COMFORT IS BEAUTY

8 Simple Things You Can Do to Support Our Earth

“The earth is what we all have in common.”  –Wendell Berry

Earth Day celebrations big and small are taking place this time of year. But it’s not just what happens around April 22 that matters. The collective change we can make in our lives that benefits the environment is what will sustain the true meaning of Earth Day.

In honor of Earth Day – a single day to celebrate and a mission we can continuously live by – we’re sharing 8 simple things you can do to support our earth.

Reduce, Reuse & RecycleThings You Can Do to Support Our Earth - Comfortable Bamboo Sleep Bra

There are hundreds of ways to adopt the 3 R’s and you’re probably doing many of them already. Recycling glass, paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminum and other metals is a no brainer. Consider buying products with little-to-no packaging, always shopping with reusable bags, drinking from refillable bottles and mugs, handmaking items rather than purchasing, and using cloth diapers, to name a few.

Your Support System: Having a great outlook and playing your part in the environment starts with your own comfort. Be sure you’re getting the best fit by measuring for bra size every 4 to 6 months. Rather than tossing your old bras, donate them or give them to organizations that will reuse the materials so they don’t end up in landfills. Also, chose reusable products such as our washable nursing pads.

Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is the #1 thing you can do for your baby and among the top things you can do to support our earth. There’s a long cycle of environmental benefits to breastfeeding including not contributing to the vast resources involved in manufacturing, packaging, transporting and selling formula. Additionally, breastfed babies and their moms tend to be healthier and therefore less taxing on the healthcare system, which again is better for the environment.

Your Support System: While you don’t need much in order to breastfeed, having a supportive nursing bra or convenient nursing cami makes it a lot easier. Don’t forget sleep bras too, like our cooling bamboo crossover sleep bra. Be sure to wear the right styles for your stage of breastfeeding and level of activity.

Things You Can Do to Support Our Earth - Bike or Walk to Work

Walk or Ride Your Bike

Walking or biking rather than driving are equally good for your body and the environment. Whenever possible, take the exercise route rather than hopping in your car. When you do need to drive, try to carpool and make sure your car is tuned up properly. Also, look for ways to take mass transit as an alternative.

Your Support System: While you’re supporting the planet, a great sports bra is supporting your body with flexible, breathable fabrics and “stay-put” features that allow you to move comfortably and stylishly. Check out our Wirefree Sports Bra and our Athleisure Nursing Sports Bra.

Clean Up Your Community

Get involved in local clean-up efforts at parks, recreation centers, rivers, lakes and other nature spaces. This is a terrific way to incorporate your entire family in the cause and make an impact right in your own community.

Your Support System: Your eco-friendly t-shirts for clean-up days call for soft, comfy t-shirt bras. You’ll love the way the compliment your shape and support your body from morning til night.

Conserve Energy in Your Home

By implementing small changes in your home, you can conserve resources and reduce your family’s toxic waste impact in major ways. Conserve water through smart laundering, dishwashing and showering practices. Conserve energy by switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs, adjusting the temperature in your home, and ensuring doors, windows and your roof are energy-efficient. To reduce toxic waste, switch to natural cleaning and personal care products.

Your Support System: Living cleaner and greener is healthier for you and your family, especially during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Remember, your baby is exposed to everything you are. And aren’t you working to support the earth for the wellbeing of future generations anyways?

Things You Can Do to Support Our Earth - Start a Garden

Start a Garden

Gardening is not only a worthwhile hobby, good exercise, and source of pride and food for your own family. You can also share the fruits of your labor with friends as gifts. Whether you’re growing produce or flowers, consider this natural gift-giving initiative that is far less wasteful and incredibly meaningful too.

Your Support System: For gardening you’ll want a breathable cotton bra that moves with your body and offers gentle support. That’s the combo you’ll get in our bestselling Cotton Front Closure Leisure Bra – also known as The Most Comfortable Bra in America.

Go Electronic

Do away with paper as much as possible by receiving bank statements, paying bills, and getting coupons online. While you’re at it, do your shopping online too! In our digital world working from home is becoming more and more of an option, and reducing commuters is better for the planet. Just remember, turn off your computer at night and unplug chargers when they are not in use.

Your Support System: Doing more from behind your computer means you can do more in your most comfortable leisure bras. They’re just what you need to power through work and play online.

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Spotlight on T-Shirt Bras: Our Must-Have T-shirt Bras for Spring

T-shirt weather is upon us and we couldn’t be more excited. That’s because our t-shirt bras were meant to show off your beautiful curves. And your favorite t-shirts deserve nothing less than the best t-shirt bras. You know, the ones that create a smooth, sleek silhouette whether you’re wearing your washed-and-weathered college t-shirt from way back when, or a crisp brand new floral tee for spring.

