Blog Posts by SHAPE magazine

  • Is CLA the Secret to Losing Belly Fat?

    Will a CLA supplement help me lose weight?Will a CLA supplement help me lose weight?By SHAPE Diet Doctor, Mike Roussell, PhD

    Does conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) live up to its name? Lately, we've been hearing a lot about it and the wonders it can allegedly do for weight loss. So we went to our Diet Doctor to see if he could cut through the misinformation and get to the bottom of the matter. Here's what he had to say:

    Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has been touted as an effective, stimulant-free, weight-loss supplement for more than a decade now, but unfortunately the scientific data doesn't jive with the sales pitch. CLA is a trans fat that is found in small amount in dairy foods and almost negligible amounts in grass-fed beef (despite 'high levels of CLA' being one of the touted benefits). CLA is actually a umbrella term for several different types of trans fats similar in chemical structure. More research is necessary to tease out which type of CLA is actually the most beneficial (but more on that later).

    RELATED: The Top 20 Artery-Cleansing Foods You Should Be

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  • Do You Really Need That? 5 Fitness Items to Ditch

    Weight-lifting beltWeight-lifting belt1. Weight lifting belts: Gym folklore says that wearing a wide leather belt while lifting will support your back, prevent injury, and allow you to lift heavier. And we've all seen the ripped guys strutting around in weight belts at the gym, so they must work, right? Unfortunately science says the exact opposite.

    Research done by Stuart McGill, author of Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance , shows that while wearing a belt may temporarily decrease pain and allow for heavier lifts, it can ultimately cause more frequent and more severe injuries. Why? The belts don't teach you how to stabilize your core when you lift and encourage improper form.

    Do you need it? No. If you need a weight belt to perform a lift, then you either need to reduce your load or check your form.

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    RELATED: 7 Pop Culture-Inspired Workouts

    Sport recovery drinksSport recovery drinks2. Sport recovery drinks: First there were sports drinks, then came sport-specific drinks, and now we have drinks "specially

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  • 5 Tasty Alternatives to the Ice Cream Truck

    Strawberry smoothie bowlStrawberry smoothie bowlWhip up one of these easy smoothie recipes to take on the go. All are so tasty, you'll never believe they're healthy!

    1. Strawberry smoothie bowl:
    Eating this smoothie with a spoon makes it seem even more like an indulgent dessert (but it's not even close!).

    7 large frozen strawberries
    4 ice cubes
    1 ½ c. milk
    1 scoop strawberry or vanilla protein powder
    2 pinches xanthan gum (for thickening)

    Recipe provided by Peanut Butter Fingers

    RELATED: 5 Must-Try Mexican Meals

    Pina colada frozen smoothiePina colada frozen smoothie2.Piña colada frozen smoothie: A frozen cocktail isn't exactly the breakfast of champions, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a pina colada in the morning. Just nix the rum and add a scoop of protein powder to the blender instead.

    1 frozen banana
    1 scoop vanilla protein powder
    ½ tsp. coconut extract
    ¼ c. canned pineapple
    1 c. milk
    1 tsp. xanthan gum (for thickening)

    Cocoa overload smoothie bowlCocoa overload smoothie bowl3. Cocoa overload smoothie bowl:

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  • The Downsides to Meeting Your Goal Weight

    By Rachel Wilkerson for

    You've reached your goal weight. Now what happens?You've reached your goal weight. Now what happens?When I started losing weight, I often looked at women who were thinner than I was and thought, "Wow, her life must be so easy." I knew that once I got to my goal weight , I'd feel awesome, and healthy living would be just as easy for me as it was for all the "I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight" women around me.

    Now that I've lost 75 pounds, I can say that I do feel awesome... but I can't say that a healthy lifestyle comes easy. Weight maintenance isn't as simple as I expected. While being at my goal weight has its perks, I have to admit: I failed to appreciate some of the great benefits I enjoyed along the way. If I did it all over again, here's what I'd do different:

    Celebrate Better Health Just as Much as a Smaller Dress Size. I always thought I worked out for the health benefits (mental and physical) as much as I did for losing weight , but now that I no longer have thinner thighs as a goal, I'm seeing that's not the case. I've

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  • Bizarre Hollywood Beauty Secrets

    Victoria and David BeckhamVictoria and David BeckhamBy Jené Luciani

    A-list celebs have unprecedented access to cutting-edge beauty treatments the rest of the world could only dream of. But sometimes those beauty secrets sound more like a nightmare than a dream. Remember when Demi Moore revealed she was using blood-sucking leeches to "detoxify?" Or how about when Madonna was reportedly using a face cream made out of human placenta?

    Think it can't get any stranger than that? Think again! Here's our roundup of the latest and strangest Hollywood beauty secrets.

