Fat Loss 

Josh Peck : “I knew I could be happier as well as being healthier. I start…

Josh Peck : “I knew I could be happier as well as being healthier. I started by going on a diet a year and a half ago and I got a personal trainer. Also I feel that because I do so much television, I am a better role model. I don’t really understand why I should be a role model, but I know that kids do look up to me, so it is my responsibility to motivate people and be inspiring.It doesn’t really matter what you look like though, it…

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Fat Loss Weight Loss 

The Weight Loss Motivation Bible: How To Program Your Mind For Sustainable Fat Loss

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Amanda's Secret to Losing Over 100 Pounds Wasn't a Diet

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Our next Before & After story comes from Amanda Fraijo-Tobin, who blogs about life after losing 130 pounds on her blog Friday Love Song, which is part of our POPSUGAR Select Fitness network. Below, she shares how she lost the weight and how she keeps it off.

Amanda: Before

Growing up, I wasn’t severely overweight — sure, I had a pudgy stage, but a lot of people did! My weight wasn’t something I thought much about being a kid (as it shouldn’t be). My parents had good intentions, like most, but we certainly did not grow up eating very healthy. Snacks, soda, meals prepared without nutritional aspects considered. Soda became a very bad habit for me, especially as I got into my teens and didn’t have anyone stopping me from drinking so many.

Fast-forward to high school — like most high school girls, I thought I was fat. Even though, in retrospect, I clearly wasn’t. I didn’t let it consume my life, though I was a little on the chubby side (so I thought) and I was OK with that. Looking back, I think senior year is when the trouble began for me. Stress, changes in my life, poor eating, and not exercising (hello, gym-class-not-required-after-ninth-grade!) led me to pack on some weight. Again, I already felt like a “fat girl,” so I kept going with the mind-set of “This is me — this is who I am.” I was married young, had my first child at 20, and of course, packed on more weight. Divorced, remarried, and two more babies later — more weight.

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My weight wasn’t something I paid attention to. I never weighed myself. The only time anyone took my weight was maybe once or twice a year when I had a doctor’s visit — and even then, I didn’t think much about it. This is me — this is who I am . . .

Amanda: Before

My husband is a type 2 diabetic. He had already been on tons of medications for several years to control his blood sugar and other problems associated with the disease. He got to the point of having to add insulin injections to his enormous list of meds. His doctor kept urging him to consider weight-loss surgery, telling him that, if he lost some weight, there was a possibility he may be able to stop taking some of his medications. This seemed like a great solution to my husband — I, on the other hand, disagreed. I told him repeatedly, this wasn’t the solution. If you don’t break bad habits that got you to a certain point, you could not possibly make a real change.

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Insert light bulb moment. Pot calling kettle black. Even though it wasn’t something I monitored, I was surely at the heaviest point of my life. I was waking up to get my son to school and collapsing on the couch for a nap once he was off. I was having random pains in my foot. I felt gross. I knew I needed to start making changes. I needed to make changes for myself, but also for my husband, for my kids. I needed to be a better example. This wasn’t about vanity. This was about life, making a better life for myself and my family.

I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. I had packed on the weight over the course of 10 years. I knew it was going to take some time to take it back off. I knew there would be times I would feel like quitting. But from the start, I adopted a “Today I will do what I can” kind of attitude. This went for exercise as well as eating habits. I knew all my bad eating habits were not going to disappear overnight. Slowly but surely, I made mental lists of things I was doing that were awful for my body and thought of ways to change them. Drink more water, read labels of items I was eating, etc. I had been having such severe pains in my heel that some days I could not even walk on it. Some days, I may not get through an entire workout like I wanted to — that’s OK. Today I will do what I can.