As you’re preparing for the season and pulling out your t-shirts, be sure you have just the right bras to make you look and feel great while you’re wearing them.

Full Figure T-shirt Bras

Leading Lady Full Figure T-Shirt Bras

Our plus size t-shirt bra collection is designed for your most flattering fit. We know the challenges of having large breasts, a curvy frame, or being a hard-to-fit size. Our full figure bras are made with your specific needs in mind. And when it comes to t-shirt bras, ours will help you look absolutely amazing!

Smooth rounded cups are a must-have in a t-shirt bra. Ours are lightly padded and molded for natural shaping. The microfiber fabric helps your t-shirts lay flat across your chest.

Next, we carry that smoothness under your arms and around your back with power mesh side-and-back panels. These zones combat underarm and back bulge that tends to show in fitted t-shirts.

Leading Lady’s t-shirt bras also support your breasts and lift them to create an ideal silhouette. Both our underwire and wirefree styles lift from the band and have adjustable straps that work together to snuggly, yet comfortably, take pressure off your back and shoulders. This improves posture and maintains that gorgeous feminine shape you love.

This spring, don’t get bored with your t-shirt bras. We have the styles you’ll adore to keep your bra wardrobe fresh. From our classic bestselling t-shirt bra, to our tuxedo-trimmed Luxe Body style, or our ultra-flattering Balconette push-up bra, these are the intimates that will complete your spring look.

Nursing T-Shirt Bras

Leading Lady Full Figure Nursing and Maternity T-Shirt Bras

Our nursing t-shirt bras share many of the same great features as our full figure collection with the added convenience of easy one-handed nursing clasps. You can look terrific in your spring t-shirts and simplify breastfeeding too.

Smooth, lightly padded cups enhance your look and maintain modesty during breastfeeding. Plus, they are ideal for tucking away our washable nursing pads to avoid embarrassing leaks. Your breasts may be particularly heavy at certain times during breastfeeding. An inner sling keeps your breasts supported throughout. And for moms who prefer underwire nursing bras, which is not harmful during breastfeeding, we’ve got styles for you too!

Our Dreamy Comfort nursing bras, available in underwire and wirefree, are just like your favorite pre-baby bras, now with nursing clasps. They can be worn during pregnancy as soon as your regular bras feel snug, and throughout breastfeeding so you’ll be prepared for your journey into motherhood.

Or check out our latest innovation: our Cool Fit nursing bras, also available in underwire and wirefree. The fabric of this unique bra maintains a refreshing coolness throughout the day, helping combat hormonal fluctuations. Plus, it wicks away sweat and moisture to keep you your freshest all the spring day long.

Compliment your favorite t-shirts with your new favorite t-shirt bras. Our full figure and nursing collections are just waiting to become part of your spring wardrobe.

4 Ways You Can Relieve Stress NOW

Stress is a normal part of life but if you feel yours is far too consuming it’s time to take action. April is Stress Awareness Month and we’re sharing ways you can relieve stress to improve your day-to-day life and enjoy a healthier outlook.

With all the moving parts in your world, you may be among most people who report difficulty with stress. Studies show that over 75% of people struggle with physical and psychological symptoms of stress, and almost half of them find stress negatively impacts their personal and professional lives and causes them to lose sleep.

Stress takes a toll on both the mind and body and when stress increases, the two can merge. To reduce stress, it’s important to look at both sides of the picture and make changes before you put your health at serious risk.

Here are 4 ways you can relieve stress and escape becoming a victim to these statistics:

Leading Lady - Exercise Regularly

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is good for just about everything, including stress. And it works on several levels. First, exercise increases endorphins, neurotransmitters that make you happier and give you a natural high after your workout. Similarly, exercise promotes production of norepinephrine, a neurohormone that improves cognition, memory and mood. It also helps reverse damage stress causes your brain.

And that’s not all. Exercise can be cathartic because it forces you to focus on something other than your stressors. Whether you do rhythmic exercise or intense interval training, your brain is working hard and doesn’t have time for what’s bugging you. In fact, some researchers believe it’s all the internal coordination and communication required during workouts that is the real benefit of exercise for stress. In the end, it may even help you cope with stress in the future.

Gear Up: Put on your plus size sports bra or nursing sports bra and burn off that stress through workouts like walking, hiking, yoga, and cycling.

Meditate, Breathe and Relax Your Muscles

Slowing down and spending time on meditation, breathing techniques, and muscle isolation and relaxation exercises are proven ways you can relieve stress. Popular forms of meditation include mindfulness, being focused on sensory experiences in the present, and guided imagery. All of these methods can be learned under the advice of a coach or therapist. Or you can simply find your own rhythm that calms your body.

Gear Up: Leisure bras are ideal for positive energy flow. They’re comfortable, breathable, and light so you can focus your mind and body.

