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

  • Can 20 Minutes of Exercise Make You Sexier, Smarter, Happier?

    I love the slimming, toning, look-good-in-your-jeans benefits of working out (and the instant mood boost) as much as the next girl, but looking and feeling good aren't the only reasons to hit the gym. In fact, there are some pretty cool - and pretty unexpected - upsides to regular exercise. Studies show the right motivation can make you 70% more likely to fit in a workout, so remember these the next time you need some incentive to get off the couch and on the treadmill:

    You'll feel sexier (at any size):

    A good workout practically ensures a better body image and sex life. A Pennsylvania State University study found that older women felt more attractive after 4 months of walking or yoga even if they didn't lose weight. Exercise can also put you in the mood for love at any age by increasing blood flow down below. In fact, one study found that just a single 20-minute cycling workout enhanced sexual arousal a whopping 169%.

    Feel sexy with a flatter belly.

    You'll be happier

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  • 3 Slimming morning meals

    One big diet resolution mistake I see over and over is what I call the "new year vow of purity," a solemn pledge to pay penance for any eating and drinking sins committed over the holidays by subsisting on nothing but carrot sticks and wheat grass juice. A much more sustainable approach: Eating four 400-calorie meals a day, with a healthy monounsaturated fat at each. Need more encouragement? A recent Yale study found that by following this eating plan, you could lose 33% belly fat (including the deadly internal kind), 8.4 pounds and 1.6 inches from your waist in one month.

    Click here for more details about the breakthrough research or to meet the Flat Belly Dieters, but in the meantime, here are 3 of my favorite quick (and cheap) healthy breakfast ideas studies show that breakfast eaters are more likely to be at a healthy weight than breakfast skippers.

    Banana Split Oatmeal
    Cook 1/2 c dry old-fashioned oats with water (to desired consistency) and top with 1/4 c microwave frozen

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  • What to eat after the party to stay slim!

    You just chowed down on stuffing and turkey, and now you feel like, well, a stuffed turkey. That's okay, because by making smart meal choices between festivities, you can still emerge in January slim and regret free. These meals all contain MUFAs, (pronounced moo-fahs), healthy fats found in plant oils that research proves can help reduce belly fat, which is the cornerstone of the Flat Belly Diet. Each is also calorie controlled (typically less than 400 a meal) with an eye toward taste and satisfaction, so you can resist the platter of leftover cookies your coworker brought in from her tree-trimming brunch (they're not that great anyway). I've included a product suggestion for each but go ahead and sub based on what you love or have on hand (calorie counts will vary).

    Click here for hundreds more healthy, slimming meal and dessert ideas.

    BREAKFAST
    Farm Fresh Egg & Cheese Sandwich

    Drizzle 1 toasted whole wheat English muffin with 1 tsp Olivado Avocado Zest Oil, top with 1 large

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  • 3 slim-down secrets from "The Biggest Loser: Families"

    Worried about holiday weight gain? I recently hung out with a few of the contestants from this season's "The Biggest Loser: Families" and want to share some of their tricks so you can enjoy yourself, your loved ones and even Grandma's famous stuffing without regret or family meltdowns-and still fit into your favorite jeans on January 1:

    1. Share the love, not the food
    Think about why you enjoy your family's company: Do they make you laugh? Feel safe from the big bad world? Food is how many families bond, but it's not the only way to foster closeness. Instead of grazing on cookies all day out of boredom, inertia, or to tame tension, do something physical. Walking works, but a backyard game of horseshoes (if it's warm enough) or basement Ping-Pong does the trick too. How does your city rank for walking? See if your city is in the top 10.

    2. Confront resistance-gently

    Be sensitive but honest and let everyone know ahead of time that you're trying not to gain any weight between now and

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  • 5 foods that bloat your belly

    As we head into the holidays (which in my house definitely starts with Halloween), I thought I'd impart some of my flat belly wisdom. I like to have fun and actually eat too, so I follow these rules to keep belly bloat at bay.

    AVOID THE FOLLOWING:

    SALT The reason you feel puffy after a salty meal? H2O is attracted to sodium, which can lead to temporary water retention. High quantities of sodium can show up in some unlikely sources, such as canned vegetable soup and cottage cheese, so check labels (and pass on the salt shaker). Test your portion control smarts.

    EXCESS (AND REFINED) CARBS I'm talking about the white stuff--cookies, white bread, chips. Not only do they offer little nutritionally, but they also can cause water retention because when you overdo it, your body stockpiles carbohydrates as a quickly accessible source of fuel. Great for a marathon runner; unnecessary for the rest of us. Click here for loads of healthy carb ideas.

