Written on February 20, 2013 at 9:02 am , by FITNESS Intern
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.
Written on January 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Weight and body image issues are struggles we can all relate to. Sharing these feelings of insecurity candidly with the world? Well, that’s a whole different ball game. One of our favorite bloggers, Ashley, isn’t afraid to open up about a fluctuating scale and her fit trial and errors. Plus, like us, she adores Coffee Cake and Cardio—I mean, who doesn’t?
The former powerlifter and collegiate student-athlete has wrestled with pesky pounds since she was a kid but has embraced Weight Watchers, running, professional football—she plays on the DC Divas—among a variety of other workouts to reach her goal weight. Every day, Ashley motivates her readers by inviting them to witness her journey. Her recipes and sweaty tales are icing on the [coffee] cake! As her blog says, “Every person has a story, a beautiful story…just take a minute to listen.” Read on to hear more about Ashley and how life as a newlywed has changed her healthy ambitions.
My favorite way to work out: My favorite machine at the gym is the Arc Trainer by Cybex. That machine will give you a TOTAL body workout. If I’m looking for a heart rate-raising, sweat-inducing workout then the Arc Trainer is the way to go. My favorite class, however, is spin. I love going into the class knowing that no matter what, I will leave the class feeling great and having burned a lot of calories. Fear not, it is a great workout!
My fave fit snack: I recently started juicing and it has quickly become my favorite go-to snack. There’s just something about a glass of apple, orange, carrot and ginger juice. I’ve tried all different combinations, but that one is my favorite so far. It’s a refreshing and filling snack that is perfect for the three slump.
My “I Did It” moment: In 2010 I ran the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN with Team in Training. Just four years earlier, I could not run for more than three minutes at a time and weighed 261 pounds. The morning of the race I wrote a note to myself inside of my visor stating, “Do this for you! You have come so far and deserve to enjoy every moment of this run.” Running does not come easy for me, but running intervals and being patient with myself helped me to build the endurance to run a half marathon.
My biggest motivator/My motivation comes from: My motivation changes year to year but as a newlywed, my motivation is to get close to my goal weight before having children. I want to be as healthy as possible before getting pregnant. Even though I do not have children, I already feel my motivation shifting to them and wanting to be healthier for my family.
Olympic sport I’d love to try: As a former powerlifter, I still think it would be amazing to train to compete in the Olympics. On the flip side though, how cool would it be to curling?
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written on October 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Change is a big part of life, whether or not we like it, don’t you think? Sometimes, though, change can be a great thing. That’s what Cynthia decided back in 2006, when she decided that life at over 270 pounds was unacceptable and she deserved to be happy. So she made little changes and day by day, she dropped the weight. In fact, she’s lost 115 pounds and now lives a happy, healthy life! Sure, there are still every day struggles, but Cynthia openly blogs about them on It All Changes. And that’s why we love her - without the struggles, there wouldn’t be triumph! Keep reading to found out more about her successes and why we love cheering her on.
My biggest indulgence: An allergy-free treat from Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia. My mom lives near there and it’s one place I know I can get a dessert and not worry about my allergies.
Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: I have a lot of 80′s music that I work out to. The most embarrassing is “Get Down On It,” by Kool and the Gang. I always rock out to it when I’m doing squats and lunges.
My “I Did It” moment: Running a 5K after major back surgery. My doctors said I probably wouldn’t be able to do it, but I worked hard in physical therapy and was given the OK to go for it. I ran even better than I did in my first 5K!
Olympic sport I’d love to try: Skeleton. It combines my love for insanity by jumping head first down an ice course, and I’d need to work my core to steer and prevent a crash. Sounds like a thrill, plus you get a fun helmet.
My fitness mantra: “You can either throw in the towel, or use it to wipe the sweat off your face.” A friend told me this several years back and it has kept me moving and working through many ups and downs.
