Technology can boost your fitness in a number of ways. With online groups and apps to help you, you can be on your journey to a better overall wellbeing in a matter of mouse clicks. However, for 12-year experienced Certified Personal Trainer Yarixa Ferrao, NASM, CPR/AED, technology is actually hampering teenage wellness. She notes, ‘With all this technology, kids and teens are losing connection with their bodies and have become more sedentary because of it. And when they start seeing themselves gain weight they may attempt joining the gym or just continue to gain it because they have no idea what to do. Plus, in the gym, unless they have a personal trainer there’s no one there to instruct them and they end up doing what their friends do. In the end, they spend hours on the treadmill, which will amount to not a whole lot of progress.’ Therefore, Ferrao has created a workout routine especially for teenagers. Ferrao explains, ‘I know the importance of building a solid body foundation, especially as a developing teen. This is also a time to build self confidence, be mentally focused, reduce stress (teenage years can be stressful with all the expectations from parents and teachers while finding your own voice) and enjoy these years to the fullest, instead of worrying about appearance and lacking self esteem. I worked with three teens for a show on MTV called I Used to Be Fat in which the kids were desperate to lose weight, feel great, and lead a happier life. The result: They lost a lot of weight, got stronger, and gained self confidence! They also were able to experience a completely different life and a different perspective, from very down and negative, to up, open, and positive.’ Ferrao recommends focusing on the core, combining bodyweight movements (styles such as yoga, functional training, Pilates, animalistic movements, Karate), and locomotion (or running, hiking, biking, sprinting and walking). She provides the following workout routine (once you’ve got the OK from your doctor and have done five to 10 minutes warming up, of course): 1. Cardio: Ferrao instructs, ‘Instead of just doing hours on end on the treadmill, do short burst of sprints (run as fast as you can). Warm-up first for five minutes or until you feel the body get a bit sweaty. Then increase the speed to go as fast as you are able to for 20 seconds. Take a 20 second break and then repeat your 20 second sprint. Do this for six minutes and up to 12 minutes, allowing your rest periods to be longer if you need extra time to be able to perform the full 20 second sprint. Preferably do it outside. The treadmill is the next best choice. 2. Work on that core: ‘To increase your metabolism, gain muscular endurance and a stronger core, don’t just go out and run miles and miles and then do a ton of crunches,’ Ferrao urges. ‘This won’t help much unless cross country is your sport.’ Instead, once you finish your warm-up and sprinting, do the following routine:
All kids have a bit of puppy fat, but, as parents, you can tell when your child’s weight becomes a cause for concern for their wellbeing. If your child’s wellness is affected by shortness of breath, inability to concentrate, depression, and/or emotional eating, it may be necessary to talk to your child about their weight and visit the doctor. Bringing up the topic of weight with your overweight child can be difficult, so here are a few guidelines to help shape the conversation. 1. Fix your own health challenges: We could all use a little boost to our diet and exercise regime, unless you’re an Olympian or something, so set an example for your child. Whether seeing you take control of your own wellness inspires your child to make a few of their own, or forces them to ask you why you’re doing it, you can be the change you want to see in your kid. If nothing else, it will start a dialogue and show your child that you know how it feels to change your lifestyle. 2. Encourage athletics: Participating in sports, whether at school or an after-school club, helps kids to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and have fun at the same time. Doing sport also bolsters self-esteem, which is crucial to your child’s weight loss efforts as well as their overall sense of wellbeing. If your child is too heavy to participate in competitions, or is worried about joining a team of much healthier classmates, why not start doing activities as a family until your child’s confidence is stronger. 3. Don’t be blunt about weight loss: When talking about your child’s wellness, say "get healthier," not "lose weight." Children and teenagers don’t need tough words; they’re aware of their sizes. Your focus should be on helping your child reach a healthier BMI, rather than some vague ideal weight goal. The difference is in building muscle and making healthier food choice, not just cutting calories and making the number on the scale go down. Your child shouldn’t be aiming for a certain look; he or she should be after a certain health level and feeling. 4. Keep unhelpful concerns to yourself: We all know that kids can be cruel, and so you may be concerned that your overweight child won’t be socially accepted, especially if you have a daughter. However, despite these valid concerns, they aren’t the best motivators for weight loss and can wreak havoc on your child’s self-esteem. Your child needs to lose weight for herself or himself, not for the acceptance of other people or you. 5. Reward healthy behaviours: Adding a little light at the end of the tunnel can motivate your child to keep going. Offer to reward healthy behaviours, such as eating two portions of vegetables at dinner or exercising regularly. It’s important to emphasise the healthy behaviours themselves, rather than the outcomes – the actual number of pounds lost will take care of itself once your child has those healthy habits in place. The vague goal of "losing weight" is rarely helpful for obese or overweight young people; you need a specific system of mini goals and rewards. 6. Get to the root of the problem: There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on young people – both girls and boys – to look thin, so if your child is severely overweight then there’s likely an emotional cause. There may be pain for your child to get through, a self-worth issue to work out, or a habit of eating to relieve stress. Again, don’t focus on the weight itself but what is causing the excess eating and lack of self-love. Journaling, regular conversations, and healthy social outlets can help your child come to terms with the cause of the problem.
