Not Exercising? That’s as Bad as Smoking…

When you see someone smoking, you might question “Why would you do that to yourself when you know it could kill you?” Do you react the same way when you know someone doesn’t exercise? You should.

When I was at a recent medical conference, one of the presenters reminded the audience that research has shown physical inactivity to be as deadly as smoking. I was shocked at this when I first heard it a couple of years ago, but I think I was just as shocked hearing it the second time. My guess is you are too. It’s hard to imagine being inactive could be comparable to smoking, but it is.

You wouldn’t dream of smoking (and if you do smoke, you’re likely trying to quit), so why poison yourself with inactivity? But many of us do. Nearly 80% of us don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. Many experts agree the inactivity epidemic is more concerning than the obesity epidemic.

The benefits of exercise are numerous and irrefutable. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, dementia, depression, and more. If you exercise, chances are you’ll live a longer, healthier life. Period.

What’s so powerful about exercise? Take heart disease, for example. Heart disease is associated with inflammation in the body. Exercise is a natural inflammation fighter. When you move, your muscles send out anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Also, every time you get up and move, your blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides improve. When you sit down, they get worse. It’s just about moving more.

If you’re not active now, I’m sure it sounds overwhelming to start an exercise program. The good news is you can see health benefits with even a small amount of activity. Even taking a daily 5 minute walk around the office will improve your health. Slowly build up from there.

Ultimately, you want your goal to be 30 minutes at least 5 days a week of moderate exercise. We’re talking about a brisk walk– hard enough that you can talk comfortably but not able to sing. But take your time getting there. Throw in resistance exercises a couple of days a week, and you’re on track. If you’ve tried exercise before and didn’t lose weight, don’t be discouraged. You are still getting health benefits even if you’re not shedding weight. If you’re overweight but active and fit, you can expect to live as long and healthy as someone who is normal weight and fit. Even if you’re obese, being active helps you live a longer, healthier life than a normal weight person who isn’t active.

Think you’re too old for it to matter? Hardly. Regardless of your age, getting active has enormous benefits even in your 80s and beyond. We’re not just talking about living longer, but living better with a higher quality of life. As British-American anthropologist Ashley Montagu once said, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.”

Source: WebMD 2014 by Michael Smith, MD, CPT

Provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the February 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Not Exercising? That’s as Bad as Smoking…

Not Exercising? That’s as Bad as Smoking…

When you see someone smoking, you might question “Why would you do that to yourself when you know it could kill you?” Do you react the same way when you know someone doesn’t exercise? You should.

exercise-happiness-1

 

When I was at a recent medical conference, one of the presenters reminded the audience that research has shown physical inactivity to be as deadly as smoking. I was shocked at this when I first heard it a couple of years ago, but I think I was just as shocked hearing it the second time. My guess is you are too. It’s hard to imagine being inactive could be comparable to smoking, but it is. You wouldn’t dream of smoking (and if you do smoke, you’re likely trying to quit), so why poison yourself with inactivity? But many of us do.

Nearly 80% of us don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. Many experts agree the inactivity epidemic is more concerning than the obesity epidemic. The benefits of exercise are numerous and irrefutable. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, dementia, depression, and more. If you exercise, chances are you’ll live a longer, healthier life. Period.

Exercise

 

What’s so powerful about exercise?

Take heart disease, for example. Heart disease is associated with inflammation in the body. Exercise is a natural inflammation fighter. When you move, your muscles send out anti-inflammatory chemicals. Also, every time you get up and move, your blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides improve. When you sit down, they get worse. It’s just about moving more. If you’re not active now, I’m sure it sounds overwhelming to start an exercise program.

group-exercise2

 

The good news is you can see health benefits with even a small amount of activity. Even taking a daily 5 minute walk around the office will improve your health. Slowly build up from there. Ultimately, you want your goal to be 30 minutes at least 5 days a week of moderate exercise. We’re talking about a brisk walk– hard enough that you can talk comfortably but not able to sing. But take your time getting there. Throw in resistance exercises a couple of days a week, and you’re on track.