Amanda: After

I chose not to be vocal about my weight-loss journey from the start. I didn’t mention it to friends. My husband and my father were about the only people who knew what I was trying to accomplish. There were many days of whining on my part to my husband about aches and pains from making my body do things it wasn’t used to doing. I admit I have no idea for sure what my starting weight was. I have a general idea based on the last time I had been weighed at the doctors — but my journey began about six months, and what I’m guessing, may even be more pounds later. I did not start out with a goal weight in mind. I didn’t want one. I wanted to be healthier. Period. Healthy is not pounds on a scale. This is not a short fix; this is a change I will continue to make for the rest of my life.

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How Did I Do It?

This is common sense, things we have heard a million times again and again. Change the way you eat. Exercise. Repeat. It’s amazing to me when people want to know my “secret.” I have no secret. And I find it even funnier when people feel let down by my answer. There is no magic pill. I have not dieted. I have not counted calories. I knew from the start that was not the way I wanted to live my life. This is a lifestyle change. Know that it’s going to be challenging, but have faith that you can make the changes you want to.

Amanda: After

About two years later now and around 125 to 135 pounds down, here I am. Still chugging along. Still making it part of my life to make better decisions for my own as well as my family’s health. Honestly, I still feel a little silly writing this. I have had people tell me that they think I am an inspiration, which blows my mind. But I am here to tell you: if I can do this, you can do this. All it takes is a true commitment. Am I a superfit person? No, of course not. But every day, I strive to be a little better. I am a real person who did this. I am a mom to three children with a full-time job, a husband, two dogs, and a million other things going on. It takes work. It takes time. But you can do this. Start today, one small change at a time. This is me — this is who I am. Today I will do what I can. Will you?

Do you have an inspiring Before & After story to share? Message us on Facebook, and give us a few details about your journey. We might even profile you on the site, like Amanda!

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Lizzie Velasquez, Once Called the ‘World’s Ugliest Woman,’ Responds to Cruel Body Shaming Meme

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Before you share a meme, remember that there’s an actual person in that photo.

That’s the message motivational speaker Lizzie Velasquez shared on Instagram after discovering that she unwillingly became the face of a body shaming meme.

“I’ve seen a ton of memes like this all over @facebook recently. I’m writing this post not as someone who is a victim but as someone who is using their voice,” Velasquez, 27, writes. “Yes, it’s very late at night as I type this but I do so as a reminder that the innocent people that are being put in these memes are probably up just as late scrolling through Facebook and feeling something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”

Velasquez has neonatal progeroid syndrome, a rare disease that affects her eyes, heart and bones and prevents her from adding weight to her 63-lb. frame. At just 17 years old, she found herself the subject of a cruel YouTube video that called her the “ugliest woman in the world,” and used that experience to become a YouTube star and motivational speaker.

She’s spreading a message of body positivity again in her response.

“No matter what we look like or what size we are, at the end of the day we are all human,” Velasquez continues. “I ask that you keep that in mind the next time you see a viral meme of a random stranger. At the time you might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite. Spread love not hurtful words via a screen.”

Velasquez, who was the focus of the 2015 documentary A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, says her life goal is to spread kindness.

“I knew this is my purpose, this is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life, because I like to think that I’m not only telling my story—I’m telling everyone’s story,” she said in the film.

 

This article originally appeared on People.com.

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How I Stopped Obsessing About Being Skinny

www.popsugar.com/fitness/Strong-New-Sexy-37482639

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I’ve always been passionate about being active, but I’d be lying if I told you that passion wasn’t once attached to the passion to be skinny. Skinny is a word I cringe at now, but for most of my life, skinny was everything.

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Part familial and part societal pressure, I grew up truly believing that being thin was synonymous with being beautiful. I’ve been on a diet for most of my life, not because I was overweight, but because the idea of being overweight was always a lingering worry, taunting me in the background. Although I was active, healthy, and toned, I never felt skinny enough, and it haunted me. I truly believed if I was skinny I would be happy and feel more confident.

