Archive for the ‘Thinner You’ Category

THINNER YOU: The Soccer Mom fitness trap

BY REBECCA PRATT for SPARKPEOPLE

Always on the run, but no time to jog? Or bike, hike, swim, or otherwise participate in activities that would mean better health, more energy, and even fun?

If this sounds like your life, maybe it’s time to consider how you can get off that routine treadmill of busyness and blaze a new trail that allows you to be physically active while completing important tasks

175318_MINIVAN_SALES_MIPS10For inspiration, meet 46-year-old Taimi Henderson (pronounced Tammy), who had three kids in two years and eight months, raised them as a single “soccer mom” — before that term existed — and survived to smile about it all.

Acknowledging the hard lessons of organizing life with two young daughters and a son, Taimi admits feeling envious when she heard other adults say they were heading off to the gym or signing up for aerobics classes: “I would think, ‘I so want to exercise!’ But I couldn’t. I was too busy to be active.”

Faced with mounting mounds of laundry and pre-teens who would …

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THINNER YOU: What to eat after your workout

BY DEAN ANDERSON for SPARKPEOPLE

Everyone knows that athletes must plan and time their meals and snacks very carefully to reach their performance goals. But what about the rest of us? You try to squeeze in 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Do you have to be careful about what you eat before and after your workouts, too?

gospelcize.0715_4If you’re eating a healthy diet and getting enough calories to support your activity level, you can probably rely on your own appetite, energy levels, and experience to tell you whether you need to eat anything before or after exercise and what it should be. The basic rule here is: Find out what works best for you, and do that.

There are some advantages to knowing how your body works and what it needs to perform at its best. The bottom line for healthy weight loss and fitness sounds simple: You have to eat fewer calories than you use up  —  but not fewer than your body needs to function at its best.

The size, timing, and content of your pre- and …

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THINNER YOU: What to eat before you work out

BY DEAN ANDERSON for SPARKPEOPLE

Everyone knows that athletes must plan and time their meals and snacks very carefully to reach their performance goals. But what about the rest of us? You try to squeeze in 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Do you have to be careful about what you eat before and after your workouts, too?

fitness.0507aUsually not. If you’re eating a healthy diet and getting enough calories to support your activity level, you can probably rely on your own appetite, energy levels, and experience to tell you whether you need to eat anything before or after exercise and what it should be. The basic rule here is: Find out what works best for you, and do that.

There are some advantages to knowing how your body works and what it needs to perform at its best. The bottom line for healthy weight loss and fitness sounds simple: You have to eat fewer calories than you use up—but not fewer than your body needs to function at its best.

The size, timing, and content of your …

Continue reading THINNER YOU: What to eat before you work out »

THINNER YOU: Six backpack safety tips

BY LIZA BARNES for SPARKPEOPLE

Exams. Pop quizzes. Homework. School can be a pain in the neck, figuratively. But if school is literally causing problems for your neck or back, your backpack may be to blame. Believe it or not, overloaded and poorly-positioned backpacks can actually cause serious injury. In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, 64 percent of 11- to 15-year-olds who used backpacks also complained of pain.

If you’ve ever had back or neck pain, you know how uncomfortable it can be. The pain is often caused by pressure on the disks of the vertebrae. These disks are responsible for spacing out the vertebrae, holding them in place, and acting as shock absorbers. As you get older, your disks wear down or degenerate, causing chronic pain, herniated disks, and nerve damage. Putting pressure (like the added weight of a heavy backpack) on these disks wears them down even faster.

So what’s a student to do? The stuff inside that pack is essential to …

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THINNER YOU: Snacking Healthy

BY LIZ NOELCKE of SPARKPEOPLE

While some dieters happily accept when someone suggests a snack, others feel pangs of guilt when a nibble is merely suggested. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with a bite between meals. In fact, snacking might be the missing ingredient that will help you reach your weight loss goals.

But how can this make sense, since snacking theoretically adds calories?

Snacking doesn’t serve to replace a meal. In fact, you should spread meals and snacks out by an hour or two, and snacks should total a couple hundred calories or less.

Munching between meals can actually reduce your overall caloric intake by curbing overeating at your next meal By controlling later binging, snacking can help you stay on track. You can actually use this to your advantage. If you know you are going out to a big dinner with friends later, for example, make sure you have a healthy snack before you head out so you’re less likely to order (and finish) a large entree.

