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Fitness Plan Tips

images-18Think tracking the numbers on the scale motivates you? Think again. “External feedback, like focusing on pounds lost or how your clothes fit, isn’t sustainable for most people,” says Michelle Segar, Ph.D., a psychologist and the author of No Sweat. “You may see results one day or week, but when you don’t, you won’t want to exercise.” Segar, a University of Michigan researcher who has spent her career studying motivation and behavior change, has identified science-backed solutions that do work.

Think of exercise as your secret weapon. You have to give physical activity extra importance if you’re going to make time for it. One way to do that: “View it as an escape from your day that brings you energy and well-being,” says Segar. “In studies I’ve conducted, women who do this make exercise a regular practice, while those who don’t end up skipping it.” Finding an activity that you love and combining it with other things that make you feel good, like running through your favorite park or listening to a funny podcast while you work out, can make it even more enjoyable, which ups the odds that you’ll do it again tomorrow.

Be single-minded. It’s tempting to overhaul several areas of your life at once—starting a new workout the same week you cut sugar from your diet, for example. But that sets you up for failure. “We don’t have the cognitive capacity to change lots of things at one time and sustain what we’ve changed,” says Segar. If you’re new to exercise, give yourself a few months to stay consistent, then move forward with other goals.

Ditch the weekend-warrior mentality. It’s better to exercise for 10 minutes four times a week than to hit the gym only for an hour and only on Saturday. “Research clearly shows that the people who stick with exercise for life are the ones who make it a staple of their week,” says Segar. “Consistency is what helps you keep at it during life’s ebbs and flows. When exercise is a part of your day, just like showering or sleep, barriers such as bad weather, work issues, kids, and even a bad mood don’t stop you from getting at least a little activity,” says Segar.

Stop saying yes all the time. Life is hectic; people and events will unintentionally hijack your goals if you let them, says Segar. You don’t have to automatically say no when someone asks you to do something that interferes with your workout. But do pause before you respond and ask yourself, Is this request important enough to trump my feeling good and fueling the rest of my life? As Segar says, “You don’t want your default to be yes if it’s at the expense of your well-being.”

Dangerous food that you need to avoid it

images-19When trying to eat healthy, there are some obvious no-nos we avoid. Categories like junk food, fast food, and candy are no-brainers to steer clear of, but even when we cut them out from our diets, harmful ingredients can still enter our bodies through foods we don’t necessarily consider unhealthy.

Eat This, Not That rounded up a list of the 50 unhealthiest foods, and a good number of them are surprising. You’ll be surprised by just how many of the foods we consume daily make the list for reasons much more serious than extra sugars and carbohydrates. Some of our everyday foods are loaded with harmful ingredients, chemicals, and additives. Here are five of the most surprising unhealthy foods that made the list.

Coffee creamer: The product you use every morning is actually scary stuff. Coffee creamer contains titanium dioxide, the same ultraviolet radiation blocker that’s in sunscreen. Studies surrounding the additive prove it causes liver and tissue damage in mice and has negative health implications for humans. Furthermore, most grocery store creamers are also packed with trans fats associated with diminished memory in adults under 45.

Fruit juice: While many of us were raised on it and still see it as a relatively natural option when it comes to beverages in a market saturated with sodas and energy drinks, it turns out that fruit juice should actually be avoided. Even 100% natural fruit juice contains up to 36 grams of sugar per cup (equal to four Krispy Kreme doughnuts, to put things in perspective). To make matters worse, fruit juice contains fructose, which is associated with the development of visceral adipose tissue, or belly fat.

Microwave popcorn: Though popcorn is often touted as a “healthy” snack option, microwave popcorn is best avoided. Many of the go-to brands for the microwave variety use heart-harming trans fats and diacetyl (DA), a chemical that breaks down the cells that protect our brains. Furthermore, the bags are often lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the same toxic material found in Teflon. So stick to air-pop kernels the next time you curl up for a movie night.

Salad dressing: While salads are a popular “healthy” meal option, what’s lurking in the dressing may negate it all. The thickening agent sodium carboxymethyl cellulose used in salad dressings can cause cancer. Next time, top off your salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice to avoid this dangerous chemical.

