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  • Hilary Duff's happy, healthy new shape

    Jack Guy, for Health magazineJack Guy, for Health magazineBy Elizabeth Jenkins

    Don't let the "former teen star" description fool you: Hilary Duff is one young celeb who truly has it together. You won't find the ex-Lizzie McGuire star landing in the tabloids because of hard-partying ways.

    Instead, the 23-year-old actress/singer has made headlines by getting married (to pro hockey player Mike Comrie) and adding to her ridiculously impressive resume: In October, the actress/singer released her first book, a young-adult novel called "Elixir." Here, Hilary chats with Health about what she loves about writing, which workout she swears by, and her hard-earned secret to body confidence.

    Q: What's your definition of living healthy?

    A: Moderation is key. Eating healthily all the time can be boring -- you know, when you take apart the menu and ask for everything on the side?

    Balance makes me feel good: I feel most healthy when I enjoy small bites of the things I love. I used to feel bad about eating French fries -- I'd think that I had

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  • 8 tips for telling your partner a health secret

    By Marti Trgovich

    Dating someone new means learning about each other's quirky behaviors, emotional baggage, and the experiences that have shaped both of your lives. But what if this involves a health or medical secret you're hesitant to talk about?

    Jill, a 33-year-old from New York City, knows that finding Mr. Right also means telling him that she has bipolar disorder. Though she takes medication to manage her condition, she still lives with residual symptoms: She has trouble sleeping for more than two hours at a time, and can't shake her cigarette habit -- traits that she feels a date might question.

    "It's the smoking and lack of sleeping; it's hard to share your life with someone when you need to explain further why you do these things," she says.

    Jill knows that she'll eventually have to confess her situation to a long-term partner. "It's something that will affect me if and when I settle down and have children, since I would not be able to take these medicines [while

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  • Is it baby fat—or obesity?

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Sarah Klein

    Desani Marshall was never really overweight, but she was always a little big for her age. During a checkup at age 4, her doctor pointed out to her mother that Desani was gaining weight more rapidly than he thought was normal. Six months later, she was still putting on pounds at a rapid pace-a strong predictor of future obesity.

    "I didn't take it seriously; I didn't think it was that bad," says Desani's mother, Caryl Marshall, of New York City. "But then he showed me the growth chart. At the rate she was gaining, what really made me take it more seriously was what the future could be."

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  • Your healthiest Thanksgiving from breakfast to bedtime

    Thanksgiving is the ultimate test of a dieter's willpower. Do you stick to the steamed veggies and turkey sans gravy? Or are you more likely to splurge the entire day and hope for the best on Monday's weigh-in? According to Heidi Skolnik, a nutrition consultant for the New York Giants and the School of American Ballet, you don't have to make that choice. "Thanksgiving day won't make or break you. The problem is, people start splurging at Halloween and don't stop till Easter," she says. Follow her advice for indulging the healthy way.


    • Eat breakfast. Even if you don't eat first thing in the morning, be sure to snack before the big meal. "Hunger has very little to do with what people eat on Thanksgiving, but not eating breakfast is a disaster. You'll be hungry and there's all this food-there's no chance you won't overeat," says Skolnik. She advises trying oatmeal and O.J., a yogurt parfait, scrambled eggs with toast, or even last night's leftovers.
    • Sneak in a
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  • Food label know-how: 5 mistakes even savvy shoppers make

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Julie Upton, RD

    The food label can be, well, boring, and it can also be very confusing. I don't know anyone who has the time to read the fine print and scour the Nutrition Facts panel for everything he or she is dropping into the shopping cart.

    A recent study looked at how many Americans use the food label and which parts of the food label. The study found that approximately 62% reported using the Nutrition Facts panel, 52% looked at ingredients, 47% looked at serving size, and 44% read the label's health claims before purchasing.

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  • The simple secret to great sleep

    IstockphotoIstockphotoBy Nancy Rones

    You already know that pregnancy pains and hot flashes can keep you tossing and turning at night. But there's a host of other, less-heralded health concerns that may be silently interfering with your shut-eye. Here's how to deal with these stealth sleep stealers, decade by decade.

