This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title
 

Monthly Archives: May 2016

Get a Flat Stomach

Gather with friends for a glass of wine or a group jog and at some point someone will start in about her middle. “What happened to it?” she’ll ask. Lots of us have asked that question, and we blame childbearing, Ben & Jerry’s or taking too few group jogs (and having too many glasses of wine instead). In fact, a 2014 Today show survey revealed that our stomach are, hands down, the body part we worry about most.

 All of us want our waists back, but making that happen is tricky—and it’s more than just a vanity move. Visceral fat, the kind that gathers in the midsection around your organs, has been linked to serious health problems and diabetes. So trimming our tummies is a smart goal—and one that is totally within our reach!

Eating the right foods and getting into an exercise routine can help us shed those pounds without feeling tortured. That’s why Health developed the 30-Day Flat Belly Challenge in partnership with Tracy Anderson.

Signing up for this month-long program provides the tools you need to get the toned tummy you desire:

  • Exclusive fat-blasting core workouts from Tracy Anderson and Health‘s other fitness experts
  • An easy-to-follow flat belly meal plan loaded with healthy and satisfying recipes designed to help you drop pounds
  • The latest research on gut health from Health contributing medical editor Roshini Rajapaksa, MD
  • Science-backed nutrition tips from Health contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, RD
  • A weekly fitness test to measure your progress
  • Access to the 30-Day Flat Belly Challenge community, where you can share the tips and tricks that are working for you, and learn new healthy hacks from others who are taking the course

Program Your Appetite

Your appetite

Those rumblings in your tummy? They can be traced back to our Neanderthal ancestors, says Louis Aronne, MD, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. “Your body is primed to ramp up your appetite to keep you from starving,” he explains. In prehistoric times, that near-constant hunger was a useful motivator to forage for needed food. But in today’s world of 24-hour markets and drive-throughs, your appetite can easily outpace your body’s requirements. Learn how totake charge of cravings and control overeating with this updated advice.

Exercise dampens your appetite

A good sweat session works up an appetite, the thinking goes. But recent research shows that exercise may actually make you less likely to overeat. A study from the U.K. found that women who ran on a treadmill for 90 minutes had lower levels of hunger-inducing ghrelin and higher levels of appetite-suppressing peptide YY. The opposite was true for women who achieved the same calorie deficit by eating less. Later that day, when the dieters were offered a buffet meal, they ate roughly a third more than the exercisers. “If you’re engaging in vigorous exercise because you’re training for a marathon, then, yes, you will feel famished,” says Pamela Peeke, MD, clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and author of The Hunger Fix. But that won’t happen after a dance class, she assures, in which you burn about 350 calories.

Slimming down makes you hungrier

“It’s a sad truism of human biology,” says Dr. Aronne. “Your body is designed to resist famine, and it will fight to make sure you get back to your previous weight.” Blame the hormone leptin: A recent study of 14 formerBiggest Loser contestants revealed that their levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone dropped steeply after they shed large amounts of weight. Over time, their leptin levels increased but didn’t return to what they were originally—which set the contestants up to feel hungry and could explain why most of them regained much of the weight they had lost. But here’s the good news: Losing a smaller amount of poundage (say, 5 percent of your body weight) doesn’t trigger the same hormone change, so keeping those pounds off is easier, says Dr. Aronne.

Certain foods can curb your cravings

Fill up on these four foods to help curb cravings.

Barley: The whole grain lowers blood sugar and insulin, found a 2016 Swedish study, and prompts a rise in hormones that regulate appetite.

Water: In research from Virginia Tech, folks who downed two cups of water before a meal ate 75 to 90 fewer calories than people who didn’t hydrate before eating.

Eggs: Overweight women who ate a 350-calorie, protein-rich breakfast snacked on fewer fatty and sugary foods than those who skipped breakfast or ate cereal, per a 2013 study.

Red pepper: Adding a dash of this spice to your meal may help manage hankerings for fatty, salty, or sweet foods, according to research out of Purdue University.

To curb your appetite, steer clear of these four foods.

Rice cakes: Like other low-fat starches and sugars, they have a high glycemic index, meaning they cause your blood sugar to spike, then plunge—leaving you ravenous.

Diet drinks: Because they’re so sweet, they lead your body to expect a burst of fuel. Your brain instructs you to eat in order to provide those missing calories.

Packaged snacks: Many processed, packaged foods are made with high fructose corn syrup; a Yale study suggests that fructose may trigger overeating because consuming it doesn’t effectively quell hunger.

Red meat: It’s OK on occasion, but red meat is high in iron, which in large amounts suppresses appetite-curbing leptin, per a 2015 study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Starving? This might be why

You’re not logging enough z’s: Skimping on sleep can make you put on pounds. “Research shows that sleep deprivation reduces leptin and increases ghrelin levels,” says Dr. Aronne. How much sleep is enough? Per Stanford University research, people who slept five hours a night saw their hunger hormones go haywire, compared with folks who slept eight.

