Why You Seriously Don't Need to Worry About All the Calories on Thanksgiving

[brightcove:5551578581001 default] During the week leading up to Thanksgiving, it's easy to get wrapped up in healthy side dish recipes, tips for avoiding holiday weight gain, and pre-turkey workouts that make room for an extra slice of pie. But for some people, all that strategizing sucks the joy right out of a day that's supposed to be about celebrating gratitude … Continue reading “Why You Seriously Don't Need to Worry About All the Calories on Thanksgiving”

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During the week leading up to Thanksgiving, it's easy to get wrapped up in healthy side dish recipes, tips for avoiding holiday weight gain, and pre-turkey workouts that make room for an extra slice of pie. But for some people, all that strategizing sucks the joy right out of a day that's supposed to be about celebrating gratitude with loved ones over lots of delicious food.

"I tell people all the time, if you're looking forward to Thanksgiving, or any special occasion dining experience, go all out. Eat what you want. Then get back up on the horse again," says Liz Weinandy, RD, a nutritionist with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "But for a lot of people, this is easier said than done because they worry one meal makes or breaks everything."

How much does one meal really matter?

One single indulgent meal—even one whole day of high-calorie eating—is "absolutely not going to destroy anyone's metabolism, cause them to gain some tremendous amount of weight, or ruin longer-term goals," says Weinandy. To gain a notable amount of weight, you'd need to continuously consume more calories than your body can burn over the course of several days.

"Let's take a person who consumes 2,000 calories daily and maintains her weight," Weinandy says. "Say she eats 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving. Her body is going to have to store 3,000 extra calories because it can't burn them." But she won't even gain a whole pound. (One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories.) The amount of weight she'll put on is simply not worth agonizing over, especially at the expense of enjoying the holiday, says Weinandy. Plus, she'll burn all those calories off in the days to come, by returning to her regular eating habits and workout routine.

Craig Primack, MD, an obesity medicine specialist at the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center in Arizona, agrees that one big meal isn't enough to cause a noticeable physical difference or weight fluctuation. Might you feel the effects of a fatty, sugary holiday dinner in other ways? Sure. "You'll probably feel bloated, slightly dehydrated if you're consuming alcoholic beverages, and potentially uncomfortably full," says Dr. Primack. "But people know this going in."

What really matters, says Dr. Primack, is how Thanksgiving influences your behavior in the following days. "It's worth keeping in mind that you're going into a four-day weekend full of leftovers," he says. "And four days of eating off track can definitely have consequences, like weight gain or un-programming all of your great healthy habits. It's about the bigger picture, not the one meal."

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How to enjoy Thanksgiving to the fullest—and then hit the reset button

"Swapping grandma's famous creamy, buttery mashed potatoes for cauliflower mash sounds like a fantastic idea!" says no one. So instead of making culinary sacrifices this year, try this less restrictive, more balanced approach:

Step one: Make a conscious decision to hit pause on your health-focused ways to actually enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, and then press play again once the night is over. "It might sound totally silly, but you can even say this to yourself out loud, or say it in your head leading up to the holiday," Weinandy says.

In the hours before the main event, eat normally, starting with a high-protein breakfast when you wake up. "I don't like it when people have the mindset of, 'oh, I should hold out for the big dinner later and not eat all day,'" Weinandy says. "In doing that, you're already playing mind games with yourself and putting an unhealthy focus on food and calories."

Throughout your gathering, eat mindfully and savor each bite. Give yourself permission to soak up the moment, the people, the food, the flavors. "If you don't eat mindfully and feel the pleasure of it, you're missing the point," Weinandy says. "And when you eat mindfully, you often times don't even eat nearly as much as you'd expect yourself to."

Later on, use your food coma to your advantage. "My number one piece of advice for getting back on track the next day would be to get a good night's sleep," says Dr. Primack. "A bad night of sleep can increase appetite, make it tougher for you to register when you feel full, and slow your metabolism. And you feel lethargic and less motivated to get up and do some physical activity." So pass out early on Thanksgiving night, to make it easier for you to get back on your healthy A-game on Friday.

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Weinandy also recommends drinking a large glass of water or two when you wake up the next morning to aid digestion, rehydrate your body, and kickstart your metabolism. "And do not skip breakfast the morning after either," she says. "You should never feel like you have to make up for those extra calories by eliminating them at another time."

You may also want to consider preventing a week-long food binge by getting rid of leftovers. "I tell my patients to buy disposable food containers so you can send leftovers home with guests," Dr. Primack says. (Try these leakproof, plastic containers from DuraHome.)

And schedule some of your favorite workouts for the week after Thanksgiving, so you have an exercise game plan in mind and on the calendar, he adds. You'll be back in the saddle in no time.

Source: Health bests

Busy Philipps Just Finished Whole30—Here Are Her Top Tips for the Trendy Diet

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One of the many reasons we love Busy Philipps is her candid and often hilarious Instagram, where she frequently posts about her fitness exploits (remember when she tried to sweat out her post-Oscars hangover in a trampoline class?). So we weren't surprised to see the White Chicks actress recapping the highs and lows of her experience on the Whole30 diet this week.

Philipps announced in a post yesterday that she had successfully stuck to the diet for an entire month, "despite a few days that were rough" when she "really wanted tequila or gummy bears." The Whole30 rules are simple but daunting: 1) Cut out all legumes, dairy, added sugar, baked goods and treats, alcohol, and a few processed food ingredients (MSG, sulfites, and carrageenan) for 30 days. 2) Don't weigh yourself. 3) Don't cheat.

Philipps, 38, said she decided to try the Whole30 diet because, well, everyone she knew was doing it, and she thought it would help her get "back on track before the holidays." Plus, she was up for an interesting challenge. "Which it was," she wrote.

RELATED: 57 Ways to Lose Weight Forever, According to Science

In a follow-up Instagram story, the mom of two went a little more in-depth on what she learned. For example, cutting out sugar cold turkey showed her how addicted to the sweet stuff she really was. When she felt stressed, she craved her go-to treat: cinnamon gummy bears. "[Sugar] was really hard for me to get rid of," she said.

But Philipps did eventually learn healthier strategies to cope with her emotions: "Because I haven't been able to alleviate feelings through eating food, it forced me to sort of find other ways to deal."

The first five days of Whole30 were the toughest, Philipps said, then it got a little easier. Also helpful: that her husband, screenwriter Marc Silverstein, did the diet with her.

Not everyone is as successful on the restrictive plan, however. Health's contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, has warned that banning certain foods can trigger a sense of panic that leads to obsessive thinking, followed by rebound binge eating. In "3 Ways to Clean Up Your Diet Without Committing to Whole30," she recommends a more flexible eating strategy that you can actually stick with long term.

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As for the results? Philipps said that while she hasn't weighed herself (she swore off the scale a year ago), she can tell from her face that she's "definitely smaller." She also noted that her husband lost "too much weight." (Weight loss isn't an actual goal of the Whole30 program, though many dieters do slim down.)

Other effects: Philipps said she feels less bloated, and her joints don't hurt like they typically do. But Whole30 didn't make any difference in terms of her irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, which surprised her because she always thought her digestive issues were diet-related.

Philipps ended her Whole30 recap with a few tips. For one, she recommends cooking at home as much as possible, to keep your meals exciting and varied. (She searched Instagram for fun Whole30-approved recipes.) When she did eat out, she ordered lean protein and vegetables, and asked the kitchen to leave out butter. Overall, Philipps says Whole30 was a positive experience—and she would do it again.

