Blog Posts by SHAPE magazine

  • The Stages of Weight-Loss Grief

    By Rachel Wilkerson
    The stages of weight-loss grief. The stages of weight-loss grief. If there's one thing I've learned as a professional "before" and "after" (I lost about 75 pounds during the first few years after high school graduation) it's that the hardest part about losing weight is not rejecting dessert-it's managing the reactions of your nearest and dearest. You're suffering through really intense workouts, but they are suffering through very intense emotions. I've narrowed it down to six stages of weight-loss grief:

    1. Pride. Initially, everyone from your BFF to your mail lady will be so happy for you. They'll hug you, get tears in their eyes, and tell you how proud they are. And they probably mean well. But after a while, you'll start to think, "OK...I gave up McDonald's and stopped drinking eight jumbo margaritas every weekend. It's not that big of a deal."

    Don't be surprised if you get a promotion at work and no one is interested in hearing about it. Who cares about your job? You're a size four!

    RELATED: What If You Got Paid to Make

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  • Why Eating Right and Gym Motivation Really Are All Mental

    It really is all mental. It really is all mental. Mind over matter. We've all heard that, right? Now, new studies are showing that exercise and eating right really is mental. So-called 'brain training' is proving effective in helping people make smarter food choices, work out more often, and even cut out unhealthy habits like excessive drinking.

    We reached out to Lumosity, a company that develops games and programs for brain training, to find out how we can apply the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience to improve cognitive abilities and make healthier lifestyle choices.

    Memory games and positive thinking may help to control our impulses to eat unhealthy foods.
    Sitting at the computer is not exactly synonymous with exercise. But, according to recent studies, daily 'brain training' with online programs such as Lumosity's Memory Matrix, can strengthen willpower and promote healthy lifestyle choices. Researchers in Amsterdam found that problem drinkers who followed challenging cognitive training regimens like memory games

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  • 5 Questions NOT to Ask on a First Date

    First-date questions to avoidFirst-date questions to avoidYour eyes met across the room, or, your online dating profiles just "clicked." Whatever the circumstances, you saw potential, he asked you out, and now you're ready for that butterflies-in-your-tummy first date.

    So what happens when you're both sitting across the table from one another and the conversation turns personal? Most of us know to stay away from controversial topics like politics and religion, but what is fair game for two people attempting to get to know each other? If you hope to turn him from first date to soul mate, here are five questions that you should never ask.

    RELATED: 14 Things Men Wish Women Knew

    1. Asking about "The Ex."
    This one often slips out in storytelling when dishing about holiday memories, bad dates, or old college tales. "Try to keep it in check as much as possible," says Hilary Rushford, founder of gentlemen's branding blog dapper & the duchess. "You don't want to sound hung up on someone else. Even just the idea of the last person you were crazy

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  • 7 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

    Can't sleep? That's one symptom you shouldn't ignore. Can't sleep? That's one symptom you shouldn't ignore. It's common to shrug off the occasional sleep problems, bouts of diarrhea, or headaches, but when should you seek medical attention? We went to the experts to get their opinions on seven common symptoms and when you can rest easy--and when you should head to the doctor's office.

    1. Sleep problems: Amy Korn-Reavis, respiratory therapist and sleep technologist, cautions you should not ignore sleep-related issues. "I have been working in this field for a long time. I believe one of the things people do not talk to their physicians about is their sleep problems," she says. "If a person has heart issues, diabetes, or high blood pressure and they have issues sleeping, snoring, or high levels of fatigue, they should talk to their physician about it."

    RELATED: How to Live to 100, Starting Today

    If you don't know where to begin and are suffering from the conditions mentioned, Korn-Reavis suggests using an Epworth sleepiness scale or a Berlin questionnaire and discussing the results with your

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  • 5 Surprising Foods that Can Slow Down Your Workout

    FlaxseedsFlaxseedsDid you know that certain foods, even healthy ones, could be sabotaging your workout? While all of the foods mentioned below make great additions to a healthy diet and active lifestyle, they should also be avoided at least two hours before you work out, in order to help you maximize your workout regime. Read on to find out which foods we're talking about:

    1. Flaxseeds: While they are great for your body (and weight loss), flaxseeds are full of fiber, which could impede your workout efforts by causing gas and/or bloating, says Stella Metsovas, a clinical nutritionist and diet expert in Los Angeles, Calif.

    "You definitely want to limit the amount of fiber you take in two hours before and after exercising. In addition to flaxseeds, stay away from fiber supplements, bran, and high-fiber breads and opt for a mixture of protein and carbohydrates instead right before your workout."

    RELATED: The Best and Worst Foods for Flat Abs

    Hard-boiled eggsHard-boiled eggs2. Hard-boiled eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of lean

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  • Use Your Brain for a Better Sex Life

    By Charlotte Andersen

    Three ways to use your brain for a better sex life. Three ways to use your brain for a better sex life. Sex is fun. I'm sure I don't need to sell you on the concept. But exactly how fun dancing the horizontal mambo is depends more on what's going on up top than, well, anywhere else. Your brain is your most powerful sex organ, and learning how it works can be the difference between "eh" and "ah!"

