Stop Making These 8 Diet Mistakes

Being ardent food lovers, most often it gets difficult to resist temptation as we go all out and savour delicious food like there’s no tomorrow. Buttery tarts, slow-roasted meat, decadent desserts, you name it! But amidst these indulgences, what we forget to pay attention to is our metabolism, and as such, our body takes a toll. A faster metabolic rate means that you tend to lose weight faster and have good energy levels throughout the day. More than that, you tend to have stronger immunity since your blood circulates more efficiently.

Metabolism basically refers to all those chemical processes that are essential for basic bodily functions. Simple activities like breathing and digesting food require energy and it is determined by your Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR), which I’m sure your doctors and nutritionists tell you to pay a great deal of attention to.

Hence, you are advised to lose or gain weight depending on your BMR. Unknowingly, we make some common diet mistakes that slow our metabolism. It can be anything, from skipping your breakfast or missing out on some essential nutrients from your daily diet. Here are some diet mistakes you need to stop making –

1. You Skip  or Eat the Wrong Breakfast

Breakfast ­- typically considered the most important meal of the day – yields several health benefits, including improved concentration and increased energy. Eating a healthy breakfast also aids in weight management by helping to avert cravings and ravenous hunger before lunch. In addition, breakfast influences your metabolism, which can further promote weight loss.

Starting your day with junk food negates many of the benefits that you gain from increasing your metabolism. In contrast, making healthy choices for breakfast can help a great deal for the rest of the day. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean meats are smart choices.

2. Your Diet Lacks  Enough Protein

Many protein rich foods like eggs for instance are known to be fat burning foods as well. Including proteins is an important part of the diet and not including them definitely slows down metabolism. Protein in particular stimulates the ‘thermic effect’ of food, which means that the body burns more energy processing dietary protein than it does carbohydrates or fats. The act of digesting protein therefore boosts your metabolism more than other nutrients. Diets high in protein may also make you feel full faster, thereby helping you eat less.

Tip: Having at least 2 servings of protein rich foods like milk or yoghurt can do the trick!

3. Not Consuming Sufficient Water

Water is an essential nutrient, and an important part of healthy eating. The body needs water to perform a number of vital functions. It keeps the body’s delicate electrolyte balance intact and carries nutrients to the cells so that they can function properly. Moreover, it’s indispensable to maintain adequate energy levels for your daily activities.  A speedier metabolism could translate to a thinner you and it’s interesting to know that drinking enough water can boost your body’s ability to burn fat. It increases the metabolic rate by almost 30 percent, according to many researches. Also, having 1-2 glasses of water before a meal can fill you up naturally and make you eat less.

4. Consuming White Carbs

Boost your fibre intake by switching to whole wheat bread, pasta, and eating more fruits and vegetables. White carbs are the worst foods for weight loss, slowing down metabolism rates massively.  Surprisingly, most of them are stored as fats.  So, cut down on that white rice and specially, the extra sugar.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate carbs completely, especially if you exercise regularly. During exercise, your muscles demand glycogen from carbohydrates that stores in your body. If you don’t consume enough carbohydrates, your glycogen levels will be too low and you won’t have the energy to exercise as intensely. So make the right choice!

5. A Strict ‘No’ to Caffeine

Beyond just causing the jitters, coffee can also speed up metabolism, some say up to 10 percent! Giving it up completely isn’t such a great option, for its central nervous stimulating property boosts metabolism impressively.

It’s the caffeine that gives metabolism a boost by reviving bodily functions. One cup of basic black, which has between 108 and 135 mg of caffeine, can speed heart rate, enhance alertness, and relax the air passages.  If you’re not a coffee drinker, even a cup of hot tea works just the same way.

6. Not Eating the Right Munchies

Research suggests that, like a charge for a battery, eating about three meals a day with two or three snacks in between can make your metabolism more efficient. Be a smart snacker and choose dry fruits like walnuts and almonds instead of those chocolatecookies. You can even snack on fruits such as oranges or strawberries. Moreover, they help you meet your daily fibre intake that also is a boost for your metabolism.

7. The Crucial Vitamin D and Iron

Vitamin D is extremely important in preserving muscle tissue and subsequently helps in burning fat. A lack of vitamin D is known to directly affect metabolism and slows down functioning of muscles in the body. To include it in your diet, cook up some salmon or tuna. Starting your day with some multi-grain cereals or a good omelette can notch up that Vitamin D as well.

Iron is crucial in carrying oxygen to various parts of the body, including your muscles. Your muscles need oxygen to burn fat and iron aids in that. Lack of iron reduces oxygen supply and slows down functioning of body organs, thereby slowing down metabolic rates. Include foods like dark leafy greens like spinach or some seafood like shellfish. Even lean meats and nuts are good sources.

8. You Consume Alcohol with Your Meals

Having alcohol with your diet can seriously affect metabolism, as you can end up consuming more calories than you actually intended to in the first place. Alcohol reduces the body’s fat burning ability by almost 75 percent, slowing metabolism rapidly. So, skip that second cocktail as much as you can.

Weight Loss for Men

Follow these top weight loss tips and you’ll soon swap that beer belly for a six-pack…

Aim for a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9

To calculate your BMI, divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in metres) squared.

If you have a high percentage of muscle, your BMI might be higher than this without you actually being too fat so measure your waist circumference to see if you need to lose weight. A waist measurement of 37 inches (94cm) means you are at increased risk of health problems; a measurement of 40 inches (102cm) means you are at a high risk.

Getting your percentage of body fat measured will also give you an idea of whether or not you need to shape up. Between the ages of 20 to 39, you should aim for 8-20% body fat; between 40 and 59, you should aim for 11-22%; and between 60 and 79 years, between 13-25%. Most gyms will be able to measure your body fat.

Listen to what your mates say

Most blokes don’t hold back telling each other that they’ve ‘got fat’ or developed a beer belly. If your mates take the Mickey, don’t take it as a compliment. Instead, take it as an indicator that you need to shift some weight.

If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of going on a ‘diet’, don’t go on one

Instead, focus on ways in which you can improve your eating habits – for weight loss that will last. There’s less stigma attached to eating healthily and you won’t feel as deprived; for example have a green smoothie made from vegetables rather than the traditional fruit version.

If you have a partner, ask them for help

Most women will be delighted and only too happy to serve up healthier meals and smaller portions.

Get to grips with the basics of healthy eating

As a rule:

  • eat more fruit, veg and wholegrains
  • have fish twice a week (including one serving of oily fish like salmon, mackerel or fresh tuna)
  • opt for low-fat dairy products
  • choose lean sources of protein like lean red meat and chicken
  • go for fresh, natural, unprocessed foods; eat fewer fried and fatty foods
  • cut back on salt and sugar
  • watch portion sizes
  • don’t drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol in a day

Don’t be fooled into trying low-carb diets such asAtkins.

Large amounts of red meat, eggs, cream, cheese, butter and fried food might seem appealing but diets based on these foods are usually loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat – and men are already at an increased risk of heart disease compared to women.

Carbs are actually friends to weight loss rather than foes, especially if you opt for wholegrains such as wholewheat cereals and pasta, brown rice, wholemeal breads and porridge, which will all help to fill you up – and keep you fuller for longer.

Eat five portions of fruit and veg each day

Fruit and veg in dishes all count towards this target. It’s as easy as having a fresh fruit smoothie at breakfast, an apple mid morning, adding a tomato to your sandwich at lunchtime and having lots of onions and mushrooms in a spaghetti Bolognese for dinner.

Eat fewer takeaways and choose healthily

For example, if you love kebabs, opt for a chicken skewer rather than donner meat; go for a chicken or small burger rather than a double cheeseburger; choose a thin crust Hawaiian pizza rather than a stuffed crust pepperoni one; and have boiled rice rather than fried or pilau rice.

Eat a healthy, balanced meal before going to the pub so you’ll be less likely to grab a takeaway on the way home. If you don’t have time for a proper meal, opt for a wholemeal sandwich or soup and a roll.