Feeling tempted by her review, but wary of adopting so many restrictions? Try simply eliminating processed foods, says Sass. Making this one change is a great compromise because it can slash calories, boost your energy, and seriously upgrade your nutrient intake.

Source: Health bests

This Mom Ditched Her Emotional Eating Habit and Lost More Than 300 Lbs.

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

At almost 500 lbs., Michelle Ball was an emotional eater.

After marrying her high school sweetheart at 21, she quickly gave birth to two children 20 months apart, and gradually, Ball says, “let [herself] go.”

“When I got married I was a little smaller than I am now,” Ball — who currently weighs 180 lbs. after undergoing an incredible body transformation — tells PEOPLE. “My husband at the time was in medical school and residency and we had small children. It was very stressful for both of us. I dealt with it by putting their needs before my own.”

She continues: “For every emotion I had during that time, food was my drug of choice. I kind of numbed myself that way and reached for food for sadness, stress, depression, anxiety, happiness; I celebrated with food.”

After a “never-ending cycle” of yo-yo dieting, the self-described “closet eater” says she knew she needed to change. “I would do a lot of nighttime snacking and snacking during the day,” says Ball.

“I remember looking at the scale at 497 lbs. and freaking out. I could not believe how heavy I was,” says the stay-at-home mom. “I thought, I have to take control of this because no one is going to do it for me.”

At the end of 2013, Ball, 37, read a book called Intuitive Eating, and learned about eating mindfully.

“I started really thinking: ‘Why am I eating so much? Why can’t I lose this weight? This is ridiculous – I’m a strong person, I’m educated, I’ve accomplished a lot in my life. I [was] athletic. I was not fat when I got married. I should be able to overcome this,'” says Ball.  “[So] every time I went to grab food or a drink that had a calorie in it, I thought to myself: Am I genuinely hungry or thirsty? Do I need this or am I reaching for it out of habit or to fill some void?”

The Joplin, Missouri resident cut way back on portions, but still allowed her favorite foods. “I knew telling myself I could not have certain things did not work for me. If you told me I couldn’t have carbs, all I wanted was carbs.” she says. “Honestly, I’ve lost all this weight eating what I want. I still eat pizza, I still eat Chinese food. I have not restricted myself, but I eat only when I’m genuinely hungry and I stop when I’m satisfied, not stuffed…that had not been a feeling I was familiar with for about 15 years.”

Once on her new eating plan, she decided to start walking around her neighborhood. At the time, the former high school runner could barely make it around the block.

“The first 100 to 150 lbs. happened so quickly. I think it all kind of clicked and my body was like, ‘Okay. You’re eating way less and you’re exercising.’ The fat was just melting off.”

“It slowly morphed — over several years — into me walking, then jogging, then running, then running 5Ks, and then going to CrossFit with my sister, then running a Spartan Race,” says Ball who is now into heavy lifting and works out six days a week.

By August 2016, Ball had lost 317 lbs. and hit her goal weight. Her personal life also changed quite a bit. She had gotten divorced, then engaged  — and had given birth to her third child.

“I really love my body because it’s taken me so long to get here and I’ve worked so, so, so hard and I still have to work hard and I will always have to work hard to not gain the weight back,” she says. “I hope [my story] helps others who are hopeless and do not know where to start.”

Source: Health bests

This Diet Is All Over Reddit—But Here’s What It Gets Wrong

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Take a deep-dive into the weight-loss forums on Reddit and you're bound to come across the CICO diet.

One user who had been following CICO for two months and shed 20 pounds wrote, "For years I actually thought that [losing weight] required vigorous exercise, and eating nothing but tilapia, broccoli, and spinach. How wrong I was."

In a separate thread, another user shared, "CICO will work regardless of what you're eating. Junk food, healthy food, fancy food, cheap food. It doesn't matter. CICO is essentially the only thing that matters when it comes to weight loss."

But many experts have a different take on the eating strategy, and argue that CICO is just another name for a weight-loss myth that refuses to die.
 

So what is the CICO diet?

The acronym stands for "calories in, calories out"; and the underlying theory—which is by no means a new concept—is that to lose weight, you simply need to consume fewer calories than you expend each day on physical activity and vital functions (such as breathing and keeping warm). Proponents of CICO argue that it doesn't necessarily matter what you eat, as long as you create a daily calorie deficit.

"At the core of it, it's true that calories will rule things when it comes to weight loss," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, author of The Superfood Swap. "If you're eating just a ton, you're not aware of calories, you will not be successful. That is true in the most crude, raw possible way." But, she adds, calorie awareness is only a tiny piece of a much bigger picture.

RELATED: The 50 Best Weight Loss Foods of All Time

What CICO gets wrong

The problem with the CICO mentality is that it reduces weight loss to a calorie equation, when not all calories are created equal.

"We now know that the quality of the calories you consume—as well as the macronutrient balance and timing—all impact metabolism, satiety, and how your body utilizes calories," explains Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health's contributing nutrition editor. For example, 300 calories from a blueberry muffin made with refined flour and sugar does not affect your body the same way that 300 calories from cooked oats topped with almonds and blueberries do. "[CICO] is an outdated way of thinking," Sass says.

You also have to consider how food choices affect your body beyond weight loss. "Eating all junk, but keeping it low-calorie, will still wreak havoc on things like your skin, your mood, your gastrointestinal functions," Blatner says.

Mira Ilic, a clinical dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, adds that certain macronutrients are important for things like tissue repair, and muscle recovery and growth. "If you're doing strength training and other physical activity as part of your healthy routine—which also boosts your metabolism and helps with weight loss—you're doing yourself a disservice by not thinking about the food you're putting on your plate," she says.

So can you lose weight just by keeping CICO in mind? "Sure, it's possible," Ilic says. "But would I recommend this to my patients? Definitely not."

Sass adds that she has seen clients lose weight after increasing their total calorie intake—or break through a weight-loss plateau by altering the quality, balance, or timing of their calories, without reducing the total amount. To sum up: "It's not as simple as a math equation," she says.

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A better way to watch your calories

For the average woman who wants to lose weight, Blatner suggests aiming to consume roughly 1,500 calories a day: "That number might be a little bit up or down, depending on whether you're taller or shorter, or how much you exercise," she explains, "but 1,500 calories is a great starting point."

However, instead of tallying up the calories from every single food you eat, Blatner recommends practicing "calorie consciousness." Look at your plate and ask yourself, Do I have a smart carb, protein, healthy fat, and vegetables? Then ask yourself, Do the portions of each look reasonable, with vegetables taking up the majority of the plate?

"If you look at your plate and you have what you can guesstimate is a half-cup of a grain, that's going to be roughly 150 calories; if you see a reasonably sized piece of protein, it's likely about 3 ounces, or about 150 calories," Blatner says. "And if you see a lot of vegetables, topped with just a little bit of fat, like a drizzle of olive oil, you're probably adding up to about a 400 to 450 calorie meal."

Developing calorie consciousness will help you get a good balance of nutrients to nourish your body, and stay on track to lose weight that actually stays off.

Source: Health bests

The One Thing That Finally Helped Me Stop Overeating After Decades of Yo-Yo Dieting

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Let’s just say zen would not be the first word I’d use to describe myself. I fall more into the high-strung, nervous-about-everything camp. So mindfulness—a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment—felt like a long shot for me. But living mindfully is having a major moment, billed as a cure-all for everything from anxiety to sleeplessness to obesity. At 42 and at my highest weight ever, I was willing to try anything.