The first time I ever gained real weight was my freshman year in college. I was ordering in, eating out, and drinking nearly every night. Immediately, I started up with two-a-day cardio sessions, barely ate a bite all day, then binged on a huge late dinner. At the time, I felt like I was being “good” and taking control of my body. I dropped weight so quickly, but it was at the price of my mental clarity, energy, and happiness. It was an unsustainable solution, and I put back on the weight just as quickly as I had taken it off — I knew I had to go about things in a different way. I cleaned up my act, cut out processed foods, and starting doing yoga every day, but I am embarrassed to admit that yoga wasn’t my primary form of exercise just because of all the healthy benefits it brought to my life — I saw it as a way to get skinny. A month into committing to a regular yoga practice, I began to acknowledge that my physical fitness was much more than a number on the scale or a body type I idealized. The stronger I felt in my yoga practice, the better I felt in the rest of my life. I stopped being as concerned about the skinny and started wanting more of that strong stuff.

This desire to be strong helped me realize the myth that lifting weights would bulk me up and make me feel unfeminine was just that — a myth. As soon as I unveiled the truth behind the myth, I started lifting and moving through bodyweight moves at home, and I began to see and feel a huge difference in my shape. I stopped stressing into fitting into a certain body type, because I was attaining something stronger, better, and more beautiful than I had anticipated. I was no longer about the number on the scale or the size of my jeans, and I found so much relief in giving up the numbers. Instead of obsessing over a tiny drop on the scale, I started reveling in the new definition I saw in my deltoids. Instead of trying to squeeze into my too-tight college pants, I realized that my backside had a little lift and was filling out my current jeans beautifully.

Once I realized I didn’t need to be thin in order to feel whole or content, I felt like I had been handed the keys to the kingdom. I am both thrilled and relieved that what was once referred to as a trend is starting to have some serious staying power. There is so much power in strength, and even more when there’s strength in numbers — I’m so ready for even more women to live by this truth! If you can relate to the anxiety I grew up with or you simply feel like the standard of skinny is unattainable (or, honestly, doesn’t sound like that much fun), stop being intimidated by the weight room, and try a workout program that supports your strength. If you’re anything like me, it will transform your life.

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Oprah Reveals She Lost Over 40 Pounds by Eating Pasta and Tacos — See the Proof

www.popsugar.com/fitness/Oprah-Lost-Over-40-Pounds-Weight-Watchers-42885039

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When Oprah Winfrey teamed up with Weight Watchers last year, we knew she was going to take her goals seriously. She believed in the program so much that she bought 10 percent of the company for $43.2 million and now we are amazed at how much it’s paying off. Oprah is giving us all the hope and motivation we need to start the New Year by revealing that she lost over 40 pounds on Weight Watchers and not once felt like she couldn’t eat what she loved.

“I’ve eaten everything I love, tacos, pasta, I’ve never felt deprived,” she says in the video above. In the two new advertisements released by the company, Oprah speaks out about finding a balance between living her life and eating the foods she enjoys — and that no one should have to pick one or the other.

It’s the first time Oprah’s spoken about exactly how much weight she’s lost, but now, she’s boasting the big number with a huge smile on her face (and with a glass of wine in hand). Check out the second video below, where Oprah talks about indulging in her favorite treats and being incredibly happy with her success.

“Like everybody, I want to live a life that’s full,” she explains. “Full of the happiness found in living the life I want. Full of the energy that comes with good health. Full of the great foods I love, and at Weight Watchers I don’t have to choose between weight loss and living well. I live well while losing weight . . . Most important, it works!”

Oprah has never been shy about her weight-loss journey and her struggle with fluctuating, but we are so happy to see that she’s found a regimen she’s so passionate about and one that works so well. “I can honestly tell you, I struggle no more,” she said.

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The benefits of plyometric exercises

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Plyometrics are great for cardio, toning and fat loss here, we take a look at how the humble plyometric box can be a killer workout session.

“The plyo box has been popular among athletes and hard-core fitness enthusiasts for a while now, but has become more mainstream since the introduction of CrossFit,” says elite trainer of over 15 years Matthew Strickland.

