Believe in Yourself. You Can Do It !

It takes 4 weeks to see your body changing.

Try this delicious weight loss drink

Visit our weight loss pins on Pinterest by clicking on the tab above and learn how to make it at home.

Eliminate your body fat

Reduce foods high in sugar to flush the fat right off.

Keep the calories down at Starbucks

Get your buzz without the high sugar.

Frozen Greek Yogurt With Fruit

The protein in Greek Yogurt helps reduce your hunger cravings.

Return to La Pappa Organics Main Website

Return to La Pappa Organics Main Website
Click image to return to La Pappa Organics

3 Steps to Avoid Gaining Weight this Thanksgiving

It’s just around the corner and you know your mom will be pulling out the stops in the kitchen. It happens every year at Thanksgiving, right?!
Be proud of the steps you’ve already made and take the lead in this battle by trying these three tips to avoid gaining weight this year. Stay focused and hopefully the hecticness of the holiday and the alluring spread of food will be easier to navigate.

Before the Meal

Eat breakfast. Remember, breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day. Start the holiday off right. Plus showing up starving doesn’t usually lead to making smart choices. Be thankful for a brand new day by starting it off with breakfast.

During the Meal

Fill your plate with Full Plate Superfoods. Try for at least 3 or 4 and eat them first. Want to impress your family? Take a tasty dish filled with Superfoods from our Pinterest Board: Holiday Eats & Treats Board.

After the Meal

Get off your rear! Don’t give in to sleepiness. Go for a stroll, play catch with a football, set up horseshoes, pull out an active game like Twister, or play hip charades. You’ll be amazed how much fun the whole family will have instead of sitting around the tube with their eyes half rolled back.


Experts endorse nutrient-packed pine nuts for weight loss, healthy heart

Nutritionists from Washington recently announced the significant role of pine nuts in ensuring health and wellness over and above their value as a flavoring ingredient in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines. Results of a series of independent scientific analyses of its components revealed that the popular spice is packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Among the many health benefits which may be derived from sufficient amounts of pine nuts in the diet are: anti-oxidative properties against aging; more energy for daily activities; enhanced immunity to diseases; good eyesight; strong bones; and as a feel-good food. Additionally, research evidence suggests that its fat content is heart-friendly, and that eating these nuts facilitates weight loss, promotes normal blood circulation, and is good for the nervous system.

Nutritional Highlights of Pine Nuts

Experts in natural medicine, including educators Dr. Michael Murray and Dr. Joseph Pizzorino, maintained that a hundred grams of the European pine nuts called pignoli delivers 24 grams of protein. This amount is by far the highest among nuts and seeds. Pine nuts are also excellent sources of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, D and E, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, and zinc. The European variety also contains less fat in monosaturated form, fiber, and carbohydrates than the American species of pine nuts called pinons. These nuts also contain lutein, pinoleic acid, and free radicals.

Health Effects of Vitamins and Nutrients in Pine Nuts

Proteins help build, repair, and maintain body tissues and are a major component of the brain, hair, nails, nerves, other internal organs, and the skin. About a normal cup of pine nuts serves half of the body's daily requirement for proteins. Meanwhile, vitamin E is an antioxidant which neutralizes free radicals that hasten the aging process. As an anti-oxidant, pine nuts also protect body cells and the cell membrane from lipid peroxidation by the action of reactive oxygen species.

Vitamins A and B1, together with the xanthophyll, lutein, are found in pine nuts and contribute to good eyesight. Vitamin B1 aids in developing stronger nerves and normalizes the heartbeat. It also serves as an energy and memory booster, brain conditioner, stress reliever and infection buster. Vitamins B2 and B3 team up with pinoleic acid in pine nuts which is essential for metabolism and the breakdown of fats for weight loss. Vitamin C is an excellent immunity builder against infections.

The iron in pine nuts works wonders for the circulatory and nervous systems. Additionally, the monosaturated fat in these nuts is good for cardiac health, fights stubborn belly fat, and lowers blood cholesterol levels.

The host of other nutrients present in pine nuts completes a balanced diet for health and wellness. Incidentally, the top producers of pine nuts are Spain and Italy, but the wonder nuts are widely available in the US and Mexico.

In Closing: Pine Nuts - Not Your Typical Edible Nut

On the whole, pine nuts make up a healthy respite from the stereotypical hazard tagged for most edible nuts. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that get your system going. Indeed, pine nuts are one of the few fine nuts you wouldn't want to leave out for a healthy diet!

Weight loss aided by texting

If the idea of keeping a food and exercise diary keeps you from joining a weight-loss program, there may be a better way - texting.
Research shows that when people keep track of their diet and exercise habits, they do better at losing weight. But sticking with detailed monitoring of what you eat and your exercise habits electronically or via traditional pen and paper can prove cumbersome. If people stop doing it, they may stop losing weight.
Tracking this information through text messages could save time and improve the likelihood of people sticking with their get-healthy routine, say researchers at Duke University.
Their study, published in the online edition of the Journal of Medical Internet Research, found that after six months, 26 obese women who used daily texting as part of the Shape Plan weight-loss intervention lost nearly 3 pounds, while another 24 who followed traditional methods gained 2 1/2 pounds. The average age of participants was 38.
The daily text messages focused on tracking tailored behavioral goals (i.e., no sugary drinks, 10,000 steps per day) along with brief feedback and tips.
Every morning, participants got a text from an automated system that said, "Please text yesterday's # of steps you walked, # of sugary drinks, and if you ate fast food." Based on how they responded to the text, the automated system sent another text with personalized feedback and a tip.
"Text messaging has become ubiquitous and may be an effective method to simplify tracking of diet and exercise behaviors," said lead author Dori Steinberg, a post-doctoral obesity researcher in the Duke Obesity Prevention Program.
Text messaging offers several advantages compared to other self-monitoring methods, she said:
  • Unlike Web-based diet and exercise diaries, data in a text message can be entered quickly on nearly all mobile phone platforms. This provides more portability, nearly real-time tracking and more accessibility for receiving tailored feedback.
  • Previous studies show that long-term adherence to traditional monitoring is poor, possibly because they are time- and labor-intensive, require extensive numeracy and literacy skills, and can be perceived as burdensome.
  • Text messaging has been conventionally limited to about 15-20 words per message, thus reducing the detail and cognitive load that is required for documenting diet and exercise behaviors.
The study primarily focused on helping obese black women lose weight (82 percent of participants were black). Researchers said that's because 59 percent of black women are obese, and many use cell phones. This combination makes text messaging a good way to reach this high-risk population.
About half of participants texted every day throughout the six-month program, with 85 percent texting at least two days per week. Most participants reported that texting was easy, and helped them meet their goals.
The key challenge in weight loss is helping people keep weight off for the long-term. So the next step is to see if texting can help people maintain their weight loss.
"Given the increasing utilization of mobile devices, text messaging may be a useful tool for weight loss, particularly among populations most in need of weight-loss treatment," Steinberg said.