If you’ve tried exercise before and didn’t lose weight, don’t be discouraged. You are still getting health benefits even if you’re not shedding weight. If you’re overweight but active and fit, you can expect to live as long and healthy as someone who is normal weight and fit. Even if you’re obese, being active helps you live a longer, healthier life than a normal weight person who isn’t active.

Think you’re too old for it to matter? Hardly. Regardless of your age, getting active has enormous benefits even in your 80s and beyond. We’re not just talking about living longer, but living better with a higher quality of life. As British-American anthropologist Ashley Montagu once said, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.”

old-people-exercise-2

 

Source: WebMD 2014 by Michael Smith, MD, CPT

Provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the January 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Surviving the Holidays Without Gaining a Pound

Surviving the Holidays Without Gaining a Pound

The opportunities to eat around the holidays seem endless, beginning on Halloween and not ending until New Year’s Day. Toss in an out-of control list of things to do – from parties to host and attend to gifts to wrap and ship – and it’s no wonder most of us pack on the holiday pounds. But this year can be different. Before the frenzy begins, establish a plan and detailed schedule for how you will manage all the things you need to do between now and New Year’s Day.

A few ideas to help ease the holiday stress:

 Consider shopping online
 Send out a holiday newsletter or photo card to everyone on your list
 Scale back your social calendar to allow some down time to enjoy the spirit of the season

Even though it seems impossible to squeeze in more activities, your fitness routine is a priority. Physical activity of any kind, whether  working out at the gym, doing a fitness tape at home, fast walking at the mall or going for a daily walk – helps you cope with stress while it burns calories and keeps muscles strong.

healthy-tree

Don’t Strive for Diet Perfection
Once you have your to-do list under control, the next task is figuring out how to enjoy the bounty of food without going on an eating frenzy. My strategy to get through the holidays without gaining a pound is to aim for “social weight maintenance.” Forget about weight loss and focus on keeping the needle on the scale right where it is today. Don’t expect to be perfect around the holidays. For the next six weeks, you need to allow yourself some flexibility so that you can enjoy your favorite holiday foods.

To maintain during the holidays, enjoy small portions of your holiday favorites but be careful not to go overboard. Follow the “80/20 rule”:  80% of the time, you eat healthy foods and 20% of the time, you splurge a little on those once-a-year favorites. And 100% of the time, do at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity.

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Focus on Fun, Family and Friends
Don’t let food have the spotlight. Take the focus off food by getting family and friends involved in some fun activities during holiday parties. Go outside for a walk, sledding, ice skating, or building snowmen. Indoors, try a spirited game of charades, or rent an instructional dance video followed by a dance-off. Dancing goes hand in hand with the holidays so why not make dancing after eating a new holiday tradition for a great form of fun and recreation?

I went Overboard!  The best-laid plans sometimes fail. If you over indulge, don’t beat yourself up but make a pledge to be more in control next time. To compensate, eat a little less and exercise a little more the next day and learn from it so it won’t happen again at the next holiday function. Establish your own personal ground rules and do your best to stick to them, at least 80% of the time. Prioritize a little exercise every day; it will pay you back with renewed energy, stress control and even help you sleep. And remember to relax and enjoy, the holidays are supposed to be fun!

nn-christmas-fruit-tree

Holiday parties are much more than food and drinks. They are a time to delight in the traditions of the season, and enjoy the company of family and friends. If you keep the focus on the spirit of the season and heed the diet advice, you should get through the holidays without gaining a pound.

Source: By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
UnitedHealthcare

Provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the November 2014 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Low-Carb Beats Low-Fat for Weight Loss, Study Says

For people who want to lose weight and boost their heart health, cutting down on carbohydrates may work better than trimming dietary fat, a new study suggests.  In a small clinical trial of obese adults, researchers found that those assigned to follow a low-carbohydrate diet lost more
weight over a year than those who followed a low-fat plan. They also had bigger improvements in their cholesterol and triglyceride levels, the research teams reports.