Over the last two decades I rode our culture’s weight loss wave from Atkins to green juice detoxes. All to the same end: I was still fat. I finally got it that another diet was not the answer and made the decision to seek professional help. I started therapy with New York psychotherapist Alexis Conason, who specializes in mindful eating and body dissatisfaction.

RELATED: I Did It! Weight Loss Success Stories

Conason describes mindful eating as being fully aware and present in your relationship with food and your body. “It’s based on mindful meditation and brings the same skills cultivated there, like non-judgmental observation, to our eating experiences,” she says. During my very first session, she explained to me that eating mindfully as a strategy to get thin negates the entire point of the practice and simply doesn't work. There’s always a catch, I remember thinking to myself back then, when I still hoped mindfulness could be a fix to help me lose weight.

A lifelong emotional eater

My troubled relationship with food and dieting went back decades. I tried my first diet my freshman year of college. After that, I was always either on a diet or planning to start one. All foods were labeled good or bad in my mind, and my behavior was categorized by the same measure. What I actually wanted to eat rarely crossed my mind. But this is where mindfulness comes in, Conason tells me in a separate conversation we had outside our therapy sessions.

“To truly eat mindfully, we have to trust our body, which for most of us is a major leap of faith," she explains. "It is nearly impossible to hear what our body is telling us when we are working against it to lose weight. We come equipped with an internal navigation system to guide our eating. The problem is that we spend so much of our lives trying to override this internal GPS that it becomes very hard to hear what our body is telling us.”

RELATED: How I Swam, Biked, and Ran My Way to a 70 Lb. Weight Loss

She says most people, specifically those who have a history of yo-yo dieting, as I do, fight their bodies instead of tuning into its natural guidance. “When our body is craving a cupcake, we feed it kale. We deprive ourselves of what our body wants, fighting against our cravings until we finally 'cave' and devour a whole box of cupcakes, hardly tasting them, feeling out of control, and then berate ourselves for being so 'bad' and vow never to eat sweets again.”

Sound familiar? It’s basically the story of my life (minus the kale). 

Even though I began therapy specifically for my food issues, I went week after week for a full six months before I even started to get to the root of my overeating. This was hardly my first my rodeo on the couch, but as I started the familiar unpacking of my life story, including an absent father and pretty crippling anxiety, I looked at things through the lens of my emotional attachment to food for the first time.

Making peace with food

At this point I also participated in Conason’s nine-week group class, The Anti-Diet Plan. The premise is that a person needs to need to make peace with food and their body before truly eating mindfully. So every Tuesday night I joined eight other skeptical New York women to basically re-learn how to eat.

Each meeting began with a meditation and included an eating exercise. We started by eating raisins. We smelled them and touched them and ate them one by one and finished them only if we wanted to. I distinctly recall one woman, shamefully saying, “Did you see how I just shoved them all in my mouth?” The self-consciousness you feel when you live with food shame runs so deep, it can even apply to raisins.

RELATED: 17 High-Protein Snacks You Can Eat on the Go

From there we worked our way up to eating chocolate cake, going out to a restaurant together, and then finally conquering our individual albatross—whatever food made us feel our most out of control—and attempted to eat it mindfully. Some members struggled with what they would pick, but for me it was a no-brainer. I brought homemade chocolate brownies, which I used to devour until I was physically sick. My sugar cravings were so strong at that point, and I knew they were rooted in a million emotions other than hunger.

One thing that we repeatedly discussed was the idea of self-acceptance, which like so many other women who were always trying to lose weight, I rejected with every cell in my body. How could I ever accept myself this way? One group member said aloud what we were all thinking: “That would feel like such a defeat.”

Conason tells me this is a common point of resistance. “We have somehow come to believe that if we are really mean to ourselves, if we just bully and berate ourselves enough, then we will finally find the motivation to change. We view acceptance as defeat and think that if we accept ourselves that means that things will remain the same," she says. "Self-hatred immobilizes us. Long-lasting change comes from a place of compassion and nurturing. We have to let go of the struggle to move forward, and self-acceptance is the first step to releasing yourself.”

Outside of the course, I attempted this new practice with the same religious fervor I applied to every stab at weight loss. I would look at a slice of pizza like it was an equation to be solved, asking myself, Do I really want it? After inevitably eating it, I would apply the same obsessive attention the next time I was faced with a "bad" food. I felt puffed up pride when I didn't eat something—and the same old familiar shame when I did.

Self-acceptance—and silencing her inner bully

Finally, it occurred to me: I was treating mindfulness like another diet. That light bulb was truly the first step on my journey. Slowly, and paired with other positive changes like exercise, cutting down on alcohol, and ongoing therapy, I’m now able to make more authentic decisions based on what I really want. If I’m craving dessert, I have it. (Spoiler Alert: most nights I crave it.) 

RELATED: To get our best healthy eating tips delivered to you inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

But the most seismic shift is my newfound ability to silence my inner bully. Learning to accept myself just as I am is so much harder than counting calories—but right now, it’s my primary objective. I wish I could tell you that the size of my body is no longer an issue for me, but I'm not quite there yet. Learning to navigate my true hunger, I focus on progress not perfection. I have lost weight and continue to lose.

But just like with my obsession with food, monitoring the number on the scale becomes a slippery slope, so I try to shift my focus to my emotional well-being. Truly allowing myself to eat what I want when I want it has been so incredibly liberating, and feeling in control of my food choices has made me feel more in control of my life as a whole. While seeking happiness and self-contentment, I’ve finally (finally!) made room for goals that can’t be measured by a scale.

Source: Health bests

Kim Kardashian Had a ‘Last Supper’ Binge Before Starting a Diet. Here’s What Nutritionists Think

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But first, pizza.

That was Kim Kardashian’s plan before overhauling her diet, as she revealed on Sunday’s episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. On the show, Kim, Khloé, and Kim’s BFF Jonathan Cheban ventured around New York City for a couple of slices of pizza, followed by chocolate ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles. It was all part of a final food indulgence before Kim would embark on a “lifestyle change” that she hopes will give her a “good body.” (As if she wasn't already #bodygoals!)

We don’t have the details on what exactly Kim’s lifestyle change will entail, but Cheban’s already betting she’ll fall off the wagon. “I’ve heard about ‘lifestyle changes’ before,” he said. “I’ll see her at Cipriani—she cannot resist that pasta.”

“I’m really going to be dedicated and committed,” Kim fired back. “You’ll see.”

RELATED: The Flat-Belly Workouts Celebrities Swear By for Sexy, Sculpted Abs

Sorry Kim, we've got disappointing news for you: Feasting on your favorite foods before banning them from your diet sets you up for failure, as Cheban predicted. “If you’re starting a diet on this notion that you have to restrict foods you love, that means the diet is unsustainable and you’re going to fail,” says Julie Upton, RD, co-founder of Appetite for Health.

That's because a binge-then-restrict plan requires a heck of a lot of willpower, especially if you’re denying yourself foods you really crave, explains Claudia T. Felty, PhD, RD. “Over time, you’re going to be around those foods and you’re going to be tempted by them,” she says. “When you set them up as foods you binge on now and then never eat again, that binge mentality comes back.”

