Welcome! Log In | Register

Weight Loss

Biggest Loser Champ Danni Allen Won More Than Weight Loss

Written on October 7, 2013 at 9:46 am , by

Look at her go! Danni kicked major asphalt in Chicago this past July. (Photo courtesy of Danni Allen)

Written by editorial intern Gabriella Rello

Danni Allen proves it’s not so bad to be a loser. The season 14 winner of NBC’s The Biggest Loser shed an incredible 121 pounds during her 12-week stay on the show and gained something much greater in the process: a bright future.  “It was about winning a life that I never knew I could possibly have,” Allen says. A new life that includes half-marathons, triathlons and daily 10Ks. What’s next for the Loser-alum? Running her first 26.2 before her 26th birthday! We caught up with the speedy long-distance runner and chatted training. Here’s what she had to say:

What was your biggest motivation to lose weight?

The biggest thing for me was when my dad got sick in February of last year. He was actually rushed to the hospital and I get the call that no daughter wants to hear that says, “Bring the whole family in.” In my head, I was like, “If I keep following in his footsteps, that is going to be me at 50.” A miracle happened and he’s okay, but that was my “Aha” moment that I needed to change.

You’re running in the Chicago Marathon on October 13–was this always a long-term goal of yours?

Goodness, no! Before The Biggest Loser I thought running was stupid. I was like, “Who would do this? My knees hurt, my legs hurt; I can’t breathe!” When I got on the show, I knew I needed a goal beyond the finale. I told myself, “If you find something you love, then continue with it.” Running was one of the first things I found I loved, so I really wanted to follow through. In past seasons they’ve always run marathons. Our season didn’t get to because we were so short. I felt short-changed! I’m running with St. Jude now. It was really fun to start doing that.

How are you training for the race?

I’ve had to be pretty strict with it. It’s all about getting your miles in. If you talk to anyone who’s training for a marathon, they have one long run a week. My trainer wanted me to learn how to run on dead legs, so whatever my long run is, I’m running half of it the day before. On Sunday I ran 20 miles, so on Saturday I ran 10. I have an awesome running partner, too, and we turn our long runs into our gossip time. We won’t talk all week and then we’ll get it all out on the road. She’s turning 40 next year and her goal was to run a marathon before her birthday. Mine was to run my 26 at 26.

How do you get yourself excited for races?

I have two pump up songs: “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys and “My Songs Knows What You Did In The Dark” by Fall Out Boy. I just get into it and my head starts banging.

Read more

Wake Up, Fuel Up: 5 Ways to Build a Better Breakfast

Written on September 24, 2013 at 11:07 am , by

Forget the breakfast bars and baked goods! They’ll just spike your blood sugar, leaving you ravenous well before noon. (Photo by Laura Doss)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, it’s the first thing to go when a busy morning schedule gets the best of us. Unfortunately, those spared minutes do not provide the metabolism-revving, energy-boosting and cholesterol-lowering benefits of a well-balanced breakfast. We touched base with Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It and New York-based nutrition expert to get her top tips on fueling up before running out the door each morning. The most important meal of the day just got easier, tastier and a whole lot faster!

1. Think outside of the box of cereal. An ideal breakfast is made up of three components: whole-grain carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Mix and match some of your fave whole-grain, high-fiber cereals to customize your flavor—just read the label to keep sugar levels in check. If you have a thing for cereals that are a little too high, find another that is low in sugar (1-3 grams) and combine the two. Remember, watch portion sizes! Aim for 1 cup total, about the size of a tennis ball. For more dense cereals, like granola, shoot for a little less, as the cereal is more dense.

2. Don’t make having breakfast negotiable. As much as we may hate to admit it, breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. Skipping breakfast altogether leaves you feeling hungry and irritable, and possibly leads to overindulgence at lunchtime. Even nibbling on a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit is better than nothing—it sends the message to the brain that you have fuel to last you until the next meal. “If you have time to put on makeup, there’s time for breakfast,” says Bonnie. Have containers of yogurt, snack bags of chopped almonds and dry cereal and a bag of plastic spoons available for some grab-and-go goodness.

