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herbs and spices

Of the many herbs and spices available, the best fat burners include those with high levels of spiciness. Cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne peppers, ginger, cloves and curry spices all boost fat burning and contribute to weight loss.

Cinnamon in the Diet Boosts Fat Burning

Adding cinnamon to food and drinks can give a healthy and festive flavor to meals, but it also may be one of the best spices for everyone from dieters to diabetics. The beneficial properties of cinnamon come from its proven ability to modulate blood sugar and help the body process carbohydrates.

According to a 2004 report from the USDA, as little as a half to one teaspoon a day can affect blood sugar levels, and similar amounts have also been shown to lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, levels. Oatmeal, hot cocoa, tea and fruit can all be flavored with cinnamon. Diet foods have never tasted so good.

Cardamom as a Thermogenic Herb

The Indian spice cardamom is known as a thermogenic herb, one that increases metabolism and helps burn body fat. In Ayurveda, the Indian system of regulating dietary health, cardamom is considered one of the best digestive aids and is believed to soothe the digestive system and help the body process other foods more efficiently. The spice is popular in Indian and Scandinavian food, but can also be added to tea and coffee to add a quick and easy fat burning boost.

Cayenne Pepper Spices Up the Fat Burn

As anyone who has taken a bite of hot pepper can attest, cayenne is a distinctly hot spice. But the heating effect doesn't end at the tongue. Cayenne pepper actually increases body temperature and speeds up metabolism, making it one of the best fat burning spices available. The active ingredient is capsaicin, which is also present in other spicy peppers. Add cayenne to Mexican, Cajun and other foods to spice up weight loss.

Cloves Help Burn Body Fat

Cloves are pungent spices commonly used in baking and to flavor meat dishes, but they also provide the added benefit of boosting metabolism and increasing weight loss. Like cinnamon, this herb lowers blood glucose, improving the body's ability to regulate insulin levels and prevent diabetes, according to Dr. Alam Khan of the Agricultural University in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Curry as the Secret to an Asian Weight Loss Diet

Curry, actually made up of a variety of spices including turmeric and cumin, is a powerful herbal blend that works best when the spices are used in combination with each other. Popular in Asian foods, including Indian and Thai cuisines, curry provides weight loss effects that could be the secret that keeps people in Asian cultures so thin in comparison to people following a typical western diet.

Ginger Boosts Metabolism and Burns Fat

A study by Australian scientists found that ginger increases metabolism, making it one of the best herbs for weight loss around. Ginger is also considered a thermogenic food and is commonly used in Asian cooking. Home cooks can toss some ginger into a soup or stir fry to gain the fat burning boost.

One of the best things about using herbs and spices to help with weight loss is that it takes so little, often no more than a teaspoon a day, to gain the beneficial effects. Using spices to burn body fat may be one of the easiest, and tastiest, ways to lose weight ever discovered. For the best fat burning diet, home cooks can mix spices with other foods that burn fat, increasing the beneficial effects and bringing their weight loss to a new level.

Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8. 2003.
Dr. Alam Khan, Presentation: Experimental Biology 2006 conference, San Francisco, CA. April, 2006
Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga , et al. Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine. Physiology & Behavior Volume 89, Issue 1, 30 August 2006
Bordia A, et al. Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L.) on blood lipids, blood sugar and platelet aggregation in patients with coronary artery disease. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1997 May;56(5):379-84.

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Can eating spicy foods help with weight loss as some studies suggest? Could the same spices that set the mouth on fire in Mexican dishes also ignite the metabolism and lead to greater fat loss? This would be welcome news for those who love spicy food and have a few extra pounds to lose.

Eating Spices for Fat Loss

A group of Canadian researchers looked back through past research studies and found that certain spices have the potential to increase the rate of thermogenesis or fat metabolism. These include such common spices as black pepper, ginger, and red chili pepper, as well as capsaicin, a chemical found in red chili peppers that gives them their red hot, fiery taste. They also believe that eating these spices in combination with one another might produce an even greater effect on fat metabolism and weight loss than eating a single one.

Capsaicin: A Spice With Thermogenic Potential

Capsaicin is natural chemical that’s long intrigued researchers because of its thermogenic properties. In a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers discovered how capsaicin may enhance thermogenesis. They found that capsaicin uncouples the action of a protein involved in muscle contraction, causing the energy to be released as heat, resulting in a slight increase in body temperature and metabolic rate.
Another study showed that eating capsaicin with a meal boosted the rate of thermogenesis by as much as twenty-three percent. Although this sounds promising, research suggests that it would take large quantities of this chemical to have a significant impact on fat loss, greater than most people could achieve through eating spices. The hope is that this finding could be used to create similar compounds that work to increase thermogenesis at lower doses.

Eating Spices for Weight Loss: Does It Have Potential?

Despite this, there may be some benefit to eating spices when it comes to weight loss, although the results are unlikely to be effective in the absence of a good diet and exercise plan. The benefits of eating spices may be two-fold. Spicy foods tend to satiate the appetite more quickly than bland foods, particularly foods that are both hot and spicy. Combine that with the subtle boost in thermogenesis induced by the spices and a slight weight loss benefit might be achieved. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to replace the need for healthy eating choices. The bottom line? A healthy diet and regular exercise are still the best way to achieve lasting weight loss.

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teen obesity

Kathlyn Gay takes a serious look at these issues in her book, Am I fat? The Obesity Issue for Teens. She explores the common factor in obese teens, how dieting effects teens, if Bariatric surgery is a valid option for teens needing to lose weight and how we can prevent teen obesity.