Drive to the pub…

so your mates won’t keep encouraging or forcing you to have pint after pint.

All alcohol is packed with calories, but men tend to drink pints and pints tend to be the worst option – and the stronger the lager or beer, the more calories it will contain. A pint of ordinary strength lager contains around 165 calories, while strong lager contains 250 calories – possibly explaining why you never see James Bond with a pint in his hand!

Single measures of spirits with low-cal mixers like diet cola or slimline tonic are the best choice with just 50 calories each.

And remember, if you’re staying tee-total, you still need to stick to low-cal drinks to gain the benefits. A pint of orange juice and lemonade contains around 160 calories while a pint of regular cola contains as many calories as a pint of strong lager – around 240!

Don’t be afraid to tell a white lie…

if any of your mates start questioning you about what you’re eating and drinking. If you’re off the booze tell them you’re on antibiotics; if you’re skipping the burger and fries tell them you have high cholesterol and the doctor has told you to cut down on fat; or if you’re eating more wholegrain carbs, fruit or veg tell them you’re in training for a sporting event such as a half marathon or triathlon.

Don’t just watch sport…

from the comfort of your armchair or local pub. Instead, get off your butt and start playing it.

Think back to what you loved at school – football, cricket, rugby or running, for example – and consider joining a local club. Or have a go at learning a new sport, such as golf – an hour at the driving range might not give you a great cardiovascular workout, but it’ll certainly burn more calories than sitting in front of the TV.

Arrange social events around playing sport, too – for example, get a group of mates together and go for a kick around in the park at the weekend. And if you have a gym membership, make sure you’re using it.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until you’ve been diagnosed with a health problem before you take action! Weight loss will give you more energy and help to improve everything from your health and looks to your confidence and love life!

How To Lose Weight Like A Guy

He drops pounds overnight, you gain weight just by glancing at a doughnut. Here, 7 habits you should steal.

One of the most frustrating things your husband can say to you: “I need to lose 5 pounds—I’ll cut out the beer.”

That’s because you could forgo beer forever and still never get close to squeezing into your skinny jeans from high school. It’s not fair, but men are natural losers. We women may think we know every weight loss trickin the book, but men have some distinct physiological advantages.

For one, men’s bigger muscle mass helps them burn 30% more calories than we do, says nutritionist Cynthia Sass, RD, coauthor of Your Diet Is Driving Me Crazy. Women generally have more body fat and are biologically more inclined to store it; men also get a free pass from the monthly hormone peaks and valleys that leave us grumpy, bloated, and craving anything chocolate. Finally, in the gym, men flock to the weight racks and do routines that pack on metabolism-boosting muscle, while women miss out on those benefits when they’re tied to the treadmill.

But all is not, ahem, lost. If there’s no way to beat men at the dieting game, women might as well join them. Here are seven guy habits that can help you slim down, get strong, and be healthier, too.

1. He doesn’t get upset when he screws up.
Okay, you blew it. A ridiculous project lands on your desk at 4 pm, and the vending machine beckons…What do you do next? If you’re a woman, you throw up your hands, tell yourself what a bad person you are, and reach for your quarters. Then you wallow in self-loathing for days. And what does a guy do? “He feels okay, maybe even good, and really enjoys that snack,” says emotional-eating expert Edward Abramson, PhD, a professor emeritus of psychology at California State University and author of Body Intelligence. The guy also climbs right back on the weightloss wagon, no harm, no foul.

To avoid this diet-busting mentality, apply his 80% rule. “Most guys avoid anything that even smacks of perfectionism,” and that applies to dieting, too, says Pamela Peeke, MD, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “When women start a diet, they go from zero to 100—they become ‘perfect’ overnight, which is a hallmark of failure. That’s why I developed the 80% rule: Hit your weight loss goals 80% every single day you can. One day, it’ll be 120% because it happens to be a great day. Other days, you’ll hit 50% or even 20% when you’re dealing with PMS. Just make sure it averages out to 80%.”

2. He doesn’t crave sweets.

Both men and women have cravings—but his work to his advantage. While your comfort food is more likely to be sour gummy bears or double-chocolate chip bars, his is a thick, juicy steak. A Cornell University study found that women seek out sweets to ward off the blues but men turn to meat when they want to indulge. Why this gives him aweight loss advantage: He’s eating protein, which will help fill him up (and curb overeating later) far better than your coffee cake will.

If cravings for desserts and candy are your diet downfall, try protein first. Have low-fat string cheese, a low-fat turkey and cheese roll-up, or fat-free cottage cheese mixed with some cut-up fruit. If you can’t skip a sweet, combine them: a small handful of chocolate chips and almonds, for example.

3. He lifts heavy weights.
Women are catching on to strength-training, but some experts think women ought to approach weights more like men do. “When a guy goes to the gym, he’ll usually pick an exercise that allows him to use the most impressive-looking weights,” says Lou Schuler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and author of The New Rules of Lifting. The result: muscle building in less time, and working a range of muscles at once instead of one in isolation. “A woman, on the other hand, will go for light dumbbells and do an exercise that allows her to use perfect form but will do the least amount of good.” To wit: the laborious but ineffective 12 triceps exercises women do to try to rid themselves of underarm dangle, says Schuler.

So drop the “Barbie” weights. If you’re doing two sets of 12 or 15 reps, your weights are probably too light, says Schuler. Move toward higher poundage that makes you strain to do 8 to 10. Once your body is used to 10, then increase the weight until you’re only able to do 3 reps. “At sports medicine conferences, I’ve seen scans of women’s upper arms before and after this kind of training program, and the girth of their upper armshasn’t changed, but you can see the fat tissue is reduced and how much more muscle there is.”

4. He doesn’t use food as a therapist.
Women are twice as likely as men to binge because they’re depressed, found a University of Minnesota study. Women are also twice as likely as men to be depressed, which makes for a lot of eat-a-thons. Worse, after a binge, a woman is likely to feel guilty, feel even more down, and soothe herself with more food. But guys don’t think they can boost their mood by mainlining frozen dairy products. You shouldn’t either.

Break the habit by identifying what’s behind your need to feed. Rank your desire to eat on a scale of 1 to 10, recommends Santa Barbara, CA, psychotherapist Gloria Arenson, author of Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing. “If it’s an 8, then look at what in your life was an 8 that day. Your boss yelled at you? Your dog ran away? Your kid got into trouble at school?” By matching your numbers—the craving and an equivalent stressor—you’ll soon learn how to determine whether you’re hungry or medicating a bad mood. With practice, most people who use the rating system stop themselves before taking the first bite, says Arenson.

5. He acts out his anger.
Here’s another reason why men’s emotions don’t drive them to the fridge. Guys are more likely to do something physical to dissipate their negative emotions, like go for an extra-grueling run or pound nails in the garage. Women on the other hand, tend to swallow their feelings—sometimes with an entire row of Oreos. So when you get mad, get moving. Take a Spin class, say, or go for a head-clearing walk.

6. He makes time for himself.
Women are less likely to declare, “I need to take the day off and get pampered.” “For many women, their only source of gratification and reward is food,” says Sass. Starting today, snag an hour just for you. And give yourself something inedible to look forward to, whether it’s a Saturday morning at the outlets or a monthly girls’ night out for pedicures at a spa.

7. He doesn’t give up favorite foods.

When women diet, we deprive ourselves of all those luscious “forbidden foods” until we can’t stand it any longer. Then we fall like starved dogs on year-old Halloween candy stuck to the back of the freezer. Austrian researchers, looking at gender differences in eating and dieting, found that “men’s approach toward nutrition is uncomplicated and pleasure-oriented.” They’ll still eat Doritos and guacamole while watching the Super Bowl, but they’ll have a third less then they usually do. Studies by University of Toronto obesity researcher Janet Polivy, PhD, found that restrained eaters—that’s the average female dieter—are more likely to not only overeat after dieting but also to gorge themselves if they just think they’re going to go on a diet. Scientists call it “the last supper effect.”