“On average, they lost 8 pounds more, and lost more body fat mass,” said researcher Dr. Tian Hu, a doctoral fellow at Tulane University School of Public Health in New Orleans. And while some experts have raised concerns that low-carbohydrate diets could be less than heart-healthy, these findings suggest otherwise, said Dr. Lydia Bazzano, who also worked on the study. “Low-carb diets have traditionally been seen as potentially risky,” said Bazzano, a professor of nutrition research at Tulane.

low

Yet in this study, people on the low-carb diet saw slightly greater improvements in their levels of “good HDL cholesterol and triglycerides— another type of blood fat. That could have been due to the bigger weight loss, Hu said, or to the greater amounts of “good” unsaturated fat in their diets.  But he also noted that the study ran for just one year, and it’s not clear how people on either diet would fare in the long run.

There are other caveats, too, according to a dietitian who was not involved in the study.  For one, people on the low-carbohydrate diet didn’t stick to it all that well. The regimen called for no more than 40 grams of carbohydrates a day—the equivalent of about two slices of bread. But, by the end of the year, people in the low-carbohydrate group were averaging 127 grams of carbohydrates a day, noted Sonya Angelone, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I do think that most people eat too many carbohydrates,” she said. So eating fewer
carbohydrates, and choosing high quality ones—fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains—is a sound idea, according to Angelone.

146821-425x278-Low-Carbohydrate

 

But one of the concerns with a low-carbohydrate diet, she said, is that people will not get enough fiber.  A high-fiber diet can help ward off heart disease, and studies suggest it can aid weight loss by making people feel more full. So instead of lowering carbohydrates “too much,” Angelone
said, why not replace refined carbs—like white bread and pasta— with fiber-rich foods?

The current study included 148 adults who were obese but free of diabetes and heart problems. About half were randomly assigned to a
low-carbohydrate diet, while the rest were placed on a low-fat plan.  People in both groups had counseling sessions with a dietitian: The low
-fat group was told to get no more than 30% of their daily calories from fat, while the low-carbohydrate group was given a limit of 40 grams
of carbohydrates per day. At the end of one year, the low-fat group averaged nearly 200 grams of carbohydrate daily compared to about 130
for the low-carb group, according to the study.  In the end, 82% of the low-fat group stuck with the diet for a full year.  The same was true for 79% of the low-carbohydrate group.

lowcarblifestyle

 

By the one-year mark, people in the low carbohydrate group had lost an average of almost 12 pounds. That compared with only four pounds for the low-fat group. According to Hu, the findings do not mean low-carb is the “best” diet for weight loss.  But, he said, “I think this means it’s a good option.” Bazzano acknowledged, though, that many of the study participants didn’t strictly follow their prescribed low-carbohydrate plan. “It was more moderate than that,” she said. And she agreed that being “careful” about the amount and type of carbohydrates you eat is key—as opposed to setting a rigid carbohydrate limit.

Angelone also pointed to another issue with the study: Sedentary study participants were discouraged from taking up exercise, to isolate the effects of the diet changes. But in real life, people would ideally change their diets and exercise. “Muscles use carbohydrates as fuel,” Angelone said. “it can be hard to exercise on a low-carb diet.”  Plus, she added. People on the low-fat diet, who were eating more carbohydrates, might have shed more weight if they’d been exercising.

Everyone agreed that there is no one-size-fits all diet. When it comes to heart health, for example, there is strong evidence that the Mediterranean diet—high in “good” carbohydrates and heart-healthy fats like olive oil—is a smart option.  Ultimately, people need to make
diet changes they can keep up for the long haul—not just until they lose a certain amount of weight.  The pounds will come back if you go back to your old ways, Angelone said.

Source:  WebMD, Inc.