How Diet Choices Help Weight Loss and Weight Management

Whether you are an athlete or a couch potato losing body fat and maintaining a weight lose is not an easy thing to do. Anyone wanting to lose weight needs to reduce calorie intake and/or increase energy expenditure. It's simple math. But is there a way to decrease calories without feeling hungry? Barbara Rolls, a food nutrition researcher at Pennsylvania State University, offers the following tips.
Eat Some Protein
Research shows different foods and nutrients affect how full and satisfied people feel. For example, a number of studies indicate that calories-for-calorie, protein makes a person feel more full than carbohydrates or fats. This suggests that eating adequate lean protein can help control hunger and food intake.
Eat More Fiber
Additionally, dietary fiber has been shown to affect the feeling of being full and food intake. Research shows that eating an additional 14 grams of fiber per day is associated with a 10 percent decrease in calorie intake and a loss of body weight of a four pounds in four months. Eating more high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a nutritionally sound way to not feel as hungry when reducing calorie intake. (Note: increase fiber gradually to avoid stomach upset, gas and diarrhea.)
About Energy Density of Food
In addition to nutrients such as protein and fiber, the energy content of food, gram for gram, also affects how full we feel. The term for this is energy density, which is simply the amount of calories in a gram of food. The relationship between the weight of food and its calories content is largely based upon the amount of water in the food. Water adds weight but not calories, so the higher the water content the lower the energy density.
Studies consistently show that over the course of a day or two, a person eats about the same weight of food. On average, the weight of food eaten is more constant than the daily calorie intake. So if you eat the same amount (by weight) of food, but lower the calories in each portion, you will consume fewer calories. Studies also indicate that you don't even miss the calories and feel just as full as the high calorie day.
Low Energy Density Eating Tips
  • Eat more water-rich fruits, vegetables, and soups
  • Add fruit to breakfast cereal
  • Choose fresh fruit for snacks
  • Add more vegetables to pizza, stir-fry, and pasta dishes
  • Include a tossed green salad with lunch and dinner
  • Choose broth-based soups before meals or as a meal
  • Increase fiber intake by eating more high-fiber cereal, whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.
  • Limit intake of dry foods
  • Limit consumption of dry foods such as pretzels and crackers, as they are dense in calories and are easy to overeat
  • Drink water, low-calorie or calorie-free beverages such as fruit juice diluted with seltzer, diet soft drinks, etc.
  • For snacks, "liquid foods" such as vegetable cocktails and drinks containing protein, such as those based on milk, are good choices to increase the feeling of fullness.
Must Reads

  • Research - How Many Calories are In Foods You Eat?
  • Plan - How Many Calories Does Exercise Burn?
  • Calculate - What is Your Body Mass Index (BMI)?

To learn more check out Volumetrics: Feel Full on Fewer Calories by Barbara Rolls. Volumetrics discusses the science of satiety; what researchers know about food choices that help us feel full. Learn how to eat low-calorie, high-volume foods so you feel full even though you've eaten fewer calories. You'll lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived.


20 Ways to Win at Losing Weight

The pure mathematics of weight loss is simple—eat less, move more—but if knowing that were all it took, everyone would be in great shape. Los Angeles–based personal trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels have been helping to define the bodies of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Ellen DeGeneres, and Laura Dern, and they've also changed the lives of contestants on NBC's weight loss reality show, The Biggest Loser. Michaels is co-owner of Sky Sport and Spa. Here's what they know about diet and fitness success.

1. There's no one secret to being thin.
Losing weight and keeping it off, says Jillian Michaels, "requires a holistic approach that combines proper diet, good workouts, knowing why you overeat, and understanding how to push yourself toward change." The desire to change, she adds, really has to come from inside. "Sometimes you've got to have hit bottom, like realizing you can't play tag with your kids without getting out of breath," Jillian says. "If you're not ready for something new, no matter what you try, it's not going to work."

2. Don't blame your genes.
Yes, everyone is built differently, and some of us gain weight more easily than others. But "to say, 'I can't make any improvement because I have fat genes' is b.s.," says Jillian. "It's not true, and it's disempowering. No matter what your genes are, you have the ability to make the right choices about eating and exercise."

3. Cut yourself some slack.
The main thing is to make peace with your body before you try to change it, says Bob Harper. "Okay, you're overweight. But how great that you've decided to do something about it! Accepting where you are at the moment takes away the white-knuckle feeling that can sabotage you fast: 'I've got to lose weight! I've got to! Damn, I didn't lose any weight today. I've failed! Forget it, I won't even try anymore.'"

4. Study up.
Before you lift a toe, do some legwork. "You can learn about nutrition and diets on Web sites like or through books like Nutrition for Dummies," says Bob. Preparation helps you train wisely, too. "You can't just jump into an exercise program without knowing what you're doing," says Jillian. "At best you'll waste your time; at worst you could get injured." Find a beginner class or trainer to teach you the nuts and bolts. Or use books, fitness magazines, and videos. "Crunch Fitness puts out some awesome books that show all the basics," she says, "including Beginner's Luck, by Brad Hamler, and Perfect Posture, by Scott G. Duke."

5. Keep an honest food journal.
"It's essential," Jillian insists. "You need to track what you eat in detail. Not 'peanuts,' but how many peanuts. What time of day? And why are you eating just then? Writing it down makes you accountable and aware, and it helps you identify the mistakes you're making. Maybe your blood sugar is fluctuating through the day. Maybe you're skipping meals. Maybe you feel like you're not eating that much but, when you add it up, it comes to 2,500 calories a day."
6. Experiment to find your own diet.
Some foods are obvious no-no's: trans fats, processed food, white sugar, and excessive alcohol. Beyond that, though, everyone's body is different, and just because a diet book is on the best-seller list doesn't mean its program will work for you. "Some people thrive on a strictly high-protein diet, while others do great with fruits, grains, and beans," says Jillian. "You've got to ask yourself questions: When I eat meat, do I feel sluggish or agitated? When I eat fruit, do I feel satiated? Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to find the right combination of foods. And as a trainer, I've learned that you also have to take human frailty into account. If you can't bear the idea of giving up bread, choose whole grain and try to eat it with some protein." The protein, she explains, will slow the breakdown of the bread so its carbs won't cause your blood sugar to spike and then—as so often happens—crash, making you hungry again for something starchy.

7. Don't ever starve yourself.
Dieting means cutting calories, but less isn't always more. "One of the biggest misconceptions I've seen—including among the women I'm training on the show—is that the less you eat, the more weight you'll lose," says Jillian. "Maybe at first. But your body will think you're dying from lack of food, and your metabolism will adjust by slowing to a crawl." Most women should never eat less than 1,200 calories a day.

8. Outsmart your exercise excuses.
A routine you'll actually stick to has to have elements that appeal to you. If you love being outdoors, try hiking or walking somewhere inspiring—a beach, a park, a historic neighborhood. You also need to assess what motivates you. If you get competitive and push yourself more when you're around others, join a gym, take a class, or play a sport like tennis or softball. If you're good at finding reasons to skip a session, make a commitment to do something with friends, so you can't back out without letting everyone down.

9. Don't forget the weights.
The best fitness routine includes a combination of heart-rate-boosting exercise like jogging or stair-stepping and resistance training, which means either lifting weights or using gym equipment. Cardio burns the fat; resistance training creates shape and increases muscle mass—and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism runs, even when you're resting.

10. Start with baby steps.
Working out for 20 minutes a day isn't enough to get you buff, but "even that will start speeding up your metabolism," says Jillian. "Walk to a local restaurant during lunch hour, walk the dog, walk to the convenience store. The idea is to get moving."

Bob couldn't agree more. "Thinking, I can't get in shape because I don't have two hours a day to exercise is just another excuse for doing nothing," he says. "Start small, because small can only get bigger. Starting big means burning out, blowing out, getting hurt—another reason to stop."

11. Tough it out.
Accept that the early days of a fitness program may not be fun. "You've just got to push through," says Jillian. "Your body is an amazing machine. After two weeks, the walk that used to have you sucking wind won't even tire you. It took only that long for the women on The Biggest Loser to discover they could do exercises they initially found impossible. By the end of the first month, you'll see some pretty significant changes. That's when I get calls from my clients: 'Oh my God, I felt my hip bone!'"

