Friday, September 14, 2012

The 10 Best Foods for Flat Abs

The sad truth: You can crunch yourself into a coma and still have ab flab. If you really want a sleek, sexy midriff, you've got to tweak your diet. All of the best waist-whittling foods contain fiber to banish bloat, antioxidants to boost your abs routine's effectiveness, and protein to help maintain a healthy metabolism. Here, the top 10 choices for flatter abs.

1. Almonds
These delicious and versatile nuts contain filling protein and fiber, not to mention vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. They're also a good source of magnesium, a mineral your body must have in order to produce energy, build and maintain muscle tissue, and regulate blood sugar. "A stable blood-sugar level helps prevent cravings that can lead to overeating and weight gain," says David Katz, MD, a professor at the Yale University School of Medicine. But what makes almonds most interesting is their ability to block calories. Research indicates that the composition of their cell walls may help reduce the absorption of all of their fat, making them an extra-lean nut.
Try for: An ounce a day (about 23 almonds), with approximately 160 calories. An empty Altoids tin will hold your daily dose perfectly.

2. Eggs
You won't find a more perfect protein source. Eggs are highly respected by dietitians because of their balance of essential amino acids (protein building blocks used by your body to manufacture everything from muscle fibers to brain chemicals). We like them because they keep our hands out of the cookie jar. Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center found that when people ate eggs in the morning, they felt less hungry throughout the day than when breakfast consisted of complex carbohydrates like bagels. "The protein and fat in the egg may be contributing to the feeling of satiety," says lead researcher Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, PhD.
Try for: One egg a day, unless you have high blood cholesterol, in which case you should check with your doctor first. (One egg packs about 213 milligrams of cholesterol.)

3. Soy
Soybeans are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, and protein. Plus, they're incredibly versatile. Snack on dry-roasted soybeans, toss shelled edamame into soups, and slip a spoonful of silken tofu into your morning smoothie. Liquid soy also makes a good meal replacement: A study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that overweight subjects who drank a soy milk?based meal replacement lost more weight than those who consumed a traditional dairy-based diet drink.
Try for: Twenty-five grams of whole (not isolated) soy protein daily. A half cup of steamed edamame contains about 130 calories and 11 grams of protein. Four ounces of tofu (94 calories) contain 10 grams. Choose whole soy foods over products packed with "isolated soy protein" -- the latter may not provide all the benefits of whole soybeans.

4. Apples
A 2003 study in the journal Nutrition found that overweight women who consumed three apples or pears a day for three months lost more weight than their counterparts who were fed a similar diet with oat cookies instead of fruits. "A large apple has five grams of fiber, but it's also nearly 85 percent water, which helps you feel full," explains Elisa Zied, RD, author of So What Can I Eat?! (Wiley, 2006). Apples also contain quercetin, a compound shown to help fight certain cancers, reduce cholesterol damage, and promote healthy lungs.
Try for: An apple (or two) a day. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the Red Delicious, Cortland, and Northern Spy varieties had the highest antioxidant activity.

5. Berries
Most are loaded with fiber, every dieter's best friend. The more fiber you eat -- experts say that it's best to get between 25 and 35 grams every day -- the fewer calories you absorb from all the other stuff you put in your mouth. That's because fiber traps food particles and shuttles them out of your system before they're fully digested. Berries (and other fruits) are also high in antioxidants, which not only help protect you from chronic diseases like cancer but may also help you get more results from your workouts. "Antioxidants help improve blood flow, which can help muscles contract more efficiently," says Dr. Katz.
Try for: At least half a cup daily, or about 30 calories' worth. Don't limit yourself to the usual suspects, like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. If you can find them, add boysenberries, gooseberries, and black currants to the mix for excitement.

6. Leafy Greens
Their cancer-preventing carotenoids won't help shrink your waistline, but their low calorie count definitely will. One cup of spinach contains only about 40 calories, while a cup of broccoli has 55 calories and satisfies 20 percent of your day's fiber requirement. Most leafy greens are also a good source of calcium, an essential ingredient for muscle contraction. In other words, they help fuel your workouts.
Try for: Three servings daily. Keep a bag of prewashed baby spinach in your fridge and toss a handful into soups, salads, pasta dishes, stir-fries, and sandwiches. When you get sick of spinach, reach for a bunch of arugula, broccoli rabe, or broccolini, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale.

