Monthly Archives: April 2017

Mom of 3 Drops 120 Lbs. After Having Her Youngest Child: ‘I Wanted to Get Healthy for My Kids’

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Emily Powers had struggled with her weight since high school, when she began eating cafeteria food instead of homemade meals and put on 100 lbs. by the time she graduated.

By the time the Ontario, Canada-based daycare worker was in her 20s, Powers had reached 273 lbs.

[brightcove:5339322755001 default]

“I tried different fad diets and I’d lose some weight and then I’d gain it back and more,” Powers, 24, tells PEOPLE.

It wasn’t until she had her youngest daughter last year — she is also mom to an 8-year-old stepdaughter and 3-year-old daughter — that she decided she needed to make a lasting change.

“It was about June last year after having my six week check-up that I decided I wanted to get healthy for my kids,” she says. “They deserved more. I could barely even take my kids for a walk. At the park, I’d sit on the bench and watch them rather than play with them.”

RELATED: What 'Girls' Got Right About New Motherhood in the Series Finale

Powers began logging her food intake using the Lose It! app, and was alarmed to see how many calories she was consuming in her fast food-heavy diet.

“I didn’t really know what I was putting in my body,” she says. “The app helped me hold myself accountable. I could actually look at what I was putting into my body and how it’s affecting it.”

Powers set carb and calorie limits based on her weight loss goals, and learned to use portion control to stay within those limits.

[brightcove:5132267785001 default]

“I eat a lot of lean meats — chicken or fish or occasionally red meat — and vegetables instead of potatoes or pasta,” she says. “I try to stay as low-carb as I can now that I’m still losing.”

The busy mom has already dropped down to 151 lbs., and hopes to lose five more. In addition to staying on top of her diet, she’s also started exercising at least three times a week.

“Now I love going to the gym,” says Powers. “It’s my time alone away from my kids when I can relax and do my own thing. I’m very active compared to what I used to be!”

While she loves being able to shop anywhere she wants, the best part about dropping the pounds has been being able to be more active with her three children.

“I like that my kids are used to hearing ‘yes’ a lot more,” says Powers. “Before, I could never take them to the park and run around with them and be the mom that I wanted to be. Now there’s no limitations.”


Weight Loss – Health.com

How One Woman Shed 137 Lbs. With Strength Training and Simple Diet Changes

Ashley Javar, 38, 5'4", from Las Vegas
Before: 287 lb., size 22/24
After: 150 lb., size 8
Total pounds lost: 137 lb.
Total sizes lost: 7/8

From an early age, I always turned to food for comfort. Every day I would binge on one or two massive, mostly fried meals. Fast-forward to 2013; I was 24 and a mom, but otherwise not much had changed. I was still overweight. It hurt my knees to walk up the stairs of my house, I was often fatigued, and I could barely play with my daughter. Then I threw my back out while tidying up at home. When I got to the hospital, it took multiple nurses just to help me into an extra-large wheelchair. I was so ashamed.

RELATED: 28 Tips from Real Women Who Lost Weight and Kept It Off

Banishing bad habits

Once I recovered and was back at home, I stepped on the scale. I was stunned to see that I weighed 287 pounds! That’s when I decided to revamp my diet. I began prepping three meals and two snacks daily, filling my plate with lean protein—like skinless chicken breasts—along with salad greens and quinoa. I also ditched all fried foods and soda (I had been drinking four cans a day for years and years). With these simple tweaks, I easily dropped about nine pounds a month. The steady loss made me feel so accomplished. By January 2015, I had settled into my new happy weight of 150 pounds.

[brightcove:4802228131001 default]

Family time, transformed

My goal now is to get even stronger. I do a lot of strength training, along with the occasional Zumba class. But my favorite way to be active is with my now 6-year-old daughter. Before, I could hardly walk around our cul-de-sac with her. Now my husband and I walk the mile to and from the local park with her, or we bike to my cousin’s house to swim in her pool. As my daughter gets older (and even more energetic!), I’m reminded of why I got healthy in the first place: I couldn’t bear to miss out on her childhood. And now I know I won’t.

Ashley's 3 ways to keep the weight off

1. Melt fat with tea. I started drinking green tea because it curbed my caffeine cravings, but I stuck with it when I learned about all its antioxidants and metabolism-boosting perks.

2. Shop and step. Shopping has always been my favorite pastime, so when I started getting active, walking around the mall became my main form of exercise. I’d even wear a heart monitor to help ensure I burned a couple of hundred calories while I perused the stores.

3. Healthy-up faves. I love re-creating the foods I crave—with a healthy twist. Instead of fries, I toss red potatoes with olive oil, fresh garlic, and pink Himalayan salt and bake them until golden. They’re less greasy but still so yummy!