Participate in a Hobby

Doing what you love – whether that’s volunteering, being creative, or spending time at the beach – can help you de-stress. Not only are these enjoyable activities taking your mind off your stress and making you happier in the moment, they are building confidence and helping your brain work differently to better handle your stressors.

Gear Up: Be sure to wear bras that fit your daily activities. Leading Lady offers full figure and nursing collections to meet the needs of your lifestyle.

Leading Lady - 4 Ways You Can Relieve Stress NOW - Sleep More

Get More Sleep

Sleep is the critical time when your body and brain are recharging, repairing, and resting. Sleep effects every aspect of your health. Without enough of it, you may open the door to more stress-related problems. According to the American Psychological Association, most Americans fail to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night which contributes to stress through irritability, less energy, lack of motivation, and feeling overwhelmed. And unfortunately, there’s a vicious cycle of being stressed from not sleeping and not sleeping due to stress.

Making sleep a priority is among the top ways you can relieve stress. Set a bedtime and stick to it, for the most part. And ensure your bedroom conditions and mindset are conducive to sleep.

Gear Up: Front closure sleep bras make falling asleep, staying asleep, and returning to sleep easier. For women with large breasts, sleep bras help position your breasts to avoid shifting in the night. New moms find sleep bras most comfortable and convenient for nursing during the night.

 

Spring Cleaning of a Different Nature: Signs You Need a New Bra

It’s spring cleaning time, ladies! Before you roll your eyes right off this screen, we have some vital information about your comfort. Your bra comfort, that is. And this type of spring cleaning is actually fun. Chances are you’ve been ignoring the signs you need a new bra. But you can use springtime to make crucial improvements to your bra wardrobe. Not so bad for spring cleaning, right?

From wearing the wrong size, to worn out materials, there are some telltale signs you need a new bra. And you’re going to want to read this because a new bra can make all the difference in your comfort, style, and level of support this spring.

Signs You Need a New Bra:

The Straps or Band Dig into Your Skin

No part of your bra should dig into your body and leave painful marks on your skin. If you have adjusted your straps and band to their widest positions and they are uncomfortably tight, your bra is too small. Try wearing bras like our signature t-shirt bras that feature lightly padded straps and four hook-and-eye closures for ultimate comfort and adjustability.

The Straps or Band Slip and Slide

On the flip side, your bra is too large if the straps and band are on their tightest settings and do not stay in place. There’s nothing more annoying that slipping straps, and a band that slides will not offer appropriate support. Front closure bras and racer back bras are great choices if this is a common issue for you.

You’re Wearing the Wrong Bras for Your Daily Lifestyle

There’s a reason you don’t wear a business suit to the gym. Just like the rest of your wardrobe, you should have bras that meet your lifestyle needs. That includes a variety of silhouette-enhancing t-shirt bras, casual comfort leisure bras, athleisure and sports bras, and snuggly sleep bras. And if you’re like us, you’ll want a few lacy special occasion bras too! Be sure to wear the appropriate bras for your daily activities to maintain the support and comfort you need.

You’re Not Getting the Shape You Want

Your bra should complement your body in every way and help you achieve your ideal shape. Smooth molded cups, side-and-back smoothing zones, and extra lift help boost your silhouette. When you discover the natural shaping Leading Lady’s bras offer, you’ll look your best in every outfit in your closet.

Your Bra is Fraying, Sagging, Stretching or the Hardware is Broken

Bras can be made of over 20 different materials, each of which deteriorate at different rates. Laundering, improper care, and even normal wear-and-tear will cause your bras to decline over time. Just like your favorite pair of jeans, at some point, your bra is going to give out. Wearing a bra that has lost its elasticity or shape, has torn fabric or seams, or has damaged hardware (such as broken hooks or exposed underwire) can interfere with its ability to support your body properly. Plus, it’s bound to be uncomfortable! You deserve bras that will make you look and feel great so use this spring cleaning time to discard old, worn out bras.

You Look Like You Have More or Less than Two Breasts

Your beautiful female shape was meant for exactly two breasts. Bras that give you the appearance of a “uni-boob” or “quadra-boob” are not the right style for your body. The appearance of one band across your chest usually means your breasts are squished together without enough separation. When your breasts spill over the top of your cups or under the bottom of your band, you may look like you have double breasts on each side. Both problems likely mean your bras are too small. Full coverage bras and support from an underwire bra in the appropriate size for your body can help resolve this.

