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Weight Loss

Maria Menounos’ 5 Favorite Get-Fit Tips (Plus, Win A Signed Copy of Her New Book!)

Written on May 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm , by

“I really want to lose a few pounds.”

We’ve all been there, said that, amiright? But it’s one thing to say it, and another to actually do it. What with busy work schedules, taking care of the family and, you know, maintaining some form of social life, some days it feels like a miracle to squeeze a workout in—while remembering to eat mindfully—on top of it all. So if you feel like you’re swimming in unchartered waters with your head barely above water, don’t freak out: you’re not alone. TV host and journalist Maria Menounos lost 40 pounds over the course of a year, and she did it without cutting corners. Thankfully, she also decided to write a book about it that hits shelves on Tuesday, June 3rd. After you pre-order your copy (you can do that here), take a sneak peek at some of her tips below:

Set a Deadline. You can’t just say “I want to lose weight…someday.”It’s that kind of loose talk, without a guideline, that discourages you from getting started and undermines success. My goal was to stop overeating, make healthier choices and lose weight slowly over the course of one year. Trying to rush or do crazy crash diets does not give you sustainable results. And I never focused on losing a specific number of pounds. I just knew by the end of a  year I wanted to look and feel great, whatever my weight was. 

Keep It To Yourself. When you tell others you’re trying to lose weight, you’re just putting pressure on yourself. Weight loss is tough enough—why make it any harder?

Avoid the Scale. Though you may have a targeted number of pounds in mind, weight loss isn’t always mathematical. There’s no way to be sure you’ll lose exactly how much you want per week. Some weeks you might only lose a pound instead of two or nothing at all. You’ll just get discouraged if you weigh yourself a lot. Plus I don’t want you obsessing about scales or numbers. First and foremost, this is about gaining long-term health. After a few months, if your clothes feel a bit looser and you can’t resist, hop on the scale. But no matter what it says, stick with the program.

Eat Your Calories—Be Sure Not to Drink Them. A lot of drinks are full of sugar. Soda is the most obvious one, but sports drinks, bottled ice tea and flavored coffee drinks are usually packed with sugar, too. You can opt for artificially sweetened diet versions but they aren’t the healthiest alternatives. When I lost weight I chopped up lemons, pushed them into jugs of spring water and drank that instead of juice or anything else. I still drink lemon water and plain hot water.

If you Like Dessert, Have It. Dessert is not forbidden. I didn’t cut it out when I was losing weight and I still have it occasionally. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eat the most decadent options. You’ll find that as you get used to eating better, heavy treats with lots of sugar will leave you feeling blah and you won’t crave them as much. To keep dessert in your life, try lower-fat frozen yogurts. Or serve plain Greek yogurt with a little honey or fresh fruit. When you’re out to dinner, order dessert for the table and let everyone share. You’ll be surprised how much a little bit satisfies you. 

For more where that came from, remember to pick up a copy of The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness yourself. Want one—for free? Tune in to our Twitter chat with Maria next Wednesday at 2p.m. EST and you could win one of three SIGNED copies. See you there!

More from FITNESS: 

How Maria Menounos Stays Fit with Basically No Workout Time

Extra’s Maria Menounos Talks Food and Fitness

Trade Miles for Money with Mizuno

Eat to Slim: Skinny Dips for Your Holiday Weekend BBQ

Written on May 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm , by

Memorial Day weekend is just a few days away (who’s ready for a long weekend?). Kick summer off on the right sandal-sportin’ foot by snacking smart. We rounded up three bikini-friendly recipes to dip into without the guilt—or bloat. The secret ingredient? Avocado, which research has linked to lower BMI and waist circumference, among a laundry list of other health benefits. Um, win! And forget the greasy munchie pairings. Late July Organics’ new SubLime will rock your socks off.

