Blog Posts by LIVESTRONG.COM

  • A Closer Look at... The Cookie Diet

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    Imagine a parallel universe where instead of judiciously counting calories to shed those extra pounds, all you had to do was eat sweets. Sounds too good to be true, right?

    Well, it isn't, claims a slew of marketers who swear that dieting can be as easy as eating fewer meals and more cookies.

    A handful of so-called cookie diets are out there -- all with the same gist: Substitute your breakfast and lunch with protein-packed cookies and finish off your day with a balanced meal; then sit back and watch the weight disappear.

    For anyone living in a post-infomercial world, a quick-fix diet involving little more than baked goods might bring out the skeptic in you. So let's break this cookie diet down and see if it really adds up.

    One hundred percent of the reason why diets work is because they're low-calorie.

    Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietitian and author of "The Flexitarian Diet"

    What Is

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  • Exercises You've Never Tried

    If you're dreading another tedious visit to the health club, going nowhere on the elliptical machine or treadmill, then maybe a change in your exercise routine is in order. After all, even the most enthusiastic gym-goers can get stuck in a rut if they don't change things up once in a while.


    But there's no reason to quit working out just because you can't stomach another mind-numbing session of squats, pushups and lunges. Plenty of fresh training methods and fitness programs shape and tone while adding a new spark to your workout. And if you never had much enthusiasm for workouts in the first place, you just might find your attitude changing when you try one of these different fitness methods.

    TRX

    This device, consisting of adjustable straps with handles, uses your own bodyweight to get you into shape. It was created by a U.S. Navy Seal who wanted a way to keep fit while stationed in remote areas with no gyms available. As a result, this system weighs a very

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  • 7 Drinks That Won't Derail Your Diet

    It's a crowded bar and dozens of patrons are not-so-patiently awaiting their chance to order. The bartenders are surly and countless bottles line the shelves behind the bar, suggesting a dizzying number of drink options. Suddenly the bartender's eyes are on you. "What'll ya have?" he barks, and it sounds more like an order than a question. You're on the spot, customer, and you'd swear the jukebox is playing the music from "Jeopardy!". Time seems to be running out. So you opt for an old standby and shout out, "Rum and Coke!" Or "Heineken!" Or "White Russian!" Or any other reliable, familiar, high-in-calories drink. Oh, well. You can always resume your diet tomorrow morning.

    But it doesn't have to be this hard. You can have it all -- social life and healthy lifestyle -- achieving your weight loss goals while still joining in the revelry. You just need to know which drinks, enjoyed in moderation, will not destroy your diet.

    Red Wine

    The average 5-oz. glass of red wine contains

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  • A Closer Look at ... The hCG Diet

    It's no secret everyone is looking for a quick-fix diet. But as with anything that's too good to be true, it's rare when one of these diets work. And even when they do, it's even more rare when the weight stays off.

    And then there's the hCG diet. This weight-loss trend claims you can vaporize pounds by using a hormone produced in pregnant women. Bizarre? Perhaps. But the hCG diet -- which includes injections, drops or pills of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin -- has certainly garnered a great deal of interest.

    While most fad diets are short lived due to their ineffectiveness, the hCG diet just might be in the spotlight for more than a season. What's more, people on the diet claim the weight actually stays off and that their lifestyle and diets have changed for the better.

    What Exactly Is hCG?

    Human chorionic gonadotropin is a polypeptide hormone produced by the human placenta and found in the urine of pregnant women. This is the hormone that pregnancy tests detect. It

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  • Deconstructing a Nutrition Label

    Read any good labels lately? You will if you want to know what's good for you.

    Most food products these days contain the precise information you need to make better food selection decisions.

    "Each line of the Nutrition Facts panel can be very helpful, depending on what the consumer's specific nutrition needs are," said Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

    But the information is helpful only if it's noticed.

    "The most important thing to remember is to take the time to read the label," said Mary Poos, deputy director of the FDA Office of Nutrition Labeling and Dietary Supplements. "Many consumers spend very little time looking at the label, and some consumers only look at a label the first time they purchase a new product."

    It's best, however, to always look at the label.