So don’t ban your favorite food—nothing can scuttle your good intentions like feeling deprived. “I order my clients to have something they love every day—a portion of ice cream, a small cupcake,” says Arenson. And choose something fun to distract you when cravings strike. “So many times women are told, ‘If you feel like you’re going to overeat, distract yourself by cleaning the house,’ ” says Sass. “That’s like torturing yourself.” No man in his right mind is going to do chores to keep himself from overeating. A guy will find a more hedonistic distraction, like shooting hoops in the driveway or playing his guitar. Take a cue from him and look for something enjoyable that engages your hands and mind.

Bottom line: Weight loss is as much about attitude as it is about aptitude. Adopting a male mind-set, at least in this arena, can make you a leaner, more in-control woman.

Yoga Poses That Will Slim You Down

Yoga is a known stress buster, but it’s also one of the most effective workouts for fighting stubborn fat stores, especially the ones that crop up after age 40. Yes, you can use yoga for weight loss. The reason: Studies show that yoga lowers levels of stress hormones and increases insulin sensitivity—a signal to your body to burn food as fuel rather than store it as fat. The following yoga poses for weight loss will do just that while firming up your arms, legs, butt, and abs. Start now to see weight lossresults in as little as 3 weeks.

Workout at a Glance
What you need: A yoga mat or carpeted space
How to do it: Follow this routine at least 3 times a week, holding each move 1 time for 3 to 5 deep breaths, unless otherwise noted. Start with the Main Move for each exercise. If it’s too difficult, do the Make It Easier variation. If it’s not challenging enough, try the Make It Harder option. For faster results, hold each pose for 5 to 8 breaths and increase repetitions (where noted) by 2 or 3.

(Firms abs, hips, and thighs)

Crescent Pose 

Stand with feet together, toes forward, and arms at sides. Inhale and raisearms overhead, reaching fingertips toward ceiling. Exhale, and bend forward from hips, bringing hands to floor (it’s OK to bend knees). Inhale, and as you exhale, step right leg back into a lunge (left knee bent about 90 degrees, knee over ankle; right leg extended and on ball of foot). Inhale and raise arms overhead; gaze forward. Hold, then return to standing and repeat, stepping left leg back.
Make it harder:

Crescent Pose (harder)

From end position, inhale and arch torso, arms, and head backward, gazing at fingertips.
Make it easier: Lower right knee to touch floor as you step back into a lunge, and rest hands on left thigh.

(Firms sides of abs)

Willow Pose

Stand with feet together, arms at sides. Place sole of left foot on inside of right thigh, knee bent to side. Touch palms in front of chest for 2 breaths. On third inhale, extend arms up, fingertips toward ceiling. Exhale, and bend torso to left. Inhale and straighten. Repeat 3 to 5 times, pressing foot into thigh; switch sides.
Make it easier: Keep left foot on calf or touch toes to floor for balance.
Make it harder: Close eyes as you balance and bend.

Rocking Boat
(Firms abs and back)

Rocking Boat 

Sit with knees bent, feet on floor, hands on thighs. With torso straight and head in line with body, lean back about 45 degrees, raising feet so calves are parallel to floor, toes pointed. On an inhale, extend arms and legs, keeping legs together. Exhale, and as you inhale, lower torso and legs 3 to 4 inches so body forms a wider V shape. Exhale and raise torso and legs. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Make it easier: Hold backs of thighs with hands and keep legs bent. Lower torso only.
Make it harder: Once in the wider V position, extend arms overhead.

(Firms shoulders, arms, abs, and back)


Begin in push-up position on toes with arms straight, hands below shoulders, and body in line from head to heels. On an exhale, lower chest toward floor, bending elbows back, arms close to body, abs tight. Hold a few inches above floor.
Make it easier: Begin on hands and knees and walk hands forward until body is in line from head to knees.
Make it harder: While holding the hover, lift left leg 6 to 12 inches, pause, and lower. Do 3 to 5 times, then switch legs.

(Firms butt and thighs)

Chair Pose
Stand with feet together, toes forward, arms at sides. Inhale and raisearms overhead, palms facing each other. Exhale and sit back about 45 degrees, keeping knees behind toes and abs tight to support your back; gaze forward.
Make it easier: Do the move with feet hip-distance apart, hands onthighs, and bend only about 30 degrees.
Make it harder: After you sit back, lift heels off floor, balancing on balls of feet (knees will be in front of toes); gaze up at fingertips.

Reset Your Hormones to Beat Belly Fat

While you never want fat hanging around your waist, for many people it’s often the first place it goes and the last place it leaves when you gain a few pounds. Believe it or not, love handles aren’t just unattractive, carrying weight around your abdomen is bad for your health – worse than carrying weight on your hips or thighs – and is a key indicator of a hormonal imbalance. If you have struggled to lose weight or keep it off, I guarantee that your hormones are at play. Your hormones control every aspect of weight loss including your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite and even your cravings! This means any form of hormonal imbalance will sabotage your efforts – regardless of your diet and exercise habits.

Extra belly fat can indicate one or more of the following hormonal imbalances: high estrogen, low testosterone, low DHEA (a hormone of the adrenal glands), high insulin and high cortisol. Abdominal fat also sets a risky stage for aging, increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. A program to get rid of this stubborn fat must include proper diet, exercise, sleep and, of course, motivation. All of these components work well to instil a healthy balance that allows fat loss to occur. We will talk more specifically about each of the hormonal players in this process, and my suggestions for supplements that can help get you back on track.

1. High Insulin: Insulin is an essential substance whose main function is to process sugar in the bloodstream and carry it into cells to be used as fuel or stored as fat. A primary cause is excess intake of sugar or carbohydrates typical of many diets today. This includes nutrient-poor carbohydrates such as processed foods, sugary drinks and sodas, packaged low-fat foods, along with insufficient protein intake, inadequate fat intake, and deficient fibre consumption. Insulin resistance may also be attributed to lack of exercise, overindulging in alcohol, stress, a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and excess body fat, especially around the abdomen. Chronically high levels of insulin can also lead to a pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome (or insulin resistance) and type 2 diabetes, which only furthers weight gain. It is currently estimated that 1 out of every 4 North Americans has insulin resistance.

Hormone Diet Solution: Bump up your protein. Sticking to about 20 to 25 grams of each per meal and about 15 to 20 grams per snack is probably a good place to start, depending on your body size and workout schedule. Men should add an extra 10 g of protein per meal and 5 g per snack. Higher protein intake keeps your blood sugar balanced and your insulin levels low – a metabolic must for appetite control and fat loss. Protein also packs a hormonal punch because it stimulates the activity of many of our fat-burning and appetite-controlling hormones when we consume it in the right amounts. A higher-protein diet helps to shed stubborn belly fat, according to a study published in Diabetes Care (March 2002). Researchers compared a high-protein diet with a low-protein diet in 54 obese men and women with type 2 diabetes. Those on the high-protein diet had significantly greater reductions in total and abdominal fat mass and a greater reduction in LDL cholesterol. Your best protein options are those that are lowest in fat like chicken, turkey, low-fat cheese, such as ricotta or cottage cheese, omega-3 eggs and shellfish, such as scallops, which are 100% protein.

2. High Cortisol: Persistently elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are very detrimental to your health as well as to your body composition. If you suffer from a mood disorder such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or exhaustion, or if you have a digestive issue such as irritable bowel syndrome, you can bet your body is cranking up your cortisol. Not only does it increase your appetite and cravings, it causes a loss of muscle mass, libido and bone density, and also contributes to depression and memory loss. In other words, chronic stress makes us soft, flabby and much older than we truly are! Study after study shows that stress causes abdominal fat – even in people who are otherwise thin. Researchers at Yale University, for example, found slender women who had high cortisol also had more abdominal fat. More results published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine in 2000 established a link between cortisol and increased storage of abdominal fat.