If you’ve gained weight as a secondary school student or since you’ve gone to college, there are many ways to change your lifestyle to see great weight loss results. To begin with, exercise is hugely important and doesn’t feature very prominently in most teens’ schedules. There are so many benefits though, not just to your weight - you’ll have an improved sense of wellbeing, lower risk of diabetes and stroke, and better cardiovascular health. Most people dread the thought of working up a sweat and building their heart rate up, but the benefits are so huge. Exercise can be as intense or slow paced as you want, depending on what you choose, but as long as you’re moving and your heart rate has quickened, anything goes - from jogging around the block to dancing in your living room! The best way to motivate yourself is to make your workout fun, so try different things out to see what you like. You can also make changes to your everyday routine such as using the stairs instead of the lift or walking to work and college. Get a friend involved and you’ll not only enjoy it more but you’ll also stay motivated to keep it up.
Where your diet is concerned, the best tip you can follow is to not go on a diet - in other words, diets that are designed to offer quick results usually fail. The best way to lose weight and be healthy at the same time is to simply cut down on the fatty and sugary foods, and replace them with healthy, homemade alternatives. Teens are notorious for eating fast food and unhealthy snacks, but these make it so much easier to gain weight. You are what you eat, so make your meals healthy and nutritious. Opt for healthy snacks such as homemade popcorn, yoghurt, pretzels and granola bars. Fruit and vegetables are also fantastic snack foods, offering a healthy boost of energy. Replace all of those cans of fizzy drink with water or the occasional glass of fruit juice, to give your body the hydration it needs without a constant supply of sugar. The body also needs protein, so make sure you get plenty of meat and dairy products, as well as peanut butter and legumes.If you’re going out with friends, you don’t need to feel as though you can’t join in, but simply act in moderation. If you’re getting a pizza, try not to eat the whole thing - share with a friend or just eat a few slices and stop when you’re full. At the cinema, opt for the freshly made popcorn instead of the branded types that are laden with toffee. And you can treat yourself to an ice cream at the beach, just limit those visits to once a month rather than every week. Weight loss and a healthier lifestyle is simply about willpower, balance and forward-planning - once you have that covered, it’s easier than you think. If you're unsure how to go about it, gather a great support group in the form of your family and friends who will ensure you stay motivated even when you don't feel like it. Maintaining a healthy weight can do wonders for your self esteem and confidence, as well as ensuring that weight-related health concerns are reduced. Your GP can offer advice if you're not sure how to go about changing your lifestyle - if you're new to exercise and are making drastic diet changes, it may be useful to run it by them to make sure it's safe.
Popular culture generally paints an unfavorable portrait of bikers and motorcycle riding in general. Even as mainstream culture becomes more accepting of motorcycling as a primary means of travel, many people still dismiss bikers as rough hooligans who are looking for trouble or have just gotten out of jail. However, motorcycle riding can be anything but troublesome if you approach it with the right amount of respect and anticipation. In fact, motorcycle riding can be quite beneficial to your health in several important ways. Motorcycle Riding Provides Mental Stimulation Riding a motorcycle is quite different than driving a car. When you drive a car, you generally do not have to exert too much thought about your actions unless you are in heavy traffic or traveling around curved roads. You may be like many people and simply use the cruise control while you are driving. However, riding a motorcycle requires mental effort to control your ride. You must be ready to weave in and out of traffic as needed and always think ahead to make sure you control your cycle safely. Motorcycle Riding Provides Exercise Benefits As one Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer states, "motorcycles are both fun and practical, and many people enjoy using motorbikes for commuting or simply for the pleasure of the ride.'' Along with being stimulated mentally, you also can be challenged physically when you ride your cycle. Motorcycles are quite heavy, even though they look small and compact. As you control the handlebars, shift the gears, and manipulate other components of the bike, you may find that your arms, legs, and torso are worked out quite extensively. Motorcycle Riding Provides Social Interactions Bikers everywhere form a unique brotherhood that welcomes fellow riders often without question or hesitation. Even if a person starts out riding alone, he or she may easily find new friends as that person starts attending cycle shows or meets other bikers out on the road. Bikers typically form fast friendships that last a lifetime and are more supportive than mainstream friendships formed at school or work. Motorcycle Riding Relieves Stress and Depression Many cyclists report being in vastly better moods once they climb on their cycles and take to the road. When bikers head out on the open road, they are capable of finding relief from their everyday worries and stresses and even experience relief from depression and fatigue. Their moods are elevated because they feel free and at ease on the open road. Motorcycle Riding Requires that You Take Care of Your Safety If you have always been someone who neglected your personal safety, cycling can help you become more concerned with your physical wellness. When you are out on your bike, you must pay attention to avoid crashes and becoming injured. As you learn to take care of yourself, you can learn to appreciate your own wellness and the need for you to remain safe at all times. Many cyclists experience a boost in confidence and self-awareness after they take up motorcycle riding. Motorcycling is anything but the deviant hobby that the public may readily dismiss it as. You can improve your mental and physical health in several important ways when you take up riding a motorcycle. Writer Melanie Fleury loves a ride on a motorcycle on occasion. This does not mean that she is oblivious to the possible dangers. However, as Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer, state on their website, ''the dangers are more due to careless or dangerous drivers that are near the motorcyclists.'' She makes sure that she keeps a distance between herself and those that can be a potential risk to her. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elsie/4983322551/