7. Yogurt
People who get their calcium from yogurt rather than from other sources may lose more weight around their midsection, according to a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity. The probiotic bacteria in most yogurts help keep your digestive system healthy, which translates into a lower incidence of gas, bloating, and constipation, which can keep your tummy looking flat.
Try for: One to three cups a day of low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Choose unsweetened yogurt that contains live active cultures. Add a handful of fresh chopped fruit for flavor and extra fiber.

8. Veggie Soup
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that people who ate broth-based (or low-fat cream-based) soups two times a day were more successful in losing weight than those who ate the same amount of calories in snack food. Soup eaters also maintained, on average, a total weight loss of 16 pounds after one year. "Plus, it's a simple way to get your vegetables," says Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, author of Power Eating (Human Kinetics, 2001).
Try for: At least one cup of low-calorie, low-sodium vegetable soup every day.

9. Salmon

Seafood, especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. These uber-healthy fats may help promote fat burning by making your metabolism more efficient, according to Kleiner. An Australian study showed that overweight people who ate fish daily improved their glucose-insulin response. Translated, this means that seafood may help slow digestion and prevent cravings. If that doesn't hook you, consider this: Seafood is an excellent source of abs-friendly protein.

Try for: Two four-ounce servings per week. Wild salmon, though pricey, contains more omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised. (If it doesn't say wild, it's farm-raised.) If seafood's not your thing, you can get your omega-3's from flaxseed (grind and sprinkle on your cereal) or walnuts.

10. Quinoa
Never heard of it? Pronounced KEEN-wah, this whole grain contains 5 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein per half cup. Cook it as you would any other grain (although some brands require rinsing). Quinoa's nutty flavor and crunchy-yet-chewy texture are like a cross between whole-wheat couscous and short-grain brown rice.
Try for: At least one half-cup serving (a third of your whole-grain requirements) per day. Try substituting AltiPlano Gold brand instant quinoa hot cereal (160 to 210 calories per packet), in Chai Almond and Spiced Apple Raisin, for oatmeal. Look for it in health-food stores.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Awful Truths & Realizationss

This pic was taken just over a year ago.....MY TRUTH? I've gained 20lbs back and I am NOT proud of it.  I know exactly what I did....NOW to fix it.  It wont be easy...BUT IT WILL BE DONE!!! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

61 Easy Ways To Lose Weight

A few years ago, one of my friends at Men's Health stepped on the scale and was horrified by the result. He'd somehow managed to pack 20 pounds of flab onto his previously skinny frame. When he looked into the mirror, he saw a fat guy staring back. He decided to make a change, quick.

That day, he gave up his beloved soda. He was only drinking two or three bottles a day, but over the course of six months, he dropped those 20 pounds. It was a small change to his lifestyle -- no big deal, really. And yet, it had a massive impact on his health and his body. (No surprise: Drinking calories is one of the 20 Habits That Make You Fat.)

My point: Making small decisions each day can result in big-time fat loss.
Below are dozens of simple ways to lose weight. Start with one -- today! -- and watch the weight begin to melt away. Trust me, this is going to be easier than you think.

1. Have a clear goal. It should be one that anyone in the world can measure and understand.

2. Drink tea. Research suggests that those who drink tea -- black, green, or white, as long as it’s from real tea versus herbal tea -- have lower BMIs and less body fat than those who don’t consume tea.

3. Eat cayenne pepper. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that when compared to placebo, capsaicin -- the active ingredient in cayenne -- increased fat burning.

4. Decrease/eliminate processed carbs. They do nothing for you outside of creating a favorable environment for gaining fat.

5. Eat more veggies. They fill you up, without providing many calories. Just avoid the high-calorie dressings.

6. Eat more fruit. No one ever gained weight from eating more fruit. And that includes the so-called "high sugar" fruits like bananas and melons.

