Monthly Archives: March 2017

I Survived the Master Cleanse—Then Gained All the Weight Back

Last summer I voluntarily chose to stop eating for 10 days. I gave up solid foods as part of the Master Cleanse.

At 5'6", I couldn't budge my scale from around 140, no matter how many times I tried South Beach or Slim-Fast (and yes, I realize my desire to lose was more about vanity than health). A colleague told me he'd permanently shed 20 lbs. on the Master Cleanse, a very controversial liquid diet that helped Beyonce quickly slim down for her role in Dreamgirls. The no-solid-food rule sounded a little scary, but the thought of losing 10 lbs. fast was too tempting to resist. So I started poking around the Internet and found a surprising number of Master Cleanse tips—some useful (always stay near a bathroom) and some not (rub your belly to rid it of toxins).

RELATED: Is Juicing Really Healthy?

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I was ready to spend 10 days ingesting nothing but homemade lemonade. Here's what happened:

Day 1: Every day I was supposed to guzzle 16 oz. of salt water in the morning, and sip a mug of hot laxative tea before bed. According to Google, this was supposed to eliminate years of waste accumulated in my body. That's basically a fancy way of describing water-like diarrhea and killer stomachaches.

Day 2 I wasn't as hungry as I expected to be and even felt more energized than normal. But that night I went to the movies and could smell my friend eating gummy worms two seats away. I had to sit on my hands so I didn't reach over and steal some.

Day 3 Wanting to burn some extra calories, I spent the day walking around the city. Since you're not eating anything on the cleanse, you're not supposed to exercise—and I soon found out why. Feeling faint, I had to sit down on more than a few benches on my way home. "Are you insane?" my friend texted me mid-rest, begging me to stop.

Day 4: I woke up weighing 135—I'd finally broken my 140 plateau! Seeing the scale go down was exhilarating and addicting.

Day 5: Socially, it was an awkward week to cleanse. My colleagues and I were taking our new manager to lunch, and an old college professor wanted to have dinner. My new coworker asked if I wasn't feeling well when I ordered a measly bowl of egg drop soup at a Chinese restaurant. Embarrassed by my no-solid-food streak, I faked an upset stomach.

That night my professor picked a steakhouse. After just two bites of steak and some asparagus, I realized there's a reason you're not supposed to eat solid foods while consuming all that laxative tea.

 

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Day 6: I easily buttoned up a pair of skinny jeans that last fit when I was 18. I spent the majority of the day collecting recommendations for reputable tailors and vowing to do the cleanse seasonally.

Day 7: My tongue turned white a couple of days ago, which my Internet research said was normal. However, I wasn't sure why it was normal because I'd never bothered to buy the Master Cleanse manual ($ 3-14; amazon.com). I wasn't supposed to stop cleansing until it returned to its normal color, which generally happens on Day 7. But it hadn't changed yet, so it didn't look like I was going back to eating anytime soon.

Day 8: Many people on the Master Cleanse claim that by Day 8, they wake up feeling like a new person. I woke up feeling very moody and uncomfortable. Whoever said that Day 8 is enlightenment needs to be enlightened. My weight hadn't changed and I was ready to eat my own hand.

Day 9: The scale didn't budge again and my tongue was still white. Was I on a Master Cleanse plateau? I changed my mind about doing this four times per year.

Day 10: Sitting on my couch at 11 p.m., counting down the minutes until midnight, I looked down and noticed that my thighs had turned to jelly. While I'd lost weight all over—and had finally shed my tummy rolls—I hadn't expected to lose so much muscle mass.

At 12:01 a.m., I gobbled down some chocolate chip cookies, even though my tongue was still white. Ten days is the recommended minimum for cleansing—some people can go up to 40 days—but since I wasn't losing any more weight, it no longer seemed worth it.

The aftermath
While I managed to maintain my 10 lb. weight loss for a few months, it wasn't long before I started indulging in foie gras and chocolate cake again—and regained all the weight. I never forgot the thrill of losing so many pounds so fast, so I attempted the Master Cleanse again a few months later. But three days in, I realized that I was going down a dangerous path, and I quit.

Still, short-term fasting can be a safe way to get back to healthy eating habits. But instead of lemon and maple syrup, I bought a juicer. After a really indulgent week, I stick with freshly made fruit and vegetable juices for a day or two.