3. When making your lunch, toast a frozen whole grain waffle and add a smear of almond butter or cottage cheese topped with cinnamon for munching on-the-go. For those of us who squeeze in a workout before work, finding the right time to eat breakfast can be tricky. “Eat something on the light side about a half hour before working out,” she suggests. Try Greek yogurt or a smoothie for a quick, easy-to-digest meal that will keep you energized through your workout and the rest of your morning.

4. When you are able to (even if it’s only one day a week), take the time to make yourself a gourmet breakfast—perhaps an omelet stuffed with a medley of sautéed veggies and a whole grain muffin. You’re worth it and your body will thank you for the attention!

5. Don’t break the fast while multitasking! Yes, it’s better to have breakfast while posting something on Twitter than to ditch this meal altogether, but when possible, pay attention to the texture, temperature and taste of your meal. If you pay attention to what you’re eating you’ll not only appreciate those three T’s even more, but you’ll also feel more satisfied and be less likely to search for something else.

More from FITNESS:

Join Jillian Michaels’ First-Ever DietBet Weight Loss Challenge

Written on September 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm , by

Only $30 to get coached by this top trainer? Yes, please! (Photo by Justin Stephens)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Jillian Michaels is at it again. The health and fitness expert, who’s known for her tough coaching on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, her toned body in her workout DVDs and inspiring outlook on life in her books, is taking on a new challenge. Tomorrow, Michaels’ first DietBet game launches, motivating participants all over the world to lose weight with the support of social media.

The Jillian Michaels DietBet will host a motivating community for anyone looking to improve their health. Each participant begins by placing $30 in the pot and submits a photo of themselves on their scales to DietBet’s referees (don’t worry, the pic is totally confidential). On Tuesday, September 24, the four-week countdown begins for each participant to lose 4 percent of their body weight. Everyone who completes the goal splits the pot evenly, pocketing some hard-earned cash. With 5,472+ players currently signed up, and the pot up to $164160, the game ought to be a fun one.

Using social media as a weight loss tool helps users compete with one another, and support and encourage one another’s goals simultaneously. Plus, each participant will receive nutrition advice, workout information and motivational tips from Michaels herself throughout the four weeks to help them succeed. “It’s the first of its kind, so not only is it one of a kind, it’s revolutionary,” says Michaels. “The concept makes weight loss fun, motivating and challenging! What could be cooler?” The financial incentive doesn’t hurt either.

Like with many of her other fitness projects, Michaels approaches this new challenge with loads of enthusiasm and little fear. “I just love being a part of something new. I don’t really have concerns,” says Michaels.” People bet $30 on themselves to succeed. If they lose 4 percent in 4 weeks, they get it all back and way more. The worst-case scenario is you spend 30 bucks to have me coach you to lose weight for a month. The best case is you lose the weight and make money doing it.”

Today is the last day to sign up for the Jillian Michaels’ DietBet. What are you waiting for?

More of Jillian:

Jillian Michaels’ Bodyshred Circuit Workout

Jillian Michaels’ Get-Pumped Workout Playlist

Jillian Michaels’ Top 5 Snack Picks

These States Have the Greatest Weight Loss Success – Is Yours One of Them?

Written on August 21, 2013 at 10:15 am , by

Is your state moving enough? (Photo by Jeff Olson)

Written by Kristen Haney, editorial intern

Pat yourselves on the back, people of Boulder, CO, and get to stepping, residents of McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX. A recent study by Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index, found that the Texan region was the most obese metro area in America and Boulder was the least. That’s all there is to it, right?

No so fast (or slow). The experts over at Jawbone knew that couldn’t be whole story, so they compiled data collected by Jawbone’s BodyMedia monitors, pulling actual stats from the thousands of users who track their weight-loss efforts with the popular armbands. This revealed a deeper insight into the nitty gritty details of dropping pounds, from each state’s activity level to its successful weight loss percentages, and the results were surprisingly different. So if you’re not living in either of the areas mentioned above, don’t sweat (or maybe do). Check out the states they see rockin’ it out:

Highest percentage of weight loss:

  1. Maine (11.2%)
  2. Nebraska (11%)
  3. Arkansas (10.8%)

Median calories burned by physical activity:

  1. Utah (659.9)
  2. Montana (644.3)
  3. Oregon (635.8)

Highest percentage of obesity:

  1. Indiana (59%)
  2. West Virginia (58.7%)
  3. Arkansas (58.6%)

More from FITNESS:

The Fittest Cities on Facebook, Did Your City Make the Cut?