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave us a comment below or email email@example.com
Written on September 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm , by FITNESS Intern
By Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern
Today, two organizations that campaign against the obesity epidemic in America have released statistics that point to a dark and unhealthy future. According to the Associated Press, this new report predicts that by 2030, the obesity (not just overweight) rate in 39 states will be over 50 percent. Let that sink in. The two organizations, Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation used data collected by the CDC and other governmental sources and examined trends to make these predictions.
What’s even more stunning is that the obesity rate in the other 11 states and the capitol will be just under 50 percent, with Colorado coming in as the lightest state at 45 percent, and Washington, D.C. coming in at a cool 33 percent by 2030. Mississippi tops the list with a 67 percent obesity rate by 2030. According to the report by Trust for America’s Health, the national cost of treating the diseases stemming from this level of obesity will be a staggering $66 billion per year.
One-third of Americans are currently obese, and the CDC predicts that as a nation, a full 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030. The question is how can Americans turn the tide on this catastrophic number?
Now you tell us: What do you think is the most important factor in slowing America’s rising obesity rates?
Written on September 6, 2012 at 9:56 am , by Karla Walsh
One of the best things about our digital age is how small it makes the world feel. Just a decade or two ago, it may have been tricky to connect with UK resident Dannii of Hungry Healthy Happy (requested by you, her fans, as an individual to feature on a previous Fit Blogger We Love post!). But when we reached out to her just days ago, we heard back within minutes. Awesome news for us, since we could hardly wait to hear how she was able to drop nearly 100 pounds!
Read on for success secrets from this clean eating fan who inspires readers worldwide.
My “I did it” moment: Winning the mental battle that comes along with losing weight. One day everything just “clicked.” I realized that eating didn’t have to be a battle. I didn’t have to deprive myself and I could still enjoy the foods I loved every now and then. Working out didn’t have to be a chore, I just needed to find the workouts that I enjoyed and looked forward to doing. Of course there are still days when I don’t want to get up at 6 a.m. to hit the gym and other days where I want to eat a giant pizza (I’m human), but giving myself permission to sometimes skip a workout and indulge in a pizza was pretty liberating. I have found balance, happiness and health, to me that means that “I did it.”
My favorite fit snack: I am a big snacker—that is something that hasn’t really changed since I have lost 98 pounds—but what I snack on has changed. I definitely have a sweet tooth, so I get creative in the kitchen and create healthy snacks that taste like chocolate cake, but don’t come with all the calories, like these healthy chocolate fudgey brownies. You would never know they were healthy and only 135 calories a slice!
Written on August 17, 2012 at 11:00 am , by Colleen Travers
Ali Landry has been kicking it up a notch at the gym. As a mother of two (daughter Estela was born in 2007 and her son Marcelo 10 months ago), she and hubby Alejandro Monteverde are planning a little getaway to Hawaii. “I have 7 pounds of baby weight left, and I’m on a mission to get them off!” she told us when chatting recently about her latest partnership with Hershey’s Simple Pleasures. Read on to see Landry’s baby weight plan of attack, her diet and why she’d never give up her chocolate. (That’s out kind of gal!)
As a mom of two, you must have a routine you use to lose the baby weight. What is it?
While I was pregnant both times, I worked out through the pregnancy. It really helped not only physically but mentally as well. But once I had the kids, I made sure to not feel pressured to drop the baby weight immediately. Our society is a little crazy with that, with all the magazine covers of celebrities getting back into a bikini three weeks after giving birth–I am just not one of those people! It’s a little unrealistic, and the average person does not bounce back that quickly. People also claim you lose weight nursing, but I nursed both of my kids and felt like a linebacker! I just made sure to eat healthy and drink water constantly. Even with that, once I finished nursing Estela, I had 10 pounds left to lose. With Marcelo, I have 7. I think that’s just the way my body is built.
What kind of exercises did you do while pregnant?
