Blog Posts by SHAPE magazine

  • 3 Tips to Lighten Up Your Coffee-Shop Order

    A latte here, a sweetened iced coffee there -it's hard to think that your trips to the coffee shop could be impeding your weight-loss goals, but those extra calories can add up quick!

    In fact, it takes just an extra 100 calories a day to gain a pound a month. Although many coffee shops have lightened drinks, they still might not be your healthiest option when it comes to getting your cup of Joe. Read on for our top tips for enjoying the coffee shop guilt-free!

    1. Order a cup of black coffee. Skip the specialty drinks at the coffee shop altogether, and instead order a cup of plain, black coffee. Not only is it cheaper, it's virtually calorie-free. If you like sweetness or a little milk, add it yourself so that you know exactly what's going in your cup of coffee shop java!

    2. Get the smallest size. Sure, it's cheaper to buy in bulk, but do you really need it? When ordering custom coffee shop drinks, it's best to stick to a small portion size. All good things in moderation!

    3. Order your

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  • Is Your Multi-Vitamin Doing More Harm Than Good?

    Every morning when you pop that big pill do you proudly think about how healthy you are? You might want to think again. It appears that not only do your vitamins not protect you from disease, but they may be shortening your life in and of themselves.

    Researchers at the University of Minnesota analyzed data from the Iowa Women's Health Study of 38,000 women during the past 30 years and discovered that "women who took supplements had, on average, a 2.4 percent increased risk of dying over the course of the 19-year study, compared with women who didn't take supplements," even after adjusting for factors like age and calorie intake.

    Scientists think the problem lies particularly in ingesting too much iron, vitamin A , and folic acid, adding, "Most supplements contain higher amounts of nutrients than would be derived from food, and it is known that several compounds can be toxic in higher amounts, especially when consumed for a long time, as some of these accumulate to body."

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  • Should I Count Calories or Carbs?

    By SHAPE diet doctor Mike Roussell, PhD.
    Low-carb, low-calorie, no-carb, no-calories. Everybody's been on one of those diets, and I think we can all agree that for the most part, that's why they're called diets- they don't, you know, actually work. But if you're trying to lose weight, how important is it to watch your calorie count? Is it healthier to monitor the amount of carbs you're consuming, instead? We went to the SHAPE diet doctor to get the answer. Here's what he had to say:

    If you had to pick one, I'd pick reducing and controlling carbohydrates. Focusing on carbohydrates instead of calories is preferred because when you restrict carbohydrates in your diet, you will eat fewer calories overall.

    RELATED: The Real Deal on Detoxes and Cleanses

    Back in 2006, a group of researcher sat down to answer the ubiquitous question-what works better: a low- carbohydrate diet or a traditional calorie-restricted, low-fat diet? They found five tightly-controlled studies that met their

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  • 5 Things You Didn't Know About Pilates

    Did you know these following five things about Pilates? We didn't! Read on for five fun facts about this popular workout.

    1. Pilates original name? Contrology! "Mr. Joe Pilates, the inventor, intended it to be about the art of control, an exercise method where you control your body, mind, and muscles," says Alycea Ungaro, personal trainer and founder of the Real Pilates studio in New York City. The moves he designed focus on core muscles in the "powerhouse" (abs, pelvic floor, lower back), proper alignment of the spine, and awareness of breath.

    2. Mat moves are vintage Pilates: Joe Pilates' original sequence of 34 mat exercises is still going strong in studios nationwide. The hundred, the roll-up, single-leg stretch, double-leg stretch…some of us can recite these in our sleep. "Trends like Yogalates and Piloxing (Pilates-boxing) tend to be short-lived," Ungaro says. "Now I see a return to authentic Pilates, the 34 original mat exercises from soup to nuts."

    3. You can do Pilates on a

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  • 5 Moves for Flat Abs Fast

    Say goodbye to boring crunches and hello to flat abs with these five moves.

    1. Weighted bicycle: According to a San Diego State University study, the bicycle is one of the most effective abs exercises you can do, and this weighted version will have your rectus abdominus working overtime.

    How to do it:
    Start lying on your back with both knees bent. Extend your arms overhead, bending your left arm behind your head and holding onto your right arm, just above your elbow, with your left hand. Bend your right knee and press your right foot on the inside of your extended left leg (left leg should be off the floor and low). Lift your right shoulder off the floor and turn it in towards your left leg, while you lift both legs up about 45 degrees. Lower back to start position, that's one rep. Perfrom 15 reps on each side.

