Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

FROM HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

If you’re trying to lose weight, a new study shows it doesn’t really matter what you cut out of your diet as long as you’re cutting something.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests it doesn’t matter whether people adhere to diets where they have to cut out fat, and/or carbs and/or protein — so long as they’re just cutting the calories consumed, Reuters reported.

“If you’re happier doing it low fat, or happier doing it low carb, this paper says it’s OK to do it either way. They were equally successful,” study researcher Christopher Gardner, a professor at Stanford University who was not involved in the study, told Reuters.

To test this, Pennington Biomedical Research Center scientists had 424 overweight or obese men and women take part in one of four diets for two years. The first was low-fat with average protein, the second was low-fat with high protein, the third was high fat with average protein and the fourth was high fat with high protein, the Globe and Mail reported.

All the diet plans cut 750 calories a day from the participants’ diets, and all were high-fiber and low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Researchers followed up at the six-month mark and the two-year mark, and found that after six months, all four dieting groups had lost an average of nine pounds of total body fat and five pounds of lean muscle, according to the Globe and Mail.

“Participants lost more fat than lean mass after consumption of all diets, with no differences in changes in body composition, abdominal fat, or hepatic fat between assigned macronutrient amounts,” researchers wrote in the study.

However, study researcher Dr. George Bray told Reuters that the ultimate predictor of weight loss was adherence to a diet.

The Mayo Clinic explained that calories we consume either get turned into fat or physical energy. And if you consume more calories than you are burning off, then that will lead to weight gain.

The Mayo Clinic reports:

Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).

But don’t take this to mean you can eat horrible food, as long as you eat less of it. Past research suggests that not all foods are equal when it comes to weight loss (and of course, not all foods are equal nutritionally, either). A study conducted by Harvard researchers shows that there are certain foods that seem to be more linked with weight gain, the New York Times reported.

Eating French fries is linked with gaining an average of 3.4 pounds every four years, according to the New York Times, and foods like potato chips, red and processed meat and sugary drinks are also associated with weight gain.

Meanwhile, foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains were linked with weight loss in the study, according to the New York Times.

Read Full Post »

By Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.

Can you relate to this very typical diet story? You start off super-committed and the pounds fly off.  But a few weeks or months later, your enthusiasm and motivation start to peter out, as do the losses on the scale.

If you’re in this boat (or expect to be soon), these weight loss strategies promise to keep things fresh so you don’t lose steam.

Try journaling (not just your food!).  
Keep a special diary to record and process your feelings, challenges, and successes along your weight loss journey. Also jot down the reasons you committed to losing weight in the first place and some of the best “perks” that you’ve experienced so far (maybe it’s an array of complements, or a once-uncomfortable task you can now do with ease).  Re-read your entries often to keep your motivation from stalling.

Micromanage.
Set small goals (i.e., no eating after dinner for a week, or losing 2 pounds this week) and reward yourself after every achievement. Treat yourself to a manicure, a new book, clothes (in your new, smaller size!), a stylish haircut, or another special prize each time you pass another mini-milestone.

Spice up your food. 
If you’re sick to death of oatmeal, tossed salad, and grilled chicken, it’s time for a menu overhaul. Follow these three tips to reignite your taste buds.

  • Don’t repeat the same meal two days in a row.
    I can appreciate how easy—and convenient—it is to fall into the same food routine, but that can get old fast. Instead, go out of your way to vary up your breakfast, brown bag lunches, and at-home meals to break through the boredom.
  • Buy a healthy cookbook for creative inspiration.
    Work your way through the book one recipe at a time and try all sorts of new, interesting flavors. It’s just like the movie Julie and Julia!
  • Experience healthy ethnic cuisine.
    Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mediterranean, and South American cuisines can be very light and refreshing, and they’re full of delicious flavors and fresh produce. Just choose wisely (no tempura or pasta alfredo, please).

Jazz up your fitness routine.
It may just take some new, high-energy music downloads to rekindle your relationship with exercise. If you belong to a gym but always hit up the same cardio machines, start sampling some of the group fitness classes offered at your club (I promise, you won’t be the only newbie there!).  Or, try taking your workout outside, where you can walk or jog a different route every day. The change of scenery will keep things from getting stale.