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the October 2014 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Money Motivates Employees To Lose Weight

Money Motivates Employees To Lose Weight

Financial incentives can be a very effective tool in encouraging employees to lose weight at companies that offer their workers those types of programs, research from a University of Texas at Arlington economics assistant professor shows. Joshua Price, a UT Arlington assistant professor of economics, teamed with Cornell University Professor John Cawley to perform a case study on an employer-sponsored program that offered financial incentives for weight loss.

money for weight

“We examined how effective different weight loss programs are to business,” Price said. “We discovered that the best results for weight loss were through a more regular payment of refundable participation fees. The payments seem to work as a reinforcement for people to continue to lose weight.” Price and Cawley were given access to outcomes of 2,635 workers at one company. Under an agreement with the business, the researchers cannot reveal the company’s name. “Overall, we found modest weight loss in the program that offers financial incentives for weight loss,” Price said. “We wanted to show the effectiveness of the different types of payment structures offered in this intervention.”

Price said the research studied four weight-loss options the company provided in its wellness package to employees.

  • Option one was the control group. Participants signed up and participated in weigh-ins but there was no financial component to the intervention.
  • Option two allowed employees to join a weight loss program for free and paid the financial incentives for losing weight once per quarter.
  • Option three required employees to pay to join the weight loss program. This option then paid employees a refundable bond or rebate at the end of the year based on how much weight the employees lost.
  • Option four was similar to the second except that the bonds were refunded every quarter instead of at the end of the year.

Individuals who were asked to put up their own money, either with a deposit contract or refundable participation fee, experienced more weight loss than in the control group, Price said. “In option three, we discovered that the large incentives to lose weight at the end of the year created unintended consequences,” Price said. “Anecdotally, the employer observed unhealthy weight loss methods being implemented leading up to the last weigh in.”

money for weight 2

Rachel Croson, dean of the UT Arlington College of Business, said Price’s work makes useful recommendations based on behavioral economics. “Finding creative ways to improve our health is an increasingly important endeavor as we continue to struggle with spikes in health care costs,” Croson said. “With this research, we can identify which types of financial incentives work best. When employees lose weight, they win and the employers win, too.”

Companies across the globe are becoming more and more interested in keeping their employees healthier, Price said. Price and Cawley wrote that businesses bear some of the costs of employee obesity. In the United States, obesity raises medical care costs by $190.2 billion annually, a 2012 Cawley study showed. Moreover, obesity is associated with $4.3 billion in job absenteeism costs annually, 2007 Cawley research showed. These costs may ultimately be borne by workers in the form of lower wages, but employers are increasingly offering worksite health promotion programs to help employees lose weight. Employers save on health insurance premiums and absenteeism. Plus, Price said companies could bargain for better health care rates when negotiating with carriers.

As of 2012, 94% of large employers (those with 200 or more employees) in the U.S. offer wellness programs, and among those offering health benefits, 65% offer weight loss programs in particular, according to a 2012 study. Price said it would be nearly impossible to measure the exact monetary effectiveness for companies who instituted these weight loss programs. “It is extremely difficult to quantify the resulting health benefits caused by weight loss from participants in this particular intervention,” Price said.

Price noted that the deposit contracts were more effective at inducing weight loss, and it was less likely for the companies to lose money. When the companies refunded employees some of what they paid into the program, the mission had been accomplished: employees had improved their health. He said if the employees didn’t lose weight, the company kept the money employees had paid into the program.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle, Wellstyles Newsletter, October 2013, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).

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Losing weight: Lifestyle changes trump any diet

Losing weight: Lifestyle changes trump any diet

By Christopher Wanjek

Published August 21, 2013

LiveScience
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What’s the best diet for maintaining a healthy weight and warding off chronic diseases? Is it a low-carb diet, a high-carb diet, an all-vegetable diet, a no-vegetable diet?

Researchers say you’d be better off just forgetting the word diet, according to an editorial published August 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Two researchers Sherry Pagoto of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass., and Bradley Appelhans of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago call for an end to the so-called diet wars, because they are all equally as good, or bad, in helping people fight obesity. [7 Diet Tricks That Really Work]

In the end, patients only get confused thinking that one diet is superior to another, they said, when in fact changes in lifestyle, not diet types, are the true ways to prevent weight gain and the associated ills of diabetes and circulatory disease.