Hormone Diet Solution: Sleep enough and eat at the right times. You must sleep at least 7.5 to 9 hours per night. Sleep deprivation makes us wake up with higher amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which fuels appetite and increases our cravings, particularly for sugary and carb-laden treats, even when we have eaten enough. Not only does poor sleep pack on pounds, good sleep actually helps you to lose weight by influencing the hormones that control your appetite and increase your metabolism. A 2004 study at the University of Chicago was the first to show sleep as a major regulator of appetite-controlling hormones – it boosts leptin, the hormone that tells you to put down the fork. In the same year, researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine found that subjects who had only five hours of sleep per night experienced an increase in their BMI, regardless of diet and exercise. Also, if your blood sugar levels are on a rollercoaster all day, you can bet your cortisol is as well. You can reduce the stress associated with blood sugar imbalance by eating a high protein breakfast within one hour of rising and avoiding more than a 3-4 hour gap between meals or snacks.

3. High Estrogen: Abdominal fat in men increases the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. As estrogen levels rise, so does the tendency to accumulate more abdominal fat, fuelling the situation. The risk of prostate cancer also increases with higher estrogen levels. A premenopausal woman with high levels of estrogen (also known as estrogen dominance) will likely have PMS, too much body fat around the hips and difficulty losing weight. Menopausal women and, yes, men too, may experience low libido, memory loss, poor motivation, depression, loss of muscle mass, and increased belly fat.

Hormone Diet Solution: A blood or saliva test can assess your levels. If levels are high, consider a product with indole-3-carbinol, green tea, and turmeric – all three help to rid the body of excess negative estrogen and correct the balance of estrogen to testosterone. Adding ground flax, chia seeds and/or a non-psyllium fiber supplement will also assist your body to eliminate harmful estrogen.

4. Low Testosterone: Testosterone levels decrease as abdominal fat converts it to estrogen, and also with increasing stress. While you are under stress, your body will tend to make more stress hormone (cortisol) than testosterone. Testosterone levels tend to taper off with aging, obesity and stress, but today men are experiencing testosterone decline much earlier in life. This is quite an alarming finding, considering low testosterone has been linked to depression, obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease and even death. Researchers from the University of Washington found that men with low testosterone are more likely to develop a potbelly and other body fat. They also found that testosterone may prompt the loss of body fat when deficient levels are replaced. Other signs that you may have low testosterone levels include a loss of muscle tissue, depression, and decreased strength, stamina, drive and motivation. If you have your testosterone levels measured with a blood test, be sure to ask that both free and total testosterone be measured.

Hormone Diet Solution: The herb tribulus terrestris may help raise levels by reducing the binding of testosterone to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) without side effects. Zinc supplements may also help raise testosterone levels, as will weight training. Ensure sufficient intake of protein for healthy levels of testosterone too.

5. Low DHEA: DHEA is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone and also helps to counteract the negative effects of cortisol. Often touted as the anti-aging hormone, DHEA influences our ability to lose fat and gain muscle. It boosts libido and helps us feel motivated, youthful and energetic.

Hormone Diet Solution: DHEA levels are best measured in the blood or saliva and replacements should only be taken when a deficiency has been diagnosed. I prefer low dosages of 5-25 mg twice daily with meals. You should test your DHEA levels after 4 to 6 weeks of taking the supplement to avoid taking in excessive amounts, which can be harmful. Relora, an herbal supplement, is also known to significantly reduce cortisol and raise DHEA within only two weeks of use. I recommend one cap in the morning and two at bedtime.

6. Low Growth Hormone: This omnipotent hormone affects just about every cell in the body and has a major impact on our feelings, actions and appearance. Because this regenerative hormone tends to decline with age, growth hormone supplements are often promoted as a way to slow the effects of aging. Growth hormone is released during deep sleep and while we exercise. It’s essential for tissue repair, muscle building, bone density, and healthy body composition. A 2007 study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism linked abdominal obesity in postmenopausal women with low growth hormone secretion, elevated inflammatory markers and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Hormone Diet Solution: When we sleep in total darkness, melatonin is released, triggering a very slight but critical cool-down in the body. As body temperature drops, growth hormone is released and works its regenerative magic. If we sleep with lights on or eat too close to bedtime, the natural cool-down process will not take place, putting us at risk of low levels of both melatonin and growth hormone. By sleeping in a cool room in pitch darkness, and including short intense 30-minute strength-training sessions three times a week, you can naturally boost growth hormone levels.

7 Best Ways to Lose Weight for Women over 40

Best Ways to Lose Weight as You Age: Best Ways to Lose Weight for Women over 40

Weight loss becomes more difficult with age, although many of the best ways to lose weight after age 40 are some of the same methods used earlier in life. After 40, it becomes harder and harder to lose weight, and most women find that they must put more effort into weight loss to achieve their goals. During this time in life, the body begins to go through changes in metabolism and digestion that can result in weight gain around the midsection, in the thighs, and elsewhere. Hormonal changes can send your metabolic rate off its intended course, hampering weight loss. The problem is exacerbated by any medical issues you may be dealing with. We’ve developed a list of ways to lose weight ranging from the minimal portion control to the extreme weight loss camp depending on what suits your lifestyle.

1) Portion Control and Eating Better Food

When looking at the best ways to lose weight for women over 40, it goes without saying that the less you eat, the fewer calories you have to burn in the first place. While no doctor recommends an ultra-low-calorie diet, one of the best ways to lose weight for women over 40 is controlling your portions and making the right food choices. By eating less of the foods you love, you will find the scales tipping in your favor. Learning to eat the right foods can also help you feel fuller longer so that you don’t end up eating to satisfy your hunger between meals. One trick to eating less is to use a smaller plate; it creates the illusion that you’re eating more. Measuring out your food can also help you keep portion size in perspective while you’re counting calories.

2) Low-Sodium and DASH Diets

If you are like many 40-plus-year-olds, you may find your blood pressure edging up with each passing year. The DASH plan is widely considered to be one of the best ways to lose weight for women over 40. Losing weight may help to lower your blood pressure numbers, and many physicians now recommend the DASH diet or another low-sodium plan to help do just that. DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, and it involves lowering your intake of dietary sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol to achieve weight loss and blood pressure reduction. The plan also focuses on consuming foods rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, as well as low-fat dairy, veggies, fruits, and whole grains with a bit of lean protein. If blood pressure is a concern, talking to your doctor about the DASH plan is a good place to start on the road to better health and reduced weight. Your doctor can determine if the DASH eating plan is one of best ways to lose weight for you can also be instrumental in monitoring your results and helping you get started. There are also valuable resources online for adding DASH eating principles and lifestyle changes to your specific weight loss plan.

3) Yoga and Meditation

Many women find that yoga and meditation are some of the best ways to lose weight for women over 40. Yoga can help boost your energy levels, enhance mood, ease body aches, and promote weight loss, which makes yoga one of the best ways to lose weight for women over 40. When combined with meditation, the benefits are even greater. If you are unsure about the power of yoga, perhaps a recent study will convince you that it can be a viable part of your weight loss plan. A study by the Boston University School of Medicine found that practicing yoga for just an hour, three times a week, for three months boosted the mood-elevating chemical gamma aminobutyric acid in study participants. Adding a yoga routine to your day, whether you go to an official class or just practice on your own at home or in the office, can be a good way to give your weight loss efforts the added push you need to achieve your objectives and realize better health at the same time.

4) Weight Loss Camps

Attending a weight loss camp or resort is one of the best ways to lose weight for women over 40. These camps and resorts take all of the guesswork out of losing weight. A typical camp will provide you with healthy, low-calorie meals while teaching you how to plan weight-loss menus so you can continue your diet after you leave. They generally have plenty of physical activity available so you can tailor programs to help you shed the pounds but that are well within your physical capabilities. Many also offer individual or group counseling, and some even have spa facilities on the premises. Cheaper weight loss camps for adults start at roughly $200 per day, but some programs run up to several thousand dollars per week or more.