Here’s one of my absolute favorite strategies for helping people stick with their exercise routine: buy books on tape (or audiobooks for your iPod) and make a deal with yourself that you’re only allowed to listen to the books while moving (walking outdoors or on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, etc.). As long as you pick interesting books, you’ll be so engaged in the storyline, you’ll actually look forward to working out so you can hear the next chapter unfold!

If all else fails, GO SHOPPING! 
Stand in one of those 180 degree mirrors and really study yourself wearing a smaller pair of jeans. Celebrate your new figure and all the hard work you’ve put into getting to this point.

No doubt about it, losing weight is a struggle at times, but almost every “big loser” will tell you it’s worth the effort. Stay strong and focused…your goal is within reach!

For more info on losing weight and healthy living, visit joybauer.com and follow Joy on Facebook and twitter.

Follow Kaeng Raeng on Facebook.

Read Full Post »

A New Study on Weight Loss

FROM NYTIMES.COM

It’s no secret that Americans are fatter today than ever before, and not just those unlucky people who are genetically inclined to gain weight or have been overweight all their lives. Many who were lean as young adults have put on lots of unhealthy pounds as they pass into middle age and beyond.

It’s also no secret that the long-recommended advice to eat less and exercise more has done little to curb the inexorable rise in weight. No one likes to feel deprived or leave the table hungry, and the notion that one generally must eat less to control body weight really doesn’t cut it for the typical American.

So the newest findings on what specific foods people should eat less often — and more importantly, more often — to keep from gaining pounds as they age should be of great interest to tens of millions of Americans.

The new research, by five nutrition and public health experts at Harvard University, is by far the most detailed long-term analysis of the factors that influence weight gain, involving 120,877 well-educated men and women who were healthy and not obese at the start of the study. In addition to diet, it has important things to say about exercise, sleep, television watching, smoking and alcohol intake.

The study participants — nurses, doctors, dentists and veterinarians in the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study — were followed for 12 to 20 years. Every two years, they completed very detailed questionnaires about their eating and other habits and current weight. The fascinating results were published in June in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The analysis examined how an array of factors influenced weight gain or loss during each four-year period of the study. The average participant gained 3.35 pounds every four years, for a total weight gain of 16.8 pounds in 20 years.

“This study shows that conventional wisdom — to eat everything in moderation, eat fewer calories and avoid fatty foods — isn’t the best approach,” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study, said in an interview. “What you eat makes quite a difference. Just counting calories won’t matter much unless you look at the kinds of calories you’re eating.”

Dr. Frank B. Hu, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the new analysis, said: “In the past, too much emphasis has been put on single factors in the diet. But looking for a magic bullet hasn’t solved the problem of obesity.”

Also untrue, Dr. Mozaffarian said, is the food industry’s claim that there’s no such thing as a bad food.

“There are good foods and bad foods, and the advice should be to eat the good foods more and the bad foods less,” he said. “The notion that it’s O.K. to eat everything in moderation is just an excuse to eat whatever you want.”

The study showed that physical activity had the expected benefits for weight control. Those who exercised less over the course of the study tended to gain weight, while those who increased their activity didn’t. Those with the greatest increase in physical activity gained 1.76 fewer pounds than the rest of the participants within each four-year period.

But the researchers found that the kinds of foods people ate had a larger effect over all than changes in physical activity.

“Both physical activity and diet are important to weight control, but if you are fairly active and ignore diet, you can still gain weight,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the study.

As Dr. Mozaffarian observed, “Physical activity in the United States is poor, but diet is even worse.”

Little Things Mean a Lot

People don’t become overweight overnight.

Rather, the pounds creep up slowly, often unnoticed, until one day nothing in the closet fits the way it used to.

Even more important than its effect on looks and wardrobe, this gradual weight gain harms health. At least six prior studies have found that rising weight increases the risk in women of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and breast cancer, and the risk in men of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.

The beauty of the new study is its ability to show, based on real-life experience, how small changes in eating, exercise and other habits can result in large changes in body weight over the years.

On average, study participants gained a pound a year, which added up to 20 pounds in 20 years. Some gained much more, about four pounds a year, while a few managed to stay the same or even lose weight.