“The amount of resources that have gone into studying ‘what’ to eat is incredible, and years of research indicate that it doesn’t really matter, as long as overall calories are reduced,” Appelhans told LiveScience. “What does matter is ‘how’ to eat, as well as other things in lifestyle interventions, such as physical activity and supportive behaviors that help people stay on track [in the] long term.”

The researchers cite numerous studies that demonstrated only moderate success with various types of diet that focus on macronutrients: protein, fat or carbohydrates; but regardless of diet, without a lifestyle change, the weight comes back.

Conversely, several large and recent studies such as the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study and the China Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study found lower weight and lower incidence of diabetes among study participants many years after the study’s initial completion because the subjects were taught howto lose weight through lifestyle interventions.

Lifestyle trumps diet

Pagoto described lifestyle interventions as three-prong: dietary counseling (how to control portions, reduce high-calorie foods and navigate restaurants), exercise counseling (how to set goals, target heart rate and exercise safely), and behavioral modification (how to self-monitor, problem solve, stay motivated and understand hunger).

“The ‘diet’ used within a lifestyle intervention can be low-fat, low-carb, etc. It doesn’t matter,” Pagoto said. “In fact, at least one study compared a low-fat lifestyle intervention with a low-carb lifestyle intervention, and it made no difference. The diet itself [is not] instrumental to the lifestyle interventions success; it is the behavioral piece that is key.”

Pagoto agreed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of weight gain and heart disease. A massive study involving more than 70,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, published in JAMA in June, found that dedicated vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians (who eat fish) live longer than meat eaters. But that doesn’t mean a vegetarian diet is all it takes to help you stay healthy. [10 Fun Ways to Eat a Healthy Diet]

“Adherence is key, and the way to destroy adherence is forcing foods on someone they do not like, do not know how to prepare, or can’t afford,” Pagoto said.

Why diets go wrong

Indeed, the authors wrote that the only consistent fact in all the diet studies is that adherence is the element most strongly associated with weight loss and disease risk reduction.

Pagoto described five challenges to any diet that she sees with her patients: having no time to cook or exercise; being too stressed out, having family members bring junk food home; not having anyone to exercise with, or feeling awkward exercising; and feel hungry all the time. The ratio of fat to carb to protein doesn’t come into play.

Most her of obese patients understand which foods are healthful and unhealthful, she said. So she works with her patients to find ways to make healthy behaviors more routine, regardless of the patient’s type of diet.

Pagoto and Appelhans call for more research on diet adherence. The authors described the amount of adherence research as miniscule compared to that on studying the large fad diets.

Similarly, the general population knows more about nuances of these diets Atkins, South Beach, the Zone and such than they do about the basics of adherence; and that, the authors said, is central to the obesity epidemic.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/08/21/losing-weight-lifestyle-changes-trump-any-diet/?intcmp=features#ixzz2eAPAcvIQ

52 Ways To Lose A Pound A Week (part two)

Ways 24 through 52.  (last week had the first 23)

 

52 Ways To Lose A Pound A Week

An entire year’s worth of personal, winning weight loss, and keep-it-off tips from Prevention readers.

Get Moving

24. Use nervous energy. When you’re under stress, your body releases adrenaline in anticipation of either fighting or fleeing. But in combating everyday stress, that biological response can urge you to eat. When Robert Kim, 36, took up running to deal with pressure, he lost 45 pounds.

25. Breathe, don’t gasp. LisaKay Wojcik, 33, was so overweight and out of shape that 2 minutes’ worth of low-impact aerobics left her so breathless that she called 911. A doctor at the hospital told her that she was breathing incorrectly. “He told me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth while exercising, and to exhale harder to force a deeper inhale. This sends more oxygen to the muscles.” Two years later, LisaKay had lost 215 pounds and gone from a size 36 to a size 2.

26. Catch up to reading. Books on tape helped Rebecca Harding, 49, run off 68 pounds and keep it off for 15 years. “I played the tapes only when I was running,” she says. “Recently, when I ran to a tape of The Horse Whisperer, I went almost 9 miles up a steep hill in the rain!”