You’re beyond frazzled: When your brain is in chronic panic mode, it craves fat-or sugar-filled foods. You would have needed them back in caveman times to replenish after, say, fighting off wild animals, explains Dr. Peeke. Alas, today’s pressures tend to suck your emotional rather than physical energy—so when you polish off a box of doughnut holes, the food just turns to fat.

You’re taking certain meds: Some SSRI antidepressants have been linked to weight gain. Same goes for the migraine meds Depakote and Depakene, as well as certain sleeping pills and blood pressure drugs, says Dr. Lazarus, who is also secretary of the Obesity Medicine Association. If you notice increased hunger or weight gain, tell your doc. She may be able to prescribe an alternative.

 

Lose Weight Fast?, Follow These Tips

# Enjoy high-calorie treats as the accent, not the centerpiece

Make a spoonful of ice cream the jewel and a bowl of fruit the crown. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida. Balance a little cheese with a lot of fruit or salad.

# Eat cereal for breakfast five days a week

Studies find that people who eat cereal for breakfast every day are significantly less likely to be obese and have diabetes than those who don’t. They also consume more fiber and calcium—and less fat—than those who eat other breakfast foods. Make oatmeal, or pour out a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal like Total or Grape Nuts.

#  Try hot sauce, salsa, and Cajun seasonings

They provide lots of flavor with no fat and few calories, plus they turn up your digestive fires, causing your body to temporarily burn more calories. Choose them over butter and creamy or sugary sauces.

# Eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice

For the calories in one kid-size box of apple juice, you can enjoy an apple, orange, and a slice of watermelon. These whole foods will keep you satisfied much longer than that box of apple juice, so you’ll eat less overall.

# Drop your milk type and you cut calories by about 20 percent

If you drink regular, go to 2%. If you already drink 2%, go down another notch to 1% or skim milk. Each step downward cuts the calories by about 20 percent. Once you train your taste buds to enjoy skim milk, you’ll have cut the calories in the whole milk by about half and trimmed the fat by more than 95 percent.

# Snack on a small handful of nuts

Studies have found that overweight people who ate a moderate-fat diet containing almonds lost more weight than a control group that didn’t eat nuts. Snacking once or twice a day helps stave off hunger and keeps your metabolism stoked. You can also pack up baby carrots or your own trail mix with nuts, raisins, seeds, and dried fruit.

# Get most of your calories before noon

Studies find that the more you eat in the morning, the less you’ll eat in the evening. And you have more opportunities to burn off those early-day calories than you do to burn off dinner calories.

# Brush your teeth after every meal, especially dinner

That clean, minty freshness will serve as a cue to your body and brain that mealtime is over.

# Don’t eat with a large group

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Behavior found that we tend to eat more when we eat with other people, most likely because we spend more time at the table. But eating with your significant other or your family, and using table time for talking in between chewing, can help cut down on calories.

# Order the smallest portion of everything

If you’re out and ordering a sub, get the 6-inch sandwich. Buy a small popcorn, a small salad, a small hamburger. Again, studies find we tend to eat what’s in front of us, even though we’d feel just as full on less.

# Eat water-rich foods and you’ll eat fewer calories overall

A body of research out of Pennsylvania State University finds that eating water-rich foods such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers during meals reduces your overall calorie consumption. Other water-rich foods include soups and salads. You won’t get the same benefits by just drinking your water, though. Because the body processes hunger and thirst through different mechanisms, it simply doesn’t register a sense of fullness with water (or soda, tea, coffee, or juice).

# Bulk up your meals with veggies

You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Same goes for stir-fries, omelets, and other veggie-friendly dishes. If you eat a 1:1 ratio of grains to veggies, the high-fiber veggies will help satisfy your hunger before you overeat the grains. Bonus: Fiber is highly beneficial for preventing constipation, which can make you look bloated.

# Avoid white foods

There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, however, you should eat plenty of whole-grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff.

# Switch to ordinary coffee

Fancy coffee drinks from trendy coffee joints often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and sugary syrups. A cup of regular coffee with skim milk has just a small fraction of those calories. And when brewed with good beans, it tastes just as great. You can also try nonfat powdered milk in coffee. You’ll get the nutritional benefits of skim milk, which is high in calcium and low in calories. And, because the water has been removed, powdered milk doesn’t dilute the coffee the way skim milk does.

# If you’re going to indulge, choose fat-releasing foods

They should help keep you from feeling deprived and bingeing on higher-calorie foods. For instance: honey has just 64 fat releasing calories in one tablespoon. Eggs have just 70 calories in one hard-boiled egg, loaded with fat releasing protein. Part-skim ricotta cheese has just 39 calories in one ounce, packed with fat releasing calcium. Dark chocolate has about 168 calories in a one-ounce square, but it’s packed with fat releasers. And a University of Tennessee study found that people who cut 500 calories a day and ate yogurt three times a day for 12 weeks lost more weight and body fat than a group that only cut the calories. The researchers concluded that the calcium in low-fat dairy foods triggers a hormonal response that inhibits the body’s production of fat cells and boosts the breakdown of fat.

