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Do You Have 'Quick Fix' Dieters In Your Life?


When it comes to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle, everyone has to do what works best for them.  I can give all kinds of reasons why a balanced diet and regular exercise is the way to go.  But in the end, everyone has to find a style of eating and activity that they can live with for the rest of their lives.  It’s not my place to judge whether or not someone is right or wrong if they choose to go about weight loss in a different way.
Posted 5/16/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 80 comments   12,372 views
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Should You Maintain Your Weight before You Lose?


"Weight loss is really hard---but maintaining that weight loss is even harder!"  If anyone out there agrees with this statement; please raise your hand. 
 
That’s what I thought. There are lots of hands held high.  It seems that most people struggle with the yo-yo syndrome: lose the weight, gain the weight, lose the weight, gain the weight.  But, what’s a dieter to do?  Perhaps it is time to put the cart before the horse.
 
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine recently conducted a "switcharoo" when it came to weight loss and weight maintenance.  They took 267 overweight and obese females and divided them into two groups.  The control group went through a traditional 20-week weight-loss program followed by an eight-week maintenance phase. 

The test group went through the eight-week maintenance phase first, and then focused on weight loss for 20 weeks.  The results were surprising to say the least, and significant.  While each group lost about the same amount of weight--17 pounds or 9% of their initial body weight--the "maintenance-first" group only gained back three pounds at their one-year follow-up but the "weight loss first" group had gained back seven pounds, on average. 
 
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it!  But guess what?  Those women who first spent eight weeks mastering the tools, techniques and skills for weight maintenance were better equipped mentally and physically to handle the day-in, day-out struggle of their toxic food environment after the 28-week program was completed.  Are you itching to discover how?  
Posted 4/11/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Becky Hand : 113 comments   35,641 views
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Do Raspberry Ketones Really Help You Lose Weight?


Before you jump on the raspberry ketone bandwagon, there are a few things you should know about this over-priced, proclaimed weight-loss miracle in a bottle. I tell you what they don't want you to know about raspbery ketones, in my latest blog on Huffington Post. Click here to read it.
Posted 3/6/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Becky Hand : 48 comments   94,564 views
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Smart Strategies to Bust Big Cravings


There's more to healthy eating and weight loss than simply tracking your food. The way you think about food, respond to hunger, and deal with cravings also affects your diet and overall health. Look up ''crave'' in the dictionary and you will find that it means ''to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly.'' So, it makes sense that you don’t usually crave specific foods due to physical hunger; cravings are often complex and happen for a variety of reasons, both physical and emotional. There is a big difference between a craving and actual hunger.

But cravings are not necessarily ''bad.'' They are normal and can have a place in any healthy lifestyle. However, constantly giving in to your cravings can lead to overeating and an unbalanced diet. Learning to satisfy your cravings in a controlled manner will keep your relationship with food in balance. Here are some common scenarios when cravings tend to strike—and how to bust them in a healthy way.
Posted 2/21/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 29 comments   25,093 views
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Eating Habits of ''The Biggest Loser'': Inspirational or Bad Example?


"The Biggest Loser" is a television show that's gained increasing popularity over the last few years. Contestants lose astounding amounts of weight in a relatively short period of time, inspiring others who watch the show to try and follow in their footsteps. The contestants are forced to dramatically overhaul their eating habits. But are the methods they use healthy? Do they help them establish habits they can maintain long term?
Posted 2/13/2013  7:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 1006 comments   37,872 views
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How Many Calories Are in Your Favorite Valentine's Treats?


Whether you're single, taken, or somewhere in-between this Valentine's Day, one thing is for certain: You're bound to be bombarded with chocolate. From the office candy jar, to the red and pink display in the grocery store, there's no escaping decadent truffles, chocolate-covered strawberries, and other pretty, sugary delights. The good news is that it you can have your chocolate and eat it, too, as long as you know what to choose! If you had a choice between three pieces of Godiva chocolate or five Hershey's Kisses, which would be the slimmer pick?
Posted 2/9/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 49 comments   28,289 views
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10 Single-Serving Sweet Treats


If I could choose what to take with me to the proverbial desert island, sweet treats would be right up there on my list. One of the reasons I exercise so consistently is so that I have the option to enjoy them with family, when eating out, or for spontaneous celebrations. At the same time, I refuse to cook large quantities of desserts, mainly because I end up throwing them out to avoid temptation. One strategy I find useful is to prepare single serving desserts that satisfy the urge, but without circumventing my nutrition plan. Enjoy these fun and tasty single serving treats. 
Posted 2/5/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 22 comments   46,237 views
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10 Tips to Lose 10 Pounds


Congratulations: You have officially survived the holiday season! Now it's time to get back on the wagon and reach some major milestones in the new year. Weight loss may be at the top of your list of goals for 2013, as it is for many people. And whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, you're going to have to make some changes to your lifestyle habits.

The good news is that you don't have to completely overhaul your life all at once. At SparkPeople, we believe that small changes can lead to BIG results—and the ever-growing number of success stories from our members is proof of that! Millions of people just like you have been in your shoes and have come out on the other side happier, healthier and fitter than they could have ever imagined. And they've learned some bits of wisdom along the way that you can now use to your advantage along your own journey. Are you ready to lose your first 10 pounds of 2013? These helpful weight-loss tips from successful SparkPeople members will help you do just that!
Posted 1/3/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 68 comments   45,569 views
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What a Serving Size Really Looks Like


Ever gulp down a container of juice, only to find out there were actually 2 1/2 servings in that 20-ounce bottle? Gobbled up a "personal" size bag of chips? What about that pint of ice cream in the freezer? That surely is one serving. Right?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you're not alone. Food companies and restaurants often try to trick us by making it really difficult to determine how many portions are in a package.