Plenty of dieters believe that a Kim-style “last supper” will jumpstart lasting eating-habit changes, Upton says, but what it really does is “jumpstart the desire to get off the diet and [eat] the foods they’ve been restricting!”

When you decide a food you love is entirely off limits, you're more likely to fixate on that no-no. “We want what we can’t have,” Felty says, and this longing can actually trigger more intense cravings. Plus, telling yourself you simply "can't" have certain foods turns eating into a moral issue. “It sets up this 'good food' versus 'bad food' mentality that, for a lot of people, feeds an unhealthy relationship with foods that they love,” Upton adds.

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A smarter approach is identifying an eating plan that meshes with your lifestyle and food preferences and then taking small, sustainable steps to keep at it. “For someone who loves pasta or bread, a ketogenic diet is never going to work, because they’re going to constantly crave those foods,” Upton says. Instead, following a Mediterranean-style diet that allows for some grains can lead to slow and steady weight loss, she says.

Felty and Upton both recommend the 80-20 rule. For 80% of the time, stick to a healthy eating plan; 20% of the time, enjoy the treats you love that don’t necessarily fit that plan on a daily basis, like pizza and ice cream. As long as you're also exercising regularly and you consume them in reasonable quantities, incorporating those treat foods 20% of the time won't derail your weight loss goals, Felty says.

Source: Health bests

Here’s How Instagram Fitness Star Katie Dunlop Finally Quit Yo-Yo Dieting—and Totally Transformed Her Body

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Take a quick scroll down Katie Dunlop’s Instagram page, and you’d probably assume that the super-toned personal trainer has always been #fitgoals. Dunlop, who has over 220,000 followers on the social platform, founded the YouTube channel Love Sweat Fitness and has authored multiple e-books about fitness, weight loss, and nutritious meal planning. But Dunlop tells Health that her lifestyle wasn't always so healthy: She used to yo-yo diet in an effort to shed pounds, and her hypothyroidism made her feel like she’d never achieve her health goals.

"I had been dealing with weight insecurities for years, probably since middle school," Dunlop says. "I was always hyper-focused on size and my weight and what I was eating."

She regularly turned to fad diets and trendy exercise programs ("There was a lot of Tai Bo in my life!"), but could never stick with a routine. "I’d do two weeks really hardcore, and then not be able to maintain that," the influencer admits. "I felt emotionally rundown and was tired of being constantly consumed by my body image."

About six months after college, Dunlop reached her heaviest weight and knew she needed to make a change. Yo-yo dieting wasn't working, and she wanted to develop healthy habits that would really stick. Consistency became her new goal, and she decided she’d try to focus on being healthy and feeling good, not necessarily losing weight. 

The switch wasn't easy. "I got rid of the scale," Dunlop says. "As a woman, growing up all you think about is weight, weight, weight. It took time to get that out of my head and focus on feeling good." Here, the strategies that helped Dunlop shift the way she thought about weight loss—and turn her healthy lifestyle into a career.

RELATED: Kim Kardashian Says She Has Body Dysmorphia, but What Does That Really Mean?

Finding a workout routine she could stick with

Dunlop started signing up for group fitness classes and fell in love with the atmosphere. She realized she wanted to teach others about health and fitness, so she eventually got certified as a barre and yoga sculpt instructor. "I felt like when I was teaching, I was my best self," Dunlop says.

In addition to yoga and barre, Dunlop now does more weight training and completes multiple rounds of HIIT and strength workouts each week.

“I try to work out five to six times a week, usually three of those workouts are strength and conditioning, and two to three are some type of cardio, like HIIT or running," she says.

Switching to a balanced diet

Being a personal trainer helped Dunlop become more educated about nutrition, and she quickly realized why her old eating habits never seemed to work. "I used to cut out all carbs, but then I’d be the person eating sugar-free candy," she says. 

Dunlop lost 45 pounds after she started loading her plate with more lean protein, healthy fats, and fresh veggies. As a bonus, she also found that some of her hypothyroidism symptoms like headaches and low energy improved.

Now, she eats five to six small meals a day, such as English muffin sandwiches with turkey bacon, egg, avocado, and spinach for breakfast, and spicy sriracha salmon with sweet potatoes and kale for dinner. Keeping protein-rich snacks on hand (think nuts or turkey jerky) help her keep her energy up throughout the day.

Meal prep is also key, Dunlop tells us. "Even if I just have one spare hour on the weekends, I’ll roast some veggies, bake chicken, or make a huge batch of these breakfast egg muffins and freeze them," she says.

Embracing body positivity and self-love

While Dunlop has clearly made a major physical transformation, she feels like her biggest accomplishment is improving her body image and self-confidence. The key: constantly reminding herself that being strong and feeling good is more important than the number on the scale.

"I actually weigh more now than when I was at my lowest weight, but I look leaner," she says. "I always encourage people to take photos and use measurements, because the scale is only a small part of the picture."

Looking back, Dunlop says she feels like a different person from the woman who couldn't break out of the yo-yo diet cycle and constantly felt insecure.

"It’s an emotional change, our bodies fluctuate and that’s normal, but the biggest thing throughout this transformation has been how I look at myself," she says. "[I went from being] that person who felt embarrassed going to workout classes and [was] constantly questioning, ‘Should I wear this, can I wear this?’ And now I'm like, ‘Yes!’

And not just because of my size—a lot of that comes from strength and making those healthy decisions and knowing that everything you’re doing is bettering so many parts of your life."

Source: Health bests

Here’s How the ‘Biggest Loser’ Contestants Have Kept the Weight Off

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Your diet may help you lose weight, but exercise appears to be the key to keeping it off.

A new study, published in the journal Obesity, tracked 14 former Biggest Loser contestants to determine how some of them kept weight off after the show. Physical activity, the researchers determined, was the clear answer — even though diet, not exercise, was shown to help the contestants lose weight in the first place.

Half of the study participants maintained their weight loss after the Biggest Loser ended, while the other half gained the pounds back. Over six years of follow-up, the maintainers tended to be far more active than the other group, increasing physical activity by up to 160% since they started losing weight. Those who regained weight, by contrast, only increased physical activity by 25% to 34%. Overall, maintainers completed an average of 80 minutes of moderate exercise or 35 minutes of vigorous exercise each day — well exceeding the national physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. 

The findings tie into another study published by the same researchers last year. Back then, they found that contestants' metabolisms slowed drastically after their dramatic weight losses, significantly cutting into the number of calories they were able to burn each day. As a result, many contestants saw the pounds creep back on, sometimes even exceeding their pre-show weights. 

Exercise, the new study suggests, may counteract that effect, helping people burn enough calories to stay thin. But the time commitment of a robust fitness regimen can make weight maintenance an uphill battle, according to former Biggest Loser contestant and study author Dr. Jennifer Kerns, who is now an obesity specialist at Washington's Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“The amount of time and dedication it takes to manage one’s food intake and prioritize exercise every day can be an untenable burden for many people," Kerns told the New York Times. "It's totally unfair to judge those who can't do it." 