“They are great for cardio-based and high-intensity training, but can also be used for rehabilitative purposes and for evening out physique imbalances.”

Plyometric boxes and aerobic steps come in a range of heights and sizes to adhere to varying fitness levels and exercise goals. While fixed-height boxes are available and usually come in sets of three to four, try opting for a sturdy, adjustable step if you are tight on space. And if you aren’t confident in the jumps, we say go for foam rather than metal or wood versions: a lot less chance of skinned shins.

For cardio/fat loss: Plyometric training involves using explosive bodyweight movements to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time – making them the perfect fat-burning tool. Explosive movements also mean power and strength, especially in the lower body, can be achieved. Again, keep rest periods short and repetitions as high as possible – although given their taxing nature, sessions shouldn’t go much longer then 30 to 45 minutes. Tip: “When performing box jumps, start in a quarter squat and hinge from the hips to engage the hamstrings and glutes,” says Strickland. “Landings on the box should be soft to help avoid injury.” 

For toning: While plyometric training is renowned for explosive bodyweight movements, Strickland says that there are a range of toning exercises that can be performed simultaneously. “Think anything from single-leg step-ups to incline push-ups using the box,” he says. “The varied range will target muscles you never even knew you had.”

“With proper technique, kettlebells can be used to train your entire body for both toning and fat-burning goals,” says Strickland. “I run a half-hour class and never repeat the same exercise, so boredom is never an issue.”

Compound movements such as the kettlebell swing, in which the centre of gravity shifts, work the entire body while moves native to dumbbell workouts often isolate one or two muscle groups.

“Kettlebells, in my experience, allow people to get deeper into the movements than say a dumbbell,” says Strickland.

For toning:  Kettlebells of varying weights can be used to load isolated muscle groups. When setting up your home gym, opt for a set of light, medium and heavy kettlebells to ensure everything from shoulders to legs can be worked. Strickland’s favourite for a killer lower-body toning session? “I often work some of my favourite kettlebell exercises into a circuit to ensure the muscles are exhausted while also providing a killer cardio and fat-burning workout,” he says. “Try a burpee to kettlebell deadlift to kettlebell upright row. Say no more, this will push your whole body to its limits, and then some.”

For fat loss/cardio: Fat loss and cardio fitness are best achieved through circuit-style training, with limited rest and higher repetitions to ensure the heart rate is elevated for long periods. Strickland suggests high-intensity interval work, with exercises performed for 45 seconds at max reps followed by a short 15-second rest. Sessions should last for about 20 to 30 minutes all up. “Work from the larger muscle to smallest, allowing you to achieve a wider variety of movements. It also means the most taxing, compound movements are completed first,” says Strickland.

NEXT: Looking for more fat loss tips? Check out Alexa Towersey’s here.

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Fitbit vs. Apple Watch For Exercise: Here Are Our Thoughts

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Fitness trackers are one of the hottest holiday gifts — and for good reason! They motivate, inspire, and can help incite massive physical (and mental) changes. Whether you’re trying to encourage more movement or help someone learn about their heart rate during exercise, a tracker can help.

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I got the chance to compare my Apple Watch Series 2 and my Fitbit Charge 2 side by side, worn simultaneously (yes, I looked like a tool in my SoulCycle classes and on my runs and in my kettlebell class). Since trackers have been helping me on my fitness journey, I wanted to see what the user experience was like for each and what kind of data I could access after my workout. Let’s take a look.

Aesthetic

If you’re worried about the look of your tracker, you have two great options to choose from. You either lean more toward the aesthetic of a traditional tracker/fitness band with the Fitbit Charge 2, or the digital watch styling of the Apple Watch. With both, you can choose the metal accent color (gold, silver, etc.) and change out the bands if you’d like to wear them every day beyond your workouts. Fitbit has a blush pink leather that I’m particularly fond of, and I may switch up my Apple Watch with a new color of silicone band if I get tired of the light gray.