Additional Signs You Need a New Bra

  • When you gain or lose weight, your bra size will likely shift as well. Use our handy bra size calculator to determine your best fit.
  • Don’t settle for itchy, scratchy, uncomfortable materials! You probably wear your bras more than any other piece of clothing in your wardrobe so don’t settle for anything less than extreme comfort. Soft breathable fabrics, cotton linings, padded straps, and even silky lace are some of the ways Leading Lady ensures you’re as comfy as can be in our bras.
  • Are your bras outdated? Sometimes you just need a new bra because your bras from 5 or 10 (dare we go further) years ago are just not stylish anymore. When you put on your bra you should feel radiant every single day. Updating your bra wardrobe can help make that a reality.

The Best Plus Size Bras for Spring

Get pumped for picnics in the park, neighborhood strolls, and dining on the patio – spring has finally arrived! With bright colors blooming and breezy outfits abounding, it’s time to update your plus size bras for spring too.

We know you’ve been jonesing for t-shirts, your favorite floral dress, and rolling up the sleeves on all your tops. Hooray, the wait is over! Guess what makes this news even better? Leading Lady has the best plus size bras for spring to jumpstart the season and make your spring wardrobe debut a hit.

Here’s what you need to know about the best plus size bras for spring…

The Best Plus Size Bras for Spring

With warmer weather, we’re all shedding the sweaters and pulling out our sleekest looks. For that, you’re going to need plus size bras that compliment your curves 360 degrees. We have just the thing! Our best-selling seamless t-shirt bras – available in underwire and wirefree – are not only smooth and extremely flattering on your silhouette, they happen to be on sale!

With contoured, lightly padded, molded cups, you’re going to love the natural shaping of this silky bra. Perfect under button-up blouses and blazers for work, your coziest weekend t-shirts, and your cutest spring dresses, everyone you know will do a double take when you arrive.

This t-shirt bra delivers on comfort and support too. Soft, breathable fabric keeps you comfy as the weather transitions from cooler mornings, to warmer afternoons. Wide, lightly padded, adjustable straps help disperse weight across your shoulders and back. For extra support, our new, reinforced underwire offers incredible lift. Or for a wirefree option, our wireless band comfortably wraps your body and helps prevent shifting.

If you’re like us, spring brings to mind exciting colors and patterns. Our best plus size bras for spring do the same. With over 20 color and print options – like rose red, mystic mauve, cherry blossom, and ivory floral – you’ll have no trouble getting into the spring spirit.

We know finding just the right plus size bras for spring can be challenging if you wear an uncommon bra size. From 36A to 54G, we have a wide range of bra sizes in this style so you can find your best fit. Not sure where to start on measuring for bra size? Calculate your bra size with our handy find your fit tool.

And what’s a perfect bra without a perfect pair of panties to match. Our comfort fresh cooling panties are ideal for spring and keep your look smooth and sleek from top to bottom.

Just in time for the new season, check out our new website and click your way to the best plus sizes bras for spring!

 

16 Powerful Quotes to Celebrate International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day and there’s never been a better time to step up as a “leading lady.” This year, International Women’s Day encourages each of us to “Press for Progress” towards gender parity. The mission of this global human rights campaign is a collective effort – no one person can make change a realization. But together, as communities, institutions, governments, companies, organizations, friends and neighbors, we can make progress towards gender inclusion and equity.

At Leading Lady we celebrate, empower and support women every day of the year through programs, advocacy and philanthropic efforts. Our annual World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month nursing bra donation initiative offers thousands of new moms nursing bras and vital health resources to help them successfully breastfeed. Our nationwide outreach through WIC offices, La Leche League, BMBFA, ROSE and other breastfeeding support groups forms an unprecedented social network that uplifts and encourages moms from all corners of the country to nourish their babies in the best way possible.

We also support women through charitable donations close to home and across the country. We know that a new bra – whether it’s a nursing bra, plus size bra, or just a much-needed comfortable bra – can go a long way to lift spirits in times of need. Most recently, in late 2017 Leading Lady sent bra donations to women in isolated shelters who were affected by devastating hurricanes. And we are annual sponsors of Womensafe, an Ohio-based non-profit organization that provides shelter and resources to victims of domestic violence.

This International Women’s Day and during Women’s History Month we’re giving a standing ovation to powerful women. The ones who dream big, work hard, stand up for themselves and each other, and who make a difference in the world, one heart at a time.

To get the festivities started, we’re sharing 16 powerful quotes to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. We hope these quotes inspire you today and every day. We encourage you to live by them and share them with your network on social media. Most of all, be part of the movement to #PushforProgress.