Participants who were overweight at the study’s start tended to gain the most weight, which seriously raised their risk of obesity-related diseases, Dr. Hu said. “People who are already overweight have to be particularly careful about what they eat,” he said.

The foods that contributed to the greatest weight gain were not surprising. French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period. Other important contributors were potato chips (1.7 pounds), sugar-sweetened drinks (1 pound), red meats and processed meats (0.95 and 0.93 pound, respectively), other forms of potatoes (0.57 pound), sweets and desserts (0.41 pound), refined grains (0.39 pound), other fried foods (0.32 pound), 100-percent fruit juice (0.31 pound) and butter (0.3 pound).

Also not too surprising were most of the foods that resulted in weight loss or no gain when consumed in greater amounts during the study: fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Compared with those who gained the most weight, participants in the Nurses’ Health Study who lost weight consumed 3.1 more servings of vegetables each day.

But contrary to what many people believe, an increased intake of dairy products, whether low-fat (milk) or full-fat (milk and cheese), had a neutral effect on weight.

And despite conventional advice to eat less fat, weight loss was greatest among people who ate more yogurt and nuts, including peanut butter, over each four-year period.

Nuts are high in vegetable fat, and previous small studies have shown that eating peanut butter can help people lose weight and keep it off, probably because it slows the return of hunger.

That yogurt, among all foods, was most strongly linked to weight loss was the study’s most surprising dietary finding, the researchers said. Participants who ate more yogurt lost an average of 0.82 pound every four years.

Yogurt contains healthful bacteria that in animal studies increase production of intestinal hormones that enhance satiety and decrease hunger, Dr. Hu said. The bacteria may also raise the body’s metabolic rate, making weight control easier.

But, consistent with the new study’s findings, metabolism takes a hit from refined carbohydrates — sugars and starches stripped of their fiber, like white flour. When Dr. David Ludwig of Children’s Hospital Boston compared the effects of refined carbohydrates with the effects of whole grains in both animals and people, he found that metabolism, which determines how many calories are used at rest, slowed with the consumption of refined grains but stayed the same after consumption of whole grains.

Other Influences

As has been suggested by previous smaller studies, how long people slept each night influenced their weight changes. In general, people who slept less than six hours or more than eight hours a night tended to gain the most. Among possible explanations are effects of short nights on satiety hormones, as well as an opportunity to eat more while awake, Dr. Hu said.

He was not surprised by the finding that the more television people watched, the more weight they gained, most likely because they are influenced by a barrage of food ads and snack in front of the TV.

Alcohol intake had an interesting relationship to weight changes. No significant effect was found among those who increased their intake to one glass of wine a day, but increases in other forms of alcohol were likely to bring added pounds.

As expected, changes in smoking habits also influenced weight changes. Compared with people who never smoked, those who had quit smoking within the previous four years gained an average of 5.17 pounds. Subsequent weight gain was minimal — 0.14 pound for each four-year period.

Those who continued smoking lost 0.7 pound in each four-year period, which the researchers surmised may have resulted from undiagnosed underlying disease, especially since those who took up smoking experienced no change in weight.

Read Full Post »

FROM HEALTH.COM

You probably read headlines this year that screamed: “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin!” Those stories were based on a controversial Public Library of Science study that showed women who exercised regularly for six months were no more likely to lose weight than women who didn’t work out at all.

How could that be? We all know that exercise burns calories; an hour on the treadmill torches 300 to 500.

Here’s the deal: Much of what was written about the study was misleading, says its lead author, Timothy Church, MD, director of preventive research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The study didn’t focus on calories; all participants followed their regular diets.

What the study showed, Dr. Church says, is that exercise alone, especially if you eat poorly, may not help you lose weight. “Exercise doesn’t give you carte blanche to eat whatever you want,” he says. “People think an hour on a treadmill burns off a whole chocolate cake. In reality, it’s half a slice.”

It’s true that exercising without dieting—or worse, piling on calorie-rich food just because you worked up a sweat—won’t lead to weight-loss success, agrees Susan Roberts, PhD, professor of nutrition at Tufts Univer-sity. But dieting without exercise isn’t the answer, either.