Factors of Teen Obesity

  • Genes that store more fat
  • The body’s natural instinct to protect itself against starvation
  • Eating more calories than you burn throughout the day
  • Emotional makeup
  • Economic status
  • Lack of sleep affecting hormones
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Changes in products to make them taste better (often with more sugar)
  • Living in a fast food world
  • Unhealthy school lunches and vending machine choices

Teens on a Diet

Teens are more likely to follow a fad diet because of the bombarding advertisements on the subject on TV, the radio, the Internet and in magazines they read. Without the experience of knowing how to determine if a diet is an opportunistic fad diet or a real way to lose weight, teens may fall for the deceptive advertisements. The appeal is usually to lose weight quickly without much effort.

Teens need to educate themselves on how to spot a fad diet and what constitutes a healthy lifestyle to promote weight loss. Experimenting with different diets from no carb and calorie restrictive diets to detox plans and miracle weight loss drugs often leave teens weighing more than when they started and feeling worse about themselves over their diet failures.

Bariatric Surgery and Teens

Should teens consider weight loss surgery? Morbidly obese teens with a BMI of 40 or more may be considered for Bariatric surgery as a last resort. Weight loss surgery carries a lot of health risks for teens and most surgeons will not perform the operation on a teen unless they are fully grown and have developed life-threatening health problems. Bariatric surgery is a big step and it is a personal decision that needs to be made between the teen and their parents, along with a knowledgeable surgeon.

How to Prevent Teen Obesity

TV commercials, Web sites and even Sesame Street characters are spreading the word about making small lifestyle changes to prevent teen obesity.
Some schools have taken an active role in educating teens about healthy food choices and providing healthier meal options at school.

But the most important factor in teen weight loss is their family. Parents who support their teen, act as a role model and get active with their teen are more successful at preventing teen obesity than those who don’t.

Am I fat? takes an honest look at the obesity issues teens face. The book offers practical advice for teens and their parents on preventing obesity, losing weight, and developing healthy habits for life.

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obesogenic society

We live in a time when the environmental conditions are such that they create an obesity problem. Consider that 65% of American adults are overweight and more than one third are obese. Our lifestyles support these statistics. Our environment causes us to gain excess fat and makes weight loss difficult at best.

Social Features that Contribute to Obesogenics and Excess Fat Storage

There are many factors in our environment that cause us to gain weight and make losing weight a real challenge.
• People eat too many prepackaged foods.
• People get less exercise due to busy lifestyles (and sometimes due to the safety issues of being outdoors.)
• The market is flooded with cheap, energy-dense foods.
• Portion sizes continue to increase.
• Climate changes prevent us from getting enough natural sunlight and having a safe walking environment.
• Overweight people drink too much soda and other sugary drinks.
• People are glued to their TV and computer screens far too many hours per day.
• People rely on the technological advances that generally make their lives easier and require less movement.
• There is an over-reliance on fast foods.
Until recently, researchers have focused on many different aspects of weight loss. They have studied diets, genetics, hormones, exercise patterns, metabolism, behavioral therapy and ways to increase energy to burn more fat. It is a constant struggle to find the answer to long and lasting weight loss. Take a closer look at obesogenics and how environmental factors that affect our weight loss and weight gain is the missing piece.

Changing the Environment to Lose Weight

If our environment is to blame for our obesity problem like obesogenics suggests, weight loss is possible through environmental changes.
• Stop buying into the fast food craze.
• Stop purchasing prepackaged foods at the grocery store.
• Take a back-to-basics approach to life.
• Make exercise a priority in your daily life.
• Limit TV and computer time.
• Carefully watch your portion sizes.
• Increase the number of fruits and veggies you eat each day.
• Eat foods in their most natural form.
• Take note of the shortcuts you've grown accustomed to and stop taking the easy way out. Use a push lawnmower and stand up to change the channel on the TV, for example.

The bottom line is that making simple changes within your environment will give you the opportunity to eat smarter and exercise more, which is the magic combination for weight loss. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the only way to lose weight and permanently manage a healthy weight.

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The benefits of the acai berry are very well known because they have been featured in news headlines and on popular talk shows. But how beneficial is the acai berry for weight loss?

acai berry for weight loss

There are many health benefits of acai berry. It is very high in antioxidants, omega fatty acids, fiber, nutrients, and vitamins. These health benefits are reason enough for its popularity and why many people incorporate it into their diets. It is the reason for it being labeled a "superfood." However, the jury is still out on whether or not it is an effective weight loss supplement.

The reason for the uncertainty is that acai berry has not been significantly tested as a weight loss supplement. Scientists, nutritionists, and researchers haven't performed the necessary studies and tests. However, the test of the ingredients have be performed. The weight loss benefits of antioxidants, fiber, and the various other nutrients have been researched. Knowing this and knowing that acai berry has a high concentration of these ingredients provides insights to the weight loss benefits of acai berry.

How does the acai berry really help with weight loss?

Better Nutrition

Acai berry is very beneficial to overall health. If a pure acai berry is being used, the supplement can be used to ensure that the diet is healthier and more nutritious. Since losing weight requires consuming less calories, it is often the case that nutrition and vitamins are also reduced in the process. Acai berry can be used to supplement any nutrition that is lost during a diet.

Suppressing the Appetite

Acai berry is nearly 42% fiber, and contains a high level of Omega 3,6, and 9 fats. These are both very effective in suppressing the appetite and in preventing snacking between meals. In addition, fiber and the omega fatty acids can help make the digestive tract more efficient.

Increase Metabolism and Have More Energy

The omega fatty acids, fiber, amino acids and vitamins in acai can also help to boost metabolism. And a boost in metabolism can help burn more calories — even at rest. In addition, with more energy it becomes easier to exercise longer and harder, and then to recover faster.
Though acai berry is touted by many manufacturers for weight loss, the jury is still out. It is most famous for its high antioxidant levels, which is often the main reason many people use this supplement. It is also very important to know that supplements, including those with acai berry, are not going to provide weight loss without a proper diet and exercise. Though acai berry does have ingredients known to assist in weight loss, the main benefits of acai berry are its health benefis.

