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?
- 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.
- 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.”
We know you’re a busy girl with a lot of things to cross off that to-do list. When you’re crunched for time, what’s the first health factor that gets short-changed? Sleep. But Bob Greene, famously known as Oprah’s trainer, wants you to pause before deciding to skip out on those z’s. After all, they may be the key to your weight loss success. Greene chatted with us to explain why sleep is so important, then let us in on how Oprah’s slimming down these days.
What are the important concepts expressed in your book, 20 Years Younger?
The book is a strong exercise program geared toward anti-aging. I’ve never been a fan of “diets”—that’s perceived as a temporary way of eating. I’m about a lifestyle change. Here I explain that when you get a solid amount of exercise, be mindful of what you put in your body nutrition-wise, take care of your skin and get enough sleep, you’re going to be so much happier.
Out of those four things, what do you see sacrificed most?
Sleep is most ignored by people, but it’s tied to everything.
Sleep is so much more important than we ever give credit. When you’re not getting adequate sleep, and most people aren’t, it increases your risk of virtually every known ailment. It’s the easiest thing to fix, so you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to do that.
But what’s the big deal if you miss some beauty sleep?
If you’re not sleeping, the hormone that’s responsible for laying down belly fat spikes, so it’s intimately tied to weight gain. If you don’t want it to spike and protect your body from being more prone to multiple diseases, then you need sleep.
Keep reading to find out all about Greene’s experience training Oprah!
Remember the oldie-but-goodie film, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?” That was a great flick. So we can’t help but smile every time we type Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen into our search bar, waiting to hop onto Gretchen’s blog and catch up on her weight loss journey. From the fun, witty adventures to the serious, self-reflective posts, she knows how to entertain us while keeping it real. We wanted to find out more about this blogger’s must-haves, so we went straight to the source. Read on to find out what keeps her motivated and what indulgences she still struggles with today.
My favorite way to work out: With variety! When I first started to get healthy, I tried to force myself into long distance running because I thought that’s what I needed to do in order to be “healthy.” Turns out, I don’t really like running! So while I recognize the need for cardio for my overall weight loss and fitness goals, I’m much better at maintaining a regular workout schedule if there’s a lot of variety involved. Now I switch it up between short runs, weight training and fun classes, like Zumba!
My fave fit snack: In between meals, I’m a huge fan of the peanut butter/almond butter and celery or apple slices combo. You get a little sugar to energize you, a little fiber to keep you full and some delicious, filling healthy fats to stave off hunger. Win-win-win!
My biggest indulgence: As much as I love to cook, I also tend to eat out a lot. I’m a huge foodie and love trying new restaurants, and it’s difficult for me to pass up the pastas, steaks and creamy, dreamy dishes when I do. I’m really working on finding the balance in eating out without always overindulging because I don’t believe you should have to completely give up something you love in the name of health.
5 things I can’t live without: My family (we’re super close), sushi (it’s my favorite!), my iPhone (how did we exist before smart phones?), Harry Potter (confession: I am a huge nerd), and my two amazing miniature schnauzers, Harry and Daxter.
My motivation comes from: My blog, funnily enough! I weighed 246 when I started it, but didn’t have any kind of “Eureka!” moment where I saw a photo or someone said something that made me decide to change my life and get healthy. I simply said, “I want to start a weight loss blog.” A year and a half and 60 pounds later, it’s my blog that keeps me going. Having that accountability that writing every day provides, as well as the amazing support of my readers, has really been the key to making it all stick this time around.
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email us at email@example.com
Love is in the air and the hunt is on for the perfect gift for your Valentine. Whether it’s for someone you’re newly dating or your spouse of many years, a good present can mean a lot. You’ll also never live down a bad present, so it’s important to get it right!
If your honey is trying to lose a few lbs, you may be thinking that a gym membership or a few workout DVDs would make for a perfect gift. Unfortunately, recipients might read this gesture as “honey, I think you need to spend more time on the treadmill” or “I love you, but I don’t love your love handles.”
There are a few health-minded gifts that we wouldn’t mind unwrapping, like:
- A spa gift card
- Dinner for two at a nice restaurant with healthy options
- Dark chocolate
- Red wine
But just remember to watch your step if you opt for goodies that don’t say, “I love you just the way you are!” (And a final hint to guys out there: We love our Spanx, but we can take care of that investment on our own.)
Now tell us: Will you have health in mind during your Valentine’s Day shopping? What is the best gift you’ve ever received on February 14?
By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach, SparkPeople.com
Lori, a client of mine, recently called me angry, upset and discouraged. She had just returned from her yearly physical, which she had been eagerly anticipating. Even though she hadn’t reached her weight-loss goal, Lori had made many lifestyle changes to promote good health: She had begun exercising on a regular basis, made some subtle shifts in her dietary habits that made her feel better, and had even begun a weekly yoga/meditation class to manage stress.