7. Lift weights. Heavy weights. Build more muscle, burn more calories.

8. Cut down rest time between sets. This will keep your heart rate elevated causing an increase in calories burned. The good news: You can sky-rocket your heart rate and torch belly-fat fast with The Spartacus Workout for Men and The Spartacus Workout for Women -- the most popular fat-blasting workouts in Men's Health and Women's Health history. 

9. Do intervals. Study after study after study continues to show intervals are more effective and time efficient than longer activity performed at a lower intensity.

10. Eat more protein. Replacing refined carbohydrates with lean protein will not only help satiate you, but will also increase your metabolism -- through something called the thermic effect of food.

Top of Form
Bottom of Form
11. Eat protein more frequently. It's important to also time your intake so you're eating protein regularly throughout the day -- not just in one lump sum, like most do at dinner. Every meal and snack should include some protein. 

12. Supplement with fish oil. A study published in Lipids fed mice diets enhanced EPA and DHA -- a.k.a. fish oil. The researchers learned that the mice fed diets higher in omega-3 fats had significantly less accumulation of body fat. Other studies have shown similar results.

13. Do full body exercises. Think: Squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and push-ups. You'll get more bang for your buck out of each workout. 

14. Cycle your carb intake based on your activity level. Sure, carbs are important. But on the days you don't work out, you simply don't need as many compared to the days you exercise hard. Rule of thumb: The more active you are, the more carbs you can eat, and vice versa. 

15. Start your meals with a salad. Salad will provide some bulk to help fill you up -- so that you eat less calories overall.

16. Don't forget the fiber. Think of fiber like a sponge; it absorbs water and makes you feel full. 

17. Drink water. Professor Dr. Brenda Davy and her Team from Virginia Tech University found that giving people 2 cups of water before each meal resulted in greater weight loss after 12 weeks. The reason? It helps fill you up.

18. Add beans to your salads. It's a nice way to add some additional fiber, protein and healthy carbs.

19. Replace one meal a day with a large salad and lean protein. This is a simple way to instantly improve your diet. 

20. Keep a food journal. There's no better way to track what you're putting in your mouth.

21. Watch your portions. Avoid the buffet line and never supersize. Instead make sure you're following what the nutrition label recommends for a serving.

22. Switch to calorie-free drinks. All calories count, whether they're liquid or solid. So unless it's low-fat milk, opt for tea or water. Or something I was introduced to in the Netherlands -- large bunches of mint, lemon and hot water.

23. Weigh yourself. Studies show daily weigh-ins help enhance weight loss efforts. Don't live and die by the number. And of course a scale doesn’t decipher between fat and lean body mass, but it can still be of benefit to keep things "in check."

24. Eat whole eggs. Daily. A study published a couple years ago showed that those who ate whole eggs versus a bagel for breakfast ate less at the next meal. A similar study showed eating whole eggs increases HDL (good) cholesterol.

25. Eat breakfast. A review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who eat breakfast are more successful with long-term weight maintenance. Other research has shown the same for weight loss. Grab hardboiled eggs, scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, a piece of fruit and handful of nuts, or make a smoothie. It doesn't have to be fancy.

26. Eat the bulk of your meals in the A.M. Then eat progressively less throughout the day. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating most of your calories earlier in the day positively influences weight changes.

27. To burn more calories, stay upright. This means not sitting in front of a computer, TV, phone, etc., all day. Stand and you'll burn more and be more productive. This could even save your life.
28. Use the stairs. That's right: Skip the escalator and elevator. This won't make or break success, but every little bit helps. So get in all the movement you can.

29. Eat low-energy, dense foods. These are foods that are high in water and lower in calories, such as fruit, veggies, soups, and salads. Studies at Penn State University have showed that the inclusion of these foods helps individuals eat less total calories overall.

30. Don't grocery shop hungry If you do, you'll buy everything in the aisle -- instead of sticking to your list. And most of the time, the foods you buy when hungry will be the kinds that sabotage your weight loss efforts.

31. Replace side dishes with steamed veggies. Restaurants will often allow you to substitute the fries or chips with steamed veggies. All you have to do is ask.

32. Bake, don't fry.

33. Use the fat-burner in your backyard: Your grill. (And make sure you have a copy of Grill This, Not That! -- the extraordinary guide to grilling that can help you lose 10, 20, 30 or more pounds.)