Slideshow: 16 Powerful Quotes to Celebrate International Women’s Day

“Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance in the world to pursue your dreams.” -Hillary Clinton

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” -Unknown

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.” -Judy Garland

“Women are always saying, ‘We can do anything that men can do.’ But men should be saying, ‘We can do anything that women can do.’” -Gloria Steinem

“The most alluring thing a woman can have is confidence.” -Beyonce Knowles

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” -Oprah Winfrey

“The most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.” -Unknown

“A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for others.” -Unknown

“The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.” -Michelle Obama

“Happiness is not doing nothing. Happiness is to be overloaded the whole day, become exhausted by the evening and realize you did something worthy.” -Margaret Thatcher

“Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.” -Coco Chanel

“What I’m looking for is not out there. It is in me.” -Helen Keller

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.” -Dr. Maya Angelou

“You can tell who the strong women are, they’re the ones building each other up instead of tearing each other down.” -Unknown

“In case you forgot to remind yourself this morning…Your butt is perfect. Your smile lights up the room. Your mind is insanely cool. You are way more than enough. And you are doing an amazing job at life.” -Unknown

“Here’s to strong women, May we know them, May we be them, May we raise them!” -Unknown

Getting Fit After 40 – Benefits and Action Steps

Getting Fit After 40

While there’s not a magic formula for health, vitality and longevity, exercise is quite possibly the closest thing to it. The good news is, you’re never too old to reap the benefits of physical fitness. And there are A LOT of benefits! But where should you begin to start getting fit after 40? Check out our secrets and tips for the best exercise strategies for women in middle age.

Benefits of Getting Fit After 40

One of the best benefits of getting fit after 40 is living longer. Studies indicate that people who are active live as much as four years longer than sedentary people, and in many cases, much longer than that. But it’s not just longevity that matters. It’s also about your sustained health, wellness, and energy.

Exercise promotes health in every aspect of the body starting with your heart. Steady physical activity is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular complications – think less heart disease, lower blood pressure, higher “good” cholesterol levels, and lower “bad” cholesterol levels. Studies show active people have less incidence of cancer and diabetes. Plus, they have improved cognition, memory and less likelihood for brain-degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And all of that movement gets your blood pumping and your metabolism revved for increased energy to enjoy life.

For women, physical activity can stop bone loss that causes osteoporosis and tempers hormones that emerge before and during menopause. On average women tend to gain a pound a year starting around menopause, but regular exercise can keep your weight in check and build muscle mass that burns fat and tones problem areas.

How to Start Getting Fit After 40

First, start by having a physical exam to discuss your health and wellness goals with your doctor. Remaining safe is the most important part about getting fit after 40. Your doctor can review your personal condition and make recommendations that best suit your body and what you hope to achieve.

Once you’ve set goals, develop a plan that meets your interests and works for your schedule. Ideally you will exercise four to six times a week for 30 to 60 minutes a day. It’s essential that you gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts to give your body time to adjust. You may begin by breaking up your exercise into 10-minute timeframes. As you build stamina and strength, you can ramp up your routine.

Best Types of Exercise for Getting Fit After 40

Experts agree that the best combination for improved health and vitality is regular cardio, strength-training, and internal training. Yoga is also a terrific way to achieve lean muscle and balance while creating a mind-body connection. Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits of each:

  • Cardio: When you think of cardio you may envision high impact aerobics but there are many effective low impact options. Walking briskly, jogging, cycling, rowing, swimming, tennis, and hiking are all excellent options that are easier on your joints. Build up to 30 minutes four to five times a week.
  • Strength Training: Without bulking up or spending tons of money on equipment, you can develop strong, lean muscles through strength training. Often your own body weight or a few free weights or resistance bands are all you need to target major muscles. And while you cannot spot reduce fat, you can build muscles for a smoother, toned appearance. Aim for strength training three or four times per week.
  • Interval Training: Intervals of intense blood flow help deliver much-needed oxygen to sustain and rejuvenate your organs, especially your brain. Incorporate short bursts of higher intensity into your cardio workouts. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the ground, but do a round of power squats, push-ups, punches or lunges to elevate your heartrate for this added benefit.
  • Yoga: It’s no secret yoga helps reduce stress, a leading accelerant of disease…and wrinkles! When you practice yoga three or four times weekly you can calm your body while working muscles in a completely different way. This gives you the benefits of exercise and a stress-reducing outlet.

With that in mind, you also want to ensure you like how you’re exercising since you’ll be doing it almost every day. That means finding friends, classes, sports and locations that keep you motivated and on track.

Gear Up for Getting Fit After 40

You’ve set your goals and planned accordingly. It’s time to dress the part. Start your workout program with a great low impact sports bra like our Wirefree Sport Full Figure Bra. This plus size sports bra is ideal for a variety of light to moderate exercises and comes in playful colors and styles you’ll love. Pair your cotton sports bra with our Control High-Waist Leggings for a breathable, stylish gym-ready look. With convenient pockets and a high or low-waist option, these plus size leggings give you support and confidence for getting fit after 40.

Are you over 40? What do you do to stay fit? Share some tips with the rest of our community in the comments!