The results of the physical demonstrated her efforts had been paying off. Her blood pressure was in the normal level for the first time in years, her blood sugars had dropped, and her cholesterol profile had greatly improved. However, once the exam was complete and she was sitting with her physician in his office, rather than commenting on the improvements, he stated, “Lori, I was really hoping you would have dropped a lot more weight since our last visit. If you don’t get serious about taking off the extra pounds, your risk of early disease will continue. Have you tried dieting?”
There is a presumption that if an individual is overweight they are also unhealthy. Research clearly supports that being overweight is a major health risk factor, contributing to an increase in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and many types of cancer. So can we assume that if you are hauling around extra pounds that classify you as overweight, it will destine you to a future filled with illness and disease?
Not necessarily. An intense debate has emerged in the last few years amongst obesity researchers, asking the question, “Can people be overweight but still be healthy?” Is the number on the scale the only thing that counts, or should we take other factors into consideration? Scientists are now dueling over the relative importance of “fatness vs. fitness” when it comes to determining the health of an overweight individual.
A small but vocal group of researchers have been…
And then tell us below: Are you or do you know someone who is overweight but in better health than a skinny person? What are your opinions on if an overweight person can be healthy?
More from SparkPeople:
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Two tablespoons of tomato sauce on a slice of pizza = a serving of veggies? — ABC News
- Why many docs skirt around issues related to the scale. — NPR
- This is one mindfulness exercise we’re happy to try any time. Why? One word: Chocolate! — Vital Juice
- Grab your apron and cook up these healthier versions of Thanksgiving crowd-pleasers! — Divine Caroline
- Even Olympians struggle with making healthy choices sometimes. Here’s how they get back on track. — Yahoo! Shine
- Get more bang for your burn! Try these nine fitness tricks from a few of the country’s up-and-coming trainers. — Chicago Tribune
Written by Alyssa Belanger, editorial intern
Following in the footsteps of Madonna, Cher and Beyonce, a popular diet plan is now just known by its first name—Jenny—and teaming up with another big name: Mariah!
Last week, Carey, the best-selling female music artist of all time, announced her partnership with the diet program formerly known as Jenny Craig. In the past four months, the new mom of twins has lost 30 pounds (with the program—70 since she gave birth) and is feeling as proud of her body as ever.
During her pregnancy, Carey was uncomfortable with the extra weight she had put on. “I used to feel comfortable being naked—not in public, of course!—but with the weight I didn’t feel good being naked anymore,” she said at a press conference announcing the partnership. After her weight gain and before starting her health makeover, Carey wouldn’t even let hubby Nick Cannon see her bathing nude.
Today, Carey is back to her curvaceous, confident self! She admitted that losing the weight was not easy at first, due to adjusting to life as a mom and required time off from exercise, but thanks to her personal drive and some help from the people at Jenny, Carey says she was able to make simple lifestyle changes to get back to a healthy weight.
So, how is the mom of two keeping the weight off? In addition to following the Jenny program, Carey is enjoying spending time with her twins Monroe and Moroccan Scott in the pool.
More from FITNESS:
- Top Moves to Get Your After-Baby Body, Fast!
- Omega-3: The Must-Have Nutrient for Moms
- The Truth About Your Body After Baby
When I interviewed Olivia and Hannah for September’s cover story (the issue hits newsstands today), I had no idea how inspirational these girls truly were! They had enough advice to fill our entire magazine. Here’s just a few things I learned from my favorite purple team:
Taking care of yourself is taking care of others.
Olivia: “I like to micromanage everything and everyone and I think that stems from being the oldest of four kids. I’ve always liked taking care of everyone else and making sure my life and everyone else’s was going smoothly and as organized as can be. After years and years of being in the driver’s seat, I had forgotten about taking care of myself. It was too exhausting at the end of the day. Eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, was the one thing that I used to treat myself. Like if I wanted ice cream, well I’m going to have ice cream because that’s what I want. In my mind, it didn’t matter because it didn’t affect anyone else, so I could be out of control and go off plan. But in reality, I wasn’t being the best sister, wife or friend I could be because I couldn’t get this under control.”
Believe that you CAN do.
Olivia: “I used to like being perfect and when I couldn’t be, and couldn’t fix something immediately, I’d get frustrated very easily. I think my past diets didn’t work for me because I’d always start and think of how far I have to go and get easily overwhelmed, so I’d quit before I’d even begun. I wasn’t allowing myself to change my thinking and believe in myself. This time around I realized it’s all about the small goals. I learned then the power of setting small, manageable goals and making one smart choice at a time. Now if I’m having doubts or wanting to quit a tough workout, I think ‘just go five minutes.’ Like when things get tough during a Spin class, I’ll tell myself ‘just get through this song and you’ll be okay’ and I am. Believing that you can do something will make you actually do it.”
There is no quick-fix to a healthy body.
Hannah: “I always wanted a quick fix for what I had done to my body for so many years, but I was looking at the end result instead of paying attention to the right now and what can be done today. I’ve learned weight-loss isn’t a program, because those come to an end, it’s a lifestyle that you have to choose to live little by little everyday.”
Want to know more about what it’s like after leaving the show? Here’s what the girls have to say in our Q&A: Read more