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Weight Loss

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.

More from FITNESS:

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:

Read more

Maria Kang Plays Defense Against the Haters (Again!) Post Facebook Ban

Written on November 27, 2013 at 11:22 am , by

No excuses mommy blogger Maria Kang got the Facebook boot this past weekend for more controversial comments. Do you think she’s in the wrong? (Photo courtesy of Maria Kang)

Maria Kang is just a mom—a mom gone viral, that is, when her ab-flaunting “What’s your excuse?” captioned photo sparked controversy and media scrutiny. Things had just died down for the Californian fitness enthusiast when she hit another nerve last week with a Facebook rant about plus-size women in lingerie.

Kang issued a warning about what she had to say, then vented her disapproval for those who encourage overweight women to be proud of their bodies. The mother of three urged her nearly 230,000 followers to change the mentality that’s sweeping the nation (sourcing multiple statistics), noting that she was not knocking those who are proud and heavy…but instead simply trying to empower healthy role models in society. Three hours later, Facebook removed her post and she was temporarily blocked from the site altogether.

“I think that everyone should love and accept their bodies,” Kang told FITNESS yesterday. “I don’t think that anyone can progress when they have a foundation of shame, so I didn’t want to seem like I was bashing them. No one should be ashamed of who they are. But there is a fine line that we’re walking, and that’s what I was talking about: When you say you love and accept yourself versus love and progress yourself.”

With two-thirds of our nation obese, $3 trillion being spent on health care, and childhood obesity on the rise, Kang believes there are multiple contributing factors tipping the scales, all in which stem from family. “Economically, it’s tougher to get good food when you’re poor,” she says. “Socially, if people around you are eating like crap and it’s normal, then it’s normalized. And culturally, if people are saying you’re okay being overweight, they keep on reinforcing this outlook.” The root of the problem, in her eyes, lies in leadership. “If the parents are healthy and they are healthy role models, then they can raise healthy kids. That’s just how it goes. It’s so simple but so hard when we live in such a blameful culture.”

So is she at fault for fat-shaming? Is the criticism warranted? According to Kang, she’s simply telling the truth and would never intend on hurting anyone’s feelings. “If you have excess body fat, especially around your midsection where your organs are, that’s not healthy for you,” she said in response to the recent backlash. “I think we should never shame anybody to lose weight. We should motivate them in a positive way, but when you say love and accept yourself, you’re creating not only a normalization, but a sedentary, complacent society.”

Although some have deemed Kang a pudge-loathing personal trainer, that’s not exactly the case. “I’m average…and nowhere near a size zero,” the former NASM-certified instructor said. She doesn’t work out for a living — her day job revolves around overseeing the ownership of two residential care homes for the elderly — but she loves volunteering her time to mommy exercise groups every Tuesday night. “I think your job is to be healthy if you’re a mom,” she added, a concept that provoked her founding of Fitness Without Borders, a community education and motivation non-profit.

So, why so passionate about the obesity epidemic? Kang, a former bulimic, witnessed first-hand the debilitating repercussions of the medical condition with her own mother. “She’s 52 years-old and has so many health issues. I work with people who are overweight by choice. I think that’s the reason why people are so pissed off; I’m telling them that they have a choice when they really want to have an excuse.”

Is it a choice? We at FITNESS believe someone can be fat but fit, and you can’t tell what’s going on with a person’s body just by the way they look. Regardless, Kang certainly knows how to stir the pot, and one thing we can totally get behind is her belief that small steps in the right direction can lead to major gains, which doesn’t happen over night. According to Kang, you have to be uncomfortable with where you are to desire change. “It’s not an all or nothing thing,” she said. “You have to take it one step at a time.”

 More from FITNESS: 

Find Your Inner Strength with John Rowley’s 52 Million Pound Challenge

Written on November 19, 2013 at 10:10 am , by

Tackle the holiday season head on with Rowley! (Photo courtesy of John Rowley’s 52 Million Pound Challenge)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

With so many weight loss programs on the market today, it doesn’t take much get started. Keeping up with it and achieving long-term results, on the other hand, often times feels like a losing battle. National fitness expert and bestselling author John Rowley recognizes this struggle, attributing it to a lack of mental and emotional connection with physical goals. And he’s ready to do something about it.