I also made an appointment with a nutritionist to get my yo-yo dieting under control. Keri Glassman, RD, the owner of Nutritious Life, a nutrition counseling practice in New York City, has seen more than a few clients try multiple fad diets only to regain the weight, too. I now follow her simple rules:

  1. I eat when I start to get hungry and stop before I feel full.
  2. I plan most of my meals in advance to make the healthiest choices possible.
  3. I'm not perfect, but I cut down on the amount of processed foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and caffeine in my diet.
  4.  

It's not a quick fix—and my progress takes a lot longer to show up on the scale—but it's infinitely better than limiting myself to spicy lemonade.


Weight Loss – Health.com

10 Years Thinner: Our 6-Week Diet and Exercise Plan

Want to reverse age-related weight gain? Theres no magic pill. But there is a magic plan. Follow this six-week diet-and-exercise program, created by Christine Lydon, MD, and youll wipe out 15 pounds—and look a decade younger.

You want to lose a few pounds. And youd love to look younger. To help you on both counts, Health teamed up with fitness-and-weight-loss expert Christine Lydon, MD, to put together this groundbreaking plan based on her new book Ten Years Thinner: 6 Weeks to a Leaner, Younger-Looking You. The program not only blasts off fat but also specifically targets the zones where women tend to accumulate fat as they age (belly, butt, thighs, and upper arms). Plus, it fights inflammation, a common culprit behind dull skin, wrinkles, low energy, and flab.

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To give you great results in six weeks, Lydon devised 20- to 25-minute combined cardio-and-strength routines with bursts of high-intensity activity that rev up metabolism (which naturally slows over the years).

“Those bursts are the way to maximize calorie afterburn—the number of calories your body continues to burn after you stop exercising,” Lydon says. “Plus, youre building more muscle to boost your metabolism for more around-the-clock fat-burning.” The result: A slimmer, younger-looking you…fast. Sound good? Read on.

 

 

 

 


Weight Loss – Health.com

Weight Loss Success Story: "I Lost 114 Pounds"

Laura Micetich, 25, 6’0”, from Jackson, Tenn.
Before: 304 lb., size 26
After: 190 lb., size 10

Total pounds lost: 114 lb.
Total sizes lost: 8

 

I was a healthy eater growing up. My father was a doctor, and he made us nutritious meals, like baked chicken and salad. But when I got to college and started feeding myself, that all disappeared. Chinese takeout quickly replaced Dad’s leafy greens; my portion sizes also left much to be desired. By December 2013, I was tipping the scales at 300-plus pounds. When my doctor warned me about the risk of developing diabetes, I finally felt motivated to do something about my weight. 

RELATED: The 5 Best Strength Moves for Weight Loss

Exercise, found!

I started researching gastric bypass surgery, but my super-high BMI—41.5—would have made surgery very risky. To try to whittle my weight down to a safer range, I downloaded Jillian Michaels’ weight-tracking app and sweated to her YouTube videos, as well as to some Zumba ones I had discovered online. At first, I could barely get through half a video, but as I became stronger, I could go for longer. I also noticed I had fewer aches and pains. In the spring of 2014, while completing a second degree, I began taking advantage of the campus gym. By May, not only had I stopped dreading those workouts, but I was down more than 20 pounds. I decided to nix the surgery and continue pushing hard toward my goal. 

Bye-bye bingeing

I also went back to my healthy-eating roots. Rather than restricting myself to tiny meals, I started noshing on smart fare that I could eat a lot of, like sashimi-grade tuna and broccolini. The result: I loved my new routine and how it made my body feel. Now I’m at a weight that’s right for me—190 pounds. Best of all, I keep finding new activities, like boxing, to help me stay happy and healthy. 

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RELATED: 9 Fitness Trainers to Follow on Instagram 

My top 4 lessons for losing big

Instagram it! After I lost my first 40 pounds, I created an Instagram account to track my fitness. As my number of followers grew, so did my motivation. Being part of a community kept me accountable.

Score free fitness. There are a lot of weight-loss programs that cost big bucks, but there are also plenty of reputable online resources that give you the same benefits for free. One of my faves: Blogilates by Cassey Ho

Buy a band. When I’m unable to get to the gym, I turn to my resistance band; it’s an easy and portable way to add in strength training on the go. 