27. Stretch out. At 220 pounds, Melissa MacKinnon, 33, decided to try yoga. “It looked so relaxing and easy, so perfect for my imperfect body,” she says. Melissa’s energy level soared, and as she became more attuned to her body, she began to crave vegetables, not chocolate. She replaced refined sugars with whole grains. “As yoga rewired my mind, I learned to take better care of my body,” she says. Melissa’s held to her 60-pound weight loss for 7 years.

28. Get out. Sharon Evans, 38, got involved in orienteering (a sport where you find your way using only a compass and a map) to improve her navigational skills for backpacking. Being out in the fresh air replaced eating in front of the TV. As her orienteering skills grew, her waistline shrank. Pounds lost: 20.

29. Phone-ercise. When Jeri Jefferis, now 57, left her job as a phys ed instructor, she worried about regaining the 30 pounds she had lost earlier. With two small children, she was hard-pressed to find time to work out. Then she realized that chatting with friends, listening to phone solicitations, even being put on hold were opportunities to keep in shape. “Sometimes I’d simply pace the floor. Other times, I’d do squats or leg lifts. If I hadn’t started doing that, I know I’d have a weight problem today.”

30. Act out. Kirie Pedersen’s job was making her fat. “Virtually every day for 6 years, I was glued to a chair,” says the 48-year-old. Kirie began stretching in the morning. She swung her arms vigorously when she walked. “I’d also set a timer to go off every hour,” she says. “That was my cue: For 15 minutes, I’d squat, skip, wiggle, dance–whatever I felt like doing–just like kids do.” A year later, Kirie was 40 pounds slimmer, wearing a size 6 instead of a 14.

Build Muscle

31. Turn a La-Z-Boy into a Busy-Boy. Lynn Oatman, 48, doesn’t relax when she sits down. She hoists a pair of dumbbells up and down for about half an hour while watching TV. “I’ve gone from somebody who could barely lift a 10-pound bag of potatoes to bench-pressing 75 pounds. It makes me feel powerful,” she boasts. Lynn has dropped 60 pounds in 2 years.

32. Shape a new body. Watching a bodybuilding competition on TV 20 years ago spurred Sharon Turrentine–who had not exercised in years–to head for the gym. “Five pounds was the most that I could lift when I started,” recalls Sharon, 55. “Now I bench-press more than 100 pounds.”

Within 3 years, Sharon dropped four dress sizes. The person who’d once undressed in her closet decided to show off her 5’2″, 109-pound body in competition. Over the years, she’s brought home 15 trophies.

Binge-Proof Your Life

“But then I remembered something from Overeaters Anonymous: ‘If you get your head straight, your body will follow.'” The next day, Jeanette brewed a cup of herbal tea as soon as she walked through the door. Then she curled up to relax and recharge. Her teatime became a treasured ritual and stopped the munchies. She took off 140 pounds and has maintained her weight loss for more than 18 years.

38. Grab a magazine. When the fridge calls Cynthia Herrmann, 48, she picks up a magazine or newspaper. “If I still feel hungry after reading for 15 minutes, I eat. But I often get so absorbed that 30 minutes fly by, and the craving’s gone,” she says. Pounds lost: 90.

39. Follow the beat. Bingeing was Mark Maron’s way to deal with a work crisis, a fight with a loved one, or anything else that made him feel bad.

One day, Mark, 36, decided to skip his usual fast-food place and head for the music store. “I picked out two CDs, including one featuring my favorite song, ‘Born to Be Alive,'” he recalls. He got so pumped up that he forgot about food and headed for the gym. That habit eventually erased 25 pounds.

Talk Yourself Thin

40. Carry a pen. “I was tired of compliments that stopped at my face,” says Juanita Dillard, a 37-year-old makeup artist who weighed 274 pounds. “I was constantly surrounded by thin, gorgeous models, and I wanted to be like them.”

