8 Simple Ways To Stay Slim

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Forget the diet myths and miracle fixes – nutritionist Janie Buchanan, author of “Eat Well, Sleep Plenty, Lose Lots ” reveals the real way to shift fat for good.

So, what is the secret to staying slim? It’s the question that fuels the sales of myriad fad diet books, exhausting exercise videos and whizzy smartphone apps. But the truth is being able to lose weight and keeping it off isn’t about adopting the latest quick fix.

Instead, follow these eight smart but simple stay-slim strategies and you need never eat cabbage soup again.

Strategy #1: Balance your blood sugar

Why? If you can keep your blood sugar stable, your weight will be stable, too. This is because blood sugar that goes up and down like a roller coaster promotes fat storage. Stable blood sugar helps you burn fat and reduces sugar cravings.

How? To balance blood sugar, adopt a low-GI diet, which means eating foods that release sugar into the blood slowly. Swap white bread, pasta and rice for wholegrain varieties. Eat more vegetables and beans, and go easy on the sweet fruit and fruit juices.

Strategy #2: Eat a protein breakfast

Why? Breakfast lights the fire of your metabolism, meaning it’ll burn calories more effectively all day. If it is the right breakfast, it also gives you a sense of ‘starting the day as you mean to go on’. You feel in control of your eating and motivated to continue.

How? The secret is to eat a protein breakfast, because this stabilises blood sugar and keeps you feeling full. An omelette, yoghurt and berries or even a bacon sandwich are all good, as long as that bacon is grilled, back and unsmoked. Choose cereals and porridge that are low in added sugar and watch the portion size.

Strategy #3: Scale down your starches

Why? No one ever got overweight from eating too much grilled chicken. Instead, it’s the potato, pasta, rice and bread (even brown) that do the damage. One way to put yourself off eating too many starches is to think: ‘Is that how I want my thighs to look?’ because eat too much mashed potato, sticky rice or spaghetti carbonara and that is exactly how they will look – white and lumpy.

How? Divide your dinner plate into quarters. One quarter should be lean protein and half should be veggies or salad, with just a quarter for starches.

Strategy #4: Eat good fats, but don’t go mad

Why? The news that healthy fats are good for you is finally getting through, but the danger is that some people think they can use extra virgin olive oil like a hosepipe in a car wash. That oil is made of olives – not magic! Essential fats are indeed essential, but only in small amounts.

How? Aim for no more than one tablespoon of olive/linseed oil, a tin of sardines or a fillet of salmon a day, with maybe a palmful of nuts and seeds.

Strategy #5: Eat a third of your food raw

Why? Eating more raw food not only increases your intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it will also keep the calorie count down. A big bowl of salad may only contain 100 calories (without dressing), less than an average chocolate biscuit.

How? Add a salad to lunch and dinner and eat fruit and nuts between meals. Raw food also takes longer to eat because you need to chew it more, which stimulates the release of the hormone grehlin to help you feel full. For a sensible whole-foods approach maintaining a slim body and great health for the long-term, take a look at the Cruise Control Diet.

Strategy #6: Skip dessert

Why? Apologies to all those trendy home bakers, but regularly eating cupcakes, even if accompanied by marathon training, is not a recipe for slim hips. The simplest way to keep your daily calorie count under control is to skip pudding, replacing it with a piece of fresh fruit or a little bit of dark chocolate.

How? Pastry, sponge, custard and the like are packed with bad fats and sugar. One idea for the dessert-aholic is to try alternatives. You can make pastry from potato or ground almonds, use courgette, spinach and egg white to make bread and swap custard for yoghurt. OK, it’s not tiramisu, but if you want to do up your favourite dress…

Strategy #7: Reduce snacking

Why? While it is important to keep yourself fuelled throughout the day, treating the fridge as an all-you-can-eat buffet is a quick route to disaster, Constant grazing will interrupt your digestion and could cause bloating.

How? Eat three balanced meals and two protein/carb snacks a day (e.g. celery and cottage cheese or an apple and a yoghurt) to keep your weight under control.

Strategy #8: Be consistent

Why? This is the most important rule of all. However fantastic your diet or exercise regime, if it only lasts a couple of weeks because it’s too stringent to stick to, you won’t keep the weight off.

How? Adopt an 80/20 approach, aiming to stick to your goals 80 per cent of the time, with 20 per cent for ‘cheating’. Over the long haul, you can have cheats and a few ‘off days’, but your weight will stay where you want it to be.

 

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8 Exercises That Are More Effective Than Sit-Ups

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Sit-ups shouldn’t be your go-to ab exercise — and not just because they’re boring. If you’re only doing sit-ups, you’re only training one part of your abs, your rectus abdominis or “the six-pack muscles” that run from the bottom of your chest to your pubic bone.

That leaves the transverse abdominis, the deep layer of muscle that wraps around your torso, and the obliques, muscles that run down your sides, untouched. Neglecting these muscles leads to dysfunction and even injury, not to mention that you’ll never look quite as good as you could with your bikini on.