12. Don't expect dramatic weight loss to continue.
Depending on where you're starting from, "during the first two weeks of a new diet and fitness routine, you can drop as much as 15 pounds," says Bob. "After that, it tends to be one to two pounds a week. But everyone hits plateaus, which means that you can diet and exercise religiously for weeks without losing any weight at all. You just have to stay strong and ride it out. Life is all about ebbs and flows, and if you stick to your program, the weight will start coming back off."

13. Keep your body guessing.
Constantly surprising your body will help you avoid those weight loss stalls and get you out of them if they do occur. "You want to keep your food intake fluctuating, so your body never quite adjusts," Jillian says. "With women trying to lose weight, I like to vary it by around 400 calories. One day they'll eat 1,700 calories, then drop to 1,300 for two days, then two at 1,500, and one at 1,700 again."

The same principle holds true for exercise. "At first doing the exact same thing over and over is fine," says Bob. "You'll see results, which will keep you motivated. Eventually, though, at around four weeks, you'll need to vary the routine or your body will get used to what it's doing. But the smallest change can make a huge difference. If you've been walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes, slow your pace by half and increase the incline. If you're riding a stationary bike on the manual setting, switch to a program that imitates climbing hills. At one point, the contestants on The Biggest Loser had been doing barbell curls for a few weeks. So I had them change to just holding the barbells for five minutes without letting them drop. They couldn't believe it—it was killing them!"

14. Visualize long-term change, not deprivation.
"My clients, particularly those who have to lose a lot of weight, are often very angst-ridden when they start," says Bob. "They say, 'You're going to take away the food I love! You're going to make me do things I don't want to do, which is why nothing has ever worked for me!' I try to get them to relaaaax. This isn't about beating yourself down but lifting yourself up. It involves realizing why your eating has gotten out of control and starting to think about food differently. In fact, when my clients get close to their goal weights, I often give them one day a week to eat whatever they like—popcorn, M&M's. Losing weight and keeping it off means balance—not going without treats for the rest of your life."

15. Learn to hit the pause button.
Part of changing your eating patterns requires altering your reflexes. "When you find yourself thinking, I'm going to get an ice cream cone because I've had such a bad day, just stop," Bob says. "Take a moment and ask yourself, Am I really hungry? Do I really want this? Why do I want it? The pause gets you thinking instead of simply acting on impulse."

If it turns out that what you're feeling is something other than hunger, Jillian adds, find a nonfood treat. "Instead of eating the ice cream, reward yourself with a manicure, massage, or bubble bath. Do something positive, healthy—something that makes you feel beautiful and is incompatible with breaking yourself down."

16. Just forget about your thighs.
Try viewing exercise as helping you increase what you're able to do, rather than fixing a "flawed" body part. "Whenever I start working with women, I hear complaints like 'My thighs are too big' or 'What can I do about my butt?'" says Bob. "Once you get someone moving, however, that can change to, 'Wow, I never knew how weak I was.' Being aware of a flaw can be good for getting you started, but it's more productive to think about being fit and healthy than about how you look."

When you become aware of how physically strong you can be, adds Jillian, "it translates into all other areas of your life."

14. Don't be afraid to take a break.
"If your legs are feeling heavy and you're constantly sore, you've been overtraining," says Jillian. "Take some time out, up your calories by 10 percent, relax. Let your system recuperate." Otherwise you're at risk of hitting a plateau or burning out and giving up.

18. Consider calling in professional help.
Personal trainers can be invaluable if you're a rank beginner, have hit the doldrums, or worry that you can't stay motivated on your own. Depending on where you live and how long the trainer has been in business, the cost can be as little as $25 an hour or as much as $300. Sometimes one or two sessions are all you need to get on track. When deciding on a trainer, look for certification by organizations like the International Sports Sciences Association, the National Endurance & Sports Trainers Association, the American Council on Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, the American Fitness Training of Athletics, or the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Ask the trainer about his or her background. "Is this an actor or someone with other aspirations? If so, move on," says Jillian. "Get references and call them. A trial session can tell you whether your individual needs and goals will be addressed or if you'll just be thrown into a one-size-fits-all routine. Finally, you have to ask yourself, Is this someone I like? Someone who'll inspire me? Someone I'll want to see at 6 in the morning? If you're thinking of joining a gym because it provides personal trainers, "ask for a free week of private training before you sign the contract," says Bob. And make sure that gym trainers, too, have the proper credentials.

19. Don't even think about those gimmicks.
"Any gadget that promises you a rock-hard butt and firm abs in two minutes a day is a waste of money," says Bob. "Fitness doesn't happen overnight."

20. Keep your perspective.
Don't count on getting the spectacular body of a movie star—unless, that is, you were blessed with a naturally great figure. And certainly don't blame yourself for not measuring up (or down, as the case may be). "Celebrities have private chefs; trainers like me working with them 24 hours a day, six days a week; and plastic surgeons to fix whatever problems are left," says Jillian. And then there's good lighting, airbrushing, and all sorts of photographic wizardry. "Hollywood," she adds, "is a very small piece of the world. It is not reality."


Swimming to lose weight

Swimming helps lose weight, burn calories and puts little stress on your body. Swimming works all the major muscles, and will tone you up and slim you down!
You can train to swim at a competitive level or you can enjoy a few healthy lengths at your local pool; you decide how much you want to achieve in swimming and set your own pace.
Whatever level you choose, swimming is good for you and it's never too late to learn or improve your swimming skills. A relaxing form of exercise means weight lost by swimming is fun too!
Many public pools now offer swimming combined with aerobics , (aqua-aerobics), to help lose weight. This is high impact aerobics without the high impact. Aqua-aerobics (or swim-nastics) will help to shed those pounds, and tone you!

What are the benefits of swimming to aid weight loss?

Swimming burns calories, so helps you lose weight and swimming for weight loss has been regularly praised for its cardiovascular health benefits, especially for older people.
As swimming uses so many muscles in your body, your heart and lungs must work hard to supply them all with oxygen. This means that swimming will give your cardiovascular system an excellent workout.
Any exercise that makes you breathe a little heavier is good because it means your body is working hard!  As your heart and lungs get stronger you will be able to go for longer before you get tired, your resting heart rate will decrease and blood pressure will lower.
Regular swimming when losing weight will improve your health and may reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. The NHS choices website offers more information.

Can swimming improve your figure and muscle tone?

Swimming is known to be one of the best all round aerobic exercises because it works all the major muscle groups so targets every area of your body.
There are 4 main strokes to choose from:
  • Freestyle
  • Breaststroke
  • Backstroke
  • Butterfly
and you can tailor your swimming sessions to exercise specific areas of your body.

Will swimming improve strength?

Swimming provides constant resistance exercise as you are battling against the water to propel your body forward. This makes it excellent for increasing strength especially in the upper body.
As your swimming progresses you will build muscle which in turn burns fat. So calories will be burned as you swim, plus you will burn more calories as your swimming improves.
You will also burn an increased amount of calories even after the exercise is finished as your body uses energy to recover and rebuild muscle tissue.

Will swimming improve flexibility?

Due to the nature of the movement when performing swimming strokes it can aid in improving the flexibility of the muscles and joints.

What are the other benefits of swimming?

  • Top athletes use swimming to aid recovery from injury as it is low impact but still builds excellent muscular and cardiovascular endurance. So if you have had an accident and want to get back into exercising, taking up swimming is an ideal way to do that.
  • It’s fun. You don’t have to just do length after length in the pool. Things like treading water burns calories too. So if you have kids take them down to the pool and enjoy it. It will be excellent for their health too.
  • Swimming can be relaxing and give you a little ‘me’ time away from it all. Burning calories might be the last thing on your mind but what an excellent bonus.
  • You could also join a water aerobics class if lane swimming isn’t your thing. These are held in most pools so check in and ask at your local centre to find out more. Or alternatively maybe you fancy giving water polo a try.

