• A Miami woman waited for the ACA website to come back online Monday while trying to purchase a plan with an agent's help. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesAttention, fellow procrastinators: Monday night, as you probably know by now, is the deadline to sign up for health insurance at HealthCare.gov, and already, that’s led to an estimated 9.5 million newly insured Americans. But if you’re anything like me, what you’re wondering about is how firm this deadline really is. Well, I’ve got great news: There’s wiggle room. Lots of it, actually. Here’s the deal, in five easy pieces:

    1. You only have to start signing up by 11:59 p.m. That’s right—you don’t have to finish. Thanks to the White House’s announcement of a “special enrollment period,” you’ll have until about mid-April to complete your enrollment and still be covered as of May 1 (an official date will be decided upon once it’s clear how many slackers, in total, have yet to finish enrolling). By starting the process, or ensuring your place “in line,” you’re still good to go. The prescient idea here is to help out folks who tried to enroll on Monday but were thwarted by expected technical

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  • Find out where residents have the healthiest and the unhealthiest RealAge.

  • Sometimes the Internet resurfaces a gem from out of the blue that's worth our attention. Over the weekend, this 2013 video of actor and blogger Wil Wheaton started to trend on Reddit.

    In it, a young woman in a crowded Denver Comic Con room asks Wheaton, “When you were a kid, were you called a nerd? If so, how did you deal with it?”
    Without a pause, Wheaton jumps in with a genuine and earnest answer. He says he was called a nerd all the time, adding, “I wish that I could tell you that there is really easy way to just not care, but the truth is it hurts.”
    Wheaton makes the point that being called names and being bullied is more about the bully and not the person they are targeting.  And for that, we applaud him (again).

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  • Spring forward ... drop dead?(Newser) - If you've got a weak heart, you might have a good excuse for taking Monday off next time clocks go forward in spring, researchers say. A new study finds that the daylight saving time switch is associated with a shocking 25% rise in the risk of heart attacks on the following Monday compared to other Mondays in the year, Reuters reports. The effect-much greater than estimated in previous studies-is reversed when clocks go back in fall and people get an extra hour of sleep, the study finds.

    Mondays are already the worst day of the week for heart attacks, notes the lead researcher, who studied years of admissions data from Michigan hospitals.

    "Perhaps the reason we see more heart attacks on Monday mornings is a combination of factors, including the stress of starting a new work week and inherent changes in our sleep-wake cycle," he says in a press release. "With daylight saving time, all of this is compounded by one less hour of sleep." He says that in light of the study,

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  • Rejoyce, chocoholics!Rejoyce, chocoholics!

    The verdict is in: Chocolate is good for you... in moderation.

    Related: Do NOT Eat the Fat-Free Versions of These Foods

    Not only is chocolate not fattening, but European researchers report that in their study of 1,458 teens, eating a lot of it was associated with lower levels of body fat. The secret? Chocolate is high in catechins, plant compounds that may increase insulin sensitivity -- helping to keep weight down.

    Related: 9 Surprising Habits That Slow Down Your Metabolism

    But catechins don't turn the treat into a diet food: Best to limit yourself to one ounce a day.

    More from Good Housekeeping:

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  • How to avoid getting this common pain in your side
    By Jenny Hadfield, Runner's World

    For those who exercise regularly, we don't usually let a little pain or weather stop us. We workout through sleet and snow, heat and haze, with blisters and black toenails, headaches and knee aches. But a side stitch? That sharp, stabbing pain that hits below the ribs can stop us in our tracks. Although the exact cause of side stitches has yet to be proven, theories abound. Sports-medicine physician Jordan Metzl, M.D., coauthor of The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies, says the most likely cause is a diaphragm spasm. The diaphragm, a sheet of muscle that extends across the bottom of the rib cage, plays an important role in breathing. Just like your leg muscles, your diaphragm can fatigue and cramp when put under too much stress. That's why side stitches tend to strike beginner runners or those stepping up pace or distance. The good news is that there are a variety of effective strategies--ones that I

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  • See how where you live stacks up when it comes to healthy food, smoking, and more.See how where you live stacks up when it comes to healthy food, smoking, and more.