Blue Cheese Avocado Dip
Calories: 240
Serves: 6

Ingredients
4 ripe avocados
1 garlic clove, minced
4 scallions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Stonyfield Organic Greek Plain Nonfat Yogurt (or their Fat Free Plain works, too!)
½ cup blue cheese (crumbled)

Peel, seed and coarsely mash avocados. Chop the green part of the scallions. Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition Info: 420 calories, 26g total fat, 65mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 25g protein

Wholly Guacamole Chicken Salad
Calories: 340
Serves: 4

Ingredients
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 limes, juiced (and zest from one)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup Wholly Guacamole dip

Mix oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, sugar, chili powder, lime zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes. Combine with chicken to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Grill chicken on each side for 2 minutes. Finish cooking in 400°F oven for 8 minutes and allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before dicing. Once cool, fold chicken in with bell peppers, onion, cilantro, Wholly Guacamole dip, the rest of the lime juiced and the remaining salt.

Nutrition Info: 340 calories, 17g total fat, 90mg cholesterol, 570mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2g sugar, 35g protein

Avocado Dip
Calories: 110
Serves: 4

 Ingredients
½ tub Nasoya® Silken or Lite Silken Tofu
1 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon onion, chopped

In a blender, blend the tofu, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, salt and cilantro until smooth. Place mixture in bowl and stir in onions. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve chilled. 

Nutrition Info: 110 calories, 9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 4g protein

Photo courtesy of Late July

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Kelly Osbourne Dishes On Her Stay-Slim Secrets

Written on May 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

Famous for her colorful hair, unique style and true-to-herself attitude, the fashion-forward Kelly Osbourne has been focused on getting and, more importantly, staying healthy. (Since kicking off her weight loss journey back in 2009, Osbourne has shed and kept off an impressive 70 pounds!) To help celebrate the launch of Wheat Thins Popped, we got the skinny on Osbourne’s fit physique.

“I’ve been through a huge transformation in my life,” Osbourne told FITNESS Associate Beauty Editor Molly Ritterbeck. “It’s not just about health, it’s about maintenance. It’s finding the way you want to be and working on yourself and finding things that work for you.” So, how does she do it? Simple swaps and go-to snacks are her top tricks. “I’ve started to take my own snacks with me on set,” said the Fashion Police starlet, adding that Wheat Thin’s new poppable product is actually one of her favorites.

“I tasted-tested every single one before I said ‘yes’ to doing this [campaign] because I can’t lie,” she said. And boy, do we appreciate her honesty! But sometimes a little mental fibbing is just what you need when it comes to swapping out those not-so-good-for-you treats. “If you want sour cream, have fat-free Greek yogurt instead and add some lime and a little pinch of salt and your mind thinks it’s the same thing,” explained Osbourne.

And when it comes to her workouts, Osbourne likes to mix it up. “I love a good sweat and a run and I do circuit training,” she said. “But I also love my hula hooping and…fun stuff like the trampoline workouts and there’s a jazzercise class that I want to start doing in LA.” She even tried out salsa but says she can’t keep it up “because I get too competitive and by the time I leave, I can’t walk.” Looks like her Dancing with the Stars days aren’t quite behind her yet!

Photo courtesy of Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Wheat Thins

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Snack Girl’s Secret to Winning Between Meals

Written on April 29, 2014 at 9:50 am , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

Control is key, says Cain. That’s why she always has almonds or a chocolate square in her purse. (Photo courtesy of Beth Wallace)

It’s no secret, snacking throughout the day revs up your metabolism. But successfully satisfying the mid-day munchies without undoing your workout can be a challenge. In fact, a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average number of snacks consumed per day has doubled over the past 30 years, contributing to a quarter of our daily caloric intake. Here to help fight the between-meal pig outs is self-proclaimed “Snack Girl” Lisa Cain, author of Snack Girl to the Rescueon sale now. Ready, set, snack—smart!

Identify what you want. Is your sweet tooth calling? Or are you in need of something salty? Before lunging for that chocolate bar and bag of chips, narrow in on exactly what it is you’re looking for, suggests Cain. That way, you kick cravings for less calories. Win, win.