How many Calories will Swimming Burn?

Depending on your weight and exertion level you'll burn between 90-550 extra calories in a half-hour session.

Getting Started with Swimming

If you are unsure of how to start, then our handy tips will get you on your way…
  • Check out your local pool; most public pools have separate times for different groups - adults only / men only / women only / mother and toddlers
  • Try to set aside time at least once a week when you will go swimming.
  • Remember to warm up and stretch before you swim off as the large range of rotation around the joints from swimming means you need your muscles to be long and flexible.
  • Don’t forget your legs, which are often overlooked when swimming.  Stretching them will reduce drag in the water by improving your form and also help prevent cramp.
  • Get a friend to join you if this will help motivate you.
  • Start off by swimming a few lengths of the pool and build up the distance each week.
  • Change your strokes to add interest and exert yourself in different ways.
  • To begin with have breaks every few lengths to get your breath back. Each session decrease the duration of this break until you can cut them out entirely and swim nonstop.
  • Look out at your local pool for news of swimming clubs which normally cater for all age groups.

Swimming Kit Bag

  • Costume/Trunks - There are hundreds available, you decide which you feel most comfortable in.
  • Goggles - Improve vision and prevent chlorine irritating the eyes.
  • Ear plugs- useful if you don’t like to get water in your ears, or if you're susceptible to ear infections.
  • Water Bottle – Remember you are exercising so need to keep your body hydrated.  Keep this at the end of your lane so that you can drink in your breaks.

Safety when Swimming

Even in a pool with lifeguards, there are dangers and more so if you a learner or not a strong swimmer:
  • Do not get out of your depth.
  • Have respect for other swimmers and give them enough space to go by if they are faster.
  • Take extra care when swimming in the sea or lakes / open water.

And Finally, if you can’t swim…

Do not worry as many pools offer adult-only beginner lessons so have a look at your local leisure centre to see what is available; pensioner’s  and children’s rates  will often be heavily discounted.


For Obese Teen Girls, Aerobic Exercise May Trump Resistance Training in Health Benefits

Obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the United States in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The growing rate of childhood obesity is a major health concern since overweight and obese youth are at increased risk of developing several diseases once considered reserved for adults. These new pediatric diseases include type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in the liver, potentially impairing its function over time.

Although both diet and exercise have been considered as first lines to treat childhood obesity, SoJung Lee of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and her colleagues recently showed that when obese adolescent boys increased physical activity alone, they improved several markers of health. These include reducing total fat, fat packed around organs in the abdomen (known as visceral fat, a risk factor for diabetes), and liver fat, and improving fitness of their heart and lungs.
To see if physical activity might work in the same way for obese adolescent girls, Lee and her colleagues performed a new study that compared the health effects of two different types of exercise -- aerobic exercise and weight lifting -- over three months to remaining sedentary. Although their results show beneficial effects for both types of exercise, the researchers found that girls who performed aerobic exercise, but not weight lifting, had significant reductions in visceral fat and liver fat, as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity, another risk factor for diabetes that's linked with obesity.
The article is entitled "Aerobic Exercise But Not Resistance Exercise Reduces Intrahepatic Lipid Content and Visceral Fat and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Adolescent Girls." It appears in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, published by the American Physiological Society.
The researchers recruited 44 obese girls between 12 and 18 years old. They separated these volunteers into three groups. One group was assigned to perform 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week for three months, either running on a treadmill or using an elliptical trainer. A second group was assigned to perform the same amount of resistance exercise, but instead participated in aerobic exercise program, doing 10 whole body resistance exercises using weight machines over the course of each hour-long session. A third group was asked not to participate in any structured physical activity program over the course of the study. Before the exercise programs began, all the study participants had a detailed physical exam, which included measuring their total fat, visceral fat, liver fat, and fat embedded in their muscles through various noninvasive means. The researchers also measured the volunteers' insulin sensitivity, a risk factor for diabetes, as well as basic health measures including weight and physical fitness.
The researchers found that those in both exercise groups had less total fat and intramuscular fat by the end of the three-month study period compared to the sedentary group. However, the two exercise groups differed significantly in other measures. Overall, those in the aerobic exercise group lost visceral and liver fat and improved their insulin sensitivity, but those in the other groups didn't.
Importance of the Findings
These findings suggest that for teen girls, aerobic exercise might be superior to resistance exercise for cutting health risks associated with obesity. They also note that, anecdotally, girls in the aerobic exercise group seemed to enjoy their workouts more than those in the resistance exercise group, an opposite sentiment from the obese boys in their previous study.
"Therefore, given the superior improvements in metabolic health with aerobic exercise and the enjoyment factor, we propose that aerobic exercise may be a better mode of exercise for adolescent girls of this age group," they write.


Quick Weightloss Tips from Celebrities

#15 Beyonce

The singer believes that abstinence from junk food makes the waistline grow thinnner:

"'I eat a lot of green vegetables. I don't eat red meat or bread, and I don't drink alcohol."

By switching to a healthier eating plan, Beyonce gets the nutrition and energy she needs to stay fit for music tours. 

#14 Jennifer Garner

If carbs are the love of your life, you'll never really let go. Still, you're not alone. Jennifer Garner's diet trick is to satisfy her craving with healthy carbs:

"I can't not have carbs. If I'm going to have potatoes, I'll have sweet potatoes and I won't fry them."

It takes 7 weeks for tastebuds to change. Swap fries for grilled sweet potatoes or other, healthier carbs for that long and you'll never look back.

#13 Mariska Hargitay

Sometimes its all about the snacks. Mariska Hargitay diets her way to a healthier bod by trading junk for healthier options:

"No more chocolate, and I'm finally off the Pringles. Now, I love tropical fruit. My favorites are mango, kiwi, and papaya. They remind me of Hawaii. Fruit in the morning makes me feel light."

A simple snack swap could cut hundreds of calories off of your diet. Give it a week and you'll start to see the pounds come off.

#12 Elizabeth Hurley

Sometimes you have to drop pounds for a movie role in short order.

When the time comes, Elizabeth Hurley turns to the Watercress Soup Diet. She credits the soup-only diet with helping her lose 10 pounds in 7days.

The Watercress Soup Diet may be effective, but inadvisable as a long-term strategy. Living on soup can lead to nutrient deficiency, fatigue and a significant weight rebound once you start eating sensibly again.

#11 Tina Fey

The funny woman's diet tip is to leave it to the pros:

"When I was 29, I lost about 35 pounds. I did it through Weight Watchers. That's when I learned how to eat properly for the first time. Before, I used to be one of those people who wouldn't eat all day, then would eat a piece of cake at 4 p.m., have McDonald's at 10 p.m., and then go to bed."

A little investment now could permanently change your eating habits. And who doesn't want to put a stop to yo-yo dieting?

#10 Angelina Jolie

The action movie star has a special trick to slim down for upcoming roles:

"I eat steamed sea bass or steamed beef and vegetables, and I have no sugar, and only drink soy milk."

It's pretty bland, but the lack of flavor ensures that you only eat when you're hungry.

#9 J-Lo

The latina legend says her biggest secret is simple: moderation.

Jennifer Lopez says she eats what she wants but in diet-friendly portions:

"I'm not obsessive about my diet, but the one thing I don't do is overeat. I can limit the chocolate chip cookies to one or two."

While moderation sounds overly simple, its a great way to monitor your waistline while still enjoying the foods you love.