    There are over 3,000 counties in the U.S. -- how does yours compare in quality of life? Researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute just released their annual report ranking the nation's counties based on 29 factors, including unemployment, poverty, teen births, access to healthy foods, and smoking. This year, they considered some new factors, too, like housing, transit, and access to mental health providers.

    Related: 10 Clever Ways to Save on Healthcare Expenses

    The findings unearthed some good news: The nation's rate of preventable hospital stays decreased about 20% between 2003 and 2011, teen birth rates have dropped 25% since 2007, and people are smoking a lot less than in past years. But there was some bad news, too: One in five homes is overcrowded. And there are still vast disparities between the healthiest and the least healthy counties. Those living in the least healthy counties have twice the number

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  • Are you afraid of blood, needles, or the dentist?Are you afraid of blood, needles, or the dentist?

    By Janet Kim, Everyday Health

    Who isn't a little uneasy before seeing a doctor? While most of us keep our fear in check, others are so unreasonably distressed that they're incapacitated by the fear and avoid medical attention, risking their health in the process.

    Health phobias - like other debilitating fears - are anxiety disorders, which affect people of all races and ages, but tend to be found in more women than men. About 75 percent of people with phobias are fearful of more than one thing. For many, the only way to cope is active avoidance.

    Treatment - specifically exposure therapy, a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy - can help you overcome a health phobia. Without therapy, the following 10 medical and health phobias could jeopardize your health and even your life.

    1. Tomophobia: Fear of Surgery or Invasive Medical Procedures

    Let's face it - surgery is scary. Potential risks include infections, unexpected outcomes or complications, even death. But for some

    Read More »from 10 Phobias that Can Really Make You Sick
  • By Joy Bauer, RD

    Nutrition expert Joy Bauer, RD, came up with this menu based on the Live Longer & Stronger challenge. The six participants lost nearly 300 pounds combined, and you can shed weight, too. Just stick with the plan on the next few slides. "The best part? You can still eat some of your standbys, but you'll also discover new favorites!" says Joy. Also, keep these guidelines in mind:

    1. Eat on a schedule. Choose 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner each day. Plus, enjoy an afternoon snack and the option of a daily splurge from the "Snacks & Sweets" list (slide 5).

    2. Drink water during the day, including 8 oz before lunch and dinner. The glass of H2O will fill you up, helping you eat less at mealtime.

    3. Start with vegetables at dinner. Try a salad or a broth-based vegetable soup. (The high-fiber content of the vegetable course helps to curb hunger.)

    Related: See 8 calming foods that ease stress.

    (serves 1)

    Oatmeal with fruit & nuts

    Prepare Read More »from The 5-Day Eating Plan to Lose Weight Fast
  • Getting 'bikini ready' doesn't have to involve starvation. These totally-doable moves will have you proudly sporting your bathing suit come summer.

    By Julia Merz, Fitbie.com

    It's officially spring -- Woohoo! -- and as the weather warms up and those bulky layers come off, the thought of baring it all in your swimsuit can be a little unnerving. But it is possible to shed your hibernation flab by summer, and you don't have to consume nothing but green juice to get there.

    Exercise scientist Ellington Darden, PhD, author of The Body Fat Breakthrough, is sharing some of his favorite easy ways to lose weight and keep it off. "Often it's the little things you do that make a big difference in your effort to get back in shape and stick with the lifestyle changes you've adopted," says Darden.

    More from Fitbie:
    Want more proof that the little things add up? Check out these 10 Ways to Change Your Body in 2 Seconds

    Adopt these mini moves over the next three months, and you might actually

    Read More »from 6 Mini Weight-Loss Moves that Lead to Major Results


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