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Top plastic surgery clinic

A group claiming to be behind the breach said it had “terabytes” of data, the Daily Bea
The Metropolitan Police is investigating the attack.
The alleged hackers, using the pseudonym The Dark Overlord, said they had obtained photos showing various body parts of clients, including genitals.
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Some of these images have been sent to the Daily Beast.
The hackers also claimed that the data contained information on “royal families” and added that they planned to distribute the patient list and corresponding photos online.
“We are still working to establish exactly what data has been compromised,” LBPS said in a statement.
“We are horrified that they have now targeted our patients.”
Katie PriceImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption
One of the clinic’s recent clients is model and TV presenter Katie Price
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said it was notified of a suspected breach on 17 October.
She added that there had been no arrests and that enquiries by the Organised Crime Command were continuing.
LBPS is known to have high-profile clients, including model and TV presenter Katie Price, who recently used her Instagram account to thank the clinic for her facelift.
The Information Commissioner’s Office said, “We are aware of this incident and are looking into the details.
“All organisations are required under data protection law to keep people’s personal data safe and secure.”

Body-Positive Instagram Star Claps Back at Critics of Her Skin Removal Surgery: 'Loving Yourself Does NOT Mean You Have to Stay the Same’

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Instagram star Amanda Roberts (@mandas_muffintop) credits the body-positive Instagram community with helping her love and appreciate her body when she was at her heaviest. But after she made the decision to have weight loss surgery and subsequent skin removal surgery, Roberts was surprised to find herself at the receiving end of negative comments on the social platform, where she has nearly, 70,000 followers.

"I am a self-proclaimed self-love and body positive activist, but people think that because I decided to finally rein in my health (after a lifetime of obesity that was affecting my health), I didn't truly love myself," she told Health in an email. "I've received comments like, 'If you love yourself so much, why did you change yourself?' It's truly frustrating to try to explain over and over again that loving yourself does not mean you have to stay the same."

RELATED: What Are Skin Tags—and How Can I Have Them Removed?

A viral before-and-after photo Roberts recently shared on Instagram expands on this message. "I loved myself at 330lbs [sic] on the left. I loved myself at 180lbs with loose skin. And I love myself now at 185lbs with my scars," she wrote. "I decided to change myself BECAUSE I love myself. This my my journey, and I’m proud of it."

Roberts first discovered the body-positive ("Bo Po," as she calls it) online community when she weighed over 300 lbs., and tells Health that she's mostly received support and encouragement on the platform. "It wasn't until I found the Bo Po community that I truly started loving myself," she says. "From that inner self-love, I found a reason to want to be the best me."

After undergoing weight loss surgery, Roberts immediately realized that she would one day need skin removal surgery, too. "I had always had issues with rashes and sores, especially due to eczema, when I was plus-size, and I knew that the loose skin was only going to make it worse," she explains. As a stay-at-home mom in a low-income household, though, Roberts couldn't afford to get the surgery right away. In the meantime, she used her Instagram account to help spread the message that "loose skin isn't grotesque—it's very common and is worth the battle to lose weight if that is what someone decided was best for them."

When she landed a spot on the popular CBS show The Doctors, Roberts was fortunate to have the skin removal surgery done for free. The procedure was a success, and helped ease her day-to-day discomfort. But afterwards, Roberts began to notice some negative comments from followers. "I got backlash about it, with more people saying, 'If you love your loose skin so much, why are you having it removed?'" she says. "A lot of people tried to say I wasn't a body positive activist."

RELATED: I Had Seven Pounds of Skin Removed After Major Weight Loss—Here's What You Should Know

Luckily, though, Roberts says that the majority of her followers understand that the surgery was about feeling comfortable in her own skin, and she's "thankful" for their kindness and support. Today, she's focusing on using her platform to celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes.

"I think my body has always been amazing at every stage of my journey," she says. "We all deserve to practice self-love and feel positive about our bodies, no matter what they may look like."

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How Two Sisters Helped Each Other Shed a Collective 106 Lbs.: "Sisterhood Gave Us the Strength to Change"

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Gina: In college, late night takeout was one of our favorite pastimes. I soon found myself just shy of 200 pounds, while Amy weighed in at 138. Being overweight began taking its toll.

Amy: A stranger’s rude comment here, a pair of extra-large pants there added up, but photos from a family beach trip in 2004 were the final push we needed. That fall, we signed up for Weight Watchers.

Lessons in healthy

Gina: From day one, we attended the weekly meetings together, debriefing each other on lessons learned. For me, having smarter portions of my favorite foods—hello, pasta!—and logging regular runs and boot camp classes were key. I was down to 155 pounds by the summer of 2005.

Amy: While the point system helped me make better food choices and drop 30 pounds in just six months, after a year I trusted myself to eat clean on my own. I started meal prepping staples like egg muffins or avocado toast for breakfast.

Gina: I fluctuated after my initial loss, but staying true to what I had learned helped me ditch another 20 pounds by 2007. After that, I turned to MyFitnessPal.

RELATED: These Real Women Showed Their Excess Skin to Make an Important Point About Weight Loss

Stronger together 

Amy: Exercise wasn’t on my radar until 2011, when Gina and I ran a 5K. After that, I was hooked.

Gina: Tracking what I ate and working with a trainer with Amy kept me at 135 pounds for years. Then, in 2015, I stopped snacking after dinner and started using a food scale. The result: I hit my goal weight of 122. Finally, victory.

Amy: We’ve now completed five half marathons, and I’m down to 108 pounds, even after having a baby in 2015.

Gina: We love that our weight loss has been a team effort. Sisterhood gave us the strength to change.

Gina and Amy's tone-it-up tips

1. Go halfsies: We often share an entrée when we eat out. That way, we know we’re eating a reasonable portion. Bonus: We don’t feel bad getting the occasional scoop of ice cream afterward! It’s all about balance.

2. Love your lower body: We used to hate leg day, but strengthening our lower bodies helped us shave 20 minutes off our half-marathon time.

3. Remix your sweets: We love creating healthier versions of our favorite splurges, like Brownie Overnight Oats: oats, mashed banana, almond milk, vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and chia seeds. Yum!

 

As told to Anthea Levi

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Craig Robinson Lost 50 Lbs. By Going Vegan and Cutting Out Alcohol: 'It Was Much Easier Than I Thought'

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

Craig Robinson is feeling better than ever.

The star of the new series Ghosted talked about his slimmer physique on Harry Connick Jr.’s talk show, Harry.

“I lost a bunch of weight, I lost about 50 lbs.,” Robinson, 45, says.

The former The Office actor says his weight loss started as an experiment.

“I haven’t been drinking,” Robinson explains. “Since January I just put down the alcohol, I was going to detox. I had heard, I don’t know how true it is, but I heard you can regenerate your liver in six months. I was like let me see if I can go six months and I just haven’t gone back.”

And his alcohol detox inspired other healthy habits.

“[I’m] working out and I’ve been trying this vegan lifestyle too. It’s amazing,” Robinson says. “There are so many great vegan restaurant and dishes. It’s much easier than I thought it would be.”

Still, he does miss one dairy-filled dish.

“Mac and cheese,” Robinson says without hesitation.

On Ghosted, Robinson plays a skeptic mall cop who gets roped into investigating unexplained paranormal activities with a true believer, played by Adam Scott.

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These Real Women Showed Their Excess Skin to Make an Important Point About Weight Loss

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Stories about people who shed lots of weight after adopting a healthier lifestyle are super inspirational, especially if a photo shows a person looking healthy and happy at her goal weight. But often something important is glossed over: that dropping major pounds tends to leave a dieter with loose skin.

Some successful dieters choose to have the skin removed surgically. Others live with it and make a point about it on social media—it's a very real part of their journey, after all. Here are six women who got real on Instagram about their excess skin and how they struggle to deal with it.