How You …

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THINNER YOU: Alcohol and weight loss

BY LIZ NOELCKE of SPARKPEOPLE

Alcohol and weight loss are enemies, but an occasional drink can have a place in a healthy lifestyle. In fact, many experts note the health benefits of consuming a single drink per day, including a reduced risk for high blood pressure. If, however, you are exceeding one drink daily, you might be sabotaging your weight loss plans.

Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and beverages. Under normal conditions, your body gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins that need to be slowly digested in the stomach—but not when alcohol is present. When alcohol is consumed, it gets special privileges and needs no digestion. The alcohol molecules diffuse through the stomach wall as soon as they arrive and can reach the brain and liver in minutes. This reaction is slightly slowed when there is also food in your system, but as soon as the mixed contents enter the small intestine, the alcohol grabs first place and is …

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THINNER YOU: Fend off the ‘Freshman 15′

BY LIZ NOELCKE of SPARKPEOPLE

College opens up a whole new world for many. A world of freedom, hard work, late nights and late mornings, cramming, fun with friends, and all too often, binges on unhealthy food. Before calls for convenience overrun calls for health, take a minute to think about what you are eating. Make smart choices to ensure that the “Freshman 15″ weight gain will pass you by.

The”Freshman 15″ is the weight that young people who first go away to university can gain once in their new environment, often 15 pounds or more. It’s much easier to prevent extra pounds than to try to lose the excess weight later. Going to college is such a big change in life; you’ll want to be the healthiest that you can be to get off on the right foot. The freshman year is a critical period to combat this or any weight gain.

It’s probably a lot harder to get the right things in your body when you or the school cafeteria is doing all of the cooking, not your parents. To start with, …

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THINNER YOU: Facts on 100-calorie snack packs

BY LEANNE BEATTIE of SPARKPEOPLE

Convenience foods and snacking go hand in hand. Unfortunately, many of these convenient snacks also go straight to our waistlines. When “snack packs” appeared on the market just a few years ago, dieters rejoiced! Now, they could easily count calories and enjoy their favorite snacks at the same time. In fact, the 100-calorie snack packs proved to be so popular that sales have skyrocketed to almost $200 million in under three years. But how healthy are these snacks and should we even be eating them at all? Do good things really come in small packages? Let’s break down the snack pack facts.

Automatic Portion Control

Some dietitians and behavior experts believe these small 100-calorie packages are ideal for foods that we should only enjoy in limited amounts anyway, such as chips, cookies and chocolate bars. Numerous studies have shown that when a food container is larger, people will eat more. In fact, they’re more likely to eat until they reach …

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THINNER YOU: 9 Hidden Reasons to Stay Motivated

BY ZACH VAN HART of SPARKPEOPLE

Everyone tells us to stay motivated. Our friends, our co-workers, our relatives say to keep going, don’t quit. Sometimes, though, you ask, “Why? Why try my hardest when it ends in disappointment? Why go through something when it’s going to hurt? Why?”

Because it’s going to be different this time! Because you can’t accomplish anything that you give up on. Disappointments and failures happen to everyone. The difference between those who reach their goals and those who don’t is staying motivated. If you’re motivated, you’ll keep going. If you keep going, eventually you’ll reach your goal.

Need more reasons? Here are 10 of our ‘hidden’ reasons to stay motivated. Use one or all of them to keep the fire burning inside you.

1. Confidence

How did it feel after that first jog around the block? Or when you finally walked the stairs at work without losing your breath? The more you accomplish, the more you’ll believe in yourself.

2. Fit into that dress

It’s …

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THINNER YOU: How to avoid on-the-job weight gain

BY REBECCA PRATT of SPARKPEOPLE

Even if you love your job, it may be killing you.

Australian researchers found that men sitting at their desks more than six hours a day are nearly twice as likely to be overweight than those who sit for less than 45 minutes a day. While women fared slightly better—spending on average 20 more minutes on their feet at the office than men—researchers conclude that a sedentary job is a major health concern for both genders.

And it’s no secret that sedentary jobs (and lifestyles) have contributed dramatically to the accelerating obesity rate of the past 20 years. Put emphasis on the word ‘dramatically’—a study conducted by the University of Chicago in 2001 found that a worker in a sedentary career may end up with a Body Mass Index 3.3 units higher than someone in a highly active job. If you’re 5′5″ this can mean an increase in weight from 140 pounds to 155 pounds!

Now that you’ve heard the bad news, let’s turn to the good news…

You can love your …

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