Most of us have experienced portion distortion, especially as we start our healthy living journey.  Portion distortion is widespread, but thankfully it's something that's easy to overcome!

Today we're sharing an eye-opening graphic that will show you how much many of us are really eating--and how much we should be eating! We put our marketing intern, Betsy Emmert, on the case!
Posted 11/15/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 73 comments   49,336 views
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I Lost Weight On the Jellybean Diet and You Can Too!!


Okay, the title of this blog is slightly facetious.  I didn’t lose weight on the Jellybean Diet, and in fact, I’ve never even heard of it; although I would not be surprised if it exists.  Every day I hear about some new diet designed to help you quickly and easily lose weight so that you never have to worry about that number on the scale again.  If only it were that simple.  Weight loss is hard, and even though we know better, it’s still easy to get sucked into believing these claims.    
Posted 9/25/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 69 comments   29,759 views
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You Asked: Is the Raw (Vegan) Diet a Healthy Way to Lose Weight?


In college when I began to really study up on nutrition, I was interested in all kinds of diets. Although health was important to me, I was also desperate to lose weight. At the time I was vegan (yes, it's totally possible to be an overweight vegan!) and someone turned me on to the raw diet. While vegan eating is one kind of diet and lifestyle (that eschews all animal products and only eats plant-based foods), the raw diet takes veganism a step further. While there are raw styles of eating that do involve eating raw meat or raw eggs, this blog will specifically talk about the raw vegan diet.
Posted 9/12/2012  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 4 comments   11,101 views
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You Asked: ''Should I Be Concerned about Going Over My Daily Cholesterol Limit?''


Is one day of high-cholesterol eating going to hurt your health? Great question! 

Dietary cholesterol usually gets a bad rap, but did you know that your body actually needs cholesterol? That's because cholesterol is a building block of body cells and hormones. It makes up 50% of your nervous system and is necessary for metabolism, too. In moderate amounts, it is essential to good health. But like many things in life, too much of a good thing can lead to problems.
Posted 8/7/2012  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 0 comments   1,015 views
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5 Weight Loss Tips for Breastfeeding Moms


Breastmilk is the ideal first food for your baby. Breastfeeding had been found to help speed recovery after labor for the mom and assists in losing weight gained during pregnancy.

While there are many things moms wish they had known about breastfeeding, one of the most common concerns relates to frustration at not losing all their pregnancy weight. Not eating enough calories is the biggest barrier to weight loss success during breastfeeding. Many times moms incorrectly believe that cutting calories is the key to weight loss after pregnancy. Unfortunately, they forget the human body is designed to protect itself from starvation during times when food isn't readily available. The body burns calories all day long as part of your basal metabolic rate (BMR), because it takes energy (calories) for your body to perform basic physiological functions that are necessary for life—breathing, digesting, circulating, thinking and more. Add to that, normal daily physical activity (bathing, walking, typing and exercising) and you have the energy needs the body requires each day to function normally.

Maternal fat stores serve as a wonderful and constant source of available energy to ensure the body always has the energy it needs to produce milk at the rate and amount a little one requests. The goal in post-pregnancy nutrition is to encourage the body to slightly dip into maternal energy stores each day to meet the increased energy needs. To promote this process, breastfeeding moms should increase their daily calorie intake after delivery by about 500 calories over their pre-pregnancy needs. When you do this, your metabolism can work efficiently and will rely on approximately 250 additional calories each day from the maternal fat stores. This is about the same amount of energy as if you participated in 30 minutes of mild to moderate cardio activity and will ensure a slow, steady weight loss back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Here are five principles that can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight after delivery while making sure you are producing adequate milk to meet your little one's needs.

Posted 6/13/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 11 comments   75,793 views
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You Asked: Are There Any Risks to Becoming a Vegetarian?


Great question. It's more often that we hear the possible health benefits of a vegetarian diet touted than we ever hear people talking about it possibly being unhealthy. But generally speaking, research shows that a well-planned vegetarian diet can be extremely healthy. Plant-based foods are naturally low in fat (and most often feature heart-healthy fats), are free of cholesterol, and are high in fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. In fact, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has reported that vegan and vegetarian diets can significantly reduce one's risk of contracting heart disease, colon and lung cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, obesity, and a number of other debilitating conditions.
Posted 6/3/2012  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 4 comments   1,893 views
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The Best Diet for Weight Loss


We’re a society that tends to love quick fixes.  Even though you know deep down that a diet promising you’ll “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” is too good to be true, it’s still tempting to try.  When your hard work doesn’t show immediate results on the scale, it’s easy to get discouraged.  But what’s worse:  losing a bunch of weight quickly, only to gain it all back?  Or losing weight slowly in a healthy way that’s going to help you keep it off for good?  A new study validates the idea that those who succeed in keeping the weight off do it by eating less and exercising more.  
Posted 5/1/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 50 comments   27,848 views
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