Restaurant desserts: We’re not surprised this one made the list, but we are surprised as to why. It’s not just the sugar, calories, and fat in outrageously proportioned restaurant desserts that make them dangerous—but also their sodium. Yes, restaurant desserts with calorie counts up in the thousands also boast alarming amounts of sodium, which increases blood pressure as well as your risk of stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.

How to loss the weight

images-20It’s no secret that fruit is a smart part of a healthy diet. When a snack attack hits, pay a visit to your fruit bowl. Whatever’s in there is likely to be better for you than the contents of your pantry. But is all fruit created equal? Let’s investigate which fruits are best if you’re looking to lose weight.

Apples are a common favorite. They’re the ultimate snack: filling, juicy, crunchy, and portable. Studies have even shown that eating three apples per day can help with weight loss—not surprising, considering they’re chock-full of fiber, a nutrient that’s known to boost feelings of fullness and ward off hunger pangs.

There are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of apple: Chow down on a whole Fuji (apples are such a packable snack!), add pieces to your oatmeal, throw slices into a salad, bake some with your chicken, or cook up a low-cal dessert.

1 medium apple: 95 calories, <0.5g fat, 2mg sodium, 25g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 19g sugars, 0.5g protein

2 Watermelon

Photo by Eduardo Barrera/Moment/Getty Images
Watermelon is a double whammy: It’s low in calories with a high water content. This means you can eat two entire cups of watermelon for less than 100 calories and your stomach will feel like you’ve eaten more because the fruit is more than 90 percent water. Staying hydrated helps you feel full!

If you’re looking to lower your daily calorie intake, incorporating watermelon into your diet is a smart move. Munch on it whenever you feel the urge to snack. This way, you’ll avoid higher-calorie foods and satisfy your sweet tooth.

1 cup diced watermelon: 46 calories, <0.5g fat, 2mg sodium, 11.5g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 9.5g sugars, 1g protein

3 Raspberries

Fruit for Weight Loss: Raspberries
Courtesy of Getty Images
Raspberries are small but mighty! These babies are low in calories, and even lower when you consider that they’re high in insoluble (indigestible) fiber. When you eat a 64-calorie cup of raspberries, you’re really only digesting about 32 calories. Put that together with the fact that raspberries have the highest fiber content of any fruit (1 cup = 8g fiber), and we’ve got ourselves a weight-loss winner. If you want to get creative with your berry intake, make this Creamy Coconut Raspberry Smoothie!

1 cup raspberries: 64 calories, 0.5g fat, 1mg sodium, 14.5g carbs, 8g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 1.5g protein

4 Grapefruit

Fruit for Weight Loss: Grapefruit
Courtesy of Getty Images
Grapefruit gives you a lot of bang for your calorie buck. A medium grapefruit has only around 80 calories, and like watermelon, it’s more than 90 percent water. By the time you cut up the grapefruit, sprinkle it with a bit of no-calorie sweetener, and eat the entire thing, you’re not gonna have the time or inclination to eat anything else.

Plus, studies have shown that a compound in grapefruit called naringin could lower blood sugar and ultimately lead to weight loss. So enjoy some grapefruit at every opportunity— squeeze it into your water, throw some wedges into your salad, or use it like lemon to flavor your food.

Keep in mind that consuming grapefruit with certain medications could have adverse health effects. If you’re on any meds, check with your doctor before adding grapefruit to your diet.

1 medium grapefruit: 82 calories, <0.5g fat, 0mg sodium, 20.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 18g sugars, 1.5g protein

The food that give more energized

When it comes to healthy lunches, registered dietitians know a thing or two—as crazy busy people, they’ve all got stashes of tasty, filling meal ideas that they rely on to keep them fueled all afternoon.

“Mid-day is when we need energy and nutrients the most! That’s when most of us are the busiest and most productive—at work, at school, or at home,” says Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D. Remember, the brain and body require nutrients in order to function at peak levels, she explains. So whether you’re in a lunch rut or are just looking for some healthier options to power you through the day, take note of these 12 go-to lunches that registered dietitian nosh on.

1. Avocado Toast With Poached Eggs

“I toast two slices of 100 percent whole-grain bread and smash ¼ of an avocado on each side. Then I top with two poached eggs and a sprinkle of pepper. Not only is the lunch delicious, but it’s also packed with nutrients, such as monounsaturated fats, fiber, and protein.”