Smart swapping. “Try to find something in the same flavor profile that’s a healthier alternative,” says Cain. Say you’re fixin’ for nachos, for example. It isn’t just about the flavor, but the overall finger-licking experience. Trade in the high-calorie snack for something a bit more forgiving, like a serving of Monterey Jack cheese with whole grain crackers, suggests Cain. “It has calcium and protein and is a lot better for you!

Check the clock. Are you really hungry? “A lot of people are afternoon snackers,” says Cain. “They’ve got a low in the middle of the day and sometimes it’s just because you’re bored or you’re tired.” Find a replacement activity instead, like taking a walk, to see if food is really what you’re after or just a change of pace.

Run low. “Snacks should be around 150 calories,” says Cain. “If you’re going up to 300 or 400, we’re looking at more of a meal and you’re going to ruin your appetite.” Check out our recipe collection for smart, waist-friendly options.

Snack pack. Cain always has a little bag of almonds or a square of chocolate in her purse to prevent a surprising urge to splurge. “If I’m in a café and I want a cookie, what stops me is having that little square of chocolate.” Control cravings—and portions—by being prepared on-the-go.

Want more tips and tricks? Pop by Cain’s site for waist-friendly treats (Chili Lime Popcorn, Rosemary Roasted Walnuts and No-Bake Brownie Balls, to name a few) to eat day and night.

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More on ‘The Biggest Loser’ Controvery: Season 11 Winner Olivia Ward Speaks Out

Written on February 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm , by

Ward posed with sister (and season 11 runner-up), Hannah Curlee, after her win in 2011.

Written by Olivia Ward

Sitting in the audience during NBC’s live The Biggest Loser finale is one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in my life…and I’ve done it four times. Not to mention I’ve actually had the awesome experience of being on stage and winning season 11. So  to say, “It’s not my first rodeo” is probably an understatement. Having been involved with the show for many years, I feel like I’ve seen it all…until recently. Of course, you know I’m talking about the live Season 15 finale, where 24-year-old Rachel Frederickson was crowned the winner at 105 pounds.

I will admit that when she walked out for the first time that night, there was a huge collective gasp from the audience. It was as if all of the oxygen had been sucked out of the room in a single moment, and it wasn’t because everyone loved her dress (although it was stunning). I think, more than anything, nobody thought it was possible to see a contestant get that small. Having been an avid Loser viewer for years, I always expect people to have huge transformations, but this was very different.

My first thought: What happened? Having been through the same experience, I knew Rachel would be small in the end. We both started the show weighing around 260 pounds, and we both left the ranch – as a part of the final four – around 150 pounds. I ended my journey on The Biggest Loser at 132 pounds, which at five-foot-ten, was really, really small. But I was fully aware of that, and I’ll be the first to admit that I never expected to stay at such a low weight for long. Instead, I viewed it as my “prize fighting” weight. Why? I was training (and eating) for 8 to 10 hours a day, every day, for the seven weeks that led to my finale. I was essentially treating the finale like my job, and I was a professional athlete. It wasn’t meant to be sustained for the rest of my life. It was a conscious adult choice I made because I was in a game, and I wanted to win.

Now, back to Rachel. First of all, I personally have never spoken to her (although I can’t wait to meet her one day), but I do have a level of understanding that most don’t. I’ve stood on that scale and I’ve worn the weigh-in tank top. I know what kind of outside pressure you feel at the end to win, along with the self-induced pressure of wanting to win so badly yourself. To train day in and day out like an athlete, you have to have tunnel vision and be extremely focused – clearly, those are things Rachel is extremely familiar with. So if you want my opinion, I think that when it came down to making a choice to really widen the gap between her and the other competitors, she did. By 10 percent. And therein lies the rub. The gap never had to be that big. Now, I’m not shunning her – or defending her – but as someone who’s faced the same situation, I can confidently say that I wouldn’t (and didn’t) make the same decision Rachel did.