    1. The Bird Poop Facial: Yes, you read it correctly. It's a facial… using bird poop as its main ingredient. And celebs are 'flocking' to spas to get the odd treatment. Also referred to as the Geisha Facial because of its Japanese origins, several high-end spas are charging hundreds of dollars a pop to slather on this 'unique' ingredient, which is said to leave skin shiny and smooth. Both Victoria and David Beckham reportedly indulge in the facials that use a mixture of

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  • Must-Try Mexican Meals

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo (or any fiesta, really) in a healthy manner with these delicious twists on traditional Mexican fare.

    Grilled corn on the cob with pesto sauce. Grilled corn on the cob with pesto sauce. 1. Grilled corn on the cob with pesto:
    372 calories , 3.1 grams sugar, 31 grams fat, 20.1 grams carbohydrates, 8.6 grams protein

    Liven up grilled corn on the cob by slathering each piece with delicious, homemade Mexican-flavored pesto. Made with antioxidant-rich cilantro and pumpkin seeds, the piquant sauce boasts a slightly spicy bite and serves as a perfect addition paired with fish or chicken too!

    "Comparing this to a classic Italian pesto, I replace the basil with cilantro, pine nuts with spicy roasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil with canola oil, and Parmesan with cotija cheese," says chef Jeffrey Saad.

    8 ears corn, husk peeled and discarded
    2 c. cilantro, washed, large stems removed
    3/4 c. canola oil
    1/4 c. roasted green pumpkin seeds
    1/2 c. cotija cheese, grated
    2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
    1/2 c.

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  • 10 Simple Steps to a Healthier, Happier You

    by Jené Luciani

    Ana AlexandreAna AlexandreIt sounds obvious. Drink more water, get more sleep, stop complaining, and your life will improve. But sometimes we need a little reminder that a few simple steps can make a huge different in our ultimate happiness and overall health.

    We reached out to renowned life coach and nutritionist Ana Alexandre to find out 10 simple tips for a happier and healthier you!

    1. Eliminate clutter: Ever wonder why those people on Hoarders look so miserable? Climbing out from underneath piles of stuff can also mean emotional freedom from items that could be mentally weighing you down.

    "Get rid of all the things you don't need or that are not good for you," Alexandre says. "Ditch clothes you never wear and create more space to see the clothes you do actually wear."

    And from your closets to your kitchen, get rid of unhealthy foods too. "Clean out your cupboards, and get rid of all processed foods like those containing white flours, sugar, and unhealthy oils,"

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  • 5 Health and Fitness Myths You're Still Buying Into

    By Jessica Smith for

    We rounded up some of the most prevalent health and fitness myths we see and read about in the healthy living sphere and went to the experts to separate fact from fiction, once and for all.

    How much water per day should you drink?How much water per day should you drink?How much water should you drink per day?
    You've heard: You should drink a gallon of water every day .

    The truth:"There is no one right answer to how much water you need, as it depends on each person and their lifestyle-you may need to modify your fluid intake depending on how active you are, where you live, your health, and if you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding ," says Jari Love, a certified personal trainer and creator of the Get RIPPED! Workout.

    While we've all heard the eight glasses a day recommendation, your body may need more or less water than this, especially if you are exercising more often or ingesting more water elsewhere (water-rich foods like fruit and veggies and even beverages like skim milk and juice all count towards your hydration).

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  • The Top Hydrating Foods

    With the weather warming up, it's more important than ever to stay hydrated. But if the idea of downing 8 glasses of water doesn't appeal to you, have no fear: Although it's recommended that women over 19 get at least 2.7 liters of fluids per day, that includes all fluids, not just water--and food can provide a significant chunk of that. So if you're trying to increase your intake of fluids, add these hydrating foods to your diet to get a boost:

    CucumbersCucumbers1. Cucumbers: The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling-which is why cucumbers are often used to help swollen eyes and sunburn .

    RELATED: 10 Smoothie Recipes You'll Love

    Tomato sauceTomato sauce2. Tomato sauce: It may vary depending on the brand, but most store-bought tomato sauces are about 90 percent water. Plus, one half-cup serving of tomato sauce has only 50 calories and zero grams of fat, while the same amount of creamy Alfredo sauce weighs

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  • Should You Carb Load Before a Marathon?

    Carb loading before a marathon: yes or no?Carb loading before a marathon: yes or no?You've heard that carb loading the week before a marathon can improve performance. Unfortunately, research now shows that this might not apply to women, and that in fact, carb loading before a race can hurt women. So we went to the SHAPE Diet Doctor, Mike Roussell, PhD, to see why. Here's what he had to say:

    The week before a race, many distance runners taper their training while increasing carbohydrate intake (up to 60-70 percent of total calories two to three days before). The goal is to store up as much energy (glycogen) in the muscles as possible to extend the time to fatigue, prevent "hitting a wall" or "bonking," and improve race performance. Unfortunately, carb loading only seems to deliver on some of those promises. While carb loading does super saturate your muscle glycogen stores, this doesn't always translate into improved performance, especially for women. Here's why:

    Hormonal Differences Between Men and Women
    One of the lesser-known effects of estrogen, the primary

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