34. Order dressing on the side. But here's the bigger secret: Dip your fork in dressing, and then in the salad. This saves a ton more dressing than if one was to order it on the side, and the pour the entire cup on the salad anyway. Fewer calories equal less weight.

35. In the airport: Carry your luggage, don't roll it. Again, not a deal breaker in terms of success -- just another way to increase energy expenditure.

36. Skip the "Venti lattes" and opt for plain coffee. (Or better yet, tea.) Those extra-large "designer" coffees can pack a belly-inflating 500 or more calories per serving!

37. Embrace oats. Plain rolled oats will help fill you up more than the high sugar breakfast counterparts. Moreover, one serving provides a lot less calories than the sugar coated alternatives.

38. Fidget. A study published in the journal Science showed that those who fidgeted more often -- for example, changed their posture frequently -- weighed less than those who didn't. This extra movement was termed NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). 

39. Laugh often. A study presented at the European Congress on Obesity found those who laughed hard for approximately 10 to 15 minutes each day burned an additional 10 to 40 calories/day. Multiply that by 365 and those calories can add up!

40. Leave something on your plate at the end of the meal. Every little bit counts.

41. When out to eat, split a meal. The portions are usually big enough to feed a family.

42. Skip dessert.

43. Don't socialize around the food tables at parties. You're more likely to munch mindlessly, even though you may not be hungry.

44. Don't eat your kid's leftovers. Every little bit of food adds up, including what we call "BLTs" (bites, licks and tastes).

45. Keep chips, dips, and other high fat junk foods out of the house. It's not about willpower; it's about being realistic.

46. If you have a dog, take him for a walk. It's better for both him and you than just letting him out the back. (Bonus: He'll love you even more!)

47. If you don't have a pet, offer to walk a neighbor's dog. Make friends; lose weight.

48. Use smaller plates and bowls. There will be less room for you to fill up and it makes less food seems like more.

49. Skip buffets. It's a foregone conclusion: If you don't, you'll feel like you have to get your money's worth and overeat. 

50. Slow down. It takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes for your stomach to sense it's full. If you wolf down your food like a starving dog, you'll likely out-eat your hunger.

51. Decrease your food intake by 100 calories per day. Theoretically this translates to losing nearly one pound per month (1 lb = 3,500 calories) -- with hardly any effort.

52. Buy a pedometer and accumulate at least 10,000 steps each day.

53. When possible, walk or bike to do your errands.

54. Don't buy in bulk. The more that is there, the more that you'll eat.

55. Plan ahead. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

56. Keep some healthy snacks -- like nuts -- in your glove compartment so you're prepared at all times.

57. Take before pictures.

58. Get new friends. If your friends prefer pizza, wings, nachos and beer on a regular basis, find one's who are like-minded and want to be healthy. Research has suggested that friends enhance (or can hurt) success.

59. Put yourself first. Many people (women in particular) put everyone else ahead of themselves and let their health fall by the side.

60. Remember: It's not all or nothing. If you fall off the bandwagon, jump right back on. Don't let yourself continue to fall until all progress has been lost.

61. Wake up early to exercise. You're more likely to get it done if you don’t wait until after work.

Looking for more than simple lifestyle tweaks? Discover the doctor-approved eating and fat-loss guide in Dr. Travis Stork's best-selling book, The Lean-Belly Prescription

-- Chris Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., is a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant, and the owner of

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Weight-Loss Motivation: 13 Ways to Stay on Track

Have Lots Of Sex
First off, it's pretty damn fun. But it can also keep you on the slim track. Having an orgasm releases the same endorphins in your brain that eating chocolate does--without the calories. And research shows that the more weight you lose, the better your sex life gets: A Duke University study found that even a 10 percent reduction in weight (that's 15 pounds if you weigh 150) resulted in major improvements in all areas of the participants' sex lives, including arousal, feelings of attractiveness, and enjoyment of sexual activity (read: oodles of Os). 