#8 Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba's diet secret is viewing food as preventative medicine:

"High blood pressure and cholesterol run in my family. From a young age, I knew that most people with problems that go along with these conditions can be fixed through diet and exercise. I altered my diet by eating lean protein, like chicken or fish, and lots of fruits and veggies. During the day I'll have some dried fruit, or a chocolate or strawberry frozen yogurt, but I try to steer clear of desserts and bread."

Sticking to healthy, nutritious option makes it hard to go wrong.

#7 Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine's quick weightloss after the birth of her baby had the rumor mill atwitter. But Catherine Zeta-Jones' diet plan was simple.

She modified the popular Atkins diet by banishing carbs after 5pm and drinking skim milk.

Adding your own personal modifications to a diet plan may provide better results and a great likelihood that you'll stick to it.

#6 Brooke Burke

Brooke keeps her body bikini ready by upping her water intake.

It sounds laughably simple, but there's science behind it. A 2010 Virginia Tech study found that participants who drank two cups of water before each meal lost roughly 5 pounds more on average than those who didn't.

#5 Heidi Klum

How does the supermodel celebrity keep thin after three kids?

By outlawing bread. Sticking to friendlier carbs and whole foods helps Heidi look remarkably thin and healthy.

Toss the loaf and focus on veggies, fruit, grains and proteins if you aspire to Heidi's physique.

#4 Kelly Osbourne

Remember Ms. Osbourne's dramatic weightloss. Kelly attributes it to a carb-free diet with a special trick: pickles.

"When you're on a diet and you can't have carbs, what you crave is the texture of bread or the crispiness of a potato chip. What really helps with that is pickles. It stopped me from eating more!"

The next time you're struggling to adjust to diet restrictions, try to find a low-calorie substitute food that satisfies your yen without putting you off course.

#3 Claudia Schiffer

Claudia Schiffer keeps her body in supermodel condition by starting each day with a fruit cleanse.

Says Schiffer, "I eat lots of fruit for breakfast because it's cleansing and quickly digested by the body."

Front loading the first part of your day with fresh fruit is a great way to cut down on calories. Follow with a veggie-heavy lunch and protein rich dinner to balance out the day.

#2 Denise Richards

How do you pull off looking better in a bikini at 40 than you did at 20?

Denise combines exercise with an "80 percent vegetarian diet" dolled out in several small meals a day.

Eating every few hours is a great way to keep your metabolism running at top speed.

I do splurge on ice cream and I love pretzels. My abs get the best workout with my Pilates reformer -- I had two C-sections and it was the only thing I found that got my tummy flat.

#1 Cynthia McFadden

Cynthia McFadden is living proof that sacrifice pays off. The news anchor lost 35 pounds simply by depriving herself of the foods she loved:

"I stopped eating everything that I like. My idea of the perfect meal is pasta with a baked potato and some bread. But instead, I ate a lot of fish and veggies and lost 35 pounds."

Depriving yourself of the foods you crave sounds tough. However, it can help rewire your mind to think about food as fuel, not as a pound-gathering treat.


Chinese Diet – 10 easy things you can do to lose weight

When we moved to China 7 months ago we were very worried about what we would be eating, and how would we live. We never thought that we would fall in love with the Chinese eating habits and style. We also never imagined that we have lost 80+ lbs!! We thought we should share some of our tricks with you. Here is the Chinese Diet – 10 easy things you can do to lose weight.  Simple things that you can do to lose weight and you don’t have to move to China!

Before we get to the juicy stuff here is a little behind the scenes on us.
From the beginning
We came to China with an open mind about everything including the food. We had a few rules; no feet, no head, and we really don’t enjoy intestines so that was out as well. Our diet tips don’t require you to eat anything crazy. We have not broken our rules…yet.
We were not fat in the US or at least we didn’t think we were. We ate a typical Midwestern diet and were in a daze at how bad our eating and lifestyle was. We wish we had known these simple tricks back home that make such a difference in your waist line.

10 things you can do today to start losing crazy weight!

  1. Eat your food family style
    1. I used to hate eating family style, we steered away from these restaurants. I wanted what I wanted and didn’t want to share it with anyone. Now all of our meals are placed in the middle of the table.
    2. Keep in mind that you don’t make 5 lbs of meatloaf and just throw it in the middle of the table. You make your normal three dishes; (what you would think of like your main dish and two side dishes) however you don’t make one larger than the other. They are all about the same size.
  2. Use a smaller bowl – much smaller
    1. Go into your cupboard and find your smallest bowl. Now that will be the bowl that you will eat out of. You can use your normal plates to serve your dishes on in the middle of the table. See you didn’t even have to get new bowls. How is that for easy.
    2. You might be thinking how am I going to be full on just one bowl of food that small? Not to worry you are not limited to only one bowl, but every time you finish your bowl you have to consciously get more food. You pick what you want to eat and how much of it. By doing this you actually pick much much less food than someone would naturally serve you.
  3. Vegetables are your main course
    1. Vegetables dishes are what two of your three plates on your table are. For example you might have one plate of a cucumber dish, one of corn & carrots, and then another with ribs. If you wanted one night to have diced potatoes, chicken, and eggplant that would also be okay.
    2. We were not fans of vegetables before either, but find a few dishes that your whole family loves and rotate those. Trust us.
  4. Cut down on your meat & dairy
    1. We eat very little meat. Most Chinese eat very little meat because it is expensive. We have opted out of eating lots of meat because it isn’t the main course of a Chinese diet and that is what we wanted. We found that meat is actually harder on the digestive system than we ever thought. After a night of heavy meat eating we all feel a little more lethargic.
    2. If you love meat, then don’t cut down too much, but be conscience of how much meat you are eating versus veggies. If you are worried about the nutritional aspect of it make sure you introduce different protein dishes that are not meat. There are tons out there.
    3. We eat very little dairy. It was hard at first coming from the cheese head state of Wisconsin. Cut it down and try to limit it to eggs, milk and yogurt. You will be surprised at how awesome you will start feeling.
  5. Use chopsticks to eat
    1. You don’t know how to use them. Well watch this little tutorial and then practice away. Remember practice makes perfect, JUST DO IT! We love eating with chopsticks and wonder why we didn’t use them more at home. They are so cheap to buy and are actually lots of fun once you get going. Our 4 year old Lupita now eats all of her food with chopsticks too and she is left handed.
    2. You eat a lot slower, A LOT. I still have seen people shovel food with chopsticks so I know it can be done, but for most of us it is a lot harder to do so.
  6. Introduce rice and noodles into your meals
    1. A Chinese diet includes a lot of rice and noodles. So our daily diet is no different, we eat rice and noodles 3 times a day.
    2. We have grown to love it. We feel like our meal isn’t complete if we don’t have some.
    3. White rice and white noodles is the color of choice. The Chinese actually feel that brown rice is in the same category as the plague, they avoid it at all costs and find it a bit insulting. What about all of the calories and the carbs in white rice? These people have been eating it for thousands of years and look better, live longer, and are healthier than anyone else. So I will trust them and stick with my WHITE rice. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken!
  7. Eat your left overs – don’t waste food or the money you spent on it.
    1. The Chinese know how to recycle and reuse things like no other society I have ever experienced. Coming from a consuming/disposing society this has been an eye opener. I will admit I really don’t enjoy left overs. I am not sure where my hatred for yesterday’s food comes from, but it has been there for sometime.
    2. Now we don’t make enough food to feed an army, we just make enough and if there are some left overs they don’t turn gross in the fridge over night. I am guessing it is because there isn’t pounds of butter or grease so the food looks very similar to what it did the day before. We rarely throw out food.
  8. Don’t deprive yourself of everything – just don’t gobble it.
    1. Don’t think that we just sit around eating carrots and celery all day and that is how we lost all of our weight. We eat food we crave and love too. I am a sucker for a coke and a snickers bar. I don’t want to know how many calories are in there or how many carbohydrates. But I have one of my power pick me up doses about twice a week at least. Some afternoons I feel like I just need a little something to get me through the day and I run down to the convenience store and pick up my little snack.
    2. We crave McDonald’s and so do our kids, so about once a week we have our American treat. We either choose McDonald’s or KFC. It is much more expensive to eat MCD’s here than it is in the US, so that keeps us away too. We do not deprive ourselves and feel bad about eating some food that we know is extremely bad for us. Anyone knows that depriving yourself of the little joys in life will only throw you off the wagon sooner.
  9. Don’t keep a stocked pantry of snacks or “just in case food”
    1. We come from a family that keeps food around in case the Apocalypse comes or maybe the next group of teenage boys. The problem with keeping all sorts of yummy food around is that you eat it when you aren’t suppose to. You might have will power, but we don’t!! Especially Zeek, he will go and snack on just about anything he can dig up at 11 or 12 at night. So we have eliminated having snacks around all together.
    2. If you have kids you know that they can and want to eat many more snacks than we do. Remember, you are teaching them their eating habits now. When their metabolism dies like ours has they will begin to pack on the pounds and not know why. This is the time to teach them about healthy eating and snacking habits.
    3. Everyone in China I encounter grabs an apple or some yummy fruit to snack on. That is considered their sweet, good food for thought.
  10. Don’t use too many bottled spices, natural spices are best and really are all that you need.
    1. This might sound odd, but it is true. We use to have about 30 bottles of spices in our cupboard. I admit that I didn’t know how to properly use 28 of them. In our Chinese diet we use about 4 or five different spices in total. They are ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, chives, and soy sauce. The ginger, garlic and chives are cut freshly and put into the dishes. Why not use fresh seasons if you can.
    2. We believe it has helped with bringing out the natural flavor of our food and made all of our veggies extra yummy.