In fact, The National Weight Control Registry, a group that follows how 6,000 people have lost weight and kept it off, found that the most successful participants work out at least 30 minutes every day. The truth: Combining smart dieting and regular exercise offers the best chance to reach your weight-loss goals.

Read Full Post »

FROM PREVENTION.COM

When you work out and the pounds still don’t come off, it can be incredibly frustrating. But what you may not know is that certain habits and physical changes can undermine even the most scientifically proven weight loss strategies, especially after you reach age 40. When Australian and UK researchers reviewed nearly 100 studies on exercise and weight loss, they discovered why those extra pounds won’t budge despite your best efforts. These four targeted fat-fighting tips are the key to turning the tide–so your body will finally shed the weight.

1. Make some extra muscle

Simple Strategies

Lift weights three times a week It’s the fastest way to build muscle and get results when the scale is stuck. “Research shows that regular strength-training can increase your resting metabolic rate by up to 8%,” says Wayne Westcott, PhD, fitness researcher in Quincy, MA, and author of Get Stronger, Feel Younger. In one 8-week study, women and men who did only cardio exercise lost 4 pounds but gained no muscle, while those who did half the amount of cardio and an equal amount of strength-training shed 10 pounds of fat and added 2 pounds of muscle.

Rest less If you already strength-train, shorten the time you linger between sets. “Taking a brief, 20-second break after each set burns extra calories and accelerates metabolism more than waiting the standard 60 to 90 seconds, studies show,” says Westcott.

Do double-duty moves Trade exercises that isolate a single muscle, such as biceps curls, for multijoint, multimuscle moves like chest presses and squats. “The more muscles you engage at once, the more calories you’ll burn,” he says.

Break up your meals If you’re losing weight (and therefore muscle) by cutting calories, eating five small meals instead of three large ones helps keep metabolism high. Spreading calories throughout the day “keeps blood sugar levels even and controls the release of insulin that can cause your body to store more calories as fat,” says Leslie Bonci, RD, MPH, director of sports medicine nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “And every time you eat, your metabolism speeds up to digest the food.”

Walk off 3 times more fat the easy way. Order your copy of Walk Off Weight today.

2. Outsmart a plateau

It’s a common scenario: The first 10 or 20 pounds come off easily, but then the scale won’t budge. Plateaus can happen in as little as 3 weeks, find Drexel University researchers. As you drop weight, your body doesn’t have to work as hard simply because there’s less of you to move around, says Michele Kettles, MD, medical director of the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. That means your workouts produce a smaller calorie burn For example, if you weigh 180 pounds and lose 35, you’ll melt about 100 fewer calories in an hour-long cardio class–which can slow down further weight loss. And as you get older, injuries or arthritis can make it difficult to do vigorous, high-impact activities that help compensate for this calorie deficit.

Simple Strategies

Get your heart rate up Watching TV or reading while you exercise can lower your workout intensity–and your calorie burn. Instead, pay attention to your pulse, suggests Kettles. For best results, stay between 60 and 80% of your maximum heart rate. To estimate your MHR, subtract your age from 220. Then multiply your MHR by 0.6 for the lower end of your target heart rate zone and by 0.8 for the upper end. For example, if you’re 40, aim for 108 to 144 beats per minute. (For easier tracking, invest in a heart rate monitor.)

Diversify The more comfortable you become with a routine, exercise class, or fitness DVD, the less effective it gets. To continue to lose weight, you need to challenge your body in new ways. “Even replacing one exercise can create enough of a surprise to keep results coming,” says Kettles. Try this: The first week of every month, do a new upper-body exercise; the second week, a new lower-body one; the third, a new abs move; and the fourth, a different type of cardio (cycling instead of walking, for example).

3. Be a stealth calorie burner

It may happen subconsciously, but studies show that some people move less after they begin an exercise regimen. When women and men, average age 59, started to work out twice a week, their everyday activity decreased by 22%, according to research from the Netherlands. The reason for the slowdown, experts speculate, may be postworkout fatigue or the perception that if you exercise, you can afford to skimp on the small stuff. Wrong! Little activities such as standing instead of sitting, fidgeting, and walking more throughout the day can add up to an extra 350 calories burned per day, according to Mayo Clinic studies. Other research shows that a decrease in these everyday actions may shut down an enzyme that controls fat metabolism, making weight loss tougher. And even daily half-hour to hour-long workouts aren’t enough to turn it back on.