But the worst part of sit-ups isn’t what they’re missing, it’s what they’re acting on — namely, the spine. Imagine that you’re standing up, and throwing your torso forward to touch your toes, over and over. It’s easy to see the havoc that wreaks on the lower back, and it’s similar to what’s happening with most sit-ups.

While performing a slow and controlled sit-up can work fine to build one section of your abs, there are far superior alternatives that can target the entire core, while strengthening other parts of your body and even burning fat. Here are 8 moves that have been proven time after time to be more effective than sit-ups.

What You Need: A pair of dumbbells weighted just slightly heavier than your comfortable level

How This Workout Works: Perform each of the movement as many times as possible in a slow and controlled manner for 30 seconds with no rest in between each exercise – that is one circuit. Work your endurance and strength up to complete 3 circuits 3 times a week on non-consecutive days. Then, sit back and watch your abs transform.

1. Dumbbell Push-up Row

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  • Place a pair of dumbbells about shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  • Grab the handles and position yourself in a pushup position.
  • Lower your body to the floor and then press back up.
  • Once you’re back in the starting position, pull the dumbbell in your right hand up toward the side of your chest. Pause, then return the starting position and repeat with your left hand.
  • That’s 1 rep. Try to prevent your torso from rotating each time you row the weight.

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2. Dumbbell Curl To Squat To Press

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  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang at arm’s length next to your sides with your palms facing forward.
  • Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Immediately push your hips back and lower your body into a squat, until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.
  • Stand up and press the dumbbells over your head. That’s 1 rep. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

3. Cross Behind Lunges

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  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length at your sides, your palms facing each other.
  • Step forward and to the side so that your lead foot ends up in front of your back foot (like a curtsy). Lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees.
  • Pause, then return to the starting position and repeat with your other leg.

4. Resistance Band Bent-Over Row

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  • Grab a resistance band and step on it with one foot (use both feet for more resistance).
  • Hold the band in each hand at arm’s length, about shoulder-width apart, and then bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent and your lower back naturally arched.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the band up to your upper abs. Pause, then return the bar back to the starting position.
  • Note: If you do not have a resistance, holding a dumbbell in each hand will work as well.

5. Dumbbell Squat Thrust

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  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides holding a pair of dumbbells.
  • Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as deep as you can into a squat.
  • Place the dumbbells on the floor, then kick your legs backward into a pushup position.
  • Kick your legs back to the squat position.
  • Stand up and jump. That’s 1 rep.

6. Overhead Split Squat

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  • Hold a pair of dumbbells directly over your shoulders, with your arms completely straight. Squeeze your abs tight for the entire exercise.
  • Stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right foot.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees so you lower your body into a squat. Pause, then push yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Perform the prescribed number of reps, and then do the same number of reps with your right foot in front of your left.

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7. Planking Frog Tucks

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  • Start in a pushup position with your body straight from your shoulders to your ankles.
  • Bring your right foot forward and place it next to your right hand (or as close as you can).
  • Try to prevent your hips from sagging or rising.
  • Return your leg to the starting position and repeat with your left leg.
  • That’s 1 rep.

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8. Wall Slide

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  • Lean your head, upper back, and butt against the wall.
  • Place your hands and arms against the wall in the “high-five” position, your elbows bent 90 degrees and your upper arms at shoulder height. Hold for 1 second. Don’t allow your head, upper back, or butt to lose contact with the wall.
  • Keeping your elbows, wrists, and hands pressed into the wall, slide your elbows down toward your sides as far as you can. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Slide your arms back up the wall as high as you can while keeping your hands in contact with the wall. Lower and repeat.

 

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7 Moves That Shed Fat Fast

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Tone up, burn calories, build muscles shed unwanted pounds with these seven easy moves, that combine strength training and cardio. This workout is going to be the most effective for your calorie burn and your schedule, assuming you have limited time like most of the women who read my blog.

Do each move as many times as you can in 30 seconds, while maintaining good form, then go to the next one. Complete circuit three times, twice a week.

Remember this key rule: Don’t rest! You shouldn’t do a move and then wait to do another one. Go from one move to the next to the next. So while one group of muscles is resting, you’ve moved on to a different muscle group. If you’ve done push-ups, do lunges; if you’ve done lunges, do pull-downs. Keep yourself moving!

1. Crunch circle with hollow man.

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Lie face up, hands resting lightly on back of head.

Raise legs 3-6 inches; contract abs. Crunch torso up, then rotate it so ribs draw a clockwise circle.

Repeat in opposite direction.

2. Side squat with figure 8.

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Stand with feet hip-width, a 5- to 8-lb dumbbell in right hand, left hand extended to side at shoulder height

Step out to left as you lower into a squat, and pass dumbbell under left leg to left hand, and around left knee.

In one fluid movement, pass dumbbell under right leg to right hand; continue alternating.

3. Twisting lunge with heel tap.

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Stand with feet shoulder-width, arms extended to sides at shoulder height, palms down.

Step right leg forward about 2 feet and lower left knee so both knees are at 90 degrees. Twist torso to right and reach right hand back to touch left heel while raising left arm straight up.

