How to Lose that Belly Fat

27 Aug
 Posted by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA  26 Comments

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
belly

Many people find that they have problem areas where they just cannot get fat to budge.  Hand’s up if you’re one of the millions who find themselves with a stubborn layer of fat around their waist?

It’s frustrating that, although you may be making an effort with your diet and trying to exercise more, sometimes it feels impossible to reduce fat around your belly. With an active lifestyle there are several steps you can take to help you become or remain trim all over.

Related Article:Six pack know-how: Which muscles to work and how to do it

Breaking down the fat loss myth

I’m sorry to say that there is no such thing as spot reduction, we just don’t get to choose where our body stores fat and we can’t remove it from particular places when we decide we don’t want it.  It’s a disheartening fact but hundreds of sit-ups and stomach crunches on their own won’t immediately help you lose that spare tire. The good news is that with diet and exercise together, you can burn your excess fat and by following my  three belly fat busting tips that spare tire will soon deflate.

Three simple tips to help you reduce the appearance of belly fat

Here are my three go-to belly busters that help keep me stress free and in control of my figure.

Belly buster tip 1:  Make time to be active

Although you can’t spot reduce and only target a flabby tummy, you shouldn’t discount the benefits of general exercise.  If you can find time for a physical activity every day, then you’ll soon find yourself firming up all over.

I know you’ve heard it before but being active and becoming physically fit is also wonderful way to cut through the stress in your life.  Spending time exercising can give you a time out and help you reprioritize.   Even better, the time you spend exercising is time when you can’t be eating!

Belly buster tip 2:  Take a deep breath

Practice conscious breathing by inhaling through your nose and letting the air expand into your tummy, then breathe out through your mouth. Stopping work and taking 5-10 conscious breaths can calm your mind and give you a rejuvenating time out. Don’t let stress creep up and leave you feeling frazzled by the end of the day, that way may lead to comfort eating.  Try this breathing technique as often as  you remember (you may even want to stick up a post-it note to yourself).  Take the time to think about your body and how you want it to look.  This mindful technique may help you avoid a donut or re-prioritize a trip to the gym.

Belly buster tip 3:  Pull your shoulders back and your tummy in

Schedule a stretching break instead of a coffee break. You can do simple stretches and exercises from the comfort of your office chair or while you’re on the phone.  Try pulling in your tummy when your sitting or standing for 30 seconds at a time and you’ll be strengthening your core stomach muscles. And, if you have a minute, then take a moment to stand up straight, pull your shoulders back and walk tall. Improving your posture can help make you feel more alert and in better shape.

***

Although there are no quick-fix solutions, you’ll instantly feel better if you begin to exercise, take control of your figure and make the time to think about you.  Whatever your problem area – be it a wobbly belly, thunder thighs or a double chin – with a consistent exercise routine and patience you can improve your physique.

Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.

Why does Cristiano Ronaldo choose to work with Herbalife?

19 Aug
Published on Mar 21, 2014

In 2013, Cristiano Ronaldo selected Herbalife as his official nutrition partner to help him optimize his nutrition on and off the field.
The first six months of the partnership was spent reviewing the foods Cristiano Ronaldo ate throughout the day, and the drinks and supplements he used while on the pitch and after training. This included extensive analysis of key physiological markers. Having established his baseline measurements, Cristiano Ronaldo and Herbalife are now well down the road to making sure the best soccer player in the world stays on top.

Herbalife. Nutrition for a Better Life.

How long will it take to lose weight?

13 Aug
 Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND  10 Comments

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
How long will it take to lose weight? | Susan Bowerman | Discover Good Nutrition

Every time I have a new client scheduled to see me for weight loss, I have a pretty good idea of how our first conversation will go.  The first thing they usually want to know is how much I think they should weigh.  The answer is usually less than straightforward (see my post of October 7) and that question is inevitably followed up by a similar, and equally vexing query:  “how long will it take?”.  I’ve had this same conversation countless times over the years, and my answer is always the same – “it depends”.

Not a satisfying response, I realize, but the rate at which a person will lose weight depends on a lot of things.  It’s like a road trip.  You can look at the map, determine how many miles you have to travel, figure your average speed and then estimate how long it will take you to get there.  That works sometimes.  But maybe you come across a traffic jam, or a detour.  Maybe you drive through a town you’ve never been to and decide to stop a while.

