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Stop Trying to Exercise Your Indulgences Away

Stop Trying to Exercise Your Indulgences Away


Photo: Soho A Studio (Shutterstock)

Whether it’s Halloween candy, election week stress eating, or that upcoming Thanksgiving dinner, we need to talk about how to react when we suddenly eat more food than normal. You don’t need to immediately burn off those calories with exercise, or somehow prove to yourself that you’ve “earned” them. Just enjoy the food and move on.

Before we talk about how to handle these occasional indulgences, though, I’d like to take a moment to point out that binge eating disorder is a condition in which overeating leads to guilt, and then dieting or restrictive behavior. It’s cyclical, so the dieting tends to lead to more bingeing. If you experience this often—like weekly—seek professional help. Treatment may include talk therapy, nutritional counseling, and sometimes medication. If you don’t know where to start, chat, text or call the National Eating Disorders Association hotline here.

What about the rest of us? Well, the fact that binge eating disorder exists should perhaps clue us in to the fact that restricting food or increasing exercise is not a remedy to overindulging, but rather a way to further harm our health.

Calorie counts shouldn’t rule your life

You should eat well because eating well supports your health. You should exercise because exercise supports your health. These two things are not opposed. Eating is not a problem that exercise solves.

But I totally understand why you might be tempted to think that way. For example, it is true that weight-loss diets work by altering the mathematical equation between “calories in” and “calories out.”

We also can’t forget that the makers of high-calorie foods promote the idea of burning off indulgences, because that shifts the blame to you, the consumer, without denting their sales at all. I’ve written before about how the snack food manufacturers who repeat platitudes about “balance” are the same ones who give each other tips on how to increase impulse purchases of candy.

This is the context for those horrible charts that tell you how to burn off a given morsel of food. One Reese’s cup requires 15 minutes of swimming, we’re told. Even if that’s true, is it helpful advice? Heck no—these charts exist as a tool that we pass around to scare and guilt each other. Nobody pulls up these charts to plan their workouts for the week; we just use them to masochistically destroy our ability to enjoy a treat.

What really happens in your body?

So, here’s the thing. Yes, a candy bar has calories. But you know what else has calories? Broccoli. Chicken breasts. Rice. Pasta. Burgers. Coffee. Everything. The average American needs about 2,500 calories a day. If you eat five Reese’s cups at 105 calories each, that’s just 525 calories. The other 2,000 or so can come from other sources, and you’ll still break even.

Similarly: it’s not just swimming or running or cycling that burn calories. Your body is constantly using energy just to exist. According to this calculator, a 150-pound person expends 119 calories in 15 minutes of swimming, but you also burn 102 calories in an hour of just sitting around talking.

These two facts combine for a shocking conclusion: it’s 100% possible to have a high-calorie indulgence, then just eat normally and go about your normal business for the rest of the day, and be totally fine. No extra exercise needed. In many cases, you’ll either break even when it comes to calories, or come close.

The worst case scenario

Okay, but what if you had a lot of candy (or beer, or pie, or whatever), and you know for sure that you ate far more than you burned? What if you know that you ate 3,000 calories and only burned 2,000?

Don’t underestimate your body’s ability to adapt: chances are, if you ate a ton last night, you may be a bit less hungry today. This may sound weird if you’re used to tracking every last bite, but people who don’t deliberately diet can still maintain their weight over time. Our bodies kind of figure things out.

And because it’s only one day, things tend to even out. Let’s say you ate that extra 1,000 calories, and your body didn’t adjust anything else; you continued with your life, eating 2,000 and burning 2,000 every day. Your average calorie intake for the month will work out to just 2,033 calories per day, only a smidge above your usual.

Don’t panic

So if you ate more than you intended on some particular day, don’t panic. You don’t need to feel guilty about it and you don’t need to immediately burn it off.

Instead: just do your normal healthy shit. Eat to nourish yourself. Exercise because our bodies work better when we move them around on a regular basis. Our minds work better when we exercise, too. Have a little self compassion because your mental health will be better if you aren’t constantly thinking of your body as your enemy.

If these indulgences are enough of a problem that you think you really are gaining weight because of them, make a plan. Not “I’m going to spend an hour on the elliptical tomorrow because I hate myself,” but rather setting up a consistent, sustainable, non-miserable plan to eat healthy and get a reasonable amount of exercise each week. That way, you’ll be taking good care of yourself whether you end up eating a few candy bars or not.