Mind the menu. I love eating out, but restaurants offer too many temptations. To keep from consuming calorie bombs in the moment, I choose a healthy option from the menu ahead of time.

Laura's wearing: Ryka Mya Bra (Kohl's stores) and Ryka Advantage Capri Leggings ($ 55, kohls.com).

As told to Lindsey Murray


Weight Loss – Health.com

Using This Simple Kitchen Tool Helped Me Drop 108 Pounds

Erika Chacon, 31, 5'4", from Rialto, Calif.
Before: 265 lb., size 18/20
After: 157 lb., size 6/8
Total pounds lost: 108 lb.
Total sizes lost: 6/7

Whether I was grazing on junk food all day or bingeing on Hot Pockets and Oreos after hours, my adolescent eating left much to be desired. Playing softball in high school helped keep my weight in check, but the excess calories started catching up to me in college. Once I graduated, my activity level really plummeted, and the pounds began piling on. By September 2015, I was up to 265 pounds. I felt so embarrassed when my then-boyfriend saw the number on the scale. Soon after that, a stranger assumed I was pregnant. I knew I needed to make a change.

Revamping my habits

To start, I researched how to do meal prep. I would buy anything green and clean, putting together healthy combos of lean turkey, brown rice, and seasoned veggies. I also hit the treadmill at the gym. At first, I felt ashamed when I couldn’t jog for longer than a minute and the girl next to me was logging miles. But I reminded myself that I was making this decision for me, no one else. By exercising daily and eating better, I lost about 45 pounds in three months. Then I hit a roadblock: The number on the scale wouldn’t budge. Panicked, I decided to overhaul my routine.

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Measuring up

I started counting calories and using a food scale to keep an eye on my portions. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t eating more than I was burning. I also upped my strength training, integrating squats, lunges, and the occasional TRX class into my routine. The result: a tighter and 60-pounds-lighter frame in six months. These days I’m 157 pounds and still working out six days a week. Even better, now I’m the girl on the treadmill racking up the miles—at a seven-minute-mile pace!

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

Secrets to a shape-up win

1. Post positivity. I constantly post transformation photos, thoughts of encouragement, and recipes on my Instagram account @icandoallthings_journey to help my 10,000-plus followers realize they can reclaim their health like I did.

2. Snack smarter. I used to top potato chips or pork rinds with lime juice and chili powder. Now I use carrot sticks. The longer the lime juice sits, the better it tastes! And it’s so refreshing.

3. Tap technology. I’m obsessed with my Apple watch! Not only does it continually nudge me to stay active, it also keeps me competitive. I try to fill every one of its progress rings daily.

4. Get outdoors. I’m a California girl, so I love swimming, hiking, and body boarding. They’re all insane workouts, but I forget I’m exercising when I’m by the ocean; it’s my sneaky way of moving.

Erika is wearing: Graced By Grit Kate tank ($ 46; gracedbygrit.com); Graced By Grit Chelsea leggings ($ 118; gracedbygrit.com), and Graced By Grit Gritty Titty bra ($ 52; gracedbygrit.com). 

 

As told to Anthea Levi


Weight Loss – Health.com

You Asked: Will Drinking Lemon Water Help Me Lose Weight?

This article originally appeared on Time.com. 

Lemon infused water is a popular drink for weight loss, thanks to celebrity sippers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Miranda Kerr. Proponents claim that it flushes toxins from the system, reduces appetite and tweaks the body’s digestive processes in ways that block fat absorption.

Trouble is, it doesn’t work like that. In fact, lemon water leaves out the most effective part of the fruit.

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The drink’s hype seems to stem from a 2008 Japanese study that linked lemon’s polyphenols—micronutrients with antioxidant properties—to less weight gain and improved fat metabolism in mice who were fed a high-fat diet. It’s possible, the study team said, that lemon polyphenols may stimulate the liver to produce enzymes that help block the absorption of dietary fats.

This kind of research is like rocket fuel for those looking to market a new “miracle” food. But there are a lot of problems with such optimism. The research was in mice, not people, and there have been no rigorous studies showing that sipping lemon water can promote weight loss in humans, says Dana Hunnes, a senior dietitian at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center.