    Try thinking of the Nutrition Facts label as a road map. It won't tell you where to go, but it can show you the best way to get there. Just as with a map,

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  • 10 Habits That Make You Gain Weight


    If losing weight were easy, no one would be overweight. Unfortunately, the facts are indisputable: A chili-cheese omelet is more delicious than an egg-white omelet, French fries taste better than side salads and chicken is yummier when battered and fried.

    On the other hand, being a healthy weight feels better than being overweight. And a healthy weight is a lot easier to accomplish when the right choices become second nature. In other words, weight-loss goals are more achievable when healthy choices turn into healthy habits.

    Bad Habits 1-3

    1) Poor Preparation.

    Boy Scouts and healthy eaters have the same motto: Be prepared. Having a refrigerator and pantry stocked with the right foods -- lean proteins, whole-grain carbohydrates, fruits, nonstarchy vegetables and healthy fats -- means you'll be prepared to eat what you should when you should. Similarly, entering a restaurant armed with a plan will keep you on the right track when dining out.

    Preparation also means

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  • Weights Vs. Cardio: Your Guide to the Perfect Body

    You run and you run, and you don't shed a pound. It's one of the leading emotional pain points for people who exercise. All of that effort and so little reward, but why is that? Simple: Cardio is not the fastest way to lose weight, and it's certainly not the only way. There is a solution, though, which will allow you to spend less time in the gym and see even better results.

    You've Heard: You Can't Burn Fat With Strength Training

    Far too many people are focused on how many calories they burn while they're in the gym, but this is shortsighted.

    Stop focusing on how many calories you burn in the gym and instead focus on how your body expends calories outside the gym. You burn calories throughout the day regardless of what you are doing, but exercise helps increase the rate at which you burn those calories. With most forms of traditional steady-state cardio, you expend calories while you're exercising, but once you stop, you quickly go back to your normal metabolic rate.

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  • The Truth About Losing Baby Weight

    The first few months after having a child can be the most rewarding of your life. Well, that could be until you find the time to look in the mirror. But just because your body changes after pregnancy doesn't mean you can't get in the best shape of your life.

    What to Expect

    When Natalie Fraschetti looked at her stomach for the first time after having her son, she thought, "Wow, how is that ever going to go back to something halfway normal?"

    Fraschetti, a 30-year-old engineer in Encinitas, California, gave birth to her first child in 2010. A longtime runner, her new physique seemed foreign.

    "It wasn't that it was even fat, it was just like a raisin, like a really soft, mushy raisin," she said.

    This experience is far from uncommon, and unfortunately, the soft mushiness doesn't just sit in the stomach.

    Jenny Burkett Widmaier, 28, an Atlanta-based photographer, exercised throughout her pregnancy with daily yoga routines and occasional boot camp classes. During her

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  • Never Hit a Strength Plateau Again


    It's called getting into a rut, and exercise enthusiasts are not immune.
    The problem is following the same routines. This trait is found equally in daily fitness fanatics and casual gym weekenders, so if your strength levels have not improved since the Bush administration -- George H.W. Bush -- it is probably high time to re-evaluate your strength-training program.

    Progressive Overload

    You have to learn to ask more of your body because to make genuine progress in building strength and fitness you have to think about building muscle and strength for years, not just a few weeks or months.

    In other words, a lifetime.

    The name of this game is progressive overload. You must insist on more from your muscles. You have to continually ask more from your body to give your muscles the proper stimulus for continued growth and a continued progression in your strength.

    Where many people make a mistake, however, is performing higher repetitions -- 10 to 15, for example -- and

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  • Bounce Back From an Eating Binge

    The urge to binge is primal, an instinct intended to protect us from starvation. "It goes back to the cavemen days," said Judith Beck, clinical psychologist and author of "The Beck Diet Solution: Train Yourself to Think Like a Thin Person." "People binged when food was plentiful to prepare for times when food was scarce or unavailable."

    And who hasn't been a victim of that primal urge, falling off the healthy-eating wagon and indulging in an all-out pig-out? If you've ever eaten yourself into an ice cream coma, you probably know the pure pleasure of an extreme eating binge. You probably also know the awful pain that follows, the guilt that descends after inhaling a box of Girl Scout cookies or the panic that strikes after a week of gorging on a cruise. But there's no need for reproach or a hunger strike. All it takes is some smart eating and a little extra exercise to get your fitness goals back on track.

    Why We Binge

    While binging may have been a way for our ancestors

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