We all have that fantasy – apart from that one about Ryan Gosling – to lose weight and have better wellness minus the effort of dieting, exercise or surgery. While this seems like nothing more than a pipe dream, your effort-free, weight loss wellbeing may me just around the corner, thanks to a revolutionary treatment called Vanquish that even usually sceptical doctors are excited about. According to David McDaniel, a leading researcher and an assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, who has been conducting an independent study on Vanquish, ‘I've seen a lot of fat-removal techniques; some procedures are painful or take too long; some are effective only on small areas of body fat that can be sucked up through a small vacuum. Vanquish addresses all those problems. It can treat a large surface area uniformly. It's fast, efficient, and comfortable…I've been doing this for 30 years, and most advances have been little baby steps. This is a big technological breakthrough.’ The treatment, which will become usable by an elite corps of doctor's offices this month, targets your fat cells through radio frequency waves which heat the cells and kill them off without damaging your muscles or skin. As the applicator is suspended over your abdomen about an inch above your skin, Vanquish is non-invasive, and there’s no downtime or ridiculous price tag. In the US, a 30-minute session goes for $450 (£282) to $800 (£501), and it’s recommended that you have four sessions. During these sessions, you may feel a warming sensation, but there should be no pain. The only risk to watch out for is a hot spot near to a bone, which your technician can readjust and fix without a problem. The FDA approved Vanquish earlier this year for deep-tissue heating, which can help your muscles to recover and heal. However, the FDA is awaiting further results before giving the device the seal of approval for fat reduction. Still, the current research is impressive; animal studies have shown that Vanquish killed 60% of the fat cells treated with it, and a subsequent Prague study done on people with love handles showed visible results within two weeks, revealing an average loss in waist circumference of 2.23 inches after two months. Robert Weiss, an associate professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the lead researcher of the aforementioned animal study, notes, ‘This new technique is a real game changer—it's the safest, easiest way yet to remove fat.’ ‘As the panels heat up, the radio frequency waves they transmit differentiate between fat cells (which are denser and hold less water) and skin and muscle cells,’ Weiss explains. ‘The heat causes cell death in the fat cells; some die instantly, some in a matter of weeks…I've seen patients lose several inches after four treatments without changing their diets.’ McDaniel continues, ‘The results are not as dramatic as liposuction, which can remove large volumes of fat,’ adding that Vanquish does not carry the risks of surgery or anaesthesia. However, Adam Kolker, a plastic surgeon and an associate clinical professor of surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital's Icahn School of Medicine in New York, asserts, ‘I've seen a lot of people who've undergone various non-surgical fat-reduction treatments who were underwhelmed with the results.’ Still, Kolker allows, ‘It may be appropriate for small-scale changes as long as the patient's expectations are well managed.’ Nonetheless, Patricia Wexler, a dermatologist to New York's A-list, believes that expectations will be high for the procedure. She points out, ‘It's great for women who are in good shape, within 5 to 10% of their ideal weight, and don't want to go through surgery. A lot of women exercise and don't have a lot of weight to lose, but they've had children or seen changes in their core for other reasons.’
With obesity rates rising, doctors have been scratching their heads over the best – and safest way – to combat the disorder that seems to claim so many. Around the corner however, a new and mercifully-inexpensive augmentation may be key to curbing misbehaving appetites. You may be used to science fiction telling you the wonders (or the dilemmas) of microchips, but a small (“smaller-than-the-tip-of-your-finger” small!) one attached to your nerve may be key to quelling your need to over-eat. "This is a really small microchip and on this chip we've got the intelligence which can actually model the neural signals responsible for appetite control," Chris Toumazou, professor at Imperial College London and one of the inventors of the chip, told the BBC. The microchip would be attached to your vagus nerve – this is the nerve that controls your desire to eat, digest, heart rate and more. It's a very extensive range. In hindsight, Toumazou explained that the project was originally designed for children suffering from disorders such as cerebral palsy and epileptic seizures. The microchip in this case, used a piece of technology called MIMATE, which reads chemical signatures in the brain. Taking that very same technology, the microchip was then developed into something that could be beneficial for weight loss. What changed about the weight-loss microchip was that the chip didn't send stimulating impulses, but rather submits readings and signals to suppress the urge to eat. "As a result of monitoring these signals we can stimulate the brain to counter whatever we monitor," Toumazou said. "It will be control of appetite rather than saying don't eat completely. So maybe instead of eating fast you'll eat a lot slower." That's right – whether you know it or not, your body would be telling your brain off for eating more than you should! Creepy or creative? Inspiring or frightening? The microchip is still in development, but for many suffering from obesity, it may be the next best thing.