Simple Strategies

Track nonexercise activity Record your daily step counts with a pedometer on a couple of days when you don’t work out. Then calculate your average (add up your daily totals and divide by the number of days tracked). If you don’t maintain at least this level of activity every day, your fat-burning ability will decline. For instance, if you normally log 5,000 steps a day but skip half of them on days you work out, it could slow weight loss by up to 50%–even though you’re exercising.

Post reminders One study showed that signs encouraging people to take the stairs increased usage by 200%. To motivate yourself, stick notes on your bathroom mirror, microwave, TV remote, steering wheel, and computer that simply say: Move more!

Set up weekly physical outings You’ll be less likely to blow it off if you make a commitment to someone else. Plan a hike or bike ride with your family, help clean out a friend’s garage, or volunteer to walk your neighbor’s dog.

4. Halt hunger hormones

When 35 overweight women and men started exercising, researchers found that some of them compensated for their workouts by eating as much as 270 extra calories a day–negating more than half of the calories they burned, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. “Some research shows that exercising regularly can trigger the release of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone meant to protect the body from losing weight too quickly,” says Bonci. To make matters worse, appetite also appears to increase as you approach menopause because of declining estrogen levels, according to animal studies.

Simple Strategies

Snack before you sweat “Exercising on an empty stomach lowers blood sugar, which can increase your appetite and set you up to overeat afterward,” says Bonci. To ward off postexercise hunger, have a light (about 100 calories), carbohydrate-rich snack, such as 4 ounces of yogurt or a banana, 20 to 30 minutes before you work out.

Write before you eat Keeping a food diary is a proven weight loss tool, but don’t wait until after your meal. “When my clients record what they’re going to eat, it puts their dietary habits on pause long enough to decide if their food choices are really worth it,” says Bonci. Time your meals If possible, schedule your workouts before a meal. In studies where meals were served 15 to 30 minutes after exercise, participants ate less than those who had to wait an hour or more to eat.

Sip often People who drink water regularly eat nearly 200 fewer calories daily than those who only consume tea, coffee, or soda, reports a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study. Bonus: Make it ice-cold water. German researchers found that drinking 6 cups of cold water a day raised metabolism by about 50 calories daily–possibly because of the work it takes to warm the fluid up to body temperature. And every little bit helps!

Good luck healthy girl!

Read Full Post »

BY GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

Sugar is getting a bad reputation. A cover article in The New York Times Magazine several weeks ago persuasively reported that our national overindulgence in fructose and other sugars is driving the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and other illnesses. But that much-discussed article, by the writer Gary Taubes, focused on how sugars like fructose affect the body in general. It had little opportunity to examine the related issue of how sugar affects the body in motion. Do sweeteners like fructose — the sweetest of the simple sugars, found abundantly in fruits and honey — have the same effect on active people as on the slothful?

A cluster of new studies suggests that people who regularly work out don’t need to worry unduly about consuming fructose or other sugars. In certain circumstances, they may even find the sweet stuff beneficial.

The unique role that the various sugars play in exercise is well illustrated by a new study published in March in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. It involved a group of highly trained cyclists and their livers. For the experiment, Swiss and British researchers directed the cyclists, all men, to ride to exhaustion on several different occasions. After each ride, they swallowed drinks sweetened with fructose or glucose, another simple sugar often identified as dextrose on ingredient labels. (Some also drank a milk-sugar sweetener.)

The liver is often overlooked when we consider organs integral to exercise, but it is an important reservoir of glycogen, the body’s stored form of glucose. All sugars, including sucrose, or table sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup, which usually consists of almost equal portions of glucose and fructose, are converted into glucose, and stored as glycogen, in the body. Strenuous exercise diminishes or exhausts this liver glycogen, and until those stores are replenished, the body isn’t fully ready for another exercise bout.