Healthiest Natural Sweeteners and Sugar Alternatives

Divinely sweet flavors can be absolutely irresistible. But with sugar intake at its highest level ever and a slew of health consequences that comes with it, overdoing it on refined sugar can mean serious bad news for your body. Today we’re exploring the healthiest natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives so you can still enjoy that sweet flavor you crave without all the nasty side-effects.

It’s no secret that too much sugar can be bad for your health. It can lead to a range of problems including adding stress on your cardiovascular system, over-taxing the natural filtering functions of your liver, kidneys and pancreas, rotting teeth, causing achy joints, lowering your ability to concentrate, and slumping moods, to name a few. Of course sugar can also be stored as fat and lead to weight gain and obesity, which causes many other potentially harmful issues.

Healthiest Natural Sweeteners and Sugar AlternativesUnfortunately, with sugar added to almost every food we consume these days, it’s hard to avoid it. From packaged goods and bakery delights, to restaurant selections and beverages, sugar is abounding. A little sugar is OK. Your body can naturally burn it off as energy without storing it as fat. But too much sugar spikes your glycemic index and that’s when the trouble starts.

Even the healthiest natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives should be consumed in moderation. Most of them do still have calories and impact your glycemic index somewhat. But overall, they are a better choice for your body because they do more good than harm and may even add a few key nutrients to your diet.

Check out the healthiest natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives to consider for cooking, baking and sweetening your drinks:

Pure Maple Syrup

The boiled sap of the maple tree is minimally processed and contains nutrients like zinc, potassium, calcium and up to 54 types of antioxidants. Maple syrup still contains natural sugar so be careful about overusing it. But do consider this natural choice for more than just a pancake topper.

Honey

Raw honey is packed with enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals collected from its plant-based origin. These life sustaining nutrients with antimicrobial value are a better choice than table sugar although honey still contains a good deal of natural sugar.

Date Sugar

Ground up dried dates retain many of the excellent nutrients from dates like fiber, calcium and potassium. Dates support digestive health by populating the gut with healthy bacteria. Furthermore, it is lower in calories and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar although it may be harder to find in stores.

Stevia

Stevia is a zero calorie extract from the stevia plant native to South America. It is super sweet with a bitter aftertaste so baking with it may not be ideal. But this is a great sugar alternative for drinks like tea and coffee.

Monk Fruit

Used for centuries in Asian cultures, this natural sugar alternative comes from fermented monk fruit pulp. It is naturally sweet and chock full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. However, consuming too much monk fruit may have a laxative effect, however.

Blackstrap Molasses

This specific type of molasses is made as cane sugar is boiled and processed to remove the sucrose. It may be the most nutritious of the healthiest natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives with a significant daily value of iron and Vitamin B6. It tastes bitter, however, this substitution may have an adjustment period.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar comes from the blossoms of the coconut tree. It contains potassium, zinc and short-chain fatty acids, along with fiber that helps balance blood sugar levels.

These healthiest natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives can replace refined sugar and artificial sweeteners in your diet. Here’s a quick list of ingredients to look for and avoid:

  • White Sugar (even ones called “raw” or “organic”)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Sucanat
  • Turbinado
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup or Corn Syrup
  • Sucralose
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharine
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Neotame
  • Acesulfame
  • Agave Nectar

Sources: WebMD, Mind Body Green, Prevention and Keeper of the Home

Benefits of Exercising in Winter

Benefits of Exercising in WinterBaby, it may be cold outside but there are many benefits of exercising in winter. In fact, right about now you may really need some of these awesome advantages of winter workouts.

With at least a couple more months of cooler weather, get pumped for the tremendous benefits of exercising in winter:

Enjoy an Energy Boost

Darker, colder days can make you tired and lethargic. That doesn’t make a good combo when you’re thinking about exercising. But it doesn’t help motivate you to do anything else either – even things you love. Give yourself the energy you need to enjoy your life by moving your body and getting your blood flowing. Bonus Benefit: If you workout outdoors, you’ll get an even bigger energy jolt from the crisp air.

Shed Holiday Joy Weight

Many of us are feeling those few extra pounds we put on during the holidays. From Halloween to Valentine’s Day it seems you can’t escape the endless treat offerings. While it was fun putting them on, one of the fabulous benefits of exercising in winter is that you can drop those few pounds before spring. Bonus Benefit: Regular fitness will help you want to eat healthier and reduce food cravings.

Stay Warm

Sure, it’s a bit chilly out. And maybe your house feels a bit frigid right now too. But the best way to naturally warm your body is through exercise. A brisk outdoor walk or simply stretching or lifting weights in the comfort of your home will warm your entire body without turning on the heat. Bonus Benefit: In cooler weather you won’t sweat as much and therefore not smell as bad after workouts.