While a lot of people go on a detox to lose weight, that’s not what the lemon detox diet is for. Wellness expert Hope Gillette explains, ‘The lemon detox diet, also known as the Master Cleanse diet, isn’t a new addition to the world of dietary trends. In fact, this method of detoxifying the body has been around for more than 50 years in one variation or another, but was made mainstream once celebrities like Beyonce started talking about its benefits.’ So why have we all jumped on the bandwagon? ‘The lemon detox diet isn’t an everyday kind of programme,’ Gillette notes. ‘The goal is to take 10 to 14 days to “flush” your body of toxins, limiting your intake to only a special mixture of fresh lemon juice, pure maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water, as well as the intake of laxatives. The premise behind this liquid fast is the acidity of the lemons promotes the liver and the gallbladder to free themselves of toxins, boosting metabolism and circulation naturally, and giving the intestinal tract a rest period. Supporters of this diet claim that by flushing the system with the lemon detox diet, the body is returned to its most balanced state and improvements will be seen in mental clarity, overall sense of health, skin, hair and nail health, and in general function of the body’s organs.’ How do you do the lemon detox diet? According to Gillette, ‘This detoxification programme is relatively simple. For a period of 10-14 days, this recipe should be consumed a minimum of six times daily: 2 (tbs). of lemon or lime 2 (tbs). of genuine maple syrup 1/10 tsp cayenne pepper 10 oz. water (hot or cold as preferred)’ Gillette adds, ‘For those who cannot immediately enjoy their lemonade, mix equal parts of lemon juice and maple syrup as a concentrate in a dark container. Keep this mixture cool. Make enough concentrate for as long as you are incapable of making the fresh lemonade juice. Every time you want a glass of lemonade, measure 4 tbs. of this mixture in a glass. Add water and cayenne pepper, stir and drink. The maple syrup supposedly preserves the lemon juice and prevents oxidation of the vitamin C and enzymes. This lemonade mix should be downed any time hunger pangs strike, and in addition to this liquid diet, a laxative should be taken in the morning and at night. The goal, according to creators, is to have several bowel movements throughout the day to keep toxins moving out of the body.’ But don’t all those bowel movements lead to weight loss? ‘The benefits to the Master Cleanse have to do with starting the body off with a clean slate, but this programme should not be undertaken as a means to lose weight,’ warns Gillette. ‘Instead, it should be considered the start in a long chain of healthy decisions. While the lemon detox diet will cause weight loss because it creates a significant calorie deficit, this is not the original reason the diet was created. Unfortunately, because it has been hailed as a fast weight loss programme, this has given the lemon detox diet a somewhat tarnished name. Individuals using the programme to drop weight fast will likely get their desired results; however, as soon as the body starts taking in calories again the weight tends to come right back. What’s more, the body will lose more water and muscle weight than it will fat. So, the lemon detox diet is not a healthy option for those who simply wish to lose weight.’
No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life, taking small steps is the surest way to success. This is no less true when it comes to weight loss, as there are loads of little changes you can make that will add up to a lot of weight loss over the long haul. Below, we’ve asked Karen Hammonds to outline her favourite healthy eating tips that can help you to lose weight and look after your wellbeing. However, before you rush off and take up everything on this list, stop, pick three, and just do those this week. If that works, add another three next week. Soon you’ll have an eating plan that’s absolutely full of healthy strategies. 1. Keep it Small: According to Hammonds, ‘Good things come in small packages. Here's a trick for staying satisfied without consuming large portions: Chop high calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into smaller pieces. It will seem like you're getting more than you actually are.’ 2. Dip It Low: ‘Don't give up dips,’ Hammonds cautions. ‘If you love creamy dips and sauces, don't cut them out of your food plan completely. Just use low fat soft cheese and mayo instead of the full fat stuff.’ 3. Get Water-Wise:Hammonds instructs, ‘Make a habit of reaching for a glass of water instead of a high fat snack. It will help your overall health as well as your waistline. So drink up! Add some zest to your six to eight glasses a day with a twist of lemon or lime.’ 4. Herb It Up: ‘Stock up your spice rack, and start growing a small herb garden in your kitchen window,’ Hammonds advises. ‘Spices and herbs add fantastic flavour to foods without adding fat or calories.’ 5. Slim Down Your Soup:Hammonds recommends, ‘Make a big batch of soup and refrigerate it before you eat it. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off the surface.’ 6. Take it Home: ‘Go American and doggie-bag that dinner,’ Hammonds suggests. ‘At restaurants that you know serve large portions, ask the waiter to put half your main course in a take away box before bringing it to your table. Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you practise portion control.’ 7. Cave in to Your Cravings: ‘Listen to your cravings,’ Hammonds enthuses. ‘If you're craving something sweet, eat something sweet – just opt for a healthier nosh, like fruit, instead of a high calorie one. The same goes for crunchy cravings – for example, try air-popped popcorn instead of high fat crisps. It's just smart substitution!’ 8. Build Up to Five-a-Day:Hammonds directs, ‘Ease your way into produce. If you're new to eating lots of fruits and vegetables, start slowly. Just add them to the foods you already enjoy. Pile salad veg into your sandwiches, or add fruit to your cereal.’ 9. Look for High Fat Hints: ‘Want an easy way to identify high calorie meals?’ asks Hammonds. ‘Keep an eye out for these words: au gratin, parmigiana, tempura, alfredo, creamy and carbonara, and enjoy them in moderation.’ 10. Focus on Food:Hammonds advises, ‘Don't multi-task while you eat. If you're working, reading or watching TV while you eat, you won't be paying attention to what's going into your mouth – and you won't be enjoying every bite. Today, every time you have a meal, sit down. Chew slowly and pay attention to flavours and textures. You'll enjoy your food more and eat less.’ 11. Taste Something New:Hammonds recommends, ‘Broaden your food repertoire – you may find you like more healthy foods than you knew. Try a new fruit or vegetable (ever had plantain, pak choi, starfruit or papaya?)’