Best Road Trip Ever: Active Vacations Across the Country

The State That Sleeps the Most, Plus Other Sleep Stats to Know

100 Million Pounds Lost by MyFitnessPal Users

Written on July 18, 2013 at 10:52 am , by

Whenever we ask you about your favorite apps, MyFitnessPal is always a popular response. The company has been helping people get and/or stay in shape since 2005, and they hit a huge milestone this week: The MyFitnessPal users have lost a total of 100 million pounds over the years! That’s amazing! Check out the awesome infographic from MyFitnessPal for more fun stats.

BONUS: Scroll down to the bottom of this post to hear Mike Lee, the Co-Founder, tell his story about why he created the app. (Spoiler: It’s a cute love story!)

MyFItnessPal App Infographic

Infographic courtesy of MyFitnessPal.

 

BONUS: How MyFitnessPal Got Started Video:

 

 

Fit Links: 7 Diet Tips To Drop Pounds and a Weekend Workout

Written on June 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm , by

One of the seven healthy eating ideas: serve up a satisfying salad once a day. (Photo by Peter Ardito)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

 

Super-Satisfying Salads

Written on May 7, 2013 at 9:55 am , by

Garden Tapas with Tuna Salad

Enjoy a complete, satisfying salad so that you’re not hungry later. Photo courtesy of Dole Salads.

By Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD

As summer approaches, we start craving fresh foods. Hello healthy salad season—and just in time to help us slim down for summer!

With the help of Dole Salads, I am posting 31 delicious and simple salad recipes throughout the month of May—enough for a different salad every day.

Here’s the thing about salad: If you make one that’s too light, you’ll be hungry in an hour. But add the wrong ingredients, and your salad can have more calories and fat than a burger and fries. The trick to making a healthy salad that’s a satisfying meal is in the ratio of ingredients.

This the general equation for the perfect entrée salad:

2-3 cups veggies
+
3/4 cup or 3 ounces cooked protein
(~150 calories; beans, egg, turkey, tuna, etc.)
+
3/4 cup cooked grain or starchy carb
(~150 calories; brown rice, whole grain pita, quinoa, baguette, etc.)
+
2-3 Tablespoons fat
(~100 calories; dressing, cheese, nuts, etc.)

Each of this week’s salads has the perfect ratio of ingredients to fill you up without weighing you down. Try one for dinner tonight!

Garden Tapas with Tuna
Who says a salad has to be served in a bowl? This one is served on top of thinly sliced baguette pieces…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package (6 oz.) DOLE Tender Garden, coarsely chopped
  • 2 (2.6 oz.) pouches chunk tuna or 1 (5 oz.) can chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons bottled capers, drained
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, coarsely chopped
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 (8 oz.) baguette French bread, cut into 12 slices, toasted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, mix and toss all ingredients together thoroughly, except baguette. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Top bread slices with salad mixture.
  3. Transfer to plates and season with fresh pepper, if desired.

Serves 4. Serving size: 1/4 salad. 317 calories and 7g fat per serving.

Here are  more Super-Satisfying Salad recipes. Check back next week for a new round of salads!

About the Author: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified specialist in sports nutrition based in Chicago. She is the author of The Flexitarian Diet. Dawn is working with Dole throughout the month of May to inspire more salad eating.

Heart Health Tips to Live By

Written on May 6, 2013 at 11:11 am , by

people jogging with dog

Your pooch’s heart health will be better, too! Photo by Christa Renee

A few months ago, we were reminded during “heart month” about how heart disease kills way too many women. As the seasons change and some of us feel reinvigorated to revamp their diets and routine, we want to urge you to remember these super-simple steps to reduce your chances of heart disease. By employing these easy strategies, you’re helping to make sure you don’t wind up a statistic.

1. Engage in at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity, 5 days/week.  This isn’t for weight loss but basic heart health.  Whatever exercise you like — walking, cycling, weight lifting, swimming — works, though variety is ideal.  No matter how busy you are, everyone has the time, so try to make it!