I did mostly the same workouts I normally do, just less intense. I ran in the beginning and then switched to the elliptical for cardio. For strength training I did a lot on the BOSU ball which was great because it worked more than one muscle at a time. Read more
Written on August 7, 2012 at 11:26 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Laura Cofsky, editorial intern
With so many studies on the consequences of excess fat making the news, it’s no wonder obesity has become a hot button issue. After all, no one wants an increased risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. And to make matters worse, experts predict 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030!
To combat what looks like a very gloomy forecast, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has proposed that all adults be examined for obesity during routine checkups. Our height and weight are already taken, but the USPSTF recommends doctors also calculate BMI; then discuss weight loss plans with patients who have a BMI over 30.
The upside? It may help patients realize potential lifestyle changes are needed, and help is available. In fact, the new proposal could lead to reimbursement for weight loss treatments, such as counseling.
However, it seems a bit shortsighted to make the conversation just about weight loss. There are some health problems that contribute to excess weight, and taking such a quick-fix approach may do more harm then good. After all, many of us know people who “look” healthy, but still engage in very unhealthy activities.
Now you tell us: How would you feel if your doctor started taking BMI measurements?
Written on July 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
With a seal of approval from the FDA yesterday, brand new diet drug Qsymia promises to help people shed unwanted pounds. Right now, it’s only approved for people who are not only overweight, but struggle with an accompanying condition such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Taking a pill sounds like an easy solution, but here at FITNESS, we believe in a prescription of exercise and healthy eating habits. We wanted to know if our Twitter followers felt the same way, so we asked them: Would you take a pill to make weight loss easier?
@KateSchlag: Research proves it–there’s no quick fix for weight loss. Not even in a pill.
@redcurlgurl: No. I like to lose weight the old fashioned way with diet and exercise. I want to earn those “You look great!” compliments.
@Trhi10: We need more whole foods and less pills; it’s another Band-aid.
@xtinamcknight: They also approve of highly processed death trap food like McDonald’s. So thanks, but no thanks.
Now tell us: What do you think about the FDA approving Qsymia?
Written on July 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm , by Samantha Shelton
- 30, Newport, Michigan
Tired of being overweight, Katie hit the point where she was ready to drop the extra weight – for good. Shedding 125 pounds from her frame through small, realistic changes and blogging about it at Runs for Cookies, her story was even showcased on Dr. Oz! She shared her secrets to success with us, and filled us in on what running time she’s gunning for next.
Fit Wish “I would love to run a half-marathon in under two hours. My current personal record (PR) is 2:02.57, so I’m close. I know that I have a sub-2:00 in me, I just have to work hard to make it happen!”
Life Lesson “Through my journey, I learned that it’s very important not to make any changes you aren’t willing to live with forever. I knew that working out 6 days a week for two hours each time, or living on 1,200 calories a day, wasn’t something I would stick with for life, so I didn’t try to reach my goals that way. I shaped my exercise and diet around my life, rather than shaping my life around them.”
Craving Kick “So I don’t go crazy, I usually eat a portion of whatever it is that I really want. I tend to crave desserts, and I find that eating a sweet treat every day keeps my cravings under control. I plan it out in advance, so I have something to look forward to.
Written on July 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm , by Karla Walsh
- 34, Marietta, Georgia
One hundred pounds down, elementary school teacher Jennifer is learning to maintain the healthy weight she achieved through Weight Watchers. She started It Sux to Be Fat to stay accountable (Jennifer posts weekly weigh-ins) and share her secrets to success.
Dessert Do “Instead of having the full-fat version of a dessert, I choose a healthier or portion-controlled version like Weight Watchers ice cream bars. That way, I can indulge my sweet tooth and satisfy cravings without overdoing it on calories.”
Motivation Must “My future family inspires me to stay on track with my diet. I want to get pregnant some day soon, and I know that the healthier I am, the easier that process will be!”
Best Breakfasts “Quaker Weight Control Instant Oatmeal is fast, easy and keeps me satisfied for hours. I also love Greek yogurt for the protein punch.”