Although they are more associated with celebrity wellness, juice detoxes are popular with anyone trying to lose weight. But isn’t it dangerous to consume nothing but juices for five days or more? How do you know how a juice detox will affect your wellbeing? Luckily, wellness writer Ella Buchan decided to find out, and wrote a five-day diary about her experiences. But first, how do you do a juice detox? According to nutritionist Sally Wisbey, ‘The key is to make sure you include lots of green vegetables as fruit on its own contains a lot of sugar. If you are looking to detox then it is a good way to start as it helps to give your digestive system a rest. It is also a great way to absorb lots of nutrients in one go so is ideal for people who don’t eat many vegetables. I do not see it as a good long-term way to lose weight. Juicing fruit alone can be so high in sugar that it may have the reverse effect on weight loss so don’t be fooled into thinking that all juices are healthy. Also anyone with medical problems or who is taking medication should consult their doctor before taking part in any juice cleanse.’ Now, let’s take a sneak peek inside Buchan’s five-day detox diary: Day 1: Buchan notes, ‘Each morning starts with a glass of warm water and lemon juice followed by a tablespoon of colosan powder stirred into some of my first juice. After downing a dose of green super-foods powder mixed with water, which tastes like chocolatey grass, the rest of the day is simple. Just alternate juices with water and herbal tea.’ Day 2: ‘I don’t feel hungry but I think this is because of the huge amount of liquid I’m drinking,’ says Buchan. ‘I do miss solid food though and find myself eyeing up people’s lunches and snacks in the office. The juices are fine – zingy and fresh. I am also told to drink two cups of “pu’erh tea”, which is believed to have weight-loss properties but I’m not keen as it tastes fishy. Ridiculously on the back of the sachet of tea it suggests drinking it “after a rich meal”. It’s going to be a long week.’ Day 3: ‘The thought of no food all week must be getting to me,’ Buchan admits. ‘I become irrationally angry that my local supermarket doesn’t sell lemons and I have to traipse up the road to a fruit and veg stall. Also do my colleagues always talk this much about food or am I just noticing it more? As the rest of my desk discusses the best place to get a juicy burger my taste buds tingle in delicious anticipation and then recoil in disgust as I pour another beetroot, carrot and apple concoction down my throat.’ Day 4: Buchan enthuses, ‘I feel slimmer. My stomach is flatter and I feel “cleaner”. My skin looks fresher and plumper. I still haven’t had any hunger pangs but I really miss the taste of food. It’s difficult socially too. I can’t wait to go out with friends and have a drink on Saturday. Standing in a pub drinking water just doesn’t cut it.’ Day 5: Buchan concludes, ‘It’s the last day of my juice cleanse and I can’t help but be happy that I’ll finally be able to eat properly again. Yet when I step on the scales it suddenly all seems worth it. In just five days I’ve lost an astonishing 7lb.’
Weight loss and lean muscle are the goals of a lot of women, but how do you achieve this without sweating it out and making a fool of yourself at Zumba? According to wellness expert Victoria Everman, Pilates is the way forward. ‘Similar to yoga with its concentration on breathing, the practice of Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in just the past century,’ she details. ‘And although you don’t usually break much of a sweat during a session, Pilates can still help you with your weight loss goals.’ Jillian Hessel, a Los Angeles–based Pilates teacher with 26 years experience, explains, ‘Pilates can help to build and maintain lean muscle mass while you are losing weight, help to realign posture as the body's centre of gravity changes, promote long elegant posture and graceful flowing movement, and keep you centred and energized — all at the same time.’ Pilates fitness expert Ana Cabán adds, ‘I find that many people are successful losing weight with Pilates because they become much more aware of their bodies and in turn treat them better and make better food choices.’ In fact, there are many ways in which Pilates can help you lose weight. Here are just the best ones: 1. More Muscles, More Calories Burned: Alycea Ungaro, owner of Real Pilates NYC, notes, ‘Simply stated, Pilates is strength training. We work with resistance to increase strength and hence, muscle mass. Using springs and different apparatus to increase the load to the muscles, we can affect a metabolic increase by building lean muscle mass. I enjoy adding bands, body rings and light weights to my Pilates routine because it provides variety and challenges muscles in a different way.’ 2. Better Posture: ‘One of the best ways to look and feel thinner is to have good posture,’ says Everman. ‘Pilates helps create better posture by firming not only your abs, but your back too… Not only will toned spinal muscles help you continue to lose weight via increased metabolism, standing up straight will automatically make you look thinner, thereby increasing your confidence as well.’ Ungaro adds, ‘All Pilates work is performed with proper alignment and attention to posture. By establishing optimal spinal alignment, you can facilitate better circulation, improved lymphatic flow and increased stamina of the muscles along the spine.’ 3. Crafting Your Core: ‘Pilates is all about core strength,’ notes Everman. ‘The benefits of core strength go way beyond flat abdominals, but it is the flat ab results of doing Pilates that help make it as popular as it is. Your core is made up of not only your front and side abdominals, but your entire back as well.’ Ungaro enthuses, ‘Pilates teaches people how to use their abdominals correctly—how to contract the abdominal wall rather than let it distend. This simple mechanism can be used 24/7 in your daily life. That is the single reason that Pilates flattens abs so quickly.’ 4. Kitchen Inspiration: Ungaro points out, ‘The benefits spill over into other aspects of your life. You will immediately stand taller, hold your waist tighter and feel stronger. This increased body awareness will make you less likely to indulge in unhealthy habits. Indulge—like that third or fourth cookie you had at last weekend’s barbeque? Use your newfound confidence to “tone” up your kitchen. Your local farmers’ market is full of healthy, edible inspiration that will make you think twice about the word “diet.” Seeing the incredible feats your body is capable of is incredibly motivating. You will have a new respect for your body and are more likely to take better care of it.’