It’s much the same with weight loss, even though the math is also fairly simple.  I can estimate how many calories you burn at rest (called your resting metabolic rate), and then tack on some extra calories for your current level of activity.  If you want to lose a pound in a week’s time, you’ve got to come up about 500 calories short of that number every day – either by eating 500 fewer calories, or burning off an extra 500 through exercise or, more likely, some combination of the two .

The problem is that there are just too many things that affect the final outcome.  For one thing, estimates of how many calories you burn every day are just that – estimates. Keeping track of how many calories you eat is just estimate, too – and most studies say that people underestimate the calories they eat by at least 20%.

And what about those calories you think you’re burning?  An exercise chart might tell you that swimming burns 500 calories an hour – but are you swimming nonstop for 60 minutes?  Are you even swimming at all?  I once spotted a client at the local pool… having a lengthy conversation with a girlfriend while sitting on the steps in the shallow end.  She never saw me, and I had to bite my tongue at her next visit when she told me that she’d been “swimming for an hour three times a week” – and couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t losing weight.

So just like that road trip, you can make a rough guess as to how long it will take you to reach your goal.  But you need to accept that it’s only that – a guess.  If you consistently cut 500 calories from what you need – then yes, you should drop about a pound per week.  But just like when you drive your car, you may not go at a consistently steady speed or burn through your fuel at a perfectly consistent rate.  And just like traffic jams and detours, things get in the way to slow us down or get us off track.  But eventually we get back on the road, and keep going.

So if you’re wondering ‘how long will it take?’ I encourage you to focus instead on all positive changes that are made along the way.  Because in the long run, if you improve your diet and get more active, the weight will take care of itself – in its own time.  And just like a road trip, sometimes it’s best to focus more on the trip, and less on the destination.

 Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Positive self-talk: A key piece to the weight loss puzzle

11 Aug
 Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND  3 Comments

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Positive self-talk: A key piece to the weight loss puzzle | Susan Bowerman | Discover Good Nutrition

Last week, I was interviewed by one of our local news channels about a ‘new’ strategy for weight loss. The idea goes a little bit beyond “thinking your way thin” – which focuses on behavior change when it comes to food choice – to something more like, “believing your way thin”. It’s basically an attitude adjustment. If you tell yourself – and believe – that you’re already a healthy, active person who eats well, then you’re much more likely to behave like one. And those healthy behaviors should, in turn, lead you closer to your goal.

The psychology of weight loss focuses mostly on shifting one’s approach to food – like determining what it is that leads to overeating, and how to replace bad behaviors with good ones. It also means teaching our inner voices to ‘talk nice’. Positive self-talk means that we don’t beat ourselves up when we slip – instead, our inner voices remind us that just because we slipped, it doesn’t mean we have to fall.

The new twist to this psychology takes this a step further. It’s more than believing that we have what it takes to reach our weight loss goals – we actually tell ourselves that we’re already there.

The thinking goes like this – if we constantly tell ourselves that we’re fat and lazy, it’s pretty much a given that we’ll act the part. But, if we envision ourselves as healthy and active, we’re more likely to behave the way healthy people do. We’ll eat better, we’ll get more exercise, and we’ll shift our self-image into a something much more positive.

Of course, positive self-talk isn’t going to lead to weight loss all on its own, but it is an important piece to the complex puzzle of weight control. Because along with attitude adjustment, successful weight management also means learning new skills – like healthy cooking and calorie counting – finding time to exercise, and learning new and healthy eating behaviors.

So what you do is important, but how you feel about yourself matters, too. It’s more than just the number of calories you’ve eaten or how many steps you’ve logged on your pedometer – it’s about giving yourself a pat on the back for your efforts, and noticing how much healthier, trimmer and stronger you feel as a result.

But sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. We tell ourselves that we’ve never been able to lose or that exercise is too hard – and when we mess up, it’s even worse. Then it’s “I’m a failure”, “I have no willpower” or “I’m lazy”. We tend to focus more on the negative (“I ate way too much at lunch”) – and less on the positive (“I walked a lot faster than usual on my walk this morning”).

Let’s say that you do slip up – maybe you picked away at a donut at work. Your inner voice might say, “since I’ve already messed up, I may as well pig out for the rest of the day”. But you could turn that self-talk right around, and let that voice tell you instead, “it’s not the end of the world, and if I’m careful the rest of the day, I’ll be fine”.

There’s an old saying, “don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else”. If one of your friends complained to you that they were having struggles with their weight, you wouldn’t tell them that they’re lazy, or that they’ll never reach their goals, would you? So why do you say these things to yourself?