Another problem is that lemon water uses the juice, not the rind. Mice in the study were eating a diet loaded with lemon rind, the site of most of the polyphenols in lemons. While many committed lemon-water fans may be zesting some rind into their water, it’s likely nowhere near the amount the mice in the study were consuming. (Even if you were committed to loading your diet with lemon, some research suggests that the acid in a lemon-heavy diet could seriously corrode your teeth.)

RELATED: Why You Should Start Your Day With Lemon Water

Of course, lemon is healthy in moderation. It’s a good source of vitamin C, and some studies have linked low vitamin-C status to obesity. But that’s a large leap from saying that ingesting more vitamin C can prevent or reverse weight gain, she says.

Pectin, a kind of fiber found in lemons, has also been linked to some weight loss benefits. “Pectin can lower LDL or bad cholesterol and has some anti-inflammatory benefits,” says Bahram Arjmandi, a professor of nutrition at Florida State University and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Food and Nutritional Disorders. “It can also prevent fat absorption and moderate insulin response.” But most pectin comes from the flesh or pith of a fruit, not its juice. You’re better off eating an apple. “You’d have to eat a whole lot of lemon to see these benefits,” he says. “It’s hard for me to imagine that being practical.”

You get it by now: swigging a glass or two of lemon water will not provide much benefit. “Lemon water is not a miracle weight-loss food,” says Elizabeth Dejulius, a registered dietitian nutritionist with Cleveland Clinic.

But miracle-talk aside, lemon water could indirectly help people lose weight. For one thing, thirst is often mistaken for hunger, Dejulius says. Because many people find plain water boring or difficult to drink in large quantities, adding lemon to water may lead some people to drink more of it and stay better hydrated, thus reducing thirst-triggered food cravings. “Dehydration can also slow metabolism, which in the long-term can lead to weight gain,” she says.

Someone who swaps soda or another sugary drink for lemon water will be much better off, Hunnes says, as long as you don’t sweeten it with added sugar.

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Not all experts are ready to close the case on lemon water and weight loss, however. Hunnes says she found a little research linking the way lemon stimulates taste buds to appetite suppression. But there’s not strong evidence yet to support that finding, she says. The power of the placebo effect could also play a role. “If your mind believes strongly that drinking lemon water does something, like suppresses appetite, maybe it will,” Arjmandi says. “This kind of placebo effect is always a possibility.”

Bottom line: If you like drinking lemon water, sip away—especially if it’s helping you skip less-healthy drinks. But if you’re looking for evidence-backed ways to lose weight, look elsewhere on your plate.


Weight Loss – Health.com

The Habit You Must Drop if You Want to Lose Weight

This article originally appeared on Time.com. 

Restaurants are the number-one place to sabotage your diet, according to new research that will surprise no one who’s ever tried to lose weight while eating out.

The year-long study, which was presented at a recent meeting of the American Heart Association, offers insight into tempting foods and the behaviors they trigger. By using a smartphone app, researchers followed 150 overweight people who were trying to stick to a weight-loss plan throughout their daily lives. The people in the study, most of whom were women, checked in up to five times a day and reported where they were, who they were with and whether they had strayed from their eating plan (or were tempted to do so.)

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The dieters were also asked to log in anytime they ate (or considered eating) foods or portion sizes they knew were inconsistent with their plan.

Some clear patterns emerged from this deluge of data. People reported the most temptations when they were in a restaurant or bar, or when they were in the presence of other people eating. They noted fewer desires to overeat at home or work, and even fewer when they were in their car or in other people’s homes.

People had about a 60% chance of succumbing to those temptations at restaurants and when they were around others who were eating. Their odds of lapsing at work or in the car were lower, about 40% and 30%, respectively.

RELATED: The 10 Most Addictive Foods and How to Stop Eating Them

“You might think that everybody knows they’re at higher risk when they go into a restaurant, but people go out into these toxic environments and they forget,” says lead author Lora Burke, professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh.

People may also see eating out as an excuse to take a break from their diet, she adds. “We remind people that it’s not a diet they can go on and off; it’s a lifestyle,” she says. “It’s okay if they want to go out Friday night and eat wings, but then they need to cut back on Thursday and Saturday.”

Eating at home was a safer bet, though not a foolproof one. People reported fewer food temptations in their homes and those of their friends than they did in restaurants. But when those temptations appeared, people gave in nearly 65% of the time. Even when they were completely alone, people were still likely to lapse about half the time.