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body fat percentage

People who decide to lose weight too often focus on a number on the scale rather than what they really want to lose - fat. The biggest disadvantage of using weight loss as the ultimate measure of success is that the amount of weight lost has no bearing on what was lost, fat or muscle, yet losing fat, as opposed to muscle, has a large effect on a positive outcome. Too much muscle loss results in a smaller, yet still flabby, version of the dieter while increased fat loss results in more desirable muscle tone.

Measuring Body Fat, the First Step to Fat Loss Success

There are many methods of estimating body fat percentage, but some are more easily accessible than others. Several methods, such as underwater testing and the DEXA test are very accurate, but impractical for repeated measurements. Better options for those hoping to improve their body composition are skin-fold calipers and bio-electric impedance devices.

Measuring Body Fat Percentage Using Skin-fold Calipers

Skin-fold calipers are small devices used to measure the thickness of skin pinches at precise locations on the body. There are several protocols, including a 3-site test, as well as a 7-site test, that are accurate, but require someone else to perform the test due to the pinch locations. The thickness of the pinches are totaled and a body fat percentage is determined based on gender and age.

For those interested in a convenient method of performing a skin-fold body fat test on themselves, Accumeasure makes an inexpensive, skin-fold caliper that gives reasonable results from an accessible, single-pinch location.

Measuring Body Fat Percentage Using Bio-Electric Impedance Devices

Several manufacturers make scales or hand-held devices that measure body fat percentage by a process called bio-electric impedance. These test the body’s resistance to a small electric current which is then translated into a body fat percentage. Some of these devices are expensive and they are very sensitive to hydration levels. Large increases, or decreases, in hydration can throw off the calculations by several percentage points.

Losing Fat is Not the Same as Losing Weight

A prerequisite of losing weight is a calorie deficit. A person must consume fewer calories than are being burned, and once the deficit totals approximately 3500 calories, a pound is lost. The composition of that pound of weight is typically a combination of fat, water, and muscle. To minimize the amount of muscle lost, and maximize fat loss during dieting, dieters must strength train with a general conditioning program utilizing as much muscle mass as possible. Strength training forces the use of muscles and makes the body burn fat preferentially, while maintaining muscle mass, and increasing the resulting muscle tone after dieting.

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green tea and lemon

Dieting can be a daunting task, particularly if there are many pounds to be lost. But all the efforts don’t have to be in the form of calorie deprivation and endless hours of sweating at the gym. Food can actually help a person meet his or her weight goals. The only hard part is determining which foods and/or food combinations are ideal. Scientists at Purdue University found that when certain chemicals in green tea combined with lemon juice, which is high in ascorbic acid, the results were promising for those who wanted to drink green tea to burn fat.

Green Tea Health Benefits

Various studies performed by the Japanese and Dutch show that the benefits of green tea are tremendous. In the studies, green tea has been found to reduce coronary heart disease and less clogging of the heart’s blood vessels among participants, male and female. Cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, MD, tells WebMD that green tea’s antioxidants improve the flexibility of blood vessels. In addition to supporting heart health, green tea health benefits include weight loss. Research suggests that the caffeine in green tea boosts metabolism and also can act as a diuretic, causing an increase in urine excretion.

Green Tea and Vitamin C

Can green tea really make you lose weight and can a person burn belly fat with green tea are the questions many ask when they consider sipping on a steaming cup of green tea. While on its own green tea, has wonderful health benefits, including targeting weight issues that may result in diabetes and high cholesterol, researches at Purdue University have found that green tea’s beneficial antioxidants are amplified when combined with ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C.

To paint a picture, green tea is full of polyphenol antioxidants known as cachetins, most specifically ECGC (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). When green tea is combined with vitamin C, researchers found that the body absorbs the cachetins three times faster into the blood stream. These cachetins are found to burn belly more fat than without vitamin C, particularly when green tea in taken in conjunction with daily exercise.

How to Use Green Tea to Burn Fat
There is speculation whether green tea is as effective taken in a supplement form, and Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, of the American Cancer Society tells WebMD that focusing on the dietary source rather then a supplement may be better because there could be several compounds in green tea that have to be consumed together. Although there is no definitive answer on this, drinking tea with lemon juice is an easy way to maximize ECGC and maximize fat burn. Have four cups a day with lemon juice, hot or iced, and let the beneficial antioxidants work as a tool for optimal health and weight loss.

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Every diet and weight loss book, website and guru tries to offer something new to the debate about how to lose weight. The weight-loss industry is fast-growing, multi-billion dollar industry and shows no sign of slowing down. For decades there has been an assortment of outlandish and unhealthy fad diets circulating – the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, the Brussels Sprouts Diet, even the Tape Worm Diet – but the fact remains that the most sensible way to lose weight is to watch what you eat and get regular exercise.

Individuality and Weight Loss

Every body is different and the amount of weight gained or lost will depend on such things as an individual’s metabolism rate, their genetics, their ability to exercise and their overall health.

Essential Oils and Weight Loss

Essential oils by themselves will not induce weight loss but they can help to support and be a comfort through a change to a healthy lifestyle. Essential oils, such as grapefruit essential oil, can be used as a diuretic and a digestive stimulant. Others, like lavender essential oil, are anti-inflammatory, which can help to reduce inflammation caused by exercise, and lemongrass essential oil, which can aid with circulation. It is commonly believed that both peppermint essential oil and pink grapefruit essential oil can help to reduce food cravings and suppress the appetite. Grapefruit is sometimes referred to as “the dieter’s friend.”