After shedding 185 pounds in 15 months, Jessica Weber was left with excess skin around her midsection. “I was always prepared for it, but it is still such a struggle to deal with daily,” Weber told People. “I’ve seen some people lose weight and have it not be such a problem, but I wasn’t that lucky.”

Weber regularly shares bits of her new, healthier lifestyle on Instagram, along with motivational messages. "I'm still learning to love my new body and ths journey that i Am on!" she admits in one post, which shows her bearing her stomach in a bikini.

When you think of a bodybuilder, ripped muscles and a perfectly taut stomach come to mind. Jana Roller is a bodybuilder who fits part of this stereotype, with one exception—she chooses to show off her excess skin from weight loss when she wears her competition bikini. 

Meeting a major weight-loss goal offers much to celebrate, and Jordaan Spark didn't let her loose skin stop her from doing just that, posting this snap of her boyfriend picking her up in a pool. The 24-year-old told People she doesn't want to "sugarcoat" weight loss, which is why she opted to post the photo.

After losing over 100 pounds, Rachel Graham shared a photo of her excess skin. While she said it sometimes makes her self-conscious, she wouldn't change her weight-loss journey for the world, since it's made her happier and healthier. "I'd be lying if I said my loose skin wasn't an insecurity of mine.. But I refuse to let it consume me," wrote Graham.

Hitting the beach in a swimsuit can provoke anxiety no matter what you weigh. But Jacqueline Adan went for it, bearing her excess skin from a 350-pound weight loss. When onlookers reacted critically to Adan's body, she strutted her stuff and then posted this on Instagram. "I am not going to let what other people think of me stop me from living my life,” she wrote. “They do not know me. They do not know how I have worked my ass off to lose 350 pounds. They do not know how I am recovering from major surgeries. They have no right to sit and point and laugh at me.”

Simone Anderson shed 194 pounds and documented the whole process on her Instagram page. Now, the lifestyle blogger shares everything from her cute outfits to her workouts to her incredible before-and-after photos, which remind her followers of her inspiring journey. In an interview with People, Anderson shared her thoughts on the excess skin: “I needed to show that yes, I do have loose skin, and it’s actually a side effect of something I am proud of. Obviously, I can’t wait for it to be gone, but it’s not something I’m ashamed of or embarrassed of.”

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This Is the Crazy Amount of Money You Can Save by Losing Weight

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If you’re overweight or obese, losing a few pounds may save you some serious cash. A new study has shown that weight loss at any age resulted in significant financial perks, with people around age 50 saving the most—an average of $36,278(!) over the course of their lifetimes.

The new research, published in Obesity, is the first to take into account not only the medical costs associated with obesity and its related diseases, but also losses in productivity at work that could be attributed to weight. This helps paint a more complete picture of the real price tag of extra pounds, according to the authors.

“People often think of obesity as an insurance issue, and they know that expensive health care problems are associated with it,” says lead author says Bruce Y. Lee, MD, executive director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “But they rarely think about the full magnitude of its societal and workplace costs.”

To find these numbers, Dr. Lee and his colleagues developed a computer model to represent the U.S. adult population, and estimated lifetime health effects for people who were obese, overweight, or healthy weight at ages 20 through 80. The model simulated the health status of these three groups year by year, and tracked medical costs (to the insurer or health-care facility), productivity losses, and sick time they would likely sustain as a result of their weight.

RELATED: 57 Ways to Lose Weight Forever, According to Science

They found that, at every age between 20 and 80, going from one weight category to another resulted in significant cost differences. A 20-year-old who goes from obese to overweight, for example, would save an average of $17,655 over his or her lifetime. If that same person went from obese to a healthy weight, those savings would grow to about $28,020.

Middle-age adults had even more to gain: The model suggested that an obese 40-year-old could save between $18,000 and $32,000 over their lifetime by losing enough to be simply overweight or a healthy weight. Cost savings peaked at age 50, with an average total savings of more than $36,000.

The cost gap between being obese versus overweight narrowed as people aged, so that people between 50 and 80 benefited much more from moving to the healthy weight category, rather than simply moving from obese to overweight. “This emphasizes the importance of weight loss as people get older,” the study authors wrote in their paper, “for both individuals with obesity and individuals with overweight.”

To get more weight loss tips, sign up for the HEALTH newsletter

Dr. Lee says it was a bit surprising that these cost savings remained significant throughout every decade of a person’s life. “Someone might think that if they’re 80 years old and they’ve lived their entire life without losing weight, then maybe it’s not worth trying at that point,” he says. “Our study suggests that if you really want to focus on reducing costs, then it is actually still important.”

Dr. Lee points out that the productivity losses in the study were based on median wage—and that if a person makes a higher-than-average salary, they’re likely to lose even more because of obesity-related problems. “You’re essentially forfeiting potential salary, you’re going to the hospital and the doctor’s office, you’re getting too sick to work, or your life is getting cut short,” he says.

Dr. Lee hopes the research helps employers realize the importance of prioritizing their workers’ health and wellbeing. He also hopes it serves as an incentive for people who know they need to lose weight but haven’t been motivated to do so for their health alone. “Everyone is interested in trying to save money and maximize what they can do with their salary,” he says, “and this study suggests one way they can do that.”

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This Woman Dropped 175 Lbs. and Gained Confidence Along the Way: 'I'm a Completely Different Person'

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

After being overweight for her entire life, Jessica Beniquez had some bad habits to break to lose 175 lbs.

“I was a very picky eater. I didn’t stick a vegetable in my mouth. I ate fast food every day, and would pretty much only eat chicken nuggets, pasta and fries,” the 21-year-old tells PEOPLE. And her lifestyle had turned sedentary, despite having played sports in high school. “I laid in bed watching series after series on Netflix. All I did was eat, go to work and watch my shows.”

At over 320 lbs., her weight took a toll on her body. “I didn’t feel comfortable,” says the Spring Hill, Florida resident. “Getting out of bed was hard. I felt miserable. I knew I needed to lose weight because I had high blood pressure, but it took me over a year to realize how dangerous that is — and to do something about it.”

At the end of February 2016, Beniquez finally committed to her health.

“I was about to start a whole other series on Netflix, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ I didn’t want to sit in bed and do nothing. I felt so lazy. I didn’t even hang out with my friends.”

She added: “At the moment I [decided] to do it, I ordered Herbalife shakes that day. If I didn’t, I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am right now. I got the shakes and never looked back.”

Beniquez was “strict” about sticking to her new diet.  “I was consuming about 1200-1500 calories per day,” she says. After three months of having two shakes a day and one meal with some snacks in between, and an additional five months of consuming one shake a day and two meals with snacks, she eventually “quit the [Herbalife] shakes all together” in October 2016.

Her go-to foods included lunch meats, carrots and hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese and grilled chicken salads. And two months ago, she started drinking a different kind of protein shake, adding fruit, oatmeal or a flaxseed, for breakfast.  “I opened my tastebuds up to new things,” she says.

From the beginning of her weight loss journey, Beniquez also became active.

“The day after I ordered the shakes I was walking. I walked a mile and a half to two miles a night,” she then joined a gym a month later, which was not an easy thing for her to do.