 

As told to Anthea Levi


Weight Loss – Health.com

 Forget Your BMI and Focus on This Measurement Instead

When it comes to determining whether a person is overweight, body mass index (BMI) is the most widely used measure out there. But doctors admit that BMI—a ratio of weight to height—is far from perfect. Now, a new study suggests there may be a better way to estimate the risks of health problems associated with excess weight.

The new research, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that waist-to-hip ratio was a better predictor of whether people would die over the course of the study, compared to BMI. This isn’t the first study to reach this conclusion, but it's one of the largest to-date.

Researchers from Loughborough University in the U.K. and the University of Sydney in Australia looked at data from 42,702 men and women living in England and Scotland over a 10-year period. Specifically, they wanted to know if people who carried extra weight around their middles were at increased risks of health problems, compared to those who were technically overweight but carried their extra pounds elsewhere.

Over the course of the study, 5,355 of the participants died. After controlling for factors such as age, gender, smoking status, and physical activity, the researchers found that people who had normal BMIs but who also had “central obesity”—defined as a high waist-to-hip ratio—had a 22% increased risk of death from all causes, compared to people with normal BMIs and healthier waist-to-hip ratios.

[brightcove:4433163128001 default]

Obese people with central obesity were also at higher risk of death compared to normal-weight and normal-waist individuals.

On the other hand, people who were technically overweight or obese based on their BMIs—but who did not have central obesity—were less likely to die than people with normal BMIs but high waist-to-hip ratios.

Surprisingly, overweight people with central obesity did not have an increased risk of death from all causes, compared to people with a normal weight and smaller waistlines. These findings are counterintuitive, say the authors, but they’re similar to those of previous research: A 2015 study found that people with normal BMIs but central obesity had the worst long-term survival rates, even when compared with overweight and obese people who also had central obesity.

Explaining these “paradoxical findings” is challenging, the authors say. One possibility is that overweight and obese people are more likely to also have extra fat stored around their legs and hips, which has been linked to healthier metabolism.

RELATED: 11 Reasons Why You're Not Losing Belly Fat

The authors also say that limitations in their research—like the fact that BMI and waist measurements were only collected once, rather than several times over the course of the study—may have skewed the results.

But they point out that all participants with central obesity, in every BMI group, were at increased risk of dying specifically from cardiovascular disease. This may imply that the health risks of excess belly fat are specifically related to heart problems, the authors say, more so than other major causes of death.

People with a BMI between 18.5 and 25 are considered normal weight; between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, while 30 and higher is obese. Central obesity is defined as a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.85 or higher for women and 0.9 or higher for men. (Here’s how you can calculate both.)

RELATED: 15 Best Foods for a Flat Belly

Lead author Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, associate professor of public health at the University of Sydney, says that while BMI has its flaws, it does provide some useful information—especially for tracking general trends in large groups of people over time.

“Instead of ditching BMI and replacing it with waist-to-hip ratio, which is relatively easy to measure and is consistently associated with cardiovascular health and mortality risk, we should be thinking about adding waist and hip measurements into routine medical examinations and in health studies,” Stamatakis told Health via email.

But Stamatakis says that, on an individual basis, waist measurement might be more important for overall health. “If I had to choose between making sure my BMI or my waist-to-hip ratio are OK, I would go for the latter,” he says.

To get our best weight loss advice delivered to you inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

BMI can be affected by many things, he says, including the amount of lean muscle mass a person has. (That’s why super-fit people, especially men, can register as overweight based on BMI alone.)

A high waist-to-hip ratio, on the other hand, most likely means high amounts of abdominal fat—which has been definitively linked to serious health risks.

“People with larger waistlines may want to start thinking and, if needed, seek help to alter their lifestyle to reduce that belly fat,” says Stamatakis. “Increasing physical activity, improving diet, and cutting down on alcohol consumption can work miracles if sustained in the long term, and all have a myriad other co-benefits in terms of health and wellbeing.”


Weight Loss – Health.com

Woman Goes from Being Morbidly Obese to Dropping 130 Lbs. and Becoming a Personal Trainer

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Katie Hug began gaining weight after high school due the combination of her metabolism slowing down and taking prescription drugs for depression and anxiety.

“I was put on different medications that made me feel more sluggish, and then all I wanted to do was eat,” Hug, now 34, tells PEOPLE.

[brightcove:4928980912001 default]

By 2012, Hug had reached 270 lbs. At her doctor’s office for a routine checkup, the Kuna, Idaho-based mom of three got a surprising wakeup call about how unhealthy she had become.

