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

  • Michelle Obama's 9 rules for a happy, healthy life

    Michelle Obama has openly made her health and fitness a priority, a first for any first lady. As Editor-in-Chief of Prevention magazine, I wanted to know more. We met recently, and she shared her rules for living a balanced lifestyle. Here, in her words, are her 9 essential moves for staying happy and healthy:

    Click here for the complete exclusive interview with the first lady.

    1) Allow Yourself to Be Happy

    Good health is multifaceted-it's physical, it's internal, it's my diet, and my emotional state. It's all tied together. Throughout my life, I've learned to make choices that make me happy and make sense for me. Even my husband is happier when I'm happy. He has always said, "You figure out what you want to do," because he's discovered that personal happiness is connected to everything.

    Try these instant get-happy tricks.

    2) Find Balance as a Mother

    I think my mother taught me what not to do. She put us first, always, sometimes to the detriment of

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  • 6 Insider tips for spectacular skin

    If you want smooth, luminous skin (who doesn't?), you don't need to spend a fortune on products-just amp up the power of the ones you already have. Prevention asked experts to reveal easy, cheap ways to make skin smoother, firmer, softer, and younger. Here are some of my favorite tips.

    Try these low-cost beauty secrets.

    1) Use soap selectively.

    To keep skin soft, use soap or body wash only on select areas-your face, underarms, feet (you get the point). The reason? Rinsing with water is enough to get other spots clean and prevent you from unnecessarily stripping skin of its natural oils, according dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

    Take a look at these top beauty breakthroughs that deliver real results.

    2) Clean a wet face.

    Use cleansers-especially foaming or gel types-on damp skin. If applied on dry skin, they're more likely to be irritating, says Mary Lupo, MD, a Prevention

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  • How to burn an extra 500 calories a day

    ANNOYING BUT TRUE: Your metabolism can dip by as much as 200 calories per day starting in your mid-20s. If last year's jeans are a little tighter, don't panic and starting slashing calories-that will only make things worse. Instead, try a smarter approach to losing fat while building muscle-essential for healthy weight loss. Here are seven tips that will help rev your metabolism (even while you're sleeping!) and burn up to an extra 500 calories a day. That's enough to double your weight loss and drop a size this month!

    Get a complete metabolism-boosting cardio and strength plan here.

    1. Take your workout outside (especially if there's a breeze).

    If you've been hitting the treadmill in the air-conditioning, fall is a perfect time to get back outdoors before winter sends you scurrying inside. An even better reason: Research finds that exercisers burn 10% more calories when they walk or run outdoors than they do on a treadmill at the same speed. Not only do you use more

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  • 6 Ways to stave off swine flu

    Like just about everyone, I've had my share of questions about the H1N1 virus, so I dispatched Prevention's best reporters to talk to experts and find out the facts so far. Although there's certainly a chance that you'll be exposed to the germs (a recent White House report predicts that as much as 20 to 40% of the population could experience swine flu symptoms, with more than half of cases seeking medical attention), whether you get sick or spread the bug to others may be largely due to your health habits. Here are 6 simple health behaviors to keep you and your family free from the flu (swine or seasonal).

    13 Facts about the swine flu.

    1. Get a vaccine

    It's the single best way to not get sick, experts say. "No matter how well you wash your hands, you still have to breathe," says Robert Belshe, MD, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and director of the vaccine center at Saint Louis University, which is conducting clinical

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  • 8 Unexpected things that can make you smell

    You know you don't smell like a rose after a hard Spinning class or garlicky dinner.

    But it turns out that some less-expected factors-like how quickly you get dressed in the morning or whether you snore-can also affect how sweet you smell (or don't). Here's how to fix it, fast.

    1. You towel off too quickly after a shower

    If you're in hurry and only do a surface job, moisture can get trapped between folds of skin, like below your breasts or between your toes. This can create a musty odor, according to dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD, because there's no access to air there, making it easier for bacteria and fungi to multiply and mix with sweat.

    Fix It: After you dry off, set a blow-dryer to cool and wave it over your belly, groin, feet-anywhere that gets uncomfortably sweaty. You can also sprinkle an absorbent powder with antifungal properties onto your skin or in your shoes. Try Zeabsorb-AF, which you can buy at drugstores.

    Think you're saving time? Your health

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  • 8 Tricks to keep you energized all day!