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Celebrate Small Business Saturday by Shopping at Independent Retailers

Celebrate Small Business Saturday by Shopping at Independent Retailers

Illustration for article titled Celebrate Small Business Saturday by Shopping at Independent Retailers

Photo: ESB Professional (Shutterstock)

The holiday shopping season, like everything else, is looking a little different this year. Sure, there were still people at malls at 6 a.m. yesterday for Black Friday sales, but nothing compared to years past. Today, it’s Small Business Saturday, and the perfect opportunity to support independent retailers. Small businesses have been hit especially hard during the pandemic and could use our patronage more than ever.

A lot of the time, when people think of small businesses, their mind immediately goes to those in their local area. That’s great—and also really important if you want to make sure they stay open. But thanks to the magic of the internet, we now have access to small businesses across the country, too, where we can shop for items unavailable in our neighborhood without having to rely on major corporate retailers. Not sure where to start? Here are a few of the many small businesses to support today (and the rest of the year as well):

SHIMA’ of Navajoland

Owned and operated by members of the Navajo Nation, SHIMA’ of Navajoland makes premium handmade soap, body and wellness products using traditional methods.

Tenement Museum

Not only does the Tenement Museum, located in New York City’s Lower East Side, provide visitors with a glimpse into the past, they also have one of the best gift shops around. They are currently offering 30% off site-wide through November 30th with code GIVETHANKS. Plus, all orders with subtotal of $200+ will receive a free 2021 TM Wall Calendar; offer valid December 31st with code 2021.

Uncle Nearest

Named after Nathan “Nearest” Green, the first known African-American master distiller, Uncle Nearest was co-founded Fawn Weaver, the first woman and the first African-American to lead a major spirit brand, in 2017. But it’s more than an incredible history: Uncle Nearest makes award-winning whiskey.

The Arcade

This isn’t one small business as much as it is several under the same ornate roof. The Arcade Cleveland opened in May of 1890 as the first indoor shopping center in America, and today is home to a variety of locally owned shops (many of which ship their products).

The Alabama Booksmith

Even though the showroom is currently closed, The Alabama Booksmith offers worldwide shipping on their books—all of which are signed by the author.

Clearly, there are far, far more small businesses out there that could use our support. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments!

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Use 2FA to Stop This New WhatsApp Account Attack

Use 2FA to Stop This New WhatsApp Account Attack

A simple but noteworthy attack is making the rounds on popular chat service WhatsApp. It’s incredibly easy for someone to pull off—all they need is access to a single account that has you listed as a contact. And if you’re susceptible to a bit of social networking, said attacker can take over your WhatsApp account pretty easily.

Here’s how it works, courtesy of F-Secure chief risk officer Mikko Hypponen. An attacker starts by gaining access to a WhatsApp account that has you listed as a contact. Said person then attempts to convert every single contact in that account to a WhatsApp business account. Before this happens, WhatsApp sends you a message asking you to confirm your new business account with a six-digit code.

The attacker, still in control of the account that’s listed you as a contact, then messages you pretending to be that person. They’ll send you something along the lines of, “Oops, didn’t mean to send that to you, can you tell me what the six-digit code is?” And if you reply with the number, then you can kiss your WhatsApp account goodbye. The attacker has now taken it over, and they’ll use your contacts to continue the scheme.

Obviously, the best thing you can do to prevent yourself from being suckered in by this attack is to never, ever give anyone else any authentication codes you ever receive. There will never be a time when an authentication code is accidentally sent to you. Even if that was the case, said person trying to request a code for themselves should be able to just re-request it; they don’t need your help.

So, a little common sense prevents a lot of pain on this one. However, this attack is also a great reminder that you can and should be using WhatsApp’s two-step verification. You set it up via Settings > Account > Two-Step Verification.

Illustration for article titled Use 2FA to Stop This New WhatsApp Account Attack

Screenshot: David Murphy

When you set this up, you’ll have to input a PIN that only you know whenever you’re re-registering your phone number with WhatsApp. In other words, if you (or someone else) is trying to associate a new device with your phone number, they’ll need your PIN to finish the setup process. And that’s different than the registration code that gets texted to a phone number; you’ll need both to set up WhatsApp using your number on a new device.

It’s a great, sure-fire way to ensure that nobody else is ever going to be able to take over your WhatsApp account. And, yes, if you forget the PIN, WhatsApp can email it to you. (Please don’t share that email with anyone else ever.)

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How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?