Rowley recently launched his 52 Million Pound Challenge to help North America shrink its obesity rate from the inside out. In partnering with HabitForge, the program helps each participant pinpoint a healthy habit they want to develop and hold them accountable for 21 days, inspiring behavior change that can last a lifetime. Rather than having to remember to log data each day, the program emails you a habit reminder with a simple “yes” or “no” response to track your results. After successfully maintaining a habit for three weeks, users can tackle a new one. The challenge website is also stocked with a variety of informative posts from health, fitness and lifestyle experts to keep users actively engaged with the goals they are working to accomplish.

To track North America’s progress toward health and fitness, Rowley integrated interactive maps of the United States and Canada with state and province-specific obesity statistics in the challenge website. Clicking on each location also shares how many residents are signed up for the challenge and the area’s rank regarding its weight loss success.

To jump start the program, Rowley is hosting a 12-week challenge beginning the day after Thanksgiving, and anyone ages 18 and up who signs up before November 29 can compete!

The game is simple: Each participant submits before and after photos (or a certified note of body fat lost from a personal trainer or doctor if you’re uncomfortable with sharing photos), along with a 350-word essay or 3-minute video sharing his or her inspiring story via the challenge’s Facebook page. At the end of 12 weeks, the Facebook community will select the top 25 men and women, then the official judging panel will narrow it down to 10 men and women before Facebook users select the two grand champions. Each winner receives a trip for two to St. Thomas, along with other goodies—talk about motivation to give the whole weight loss thing another go!

Will you be helping Rowley help North America lose 52 million pounds?

More from FITNESS:

Fit Blogger We Love: Knead to Cook

Written on September 5, 2013 at 10:43 am , by

Robin and her hubby after the speedster pounded the Maine pavement for the Beach to Beacon 10K in August.

Need to stir up your go-to healthy eats? Robin over at Knead to Cook has what you crave—muffins, cookies, pies, you name it—without the guilt. And whoa, it shows! The fit mom who sticks to an impressive six-day workout regimen (three days running, the other three hitting the gym for cardio and lifting) cut down on sugar and recently lost over 30 pounds, making major PR strides. We’ll have what she’s having! From lightened-up, homestyle Italian dishes to perfect pre- and post-workout fuel (check out her addictive No-Bake Energy Balls below), this gal cozies you up to her table like you’re a part of the family and proves that nutritious cuisine can taste good, too.

My favorite way to workout: Running, especially in the fall and winter. I’m definitely a cold-weather runner.

My biggest motivators: My two daughters. I want them to look at me as an inspiration for what is possible. They shouldn’t use age as an excuse—ever!

My favorite fit snack: Non-fat Cabot cottage cheese. It’s packed with protein and I mix it with Justin’s almond butter; it’s such a treat! I cannot get enough of it.

Motivational mantra: “No one ever drowned in his own sweat,” by Ann Landers. I actually have it written on the chalkboard wall in my kitchen and I look at it every single day.

My “I did it” moment: Even after running a marathon, my biggest “I did it” moment was recently, at the Beach to Beacon 10K, when I ran it in 49:01. That’s my fastest race time yet, thanks to my recent 31-pound weight loss.

These little protein-packed nuggets are highly sought after at Robin’s daughter’s swim meets—and for good reason. Sweet, tasty and filling!

 

No-Bake Energy Balls

  • 1 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c almond butter (or whatever nut butter you have in your pantry)
  • 1/2 c flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 c + 1 /4 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

 

Mix together in a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Remove and roll into balls. (Robin uses a small scooper!) Place in an airtight container to refrigerate for 5-7 days, although they will most likely be long gone before that!

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

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

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.

Fit Blogger We Love: Cherie Runs This

Written on March 14, 2013 at 9:45 am , by

Cherie lost 82 pounds and is now a certified personal trainer!

The fit woman you see at right, Cherie, used to weigh 230 pounds. Can you believe it?! We hardly could, until she shared her amazing transformation story with us for the April issue (on newsstands now). Flip to page 16 to learn more about the amazing moment that motivated her weight-loss journey and how she went from struggling to walk up the stairs to finishing a half-marathon.