Yoga for Weight Loss?

It can help you find your bliss, and some say yoga may also help you shed those extra pounds.

Jennifer Aniston does it. Reports are that Liv Tyler, Halle Berry, Madonna, David Duchovny and supermodel Christy Turlington do it, too. Many professional athletes are said to be doing it in an effort to improve their games.
The "it" is yoga, a sophisticated mind-body exercise many believe can do everything from tighten your buns to change your outlook on life.
But can this no-strain, work-at-your-own-level exercise really help you lose weight?
It's true most types of yoga don't have anything near the calorie-burning power of aerobic exercise. A 150-pound person will burn 150 calories in an hour of doing regular yoga, compared to 311 calories for an hour of walking at 3 mph. But it is exercise, after all, and many practitioners believe yoga can indeed help people take off extra pounds.
"Yoga is a phenomenal way to put you in touch with your body the way nothing else can, and yes, it can help you lose weight," says instructor Dana Edison, director of Radius Yoga in North Redding, Mass., and a certified personal trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine.
Celebrity yoga trainers Ana Brett and Ravi Singh, who have worked with such hotties as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, also believe in yoga's weight-loss powers.
"We have seen it in ourselves, we have seen it in our clients – yoga can give you a real workout even if you are a beginner," says Brett, who, with Singh, created the best-selling DVD program Fat Free Yoga.

How Does It Work?

In 2005, medical researcher and practicing yogi Alan Kristal, DPH, MPH, set out to do a medical study on the weight-loss effects of yoga.
With funding from the National Cancer Institute, Kristal and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle led a trial involving 15,500 healthy, middle-aged men and women. All completed a survey recalling their physical activity (including yoga) and their weight between the ages of 45 and 55. Researchers then analyzed the data, teasing out other factors that could influence weight change – such as diet or other forms of exercise.
The end result: They found yoga could indeed help people shed pounds, or at least keep them from gaining weight.
"Those practicing yoga who were overweight to start with lost about 5 pounds during the same time period those not practicing yoga gained 14 pounds," says Kristal.
For the study, he says, practicing yoga was defined as at least one 30-minute session per week for four or more years.
Kristal says it's not clear just how yoga might help people keep off the pounds, at least from a scientific standpoint. His own opinion is that the effects are subtle, and related to yoga's mind-body aspects.
"The buzzword here is mindfulness -- the ability to observe what is happening internally in a non-reactive fashion," he says. "That is what helps change the relationship of mind to body, and eventually to food and eating."

Adds Edison: "Yoga makes you more susceptible to influence for change – so if you are thinking you want to change your lifestyle, you want to change the way you think about food, you want to get over destructive eating patterns, yoga will help give you the spiritual connection to your body that can help you make those changes."
Another idea is that yoga forges a strong mind-body connection that ultimately helps make you more aware of what you eat and how it feels to be full.
"Essentially, in yoga you learn your body is not your enemy, and the conscious awareness of the body that you gain translates into better appetite control," Edison says.

Power Yoga: The New Attitude

While some say yoga is too tame for extreme weight loss, many devotees of the practice known as "power yoga" disagree.
Power yoga is an Americanized version of traditional Kundalini techniques. Instructors like Singh and Brett believe it can offer all the fat-burning potential – and heart benefits -- of an aerobic workout.
While traditional types of yoga are based on breathing techniques paired with static poses, Singh says, power yoga combines meditative breathing with faster, more active movements. The result, he says, is a workout that can be more aerobic than . . . aerobics!
"Aerobic means to exercise in the presence of oxygen, so when you are doing the traditional yoga breathing along with the more active exercises, you're doing exactly that," he says. "Our 'breath of fire' technique, for example, is one of many we use to help you burn calories while you breathe."
Edison concedes power yoga may help some people lose weight, but she questions whether it could work for the yoga novice, or the average out-of-shape dieter.
"Can yoga build muscle? Yes. Is a fast-paced, power class aerobic? Sometimes. And can you sweat out water weight in a 105-degree room? Sure. But can the average overweight person effectively shed pounds through a one-size-fits-all physical yoga practice? Not realistically or safely," Edison tells WebMD.
What about using power yoga to jump-start a weight loss plan? Kristal says even the most forceful power yoga techniques won't equal the health benefits of a cardiovascular workout -- nor will yoga ever burn calories quickly at a significant level.
"It's just not medically feasible – it's not going to happen," he says.
Still, Brett and Singh say they've seen firsthand that it can work, even for beginners.
"People come to yoga for many different reasons, but we have seen many success stories in terms of losing weight and learning to control weight," says Brett. "Active yoga, even for the novice, can change your body and your life."

Making Yoga Work for You

One thing all our experts agree on is that yoga can be a terrific introduction to the world of fitness.
To help get you started, they offer these tips:
  1. Practice in a room without mirrors, and put the emphasis on your internal experience rather than your outer performance.
  2. Learn to experience the sensation of movement, down to the tiniest micro movement.
  3. Always try to find your "edge" -- the place where your body feels challenged, but not overwhelmed. When you achieve this, keep an open, accepting state of mind.
  4. Give yourself permission to rest when you're tired.
  5. Combine your yoga session with positive self-talk. Appreciate your efforts and praise your inner goodness.
  6. Go to class faithfully. If you work out at home, set a specific day and time for your yoga session and stick to it.
  7. Recognize that you are not only working on your body, but are also working to develop qualities like patience, discipline, wisdom, kindness and gratitude.
  8. Look for a teacher (in a class or on video) who you feel offers a balance between gentleness and firmness, and who inspires you to practice.
  9. Recognize that simply buying a yoga DVD or attending the class is a step toward creating a better you. Use it as momentum to keep going.
  10. Realize your efforts are not just inspiring you, but also inspiring others as you become more attuned to who you are, inside and out.