You might not think yoga can help with weight loss, but the right poses – done in the right way – can help you to burn fat while also taking care of your overall wellbeing. According to fitness experts Philip Knox and Devin Thomas, ‘The first factor you should consider is that not every type of yoga is conducive to consistent weight loss. Some types are better for reducing stress and helping relaxation but don’t provide the cardiovascular workout needed for weight loss. The second factor is consistency. As with any fitness plan, yoga needs to be done regularly and with intensity. Finally, it is important to remember to maintain a healthy diet in combination with any workout regimen.’ If you’re looking for a yoga class – rather than just a few poses – to help you lose weight, there are several options you can try. Vinyasa or flow yoga is made up of a series of Sun Salutations that you move through quickly, and this helps your body to raise your heart rate and burn calories. Bikram or hot yoga is similar, but you are in a heated studio that is heated up to 105°F so that you also eliminate toxins. However, if you want to try out yoga at home, there are certain poses that specifically aid in weight loss. So, which yoga poses can help you to kick-start your metabolism and build up lean muscle tone? 1. Cobra Pose: ‘Even beginners can get good results from this simple yoga pose, which works to firm the buttocks and tone the abs,’ say Knox and Thomas. ‘Lie face-down on the floor, with the tops of your feet flat against the ground. Press your legs and hips down. Place your hands under your shoulders, palms down and fingers spread apart. Press into your hands, lifting your head, chest and upper back off the mat. Keep your gaze forward and up and your shoulder blades down and back. Push back your shoulders and feel the stretch spread evenly along the length of your spine. After a few deep breaths, relax to a prone position on an exhale.’ 2. Wind-Releasing Pose: Knox and Thomas assert, ‘This fat-burning yoga pose is great for targeting your abdominal area. Lie down on the floor and bring your knees up to your chest with your ankles together. Clasp your arms together over your knees as you bring your head up off the floor. Breathe deep as you feel the stretch work your abs, then relax slowly.’ 3. Bow Pose: ‘This advanced yoga pose can really burn fat while toning your arms, legs and abdominal area,’ Knox and Thomas explain. ‘Lie down on your stomach, bend your knees and reach around to grab your feet. Pull in your stomach and extend your feet upward, raising your upper body at the same time. Keep your shoulder blades down and back. Hold for several breaths, then relax.’ 4. Side-Stretch Pose: ‘This yoga pose can help raise your heart-rate and burn calories,’ Knox and Thomas enthuse. ‘Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Rotate your torso and turn both your feet to the right. Keeping legs straight, exhale and hinge over your right leg until your torso is parallel to the floor, reaching your hands to the ground (if you can’t touch the floor, you can rest them on a block). Hinge further with each exhale, moving your torso closer to your right thigh. Remember to keep breathing, then relax and repeat in the opposite direction.’ 5. Warrior I Pose: Knox and Thomas note, ‘This yoga pose can work your abs, thighs and arms, and is most effective if used as part of a sequence like Sun Salutation. Standing straight, step your left leg 4-5 feet to the left, then rotate both feet and your torso toward the left. Bend your left knee over your toes while keeping your right leg straight. Raise both arms high above your head with your fingertips pointing upward, looking up at your hands.’
While it may be interesting to find out how Beyonce or Kate Middleton stay in great shape, that’s not actually going to help your weight loss wellbeing. You don’t have a personal trainer or money to burn on expensive programmes; you are a regular person who needs regular wellness tools. Regular person Chris Pirillo lost 30 pounds in three months following a few key weight loss strategies, so why not learn from someone like you? 1. Never Count on Live Programming: According to Pirillo, ‘It’s important to stimulate your mind while your body is exerting itself in other ways. However, never rely on “what’s on TV or the radio” at the time. Instead of zoning out, you’ll find yourself flipping between channels – and that’s going to make the time drag as much as it would if you weren’t keeping your mind busy in the first place. “Live” is a very bad idea. Go with pre-recorded programming or go without.’ 2. Play Video Games: ‘Video games helped me lose weight,’ Pirillo enthuses. ‘I can keep my balance on the Gazelle (which some might find difficult to do). As such, I plugged an Xbox 360 into the TV and started to play it while I was working out. Immediately, I found that I was sweating more than I was when I was only watching TV passively! The reason boils down to a single word: adrenalin. Now, the only way I’m able to work up a sweat is when I play a fast-paced game on the game console. Yes, even game genre is important; avoid any diversions that require long pauses between tasks. Racing games (like Burnout) have worked very well for me. The more mindless the game, the better your burn, the faster the exercise session will go.’ 3. Set Realistic Goals: Pirillo notes, ‘You can lose 50 pounds in a week if you work out 12 hours a day and eat nothing but celery – but not if you’re human. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – literally. Make small goals on your way to the bigger goal(s). In the end, you’ll have achieved more (and more frequently, might I add).’ 4. Ditch the Bad Stuff: ‘Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup,’ Pirillo instructs. ‘I offer this suggestion for a few reasons. First, they’re not good for you anyway. Second, you’ll eliminate a lot of the “bad foods” outright – no questions asked. You’ll have to become more selective in what you eat by avoiding these two nasty ingredients – which are in more foods than you probably care to know.’ 5. Don’t Always Listen to Your Mate: ‘Your loss is not always their gain,’ says Pirillo. ‘Watch out for statements like: “You’ve lost enough weight.” or “I like you just the way you are.” Fact of the matter is, if YOU don’t like the way that YOU are – then YOU are going to have to do something about it, no matter what anybody says. They still love you, though (in theory).’ 6. Don’t Compare: Pirillo points out, ‘Every body is different. It stands to reason that everybody will lose weight differently. Even if you do the exact same things that I do, you won’t lose weight at the same rate. The key is in finding your triggers. Keep your goal in sight, and do whatever you have to do to meet that goal. When you start looking at someone else’s habits, you’re only going to become discouraged and quit without even realising that it’s physically impossible to be anybody but yourself.’