Related Article: 5 Best Weight Loss Camps in the US

5) Commercial Weight Loss Plans and Programs

Commercial weight loss centers and group plans, like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, are among some of the best ways to lose weight if you are someone who appreciates the structure provided by these types of programs. Jenny Craig offers customized meal plans and pre-portioned foods that you simply heat up at home and enjoy. Weight Watchers takes a group approach to weight loss, with weekly meetings and support groups that allow you to interact with others who are struggling with the same issues. In addition, Weight Watchers provides a proven weight loss eating plan that involves calculating points for each bite of food you put in your mouth—which can be a great way to stay on the right track when it comes to eating less and eating the right foods. The group meetings can also provide a sense of accountability and camaraderie—attending a weekly weigh-in can prove very motivational for some women.

Related Article: Weight Loss Camps vs. Weight Loss Programs: Pros and Cons

6) Burning Calories

Weight loss can be an uphill battle due to the series of changes the body begins to experience in the early 40s. One basic tenet when you’re considering the best ways to lose weight for women over 40 remains unchanged, however: you have to burn more calories than you take in if you want to lose weight. The leveling off of hormones during middle age results in your body making less efficient use of the calories you consume. According to experts, eating just 100 additional calories per day will stick to your ribs—literally—and can lead to a weight gain of up to 10 pounds over just one year. That’s why it becomes even more important for the 40-something woman to burn more calories than she takes in. This is achieved through regular exercise and by adding more physical activity to your daily routine. Pick up an extra few steps each day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking on your lunch break, or even adding a Zumba class or other exercise class to your weekly routine. The point is to add additional activity to your day to counterbalance your slower metabolic rate.

7) Medically Supervised Weight Loss Plans and Surgical Intervention

Many woman reach their 40s and find that they’re just plain tired of struggling with their weight, so they look to medically supervised weight loss plans or even surgical procedures to help. Several medically supervised plans have received good reviews in recent years and are counted among the best ways to lose weight, including OPTIFAST and Medifast. These programs offer a pre-designed menu of foods that are already portioned out with personalized instructions and advice from medical professionals. Some women also turn to bariatric surgery, although certain risks are involved, to achieve weight loss goals. This includes laparoscopic gastric banding and other restrictive surgeries that essentially restrict the amount of food a patient can eat.

Related Article: How Much Does Lap Band Surgery Cost without Insurance?

Big Benefits to Losing Weight after 40

Although weight loss after 40 can be a challenge, the good news is that even a modest loss of weight, such as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight, can have an astounding effect on your health. Weight loss can lower your blood pressure, reduce your blood cholesterol, and impact your blood sugar level, not to mention make you feel and look a lot better so that you can enjoy this momentous time in your life to its fullest. No matter which of the best ways to lose weight you choose, losing the weight is a positive step that will allow you to get the most out of your 40s, 50s, and beyond.

Food Lovers Weight Loss Tips

1. Keep Eating: Our nutrition director Sam Cassetty explained to me that if I totally change my diet then resume normal eating, I’ll just regain any weight I lose. So, for example, I’m not swearing off all carbs, but I’m having sensible portions of whole-grains.

2. Cut the Junk: I don’t eat anything that isn’t really delicious. If I take a bite of a chocolate I got for Christmas and it’s not great, I toss it. To avoid wastefulness (and save money!), I avoid buying less-than-the-best sweets and treats and generally avoid processed junk food and fast food.

3. Indulge Just a Little: Not going to stop enjoying stuff I love (see #1), but I’m having less of the good stuff (see #2). So, instead of 3 strips of Nueske’s bacon, I’ll have 1.

4. Dine Out Less: I eat for a living, so I can’t–and don’t want to–avoid restaurants. Over the holidays, I travelled and dined out once or twice a day. I’m scaling back to once or twice a week. And only eating dishes really worth having (again, see #2).

5. Cook More: Having both worked in restaurant kitchens and developed recipes for home cooks, I promise you that your from-scratch meals are almost always going to be leaner and less caloric. Plus, I find that I have less of an appetite if I’ve just prepared the meal myself.

I’m two pounds down with more to go, but this plan worked out the first time I had to lose weight this past fall. Of course, I exercised too…more on that next time.

How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

It’s Monday morning and you’ve promised yourself this time you mean it. For the next three days, it’s nothing but salads, jogging, and protein bars. Then Thursday rolls around unexpectedly and you’re plastered to the couch with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. What happened? A lack of motivation, that’s what. But don’t worry — if you put your mind to it, you can avoid the yo-yo diet and turn it into a yo-u look awesome diet.

Method 1 of 3: Starting a Motivating Routine

1. Set a realistic goal. Saying, “I want to lose 50 pounds in the next couple of months” is just plain demotivating in itself. As soon as you write it down, you have to fight the urge to slump over until your forehead meets resistance. Not a great way to start off the new you! Keeping your goal realistic makes it attainable — and when you start reaching your weight loss goals, you become happier. A happier you is much more likely to hit those goals than the you slumped over your keyboard.

One pound is 3,500 calories. Cutting 500 calories a day with no added exercise is a pound a week. What kind of regimen do you plan on taking up? In order to keep the weight off, you’ll be better off going slow and steady. Try to limit yourself to a couple pounds a week.

2. Find a weight loss partner. Won’t it be great to cut your woes by half? Finding a partner lets you share what you’re going through with someone, cutting down on the mental strain. What’s more, we’re more likely to let ourselves down, telling ourselves, “Oh, it’s just the one workout I’m missing,” or “Oh, it’s just my third filet-o-fish. And this time, I didn’t even get cheese!” But when we have someone else, we can’t get off so scot-free. We’d be letting them down too.

Depending on your regimen, this person should either aid you in eating better, working out more, or both. Even a grocery shopping buddy would help! Just make sure to choose someone who makes you feel better about the whole process — not someone who turns it into a competition.

3. Join a class. If a workout buddy doesn’t seem feasible, join a class. It’s like having thirty buddies (and one drill sergeant, if we’re being honest). If the class is any good, they’ll take attendance and you’ll feel guilty for missing (which you won’t do). You also have the added pressure of falling behind everyone, and you certainly don’t want that.

Odds are there is probably at least one class out there that wouldn’t seem like the word “work” should be in “workout.” If you love dance, join a dance class. Love to get out your anger? Try kickboxing. Want to destress? Yoga. There are so many options out there; all you have to do is a little exploring.

4. Start an exercise (b)log. Writing down your progress makes everything concrete. You can choose to write it down however you like, but we’ll cover two forms:

Start an exercise (and food) log. This is where you’ll write down what you do every day, how many calories you’ve burned, how close you are to your goal, and the food choices you’ve made. If you have a buddy, share it with them for extra responsibility.
Start an exercise blog. This will be published to the Internet world — ultimate exposure (if anyone reads it, of course). With this, you take a more creative route, including all of the factors of an exercise log, but also how you feel about it, the obstacles you’re facing, and how it feels to be making the progress. Just make sure you keep writing in it!

5. Get a trainer. Don’t have a friend that wouldn’t either totally school you or encourage you to go to Starbucks instead? Well then, a trainer may be your best bet. Find one that jives with your personality though; one that makes you feel terrible will end up in you faking sick.

Generally, any gym can provide you with a trainer. Hopefully, you’ll be able to try out a couple for an introductory session for free. Ask around for those with a good reputation and only work with those that clearly know what they’re doing and respect your weight loss goals.

6. Sign up to run a race. When you have an official “due date” on your fitness, it becomes pretty clear what you have to do. Can’t train for a 5K right now? No problem, just sign up for one that’s in a couple of months. Knowing it’s coming will help get your butt off the couch!

Many training programs and apps are available to help you go from “Couch to 5K” by alternating walking and running. It’s totally okay to take walking breaks!
If it’s not already, the Internet should be your best friend. Sites like[1] and NextBib[2] offer comprehensive lists of runs in the USA. So no excuses; signing up is just a few button clicks away!

7. Find an old photo where you look good. Most people have a photo or two where, upon seeing it, they think something along the lines of “Dang, I don’t know how that happened. If only I actually looked like that!” Find that photo and post it on your fridge, your bathroom door, on your desk — anywhere and everywhere you think would be helpful to stay motivated. Seeing that what you want to be is attainable (by you!) will make it seem that much easier and keep you on the right track.