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Everything You Need to Know About The Biggest Loser Controversy – Including ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ Trainer Chris Powell’s Opinion

Written on February 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm , by

Frederickson’s before and after photos (courtesy of NBC).

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’re aware of all the controversy that’s been swirling around The Biggest Loser season 15 finale and its winner, Rachel Frederickson. But if you’re not clued in to all the dirty details, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what’s been happening:

After competing on the show and being monitored closely for seven-and-a-half months, Frederickson went home (unmonitored and without trainers) for the final stretch before the finale, working to get down to her lowest weight and hopefully claim the $250,000 prize and title of the Biggest Loser. She shocked viewers; the audience; trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince; and host Alison Sweeney when she strutted a 0-2 sized figure and clocked in at a startling 105 pounds. At the start of the show, Frederickson weighed in at 260 pounds. With a 5’4″ frame, let’s do the math: this girl shed 155 pounds fast, and she brought her BMI (body mass index) down to 18, which places her in the underweight category – a first in the show’s history.

Now, we know by now that BMI is not the end-all, be-all for telling whether or not a person is healthy. There are many other factors at play, like muscle mass. Had she gone too far? Despite the media storm, NBC stands behind their latest champion, and when People magazine asked Frederickson point blank whether or not she had an eating disorder, she told them, “I am very, very healthy.”

That being said, when you’re training for six hours a day and only eating 1,600 calories per day like this contestant was, the cause for concern seems warranted (however, that does not justify mean, negative comments). After all, it was widely reported that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps chowed down a staggering 12,000 calories a day when training for the Beijing Olympics, and we all heard about how track-star-turned-bobsledder Lolo Jones consumes 9,000 daily calories to beef up for bobsledding. Even Olympic cyclists take in more than 3,300 calories, on average. Granted, Olympians aren’t trying to drop weight the way Frederickson was, but it’s the closest comparison we get when athletes are logging so many hours of exercise.

But before we all point fingers at the 24-year-old athlete (which she is, no question), let’s face the facts: The Biggest Loser is a competitive reality show, and Frederickson did exactly what she signed on to do: win a weight-loss show and bring home a life-changing amount of money. Whether she stays at the same weight or gains 20 pounds before the end of the week doesn’t matter – and with the amount of challenges she won throughout the season (4 out of 5 once they moved to singles, including the first-ever Loser sprint triathlon), we bet that played a strategic role. After all, we’ve heard time and time again how she’s always been an athlete and Loser helped her find that in herself again.  She knew that as long as she trained hard and got down low enough, she was bringing home the goods. Also, let’s not forget that her 105-pound weight isn’t set in stone – the show’s winners generally gain back a good amount of weight post-finale to settle into their natural healthy weight.

Click through to find out what Extreme Weight Loss trainer Chris Powell has to say!

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Who’s Up for Some Skypercise?

Written on January 22, 2014 at 9:32 am , by

Pair up to slim down! Photo by iStockphoto.

Whether it’s with a bud or a personal trainer, we recommend pairing up to slim down! Photo by iStockphoto.

ICYMI: Our week 2 #GetFitParty Instagram challenge was to show us your pics of working out with a buddy. Studies have shown that working out with a partner improves weight-loss results, which could be because you push yourself harder, have more fun, and have the all-important accountability factor influencing you.

But if scheduling a workout sesh with a bud or even just getting to the gym creates a problem, we’ve got a stellar recommendation for you: Skypercise. Whether you’re partnering up with a pal to workout over the world wide web or enlisting a professional trainer to help you out virtually, it’s an excellent way to ditch the excuses so that you can stick to your resolutions.

Which is why we’re thrilled to offer a lucky reader a fabulous Skype prize package, courtesy of Skype!

One lucky FITNESS reader will score a $100 Skype gift card and two one-on-one sessions with Marc D. Thompson, a fitness trainer, personal coach, owner of Virtufit.net, and Skypercise pro. All you have to do is enter here by January 31, 2014. [Official Rules]

Good luck! Now get to work, #GetFitParty crowd!