To lose weight, you need to eat less and move more – you don’t need a wellness expert to tell you that! So why, then, are we Brits not in amazingly good shape? Often, it may be a sign that you mental wellbeing is plagued by subconscious baggage that’s weighing you down. Clinical hypnotherapist Belinda Hulstrom explains, ‘There are a couple of things that need to happen for us to make changes: we have to want the benefits of that change, and we have to want them enough that we're prepared to do whatever it takes to get them. We also have to believe that change is possible and that often involves overcoming the obstacles that our mind has set up for us.’ This is where hypnosis comes in. You spend your life surrounded by negativity, be it from the media, or even your family and friends. According to clinical hypnotherapist Mark Stephens, creator of the Think Slim programme, this then creates a self-fulfilling prophecy which prevents you from losing weight on a permanent basis. ‘People use a lot of negative self-talk,’ says Stephens. ‘They'll say, “I'm a yo-yo dieter”, or “Diets don't work”. But hypnosis can take away the mental prison bars they've made for themselves.’ You often eat for the wrong reasons because of your negative emotions. Stephens points out, ‘People will eat when they're sad, lonely, bored or angry – and then they'll feel guilty and beat themselves up afterwards, creating a downward spiral.’ In order to lose weight, then, you need to make a change to the way you think. ‘No amount of emotional eating will help repair yourself,’ Stephens warns. ‘We need to get on top of the negative emotions and learn how to feel happy.’ With the help of a hypnotherapist, you can break the negative cycle and replace these thoughts with positive ones. Stephens comments, ‘With hypnosis you're bypassing the analytical and reasonable part of the mind and going straight to your subconscious, where all your memories are, and feeding it with positive suggestions. Hypnosis can help by changing people's mindsets.’ The mindset you need to adopt is one of a long-term goal, rather than a short-term obsession. It’s easy to lose weight on a short-term basis; what’s tricky is keeping it off – and that’s how hypnotherapy can help. In 1995, a study published in the Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology showed that ‘the addition of hypnosis substantially enhanced treatment outcome’ in six studies relating to obesity and weight loss. The patients who underwent hypnosis continued to lose weight, even after the treatment had ended. Hulstrom echoes the fact that you need to change the way you think about weight loss. She notes, ‘It's not about losing weight but about getting rid of something we no longer need or want and about creating a whole new relationship with food and our bodies.’ You also need to train your brain. Hulstrom concludes, ‘Probably the most powerful message hypnosis can get across is that you always have the power to choose. You can have that piece of chocolate cake, but you don't have to have it. Hypnosis can help create a relationship with yourself that's more honest.’ This is why the Think Slim programme gives participant the following verse to memorise: I am tomorrow what I eat today, before each meal that's what I say. The more water I drink, the more inclined I will feel to only eat a nourishing, healthy, slim meal. Between main meals I drink water or tea, between each meal I stay snack-free. Excess fat I burn with every step I take, I have no desire for chocolate, ice-cream or cake. Whether it's a walk, a swim or a sport I play, I aim to be active twice every day. I stay focused on my goal and the body I deserve, and it all boils down to each meal that I serve.
We all have different reasons for wanting to lose weight. Some of us just want to fit into that new dress while others what to enhance our overall wellness. Taking the first step in determining which programme to follow and which goals to set is probably the easiest thing to do in terms of effort, but this can still be a complicated step to take. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own wellbeing, and the weight loss plan you eventually choose is, evidently, up to you. However, there are helpful hints available to shape the way you make that decision. 1. Acceptance and Reason: On an emotional and mental level, acceptance and reason are the hardest stages to overcome, and they often go hand in hand. If you’re overweight, say, this probably means your health is deteriorating. This usually goes alongside high levels of bad LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure. In this example, you need to accept that your current condition of health is due to your excess weight, and then this becomes your reason to lose weight: your immediate concern is to get to a healthy weight so that your wellness improves. As I’ve previously mentioned, everyone needs their own reason or driving force to help them achieve their personal weight loss goals – you just need to be true to yours. 2. A Clinical Perspective: If you’re planning on losing weight, that’s obviously going to have an impact on your health and body and so it’s extremely advisable to consult your doctor. In weight-related conditions, cardiologists and nutritionists are the go-to experts so start there. These medical health professionals can help you set your goals and decide upon the course of your weight loss journey without coming into conflict with your individual needs. If you have medical conditions or unchangeable lifestyle traits, for example, this will determine ultimately what you can and cannot do. 3. The Objective: Once you have your reasons and medical perspective in place, it’s time for you to actually engage in your weight loss and set a goal. This needs to be something specific and that you can reasonably attain. While setting a big end goal – like losing 40lbs overall – is a good idea, setting little objectives or check points along the way can help you to stay motivated. If you say you want to lose 10lbs a month, then all you have to do is focus on that one small goal instead of striving for the big one. Before you know it, in four months time you would have reached your 40lb goal without stressing 40lbs worth over it! Make sure all your goals – both big and small – are realistic. However, when you lose weight, you might find the number on the scale doesn’t move much as muscle weighs more than fat, so you might want to use a different measuring system like clothes sizes, BMI or waist size. 4. The Plan: Most dieters try to lose weight by just changing their food intake, or just by exercising, but the truth is you need both for effective weight loss. When it comes to what you eat, you need to consume enough calories to sustain your daily needs which, as you’re engaging in physical activities, will be a little bit more than you think. Dividing your daily food intake into frequent small meals rather than three large meals is a good idea. Eat fruits and vegetables, lean meat, dairy products, rice/cereals/bread, even chocolates – the key is to not deprive yourself but let yourself have a little bit so that you don’t crave more later on.