2. Stand up.  Sitting is the new smoking.  Where can you find time in your day to stand and move , beyond structured physical activity?  Maybe rather than watching TV, you go for a family walk before or after dinner.  Start a walking group at work or investigate stand-up desks if you work at home.  If you have dogs, take them for a walk instead just letting them out back.  There are a lot of opportunities to move — you just need to be creative, take control and make a conscious effort to make you a priority.

3. Eat more omega-3 fats.  Omega-3 fats are amazing for us. The best way to get them in the diet is from foods like wild seafood (salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies), among others.  Read more

Flat-Belly Salads

Written on May 1, 2013 at 11:30 am , by

watermelon salad to lose weight

Reach your weight loss goals with a tasty watermelon salad. Photo by Laura Georgy, RD.

By Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD

Happy May! Beach season is right around the corner, so now’s the time to get bikini ready with some delicious and nutritious salad recipes. That’s right—you can eat your way to flatter abs!

With the help of Dole salads and in honor of National Salad Month, I am going to give you yummy, healthy and simple salad recipes every week this month for a total of 31 recipes—enough for a different salad every day. You’ll give your taste buds a treat (no boring salads here!), get more veggies and reach your better-body goals.

Each of the salads below has ingredients proven to help you slim down and fight belly fat. Dig in and you’ll be rocking a two-piece on the beach in no time!

Blue Watermelon Feta Salad
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Watermelon
Watermelon has high water content and research shows foods with high water content may help you naturally eat hundreds less calories per meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 bag (5oz) Dole arugula
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix lime juice, onion and feta until combined.
  2. Toss with arugula.
  3. Top with watermelon and blueberries.
  4. Culinary Notes: Mixing the lime juice with the onions mellows the onions’ flavor. For a quick dressing anytime, mix your favorite citrus juice with your favorite shredded/crumbled cheese.

Serves 2. Serving size: 3 cups. 130 calories and 5g fat per serving.

Here are  four more Flat-Belly Salad recipes. Check back next week for a new round of salads!

Mango Salad with Ginger Raisin Vinaigrette
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Red Wine Vinegar
Vinegar at meals may help increase feelings of fullness, decrease calorie intake by about 70 calories per meal, improve blood sugars after meals and lead to less body fat over time.

Fresh Fruit Salad with Baby Spinach and Yogurt Poppy Seed Dressing
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Pineapple
Pineapple contains bromelain, which improves digestion and decreases post-meal bloating.

Granada Seafood Salad
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Sardines
Sardines contain omega-3 fat which may control appetite, increase calorie burning and decrease the amount of fat your body stores.

Spinach Salad w/ Thousand Island Yogurt Dressing
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Mushrooms
Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D, which research suggests may aid in the loss of belly fat.

About the Author: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified specialist in sports nutrition based in Chicago. She is the author of The Flexitarian Diet. Dawn is working with Dole throughout the month of May to inspire more salad eating.

Getting Hitched Near NYC? Join the Fit to Be Bride Bootcamp!

Written on April 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm , by

Molly Winter Stewart knows how to get you in tip-top wedding dress shape! (Photo courtesy Molly Winter Fitness)

As someone who is feverishly planning her own nuptials, I came to a realization I’m sure many brides arrived at much quicker than I did: Weddings are expensive! To then even think about shelling out beaucoup bucks on a pricey boot camp tailored toward brides made me want to curl up in a ball (or elope, though I’m not sure Mom would be too pleased about that).

Luckily, The White Gown, a bridal boutique in Dumbo, Brooklyn understands that brides want to look great despite their budget and are setting up a series of public workout sessions this summer in NYC at Pier 46 in Greenwich Village. Workouts will be led my Molly Winter Stewart of Molly Winter Fitness, and will be designed to hit the spots most visible on your wedding day based on your dress shape–mermaid, halter, strapless and backless. The best part? You can cross “find fitness plan” off your very long wedding to-do list without spending a single penny.

Fit to Be Bride Bootcamp starts Saturday, May 18 at 9:30 a.m., at Pier 46 in Manhattan. Sign up by emailing info@thewhitegown.com.

More from FITNESS: Vow to Stress Less: Wedding Day Tips from Brides