    Let's start with hormones. Any woman who's ever wondered why she cried through a shampoo commercial and ate six bars of chocolate only to find Aunt Flo on her doorstep the next day won't be surprised that hormones like dopamine (the happiness hormone), oxytocin (the cuddling hormone), and even testosterone (yes, girls have some too), rule our sex drive too. We tend to think of hormones as things that control us, but it turns out we have some control over them as well. And it all starts with your brain!

    RELATED: Am I Normal? Your Top Sex Questions Answered

    Dr Daniel Amen, researcher and author of the book Sex on the Brain: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life, compiled more

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  • The Best Fitness Tips from People Whose Body is Their Career

    Nicole Bulcher, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaderNicole Bulcher, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaderBeing fit and healthy is important for most people, but for a select few, staying in tip-top shape is actually part of their job description. All that pressure can be tough, so we asked these pros to share the healthy living tips that make each paycheck possible.

    1. Nicole Bulcher, Dallas Cowboys cheerleader: Nicole Bulcher, Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, swears by the Barre Method to get her "dancer's body". "The small and precise exercises work every muscle over the entire length of the body, and after you max-out each muscle group, you stretch it. I had never done this before, although my flexibility definitely showed improvement within the first couple of weeks."

    Kiana TomKiana Tom2. Kiana Tom, fitness model: Kiana Tom, fitness model and host of ESPN's Flex Appeal, says success is as much mental as it is physical. "I am a goal setter and I set more goals every day. I keep lists of goals in my office to stay on track."

    Ashley BouderAshley Bouder3. Ashley Bouder, ballet dancer: Ashley Bouder, principal dancer for the NYC Ballet,

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  • Would You Try Blood Testing for Optimal Health?

    Would you try blood testing for optimal health?Would you try blood testing for optimal health?It's dinnertime and all you want is a huge bowl of peppermint ice cream. But why? Is it due to PMS , blood sugar swings, food cravings, illness, or perhaps just a susceptibility to crafty advertising ? That's the tricky thing about our bodies-figuring out what is actually going on inside them takes a weird mash-up of science, voodoo, and cosmic luck. One of my greatest fantasies (ready to find out how truly geeky I am?) is to have a computer screen attached to my brain that would tell me exactly what's going on inside my organs at any given time. While so far that's not a scientific reality, I did get one step closer to living my dream when I got to try out a new service called Inside Tracker that analyzes your bloodwork and then recommends an optimal nutrition and exercise plan tailored to you .

    RELATED: Can Pinterest Change Your Life?

    Professional athletes have been using these types of tests (generally based on blood tests and questionnaires) for a long time, but they've recently

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  • Food Bloggers Reveal: "The Weirdest Food I've Ever Tried"

    We asked some of our favorite food bloggers to describe the weirdest food they've ever tried, and they delivered! From alligator gumbo to bugs to monkfish liver to fish scales, here are their bizarre food stories:

    Alligator gumboAlligator gumbo1. Alligator gumbo:
    Describe the food in one word: Chickeny/fishy.

    How did it taste: When I tried it in pie form, the taste was a bit overwhelmed by the buttery pastry, but when I tasted it in the gumbo, I really got to see how tender and flavorful alligator could be. Combined with hot peppers, crawfish, and veggies, the alligator made for a mouthwatering gumbo.

    Would you eat it again: Absolutely! I love eating strange and unconventional foods, especially when they have a great flavor. It's really the issue of whether or not I'd be able to find 'gator in the Chicago suburbs.

    --Kathryn Steed of

    Pictured: Alligator gumbo from West Virginia Roadkill Cook-Off in Marlinton, WV

    Pig's facePig's face2. Pig's face:
    Describe the food in one word

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  • 5 Fast and Easy Meals for the Girl that Doesn't Cook

    Holy deliciousness hummusHoly deliciousness hummusCooking at home and eating healthy often go hand in hand. But if you're not a kitchen-savvy gal, the best nutrition experts and bloggers have come to the rescue. We gathered their favorite quick and easy recipes for healthy meals that require as few ingredients as possible.

    1. Holy deliciousness hummus: Even food bloggers need an occasional break from the kitchen. Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point falls back on her creamy homemade hummus recipe when she wants a delicious, healthy snack. "Make a big batch ahead of time and eat it all week long," she says. "It tastes great on toast, bagels, or crackers; stuffed in celery; scooped on carrots; or even as a pasta sauce alternative."
    1 c. white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    1/4 c. goat cheese
    1 tbsp. tahini (sesame seed butter)
    1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
    1 tbsp. olive oil
    1 clove fresh garlic (or 1/4 tbsp. minced garlic)
    Two heavy pinches salt
    One heavy pinch pepper

    Combine all ingredients in a food processor

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