Learn to give yourself encouragement, just as you would with your friends. Because when it comes to weight loss, if you tell yourself you can, it’s a lot more likely that you will.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Why snacks could be the secret to seizing control of your weight!

06 Aug
 Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND  1 Comment

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars

Snacking – good or bad? Find out once and for all! A healthy snacking habit can help you manage your weight and balance your diet.

There seems to be a big divide between those who think snacking is a good thing and those who think snacking is bad … which baffles me a little bit. I’ve always been solidly in the pro-snacking camp – for reasons I’ll get to in a minute – and I just assumed that most other people felt the same way about healthy snacking. But some of my clients seem almostoffended if I suggest that they snack (“Me, snack? Never!). For a long time, I couldn’t make sense of this, and then one day, it struck me. To some, snacking means “eating when you’re not hungry” – which, of course, is “bad”. To others, the question, “do you eat snacks?” is heard as, “do you eat snack foods?” which may explain why they get defensive – it sounds as if I’m accusing them of loading up on unhealthy snack foods like chips, cookies and candy.

So here’s my take on snacking: when it’s done right, snacking can be a healthy habit that may help you manage your weight and balance your diet.

Five Reasons Why Snacking Can Be a Healthy Habit

1.  Smart snacking may prevent you from overeating at meal time. Most of us get hungry about every 3-4 hours. So, if there’s a long stretch between meals, you’re likely to get hungry – which is why a snack would be appropriate. But if you resist the urge to snack and try to “tough it out”, there’s a good chance you’ll just make up for it by overeating at your next meal.

2.  Smart snacking can help you reduce your overall calorie intake for the day. Sometimes I have a hard time convincing people that healthy snacking can help them control their total calorie intake for the day – they figure that they’re just going to add snacks (and their calories) right on top of everything they’re already eating. But if a well-planned, healthy snack helps you eat less at mealtimes, then you’ll cut your daily calories overall.

3.  Smart snacking can help you to work more healthy foods into your day. This is usually my strongest argument for those who resist snacking (or who skip meals altogether). The more often you eat, the easier it will be to work in your daily servings of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and calcium-rich dairy products.

4.  Snacks can help you maintain your physical and mental energy. When you eat regular meals and snacks, it can help keep your blood sugar more stable throughout the day – a good defense against between-meal dips in blood sugar that can sap your mental and physical energy.

5.  A substantial afternoon snack can help control portions at dinner – which tends to be the largest meal of the day. Lots of people manage to control their eating pretty well during the day, but really cut loose at night and eat a huge dinner. For those folks, a larger afternoon snack – almost a small “second lunch” – makes it much easier to cut back at the evening meal.

When Is The Snacking Habit Not Healthy?

You might want to take a closer look at your snacking habits if:

–  You’re eating unhealthy, high calorie foods like sweets, chips, and sodas. Not only can these high calorie snack foods contribute to weight gain, they offer little – if any – nutritional value.
  –  You’re eating for reasons other than hunger. Snacking wisely means that you choose healthy foods to eat in between meals to help control your appetite and meet your nutritional needs. But if you tend to snack when you’re not hungry – maybe you’re bored, stressed, angry or tired – it’s a habit you might want to think about breaking.

What Makes a Snack Healthy?

One reason snacking has gotten such a bad rap is because so many common ‘snack foods’ are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. You’ll want to steer clear of those, and instead put together a snack that will provide a mix of low fat protein and healthy carbohydrate. The carbs will get digested first and satisfy your hunger right away, and the protein will give your snack a bit more staying power.

Healthy Snack Ideas

The protein-carb combo can be put together in almost endless ways. Here are a few snack suggestions:

–  Protein shake made with nonfat or lowfat milk, protein powder and fruit. You can scale the size down a bit for a ‘snack-size’ shake
–  Protein snack bars – great to carry with you so you always have a healthy snack on hand
–  Plain nonfat yogurt, sweetened with a little maple syrup and cinnamon, topped with fruit.
–  Raw veggies – carrots, cherry tomatoes, peppers – dipped in hummus.
–  Nonfat latte made with milk or soy milk
–  Nonfat cottage cheese topped with diced veggies or fresh fruit
–  Small handful of nuts – almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans or soy nuts
–  Sliced hard-boiled egg on tomato slices with a twist of fresh ground pepper
–  Edamame soybeans – heated up, drizzle with a little low-sodium soy sauce
–  Canned tuna mashed with avocado and spread on a few whole grain crackers
–  Few slices of turkey or smoked salmon wrapped around cucumber sticks

What are your favorite snacks? I’d love to hear them!