In this study, the scientists used magnetic resonance imaging to measure the size of each rider’s liver, before and after the rides. All of the cyclists lost liver volume during their workouts, a sign their livers were depleted of glycogen. But those who afterward drank fructose replaced the lost volume rapidly, showing a 9 percent gain in volume after six-and-a-half hours versus a 2 percent gain among the riders drinking glucose-sweetened drinks. Over all, the researchers concluded, fructose-sweetened drinks were twice as effective as the glucose-sweetened drinks in stimulating the liver to recover.

This finding concurs with a large body of earlier research suggesting that fructose is particularly useful for avid athletes. During long, hard workouts, they can burn through almost all of their stored glycogen and fade. But drink or eat something sugary, and the muscles can keep working.

Interestingly, absorption seems to be best if the sweetener contains both glucose and fructose. A 2008 study of cyclists found that if they downed a sports drink sweetened with glucose during a two-hour bout of moderate pedaling, they rode faster during a subsequent time trial than riders who had drunk only water. But if the sports drink contained both glucose and fructose (in a two-to-one ratio), the riders were 8 percent faster in the time trial than those drinking glucose-sweetened fluids alone. (Most bottled sports drinks on the American market are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, so contain glucose and fructose in a closer to one-to-one ratio.)

Does this suggest that those of us who regularly but moderately work out might want to consider sugar loading? Alas, the answer is no. Large amounts of sweetened sports drinks, gels and bars are recommended only for the “serious athlete” who works out for more than two hours at a time, Asker Jeukendrup, director of the human performance lab at the University of Birmingham in England and co-author of both studies, said in an e-mail. “If someone goes for a 30-minute walk, the duration and intensity will be too short” for sugar to make a difference in terms of performance, he said.

But that half-hour stroll could affect how your body responds to sugar, other new science suggests. You may not need Skittles to fuel the walk, but the walk will affect how your body metabolizes the candy, if you do indulge. Activity can “significantly reduce the health risks associated with fructose and other forms of sugar,” said Dr. Robert J. Johnson, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, who has long studied fructose metabolism and was an author of a review article last year about fructose and exercise.

Consider, again, the liver. In sedentary people, ingesting large amounts of fructose, which is mostly metabolized in the liver, has been associated with the development of a disorder known as fatty liver. That condition can reduce the body’s ability to respond to insulin, the hormone that helps to control blood sugar. A person with a fatty liver often develops resistance to insulin, becomes less able to control levels of glucose in the blood, and drifts almost inexorably toward Type 2 diabetes.

But exercise can derail this process. A review of recent studies, published in December, concluded that beginning an exercise program could significantly lessen the amount of fat in someone’s liver, even if that person didn’t lose weight during the program.

Moderate exercise — about 30 minutes a day five times a week — also aids in the control of blood sugar levels if a person has developed Type 2 diabetes, according to a comprehensive review published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Over all, Dr. Johnson said, the “current science suggests that exercise exerts a positive physiological influence” on some of the same metabolic pathways that sugar harms. “Exercise may make you resistant to the undesirable effects of sugar,” he said.

Not that any of us should live on sweets. “Sugar is not all bad,” Dr. Johnson concluded, “but it’s hardly nutritionally good, either.” The best sweet option, he added, is fruit, which comes prepackaged with a small but satiating dose of all-natural fructose.

Read Full Post »

From Prevention.com

Lose stubborn belly flab and tone up all over with this fast, easy plan

yoga

Yoga is a known stress buster, but it’s also one of the most effective workouts for fighting stubborn fat stores, especially the ones that crop up after age 40. The reason: Studies show that yoga lowers levels of stress hormones and increases insulin sensitivity–a signal to your body to burn food as fuel rather than store it as fat. The following yoga workout for weight loss will do just that while firming up your arms, legs, butt, and abs. Start now to see weight loss results in as little as 3 weeks.

Workout at a glance

What you need: A yoga mat or carpeted space

How to do it: Follow this routine at least 3 times a week, holding each move 1 time for 3 to 5 deep breaths, unless otherwise noted. Start with the Main Move for each exercise. If it’s too difficult, do the Make It Easier variation. If it’s not challenging enough, try the Make It Harder option. For faster results: Hold each pose for 5 to 8 breaths and increase repetitions (where noted) by 2 or 3.