How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?

Illustration for article titled How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?

Photo: 10’000 Hours (Getty Images)

You might have heard about the eight-year old boy that makes $26 million annually from what started off as a toy unboxing channel on YouTube, and thought, “I can do that.” And sure, there’s sky-high potential to make money on the world’s second most-visited site, although most creators make more meager, earthbound annual incomes. Here’s a look at how much you can earn as a YouTuber.

Subscribers are important, but they’re not everything 

Only a small percentage of YouTubers have a large number of subscribers: Out of 37 million accounts, just 22,000 have more than one million subscribers, according to Tubics, a marketing software company. The vast majority of successful creators belong to a “middle class” of accounts with 50k–500K subscribers, many of whom can’t live off of their YouTube earnings alone.

Subscribers are valuable because they’re more likely to consistently engage with your content and share it with others, but they aren’t the best metric for determining how much money they’re making. To get a more accurate sense of what creators are paid, you have to look at their “cost per mille,” otherwise known as cost per 1,000 ad impressions, or CPM.

Your CPM determines your pay rate 

When you monetize your videos through Google’s Partner Program, you enable ad revenue sharing which is based on your CPM. Cost per 1,000 impressions is a metric that represents how much money advertisers are willing to spend for ads on your YouTube videos. But as Business Insider points out, no YouTube creator consistently has the same CPM, as advertisers pay different rates based on a variety of factors like geography, seasonality, and topic (typically, your CPM rate is higher for informative, business-focused content over personal vlogs, as an example).

CPM rates are a bit mysterious to YouTubers, and they can range wildly, but usually fall somewhere between $2 – $5 per thousand views. That means a CPM of $5 will earn you $5,000 from a video with a million views. Considering that the average YouTube video received only a few thousand views, and you’ll understand why it can be a challenge to make a steady income off of the site, even if you’re popular.

To really make money, you have to go beyond views 

If you want to make millions of dollars on YouTube, the reality is that you need more than a lot of subscribers. The top YouTube accounts use their content as a springboard for other ways of generating revenue, which include:

Merchandise sales

YouTubers can make more money off of merch than they do from ads. If a creator has an engaged, loyal audience, their profits from selling mugs, T-shirts, coffee beans, totes, stationary, or online education videos will can be significant. According to Tubefilter:

An average month for [Jake] Paul is 200 million views, which puts his estimated monthly AdSense earnings between $50,000 and $800,000. His estimated [annual] merch income, on the other hand, is between $820,810 and $4,292,940

Sponsored content

Content creators can get paid directly by sponsors for mentioning a specific company or product in their videos, typically a flat fee of a few hundred up to thousands of dollars. It’s not easy to get hard numbers on this, but the more popular you are, the more leverage you have. Influencers with at least 100,000 followers on YouTube can typically earn $12,500 for a sponsored video, according to Forbes.

Free merchandise

Many YouTubers are sent a lot of free swag in the hopes they’ll review the products on their channels. It’s not easy to put a hard number on this as it’s not strictly income, but you can imagine how much a creator can save on expenses if they’re, say, running a makeup product review channel and all the products being reviewed are paid for by someone else.


Patreon allows creators to make money from their most loyal subscribers in exchange for exclusive content and perks. You can easily make as much from Patreon as you do from ad revenue, but you’ll need to build up a large following before you see much upside. This blog post has a good breakdown of how a Patreon account can be used to increase your revenue above and beyond what you can make from YouTube ads.

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How to Soundproof Noisy Windows

How to Soundproof Noisy Windows

Illustration for article titled How to Soundproof Noisy Windows

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Image (Getty Images)

I recently moved to a new apartment on a street that serves as an artery for commercial trucking in my area of Brooklyn. I’m particularly sensitive to noise pollution, and this permanent cacophony isn’t just caused by the rumble of big rigs, either: every facet of urban life seems to seep its way into my bedroom. It’s as if my neighbors, the garbage trucks, the man blasting techno from his Hyundai, and the construction crews are all conspiring to sap the tranquility out of my daily life.

Luckily, my landlord has promised new, soundproof windows to allay the constant din. But if you don’t have that kind of one-shot solution at your disposal, there are ways to soundproof your windows to absorb some of the excess street noise. Here’s some things to know about making that happen.