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

How to eat less: 5 tips that really work

03 Aug
 Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND  6 Comments

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
How to eat less: 5 tips that really work

If you want to eat less, you need to know why you’re eating too much in the first place. Here are five tips that can really help you to eat less but that won’t leave you feeling hungry!

Eating less food is, obviously, a key strategy when it comes to losing weight.  But promising yourself that you’re going to “eat less” is a little like promising yourself that you’re going to “floss more” – it’s just too vague.  You can plan to eat less (or floss more) but that’s not specific enough – you have to know exactly what steps you’re going to take.

5 ideas to help you eat less food

But when it comes to solving a problem –  like how to eat less – you first have to identify the obstacles that are getting in your way. You can’t “eat less” if you don’t know what’s causing you to ‘”eat more” – so you need to take a good look at your own behaviors to figure out what’s causing you to eat too much in the first place.  Here are some of the most common reasons that people eat more than they should – and some fixes that really can help you to eat less.

The Problem:  You Eat Too Much Because You’re Distracted

This is probably one of the most common reasons that people eat too much – they’re focusing on everything but their meal.  If you eat while watching television, surfing the ‘net, or driving, you’re paying absolutely no attention to what’s on your plate… or how much.

The Fix: Set aside about 20 minutes just to eat – not “I’ll eat lunch while I catch up on my email” – and really focus on how your food looks, tastes and smells.  If you’re at home, put whatever you’re eating on a plate (even if it’s takeout), set it on a placemat, and turn on some music.  Those extra touches can make your meal more enjoyable and more satisfying – even when you eat less.

The Problem:  You Eat Too Much Because You Serve Yourself Too Much

How to eat less: 5 tips that really workMost of us tend to eat whatever amount we’re served – whether it’s a little or a lot.  So if you load up your plate with a huge portion, there’s a good chance that you’ll eat it all. If you want to eat less,  the process starts the moment the serving spoon hits your plate.

The Fix: Try putting about 20% less food on your plate than you normally would.  It’s just enough to shave off a reasonable number of calories, but it’s not so much that you’ll feel as if you’re depriving yourself.  Try using a smaller plate, or even a small bowl, to help you control your portion size.

The Problem:  You Eat Too Much Because You Get Too Hungry

If your strategy for eating less means that you just postpone meals and snacks as long as you can, it may backfire on you.  When you skip meals, you probably won’t eat less overall. Instead, you’ll just get overly hungry – and overeat when you finally get the chance.

The Fix: You don’t necessarily have to eat on a schedule, but your body will let you know when it needs fuel – which, for most people, happens every 3-4 hours. Plan out not only what you’re going to eat for meals, but think about healthy snacks, too.  And try to include a bit of protein each time you eat to take advantage of its staying power.

The Problem: You Eat Too Much When You’re Stressed

The problem with stress eating is twofold – not only do you wind up taking in calories you don’t need, but stress eating often doesn’t make you feel any better, either.  So the trick here is finding other ways to deal with the stress.

The Fix: When you feel an emotional food binge coming on, put your feelings down on paper.  It can help you to pinpoint your eating triggers, and it also puts the brakes on for a minute or two – often long enough to delay the urge to splurge.  It’s been said time and again – but one of the best strategies for dealing with emotional eating is to find other ways to deal with your stress.  Call a friend, take a walk or make yourself a cup of tea.  Take a moment to reflect on your feelings without judgment – it’s okay to be lonely or bored sometimes.

The Problem: You Eat Too Much Because You Eat Too Fast

How to eat less: 5 tips that really workFast eaters know all too well that it takes a little while for your brain to register that your stomach is full – about 20 minutes, in fact.  Which is why when you eat a huge meal really quickly you might feel okay at first… but positively stuffed a few minutes later.

The Fix: You could try eating in front of a mirror (some people swear that’s what finally broke them of the fast-eating habit) but it’s probably more practical to use some other tried-and-true tactics.  “Eating quickly” often goes hand-in-hand with “eating while distracted” (see Problem #1, above) – so take note.  Eating in courses works well – try having your salad first, or your veggies.  Rather than sitting down with everything at once, you can begin to fill up on the lower-calorie elements of your meal before moving on to the main course.  Practice taking smaller bites (that mirror might come in handy here) and putting your utensils down between bites.  If you’re eating something that needs to be cut up – like a chicken breast – cut it up as you go.  And, include plenty of high-fiber foods in your meals, too – they’re not only filling, but they require more chewing, which can help slow you down.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.