Essential Oils to Support Lifestyle Changes

Following are ten essential oils that are often used to support lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, reduced calorie intake and stress reduction. Each essential oil is chosen for its valuable properties:
  • Basil essential oil is analgesic, anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory, helping to uplift the spirit and reduce inflammation.
  • Fennel essential oil is a detoxifier, diuretic and stimulant.
  • Grapefruit essential oil is a detoxifier, digestive stimulant, emotional stimulant, and diuretic.
  • Juniper essential oil is a detoxifier, diuretic, and works well with cellulite.
  • Lavender is an analgesic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, balancing and calming essential oil.
  • Lemon essential oil is anti-bacterial and anti-depressant.
  • Lemongrass essential oil is an antioxidant, digestive tonic and it is used to energize and stimulate the circulation.
  • Orange essential oil is anti-depressant, lymph stimulating, tonic and uplifting. It is thought to eliminate toxins.
  • Petitgrain essential oil is an antidepressant and a sedative. It is also known to help with insomnia and nervous exhaustion.
  • Rosemary essential oil is an analgesic and diuretic.
Use the essential oils singly or blend together. Try them in a bath, an aromatherapy diffuser or add them to a carrier oil and use in a massage.

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not losing weight

The western world has gotten into a bit of a state with regard to obesity and general unhealthy habits. You don’t have to look far to find someone who has been/is on a diet but just can’t seem to lose those extra pounds, or someone who has dieted, lost the weight and then put it all back on again. For some reason, weight loss has been built up to become an enigma, a myth, the Holy Grail that so many people search for but can never seem to get. The frustration of it all leads many people to depression and self-loathing and in the end they just give up and learn to accept that they may never have that slim, toned body they’ve long desired.

The tragedy of it all is that it’s not as complicated as a lot of people make it. With that in mind, here some reasons you may not be losing weight and more importantly, a solution on how to fix it.

Reason: You're Starting Off to Strict

People always seem to start off their weight loss battle because of a shock they’ve had, for instance, someone has looked at their, perhaps, too rounded stomach and asked them when the babies due. With that they then go out, guns blazing, trying the strictest, toughest diet and workout plan they can find, in the hope that the weight is going to fly off after one week. Ultimately it all becomes a bit too much and they go back to their old habits.

Solution: Relax

The chances are, you’re not ready for something like that, just yet. Instead, relax. Lance Armstrong didn’t start his cycling career by riding Tour De France distances every weekend; he slowly built up to it. Just start off by cutting down on your bad foods and aim to leave the gym feeling good each session, not completely fatigued. Once your comfortable with what you’re doing and you’re not craving the foods you once did, you can then start to build it up to being junk food free and start doing some tougher gym sessions.

Reason: You're Using Exercise as an Excuse to Binge

Most people are guilty of it at some stage. You have what feels like a tough workout, perhaps you’ve spent the last 40 minutes or so on the treadmill and because of that, you then feel you deserve to gorge on a large pizza.

Now it’s ok to treat yourself every now again, in fact it can sometimes be beneficial, however there is a limit, especially when you’re struggling to lose weight in first place. Sure, if it has been a tough workout then a lot of what you eat will be put to use by the body in replenishing its energy stores. However, the aim is still to cut calories and if you’ve only burnt, say 500-600 calories in that workout and then eat a 700-800 calorie pizza, you haven’t done yourself any favours.

Solution: Eat Something Healthy Straight Away

If you eat something healthy and filling as soon as you can, then you are less likely to want to binge on the unhealthy foods later. Try not to leave it too long after your workout before eating something; even better, take a protein bar/shake with you to the gym so you have something straight after your workout. That way you wont be as hungry later on and can make better food choices.

Reason: You Go Shopping on an Empty Stomach

A lot of people tend to go and do their weekly shopping just after a busy day working, they haven’t eaten anything since lunchtime and so the hunger is starting to set in. Of course the problem with this is they then see a row of delicious looking pastries or decide they cant wait any longer to cook all the food and, thus, go for the easy looking microwave dinner.

Solution: Eat Before You Go

The solution is fairly obvious; eat before you go, even if it’s just a bit of fruit while you’re walking around the aisles, anything to keep your hunger at bay so you’re not as easily tempted by the diet-finishing foods.

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weight loss challenges
Studies show that people who try to lose weight on their own do not have a high success rate. Having support or a weight loss buddy is helpful for dieters to stay on track, lose weight and keep it off. That's the idea behind many weight loss challenges.

There are some popular 2017 weight loss challenges you can participate in that will provide motivation and support for your diet. These weight loss programs prove that you don't have to spend money to lose pounds and keep them off. You can find online tools and inspiration, as well as people just like you who are struggling to lose weight.

2017 Weight Loss Challenges:

Body for Life 12 Week Challenge
Body for Life offers a 12-week program that is a life changing challenge. It's a formal challenge that you must enter, although there is no entry fee. You could actually win big money by participating in the body for life challenge. You have to fill out a form and present before and after pictures exactly as the program states. There are four sessions available in 2017.
  • February 11 - May 4
  • April 7 - July 7
  • June 30 - September 22
  • September 3 - November 26

Body for Life for Women
Oprah and Bob’s Best Life Challenge
Oprah, along with her trainer Bob Greene, is challenging viewers to make a commitment to lose weight in 2017. You must go to the website, sign a contract and learn new skills for the best life diet plan. Once you sign up, you'll gain access to articles and menu plans to help you along the way.
Bally's National Body Challenge
Once again, Bally's is sponsoring an annual National Body Challenge that offers free comprehensive fitness tools and inspiration. The eight week Bally's membership is included with your registration. It kicks off January 5 - 6 at malls across the country. The challenge is led by Discovery Health experts. You can register for free online to get online support and weight and fitness trackers.

The Presidential Challenge
The Presidential Challenge is an ongoing weight loss program aimed at keeping you motivated to shed pounds. The site allows you to earn awards, log activity and order presidential challenge stickers, shirts, awards and more.

