our part in persuading the world to accept if we don’t practice the same acceptance for others.

In reality, humanity won’t stop making judgments on appearance; they influence what we eat, the media we consume, and how we protect ourselves in precarious situations. But we can seek to make non-invasive judgments that recognize and accept the differences in others rather than condemning them