MAIN MOVE: Crescent [Firms abs, hips, and thighs]
Stand with feet together, toes forward, and arms at sides. Inhale and raise arms overhead, reaching fingertips toward ceiling. Exhale, and bend forward from hips, bringing hands to floor (it’s okay to bend knees). Inhale, and as you exhale, step right leg back into a lunge (left knee bent about 90 degrees, knee over ankle; right leg extended and on ball of foot). Inhale and raise arms overhead; gaze forward. Hold, then return to standing and repeat, stepping left leg back.

Make it Harder: From end position, inhale and arch torso, arms, and head backward, gazing at fingertips.

Make it Easier: Lower right knee to touch floor as you step back into a lunge, and rest hands on left thigh.

MAIN MOVE: Willow [Firms sides of abs]
Stand with feet together, arms at sides. Place sole of left foot on inside of right thigh, knee bent to side. Touch palms in front of chest for 2 breaths. On third inhale, extend arms up, fingertips toward ceiling. Exhale, and on the inhale, bend torso to left. Inhale and straighten. Repeat 3 to 5 times, pressing foot into thigh; switch sides.

Make it Easier: Keep left foot on calf or touch toes to floor for balance.

Make it Harder: Close eyes as you balance and bend.

MAIN MOVE: Rocking Boat [Firms abs and back]

Sit with knees bent, feet on floor, hands on thighs. With torso straight and head in line with body, lean back about 45 degrees, raising feet so calves are parallel to floor, toes pointed. On an inhale, extend arms and legs, keeping legs together. Exhale, and as you inhale, lower torso and legs 3 to 4 inches so body forms a wider V shape. Exhale and raise torso and legs. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Make it Easier: Hold backs of thighs with hands and keep legs bent. Lower torso only.

Make it Harder: Once in the wider V position, extend arms overhead.

MAIN MOVE: Hover [Firms shoulders, arms, abs, and back]
Begin in push-up position on toes with arms straight, hands below shoulders, and body in line from head to heels. On an exhale, lower chest toward floor, bending elbows back, arms close to body, abs tight. Hold a few inches above floor.

Make it Easier: Begin on hands and knees and walk hands forward until body is in line from head to knees.

Make it Harder: While holding the hover, lift left leg 6 to 12 inches, pause, and lower. Do 3 to 5 times, then switch legs.

MAIN MOVE: Chair [Firms butt and thighs]
Stand with feet together, toes forward, arms at sides. Inhale and raise arms overhead, palms facing each other. Exhale and sit back about 45 degrees, keeping knees behind toes and abs tight to support back; gaze forward.

Make it Easier: Do the move with feet hip-distance apart, hands on thighs, and bend only about 30 degrees.

Make it Harder: After you sit back, lift heels off floor, balancing on balls of feet (knees will be in front of toes); gaze up at fingertips.


Read Full Post »

From CNN Health

(CNN) — If you’re trying to lose weight, close your eyes for a minute and imagine the moments that make you fat.

Think through your day, and you’ll see them, as big and obvious as a hot fudge sundae sitting right in front of you. You’ve been good all day, and wham, your friends suggest you go to a buffet for dinner; or you’ve diligently worked out and wham, you end up at a cocktail party with an array of the most killer desserts ever.

Don’t rely on your willpower to get you through these tough times, advises James Hill, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado.

“Willpower is not inexhaustible,” he says. “You only have a certain amount of it, and it’s gone.”

The key is to accept the fact that your willpower will run out at some point, and plan strategies to get you through fattening situations. Here are the top five moments that make you fat, and what you can do to outwit them.

On vacation

The problem: You’re on vacation and you want to kick back, relax, and enjoy the local cuisine — but you don’t want to come home with pounds to shed.

The solution: “Go for it,” advises Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietitian and senior food and nutrition editor at Health magazine. But share with others. If you’re in Paris, for example, don’t skip a visit to the bakery — that would be tres triste — but share the goodies with friends.

After a break-up

The problem: You want to bury your sorrows in a pint of ice cream.

The solution: “Instead of meeting your friend for a drink to dish about your ex, meet up for a power walk or run,” Largeman-Roth advises. Also, sign up for a team that is training for a 5K or some other race to distract your self and meet new people.