2. Southwestern Salad

“Toss a couple cups of romaine, carrots, cucumber, and tomatoes, then top with ¼ of an avocado. Mix a couple tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt with a couple tablespoons of salsa and some chopped fresh cilantro to make the dressing. And finish by topping with ½ cup black beans (hot or cold). I love this lunch because it is quick and easy to assemble. It’s also full of flavor and super healthy since it is packed with veggies!”

3. Hummus Wrap

“One of my easiest, go-to quick lunch recipes to throw together is a simple hummus wrap. Spread a generous amount of hummus on a whole-wheat wrap and add all-natural, nitrate-free deli turkey with as many veggies as possible! Paired with an ounce of nuts, like walnuts or almonds, and a piece of fresh fruit, this lunch is easy to assemble and portable. The hummus gives the wrap the perfect base and consistency so there is no need to add any type of mayonnaise, dressings, or cheese. And it keeps you full all afternoon.”

4. Warm Veggie Bowl With Quinoa Or Sweet Potatoes

“I love eating vegetables at lunch, but don’t always want them cold in a salad. I make my version of a ‘nourish bowl’ by throwing in multiple colors of veggies, sliced raw sweet potatoes or cooked quinoa, cubed firm tofu (or salmon, tuna, or grilled chicken), a dollop of hummus, and some sliced avocado into a microwave-safe container. Cook for about five to seven minutes, or until all of the veggies are tender, and enjoy! Hot hummus sounds weird, but it’s pretty delicious. This lunch option is great because it’s packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and tons of different vitamins and minerals. It’s so versatile because you can mix and match the veggies, grains, and protein.”

5. Easy Tasting Plate

“I love to make a snack platter—it’s quick to assemble and fun to eat. I’ll have a couple of tablespoons of hummus with veggies (like sliced mushrooms, carrot sticks, and grape tomatoes) for dipping. Then I’ll pair with fruit, such as half of a Sweet Scarlett, which is a sweeter, yet still tart grapefruit that’s in season right now. I’ll also add cheese, whole-grain crackers, and olives to my plate. The meal provides protein from the cheese and hummus, healthy fats from the olives, and fiber from the veggies and fruit.”

6. Fruit And Veggie Salad

“[I go for] a big salad with mixed greens or spinach. I like to make sure I top it with at least one fruit, one vegetable, and a protein. A good combination is strawberries, cucumbers, and nuts or sliced egg. If I’m feeling fancy, I will also add a sprinkle of goat cheese or feta. For dressing, I just drizzle balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and pepper on top. When I’m extra hungry, I will eat it with a piece of whole-grain bread or whole-grain crackers. This is a balanced meal because it includes foods from all food groups, it’s low in saturated fat, and it’s packed with high-antioxidant fruits and veggies.”

Healthier Tips That You Should Do

1. Grab some grains
Wake up to a bowl of whole-grain cereal to lower your risk of heart failure, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Whole grains can help reduce the likelihood of high blood pressure.

2. Have that cup of joe
Moderate amounts of coffee might lower the risk for diabetes among middle-age and older women, research indicates. Fill up your cup, but skip the sugary add-ins.

3. Be snack savvy
Keep healthful bites, like an apple and a handful of nuts, within easy reach so that when hunger strikes, you don’t go straight to the vending machine for a candy bar. A smart snack can increase your energy. Plus, having a piece of fruit and sipping some water in the late afternoon might help you avoid overeating at dinner.

4. Kick the can
Drinking sugary sodas can cause you to pack on extra pounds—especially because people who drink sodas typically don’t compensate for the extra calories elsewhere in their diet, researchers say. Try mixing a small amount of grape juice with seltzer, or jazz up a sparkling water with a squirt of lime juice or a few cucumber slices.

5. Try sushi
Don’t worry, no one is forcing you to eat raw fish. Many sushi rolls come cooked; just ask before you order. Feasting on fish—whether it’s rolled in rice or not—two to four times a week could lower your risk of heart disease by 31 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association. Try fish, like salmon, that are high in omega-3 fatty acids; lower triglyceride levels and blood pressure and slow down the rate at which plaque builds up in your arteries.