    Bonus tip: Exhale as you perform the movement, and think of drawing your belly button in deeper to your spine on the hardest part of the move.
    2. Open knee tucks: This move

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  • 3 Delicious Ways to Cook Pumpkin

    This antioxidant packed fall-favorite has never looked or tasted better! Try these healthy and delicious recipes today!

    1. Crunchy pumpkin salad: Take full advantage of the season's most popular squash with this nutritious spinach salad! Crunchy pumpkin seeds (a great source of iron, protein, and zinc) liven up the dish, while pumpkin cubes add a splash of color.

    5 oz. baby spinach
    3 c. pumpkin, cubed
    1/2 c. pumpkin seeds, hulled
    4 tbsp. dried cherries
    1/4 c. crumbled Gorgonzola
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast until slightly browned. Toss the spinach and pumpkin together, then add seeds, dried cherries and Gorgonzola. Season with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

    2. Roasted pumpkin: A side dish of roasted pumpkin calls for minimal preparation time. Simply seasoned with parsley and olive oil, this recipe is high

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  • Enjoy Your Favorite Mexican Food While Staying Healthy

    Recipes provided by Danyelle Freeman of Restaurant Girl.

    Who doesn't love Mexican food? We do! Unfortunately, our favorite Mexican dishes tend to be loaded with fat and calories. That's why we love these variations on our favorite traditional Mexican foods. Don't give up taste or flavor; just make these easy swaps instead!

    1. Guacamole: Guacamole often gets a bad rap because avocados are rich in fat. But it's actually good fat-the kind that's monounsaturated, helps lower cholesterol, and good for your heart. Not to mention that avocado's are actually a fruit, not a vegetable, and they're higher in potassium than bananas. The creamy combination of avocado, cilantro, onion, and tomato is divine and even better for you if you scoop up this dip with jicama or carrot sticks instead of tortilla chips.

    2. Posole: Forget chicken noodle soup, this traditional Mexican soup is my favorite cure for a cold! It's typically made with pork or chicken, but we prefer the healthier chicken version of

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  • 5 Common Muscle Myths— Busted!

    I'm sure we've all heard these common workout myths before. Read on to see the truth (the answers might surprise you!) and get tips on how to make your workouts better and more efficient.

    1. Myth:
    Cardio is best to burn fat.
    Truth: While cardio burns more calories than resistance training during your workout, lifting weights torches more fat overall. In a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who completed an hour-long strength-training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than those who skipped the weights. The more muscle owned, the more fat burned.

    2. Myth: Lifting weights will make you bulky.
    Truth: Muscle hypertrophy (growth) occurs very slowly over a period of weeks, months, and years. I've heard people say that after they started lifting weights, they grew so much muscle that their jeans felt uncomfortably tight and too small. While that may be true, strength training is not the cause. Because muscle is

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  • Good News! Americans Are (Kind Of) Healthier Than We Thought!

    We hear so much about America's expanding waistlines and cancer trends that it's nice to get some good news every once in awhile! According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Americans are living an entire year longer than they were a decade ago because fewer people are dying from breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and HIV.

    RELATED: 5 Things To Know About Pancreatic Cancer

    The U.S. life expectancy increased to 77.8 years from 76.8 years in the last decade, according to the HHS' HealthyPeople 2010 report, the government agency's goals and program to improve the health of Americans. Other positive findings from the report include reducing the rate of tobacco use.

    RELATED: Are Jobs to Blame For Obesity?

    Where did the U.S. not do so great on its HealthyPeople 2010 goals? Obesity, diabetes, lack of physical activity and health disparities all came short. Despite this, the report states that these issues are much more

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  • What are the Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements for Women?

    By Mike Roussell, PhD, SHAPE diet doctor

    We got the diet doctor to answer all of our questions about the benefits of consuming fish oil supplements vs. fresh fish and whether or not there's really a difference (and why it's not the same with flaxseed oil).

    The health benefits of taking fish oil supplements are the same as what you get from eating essential fatty acids in fish. According to a 2007 study conducted by world renown omega-3 expert Dr. Bill Harris, your body absorbs the two healthy fats (EPA and DHA ) found in fatty fish and in fish oil supplements in a similar fashion, regardless of how you get them (eating vs. supplementation). This is great news for people who dislike fish or don't eat a lot of fatty fish.
    RELATED: What Are the Benefits of Juicing?

    Flaxseed, on the other hand, is a different story. The omega-3 fat found in flaxseed, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is known as a short-chain omega-3 fat, while other omega-3 fats like EPA and DHA (I won't bore you with

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