Blog Posts by Liz Vaccariello, Editor-in-Chief, PREVENTION

  • 10 Top flat belly foods! (Summer shape up part 3)

    Welcome to my third summer shape up. Last week on Shine I shared ways to get rid of belly bloat in a few days. Now, I am going to talk about MUFAs and how they can help you slim down for summer.

    If you remember the dark days of dieting, i.e., the fat-free scourge of the early '90s followed by the great carb boycott a few years later, you should be overjoyed, as I am, that losing weight does not, and I mean NOT, require you to cut out an entire food group, ever. In fact some fats, like the healthy monounsaturated variety (known as MUFAs), actually help you lose weight faster, especially around your belly. These are the five MUFA food groups: Healthy oils, olives, avocados, nuts and dark chocolate. I'm all about weight-loss realism, so you obviously can't eat these foods in unlimited quantities but combining sensible MUFA portions with lean meats, healthy whole grains and fresh produce can help you lose weight faster and still look forward to eating your next meal. These are currently

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  • Lose belly bloat in 96 hours (and feel great in your swimsuit!)

    Welcome to my summer shape up, part 2! Last week on Shine, I shared two of the best ways I know of to drop pounds fast. A few of you asked, how do I get rid of belly flab quickly? Well, losing actual flab takes a little time, but reducing belly bloat-that's actually pretty easy, and with a few small adjustments you'll feel flatter and look slimmer in a matter of days (meet me here next week to find out how to get rid of belly fat permanently). But when I want to shrink that pesky pooch by the weekend, here's what I do:

    Drink jazzed up water Sometimes plain, is just so, well, plain, so I add a few low-cal extras: a splash of fruit juice, a little grated ginger, some fresh mint (click here for Prevention's own healthy infused water recipe). A little flavor goes a long way, and drinking enough water helps keep your digestive system moving.

    Take a lap after lunch Moving after you eat kick-starts the digestive process. I rarely have time to stretch my legs outside, but I make a point

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  • Are you afraid of your bathing suit? (Summer shape up part 1)

    [Ed. note -- ZOINKS! Swimsuit season is just around the bend. We've decided to jump into it now with tips on getting in shape, great suits for the body you have now and other fun posts today. Instead of stressing, enjoy!]

    There are roughly 26 days until the official start of swimsuit season-and there's panic in the air as surely as there is pollen. Even if you don't plan on playing beach volleyball in a string bikini, there's still no getting around the fact that hiding extra pounds in the summer is a challenge. Here's the upside: Losing even 5 pounds makes a BIG difference in how you look and feel. (Pick up a 5-pound dumbbell or bag of kitty litter and you'll see what I mean.) And losing it between now and May 31 st is not only doable but actually pretty easy. Here's your plan:

    • Eat flat belly foods, otherwise known as MUFAs (pronounced moo-fahs). These are foods that contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which are proven to help get rid of belly fat faster than
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  • 5 ways to move more on Mother's Day

    Here's MY formula: chasing two energetic toddlers around while trying to unpack and get settled in a new house. For the rest of you-mothers, grandmothers, anyone, for that matter-these are my five personal favorite ways to get active, burn calories, and boost energy every day.

    1) Take a stand Mother's Day is all about pampering, breakfast in bed, and taking it easy, but one of the best ways to prevent pounds from piling up is also the easiest: Just stand up. Sitting for too long shuts down an important enzyme that controls fat storage (which kinda explains the 5 pounds most of us put on at our first office job). See our top desk exercises here!

    2) Have your cake-and walk it off, too You deserve a treat, so you should have one. Then head out for a brisk walk with this encouraging study in mind: French researchers found that exercisers who biked after a high-fat meal metabolized more stored belly fat than exercisers who worked out on an empty stomach.

    3) Hire a sitter and grab your

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  • The Nasty Truth about Your Toothbrush

    Where is your toothbrush? Perched on the bathroom sink? Then let's hope you don't mind brushing your teeth with toilet water. Not to gross you out, but in the May issue of Prevention, we reported on 16 alarming, germ-breeding spots that are a whole lot nastier that you might have imagined. Take your commode: There are 3.2 million microbes per square inch in the average toilet bowl, according to germ expert Chuck Gerba, PhD, a professor of environmental microbiology at University of Arizona. When you flush, aerosolized toilet funk is propelled as far as 6 FEET, settling on the floor, the sink, and yes, your toothbrush. Shutting the lid, of course, is probably a smart move, but at the very least, put anything that goes inside your mouth behind closed doors (your medicine cabinet will do just fine). Here are a few more little known germ hot spots:

    The worst place for your flip-flops and sneakers: The bedroom closet
    Your comfiest shoes are on intimate terms with the sidewalk, the grass at

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  • Scary diagnosis? What to do next

    If you've ever had an abnormal pap test or a suspicious lump, you know what it feels like to get the call: Your results are in. I've never had a really scary test result (knock on wood), but I know plenty of women who have--including the three brave souls we profiled in the May issue of Prevention. When one woman was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, she decided that after a lifetime of deferring to doctors, it was time to take control of her health: She found a physician who was open to a holistic approach, and she eventually went from taking 44 pills A DAY to taking none--and she's currently symptom free.

    Hearing the news that something is wrong with your health is devastating, no doubt, but it's crucial to remember that although your doctor is an expert, she's not the only expert--and more important, she works for YOU. These steps can help you take back control.

    Get the Proverbial Second Opinion It may seem like a medical drama cliché, but a recent study found that when breast cancer

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  • This is your diet on pizza

    Pizza--it's hands down my all-time favorite food. (I've been known to skip the steak frites while traipsing around Paris and instead search for a slice.) But, it's not exactly great for my waistline (or heart)--two regular slices have about 550 calories and 20 g of mostly saturated fat, and that's before you add pepperoni or extra cheese--or make it deep dish! Fortunately the good people in frozen and take-out food land are catching on that delicious doesn't have to be a dietary disaster. These are my four new favorite ways to indulge my "pizza tooth" and still fit into my favorite pencil skirt.

    1. Uno Chicago Grill's roasted eggplant, spinach, and feta flatbread pizza I love it because: At 220 calories, it's satisfying but much smarter dietwise -- 300-plus calories lighter--than a serving of the deceptively healthy sounding farmer's market vegetable pizza (this baby has a whopping 1,620 calories for an individual pie!!!). Bonus: At the chain's Nutrition Information Center kiosks, you

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  • The Biggest Loser: A mother/daughter affair?

    After my recent "star turn" (ha!) on The Biggest Loser: Couples, a college pal e-mailed me, just tickled that she spotted her friend Liz on one of her favorite TV shows. What I found really interesting, though, was her comment that she DVRs the show and watches it every week with her kindergarten-age daughter. Apparently, her daughter--at age 5!--is already aware of her body size, and even though the girl is quite slim, active, and healthy for her height, she asks her mom if she needs to exercise like the contestants and whether she'll gain weight like them some day.

    My first thought: TRAGIC! Five years old is too young to worry about her body! But then this controversial lightbulb went on in my head: The Biggest Loser should be mandatory viewing in grade schools! And every mom should watch with her children. When you realize how many overweight children there are in this country who are prediabetic or diabetic (and the lifetime of health issues they're going to face because of it), I

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