A party with fabulous food

The problem: You’re at a party and everything looks delicious. It’s free, it’s in front of you, and no one’s stopping you.

The solution: Don’t arrive famished, says Dr. Melina Jampolis, CNNHealth’s diet and fitness expert. Eat a small protein snack before the party, such as a few slices of turkey, a half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese, or half a protein bar.

Also, limit your alcohol, and not just because it’s caloric, but because if it’s hard to control yourself while you’re sober, imagine how much harder it is while tipsy.

Watching TV

The problem: You want to plop in front of the television with a high-fat snack.

The solution: Use a small bowl, Largeman-Roth says, or snack on frozen grapes or veggies with a yogurt-based dip.

At a buffet, or a restaurant with enormous portions

The problem: Buffets offer limitless amounts of food, and much of it has tons of calories. Restaurants with big portions of delicious foods make it hard to push the plate away.

The solution: Simply don’t go to buffet restaurants, Hill advises. But if you really have to, sit at a table where you can face away from the buffet — Jampolis says studies show people who face away tend to eat less — and load up initially on fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins so (at least hopefully) you won’t have enough room for the bad stuff. At the end of the meal, she suggests having everyone at the table get just one dessert and share, so you get a little taste of lots of things.

As for big portion restaurants, the trick is to get the doggy bag at the front end, not the back end. Hill suggests when you order your meal, ask for half of your dinner to be brought to you on a plate, and the other half in a to-go box.

Read Full Post »

CNN Health Diet & Fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis had THIS to say about Kaeng Raeng:
I’m not a big fan of cleanses and detox regimens but I do believe in meal replacements if you are trying to lose weight as they can make life easier. I recently found a product that I really like, Kaeng Raeng vegan detox. It consists of shake packets with protein, lots of fiber, and dried [fruit] and it is VERY filling. I used it twice a day with small snack and healthy dinner and lost 3 pounds in one week.

Dr. Melina JampolisFollow Dr. Melina on Facebook!

Read Full Post »

OK, so you’re getting sick of your workout routine, and so is your body.  When you started exercising, you lost 5 pounds no problem.  Then nothing.  Hmph.

Our bodies, thanks to evolution, adjust to new patterns of behavior pretty quickly, which can lead to less than desired results with the same amount of effort.  Love to run?  Good for you – but maybe jogging on a treadmill for 20 minutes just isn’t doing the trick anymore.

It’s always a good idea to switch up your workout – add new types of cardio like swimming, biking, trail running, jump roping, dance, or kick boxing.  But maybe you don’t have the luxury of a full athletic center or a ton of time – we hear you!

An easy way to bust out of that weight loss plateau and fitness funk is to crank it up – the treadmill, that is.  Running at an incline is obviously much more difficult but requires little more than a push of a button.  You can still sweat for the same amount of time, run the same speed, and get a much harder workout without having to switch equipment.

It’s easy to understand why: Running on an incline is harder, even though your pace is slower than on a flat surface. But that extra effort is the driving force of a more efficient workout. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that uphill running activates 9 percent more muscle each stride compared with exercising at the same relative intensity on level ground.

Other benefits of using the incline:

  • By increasing the incline level on the treadmill, you will increase the number of calories burned during your workouts.
  • Incline training works the leg muscles differently and more efficiently than training on a level surface.
  • Incline training provides a great cardiovascular workout without having to increase speed.
  • The lower impact workouts on a treadmill decrease the likelihood of injury or strain to knees, hips, back, and ankles.
  • Incline workouts on a treadmill really stretch the calves and help you build long, lean calf muscles.
  • The incline feature allows for variation and helps prevent boredom during exercise sessions.

Start by warming up walking at an incline, such as a speed of 3.5 on an incline of 6.  Do that for 3 minutes.  Lower the treadmill to an incline of 1 and pick up your pace to a jog, between 4.5 – 5.5.  Stay there for 30 seconds and slowly increase your incline every 30 seconds until you’re jogging at an incline of 6.  Bring it back down and start over, only this time increase your speed to 6-7 and take it up to an incline of 10.  Stay up at a 10 incline for 30 seconds, then come back down in 30 second 1 incline increments.  You’ll be sweating in no time!

Good luck, healthy girl!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers