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#1 Weight-Loss Secret: Be Nice to Yourself

Written on April 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm , by

The Self-Compassion Diet by Jean Fain

The Self-Compassion Diet by Jean Fain

Cutting yourself a little slack is the secret to big weight-loss, according to Jean Fain, a licensed psychotherapist and author of the recent book The Self-Compassion Diet. She explains:

How does self-compassion help with weight-loss?

Most weight-loss plans revolve around deprivation and neglect. You’re supposed to stick to the plan no matter what. If you’re starving, keep eating tiny portions. If you’re exhausted, keep moving—no pain, no gain. Going on vacation? Keep counting…calories, carbs, points. It’s not a very compassionate or effective approach, and it’s no fun.

What I’m saying: when you treat yourself with self-compassion, you’re more apt to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full; rest when you’re tired and move when you feel energized. When you do that, you lose weight naturally.

So what is self-compassion, exactly?

Most simply put, self-compassion is treating yourself like you’d treat a friend or a loved one—with care and concern.

My favorite definition comes from research psychologist Kristin Neff, Ph.D., who defines self-compassion as having three essential ingredients: mindful awareness, loving-kindness and common humanity.

(Learn more and test how self-compassionate you are with Kristin Neff’s quiz.) Read more

Confidence-Boosting Tips from WNBA Star Candace Parker

Written on April 18, 2011 at 11:03 am , by

Playtex Sport has recently teamed up with WNBA player Candace Parker for the “Be Unstoppable” movement, an online campaign to inspire girls to be more active and confident every day. You can join the “Be Unstoppable” community on Facebook and Twitter and upload a video or photo of yourself having fun and being fit. With every upload, $5 will be donated to the Women’s Sports Foundation—a fun and easy way to help girls and women stay fit!

Candace Parker, Photo by Gary B. Garman, courtesy of Playtex Sport

Candace Parker, Photo by Gary B. Garman, courtesy of Playtex Sport

We talked to the basketball star about being a role model to kids and asked for get-confident tips for women of all ages:

Why did you become a part of this campaign?

I’m very excited to be a part of the Be Unstoppable movement. It’s a perfect fit for me because it inspires young girls to be more active, helps them to be more confident and gives back to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

How important are positive role models to kids?

For me growing up, it was important to see others who were active, to know that you can do it too. Anyone can be a role model. Just get out there and have an active lifestyle.

Who were your role models growing up?

I was a soccer player until 7th grade and Mia Hamm was a true inspiration for me. Seeing her play encouraged me to keep playing. Watching her do her thing made me believe that I could do the same, too.

How are you helping your daughter get more confident and healthy?

It can be as simple as showing her through your daily actions and doing fun activities with her. It doesn’t have to be basketball. As long as she’s having fun, she’ll become more confident in her abilities. In fact, she likes playing soccer more than basketball so I play with her when I’m off the court.

How can other women be more fit and get into sports?

Just go out there and have fun. It’s never too late to be more active. When you’re active, you become more confident and you’ll meet more people who can encourage you to stay fit. If you’re trying something new, understand you’re not going to be perfect, but I’m sure Michael Jordan wasn’t perfect when he first started playing basketball. And that’s what’s great about the “Be Unstoppable” movement: you can see girls just like you who are doing the same things you love and having fun.

So how can you get involved with the “Be Unstoppable” movement? Upload a photo or video of yourself on their Facebook page, which will automatically add a $5 donation to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Justified’s Joelle Carter Shares Her Healthy Life Tips

Written on April 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm , by

Justified star Joelle Carter gives back by hosting a charity event. (Photo courtesy of St. Baldrick's Foundation)

Justified star Joelle Carter gives back by hosting a charity event. (Photo by JNP Studio)

Just days ago, the FX show Justified was nominated for a little thing called a Peabody Award. And the network announced recently that the hit show, a modern day Wild West tale, was also picked up for it’s third season.

I was lucky enough to speak with one of the show’s stars, Joelle Carter (Ava Crowder on the show), whom you may also know from her work in High Fidelity and American Pie 2, or from her appearances on CSI: Miami, Monk and Cold Case. Read on to learn more about Joelle’s take on overcoming physical hardships, charity work and her family’s healthy habits.

Tell us about your character on Justified, Ava.

“She was in an abusive relationship and actually killed her husband at the dinner table. Now she’s finding a new love interest and discovering what she wants and needs. She’s a very complex character that seems sweet, but will pick up a shotgun to protect herself [Joelle does her own stunts!]. There are so many layers to Ava that have yet to be discovered.”

Are you active off set?

“Yes! I actually was very into sports as a kid and loved soccer, but then was diagnosed with scoliosis. I had to wear a back brace for six years, and that experience definitely left me shy. But when I came out of it, it felt like I was leaving a turtle shell!

While I was dealing with the condition, my doctor suggested swimming to keep me limber and stretch my muscles. I really enjoyed it. Then I joined cross country in high school. I stuck with both activities after I received scholarships to swim and run in college. My knees aren’t great today, but I enjoy running every now and then along the reservoir near my house. I wish I could swim more often than I do today, but I do look forward to teaching my 8 1/2-month-old daughter to swim!”

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American Idol’s Kimberly Caldwell’s Workout and Playlist

Written on April 11, 2011 at 11:47 am , by

American Idol's Kimberly Caldwell

American Idol's Kimberly Caldwell enjoys running, circuit training and ab work. (Photo by Carly Marino)

Kimberly Caldwell made her mark as a top 10 finisher during season two of the popular FOX reality show American Idol. Since the show, Kimberly has kept busy with touring and numerous TV hosting gigs. In just a couple of weeks, she’ll be releasing her debut album!

Kimberly dropped 20 pounds a few years ago and has since made fitness and wellness a priority, even though she often struggles to find time for it (just like us!). Why is exercise non-negotiable? “It not only helps with my stage performance, but also with stress and anxiety,” Kimberly says. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak into Kimberly’s exercise diary, and of course couldn’t resist asking what’s on her workout playlist.

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Olympic Skating Star Tara Lipinski Is Living Fit

Written on March 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm , by

Tara Lipinski hasn't hung up her skates for good quite yet!

Tara Lipinski hasn't hung up her skates for good quite yet! (Photo by John Russo)

Flashback to the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games: Fifteen-year-old Tara Lipinski was about to hit the ice to nail seven triple jumps in her short and long programs (salchows and toe loops—makes us dizzy thinking about it!) and best Michelle Kwan for the women’s figure skating gold medal. But all she could think about was her nerves.

“I had been preparing for this since I started skating at three-years-old! I realized that four minutes could change my life, and my legs were shaking,” Lipinski says. “I called my mom after the warm-up, as I do before every time I hit the ice, and told her ‘I can’t do it!’”

The confidence that helped her tighten her skate strings and bring home the medal still serves her well today, as she’s stepping back onto the ice again and enjoying life as a TV commentator for her sport-of-choice. We caught up with Tara to talk about why she really turned pro at 15, how she stays fit today and who she thinks will be skating’s next big star.

You seemed to be on the top of your game! Why did you retire at such a young age?

I didn’t think of it as retiring. I took five to seven years to make friends and be “normal” for a while. I felt like I had already accomplished all that I wanted to by winning the national, world and Olympic championships. And my personality always has me focused on ‘what’s next?’

Read on for Tara’s thoughts on getting back on the ice, becoming a commentator and who she thinks will be the next big skating star!

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Meet The Trainer: Denise Austin!

Written on March 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm , by

Denise Austin

Denise Austin

This month I worked with fitness pro Denise Austin on our Lose More Fat! workout (page 64 of the April issue — on newsstands today!). Besides Denise’s passion for fitness, I just love her positive attitude, contagious energy, and the fact that she’s just really really sweet! After speaking to her on the phone I felt like she could definitely be a workout buddy of mine. (How cool would that be?) Here’s a little from my chat with Denise!

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career so far?

Well I wouldn’t say this is necessarily an accomplishment but it’s something I’m very proud of. I’ve continued to stay close to my mentor, the late Jack LaLanne, throughout all these years. He gave me my big break when I co-hosted his TV show with him. When he passed away this past year, his wife asked me to give a speech at his funeral—it was a very meaningful moment in life. But I’m also proud of being appointed by President George Bush to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for two terms.

What workout apparel and gear can you definitely not live without?

I love my Skechers Shape-Ups Radius Trainers—I wear them all around my house and while doing errands. I constantly feel like I’m working my muscles out when I have these on. I also live for my dumbbells! You can do anything with them, especially helping my achy wrists doing push-ups!

What’s the most annoying thing people assume about celebrity trainers?

I’m a foodie so every time I go out to eat and don’t order a salad, I get weird looks! Everyone is always so surprised and assumes trainers only eat salads, but we like real food too! My favorite is a pepperoni pizza and a cold beer when I’m hanging out with friends. See, we like to have fun too!

Read on to find out which exercise Denise dreads most — and which star she thinks should play her in a movie!

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Meet the Trainer Behind Natalie Portman’s Oscar-Winning Workout

Written on March 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm , by

If you saw the movie Black Swan you knew Natalie Portman was a shoe-in for the Best Actress Oscar. What you didn’t see was the intense ballet lessons and training that Natalie went through to prepare to play the perfect Swan Queen. I caught up with Natalie’s high-in-demand trainer, Mary Helen Bowers, to talk ballet, pliés, and the big win!

Mary Helen Bowers, founder of Ballet Beautiful

What are some misconceptions about ballerinas? So many people think they’re too thin, but they do have that sleek, strong body we all try to achieve!

I think the biggest misconception about a ballerina is that you have to be on an extreme diet or training regimen to sculpt that toned, graceful shape. But a ballerina’s body is an incredible combination of strength and artistry—it’s not about how thin you are. Ballerinas have a very specific, unique body shape because of the way in which we train and build muscle. This elegant yet powerful body shape is attainable for all women though! You do not have to spend hours a day in a gym or ballet studio to achieve it.

How has ballet helped shape your life?

Ballet has been a HUGE part of my life from a very young age. I just always loved dancing and when I was really young I made up my mind that I just had to dance in New York City—so I left my family in Charlotte, North Carolina when I was just 15 years old to attend the School of American Ballet in New York. The following year I was invited to join the New York City Ballet! I was just starting my junior year in high school, so it was a really exciting time. I danced with the NYCB for 10 years and then founded Ballet Beautiful, an online global studio. My first studio location opens this spring down in Soho, NYC.

Read on for Bowers’s favorite sculpting moves — plus behind-the-scenes stories from Natalie’s training! Read more

Thintervention’s Dr. Ramani Durvasala on How to End Emotional Eating

Written on February 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm , by

The doctor is in...(Photo by Paige Craig Photography)

In “Are You Normal About Food” from our March issue, more than half of the 2,400 women polled for the piece admitted to negative emotions after a binge (guilt, depression, sickness…). For more insight into this topic, we turned to a pro who has dealt with emotional eating and lost 85 pounds herself. Dr. Ramani Durvasala, the psychologist from Bravo’s Thintervention with Jackie Warner, told us about the reasons behind emotional eating and how to manage it.

How do you know if you’re an emotional eater?
First, examine how you talk about food. Do you use passionate, emotional terms like “love,” “obsessed” or “adore” to describe a certain snack or meal? I used to refer to food in that way and then I realized I don’t talk about much else that way ever—maybe just my kids!

A few other signals include eating in secret, feeling anxious or out of control around food, using food for a non-food purpose (such as a reward or a numbing tool) or not achieving success on several weight loss programs in the past.

Can it be “cured” or just “managed?”
Believe me, even after losing the weight, I still struggle everyday with emotional eating. I wish I could eat all that I want whenever I want, but I can’t. And that’s frustrating! Emotional eating is a lot like other addictions, and never really go away. It usually begins to develop in childhood, so you basically have to learn to deal with your triggers and preemptively plan to make good choices.

Read on for Dr. Durvasala’s five tips for emotional eaters…

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Meet the Trainer: Jackie Warner

Written on February 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm , by

Jackie Warner

Jackie will help you sculpt amazing abs in the March issue of FITNESS! (Photo by Sophie Pangrazzi)

Jackie Warner is no rookie when it comes to the fitness game. You may have seen her on one of her Bravo shows (Thintervention with Jackie Warner or Workout), in bookstores or, most recently, in the Express Workout in our March issue. Her gym has trained the likes of Paul McCartney, Anne Hathaway, Alanis Morisette and Kathy Griffin, not to mention all of the one-on-one clients that can’t be named!

And there’s no sign that Jackie’s tapping the brakes: She’s working on several new TV show ideas, writing two books and preparing for her next DVD. We spoke with Jackie during a few of her spare minutes to learn more about the person behind the star!

What would you say is the greatest accomplishment in you career so far?

I have to say that opening my second gym, Sky Sport, which is a phenomenal place. It was exactly the gym I wanted to open, my dream gym, and through my work and therapy center there it really motivated a lot of change for peoples lives.

We know that you push your clients hard in the gym! What move do you dread the most when you’re working out?

hate lunges so much. I incorporate lunges and variations of lunges in all the workouts for my clients and I always feel so bad for them because I dread doing lunges! That’s my least favorite exercise, but they’re so good for you. It’s working your core, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors and quads. They’re a great lower body movement, but there’s just something about them that I hate.

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Get to Know: Tre Armstrong

Written on February 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm , by

(Photo by Robin Waters)

Photo by Robin Waters

You may not know her name (yet) but Toronto-born Tre Armstrong has certainly made her mark on the dancing world. Armstrong, a choreographer and actress, has danced on Saturday Night Live, was the mastermind behind the steps in MTV’s Turn the Beat Around and is a judge on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. She’s shared moves with countless celebrities, including Jessica Alba, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs. And now Armstrong’s giving back through her new company, A New D.A.E.I., to help up and coming dancers find their feet in the industry.

We spoke with Armstrong about her Michael Jackson-influenced childhood, what makes a stand out dancer on her competition reality show and how we too, can step up our game (we’ll take any dance tips we can get)!

FITNESS: How did you get involved in the dance industry?

Tre Armstrong: It’s that old cliche, my mom said I was dancing in the womb. When I was five, my mom would play Michael Jackson’s Thriller album over and over again and I’d bounce off the walls. She thought I needed an energy outlet, so she signed me up for dance classes.

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