    I used to dread 3 pm, or what I dubbed the "workday witching hour," when, for no apparent reason, my usual go-go-go pace came to a screeching halt as I tried to fight off a powerful urge to crawl under my desk for a nap.

    Now I overcome my afternoon slump with a quick lunchtime walk and a few other easy but surprising tips based on the latest research on sleep, metabolism, stress, and chronobiology (the fancy term for your body's daily sleep-wake rhythms). These eight strategies ensure you will wake up refreshed and recharged, remain alert throughout the day, and wind down just in time for a good night's sleep.

    Make your morning a true power hour.

    1. When to Wake Up

    Instead of: Sleeping in

    Try: Getting up at the same time and bathing yourself in light

    This enables your circadian rhythms, which are governed by your body's "master clock" in the hypothalamus gland, to stay in sync with the 24-hour day. In the absence of light, your body's sleep-wake cycle wants to

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  • 7 Secrets your body's trying to tell you

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesDid you know that your sense of smell or finger length could affect your future health? Neither did I, but scientists are discovering that certain physical traits could indicate an increased risk of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and cancer. If any of these apply to you don't panic-just take a few precautions:

    1. Finger length
    Women whose index fingers are shorter than their ring fingers may be twice as prone to osteoarthritis in the knees, found a 2008 study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. Those with this predominately male characteristic tend to have lower levels of estrogen, which may also play a role in the development of osteoarthritis, say researchers.

    Take this precaution: Strengthen the muscles surrounding your knees. While sitting, straighten each leg parallel to the floor 10 times; hold each rep for 5 to 10 seconds.

    Get stronger bones and muscles by adding this exercise to your stretching routine.

    2. Leg length
    If your legs are on the stocky side,

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  • 5 Fast food mistakes even smart moms make

    As the mother of young children, I'm not immune to the lure of fast food. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because there are some healthy options out there-but also some pretty scary ones that clock hundreds and hundreds of calories and loads of unhealthy fat. The next time (and there will be a next time) you have to feed your kids on the fly, heed these common mom errors and get the brood some smarter picks instead.

    Mistake at Burger King:

    Ordering anything with the word double in it

    The Kids' Double Cheeseburger weighs in at 510 calories and 29 g of fat-add fries and a drink and you'll load your child's lunch with 840 calories and 40 g of fat! Order your little one chicken tenders, instead, and save him or her more than 300 calories. An order of 4-piece chicken tenders contains just 180 calories (but stick to barbecue sauce or sweet and sour on the side to avoid 14 g of fat you'd find in ranch dip). Choose onion rings instead of fries to save another 70

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  • 6 Ways to eat ice cream without blowing your diet

    It's not summer without ice cream. (Actually, it's not any time of the year to me without ice cream, but that's another blog.) It's also not summer without skimpier outfits and trips to the beach, so I try to have my cone, sundae, or single scoop without overdoing it. Here are some tasty ideas-and surprising facts-so you can indulge your ice cream jones, guilt free:

    Note: One scoop is ½ cup and calorie counts for ice cream are estimates based on several popular brands.

    1.) Order two flavors of gelato

    For gelato and ice cream, most fruit flavors (like strawberry, raspberry, or pineapple) have 30 to 50 fewer calories than their chocolate or vanilla counterparts, so you can afford two scoops instead of one!

    Try this: Order 1 scoop of fruity gelato like strawberry (180)

    Top with 1 scoop of rich gelato like chocolate or pistachio (230)

    Total calories: 410

    Cool off with these 20 refreshing, fresh-fruit smoothies.

    2.) Get a small version of the real thing

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  • 9 Ways to burn more calories every time you exercise!

    If you're like me, when you make the effort to work out you want every drop of sweat to count. There are loads of reasons workouts stop, well, working, but simple tweaks to your routine can actually help you burn up to 60% more calories, so you'll lose weight faster and sculpt more muscle.

    These moves may also jump-start a lagging metabolism, which means you'll burn more calories throughout the rest of the day-and even while you sleep!

    1. Rehydrate with Cold H2O
    Hot outside? Grab the coldest bottle of water you can find. According to a British study, exercisers who drank refrigerated water (39°F) worked out about 25% longer than those who consumed the same amount of warmer water-and they said their exercise sessions felt easier too. Whether you're indoors or out, sipping chilled water both before and during exercise may help keep your body temperature down and your energy up for maximum calorie burn.

    Quench your thirst with these refreshing and slimming smoothie recipes!


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