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It’s #GetFitParty Time! All the Details You Need to Join the Fun (And Score Swag!)

Written on January 6, 2014 at 11:42 am , by

Ready to shed 10 pounds and keep them off – for good? In our February issue (on stands now!), we give you the exact moves and foods that helped our testers trim up to 15 pounds from their figures in a mere four weeks. So first things first, go on out and pick up a copy (or download it to your tablet). Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

Got it? Good. Now that you’re ready to sweat in the gym and eat like a queen, we want you to share your journey with everyone. Your friends, fam and followers. Because we know you’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which means that YOU have followers, too. And come on, let’s be real – if you don’t post your hard work online, then it didn’t really happen. So go ahead, brag a little – here’s how:

All month long we’ll be dishing out digital support for you to reach those slim-down goals. Follow the guide below to see where and how you can join the fun, then log in on the respective dates and remember to use the hashtag above so we can brag about you, too.

MONDAY, JANUARY 6th (TODAY!): TWITTER

Follow @FitnessMagazine and the #getfitparty hashtag on Twitter from 2-4pm EST to score fresh ideas on healthy eating and exercise so you can slam-dunk your goals. Bonus: We’ll be giving away boxes of KIND Healthy Grains Bars to 15 lucky participants. Snack happy, friends.

JANUARY 6TH – FEBRUARY 16TH: INSTAGRAM (SWAG ALERT!)

Tune in to @FitnessMagazine every Monday to catch each week’s fresh photo challenge (get creative!), then post your pics with #getfitparty. At the end of each week, we’ll select which one of you will win a bag of sweet fitness prizes (each valued over $250), and highlight your phenom photos in our feed. That gives you six chances to become FITNESS famous and score new workout gear. If that’s not an incentive to start sharing, we don’t know what is. We’re kicking things off by asking for your workout views; one lucky chick will score a pair of sweet hiking boots, jacket, and six months worth of Naturebox goodies!

JANUARY 13 – FEBRUARY 10TH: FACEBOOK

Start every week with a motivational kick in the pants from your drill-seargeant-with-a-heart trainer. Head to our Facebook page every Monday at 4pm EST to catch a video from Sylwia Wiesenberg, when she’ll be spilling her top stick-with-it strategies.

JUST BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU…ENTER TO WIN A TRIP TO ARUBA OR A STAIRMASTER!

To help you stay motivated (and envision yourself in that bikini), the prizes got kicked up a notch. Join the Better Body Plan online and enter to win these suh-weet prizes:

  • A trip for two to the swanky Hotel RIU Palace Aruba, including airfare, meals, a snorkel-and-sail excursion, and a spa massage (a $3,690 value)
  • A StairMaster StepMill 3 with a built-in heart rate monitor and more than 25 programmed workouts (a $3,000 value)

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get this party started!

A Healthier You: Tips to a Slimmer, Trimmer 2014

Written on January 3, 2014 at 9:43 am , by

Time to pump up your slim-down. Don’t sweat it, though. These easy peasy strategies will have you slipping into your skinny jeans ASAP. (Photo courtesy of Laura Doss)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Now that the calorie-loaded holiday spreads are off the table and we are getting back into our weekly routines, those New Year resolutions can make their official debut! Of all the goals we set that relate to health and wellness, weight loss constantly tops the list. So let’s really get it right in 2014 with some sound nutritional advice, a fresh perspective and boost of motivation. We spoke with Jacqueline Marcus, R.D., a nutrition consultant to The Dukan Diet, about her top tips to make weight loss attainable, maintainable and worth every minute of the hard work you put into it!

Think lean and clean for your fitness routine. This catchphrase guides Marcus in helping her clients work towards their goals. “As you’re thinking about an exercise plan for life, you want to feed your body with the cleanest types of foods and beverages that are low in fat and high in protein,” she says. Lean protein helps support the muscles as the body breaks down its fat cells and low-starch vegetables high in vitamins and minerals support the work of these lean proteins. Soon you’ll convert your bod into a lean, mean, fat-burning machine!