The Right Weight Loss Challenge for You

Finding a weight loss challenge that will work best for you will depend on your specific needs.
  • How much support do you need from an online program?
  • Do you need face-to-face support for accountability?
  • What inspires you to lose weight?
  • Are you motivated by a diet cash prize to lose weight?
  • Do small prizes and awards motivate you to reach your goals?
  • Do you have daily access to a computer to log your food and exercise?
Answering these questions will help you figure out your diet needs. Learn more about these what weight loss challenges by going to their specific websites to hear success stories, read expert advice and connect with other dieters like yourself. Weight loss challenges are a great way to find online support and motivation.

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six pack abs
One reason not many people sport a six pack is they over-complicate the process. A flat stomach isn't about how many crunches you do, or how many hours you spend on the treadmill. In fact, you can skip the crunches, and if you want, even the treadmill. Here is a simple, three step plan for that toned stomach. After you know the plan, keep reading to discover the major pitfalls to avoid if you want to be successful.

Here is the three step plan:
  • strength train
  • perform intense, interval-style cardio
  • eat right
That's it. Simple, right? Nobody said it was easy, just simple. In fact, it's not easy to get lean enough to show off your ab muscles. It takes a lot of sweat, effort, and commitment. But it is simple.

So where do men and women go wrong in their journey? How come so few reach this elusive goal?
Here are the most common deterrents on the road to a ripped stomach.

Strength Train

A lot of readers will interpret that to mean "do a lot of crunches and other ab exercises." This is a huge waste of your time and energy. Ab exercises are good for strengthening the midsection and have a place in a well-rounded exercise program. However, regarding the goal of showing off your washboard abs, you can skip the crunches. Instead, you need to be doing a full-body workout at least two times per week that includes compound strength exercises for each of the major muscles. These exercises include squats, rows, and presses. If having a flat stomach were as simple as doing 1000 crunches per day, almost everyone would already have a six pack.

Perform Intense, Interval-style Cardio

Low intensity, long duration cardio is great if you are training for a marathon. But if you want to get lean enough to show off your abs, you should be doing interval-style cardio, up to five times per week. This is where you alternate a low intensity activity with a high intensity activity for about 20-30 minutes. The length of the intervals can vary, but 60 seconds low/30 seconds high is common. For example, you could sprint for 30 seconds, then jog for 60 seconds. Other exercises and activities that can be used for intervals are burpees, jump roping, hill sprints, and plyometric exercises just to mention a few. If you can continue for more than 20-30 minutes, your intervals aren't intense enough!

Eat Right

This section could be a book by itself, but one of the most common mistakes is being too strict. At the beginning of a program, you are excited and motivated to do everything right. So you cut out all processed sugar, fried foods, alcohol, and sweets. The problem is you deprive yourself too much and within a week, you are craving these foods like crazy. So one day you give in and have a couple cookies and the guilt about kills you. You figure there is no way you can ever do this so you drop the entire program. A much better plan is to allow yourself one cheat meal per week. At this meal you can enjoy your favorite foods with no guilt. This will satisfy your cravings and it will not hamper your progress.

That's it. Follow these three simple steps and you too can sport a washboard stomach on the beach. But start early because this process takes time. How much time is dependent on how lean you are when you start, but for a person of average body fat, you still need at least three months.
Not easy. But simple.

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simple plan to lose weight
Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 50 pounds, weight loss can be a long hard battle. You can lose weight this year if you put your mind to it though. As complicated as it may seem, weight loss is as simple as calories in and calories out.

Calories In: a Weight Loss Plan

In order to lose weight, you first need to take stock of the calories that you eat each day. For one week, keep a diary of everything that you eat. Keep track of every snack, every meal and every drink. Do not hide anything in this journal. If you go back for seconds, write that down. If you get a double helping of mashed potatoes, write that down. This journal is for your eyes only, and you cannot lose weight until you understand what you are eating.

Once you have an idea of what you are eating, come up with ways to take calories out of your diet. Instead of making major changes to your diet, start small. If you drink 4 glasses of soda a day, cut that down to two. If you eat two or three helpings at a meal, cut that down. Find ways to cut back on what you eat without changing what you eat.

After adjusting to these minor changes, you can also begin to substitute the unhealthy foods you eat for more healthy choices. This may begin to happen naturally as you reduce your caloric intake. For example, if you do not eat two helpings of dinner, you may still be hungry and so you may snack on carrots or popcorn after dinner. Be sure that you do not replace your unhealthy food with more unhealthy foods.

Calories Out: a Weight Loss Plan

As long as you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight, guaranteed. If you burn the same amount of calories that you eat, you will maintain your weight, and if you eat more calories than you burn, you will put on weight. In order to increase the amount of calories that you burn in a day, make simple changes in your life. Park at the edge of the parking lot and walk a few feet further. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. The more you move the more calories you will burn.

This year as you attempt to lose weight, do not spend money on these fancy weight loss plans unless you need the motivation from a program. If you want a plan that will help you lose weight for sure, brush up on your simple math and begin adding up the calories. Calories in must be fewer than calories out in order for you to lose weight.

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bob greene's best life diet

The Best Life Diet (Simon and Schuster, 2006) is a sound weight loss program based on the concept of lifestyle changes. The author, Bob Greene, is also the author of the Total Body Makeover and Get with the Program. Greene is best known for his association with Oprah Winfrey and how he helped her reach her weight loss goals. You know when Oprah endorses a diet; it has to be a sensible program. She even wrote a forward for The Best Life Diet.

Invest in Yourself to Lose Weight

Greene makes it clear that investing in yourself is a key component to making necessary lifestyle changes to lose weight. He asks that you pay close attention to your hunger level, gain control over your emotional eating and increase your daily exercise. The Best Life Diet describes sensible lifestyle changes that bring long term weight loss success.