Not one for photos, eh? Then you’ll have to settle for the Victoria’s Secret catalog you get sent every month. Though it’s a little more pleasant comparing yourself to yourself, looking at bodacious babes all the time is an effective reminder, too.

8. Hang “the outfit” on your bedroom door. You know that pair of pants you bought a few weeks back that are a size or so too small? Instead of shoving them in a drawer and vaguely remembering their existence, hang them on your bedroom door. They are there and they’re not going away. When you reach your goal, how good is it going to feel when you get ’em on and don’t hang them back up? The answer: so ridiculously good.

Don’t have a magical outfit you’re aiming for? Well, you could go out and buy one. Apart from that, the same concept can be done with your fat pants. Hanging your fat pants on the door is also a constant reminder of what you don’t want to become. While constantly thinking about your fat pants is no cup of tea, the farther away you get from them the better you’ll feel.

9. Tell your family/roommates/friends about your plans. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that a lot of these bullet points are about holding yourself accountable. And telling those in your social circle does just that. How else are you going to get your friends to consider your dietary restrictions when you go out for meals? They’ve gotta know! When they know, they can help.

Telling the people you live with is absolutely imperative. They can assist you in your eating decisions and keep the temptations away from you. Maybe they can jump on your gravy train, too!

10. Get into books, blogs, and success stories. Seeing that hundreds of others have gone through the same thing you have can be incredibly motivating. Some of their stories may even touch your heart. Why can’t one of these people be you? Here’s something crazy: It can and will be.

Successful weight lost stories can be found all over the place. Try,, and for starters. Those are just three of a gazillion, really. Not only will you be motivated, be these can be used as resources, too.

11. Set up a reward system. Humans are evolved enough to the point where wecan train ourselves but not so evolved that we can’t not be manipulated by certain tricks of the trade. Set up the right reward system and your brain will be putty in your hands.

Some like to devise a point system. For every good decision (be it food or exercise), you get a point. When you reach 100 points, treat yourself to something you’d enjoy (like a massage or a shopping trip).
Some like to bank their progress. Every time you have a good day, you put some money into a jar. That money goes to your reward, whatever it is.
Your reward doesn’t only have to be at the end! Set it for a certain amount of miles, a certain amount of calories cut or weight lost, or a certain amount of days you’ve gone without caving. Making them constant will keep them in sight.

12. Set up a punishment system. Alright, so sometimes rewards just aren’t enough, especially if it means cutting out the things we really enjoy in life (eating and being lazy are every human’s guilty pleasures). If the idea of an imminent massage doesn’t do it for, how about donating $100 to the Hitler Youth?

Okay, so maybe not to the Hitler Youth, but you get the idea. Give a certain amount of money to a friend (if you can’t trust yourself to keep to your word). Tell them if you don’t meet your goal, they have to take that money and donate to some organization that goes against your belief system. They’ll be more than happy to help!

13. Spend time thinking positively. If your thought process solely consists of, “I’m so fat. I’ll never make any progress” you risk living a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you start thinking positively, the idea of accomplishing something difficult becomes more believable because you feel better about yourself. You know you can do it. And you can.

If positive thinking is particularly difficult for you (which is totally normal), set aside a few minutes every day to focus on it. When you start thinking negatively, stop and start over. What do you like about yourself? What do others say they like about you? What are you good at? Over time, this will become easier and easier, just like anything else.
Method 2 of 3: Motivating Your Diet and Workout

1. Pace yourself. It’s day 1 of your new workout routine and you just ran a 10k. It felt great yesterday, but today you’re stuck in bed and your legs literally won’t move. Instead of becoming a temporary paraplegic you should’ve paced yourself. Taking on too much hurts your body. Only do what you can so your body can keep up.

If you haven’t worked out in a while, start out small. Spend a week gauging your fitness level. When you’ve found what’s easy and what’s hard, start working your way up from there. Only increase by 10% each time to avoid wreaking havoc on your muscles/joints/self.

2. Keep it fresh and fun. Maybe you’ve been running that same 5k three times a week and that last ten pounds you want to lose just isn’t coming off. Such a frustrating feeling! If that sounds like you, you’ve gotta switch it up. You and your body might be becoming bored with your routine. Mix it up with some cross training, find a class you’d enjoy, or set a new specific exercise goal.

The best way to lose weight is with cardio and weights. If you’ve only been doing one or the other, this may be your problem.
If you straight up loathe the exercise, don’t waste your time. Not a runner? That’s fine — don’t run. If you hate doing what you’re doing, you won’t stick with it. Invest your time and energy into an activity you feel good while doing and it’ll become a life-long hobby.

3. Change the way you talk about your diet. Telling both yourself and other people that you don’t eat certain things rather than you can’t eat certain things has been shown to improve your ability to stick to your resolutions.

Likewise, try to think of exercise as a part of your daily routine, rather than something you are obligated to do.

4. Count your calories/miles/steps. If you’re only going for weight loss, it’s gonna be a drought of results for a while. Instead, consider looking at different numbers that you can see build up on the daily. After just one week of walking, you’ll rake up tens of thousands of steps. That number is going to feel mighty impressive!

This is where your (b)log comes in handy. Write everything down — soon, you’ll be addicted to the feeling after, anxious to see the numbers pile up. Can you imagine having ran 15 miles (24 km) this week, cutting 4,500 calories and clocking in 30,000 steps?
Don’t know how to count your steps? Simple: Get a pedometer.

5. Only limit, never eliminate food. If your trip to the grocery store involves not making eye contact with the ice cream aisle, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. A day is going to come when you decide to throw caution to the wind, abandon Jillian Michaels and decide Sara Lee is your new BFF. To avoid this day from looming on the horizon, allow yourself a bit of wiggle room.

Never say to yourself, “I can’t eat that. I’m dieting.” You’ll just feel deprived. Instead, eat 1/4 of what you normally might eat, but eat it slowly, in between drinks of water. Drinking more water and eating slowly will naturally cut down your appetite.
The color blue is an appetite suppressant.If you’re having a little cheat, consider putting it on a blue plate.

6. Turn off the negativity. It’s easy to get super frustrated when it comes to weight loss. It never, ever, ever goes as fast and easily as we want it. You may feel like you’ve put in 120% for the last two weeks, get on the scale, and find that you’ve dropped half a pound. We’ve all been there, and it sucks. The easiest thing to do is get negative. Don’t succumb to it! That’s how you become demotivated.

Instead, concentrate on your progress. That log you’ve been keeping is beautiful. It’s proof that you’re on the right track. Go back to it and revisit your numbers. Set aside time to worry later. Right now it’s time to make good decisions.

7. Keep it short and sweet. Plenty of us make the excuse, “I just don’t have the time,” or “Working out is sooo boring!” Well, newsflash: High-intensity interval training can be done in minutes and burns tons of calories. The excuses just got schooled.

To do this, all you have to do is do intense bouts of exercise between periods of rest. And saying you’ll burn calories is an understatement — they’ll practically vanish in a glittery poof of air. It can be done with anything, but a simple example is on the treadmill. Start walking for a few minutes, blast up to 90% of your maximum heart rate for 30 seconds, and then return to your walking speed for a minute. After that, go back to the super-intense level for 30 seconds.Do this 8-10 times. And then? You’re done.
Consult a doctor before you try this regimen if you have even the slightest of health concerns. It is not for the faint of heart.

8. Get some sweet gear. Starting running, going to the gym or taking a class is a lot easier if you have new stuff to try out. Get some new tennis shoes, new headphones, or just a new exercise outfit. Anything to keep the workout spicy!
Method 3 of 3: Making Your Routine Stick

1. Reward yourself. You know that reward system we talked about? Well, implement it. Implement it as often as you dang well please. No one said you can only reward yourself when you hit your long-term goal. How about the short-term? Set up small rewards, too.

Stay sane by cheating. Once in a while, your reward can be food based. If it’s not, you might feel like the only thing you want in the entire world is that Frappuccino or that handful of Pringles. When you’ve hit a mile marker, you are allowed to indulge yourself. Just don’t make it an everyday thing!