Burke says there aren’t yet any commercially available smartphone apps that collect and analyze this type of data for the general public. But such a tool could be valuable for helping people learn and adapt to their diet-related weaknesses, she adds.

RELATED: These Are the Fruits and Vegetables You Should Always Buy Organic

“We can go to an individual and say, ‘These are the high-risk situations you’re vulnerable to, so you need to keep your guard up and practice strategies for sticking with your plan,’” she says. “We could even intervene by sending a message right back to them when they need it, reminding them of why they may need to work really hard.”

Measuring diet in the moment may also provide researchers with data that’s more detailed and accurate. “When we ask people to recall what they ate and how they felt, there are a lot of biases and problems remembering,” says Burke. “This way, we can be there as people are going through weight-loss challenges and find out exactly what they’re feeling, and when.”


Weight Loss – Health.com

Dramatically Slimmed Down Mama June Tries On a Wedding Dress

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Though she’s not the one walking down the aisle this time, Mama June Shannon knows she’d make a beautiful bride.

In an exclusive clip from Friday’s new episode of Mama June: From Not to Hot, Mama June is coerced by her daughters Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, 11, and Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon, 17, to try on a wedding gown while at a bridal store.

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The group is gathered at the shop so Alana can try on a flower girl dress for her father Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson’s wedding, and Mama June is fearful his fiancée, Jennifer Lamb, might arrive while she’s playing a blushing bride.

“The girls want me to try on a wedding dress because I haven’t been in a dress since I started losing weight,” explains Mama June, “but I’m kind of apprehensive, I mean we’re supposed to be here for Alana not me.”

Despite her reluctance, Shannon’s daughters coerce her to embrace her impressive weight loss and they pick out a stunning, size 12 gown.

“I mean I’m not getting married any time soon, but I’m kind of curious how I’m gonna look in the wedding dress,” Mama June admits.

After slipping into the gown, Shannon poses in the mirror and rakes in the compliments from her family. She quips, “I may not wanna be getting married, but d—, I look mighty hot in a wedding dress.”

There’s no denying it, Mama June’s look has drastically changed since her wedding day!

Mama June: From Not to Hot airs Fridays (10 p.m. ET) on WEtv.


Weight Loss – Health.com

To Speed Up Weight Loss, Eat More of These Kinds of Food

WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils: Humble foods that may pack a punch for weight loss, Canadian researchers report.

A new analysis of data from 21 clinical trials on these foods—collectively known as "pulses" —finds that they can help dieters feel full, and shed unwanted pounds.

"Though the weight loss was small, our findings suggest that simply including pulses in your diet may help you lose weight, and we think more importantly, prevent you from gaining it back after you lose it," study lead author Russell de Souza, a researcher at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, said in a hospital news release.

One expert wasn't surprised by the findings.

"These types of legumes are some of the most underappreciated foods around," said Dana Angelo White, a nutritionist and assistant professor of sports medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

"They are full of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals," she noted. "It makes sense they would help facilitate weight loss and reduce cholesterol when eaten regularly."

The Canadian team also noted that pulses have a "low glycemic index" — meaning that they break down slowly in the digestive tract. As such, they can be consumed instead of animal protein or unhealthy fats at mealtimes.

The trials included in the new analysis involved a total of 940 adults. When participants started eating one serving (3/4 cup) of pulses a day, they lost an average of 0.75 pounds over six weeks without making any special effort to avoid other types of foods, the researchers said.

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According to de Souza's team, prior research has shown that eating bean, lentils and other pulses makes people feel fuller.

That's key to weight loss—90 percent of weight loss programs fail, due in part to the influence of hunger and food cravings, according to de Souza.

"This new study fits well with our previous work, which found that pulses increased the feeling of fullness by 31 per cent, which may indeed result in less food intake," he said.

These foods also appear to help lower blood levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, he added.

Antonella Apicella, an outpatient dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the study, "supports the notion that foods such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and dry peas may reduce body fat and may contribute to weight loss, even if calories were not restricted."

She agreed that pulses do seem to help people feel fuller, sooner, and the fiber these foods contain "may reduce the absorption of fat."

The findings were published March 30 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains how to choose a safe and successful weight loss program.


 


Weight Loss – Health.com