Not all windows are created equal

Those familiar with home improvement already know this, but here’s a pearl of wisdom for DIY-neophytes: If it’s particularly loud in your home, your windows might be trash. Cheaper windows with just one pane of glass are less likely to block as much noise as double pane windows. Plus, double pane windows are typically insulated further with argon gas injected between each pane. The chemical is used for thermal insulation, allowing the temperature of the glass to be more on par with the temperature of a room. This dual temperature regulation and noise cancellation is undeniably what you want in a window.

There’s a similar difference between laminated glass and tempered glass, as the soundproofing gurus at Soundproof Cow explain:

Manufacturers engineer laminated glass especially with soundproofing qualities in mind. If you find your home or business suffering from unwanted vibrations and sounds that enter through your windows, laminated glass will provide you with the sound deadening properties you need. This is because laminated glass consists of an extra protective layer of plastic that provides an additional barrier between the two external glass sheets.

Tempered glass, on the other hand, does not offer quite as much soundproofing control. This form of glass is crafted with durability in mind, as the strong and sturdy external layers provide a resilient glass that can withstand use and force with robust strength. However, tempered glass does not offer superior sound reduction performance.

Soundproof windows are great, but expensive

If you’re looking for the closest thing to a silver bullet, soundproof windows are the ticket. Most soundproof windows claim to cancel between 90-95% of street noise, which is ostensibly enough to satisfy even the most irritable among us.

There’s an economic hurdle, though, as most soundproof windows are going to crest upwards of $1,000 and above to purchase and install. Any window installation is going to vary according to the size and particulars of your living space, but this guide from HouseLogic can help you glean a sense of whether a full-on soundproof window will work for you.

There are noise-reducing curtains

Perhaps the next best item that you can purchase without much legwork are noise-reducing curtains. You don’t need an advanced understanding of physics to know that the greater density of a material probably means that it’s better at absorbing sound.

Unlike soundproof windows, noise-reducing curtains aren’t going to cost you a four-figure outlay. There’s tons of options on the market, too, so it won’t be hard to find a set that you think might work.

You can add window insets

Another option is placing a window inset in front of your more porous windows. These are custom-made glass panels that simply slot right over your existing window frame, used to control temperature and regulate noise. They’re proven to work, though not quite effectively as an outright noise-cancelling window, and there are companies catering to the cause. 

Find and plug any gaps

It’s possible that your windows aren’t completely flush with the window frame, allowing gaps between pieces of glass to let in excess noise. My current windows aren’t properly caulked, for example. Short of actually using caulk—the adhesive material used to seal gaps in a structure—to plug the gaps, you can try stuffing pieces of foam in any of the crevasses you suspect of leaking noise.

It’s not exactly an aesthetic asset, but there’s a reason foam is one of the most commonly used tools in soundproofing recording studios: it’s very absorbent.

Furniture works, too

Windows don’t have to be the sole focus of your quest to deaden the noise. Bookshelves, couches, carpets and kitchen tables all do their part in limiting a deafening racket from pinging across your living room.

Godspeed, and perhaps invest in earplugs or a white noise machine for when you sleep. If needed, look to our other coverage on transforming your bedroom into a perfectly quiet sleep chamber.

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Send Your Holiday Packages Early This Year

Send Your Holiday Packages Early This Year

Illustration for article titled Send Your Holiday Packages Early This Year

Photo: George Sheldon (Shutterstock)

Every year, the United States Postal Services (USPS) asks us to send our packages and greeting cards as early as possible in the holiday season. But this year, they’re really serious about it. This is always a very busy time of the year for mail carriers, but throw a pandemic and an already difficult year and it’s a recipe for delays. Here’s what to know about mailing holiday packages in 2020.

Get an early start

Even with the addition of seasonal workers, the USPS is requesting that we mail our packages as soon as possible. Per a statement from the USPS:

During this unprecedented time, it is expected that more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail, as families and friends will hold virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person. The Postal Service always encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards early. This year is no different.

Important mailing dates of the 2020 holiday season

It may seem as though we have a lot of time before Christmas, but when you take into consideration the busiest periods for the USPS, we really don’t:

The busiest time of the season peaks two weeks before Christmas, when much of the last-minute shopping starts. Customer traffic is expected to increase beginning Dec. 7, with the week of Dec. 14-21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

If you’re aiming for packages to arrive by December 25th, the USPS recommends getting them in the mail by these dates at the absolute latest:

  • Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 18 — USPS Priority Mail Express service
  • Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service

The money-back guarantee on Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25 applies only if the package was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days. Other than that, there are no guarantees—these dates are just estimates.

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