Make A Promise
It's really hard to blow off a commitment you've made to lots of people. If you join an athletic event to raise money and you default on your training, you're not just letting yourself down but also the charity and everyone who sponsored you. Go to and click on "Athletic Events" to find one near you. (Triathlon, anyone?) Some groups (below) even provide free coaching. 

Enlist Fido
Consider adopting a fuzzy friend if you don't have one already. Studies show that owning a dog can help you drop pounds. Why? Come rain, sleet, or snow, you've got to get your butt outside with pooch a few times a day (unless you really want urine-soaked carpets). What's more, most pet owners say they don't want to let down their exercise-starved doggy at walk time. It's another version of rule number 2. 

Rock Out
A recent study by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity found that women are more likely to stick to an exercise program if they listen to music while working out. So thank God for The site lets you select your workout pace, then download playlists of songs with bpm's (beats per minute) that match your heart rate. For example, if yours gets up to about 150 bpm when you exercise, songs like the Killers' "Mr. Brightside" are perfect. 

Get Out Your Sexiest-Skinny Outfit
You know that yogurt commercial where a woman takes a teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini and hangs it on her wall to help motivate her to lose weight? She's one smart cookie. "I tell clients to take out an outfit they love and haven't been able to wear for a long time," says Christopher Warden, C.S.C.S., a personal trainer in New York City. "Just pulling it out of the closet serves as a visual reminder of the goal they're trying to accomplish." 

Lift The Weight You've Lost
A great way to keep yourself from sliding into what-the-hell eating mode when your weight loss plateaus: Use dumbbells that correspond to the number of pounds you've already dropped. You can't possibly forget how far you've come when you're straining to complete three sets of triceps kickbacks with a 10-pound weight. Feel how much you're struggling to lift? That used to be on your butt! 

Get Gabbing
Reams of studies prove that support from other people can keep you motivated to lose weight. And a new study from the University of Kansas shows that dieters who get counseling over the phone lose just as much as those who get it face to face. So if you can't make that 5 p.m. Weight Watchers meeting, check out Bally's Built to Fit weight-loss and nutrition program at, which offers weekly 15--minute phone sessions starting at $1 per minute. 

Call On Your Inner Cheapskate
You don't blow off the dentist, even though having your teeth drilled is about the most un-fun thing you can imagine. Why? Because you'll get charged whether you show or not. Consider buying a package of personal training sessions and scheduling all your appointments now. Ditto with yoga or dance classes: Buy a bunch in advance and sign up at the same time. Who would throw away workouts that are already paid for? 

Become A Class Regular
Join a group exercise class and make friends with your fellow regulars. Seeing your pals will inspire you to attend even when you feel like playing hooky. The guilt factor--always highly motivating--can help here too. After all, in a place where everybody knows your name, they'll also know when you've missed a workout. 

Get Rubbed
A new study from Ohio State University shows that women who accept their bodies are more likely to have better eating habits. And decadent as it may sound, getting a massage can help with that. "Allowing themselves to be touched by another person--even when they aren't at their ideal weight--can help women become more comfortable with their bodies," says Mitch Klein, a licensed massage therapist in New York City. 

Face Your Reflection
When you feel fat you probably shun mirrors. Turns out you should do the opposite. A study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that mirror-exposure therapy--staring at your bod in the mirror and stifling the usual criticisms of your thighs--can improve body image, which, as we said in rule 10, can help keep you committed to healthy eating. Try it: Speak to your reflection without using any negatively charged words. For example, instead of "I have a huge butt," say, "My waist looks smaller thanks to my curves." 

Chart Your Progress
Weight loss is serious business. Treat it that way. Weigh yourself every morning--a study in the Annals of Behavior Medicine shows that people who do daily weigh-ins are more successful losers--and write the number down. If you're even vaguely computer savvy, it's a snap to create a chart with a fever line that shows the pounds dropping away over time. When you get discouraged--say, you haven't lost a pound in a week--seeing your long-term progress will boost your motivation. 

Score Some Free Stuff
There's no motivation like saving money. And since insurance providers want you to stay healthy so you don't develop expensive diseases like diabetes, some offer perks that make getting fit easier. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, for example, gives its members discounts to certain gyms and free consultations with a dietitian. Check with your provider.