Three Phases of The Best Life Diet

Greene breaks The Best Life Diet down into three distinct phases. The first phase helps you gain appetite control while changing your eating habits and exercising more. The second phase includes dietary changes and helps you learn your reasons for emotional eating.

The final phase of the diet plan is the transition into a healthy lifestyle. You will follow this program for optimal health and weight for the rest of your life. In this stage you will continually swap your preferred food choices for healthier ones.

The Best Life Diet Recipes

The recipes in The Best Life Diet are anything but boring diet foods. The recipes are interesting and tasty. Some examples are:
  • Chicken salad with pomegranate, oranges and walnuts
  • Whole wheat pasta with broccoli & peanut sauce
  • Roasted fennel with parmesan
  • Rosemary roasted sweet potatoes
  • Mocha cooler
  • Vanilla caramel Truffle Latte

The Best Life Diet Program

"Losing weight can change your life for the better in ways that far exceed being happier with your appearance," according to Greene (10). The Best Life Diet program is built on small steps and small success. Greene also describes three principles that will guide you in your weight loss journey: responsibility, commitment and inner strength.

Use these principles, along with portion control, being more proactive in your life, learning to measure your hunger and doing some self-discovery to lose weight and maintain that weight loss for the rest of your life. The Best Life Diet will not only help you lose weight, but it will improve your overall quality of life. Are you ready to commit to yourself and create a healthier life?

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janice taylor
Taylor uses fresh ideas based on her love of art and her deep desire to lose weight. She started winning the weight loss battle when she channeled her cravings into her art projects. She calls herself a weight loss artist because she makes art out of food rather than eating it.

Taylor’s unique phrasing, thought process, recipes, tips and art projects make it different than any other weight loss book on the market. Her whole concept of weight loss is based on her inner voice, which she dubs “Our Lady of Weight Loss.” Many of her paintings and art projects revolve around this character, which was inside her all along.

The book is an honest look at the emotions we go through on our weight loss journeys and how dealing with temptation in a new way can have dramatic results. Taylor lost more than 50 pounds when she changed her response to cravings. She turned a box of pasta into a macaroni and cheese altar and a box of chocolates into a jewelry box.

Taylor also include confessions in her book where letters explain how others have fumbled along the way and her advice is always to forgive yourself and move on. She makes losing weight fun and interesting.

For a funny and motivational look at weight loss and fat removal, I recommend a copy of Our Lady of Weight Loss.

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reducing your waistline

This seems to be the biggest request of people who want to lose weight. There are three components to effectively reducing your waistline:

  • Diet
  • Strength Training
  • Cardiovascular Training

A healthy diet consists of a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. One must also pay close attention to portion control. The diet should consist of small meals every three to four hours as this will aid in speeding up the metabolism. The carbohydrates should consist of slow moving, whole grain carbohydrates such as: rolled oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole wheat breads. Protein sources should consist of: chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, lean beef. Fiber sources should consist of green leafy vegetables, carrots, beets, green beans, and of course every diet should contain an array of fruits.

Cardiovascular training should be done in a supervised environment with proper body mechanics and form being taught and implemented. Strength training should be performed three days a week and circuit training with light to moderately heavy weights will aid in weight loss and toning of the muscles.

Cardiovascular training may consist of power walking on a treadmill first thing in the morning. More of the energy burned during moderate treadmill workout in a fasted state, comes from fat, compared to energy from a meal. Choosing to eat before a cardio session is equivalent to saying, you want to preserve your fat stores and reduce the amount of sugar that can replenish your muscle glycogen stores after a night's sleep.

Cardiovascular training can also be done on an elliptical machine, upright bike, recumbent bike, jumping rope, aerobics classes, and cardio classes. There are others to choose from - these are just a few.

Recommended heart rate is 65% MHR (maximum heart rate) reliably predicted to occur at a pulse rate 25 beats per minute above your heart rate during a light warm up.

Slow and steady, low intensity, longer duration (45 – 60 minutes) on an empty stomach burns (melts) body fat more efficiently than high intensity.

Thus, the key ingredients in a trim waist is to eat a well balanced, healthy, controlled-portion diet, to strength train at least three days per week, and to perform cardiovascular training at a slow pace for 45-60 minute duration at least three days per week. The combination of these three components will effectively reduce your waistline and overall body weight/ body fat, and will also be the three key components of living a healthy lifestyle. In order to achieve real results that will last one has to apply each of these components to one's everyday life and consistency is key!

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One of the first questions people ask when they begin a weight loss program or diet plan is usually centers around the reasons they are overweight. How does a person end up being overweight? What is the ideal weight for a particular person? So, how does a person determine just that ideal weight number? Read on and discover a few things about successful weight loss and the ideal weight.

The Body is Designed to Maintain a Certain Weight

Body temperature is a steady 98.6 degrees for most all people. The human body is designed to remain at that temperature level, unless something is wrong. The body also has a similar mechanism for maintaining a steady weight level. Thomas Wadden, PhD and director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at University of Pennsylvania Medical School says that a person's body weight is designed to remain within a range of about 10 to 20% of ideal weight. He calls this the "set point."

When a person eats too much, this internal weight regulating system is overwhelmed, and the body reacts by increasing the "set point." It's much easier to raise this set point of ideal weight than it is to lower it, although it can be done. The body responds to all the overeating by raising this ideal weight set point higher. In other words, people train their bodies to accept a higher set point of ideal weight.

Weight Loss and Ideal Weight

Weight loss is so difficult for some folks because this ideal weight level has been increased over a period of time, sometimes over years, of overeating and eating the wrong type of food. When a person finally decides to start losing the weight, their body is already set at that increased ideal weight level.