“I procrastinated because I was nervous what to do in the gym. I didn’t want people to look at me. It’s embarrassing when you’re young and really big. Walking through a gym, you see a lot of fit people and I was super intimated by that,” says Beniquez, who started by working with a trainer and doing exercises she saw on YouTube. “But once I got the gym membership I exercised every single day for an hour, then eventually it turned into an hour and a half, and now I’m at two hours maybe more.”

And she got plenty of support along the way. “People would come up to me at the gym and say, ‘Wow, congratulations — you’ve come such a long way,’ ” says Beniquez, who now works at the front desk at the gym and hopes to become a certified trainer.

Documenting her journey on social media was also a big help. “It kept me accountable when people would be like, ‘You can do it,’ ” says Beniquez who boasts 186,000 followers on Instagram and hopes to inspire others. “I wanted to show them that I could do it, and they can, too.”

It took 19 months to get down to 145 lbs., and Beniquez hopes to lose a little more weight and eventually have skin removal surgery. For now, though, she couldn’t be happier with her new lifestyle.

“I never expected to be where I am today. I was shy, but now I have so much more confidence, I have so much more energy,” says Beniquez. “Before it took me 20 minutes to walk a mile and now I can run 5 miles in under 50 minutes…It’s crazy the things I can do now that I couldn’t do before.”

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I Eat the Same Healthy Breakfast and Lunch Every Day—and Maybe You Should Too

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I’ll never be someone who loves to cook. All of my cookware comes from Goodwill, and I find the prospect of creating meals in the kitchen more annoying than exciting. Because of this, I’ve attempted to simplify my meal-planning as much as possible. For a while, that meant a lot of packaged foods—like entire meals of tortilla chips and salsa.

Over the past two months however, I’ve developed a routine that is healthy, easy, and delicious. I consume the same exact thing for breakfast and lunch every day. Yes, I can almost see all the foodies weeping at that statement. But let me explain what I eat, and why it works.

RELATED: 35 Quick and Easy Fat-Burning Recipes

Breakfast is a cup of black coffee and a bowl of Kashi Go Lean cereal with soy milk. For lunch, I eat one piece of whole wheat toast with avocado, hemp seed hearts, and tomato slices, topped with a fried egg. Sometimes on the weekends I switch up my lunch for something else, particularly if I’m eating out of over a friend's house. But for the most part, this is what you'll find me fueling up on twice a day.

I’m a freelance writer who works from home. As a freelancer, if I’m not working, then I’m not making money. My time is precious, and since I dislike cooking, having a go-to meal saves me time that I can dedicate to working. I always know how much time I need to spend cooking, eating, and cleaning up every day.

RELATED: 12 Foods You Need to Stop Buying

This means I can plan my days a little easier. It also means I don’t have to worry about scrounging up a meal each day I work from home. There’s no time wasted or temptation to procrastinate by making a more time-intensive dish.

Eating the same thing during the workday also means that I can control my budget and my nutrition. When I do my grocery shopping, I know that I need eggs, soy milk, cereal, avocados, tomatoes, bread, and hemp seeds. I can account for that in my spending and keep myself on budget. By keeping these foods on hand, I also cut down on the temptation to eat out. I know I can whip up a healthy and delicious meal quickly, and I save the cash I might otherwise spend on eating out. 

I'm someone who can easily overeat or spend time snacking; I tend to be a grazer. But my meal routine lets me meet my caloric and nutritional needs while keeping me satiated until dinner. I know that I’m getting protein from the cereal and eggs, vitamin C and K from the tomato, omega-3’s from the hemp seeds, and fiber from the whole wheat bread. No matter what I eat for dinner, I’ve introduced these vitamins and nutrients into my diet through breakfast and lunch.

It's not just what I eat every day that helps me stay healthy—having a set time to sit down for a food break keeps my metabolism steady. I eat breakfast around 9 a.m. each day; lunch happens four hours later. By the time 1 p.m. rolls around,  I’m genuinely hungry for lunch, which in turn keeps me full until I eat dinner between 6-8 p.m.

RELATED: 20 Reasons Your Stomach Hurts

However, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. So I asked someone with a health background if it was okay to eat the same two meals every day, and why this meal-planning has worked so well for me.

Stacey Mattinson, a registered dietitian in Austin, Texas, told me that the basis of my meal plan is fine, but variety never hurts. “Nutritionally speaking, we always recommend variety,” says Mattinson. "Different foods offer different nutrition profiles. Leafy greens offer vitamin K while red or orange foods are high in beta-carotene.”

She clarified further. “Is it wrong or hurtful to eat the same thing? No, I wouldn’t say that it’s detrimental, particularly because you’re eating a different dinner and have some variety on the weekends. If you have a different source of protein for dinner—like beans or tofu—keeping the base of your breakfast and lunch the same is not a problem. You can certainly increase your nutritional quality with variety, but there’s no problem with keeping the base the same.”

She recommended adding a few different types of fruit to my breakfast for variety, or switching the vegetables I put on my toast at lunch for an extra nutritional punch. I'm open to the idea of switching in other vegetables like spinach to my egg and toast, or having a banana with my cereal. But since I don't feel the itch to change things up, I'm sticking to what works, for now.

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This Rare but Deadly Complication of Liposuction Almost Killed a Woman. Here's What Doctors Want You to Know

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Liposuction is big business: A recent study found that it was 2016’s second most popular type of plastic surgery in the United States (after breast augmentation), with an average cost per procedure of $3,200. Overall, about 235,000 fat-sucking operations were performed last year.

And while the procedure is generally safe, a new article in BMJ Case Reports highlights a complication that nearly cost one 45-year-old woman her life. The paper details doctors’ experience diagnosing and treating a patient who developed a rare but serious condition called fat embolization syndrome shortly after a routine nip and tuck.

RELATED: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Have Cosmetic Surgery

Fat embolization occurs when globules of fat break free from surrounding tissue and travel through the body, becoming lodged in blood vessels or the lungs and blocking the flow of blood or oxygen. It’s common after bone fractures or major trauma, but it has also been documented—at least two other times in medical literature—after liposuction.

Unfortunately, the doctors wrote in their report, the condition is “notoriously difficult to diagnose,” and many plastic surgeons don’t know that they should be on the lookout for symptoms.

In their paper, the doctors recall the case of an obese British woman who had undergone lower leg and knee liposuction two days earlier at a local hospital. “The surgery had been planned to remove some of the bulk of her lower legs to help her mobilize and subsequently begin the weight loss process,” they wrote.

The procedure itself was uneventful, and about 10 liters of fat were removed from the woman’s lower body. About 36 hours after the operation, however, the woman became drowsy and confused, and doctors noticed her heart rate was unusually high.

RELATED: 5-Minute Fat Burners

The woman’s condition worsened, and she was transferred to the intensive care unit, where doctors determined she had dangerously low oxygen levels in her body. After further tests, doctors realized that her symptoms were caused by fat embolization.

Once a diagnosis was made, the woman was treated with oxygen and drugs to help restore her oxygen levels, heart rate, and breathing to normal. She recovered fully and was released from the hospital after two weeks. But if not for her doctors’ quick thinking, things could have been much worse.

Fat embolization is not only hard to recognize, say the report’s authors, but there is no standardized set of criteria to help physicians make an official diagnosis. Although liposuction is not usually considered a high-risk procedure, people who are morbidly obese, who have fluid retention, or who have large volumes of fat removed are more likely to suffer from complications, they say.