Juanita started writing about her stress instead of feeding it. Within a year and a half, she dropped from a size 24 to a size 6. One time, halfway through a binge brought on by the stress of losing her pet, Juanita reached into her purse and felt her journal. Out it came, and she started writing. After putting her feelings down on paper, her desire to eat was gone. “Journalizing has become my no-cal stress buster,” she says.

Make Motivation Easy

44. Revisit the pits. When Beth Linden, who’d lost 100 pounds, slipped back to her old habits and regained 15 pounds, she pulled out the audiotape that documented the worst moment of her life. “I could hear my voice quiver as I described meeting my daughter’s friend, who said, ‘I didn’t know your mommy was fat.’ I hated putting my daughter in such an awkward situation; I felt lonely and empty. I was embarrassed to shop for clothes. I hated myself back then and didn’t want to go back there,” recalls Beth, 39. The tape turned her around and has kept her on the weight loss track for more than 5 years.

45. Schedule nudges. Bevan Brooks, 22, used a calendar full of motivational “carrots” to shed 20 pounds. “I would remind myself of parties, trips, sporting events, visitors from out of town, and weddings in the weeks and months ahead,” she says. “Every time I’d consider bagging a workout or eating pepperoni pizza, I’d remind myself of an upcoming event. How I looked meant more to me than any piece of pizza.”

46. Take a time-out. “I relaxed my strict dietary rules on weekends, and I stopped feeling deprived,” says Helene Gullaksen, 35. “When a craving hits during the week, I tell myself, ‘This isn’t the last time I can eat this food,’ and it helps me walk away from whatever is tempting me.” Pounds lost: 50.

47. Be blunt (with yourself). Oprah Winfrey and her personal trainer, Bob Greene, inspired 300-pound Tawni Gomes to start exercising when the 34-year-old met Greene at a book signing. “I heard another woman ask him how she was supposed to find time to exercise with four kids, a house, and a full-time job,” recalls Tawni. “Bob looked her straight in the eye and said, ‘You’re not ready to lose weight.’ I was shocked, but realized that I was making identical excuses.

Everybody has the same number of hours in a day. If people busier than I can find time to exercise, so can I.” The next morning, Tawni got up early to walk. It was the start of what would become a daily ritual. Pounds lost: 125.

48. Cover the clock. Some nights, Mitch Lipka, 34, could barely look at his stationary bike, let alone ride it. Then he developed the diversionary tactic of throwing a towel or T-shirt over the timer to concentrate on something else. He’d get so lost in thought that the time was up before he even knew it. Now he never misses a session. Pounds lost: 200.

49. Do 10, then switch. Whenever Cheryl Allard, 50, goes to the gym, she uses one machine for 10 minutes, then moves on to something else. This boredom-beating strategy worked so well that Cheryl started going to the gym 6 days a week. Within a year, she took off 100 pounds.

50. Showcase “before” photos. Both Julia Ferraro, 37, and her mother, Adelaide, were 5’2″ tall and weighed 205 pounds. A family picture brought them to tears. “You can know that you’re getting bigger, but it doesn’t hit you until you look at a picture of yourself,” says Julia. Instead of stashing the photo out of sight, they agreed to display it prominently for weight loss motivation. Since that shot was taken, the two have lost a combined 90 pounds and five dress sizes-and they’ve added a new, beaming mother/daughter photo to their tabletop gallery.

51. Be your own coach. Jeanann Pock, 29, had trouble getting up early to walk until she read a quote from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi: “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-the-time thing.” Says Jeanann, “I realized that I had to win every little battle along the way-including the skirmishes with my alarm clock. I had to think like a winner to become one.” Now, Jeanann throws off the covers every morning. Pounds lost: 85.

Reward Yourself

52. Celebrate every victory.Susan DeFusco ultimately managed to shed 100 pounds, but day-to-day, she focused on losing just the next 5. Each time she accomplished one of those baby steps, she would reward herself with a bubble bath or an exercise tape. “You need to look at each 5-pound loss as something worth celebrating,” advises the 38-year-old.

From prevention.com, originally from Anne Alexander.