General Features (of Note)
HRM. Both trackers offer a heart rate monitor, which is ideal for data tracking and learning more about your body. It also provides a more accurate account of how many calories are burned per workout.

Waterproof (or not). The Apple Watch Series 2 is waterproof, the Fitbit Charge 2 is not. You will definitely have to take it off in your post-workout shower.

Music Storage. Additionally, the latest Apple Watch has music storage capabilities, meaning you don’t have to bring your phone, and you can listen to your workout playlist — provided you have Bluetooth headphones.

Tracking Your Workout

The first time I used my Fitbit Charge 2, I had no idea how to start tracking my workouts — I was simply wearing it for step tracking and my heart rate. But when I wore it to SoulCycle, it somehow miraculously knew that I was doing a cycling workout from the moment I started — from there, it logged my heart rate every second of the way, and provided me with an in-depth analysis of my workout. Once the Fitbit synced with my phone, the app showed a workout logged as “Bike.”

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I wrongfully assumed my Apple Watch Series 2 would do the same, and went into another SoulCycle class with it, only to be disappointed not only at its lack of intuitive tracking, but zero data to be found anywhere. It didn’t log my heart rate more than once or twice throughout the 45-50 minutes of the workout, and I had no data to track, no exercise counted toward my day. I get it — first world problems. But as someone who loves tracking all of my exercise and activity, this was sorely disappointing.

If there’s enough movement, the Apple Watch will sense it. I went to a hip-hop workout class, and though the Watch knew I was exercising (it logged minutes toward my daily exercise goal), it did not log any particular exercise nor give me the option to.

With the Fitbit, you can retroactively track your workout. Because the tracker is more closely monitoring your heart rate, you can enter the data and say, “I worked out from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45,” and it will populate your workout with the data from that time. This is not an option on the Apple Watch Series 2, as far as I can tell.

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Both trackers give you the option to log a workout if you hit a button and “start” your run, cycling class, general cardio, or weight lifting (Fitbit has a weight-specific workout you can select, Apple Watch you’ll have to select “other”). However, neither tracker gives you the option to edit your stop time of your workout — so if you forget to hit the “stop” button and hours have passed, you’re stuck with wonky data and skewed average heart rate information (and a several-hour-long “workout” on your records).

Data and Accuracy

Each tracker displays the average heart rate, total calories burned, and the length of the workout — I wore both of mine at once (in the same type of class, three times, just to be sure) to see how close they were in terms of data accuracy, and I still have no idea which one was correct. Take a look — these are three cycling classes, about 50 minutes long (with the cooldown), both logged at the same time, with the same height/weight/age data in the system.

As you can see, they never lined up 100 percent. Although similar in average heart rate and caloric burn, it’s impossible to tell which one is accurate, which can be frustrating.

In terms of getting a better insight as to what’s happening in your workout, the Fitbit wins by a mile. The heart rate data is so much more nuanced, and it can even show you how many calories you burned in each minute of your workout. I love that it shows you how long your heart rate was in different zones, and the graphs really animate the physiology of your workout, so you get more of an inside look into what’s happening in your body. It’s great. Unfortunately, with the Apple Watch, you’re stuck with average numbers and no fun graphs.

Price

The Apple Watch Series 2 ranges from $369 to $399, and the Fitbit Charge 2 ranges from $150 to $180.

Overall Impression

If you’re looking for data, the Fitbit really does win by a long shot. The data it provides is so much more detailed, and the intuitive exercise tracking makes for much more hassle-free workouts. This is a specialty piece of equipment specifically created and designed for exercise — whereas the Apple Watch was designed with a lot of other things in mind. I do wish they’d provide a feature that lets you cut off your workout time if you actually forget to stop your tracking, though.

While the Apple Watch Series 2 provides a lot more of the bells and whistles (It’s waterproof! You can text on it! It stores your playlists!), in terms of tracking, it’s just not as smart as the Fitbit when it comes to fitness, data, and overall wellness. However, if you’re looking to use it as a running tracker, I’d highly recommend it in that case.

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