Decreasing the ideal weight set point is possible, but apparently it's easier to make it go up than down. This is a lot of the reason why people have such a difficult time with weight loss. It's not an excuse for folks to remain overweight, it's just a reminder that weight loss is more difficult than weight gain. That sems so unfair, but that's the way it works.

Why Weight Loss is So Hard

Dr, Wadden explains that when a person quickly loses these huge amounts of weight on these crash diets or radical weight loss plans, an internal struggle is going on within the body. The body actually releases hormones like ghrelin to make a person feel even more hungry in an attempt to maintain the high ideal weight set point.

It's sort of like how a person's body would react to any substance – food, alcohol, chemicals, drugs. The substance introduced into the body alters the body's chemical makeup and composition. As more of the substance is introduced into the system on a regular basis, the body is literally trained to accept the presence of the substance as "normal." When the substance is restricted or removed entirely, the body reacts to defend what it considers as normal.

The solution is to take the idea of weight loss and changing diet very slowly. The body has been trained over time to accept poor eating habits and lack of exercise as it's normal state. A sudden commitment in the brain is not going to translate easily into the rest of the body. The body will defend it's "normal" condition, which means losing weight is going to be an uphill battle. Lose weight, yes. Start exercising more, of course. But lose weight and change activity levels gradually and give the body a chance to get used to the new normal – a slimmer, healthier body.

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good, bad, and ugly fats

There is a lot of seemingly confusing information about the effects of the types of fat and what they have to do with weight loss. Well, there's good fat, or essential fatty acids which must be consumed through food because the body cannot produce these. There's bad saturated fats like the fat in butter, milk, and cream.

There's not-so-bad unsaturated fats that are typically found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. Then there's that king of the bad fats, the bad boy of the fatty fun park, hydrogenated oil, or trans fat, as it more commonly known. Of course, too much of any of these fats is not good for health or for successful weight loss. So how does one know how much of which fats are the best combination?

Fats Necessary For Optimal Nutrition

As bad a rap as fat gets in the media, it's actually a good thing and is necessary for maintaining life and health. Those good essential fatty acids are found in the fat of the food people eat every day. Fat is also necessary in keeping skin healthy, carrying essential vitamins and minerals, and helps young children's developing brains.

Fat is actually a good thing, but it always seems to get the blame for any sort of weight gain. The truth is that anyone can put on weight and get fat from eating just carbohydrates and protein. "Excess calories from any source is what's responsible for weight gain," according to Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory.

Fat Has Twice the Calories of Carbs or Protein

Fat is desirable in the foods folks eat because it carries the flavor of the food. Everyone has had one of those no–fat cookies that tastes like compressed sawdust. They taste like that because they have no fat to carry the flavor. Here's a simple fact for those trying to lose weight or have stated a weight loss program: one gram of fat contains more than twice the amount of calories as a gram of carbohydrate or protein.

As far as identifying what fats are good or bad, some types of fat are just bad for folks trying to lose weight. Too much of any good or bad fat leads to heart disease and increases stroke risk. But there are fats that are very bad. Trans fat is one of those very bad fats. Trans fat is very common in most commercially prepared foods but because of recent research, is in the process of being totally eliminated from those type of foods. Trans fat raises bad LDL blood cholesterol levels while lowering good HDL cholesterol levels. be sure to check nutrition labels and avoid trans fat whenever possible.

Most Fat is Bad Fat for Those Trying to Lose Weight

Because any fats are going to hinder weight loss, it's best to limit the amount of fat consumed. A lot of the fatty foods eaten by most folks today contain a lot of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance necessary for life and good health in humans. Excess cholesterol is typically found in egg yolks, shellfish, high fat dairy products, liver or organ meats, high fat meats, and poultry skin.

Eating lots of these fatty foods will not only raise the bad cholesterol levels in the blood but will also prevent optimal weight loss. Losing weight is a simple formula of consuming less food, eating the right amount of whole, unprocessed foods, and increasing the level of exercise. While some good fats are necessary for proper nutrition, there is no place for some types of bad fats in a successful weight loss program.

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calculating body mass index

BMI, or Body Mass Index is a rough assessment of a person's weight compared to height. While this is used widely as an indicator of just how much fat tissue is present in a particular body, it is not always an accurate assessment of a person's complete weight loss picture. There may be a better way.

Problems with BMI Calculations

While the BMI equation is very popular, the results from this equation can be grossly inaccurate and misleading. This may cause some folks to get the wrong idea about just how much weight loss is needed in a particular situation. An accurate baseline is needed in order to lose weight successfully and the BMI may not provide this baseline.

The BMI equation does not consider the particular specifics of a person's body composition. In other words, if person A works out and has more muscle, the BMI equation has no way of distinguishing what is fat and what is muscle. Older folks, or those with a low amount of body muscle may also get an inaccurate reading and thus be considered healthy. BMI measures body mass only.

Estimating Weight Loss Through Body Composition

Muscle is a good thing because it makes a body look better, and it burns more calories than fat tissue. More muscle means more calories burned and that is a great thing for someone trying to lose weight. Because the BMI does not provide an accurate assessment of total body fat, there are other ways to determine the correct amount of weight to be lost.

Weighing on a scale is not the best way because there can be daily fluctuations of weight levels. The mirror may actually be the best way to determine how much weight loss needs to occur and from where. Take a close look in the mirror without being overly critical. Think of it as a broad brush approach to weight loss. Find the biggest problem area first and start there. Don't get all caught up in the details and minor areas. Broad brush strokes.

Correct Measurement of Body Fat Percentage for Optimal Weight Loss

Perhaps the most accurate method to find out the actual percentage of body fat and muscle tissue is to be weighed while in water using hydrostatic testing. The process begins with a person sitting in a seat that is attached to a scale hanging over the water. The subject first weighed on the scale to determine a baseline weight. Next the person then submerged in the water and weighed once again. Fat is lighter than water, muscle heavier. The two weights are combined and a proper body fat percentage is determined.