    BULKY RAW FOODS
    Eating large amount of raw

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  • 4 Surprising signs you'll live a long time

    We all know the obvious ways to add years to your life: Don't smoke, eat your veggies, wear a seat belt (even in the backseat). But there are other, lesser-known habits and attributes that can help you live to a ripe old age.

    YOU SKIP SODA (EVEN DIET)
    I finally kicked my diet cola habit in my 20s, a good thing too, because scientists in Boston recently found that drinking one or more regular or diet sodas every day doubles your risk of metabolic syndrome-- combination of conditions that increase your chances of heart disease and diabetes. The exact culprit isn't completely understood, but it could be the caramel color added to colas and other dark sodas, which increased the risk for metabolic syndrome in animals. Experts also speculate that exposing your tastebuds to the sweet fizzy flavor of soda conditions you to crave sugary foods, which can lead to weight gain. Whatever the reason, it's an easy enough habit to quit. Club soda (sodium free, of course) with a splash of juice

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  • 5 ways to keep your breasts healthy and cancer free

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesReducing your risk of this deadly disease is about making smart and surprisingly simple lifestyle choices. Here are the top five things you can do, starting now, to stay healthy for life.

    1. Keep moving Exercise lowers levels of estrogen, which is linked to breast cancer. It's best to get 45 to 60 minutes of heart-thumping activity most days of the week, but moderate levels (30 minutes, 5 days a week) can make a difference. Check out these great moves.

    2. Get and stay slim Although obese women who are past menopause have double the risk of breast cancer compared with women of a healthy weight, weight gain among previously trim women also bodes ill. In fact, gaining even 20 pounds as an adult increases risk. Take steps now to prevent age-related weight creep. Here are some excellent and easy tips.

    3. Take vitamin D More and more studies demonstrate the cancer-fighting power of this vitamin. The latest piece of evidence, reported at the recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical

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  • The world's easiest (and cheapest) workout

    My workout history is a colorful one: There was the marathon I ran in Alaska in '99, the "Afterburn Class" years in the early '00s (don't ask, but trust me, it hurt) and then there's today, when family, work, and life take priority over hours spent at the gym, and I just feel lucky when I can fit in a 25-minute power walk or a few bicep curls on a Sunday morning. Turns out, I don't need to devote hours to exercise to stay healthy and fit.

    In fact, I'm a full 10 pounds lighter than I was the day I crossed the finish line of that marathon! What pros know (and wish you did too): It's the little stuff you do all day long that adds up to big results. Here are a few of my favorite ways to fit in fitness courtesy of top trainers-without having to hit the showers when I'm done.

    Keep a BOSU in the family room. I love this half-dome squishy balance gadget. It doesn't take up much room, and its unstable surface is a great way to work your core during commercials breaks. Just drop and do 40 quick

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  • 3 common metabolism myths

    The almighty metabolism -- you know, that little thing that determines how many calories you burn every day just being alive? Like millions of women, I've bemoaned mine at times (even if it was the brownies and pizza I ate, not a glitch in my body's calorie-burning engine, that caused a 2-pound weight gain). Still, as basic human functions go, the metabolism is fraught with misconceptions and a dizzying amount of advice. Just Google the word and you'll find nearly 45 million results, and lots (and lots) of ways to kick it up, speed it up, jump-start it, and more. Here, the fact and fiction behind the folklore.

    1. Dieting slows down your metabolism, making it harder to keep weight off.
    TRUE
    . It may not seem fair (at all), but for every pound you lose, your resting metabolism drops by about 2 to 10 calories a day. Lose 10 pounds, and you now have to eat 20 to 100 fewer calories a day to maintain your trimmer physique (not factoring in exercise). However, you can prevent this maddening

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  • 4 common health myths -- busted

    Personally, I never quite trusted that 5-second food-dropped-on-the-floor rule, and I think it's rude to double-dip a chip (just take another!). But how bad are these things, really? To find out, I asked experts to reveal the truth behind some of the most common health rumors still making their way 'round the watercooler (and the Internet). Here's what you need to worry about, what you don't, and what's just plain gross. (Hint: The critters living on your kitchen floor can't tell time.)

    Myth: It's safe to follow the 5-second rule
    Verdict: Fiction. It's probably not safe to eat anything that's been on the floor for even 1 second. In a recent experiment, food scientists contaminated several surfaces with Salmonella. They then dropped pieces of bologna and slices of bread on the floor for as little as 5 seconds (and as long as 60). In 5 seconds, both the bread and the bologna picked up an alarming 1,800 types of bacteria. So unless you sterilize your floors on an hourly basis, don't eat

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