“My doctor looked at me and said, ‘You know you’re morbidly obese, right?’,” she recalls. “I knew I was overweight because I was shopping at the plus-size store and things like that. But to have someone say that to me, to have another female look at me like, ‘You need to do something other than sit home and eat all the time,’ I think that’s what did it. I just got sick and tired of being fat and being overweight and being miserable in my own skin.”

Hug began tracking her food intake and became more aware of how much sugar, fat and carbs she was consuming — her diet at the time consisted of mostly soda, processed food, bread and pasta. But the biggest change in her lifestyle came from discovering her love of fitness.

“[When I was heavier] I didn’t find any joy in it, it wasn’t fun for me,” she says. “I actually hated everything about it. My kids would go for a walk with my husband, and I would stay home. I didn’t want any part of it.”

Knowing that she needed to exercise to get healthy, Hug started with a 15-minute workout video at home, which she challenged herself to do every day for 30 days. When she finished that, she found herself looking for a new fitness challenge.

“All of a sudden I wanted to walk, so I’d walk around my block and I’d be drenched in sweat, but I’d go again and go again, and the distances would get longer, and eventually it turned into a walk-jog and kind of took off from there,” she says.

Now Hug does cardio five days a week and strength training two to three days a week. She’s even become an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer and teaches group exercise classes.

[brightcove:5315457854001 default]

“You start to feel that serotonin and dopamine and all that from exercise, and I didn’t have that before,” she says of learning to love working out. “I used that as the outlet for stress, anxiety, depression. That made a huge difference.”

Hug has dropped 130 lbs., and says the best part about losing weight has been the positive effect it has had on her family.

“Everything’s easier when you’re taken care of — when you’re not taken care of, everything else falls apart,” she says. “I can go out and play with my kids now, and it’s not an issue. You can go do more things, you feel good, and when you feel good you want to participate more too. Overall, I just feel better and it’s reflected so awesomely on my family and my marriage. It’s just been great.”


Weight Loss – Health.com

Always Hungry? This One Ingredient May Be to Blame

Everyone knows that salty foods make you thirsty. But according to new research, when people increase their sodium intake long-term, they actually drink less water. And that’s not the study’s only surprising finding: High sodium levels also increase feelings of hunger, the authors say, which may suggest that high-salt diets contribute to weight gain.

Experts say this counterintuitive discovery—that dietary salt boosts appetite but decreases thirst—upends more than 100 years of conventional scientific wisdom. The findings are published this week as a set of two papers in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In the first paper, German and American researchers report on 10 Russian cosmonauts who participated in flight simulation programs from 2009 to 2011. The men were living in a tightly controlled environment for months at a time, so they were ideal for nutritional and metabolic research.

The authors wanted to see what would happen when they gradually decreased the cosmonauts’ dietary salt intake from 12 grams a day (similar to an average Russian diet) to 6 grams a day (the recommendation of most national health experts). Prevailing science suggested that the men would be less thirsty, and drink less water, as their sodium levels decreased.

[brightcove:5367080640001 default]

But that’s not what happened. Instead, the men drank less water when they were on the high-salt diet—suggesting that their bodies were either conserving or producing more water, not flushing it out with the salt, as previously suspected.

Senior author Jens Titze, MD, associate professor of medicine and of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University, says the findings were unexpected, but not entirely surprising.

“It makes sense that on a high-salt diet, the body wants to prevent water loss,” he says. “So the kidneys have to find a way to increase water content—and if you have more water content in your body, you’re going to be less thirsty.”

The men also reported feeling hungrier when their salt levels were higher, even though they were getting the same amount of calories and nutrients. This may be because it takes extra energy for the body to conserve water, explains Dr. Titze. “I do think that if we’d offered the cosmonauts more food, they would have overeaten and gained weight,” he says.

RELATED: 13 Foods That Are Saltier Than You Realize

In the second paper, the researchers replicated their findings in mice. In these experiments, they did find that mice on high-salt diets ate more food than those on low-salt diets. They also found that high-salt diets were associated with a breakdown of muscle protein. The protein was converted into urea, a chemical that enables the kidneys to reabsorb fluid and prevent water loss while salt is excreted.

What’s more, the breakdown process was fueled by an increase in glucocorticoids—compounds that, in humans, have been linked to the development of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and osteoporosis. That’s significant, says Dr. Titze, because scientists to-date have mainly focused on how sodium contributes to high blood pressure.