There are other methods for determining BMI like bioelectrical impedance analysis which runs a tiny bit of electricity through the body to measure the resistance levels of fat and muscle. Skinfold measurements is another low–tech method which uses a special set of calipers to measure subcutaneous fat. None of these methods will provide a reading as accurate as hydrostatic testing. Obtaining an accurate assessment of lean body mass compared to fat body mass is an important first step on the road to successful weight loss.

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diet drug

Vivus said two late-stage studies of some 3,750 patients showed those who took Qnexa were able to trim their weight by up to 14.7 percent in one study and 13.2 percent in another compared to a placebo group that lost just 3 percent. The studies are the final stage of human trial demanded by the FDA.

A side benefit, Vivus said, was that patients on Qnexa were able to reduce their diabetes risk factors and showed improvement in blood pressure as well. The company said it will ask the FDA for approval by the end of this year.

Obesity – An Epidemic Threatening to Worsen

Some 300 million people worldwide, among them more than 60 million Americans, are considered obese. The World Health Organization said obesity worldwide could increase to more than 700 million people by 2015. Rising rates of diabetes,cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke are all linked to obesity.

Pharmaceutical firms are rushing remedies – and hoped-for remedies – to the marketplace, and there are more in the clinical development pipeline.

Analysts say the current market for diet drugs and the anti-obesity market overall is near $1 billion, but believe it could grow to more than $10 billion in the United States alone.

Vivus hopes Qnexa can take a big bite of that market. The drug uses two previously-approved and proven weight loss drugs as its main ingredients, combined in a single daily-dose capsule. Qnexa says its product deals with both appetite and the feeling of being satisfied.

Vivus’s Qnexa Combines Proven Diet Products

The two active ingredients in Qnexa have been around for years, but Vivus says it’s the combination of the pair that had led to successful weight loss in clinical trials. In fact, 67 percent of patients in one study and 70 percent in the other lost at least five percent of their weight in the course of the 56-week trial.

Here’s how each of the drugs work, according to Vivus:
  • Phentermine is released immediately and helps reduce appetite. It’s been around since the 1950s and is the diet industry’s most-prescribed drug. It was a major component of the recalled diet drug fen-phen, which was linked to heart and lung problems and was taken off the market ion 1997.
  • Topiramate is time released and used in very low doses to give patients a feeling of satiety, the feeling of being full. Originally an epilepsy drug, it’s also used to help prevent migraine headaches.

Vivus and Qnexa are in a race with two other drug companies to get the next release of a safe therapeutic weight-loss drugs to the U.S. market. Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals both hope to have a new drug to market soon. Both are using a combination of already approved drugs and hope to introduce their products to market by late this year or early 2010.

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tips weight loss

The reason many fad diets (and even some hardcore workout programs) fail is because they are difficult to sustain. For instance, certain diets that restrict calories to an unhealthy degree will help dieters lose weight quickly; however, dieters often gain the weight back (and more) because they cannot maintain these difficult goals.

Similarly, those who work out too hard can actually burn out. The extent to which this can happen varies from person to person, but it happens and can be extremely discouraging. Those who want to lose weight can follow these simple tips that may not bring about fast weight loss, but they will help you lose weight over time and keep it off.

Eat Breakfast

Eating breakfast every day not only jump-starts your metabolism, but also gives you all day to burn off those calories. Nutritionists recommend a breakfast of around 250-400 calories, and they recommend choosing foods full of fiber, as well as fruits.

Make Simple Substitutions

Instead of having a slice of Italian bread with garlic butter, eat a whole wheat pita with garlic hummus. Craving french fries? Have sweet potato fries. These small substitutions are easy ways to cut calories while still enjoying what you eat.

Simple substitutions make dieting easier, because you are not starving yourself or restricting calories to an unreasonable degree. You are, therefore, more likely to stick with the changes.

Lift Weights

While many people think that the only way to burn fat is through cardiovascular exercise, increasing your muscle mass through weight lifting actually helps your body burn more fat, even at rest. While you may see an increase in pounds in the scale at first, this is only because muscle weighs more than fat. You will begin to see changes in your body shape and fit into your clothes better, as you beging to lift weights two to three times a week.

Cut Out Sodas and Juices

Sodas and juices are high in sugar and calories. If you drink two sodas a day and can switch those out with water, black coffee, unsweetened tea, or green tea, you can save yourself an average of 300 calories a day. Green tea, in particular, has been proven to boost your metabolism. While the effects are not staggering, burning calories through drinking green tea is much better than consuming empty calories from a soda.

Get a Weight-Loss Buddy

Finding some way to keep yourself accountable is one of the best ways to control your bad eating habits. Some people find it easier to have a friend who is in the same situation and support each other. Others find it helpful to keep a journal of their caloric intake.

Put Half Your Meal in a To-Go Box

When people have more food in front of them, they tend to eat more. Asking for a to-go box before you even start eating will help you limit your portions. Be sure to do this prior to eating because getting a to-go box after your meal has no effect on your portion control.

Eat Every Few Hours

Complete calorie restriction is not going to work long-term because your body can go into starvation mode and store fat, or you could be driven to binge eating after restricting yourself so much. Eat small, healthy meals every few hours to keep your metabolism burning throughout the day and to avoid getting over-hungry.

There are many resources online to use in order to determine how many calories you should take in a day. Be sure to use a calorie calculator that takes into account your age, height, current weight, and how many calories you burn, on average, at rest.

Interval Train

Those who find it hard to find the endurance to run for an hour at a time should try interval training. It is not only one of the best ways to burn fat, but it alternates between high and low intensity, so you can exercise for longer without burning out.

These small tips are changes you can make to your lifestyle long-term because they are reasonable and sensible. Don't expect to see instant results, but expect long-term results!

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