Curb Food Cravings Tips

French fries. Ice cream. Bacon. Chocolate. What do they have in common? We want them – now! Find out what’s behind our food cravings, and the best ways to tame them. Plus, our experts suggest smarter snacks…

You’re having a rotten day. Suddenly, you’re jonesing for a chocolate bar. Or you’re watching late-night TV and absolutely need a bowl of rocky road.

What’s up?

About 90% of women have insistent cravings for specific foods, says Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrition Center at Tufts University and author of The “I” Diet(Workman Publishing).

Only half of men, on the other hand, have snack attacks. Theirs are usually for hearty meals, while women want grab-and-go treats, according to Hwa Jung Oh, a researcher at the School of Sport and Health Sciences at Exeter University.

When do you give in to your decadent desires? And how can you make better snacking choices? Read on for advice from the experts.

Weight loss story tips

Are you stuck in a weight-loss rut, unsure which diet will help you shed that excess flab? Ah, if only we could train our bodies to burn more calories in less time. Wait a minute – our bodies can perform this diet-bending feat! Joel Marion, fitness coach and author of The Cheat to Lose Diet(Crown), shares two types of workouts that will kick your metabolism into overdrive. The secret lies in the after-burn, says Marion. All it takes is the right combination of exercises at varying levels of intensity…

When it comes to fat loss, research shows that metabolic resistance training is moreeffective in burning calories than aerobic exercise. Not sure what metabolic resistance training is? It’s a vigorous weight-lifting session that targets multiple muscle groups with only short rest periods between sets and exercises.

This type of training results in an “after-burn,” an increased metabolic rate that persists for hours after the training session ends.

So how does this happen? Well, the combination of intense weight training and short recovery periods disturbs the body’s metabolism – something that won’t occur with moderate aerobic exercise.

One study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology noted increased metabolism for 38 hours post exercise; other studies reported similar findings. That means if you’re sitting on the couch watching TV a day later, you’re still burning calories from the weight-training session you did the day before.

Achieve the after-burn with strength training
Instead of pedaling through a steady, one-hour cardio workout on the stationary bike, try a half hour of circuit-style (mixed intensity) weight training instead. Use a light to moderate weight, keep your rest periods short and most importantly, enjoy the after-burn!

Below, I’ve provided a special full-body weight-training circuit that’s perfect for exercisers of all levels, including beginners, because it uses a light to moderate weight. The principles of the workout are simple:

First, choose three exercises: one upper body push, one upper body pull and one lower body exercise. Pushing exercises are those in which you push, such as a shoulder press or a chest press. Pulling exercises entail pulling movements, for example lat pull-downs or seated rows.

Next, select a weight that you can handle for 15 to 25 repetitions for each exercise. Be careful not to choose a weight that is too light to be challenging or so heavy you are unable to do the prescribed number of repetitions.

To start, do each exercise, one after the other, for 15 minutes, resting as needed. As you tire, you may start doing fewer repetitions – that’s fine. This workout is more about burning calories and fat, rather than building lean muscle.

Startled Awake

Have you ever found that right at the beginning of what is promising to be some good shut eye you are startled awake for no apparent reason? This is not unusual. Sleep has five stages. During the first stage, which is very light sleep, you can be easily awakened.

First Phase of Sleep

  • In the first phase of sleep, people sometimes experience the sensation of starting to fall and hypnic myoclonia, which is an abrupt muscle contraction. Consequently, you may jump and awaken. This is comparable to being startled while awake and jumping in response.


  • When you are startled, especially while sleeping, you will experience the fight or flight response, which makes you breathe faster and your heart beat more quickly. You have this reaction for a reason: to prepare you either to fight or flee. Your body’s response is to increase the rate of blood that is pumped to both your brain and your muscles. Your lungs take in big gulps of oxygen, and your pupils enlarge so that you can see better. When this happens, both your urinary and digestive systems slow down, so that you can concentrate. Of course, when you are startled awake at night, it generally isn’t due to a prowler in your room or a wild animal trying to attack you, but your brain and body don’t know that and automatically go into survival mode.

Lucid Dreaming

  • You may also be startled awake when you realize you are dreaming, that is, when you experience a lucid dream. Lucid dreams tend to be intense and realistic.

Deep Sleep

  • If you are startled awake during stage four sleep, which is deep sleep, you will feel disoriented and groggy. Becoming fully awake will take a few minutes, perhaps more.