For now, keep reading for a few details about the inspiring woman behind the tip-packed blog, Cherie Runs This!

My gym bag must-have:  iPod Shuffle, weight lifting gloves, protein powder, water bottle and my Polar heart rate monitor!
I can’t live without… My baby blanket, cell phone, coffee and my family.
My biggest indulgence: Crusty French bread with real butter. The perfect part of my cheat meal!
My favorite way to work out: Weight lifting and running.
My fitness mantra: “Suck it up so you don’t have to suck it in.” That phrase gets me through my workout each time!

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

More from FITNESS:

Harley Pasternak on Losing Weight Fast (As in This Week)

Written on March 12, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

When looking for a blender, keep in mind Harley’s top tip: Make sure it can crush ice.

Megan Fox. Jennifer Hudson. Amanda Seyfried. Katy Perry. Those are just a few of the celebs trainer Harley Pasternak has whipped into A-list shape. Here at FITNESS, we’ve been getting a lot of Harley time lately (lucky us!). Not only is he the newest member of our advisory board, he recently treated us to an exclusive staff workout to talk about his latest collaboration with New Balance with the New Balance 5 Factor997 for cross-training and his latest book The Body Reset Diet, which helps you lose weight fast (we’re talking five days fast) in a healthy, non-cleansing or detoxing way. See what Harley had to say about his new program below (spoiler–it involves quitting the gym!) and find out why if you don’t already have one, you should go get yourself a blender ASAP!

What prompted you to create this new plan for The Body Reset Diet?

I finally understood the sense of urgency women have in wanting to see a difference in the way they look and feel. They don’t want it to take weeks, they want to see a change this week. It made me realize that I need to offer them a healthy option to quickly drop weight and transform their body. I wanted to talk them out of doing cleanses and using diuretics and show them that there is a healthy way you can lose weight and feel great.

In the book, you map out a three-phase plan to slim down that incorporates smoothies in each phase. What are some common myths you’ve heard in the past from your clients about smoothies?

People definitely don’t know the difference between blending and juicing. They think blending is for body builders and they are all just forms of protein shakes packed with calories that bulk you up. But that’s wrong. Believe it or not, a fresh cold pressed apple juice can have twice the calories of an entire blended meal and four times the sugar! Read more

Food Network Gina Neely’s New Healthy Lifestyle

Written on February 20, 2013 at 9:02 am , by

Neely made a few healthy eating swaps and dropped 20lbs in 12 weeks! (Photo courtesy of Spectrum Brand Holidngs, Inc.)

Written by Rachel Torgerson, editorial intern

Anyone who watches Down Home with the Neelys on the Food Network knows that Gina Neely likes buttery, southern cooking.  So when we heard that she was participating in George Foreman’s Weight Loss Challenge—a 12-week food and exercise plan complete with week-by-week grocery lists—we were more than curious to see how it would pan out. Fast-forward twelve weeks later and Gina’s lost 20 lbs and gained a new, healthy lifestyle. We chatted with her about what changes she’s made (and sticking to!), her favorite recipes and even her Billy Blanks workout tapes.

What inspired you to make these changes in your life?

I think it was just when I went to the doctor and got my physical. She told me my cholesterol was getting a little high. I just said, “You know what? I’ve got to start changing that!” This is my body and if I’m not going to be good to it, it’s not going to be good to me. I said to my girls, “If I don’t do this and make time for myself, if you need me, I’m not going to be around.” And that’s just a really serious part of it: making sure that you’re healthy for your loved ones.

Was it hard to start the challenge?

The first week and a half I noticed my pants fitting a little looser and I was like, “Hey, hey, hey!” I was already doing little things like taking the bun off of my burger, but sticking to the challenge really helped me see the results. I lost 20 lbs and 12 inches by the end.

On the show and in your restaurants, you’re surrounded by food constantly. How do you stay focused and motivated?

When I’m in the restaurant, I’m around food a lot, so it’s kind of just picking at it and filling up. The George Foreman helped me stop doing that so much because it’s a fast meal, as opposed to a bunch of chopping. Because after doing that all day, you don’t want to put effort into dinner; you’re over it. The grill cleans up easy, it makes cooking fun and my girls can use it.

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