Does Zumba Work for Weight Loss?

Lots of people swear by Zumba for weight loss, but does it really work?

The answer is of course yes, Zumba can help you lose weight but the important thing to realize is that the dance sessions are no magic fix for dropping pounds, it just happens to come in a package that most people don’t detest; instead of slaving away on a treadmill, you get to spend an hour or so dancing with friends and strangers to loud music. Because people find the classes fun, they keep attending, and that is what makes it work. My theory is that whatever gets you moving is good, and if it keeps you coming back because you enjoy it, even better.

If you want to use Zumba for weight loss, or if you’ve already been trying and haven’t seen the numbers on the scale budge yet, there could be several reasons why.

The problems with Zumba for weight loss

Not all classes are equally intense; you may be getting much less of a workout than other Zumba-ers.
I’ve done it a handful of times, I’m not a huge fan of it but it can be a good way to break up the monotony of the gym. Different instructors (and different gyms) have different class formats, songs, and dances, which leads to varying intensity levels when it comes to energy expenditure. In short, I have been to classes where in an hour and a half I break a sweat, and really get my heart rate up. It feels like a workout and it’s fun. The majority of the times I’ve tried it, however, I find that in 90 minutes, the dance moves have me barely moving, I haven’t broke a sweat, and I’ve got enough spare oxygen that I’m literally yawning.

If you’re trying to lose weight with the dance classes, be aware of how challenging it is for your own fitness level. If the Zumba classes you’re taking don’t get your heart rate up and you don’t feel challenged, don’t expect to start dropping weight just because you’re present for the class for an hour or two. It is a great starting place for those new to working out but you may need something more intense as you get more fit, depending on the difficulty of class.

Zumba does NOT burn 1000 calories an hour
The Zumba 1000 calories an hour myth is untrue and a misleading hype that is unfair for those who are truly trying to drop weight.

There’s no strength training component to Zumba.
Strength training is important for many reasons; a toned body that burns more calories at rest being among the more superficial motivators. It also prevents bone density loss, reduces chances of injury, improves posture, joint health, and the ability of the body’s muscles to support those joints, just to name a few benefits. If you want to use it for losing extra pounds, make sure and incorporate a strength training component as well and you will likely see that you lose weight faster.

Check out Fitness Blender Workout Videos to find home workouts that use bodyweight moves to build strength and tone the body.

What is Zumba?
It is a Latin inspired dance fitness class that usually lasts between 60-90 minutes. Typically instructors start with a very short warm up (after calling out all of the “newbies” to the class) and then go straight into the dance portion where you will be expected to burn calories shaking your thang to the tune of a blend of Salsa and hip hop music. Don’t be intimidated if you “can’t dance”; the majority of Zumba dance classes take place in the dark, often even with a disco ball spinning lights across the room. Plus, you can take comfort in the law of physics that everyone looks foolish when they dance.

If you don’t feel comfortable dancing around in front of strangers, you can always try the Wii Zumba Fitness game in the comfort of your own living room. Here’s a list of other games that let you draw the blinds and work up a sweat; Wii Games for Weight Loss.


Why You Can’t Lose Weight

If you’ve ever thought—I’m a runner. Why do I still struggle to shed pounds? It’s not fair!—we’re right there with you, sister. Get the body you want without the headache by avoiding these common weight-loss traps.
Wonder why you can run 13 miles but can’t lose those 13 pounds? You’re not alone! Many runners have trouble getting down to a healthy weight and are naturally frustrated. Visit the finish line of any marathon and you’ll see runners of all shapes and sizes—and hundreds of people who can complete the grueling race but are still struggling with their weight.
Running is unequivocally awesome, but sometimes our beloved exercise falls short when it comes to fat loss. Every year, women decide to train for a big race as a means to drop pounds. But believe it or not, training for fat loss and training for a long-distance event are (almost) mutually exclusive objectives. To successfully train for a marathon, you need to make your body extremely efficient at running, so you can complete 26.2 miles using the least amount of energy possible.
To train for fat loss, you must avoid efficiency by constantly putting new demands on your body to burn the most amount of energy possible. Keep in mind, another word for “energy” is “calories.”
That doesn’t mean runners can’t lose weight. We just have to steer clear of common traps. If you are struggling with your size, never fear! Here’s how to overcome every obstacle . . .


You run long, thinking that you need to keep going for at least an hour to burn fat.
Forget everything you learned in the 90s about the “fat-burning zone.” The latest research shows that running for less time is actually more effective for fat loss than running long and slow. A recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology discovered that regular 30-minute workouts resulted in more weight loss than regular 60-minute workouts. At the end of the 13-week study, the half hour workout group lost 8.8 pounds, while the one hour workout group lost 8.4 pounds. Scientists hypothesize that our bodies compensate as the exercise session drags on, thereby dampening the results.
In addition, a number of studies have revealed that high-intensity interval training is much more effective for fat loss than steady-state cardio. One study had a group of women perform 20 minutes of interval training on a stationary bike three days per week. Over 15 weeks, these women lost an average of 5.5 pounds (although some lost nearly 20!) without dieting. Those in a separate group who performed 40 minutes of steady-state cycling three days per week actually gained a pound of fat over the same time period.

Solution: Cut your workout time in half and step up your intensity. Try performing each of these workouts once per week:
* Using a treadmill, warm up by jogging for 5 minutes, then ramp the incline up (5 to 10 percent) and increase the speed to a pace that feels fast but not impossible (4 to 9 mph). Run for 8 seconds then place your feet on the sides for 12 seconds. Repeat this for 10 to 15 minutes.
* Find a route near your home with clear markers (e.g., telephone poles, short blocks, tightly-packed houses). Sprint to the first marker and walk or jog to the next. Continue repeating this pattern for 20 minutes.
* For more interval workout ideas, check out “No Time? No Problem!” on page 20.


You skip your post-run snack.
Many women avoid eating post-run in an effort to cut calories. Big mistake. After you work out, your body is crying out for fuel. Research shows that ingesting both carbs and protein in a 2-to-1 ratio post-workout will help replenish glycogen stores and shuttle protein into your muscles to help you recover.
If you skip this snack, your muscles can’t repair properly. This means the next time you work out, you won’t be able to go faster or work harder because you never recovered from your previous session. Remember, your body needs to be challenged in new ways in order to lose fat. If you can’t push yourself progressively harder, your weight won’t change.

Solution: Eat a 200-calorie snack with both carbs and protein 30 minutes to one hour post-workout. Good options include:
* A smoothie made with almond milk, one banana and a scoop of whey protein powder.
* One apple with two cubes of cheddar cheese.
* Two slices of deli turkey and a handful of blueberries.


You never take days off.
Do you run day after day without giving your body a break? Keep in mind that you gain results while recovering from your workouts (as your body repairs itself), not from the workout itself (when your body breaks down). Whether you’re running for fun or training for a marathon, you must prioritize recovery as part of your plan. If you never allow your body to rest, it can’t become stronger and faster. Your workouts will turn into time spent going through the motions, and you won’t be able to push yourself hard enough to lose fat.

Solution: Take at least one day off per week to let your body recuperate. Get the most out of your recovery:
* Do nothing more strenuous than gentle stretching on your day off.
* Eat foods with antioxidants. Think: bell peppers, beans, berries and leafy greens.
* Sleep for seven and a half hours or longer every single night.