2. Relax. Now that your body is a lot more active than it used to be, you’re going to need ample time to relax. Take a bit of time out of your day for you. Take an extra long shower or shove in that power nap. It’s well-deserved.

3. Take pictures. When you’re having a particularly hard time getting up and going, these pictures will be used to remind you of the work you’ve done. Take a picture of yourself at day 1 and subsequently every week. How is your body changing?

Once your progress gets noticeable, you may want to consider posting these photos in your room or around your home. It’ll keep it fresh in your mind that you’ve done all this work — why sabotage it now?!

4. Choose a new, healthy habit to add on. Just like how you should mix up your workout routine, as soon as you become an old pro at this healthy lifestyle thing, consider adding on a new habit. Try experimenting with a week of vegetarianism, taking a vitamin, or picking up an outdoorsy hobby. This new you, what might they like to do?

If you’re not already, start cooking. It’s the most enjoyable to control what goes into your stomach. Not only will you be bettering the lives of your friends and family, but you’ll gain a skill set and make healthy eating a lot more accessible.

5. Get right back up when you fall. This should almost be higher up on the page. Know that you will have setbacks. This is inevitable and happens to everyone. The only thing you can do is get back up. If you miss a day of working out, it’ll be a lot harder to get back to where you were if you miss two.

It’s much harder to work up to a point than it is to fall back. Missing a week of working out could put you back to where you were two weeks ago. Keep this in mind when you’re thinking about spending the morning in bed. What will the repercussions be in a few days?

6. Keep a success journal. This sure involves a lot of writing, doesn’t it? This doesn’t necessarily have to be its own book — this could be a section of your (b)log, too. Just make sure whatever it is you’re writing has a portion dedicated to how awesome you’re doing. It’ll feel so good when you can add to it.

When you feel like you haven’t had a successful day, keep looking. What temptations did you pass up on that you could’ve given in to? Think about what you didn’t do in addition to what you did do.

7. Get a theme song or two. Rocky had his theme song (you caught that, right?) so why shouldn’t you have yours? Everyone needs something to get them into the zone. What’s your signature jam?

Take the time to find 15 or so songs that really get you going. Having a playlist that amps you up in a matter of seconds will get your whole workout off on the right foot.

8. Donate your “fat” clothes to charity. The time has come! That pair of pants is off the door, your goal weight is reached, and your old-you clothes are no longer of service. Donate them to charity in an act of altruism and hubris. Congratulations!

You can donate your clothes to a worthwhile organization, but can you also donate your time and knowledge to others? You probably know at least half a dozen other people who are currently struggling through the same thing. How can you help?

Water is incredibly important. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses per day.
Remember to be realistic. If you have a friend who is unnaturally small and you want to be their size, forget it! Find someone who is similar to your build but is in shape. This will help you a lot.
Stay realistic. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is no standard of beauty. You do not have to have a certain number attached to you to be beautiful.
Don’t get discouraged! If you do, talk to your best friend and tell them what you’re going through. They will listen and try to help. Do not be self-conscious with the people you love. They love you too!
Get a shopping buddy who will not let you buy unhealthy foods, or call someone who can help discourage you from eating that third piece of cake.
Don’t try out any kind of weight lose supplements first. Do exercise and plan a healthy diet; of course it will take a few months, but the changes are permanent. Hope on it.

Do not binge on sweets when you are feeling down or worn out! Stay strong. The mood will pass.
Should you have any health concerns, first check with a doctor or health professional before engaging in any sudden changes in diet or fitness routine.

I Need to Lose Weight Now! Start Big, End Thin!

I Need to Lose Weight: Effective, Simple, and Fast Weight-Loss Options for People Who Are Saying “I Need to Lose Weight Now”

If you’re always saying, “I need to lose weight now,” it’s time to stop saying and start doing. Losing weight has a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding it, but it’s surprisingly easy to lose weight if you’re disciplined and determined or employ the help of a weight loss camp that can help you develop the discipline. Permanent weight loss requires a complete lifestyle change, not just a quick fix, but sometimes, it’s good to have a relatively rapid start to weight loss. It’s easy to become discouraged if you don’t see immediate results, so keep in mind that it’s a gradual process that happens over months, not days.

Interval Training

Interval training is one of the easiest ways to start exercising, and how much you exercise is up to you. All you need is a short pathway to start with—you can even do it in your garage if it’s not cluttered. Start off by warming up with some common stretches and then gently jog from one side to the other. Walk back, and then jog back. As you get fitter and the pounds fall off, you can increase the intensity and length of this exercise so that you get fitter and stronger. The points that you run between can increase to 100 yards, and you’ll find you’ll become faster and faster the more you do. Don’t overtrain, though, as this can cause injury. Start off gently and watch as the pounds fall away—all you need is a pair of trainers and some dedication.

Refuse the Carbs

An integral part of saying “I need to lose weight now” involves altering your diet so that you take in fewer calories. One common method is to restrict the number of carbs you take in, such as chips, bread, and pasta. This is a useful short-term and temporary weight-loss aid that can help the pounds to fall away over the course of a couple of months—it’s not ideal for long-term weight loss. Restricting carbs to under 50 grams a day forces your body to burn fat reserves as a fuel source, effectively putting it into body into fasting mode, and this can help you lose a serious amount of weight when combined with exercise. To help this diet keep the pounds off, gradually introduce a lot of fruit and veg into your diet (whole ones, not smoothies) and then slowly introduce carbs back in. By reintroducing healthier carbs, such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and wholegrain bread, over the course of a month, you’ll help the body to get out of fasting mode without storing a lot of fat. This may add a few dollars onto your weekly shopping bill, but you’ll feel much better for it.

Drink Water, Not Soda

If you have a penchant for sweet drinks like soda or even fruit juices, stop and switch to water. The average American consumes 245 extra calories from sodas alone—that’s 20 ounces of Coca-Cola, for example—and plenty of people consume many more. While soda makes you feel good—the sugar rush alone is addictive—it just consists of empty calories that don’t contribute to your health. You’ll feel pretty cranky for the first few days as your body adjusts, but by the end of the week, you’ll start noticing you’ll feel better, and you should see a permanent one- or two-pound drop each week depending on your starting weight and how much soda you drink. In addition, drinking plenty of water helps to make your stomach feel full, so drink a glass before every meal. Giving up alcohol at the same time will seriously compound the benefits, as will exercising regularly, and you’ll save money if you drink tap water.

Join a Weight Loss Camp

Sometimes, the best way to lose weight is to get a little help, and one of the best ways of doing so is to join a weight loss camp. These camps generally teach you how to live more healthily while encouraging you to get fit. What actually happens depends on your starting weight and overall level of fitness and on the camp. However, you’ll usually be gradually eased into a fitness regime that gives you plenty of exercise while restricting your diet to more healthy meals. Obviously, greasy, fatty foods are generally discouraged, although snacks may be permitted in moderation. Some camps offer one-on-one training; most, however, encourage group exercise and group support. In some cases, you’ll even have group sessions that help you understand the reason why you started overeating, which is particularly helpful for those who comfort eat when stressed. Ultimately, the goal of a weight loss camp is to end up with people who are fitter and healthier and can transfer these skills to their everyday lives. Prices for weight loss camps vary dramatically, but you can expect to pay around $2,500 for a cheaper camp which lasts about two-weeks or up to tens of thousands for two months.

Become Vegetarian or Vegan

Meat is a major source of energy, and becoming vegetarian—or even vegan—can help you lose weight rapidly. By switching to a no-meat diet, you can reduce the overall number of calories that you consume and up your intake of fruit and veg. Ultimately, the aim of any diet is to restrict calories, so ditching the hamburger and eating a nice vegetarian risotto instead can seriously lower the calories. Veganism—even temporary veganism—can cut calories out even further, as you cannot eat cream, milk, eggs, or butter. In addition, a lot of processed foods are not vegan, so you can end up cooking a lot more and being careful with the amount of various fats and other things you put in your foods. While this is a major diet change, it’s actually fairly simple to achieve if you only buy from the produce aisle, the pulses section, and the pasta and rice sections, so it can help you lose weight fast. Search online for great-tasting recipe guides. Being vegan or vegetarian can be even cheaper than eating out regularly or eating meat, so you can save a hundred dollars a month as well as lose weight.