Why you can not sleep at night

There’s nothing worse than crawling into bed feeling so tired you swear you could sleep for a decade, only to find yourself physically unable to fall asleep. All day long, you looked forward to the moment you could head home and go to sleep, and now that you’re finally in bed with the lights off, you somehow can’t? Life can be so very cruel.

But here at Byrdie, we’re in the business of helping you learn how to live your healthiest, most beautiful life, and that includes falling asleep at a reasonable hour. We’re just as committed as you are to finding out why in the world you can’t fall asleep, so we got in touch with three top sleep experts to learn 10 common but little-known factors contributing to your insomnia. Meet the three people here to help you get some shut-eye: Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D.; Rachel Wong, OSO sleep research expert; and Anna Persaud, Ph.D. and CEO of This Works. Keep reading to learn the most likely but often overlooked reasons you can’t fall asleep.


Your immune system’s not a muscle, but you should treat it like one. The same things you focus on when it comes to bulking up, like diet, exercise, and sleep, also play a big role in fending off colds and the flu. But, unlike the radical diet you might adopt to help speed up the six-pack process, the trick to using food to keep your immune system strong is balance, says Heidi Skolnik, a sports nutritionist and author of Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance.

While restrictive, evolution-inspired eating plans, like intermittent fasting, may help you bulk up or trim down, if your goal is to not get sick, you’ll benefit from eating regular meals throughout the day and including plenty of nutrients in those meals, says Skolnik, who works with New York-based sports teams such as the Giants, Knicks, and Mets. Why? Immune-boosting vitamins, like C and B6, don’t hang around in the body for very long.

“The vitamin C you have in the morning isn’t there for your body to use at night,” says Skolnik. “It’s water-soluble, so you need it throughout the day.”

So, this means chew on vitamin C tablets all day, right? Actually, there’s no real proof that swallowing supplements all winter will keep you cold-free, so working C-rich foods in at every meal is a better bet. But you don’t need to gulp glasses of orange juice around the clock. Instead, swap OJ into easy recipes at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Here’s how to do it.

7 Sneaky Ways to Get More Vitamin C:

1. Black Beans: Simmer black beans in orange juice for a zesty punch of flavor. Vitamin C may help increase the absorption of iron from the beans, says Skolnik.
2. Vegetables: Sauté vegetables with a splash of orange juice instead of butter to cut down on saturated fat.
3. Rice: Use orange juice instead of water when preparing rice or other grains.
4. Dip: Skip ranch or sour cream varieties and mix orange juice with plain yogurt instead.
5. Salad Dressing: For a no-fuss salad dressing, fill a mason jar one-third with orange juice, then add balsamic vinegar until the jar is half-full. Add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a teaspoon of honey and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
6. Garnish: Try blending avocado, sea salt, orange juice and olive oil for a tasty topping for broiled or grilled fish.
7. Low-Fat Float: Mix orange juice with seltzer, and then add a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt for a twist on an old-fashioned dessert.

Perfect body tips

The twin goals of building muscle and burning fat are usually tied to workout routines. After all, what you do in the gym or outdoors goes a long way toward transforming your body into a lean, fat-burning machine.

But training regimens usually account for two hours or less of your 24-hour day. What you do during the other 22-plus hours has as much if not more impact. Here are seven ways to build muscle and burn fat—inside and outside the gym.

Pete Williams is a NASM certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.

Don’t be the person in the gym who checks your phone between every set, breaking any intensity you could have established. Instead, work in a focused, continuous manner that stimulates muscle growth and fat burning. Leave the phone at home or in a locker. Instead of resting between three sets of the same exercise, consider alternating an upper body pull (such as pull-ups) with an upper body push (push-ups) or a lower-body push (squats).  That way you keep yourself moving. There’s a reason CrossFit’s philosophy of performing AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of a workout circuit in the allotted time is so challenging—and effective.


Eating small meals more often regulates blood sugar, promotes muscle mass, and eliminates mood swings and overeating. The key is to plan ahead to make sure you have something healthy on hand at work or on-the-go so that you’re fueled every three hours. Ideally every meal will have a combination of carbs, protein, and fat. But if you’re on the go, at least aim for something healthy such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, energy bars, or a ready-to-drink protein beverage.