You’ve been running for years, hoping that you’ll finally shed the pounds.
A longtime commitment to running is something to take pride in. Unfortunately, when it comes to weight loss, your body may have adapted. This is why women often see significant weight loss when they initially start running, but notice that these results wane over time. The first time you ever ran a mile, you may have burned 100 calories. Now that number is likely significantly lower because your body has become a finely tuned running machine. If you want to lose weight, you need to change up your program and start cross training.
Solution: Trade two to three days of running per week for cross training. The best cross-training workouts include:
* Weight lifting and strength training.
* Interval training on a bike.
* Sports-specific training. Join a soccer, basketball or Ultimate Frisbee team!


You never lift weights.
Muscle is metabolically active and helps to burn calories and fat. When you are trying to lose fat, muscle is your best friend. If you have been putting in a lot of mileage, you may be burning muscle and slowing your metabolism. One study from West Virginia University compared aerobic training with strength training for weight loss. The aerobic group performed four hours of aerobics a week while the resistance-training group completed a few sets of 10 strength exercises three times a week. The resistance-training group boosted metabolism compared with the aerobic group, which decreased metabolism because of lean muscle loss.
Besides building muscle, strength-training workouts also increase your metabolism for 24 to 48 hours post-exercise, which will help you burn calories even when you’re not in the gym.
Solution: Schedule two to three strength-training sessions every week to build lean muscle and give your metabolism a boost. 


Fat Loss Through Nutrition

Cleaning up your diet will increase the effects of fat loss and give you more vitality. Learn how to eat smart with fiber, carbs and protein in your diet. 

Personally, I think that most people that want to lose weight claim that eating healthier is the largest barrier standing in the way of their goal. However, I do not believe that this is due to pure laziness. The lack of knowledge concerning nutrition is what I feel prevents the majority of people from starting or sticking with a diet. Companies have made, and continue to make millions off of this fact. Take your average fitness magazine; every month there is at least one new diet for readers to try out. Dr. Atkins (who just recently had a heart attack) has made a fortune off of his famous high protein and fat, low carbohydrate diet. So, what should you eat, how much, and how many times a day? That depends on you!

Being Too Strict

The biggest mistake that I have seen with dieters is that they go into a diet with the intention of being overly strict on what they allow themselves to eat. The problem is that when they slip up and cheat, they see it as absolute failure and quit the entire idea. The result is a retiring back to old, bad habits. This is called the Abstainence-Violation Effect and needs to be avoided at all cost. You need to approach dieting with a flexible mind set, allowing yourself to have food, here and there, that doesn't go along with the program. Otherwise, you will drive yourself nuts and end up worse off than when you started.
Dieting can be very simple, if you allow it to be. Fat gaining is achieved when you consume more energy, in the form of calories, than you expend throughout the day. Fat cells are simply cells that store excess energy. The only way to get rid of that excess energy is through burning off more calories than you take in, plain and simple. In addition to exercising more, cleaning up your diet will increase the effects of fat loss and give you more vitality.

Are Carbs Really the Enemy?

For some reason, Americans have this idea that eating carbohydrates is actually what makes you fat. This is true if you eat large amounts of high giglycemic index(GI) carbohydrates. The GI is a ranking of carbohydrates that refers to the amount of blood glucose that appears after ingesting a form of carbohydrates. High GI carbohydrates result in higher amounts of blood glucose, leading to higher levels of insulin following ingestion. Low GI carbohydrates result in lower amounts of blood glucose and insulin. The increase in insulin has been related to increased fatness in individuals tested. This is because insulin is the body's main anabolic hormone, increasing glycogen stores, protein stores, and fat stores. This occurs through activation of enzymes that cause cells to store these nutrients and inactivation of enzymes that cause a release of these nutrients from cells. Studies conducted have demonstrated that animals fed low GI diets were leaner and had lower blood glucose than animals fed high GI diets.

High GI Carbs

Sources of high GI carbohydrates are those that are high in refined sugar and refined starch, "starchy carbs". Examples of high GI carbohydrates are most cereals (cereals high in bran have a lower GI), white bread, potatoes, rice, popcorn, and carrots. Now, be reasonable, although carrots are high on the GI, a person would have to consume a large amount of carrots, daily, in order to get the full effect as you would from a normal serving of something like white bread. Sources of low GI carbohydrates are those that are high in fiber. Examples include virtually all vegetables (excluding carrots) and fruit. While fruit is high in sugar, fructose, it is low in glucose, which is why it is a low GI carbohydrate. Another reason why vegetables and fruits are low on the GI is because they both contain relatively larger amounts of fiber. Fiber cannot be digested and absorbed for energy by the small intestine. However, fiber can be broken down in the large intestine by bacterial flora. This process results in fermentation in the colon to produce carbon dioxide, alcohol, and/or an organic acid.


There are two types of fiber, water soluble and water insoluble. Soluble fiber is rapidly broken down and fermented while insoluble fiber is not. Soluble fiber slows the appearance of glucose in the blood due to its viscous property. The viscosity of soluble fiber slows down the transit time of foodstuffs in the upper digestive tract, and lowering nutrient absorption rates. This, in turn, lowers the blood concentrations of ingested macronutrients, leading to lower amounts of absorbed energy. Other great sources of fiber come from melons, oat bran, psyllium, wheat, and whole-grain breads.

Eat Fat!

Fat should not be avoided. While fats are the most energy dense of all the macronutrients, they are a vital part of a diet. Diets high in saturated fats, such as lard, should be avoided. Saturated fats keep lipolytic enzymes (enzymes that break down fat for energy) dormant, thus promoting increased fat stores, not to mention the health risks that are involved in diets with high amounts of saturated fatty acids. Trans-fats are made through hydrogenation that solidifies oils (unsaturated fats). Sources include margarine, cookies, crackers, and most snack foods. Unsaturated fats, both mono and polyunsaturated fats are oils and are both healthy sources of fat, if taken in moderation/low amounts. This is because many unsaturated fats are essential; our body does not make them. Without these fats, our bodies would not function properly, and you need proper functioning if you want to lose fat. Great sources of these types of fats are olive oil, flaxseed oil, corn oil, soybean oil, salmon, tuna, cod, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower oil, and safflower oil.

Ahhh Yes, Protein

protein is the only macronutrient that has an RDA, Recommended Daily Allowance, and it is .8 g of protein/kg of body weight. A lot of the new literature is stating that athletes may benefit from increasing protein intake to 1.2-1.6 g of protein/kg of body weight. However, the typical American diet usually exceeds these amounts in a given day. Excessive protein is stored as fat just as excessive fat and carbohydrate intakes. If you do decide to increase protein intake, you might want to consider increasing water intake also in order to keep your kidneys healthy. Quality protein is important. There are nine essential amino acids that we must get from food. Eating a variety of protein sources will ensure that you are getting all nine of these amino acids. Quality sources are usually in the form of animal tissue such as beef, fish, chicken, and eggs. However, you can get all nine amino acids from mixing beans and corn. Also, tofu and enriched soy can also yield quality protein.

Tips to Chew on

I've listed many food choices that you can choose from when you get ready to start your diet. Don't forget to allow yourself room to cheat. Personally, I have a cheat meal once every 3-5 days. Here are some things to keep in mind!
  1. Stay away from fried foods.
  2. High fat foods make a person fatter if overconsumed.
  3. Foods high in refined sugar and refined starches make a person fatter.
  4. High GI foods make people fatter even when low GI foods have identical calorie content.
  5. Eat in variety and moderation.
  6. Avoid the Abstinance-Violation Effect.
  7. Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.
  8. Eat between 3-5 meals per day.
  9. Don't starve yourself.
  10. Be positive.
Also, here are a couple of figures to keep in mind when designing your diet
  • 50-60% of calories should come from carbohydrate.
  • 20-30% of calories should come from fat.
  • 10-20% of calories should come from proteins.