“Our findings suggest that there is much more to know,” he says. If a high-salt diet triggers an increase in glucocorticoids, he says, it could predispose people to other chronic health problems—even in the absence of blood pressure changes. And it could potentially raise the risk of metabolic syndrome, a combination of three or more risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

RELATED: 24 Tasty, Low-Sodium Recipes for Every Meal

Dr. Titze says that, when it comes to the short-term effects of salty foods, “bartender’s wisdom” still holds true. “If you put salted peanuts down in front of your customers, they’re absolutely going to consume more drinks,” he says. “But our research showed that, over several months and even over 24 hours, they’re going to conserve more water and actually consume less.”

In an accompanying commentary article, Mark Zeidel, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, wrote that the new studies challenge common beliefs about how sodium and fluid levels are balanced in the body. They also demonstrate that an adjustment in dietary salt “changes protein and fat metabolism, and alters eating and drinking habits,” among other physiological changes in the body.

Learning more about these changes may help scientists develop new treatments for conditions like high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, Dr. Zeidel wrote. Dr. Titze says it may also help doctors better understand the connection between salt and weight gain.

To get our best nutrition advice delivered to you inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Of course, most sodium in the typical American diet doesn’t come from table salt; it comes from restaurant meals and processed foods that also tend to be high in sugar, saturated fats, and simple carbs—so there’s already plenty of reason to limit these in your diet. These new studies may suggest one more.

Dr. Titze says that if his team’s theories hold up, reductions in sodium content across the packaged food and restaurant industries could potentially prevent some of these harmful effects on metabolism and appetite. Until then, he takes a simple approach to reducing sodium and managing his weight: “If you eat less of everything, you will automatically eat less sodium,” he says. “So my take is to exercise a bit more and eat less in general.”


Weight Loss – Health.com

Leslie Jones Gets Sweaty in the Gym as She Keeps Up Her 40-Lb. Weight Loss: ‘Arms Arms Arms!’

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Leslie Jones‘ trainer is still pushing her to the limit!

The Saturday Night Live star, 47, put in two tough workouts over the weekend with her trainer, Thaddeus Harvey.

[brightcove:5315457854001 default]

Jones shared photos and videos on Instagram from her sweaty time in the gym, which focused on “arms arms arms!”

“Getting them arm yo!!!” she wrote, along with a video of her doing seated arm rows.

Jones revealed in July that she dropped 40 lbs. in a year thanks to her hard workouts and a lighter diet — plus a little nudge from two people.

RELATED: Can Carb Cycling Help You Lose Weight?

“The first thing is for your doctor to tell you that you need to lose 40 lbs.,” she said on Live with Kelly. “I got rid of soda and juice, that was the first thing I did. That literally was 20 lbs. right there.”

 

Her interest in keeping up the health kick started to wane, but Jones’ SNL and Ghostbusters costar Kate McKinnon pushed her to lose the other 20 lbs.

 

“Every time we went to dinner she would make me walk to dinner, we would walk after dinner,” Jones said. “And then it just started becoming — I would work out, I would do yoga, I really tried to watch what I eat. It’s not always easy because I do have a sweet tooth that’s a killer. But I do they best that I can.”



Weight Loss – Health.com

Bride Who Lost 113 Lbs. on Instagram Before Her Wedding: ‘I Don’t Want to Sugarcoat My Journey’

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

After trying countless diets, Haley Smith finally found the motivation to stick to a plan when her boyfriend proposed in July 2015. Smith got serious about weight loss and decided to slim down before their wedding.

“I really knew if I wanted to change, I needed to make realistic goals,” she tells PEOPLE’s Collector’s Edition Half Their Size: The Ultimate Get-Fit Guide

[brightcove:5361870782001 default]

At the beginning, Smith — who married now-husband Matt in October 2016 — started logging her food and incrementally increased the difficulty of her exercise routine, from following the popular “Couch to 5K” running program to hitting the gym almost every day.

But the thing that kept her most accountable was posting her progress photos on Instagram. After 19 months she has lost 113 lbs. and now has more than 90,000 followers. Some days, knowing she has an audience rooting for her is the push she needs.

“If I want to sleep in, I remember something a follower might have said, and it gets me up,” says Smith, 24. “But on days that I do sleep in or struggle with a workout, I always try to be honest about it. I don’t post every time, but I don’t want to sugarcoat that my journey has been some magic, easy process. It’s not at all.”

“I really think my group of followers knows we are on this journey together and that positivity helps feed success way more than any negativity. I’m super thankful for that,” she says.

[brightcove:5315457854001 default]

Aiming to take off another 15 to 20 lbs., Smith, who hopes to start a website to expand her online community, says, “I will keep posting for as long as I have the chance to encourage someone. My profile started as a way to help myself, but now I get to help others. I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.”

Half Their Size: The Ultimate Get-Fit Guide is available in stores now, and can be purchased here on Amazon.


Weight Loss – Health.com