Boost Your Immune System

Did you know exercise is a legitimate way to stay healthier? It’s still cold and flu season and you need your immune system to work hard to keep you well. Your defenses go up with regular, moderate exercise so take advantage of this huge health benefit. Bonus Benefit: Working out when it is cold makes your heart work harder to pump blood. With an established exercise routine you can improve cardiovascular strength to support better overall health.

Find New Ways to Workout

For those who hate exercising in the heat, outdoor winter workouts can be fantastic. For those who hate exercising in the cold, stay indoors but invigorate your routine by trying pilates, a new workout DVD or joining a gym. Bonus Benefit: Many gyms offer wintertime specials. Take advantage of them before spring hits and everyone is trying to get in shape.

Improve Your Mood

You probably know that exercise releases feel good hormones and neurotransmitters in your body. These are especially important in winter months when the blues are more likely to set in. Bonus Benefit: Exercising outdoors gives you a dose of Vitamin D that your body craves and can further elevate your mood.

Keep Joints Agile

Colder weather invites arthritis and other joint pain. Staying active will help you reduce flare-ups and loosen joints so you’re less likely to injure yourself. Bonus Benefit: Strengthening all areas of your body reduces chance of injury so you can stay active for longer.

Sources: Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post and The Body Camp

Large Band Size and Small Cup Bras

It’s a common misconception that every full figure woman needs large cup bras. The truth is that your band size and your cup size may have no correlation to one another. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding creates frustration for women who need a large band size and small cup bras because they are not made by many intimate apparel brands.

The fact is many women do need a large band size and small cup bras and struggle to find them. Fortunately you’ve come to the home of designers who understand the needs of women and celebrate that every woman’s body is unique and beautiful. Leading Lady embraces your curves with our full figure collection that fits women with a variety of band and cup size combinations.

Large Band Size and Small Cup Bras

Ladies, if you’re a 54A or a 48B (or many sizes above, below or in-between), we have bras for you! We know it’s so hard to find bras in your size but we’re changing that right here and right now. That means you can stop wearing bras with cups that are gaping or causing ridges underneath your clothes. You deserve to have bras that fit your breasts just as well as your frame.

With large band size and small cup bras you’ll find comfort, style and just the right coverage you need for your body shape. Our signature features like no-slip straps, contoured cups, four rows of hook and eye closures, and side and back smoothing zones are only just a few things you’ll love about our full figure bras.

Seamless Styles

For your everyday needs, styles like our Molded Padded Seamless Full Figure Bra or our Luxe Body Full Figured T-Shirt Bra, both available in wirefree or underwire, are ideal to create a gorgeous silhouette in anything in your wardrobe. From casual t-shirt days, to business attire, these styles of large band size and small cup bras are perfect.

Lace Styles

We get it – you’re a 50B or a 44A and you love lace. We say, if lace bras are what you desire, then lace bras you shall receive! Our Dreamy Comfort collection features half lace cup or full lace cup styles in just your size. You’ll enjoy side and back smoothing while feeling luxuriously gorgeous in a lace bra. Or check out our Balconette Padded Comfort Bra that shows off a sensual lace band.

Leisure Styles

Chilling out comfortably is so cozy in our leisure styles. With stretchability to keep you comfy day and night, Leading Lady’s Cotton Front-Closure Leisure Bra is amazing. This award-winning bra dubbed “The Most Comfortable Bra in America,” is made of soft, breathable cotton and has a front-closure design for easy dressing. This bra wraps your frame and cups your breasts effortlessly for your upmost comfort.

No more settling for bras cups that are too big. Get the large band size and small cup bras you need in Leading Lady’s full figure bra selection. We know it will change the way you look and feel every single day!