    YOUR 20s and 30s

    Check your thyroid. New moms usually blame sluggishness or insomnia on the demands of parenthood, says Dr. Laura Corio, an OB-GYN in private practice in New York City and attending physician at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. But the true culprit may be postpartum thyroiditis, which 5 to 10 percent of women develop in the year following delivery.

    Typically, it starts with mild hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), which can rev you up and set off insomnia. After a couple of months, the condition may swing to hypothyroidism, in which a lack of thyroid hormone slows your body's functions, leaving you feeling constantly tired. If you're too jumpy to sleep or have extreme

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  • "How I got over food guilt"

    IstockphotoIstockphotoBy Amy Spencer

    I was scanning a menu at a restaurant with a friend last month when she declared she'd be eating light for lunch. "I was so bad last night," she groaned, referring to one of the fried egg rolls she'd eaten for dinner. "I definitely want to be good today." I knew exactly how she felt-I was trying to be "good" at lunch to balance out how "bad" I planned on being for dinner! But the more we talked about our food choices, the more I wondered: When did eating become such a moral judgment call? Enjoy a diet splurge guilt-free

    Chomp on carrot sticks and you're a "saint," devour Death by Chocolate for dessert and you're a "sinner." Raw food is "cleansing" and conventionally grown berries are "dirty." If you have a not-so-healthy meal when you're trying to lose weight, you "cheated." And, of course, we all have our "guilty pleasures"-food so forbidden we're wracked with regret for eating it (butter on your movie popcorn, anyone?). Now that we know the value of

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  • POM-boozled: Do health drinks live up to their labels?

    By Sarah Klein

    The makers of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice say that the drink improves blood flow and heart health, prevents and treats prostate cancer, and works 40 percent as well as Viagra (whatever that means). All for about four bucks a bottle.

    Those impressive claims helped the company rack up $91 million in sales in 2009. They also earned the disapproval of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Last month, the agency sued POM Wonderful for making "false and unsubstantiated" health claims, and is asking the company to remove the claims from its ads.

    A 100 percent juice drink that contains antioxidants (and no added sugar), POM is just one of many beverages that bill themselves as promoting better health. VitaminWater, kombucha tea, coconut water, and various brands of juice drinks made from acai, goji berry, and mangosteen have all used health claims in their marketing -- and some, like POM, have been the subject of scrutiny and legal action.

    The FTC, along with the

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  • I've never had an orgasm. Are some women just incapable?

    By Roshini Rajapaksa, MD

    Dr. Raj answers all your embarrassing questions.

    This is mortifying, but I've never had an orgasm. Are some people just incapable?

    A: It's extremely rare for a woman to be physically unable to achieve orgasm, though it's not unusual for a woman to think that she's missing the orgasm gene. But unless you've just recently gone from being able to orgasm to not-or you suspect something is interfering with your ability to climax, such as pain during sex or medicines lowering your drive-there's probably no physical reason you can't orgasm. 10 reasons you're not having sex

    Instead, try a few things before giving up on sexual bliss. First-and this is the hardest part-try to stop focusing on it so much. In women, orgasms are usually as much mental as physical. Unfortunately, that means the more you obsess about it, the less likely you are to get there. Unlike men who-let's be honest-usually have orgasms effortlessly starting in adolescence, many women

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  • Can you drink too much caffeine?

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Roshini Rajapaksa, MD

    Dr. Raj answers all your embarrassing questions.

    Q: I drink four or five cups of coffee every day, then a cappuccino at night. Is that too much caffeine?

    A: Yes and no. For most people, 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine a day-about two or three cups of coffee-is fine. But more than that may cause anxiety, sleep difficulties, or irritability, as well as stomach ulcers, esophagitis (inflammation of the esophageal lining), a temporary rise in blood pressure, and reflux-all signature signs of an overdose. 12 surprising sources of caffeine

    Pregnant women should definitely try to avoid caffeine. If you're otherwise healthy and not having any problems, your caffeine intake is probably OK. Watch out for warning signs, though, and see a doc if you have restlessness or headaches or feel like your heart is beating too fast. Boost your workout routine with caffeine

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