Your hormones get a bad reputation, from making you feel bloated to being blamed for making you crave carbs. But they aren’t all bad - there are some that offer significant health benefits and can even help you to lose weight. Here are some ways you can work in conjunction with your hormones to maintain a healthy weight and harness their positive powers.
Ease stress with endorphins
Often referred to as the body’s ‘feel-good’ hormones, these can help you to ease the pain of stress and improve your wellbeing. There are ways that you can encourage the release of endorphins, such as eating spicy foods which activate the nerve endings on your tongue, prompting the release of these hormones. Similarly, you can stimulate the nerves near your nose that signal to your brain to produce endorphins by chewing peppermint gum.
Stay alert with dopamine
Dopamine controls your concentration and long-term memory, so a surge of this hormone can help you to feel more motivated and focused. Studies show that dopamine levels spike when you listen to music, so playing your favourite songs when you’re paying bills or doing the housework could help you to power through that little bit quicker. Alternatively, you could get a protein-rich snack such as a handful of nuts or a couple of hard boiled eggs.
Maintain a healthy weight with leptin and grehlin
Leptin is released by the fat cells in the body and lets you know when you’ve eaten enough. Grehlin, produced in the stomach, sends signals to the brain when you’re hungry. One study suggests that eating a carb-filled and protein-rich breakfast, alongside a cookie or a piece of chocolate, helps with this release. Sleeping more can also help to balance these hormones properly, so make sure you make time for sleep. If stress and worry are keeping you up at night, make a list of things that are worrying you to help you sleep.
Balance your mood with progesterone and oxytocin
Oxytocin is the bonding hormone, because it encourages you to feel loved and give you a sense of trust in others. Progesterone is produced by the ovaries and helps to create calm and balance. Studies have shown that singing is a great way of improving your oxytocin levels, so start the day by singing in the shower or humming when you’re feeling irritable. You should also hug more - researchers have found that women who hug more have higher levels of oxytocin and lower blood pressure. You should also feel closer to a friend to increase your progesterone levels, so walk arm in arm with a loved one or pet an animal to replicate the feeling. Anything that improves your mood and helps you to feel closer to someone or something could help with the increase of these hormones.
Boost your body confidence with oestrogen and testosteroneTestosterone can help you to feel more assertive and improve your self-confidence, whilst oestrogen can boost a better skin tone by boosting water to the cells to give you a youthful glow. Studies show that testosterone levels increase when you’ve been exercising so try to opt for burst training, which works by building up to a faster pace for thirty seconds after moderate exercise. Zinc can also help, for both testosterone and oestrogen production. You can use supplements of at least 25mg a day, or try eating more lean beef, yoghurt, pumpkin seeds or dark chocolate. If you're opting for the supplement route, you should check with your GP beforehand to ensure that it is safe.
Obesity isn’t a just a people problem; dogs are getting fatter too. While shocking statistics reveal that 53% of dogs in the United States suffer from obesity – according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention – what’s more concerning is that 22% of dog owners characterized their pet as normal weight when they were actually obese. Your furry little friend is counting on you to take care of his weight wellness. Otherwise, you could be putting his wellbeing at risk for other illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. So how can you help keep your dog’s weight in check? 1. Be realistic: Setting a reasonable goal is the primary step in helping your pup shed a few pounds. You don’t want to overwork your dog or overdo his diet. Therefore, you need to consult a vet about the most compassionate and caring when plan for your canine, determining how much weight your pet needs to lose to achieve a healthy weight and a moderate, patient way in which to get there. These things take time, so don’t rush it. 2. Try to squeeze in a little exercise every day: Exercising is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, whether you’re person or pooch, so try to get your dog moving every day. Taking him for a daily brisk walk will work wonders for the both of you. The PPET (People and Pets Exercising Together) Study showed that working out with your dog enables you to stick with your diet plan better than non-dog owners. Just remember to gradually build up the routine. Once your dog is comfortable with a brisk walk, go for a quick jog or play a game of fetch in the park. 3. Get him to eat little and often: Portion control is vital to helping dogs lose weight, but how do you know how much your dog should actually be eating? It’s easy to overfeed your pet, so take pains to check your dog's food package for the proper amount suggested, and feed him on the lower end of that suggested amount. In 2002, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine found that a calorie-restricted diet helped canines to live nearly two years longer than dogs consuming additional calories. The best thing to do is divvy up your dog’s daily calorie needs into smaller portions – just like eating little and often is recommended for humans who want to lose weight. Feeding your dog at least every 12 hours improves his digestion, and also makes him less likely to binge during one big meal. 4. Choose the right foods: It’s not just how much you give your dog and when, but the kinds of foods that are the solution to your canine's weight loss journey. Again, look on the label of your dog food package – what order are the ingredients in? The earlier the ingredient is listed, the more of it there is in the dog's food, and so you should be seeing high-quality ingredients at the top of the list. Dehydrated dry foods are often bad examples of this, and your pet will find fresh proteins, carbohydrates and fat sources to be more energetically useful to. To dilute your pet’s calories and add more fibre, add steamed or pureed vegetables such as broccoli or carrots to his packaged meal. 5. Give him fewer treats: You love your dog and want to show him how much, but giving him treats is a bad way to do it. Those tiny snacks can really add up in the calorie department, and so you’re doing your pooch no favours. Don’t let treats equal more than 10% of your dog's daily calories, unless you’re dishing out healthful treats such as fresh fruits or vegetables. Carrots, cucumbers, green beans and apples are all good choices.