Create a combo deal. Most people who achieve their fitness goals use a combination of methods to get there. A healthy diet tailored to your lifestyle, a customized workout plan and a behavioral component, like a food journal or online diet community, create a triple threat against fat. “The most successful people use at least three methods,” says Marcus.

Don’t forget about fiber. It’s essential for creating the feeling of fullness and maintaining healthy digestive system. Plus, Marcus says it can decrease your total daily calorie consumption by about 5 percent.  She swears by oat bran because it keeps her from ever getting that “OMG, I can’t get enough food in me” feeling. Try sprinkling 1 1/2 tablespoons of oat bran on top of  a cup of Greek yogurt with fresh berries to kick start your day.

Go easy on the sodium. While a little bit of the salty stuff is important for helping balance water in the body, we tend to overdo it and end up experiencing bloat, lethargy and sometimes blood pressure problems. Marcus suggests minimizing your intake by avoiding the saltshaker after your meal is cooked, and staying away from as many processed foods as possible. “Use real foods to keep it in check. Proteins and vegetables contain sodium, so it’s not like you’re going sodium-free,” she says.

One  step at a time. If you’re looking to inspire an entire diet and lifestyle overhaul, focus on one change at a time so the habit really sticks. “It’s better to focus on the different stages of a well-constructed diet program and do those well without doing too many other things and feeling overwhelmed,” she says. When you start seeing the results form one habit, you’ll be motivated to push yourself to that next step. Eight of our readers took this advice to heart and made major changes in their lives – you can too!

Stop counting. Some diets require people to count calories and nutrients like carbs, but Marcus sees this process as a potential distraction. Instead, focus on healthy options, eat to a feeling of satisfaction or fullness and learn how to use good-for-you foods in a way that put you in charge of your new lifestyle.

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Ditch the Fitness Excuses: How I Hope America Moves Forward in A Nation of Obesity

Written on December 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm , by

Photo courtesy of Maria Kang

Photo courtesy of Maria Kang

Written by Maria Kang

I believe our emotions are what drive our successes or failures.

Motivation is an incredibly powerful emotion. It helps you challenge yourself and push through plateaus. This kind of energy can help us interpret messages in a positive light, envision possibilities, and then seek out those opportunities.

My “What’s Your Excuse?” poster evoked motivation in some, particularly the audience reading this right now. For others, it sparked shame—and outrage. Those people labeled me a bully and a fat-shamer, and suddenly I was at the core of controversy.

But when FitnessMagazine.com asked its audience what they thought of me, a large chunk of you said I was an inspiration. When Facebook banned me from its site and FitnessMagazine.com then interviewed me, you rallied on my side. You’ve defended me because of one common truth among us: We know our health is important.

So what do we do now?

We want to stop the obesity epidemic in America. We aren’t complacent—or at least don’t want to be. Whether we’re overweight or super fit, we know none of this is really about me, the messenger. It’s about the message.

The message is about balance, and yes, pushing past self-acceptance. It says that when we deprive ourselves from living a healthy life, we limit our ability to thrive.

As I’ve said numerous times over, it’s important to love yourself. But let’s challenge ourselves and the people around us. When something or someone refers to obesity as “normal,” challenge it! I’m not saying to shame or bully anyone, but we must focus on progress. On a daily basis we engage in a comfortable schedule, with comfortable people and comfortable habits. Instead, let’s focus on how there is always room for improvement.

The first step in discouraging complacency is to create a goal and go public with it. This goal may be to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans or to eat less processed foods. You need to write it down, set a deadline, and create daily steps in your life to hold you accountable. Accountability begins when you set up mental and physical enforcers that will push you to move out of your comfort zone – because let’s be honest, we are creatures of comfort. It’s only natural to gravitate toward what is easier rather than what is harder.

So let’s fight the complacency trend by making life harder. Here’s how:

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