RELATED: 11 Celebrities Get Real About Plastic Surgery

Anyone considering liposuction or any other type of cosmetic surgery should talk with their doctor about the potential benefits and risks; it’s also important to interview surgeons carefully and choose one who’s certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Make sure he or she operates in an accredited hospital or medical facility. Don’t fall for non-licensed “pros” who tout cosmetic surgery on social media.

If you do choose to go under the knife, following your surgeon’s post-op instructions can help reduce your risk of dangerous complications. But as with any medical procedure, always speak up if something doesn’t feel right.

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This Woman Hit the Beach with Loose Skin After Losing 350 Pounds. Here's Her Message to the Haters

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Blogger Jacqueline Adan used to weigh 500 pounds. She avoided bathing suits at all costs and wouldn’t dream of wearing one in public without a cover-up. So when she dropped 350 pounds by exercising and eating clean, she finally felt ready to step into a swimsuit again.

The only problem? Obnoxious onlookers who snickered at her loose skin, a common side effect of dramatic weight loss.

“I was nervous to take my cover up off and to walk into the pool or walk on the beach,” Adan wrote in the caption of a photo she posted on Instagram this week. In the picture, she's wearing nothing but a wetsuit and a big smile while vacationing in Mexico. Even after undergoing skin removal surgeries, Adan still has excess skin on her body.

In the photo, Adan looks elated. But "I still felt like that same 500 pound girl,” she continued in her post. “Then it happened. A couple sitting by the pool started laughing and pointing at me and making fun of me as soon as I took my cover up off.”

The body positive icon, who has 47K Instagram followers, could have let their obnoxious reaction ruin her day. Instead, she took a deep breath, smiled, and made her way into the pool.

RELATED: Here's How 15 Real Women Lost 150+ Pounds

“That was a huge moment for me,” she wrote. “I had changed. I was not the same girl anymore.” While she confessed that the teasing bothered her, the experience showed her how far she’d come not only physically but also emotionally.

“I am not going to let what other people think of me stop me from living my life,” she vowed in her post. “They do not know me. They do not know how I have worked my ass off to lose 350 pounds. They do not know how I am recovering from major surgeries. They have no right to sit and point and laugh at me.”

So Adan unapologetically rocked her wetsuit and went on enjoying her vacation. “What matters is how you react to it,” she said. “How you feel about yourself. Loving yourself just the way you are is hard. Others might not like that. That's ok. I hope you love yourself. Love your body. I hope you keep doing you and just keep smiling!”

Source: Health bests

Chrissy Metz Wishes People Would Stop Asking If She's Getting Weight-Loss Surgery: 'I'm Good'

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

Dear Dr. Google: Chrissy Metz does not need your opinion on her weight.

The This Is Us star says that the one question she wishes people would stop asking her is if she’s going to get weight loss surgery.

“Some people do feel like they’re my doctors, and they have tried to diagnose me on the internets,” Metz tells Today. “So that’s … that’s weird. Cause like, I’m good. I’m good, boo. But thanks. But I’m good [laughs].”

Metz, who plays Kate Pearson, a woman struggling with her size, on the hit show, recently explained that she is contractually obligated to lose weight for the role, but she doesn’t have a goal she has to hit.

And Metz is happier with her body than Pearson. The actress says her favorite body part is her calves.“People are like, ‘Enough. Don’t do anymore calf raises.’ But I don’t!” she says. “But I’ve come to love them and realize, like, they carry my body around. And I could probably kick some ass.”

Metz’s confident attitude extends to clothing, and she says her style heroes “are anyone who wears what they want to wear, when they want to wear it, to where they want to wear it to.”

Metz also talked to Today about her favorite emoji (all of the hearts) and her favorite purchase of late (Josie Maran's Argan Oil).

“You can use it for your legs and all your skin parts,” she explains. “And it’s delicious.”

Source: Health bests

Part-Time Dieting Might Be the Trick to Losing Weight Successfully

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One of the first rules of dieting is that to lose weight, you have to burn off more calories than you take in. But cut back on calorie intake too much or for too long, and the body responds by going into energy-conservation mode—slowing down the rate at which those calories burn, which can counteract those good intentions.

Now, Australian researchers say they may have a way to make dieting more efficient and to keep the body’s metabolism humming along at its normal clip—which means more pounds lost (and kept off) in the long run. The secret, they say, is taking a break from dieting every few weeks.

RELATED: Counting Macros: How to Calculate the IIFYM Diet for Weight Loss

In their new study, published in the International Journal for Obesity, researchers from the University of Tasmania found that obese men who dieted continuously for 16 weeks lost less weight overall—20 pounds versus 31—than those whose diets followed a 2-weeks-on/2-weeks-off cycle for 30 weeks. The continuous dieters also lost less body fat than those in the intermittent group.

The intermittent dieters kept more of their weight off for the long-term, too. Six months after their diets had ended, the on-and-off group had maintained the most total weight loss since the start of the study—about 24 pounds versus only about 7.

So why did the on-again, off-again diet work so much better? The researchers think it has to do with something called adaptive thermogenesis—a process by which a person’s resting metabolism decreases when calorie intake is slashed. It’s a survival mechanism that’s helped humans stay alive during lean times (it’s sometimes called the “famine reaction”). But when an overweight person tries to lose weight, it can also work against them.

By limiting periods of calorie restriction to two weeks at a time, the authors believe they kept the famine reaction at bay—which allowed the study participants to burn more calories during those dieting periods.

RELATED: Best Snacks for Weight Loss

To conduct the study, the researchers provided meals during the study period. Overall, each group was assigned to 16 weeks of dieting, during which the men reduced their daily weight-maintenance calorie requirements by 33%. (On average, participants ate about 900 to 1,000 fewer calories per day during diet weeks.)

But while men in the continuous diet group stuck with their plan for 16 weeks straight, those in the intermittent group cycled on and off their diet every two weeks. During their off weeks, they ate their full caloric requirement—the number of calories required for weight to stay the same day-to-day, based on resting metabolic rate and self-reported physical activity levels.

Because of that, weight loss (or gain) during those off weeks was minimal. “Therefore, the greater weight loss in the [intermittent] group can be attributed to a higher rate of weight loss during the 8 x 2-week [energy-restriction] blocks, and not simply continual eight loss over a longer (30-week) intervention period,” the authors wrote in their paper.

Before you try the two-weeks on, two-weeks off diet strategy, though, know this: The authors were quick to point out that strict calorie-counting was also important during the non-diet weeks. Participants didn’t just eat whatever they wanted; they ate only what they needed to maintain a stable weight.

And that may be why the back-and-forth approach worked so well in this study, the authors say. In real life, taking a break from dieting could lead to an abnormally large appetite and overeating, “which may compromise weight loss,” they wrote.

They also point out that intermittent-fasting diets—programs that alternate no-holds-barred eating with several days very little or no food at all—don’t seem to work any better than continuous, steady dieting. “As such, incorporating periods of controlled energy balance, not simply variations in energy intake, may be necessary to realize the beneficial effects” of on-again, off-again dieting, they wrote.

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The study was small (32 participants completed it), and it could not determine whether two weeks on, two weeks off is an optimal pattern—just that it worked better than continuous calorie-cutting. And because the study only included men, it's unclear whether the same would be true for women. More studies are needed, the authors say, to see if this plan would still be effective outside of a tightly controlled lab setting.

Still, the authors concluded, their findings provide preliminary support for an on-and-off calorie restriction, and suggest that it may be a “superior alternative” to continuous diet plans.

Source: Health bests