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Seven7
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Sexy bra
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Sexy is a State of Mind
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Sick
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Signs you are Eating Too Much Salt
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skin care
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Skincare
Skippy
sleep
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Sleep and the brain
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sleep awareness week
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Slow Biological Aging with Exercise
slow down and enjoy life
slow the appearance of aging
Smaller Waist
smart texting
smoothies
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Snooki
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Sophisticated Braids for Adult Women
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Specialty Bra Sizes
speed up metabolism
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Spices of the Holiday Season
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spring 2014 fashion trends
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Spring Clean your Diet
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Spring Workout Motivation
Springtime Full Figure Fashion
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stay positive at work
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storage containers for clothes
storing clothes
strange tips to fall asleep faster
strengthen your body
stress
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stress and the holidays
Stress Awareness Month
Stress Management
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Sucker Punch
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Sugar Alternatives
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Summer
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superfood seeds
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Supermarket Marketing Ploys to Avoid
support breast cancer awareness
Support our Earth
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Surprising Sources of Protein
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taking care of yourself at work
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Technology
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texting
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thank you notes
Thankgiving
Thanksgiving
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The “Barely There” Makeup Trend
the advantages of worrying
the art of conersation
the benefits of a racerback bra
the benefits of aging
the benefits of farm fresh foods
the benefits of meal planning
The Benefits of Volunteering for You
The Best Teas for Heart Health
the bra recyclers
The Healing Power of Music
The Health Benefits of Berries
The Health Benefits of Cold Showers
The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
The Healthiest BBQ Foods
The Importance of Breakfast
The Importance of Female Role Models
The Importance of Hugging
the importance of protein
The Importance of Sleep
the microbiome of the breast
The Most Valentine’s Day Worthy Full Figure Bras
The Power of Cinnamon
The Rules of Cardigans
the science behind hangry
The Skinny on Full Fat Dairy
The Sports that Help You Live Longer
the tutu trend
The Upside to Worrying
thigh brow
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Things Every Woman Should Know About her Skin
things that make you sexy
things to do in Fall
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Things to Do on your Day Off
things to do this fall
Things Your Coworkers Hate
think more positive
thinking positive
Tips
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Tips for Surviving the Summer Heat
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Tips for Writing Great Thank You Notes
tips for writing thank you notes
Tips to Allergy-Proof your Home
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Tips to Boost Self-Esteem
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Tips to Fall Asleep Faster
title 9
title ix
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too much salt
travel
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treatment for headaches
Trends
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trust your gut
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TV Moms we love
type 2 diabetes
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Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week
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ultraviolet light
unclutter your house
Unconventional Ways to Give Thanks this Thanksgiving
under eye baggage
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underwire bras
Unexpected Causes of Fatigue
unhealthiest things in your home
Unintentionally Slowing Your Metabolism
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unusual bra sizes
Unusual Ways to Relieve Stress
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unwind on vacation
uses of apple cider vinegar
uses of baking soda
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vacation
vaginal bacterial infection
Valentine's Day
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Valentine’s Day ideas
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volunteering
Volunteering on Thanksgiving
walking 30 minutes a day
walking for exercise
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Walking Workouts
Wardrobe
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warrior princess
wash bras
ways to be sexy
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Ways to Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month
ways to celebrate Thanksgiving
ways to combat fatigue
Ways to Create a Sexier Bedroom
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ways to get fit with your pet
ways to give back on Thanksgiving
ways to give thanks
ways to give thanks on Thanksgiving
ways to improve concentration
Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
ways to inpire
Ways to Look Younger
Ways to Reduce Food Waste
ways to reduce symptoms of allergies
ways to save money
ways to save money this summer
Ways to save the earth
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ways to tie a scarf
ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers
Wear your Comfy Clothes to Work
wearing a hairband around your wrist
Wedding
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weddings
weekday dinners
weight gain
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wellbeing
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what causes allergies?
what do do on Christmas Eve
what is a Mediterranean diet
what is a power nap
what is a sleep bra
what is Osteoporosis
What is Zapping your Concentration?
What Really Prevents You from Getting Sick
what to do for faster metabolism
what to do in the car
what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers
what to eat besides potato chips
what to eat for faster metabolism
what to pack
what to pack for women
What to Wear on Black Friday
what to wear on the 4th of July
what to wear on Valentine's Day
What You Should Know about Heat Stroke
What your favorite chocolate says about you
What Your Food Cravings Say About You
What Your Nails Say about your Health
when are berries ripe
when to buy a new bra
where to buy a sleep bra
where to buy full figure bras
where to store clothes
which bras to wear in summer
white blood cells
white shoes
white shoes for spring
white shoes for summer
white wardrobe
white wine
whiten your teeth
whitney Thompson
whole foods
whole fruit
Why All Women Should Take a Trip Alone
why am I so tired?
Why and When to Trust your Gut Feeling
why dancing is good for you
why hugging is good for you
Why Hugs are Good for your Heart
why sitting is bad for health
why sleep is important
why to reduce food waste
why walk everyday
why we forget names
why we get hangry
why wear a sleep bra
why women can't accept compliments
why women need hugs
why women need mom friends
why women need strength
why women should travel alone
why working out in the morning is better
why worrying is a good thing
why you can't concentrate
why you should eat breakfast
why you should take a cold shower
Why You Should Take a Walk Everyday
Why You Should Take Power Naps
Why Your Best Ideas Happen in the Shower
WIC
wicked witch of the west
wild rice
winter
winter accessories
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winter fashion trends
winter fruits
winter hairstyles 2015
winter holidays
Winter Superfoods
winter trends 2015/2016
winter vegetables
Winter Workouts
Winterize your Home Décor
women
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Women's charities
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working out your brain
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workouts
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worrying
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write a letter to your mom
yeast infection
yogurt covered fruits
younger looking hairstyles
Your Brain When You’re Thankful
youthful skin
youthfulness
Zac Posen
Zig-Zag Weave Front-Closure Leisure Bra
zombie