Ditch the Probiotics and Pills, Go For a Walk, and Grow Your Own

Probiotics and pills are broadly useless when you say “I need to lose weight,” and many of them are extra calories that you don’t need. Instead of using pills, go for a thirty-minute walk every day, and encourage your family to do the same. A mere thirty minutes of exercise each day can burn up to 200 calories a day—the equivalent of 20 pounds of fat a year. While this may not seem like much, combined with several other methods, this can help you lose weight fast, and it’s a great way to bond with family members at the same time. Alternatively, get a garden and start growing your own fruit and veg. Digging a garden burns a lot of calories, and it’s a good way to get a supply of cheap and healthy food. It’s also great for education as it teaches children about where their food comes from, and it encourages them to get out and enjoy the outdoors. A regular supply of fruit and veg also encourages them and you to snack on healthier options as they can be “borrowed” from the garden when ready. This works especially well for sweet treats like strawberries and raspberries, which are delicious when fresh. If you don’t have the tools you need, buying them new can cost around $100, and the seeds are a few dollars on top. When you are thinking “I need to lose weight now,” growing your own food is one of the easiest ways to watch what you eat.

How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Out of Shape?

Don’t let anybody tell you different—everyone has skipped a workout at some point. At Greatist, we’re firm believers in cutting yourself some slack and taking time off from exercise when you need to. But we also know how easily three days off can snowball into six, then 10. Before you know it, you’re asking that question we’ve all asked when the gym feels like a distant memory: How long does it take to lose my fitness?

First, it’s important to remember that taking time off now and again is a good thing—exercise inflicts a degree of stress on the body, and any good workout program includes a heck of a lot of rest days, especially if the exercise is very intense. And there’s a benefit to both “active recovery” and complete rest.

That said, “use it or lose it” is pretty much the rule. But exactly how much fitness you’ll “lose” depends on the length of your break and how fit you were to begin with.

If You Exercise on the Regular

It’s a lot easier to bounce back from time off if you’re someone who exercises five or six times a week, or if you’ve been exercising for a while.

Generally speaking, if you’ve been working out several times a week for more than a year, your muscle memory is solid . In fact, with that strong of an exercise habit, scientists are quite willing to drop you in the “athlete” category. And for athletes, your fitness can deteriorate at different rates depending on whether you’re looking at strength or cardiovascular losses.

Strength Loss

For most people, strength loss occurs after about two and a half to three weeks of inactivity, says Molly Galbraith, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-founder of Girls Gone Strong. But it depends on why you take the break.

“If you are sick, your body is overstressed, so you’ll start to lose strength after two to three weeks,” she says. “If you’re not sick, and especially if you’re able to get in some movement and light exercise, you can probably take three, four, even five weeks off without significant strength loss.”

Science agrees. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercisepublished a review of several studies on the subject that looked at runners, rowers, and power athletes. For all of these groups, muscular strength fibers appear not to change, even after a month of inactivity. But here’s the kicker: While general strength doesn’t change much in that period, specialized, sport-specific muscle fibers start to change in as little as two weeks without a workout . For example, endurance athletes lose a significant amount of the extraslow-twitch muscle fibers that they worked so hard to accumulate, and the same thing happens for the power athletes and their hard-earned fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Basically the body likes to hold onto strength for as long as it can, but skills that are very specialized for certain sports will decline faster. We’re generalists, what can we say?

Cardio Loss

So what about all the cardio lovers out there who are more concerned with the strength of their heart and lungs? Sadly we lose this kind of conditioning a little more quickly than we lose strength. One study of endurance cyclists found that four weeks of inactivityresulted in a 20 percent decrease of their VO2 max, which measures a person’s maximum capacity to take in, transport, and use oxygen during exercise . The results were more or less confirmed by another study, which found that after 12 days of inactivity, VO2 max dropped by seven percent and enzymes in the blood associated with endurance performance decreased by 50 percent .

But keep your chin up. While your cardio conditioning does fall faster than your strength, it’s easier to regain, Galbraith says. So get back on that horse, cowboy.

If You’re Newer to Exercise

Congratulations on your new-ish exercise habit! But if you’ve hit pause on your trips to the gym, don’t take too long to hit play again. Consistency is key for building new habits, and it’s as true for the body as it is for the mind: If your body hasn’t been enjoying exercise for long, it can be easier to lose the progress you’ve made.

Strength Loss

As far as strength goes, it’s best not to be too concerned about losing your headway, as those famous “newbie gains” make it somewhat easier to retain strength.

For example, previously untrained folks who took a three-week break in the middle of a 15-week bench press program finished the course with similar strength levels as those who didn’t take a break at all . One study even showed that six months after quitting a 4-month strength training program, up to 50 percent of the original strength gain was maintained . It’s also worth noting that among newbies, eccentric strength, that is, the strength used when lengthening a muscle or lowering a weight, may be harder to lose than concentric strength, which is when the muscle is contracted. A study of 13 previously untrained guys found that three months after ending a three-month training program, they had maintained their eccentric strength gains, but not their concentric strength .

Cardio Loss

Once again, cardio is a little more sensitive to time off. One of the best studies of the effects of detraining on recently acquired fitness gains found that VO2 max gains that were made in the last two months are completely lost after four weeks of inactivity .

Other Factors

While your fitness level is key to how quickly you get back to your fitness baseline, there are a few other variables that also come into play.

First, age plays a role in your bounce-back time . When looking at 41 people who were either 20 to 30 years old or 65 to 75 years old, the older subjects lost strength almost twice as fast as the whippersnappers during a six-month “detraining” period in one study .

And again, why you’re taking the break is also a factor. When scientists injected inactive volunteers with hormones that mimicked the stress of trauma or illness, they had a 28 percent decrease in strength over 28 days—a higher rate than average .

4 Ways to Make the Most of a Fitness Break

Whether you’re on a relaxing vacation or stuck on the couch with an annoying chest infection, there are a few ways to stay strong during downtime.

1. Do Light Cardio

“If you’re able to take plenty of brisk walks, keeping your heart rate in the 120-ish range, then you should be able to stave off losing conditioning for a little longer,” Galbraith says. Indeed, training a little will do a much better job of maintaining your gains than totally stopping, especially if you’re able to squeeze in the odd cardio session that’ll train you at the upper end of your VO2 max, like some quick intervals .

2. Incorporate Some Resistance Training

There are plenty of reasons for taking a break, but if you have a localized injury, say in your ankle or wrist, don’t use it as an excuse to completely stop exercising. Cross-train through injuries, if you can. Do some bodyweight exercises, or see if you can try swimming, which is the go-to exercise for a lot of injured athletes. Even a four-minute tabata or two will make a huge difference in maintaining your strength.

“Light, dynamic warmups are also a good way to help keep the body from getting too stiff and to slow the loss of mobility without putting too much additional stress on an overstressed body,” Galbraith says. But if you’re sick from the neck down—think achy muscles, chest congestion, fever—it may be best to rest, she adds.

3. Eat Right

Exercise helps to control junk food cravings, so you may need to try harder to avoid crappy food while you’re not working out. Get lots of protein, healthy fats, and low-GI carbs, and your body will thank you. Eating well will help you avoid any weight gain, which would make restarting fitness all the more challenging. And nutrient-dense foods will also speed up your recovery if you’re injured or ill.

Galbraith also suggests raw honey for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, homemade bone broths for hydration, and garlic to lessen the severity of cold symptoms if you’re under the weather.

4. Love Yourself

No, not like that. But it’s important not to judge yourself or lapse into self-loathing on account of taking some time off. The gym will be right there waiting for you when you’re ready for it, but for now, do what you can and do what makes you happy. If it’s seeing what life is like without exercising so darn much, you do you! Look in the mirror, say a body-positive mantra, and know that you’re perfect—no matter how often you hit the gym.