# Serve food on your plate instead of on platters

If you eat your dinner restaurant style on your plate rather than family style, helping yourself from bowls and platters on the table, you’ll lose weight. Most of us tend to eat an average of 150 percent more calories in the evening than in the morning. You’ll avoid that now because when your plate is empty, you’re finished; there’s no reaching for seconds.

# Make one social outing this week an active one

Pass on the movies and screen the views of a local park instead. Not only will you sit less, but you’ll be saving calories because you won’t chow down on that bucket of popcorn. Other active ideas: a tennis match, a guided nature or city walk (check your local listings), a bike ride, or bowling.

# Hook on a step tracker, and aim for an extra 1,000 steps a day

On average, sedentary people take only 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. Adding 2,000 steps will help you maintain your current weight and stop gaining weight; adding more than that will help you lose weight.

# Put less food out and you’ll take less in

Conversely, the more food in front of you, the more you’ll eat—regardless of how hungry you are. So instead of using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10 to 14 inches (making them look empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on salad plates (about 7 to 9 inches wide). Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups.

# Eat 90 percent of your meals at home

You’re more likely to eat more—and eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods—when you eat out than when you eat at home. Restaurants today serve such large portions that many have switched to larger plates and tables to accommodate them.

# Put your fork or spoon down between every bite

At the table, sip water frequently. Intersperse your eating with stories for your dining partner of the amusing things that happened during your day. Your brain lags your stomach by about 20 minutes when it comes to satiety (fullness) signals. If you eat slowly enough, your brain will catch up to tell you that you are no longer in need of food.

# Throw out your “fat” clothes for good

Once you’ve started losing weight, throw out or give away every piece of clothing that doesn’t fit. The idea of having to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain the weight back will serve as a strong incentive to stay fit.

# Close the kitchen for 12 hours

After dinner, wash all the dishes, wipe down the counters, turn out the light, and, if necessary, tape closed the cabinets and refrigerator. Late-evening eating significantly increases the overall number of calories you eat, a University of Texas study found. Stopping late-night snacking can save 300 or more calories a day, or 31 pounds a year.

# Walk before dinner and you’ll cut calories AND your appetite

In a study of 10 obese women conducted at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, 20 minutes of walking reduced appetite and increased sensations of fullness as effectively as a light meal.

# You’ll lose weight and fat if you walk 45 minutes a day, not 30

The reason we’re suggesting 45 minutes instead of the typical 30 is that a Duke University study found that while 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. Burning an additional 300 calories a day with three miles of brisk walking (45 minutes should do it) could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating.

# Don’t buy any prepared food

that lists sugar, fructose, or corn syrup among the first four ingredients on the label. You should be able to find a lower-sugar version of the same type of food. If you can’t, grab a piece of fruit instead! Look for sugar-free varieties of foods such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressing. Also, avoid partially hydrogenated foods, and look for more than two grams of fiber per 100 calories in all grain products. Finally, a short ingredient list means fewer flavor enhancers and empty calories.

# Sniff a banana, an apple, or a peppermint when you feel hungry

You might feel silly, but it works. When Alan R. Hirsch, M.D., neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, tried this with 3,000 volunteers, he found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost—an average of 30 pounds each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it.

# Stare at the color blue

There’s a good reason you won’t see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: it functions as an appetite suppressant. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth. Conversely, avoid red, yellow, and orange in your dining areas. Studies find they encourage eating.

# Eat in front of mirrors and you’ll lose weight

One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place.

# Spend 10 minutes a day walking up and down stairs

The Centers for Disease Control says that’s all it takes to help you shed as much as 10 pounds a year (assuming you don’t start eating more).

# Walk five minutes for at least every two hours

Stuck at a desk all day? A brisk five-minute walk every two hours will parlay into an extra 20-minute walk by the end of the day. And getting a break will make you less likely to reach for snacks out of antsiness.

# Write down what you eat for one week and you will lose weight.

Studies found that people who keep food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don’t. Watch out for weekends: A University of North Carolina study found people tend to consume an extra 115 calories per weekend day, primarily from alcohol and fat. Then cut out or down calories from spreads, dressings, sauces, condiments, drinks, and snacks; they could make the difference between weight gain and loss.

# Add 10 percent to the amount of daily calories you think you’re eating

If you think you’re consuming 1,700 calories a day and don’t understand why you’re not losing weight, add another 170 calories to your guesstimate. Chances are, the new number is more accurate. Adjust your eating habits accordingly.

# After breakfast, stick to water

At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year—or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.

# Eat three fewer bites of your meal

…or one less treat a day, or one less glass of orange juice. Doing any of these can save you about 100 calories a day, and that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the two pounds most people mindlessly pack on each year.

# Watch one less hour of TV

A study of 76 undergraduate students found the more they watched television, the more often they ate and the more they ate overall. Sacrifice one program (there’s probably one you don’t really want to watch anyway) and go for a walk instead.

# Wash something thoroughly once a week

Whether that’s a floor, a couple of windows, the shower stall, bathroom tile, or your car, a 150-pound person will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning. Scrub for 30 minutes and you could work off approximately 120 calories, the same number in a half-cup of vanilla frozen yogurt.