Return to start; repeat on opposite side.

4. Hip heist push-up.

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Get into “up” part of a push-up; lower chest and bend elbows, stopping at 90 degrees.

Lift right hand and left foot, rotating upper body to the right while bringing left knee across body toward right armpit. Pivot on right foot and continue rotating torso until you’re face up. Hands should be directly beneath shoulders and feet hip-width, knees bent at 90 degrees. Lift hips until torso is in tabletop position.

Lift left hand and right foot, rotating upper body to right, pivoting on left foot until you are back in the “up” part of a push-up. Repeat in opposite direction.

5. Single arm burpee.

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Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width, left arm out to side at shoulder height.

Squat down; place right hand on floor just under center of chest. Squeeze abs and jump feet back into one-arm plank. Jump back toward hands, landing in a squat.

Jump up; return to start.

6. Figure 4 squat with front shoulder raise.

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Stand with feet hip-width, a 5- to 8-lb dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.

Cross right ankle over left knee Lower into squat while raising arms in front.

Return to start.

7. Side plank with inner thigh raise.

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Come into side plank on right side with core engaged, hips lifted, sides of both feet on floor, right foot in front of left; lift left arm straight up.

Raise right leg as high as you can, then return to floor.

 

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6 Moves To Transform Your Core – No Crunches Required

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A lot of women still think that crunches and sit-ups are how you build a strong core, but you shouldn’t believe in either and should stop doing them. To really work your core and improve your posture, you need to get off balance and try new things.

Use the following routine that specifically targets your entire core from different angles, to create your strongest, firmest, flattest center yet. For this workout, you need to dust off your exercise ball. Watch those abs pop in no time.

1. Exercise Ball Roll-Outs

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Works your entire core, challenges balance, and strengthens lower back.

Starting on your knees and sitting up tall, place a medium-size exercise ball under your hands while keeping your arms as straight as possible. As you roll the ball out, ensure you keep a straight body by not bending at the hips. Pull yourself back to starting position without bending your arms or hips, exhaling as your contract your center. Aim for 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

2. Lower Leg Lifts With Exercise Ball

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Works your lower abs.

Placing an exercise ball between your legs while keeping a 90-degree bend in knees, squeeze the ball as firmly as you can. Engaging your pelvic floor as you squeeze the ball, lift your hips off the ground reaching the ball to the ceiling. (By attempting to engage your pelvic floor as you contract your core, you’ll engage more of the lower abdominal muscles throughout the exercise.) Gently lower hips back down. Repeat for 20 to 30 reps.

Drop up to 20 lbs off your belly in only 3 weeks using this weird trick.

3. High Back Extensions on Exercise Ball

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Engages your core, strengthens lower back, and increases balance.

Start by lying on top of your exercise ball, face down, your hips centered on the middle of the ball. Begin by squeezing your glutes. Then, lift your arms and torso as long and high as possible, still squeezing your glutes so as to not overly “crunch” into the lower back. Gently lower down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps, taking breaks as needed. Relax in Child’s Pose when finished to release the lower back.

4. Down-Low Back Extensions

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Engages your core, lower back, and upper back; improves posture.

Start by lying face down on the mat with the ball between your hands. Start by squeezing your glutes, then reach your arms and chest as long and as high as you can, keeping your feet on the floor. Make sure to keep your shoulders far away from your ears as you reach. Hold the lift for 2 to 3 seconds and gently lower back down. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

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5. Exercise Ball Passes Through Pike

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This advanced move targets your entire center.

Start with the ball between your hands as you lift straight legs and shoulders off the floor at the same time, pulling your belly button into your lower back. Keep your neck long and eyes to the ceiling. Bring your arms and legs together passing the ball through as you open back up. Keep your shoulders lifted and feet off the ground the entire time, and then repeat. Aim for 2 or 3 sets of 15 reps.

6. Twisting Side Plank

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Targets obliques and stabilizers.

Lie on your right side, making sure your right elbow is directly under your right shoulder as you get into your side plank as shown. Place your left hand behind your head. Keeping your body and hips high, exhale as you twist and lower your left elbow down to your right hand, and return to starting position. Aim for 30 reps on each side.

 

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5 Moves That Work Your Abs Hard

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You don’t need crunches to get solid abs. Here are some simple unconventional ways to achieve strong functional abs without having to spend hours at the gym. They can be done after your regular gym session or integrated with you workout. The great thing about these training methods is that they will get you results and they can all be done easily with minimal equipment. Doing a 5 minute circuit of all the exercises after finishing a workout in the gym is ideal. Start feeling the burn.

1. Negative Chinups
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These are definitely a favorite ab exercise for many women. They are done simply by:

  • Jumping up the the chin-up position on a bar
  • Lowering yourself slowly (10 seconds)
  • Repeat for 8-12 reps

As you get stronger with these start hanging weight but do not sacrifice your form or how slow you lower yourself. I guarantee you a set or two of these will get your abs burning, as well as your back and biceps.

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2. Stomach Vacuum
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Your Abs and lower back are made to stabilize your body, not much else. So when you suck in your stomach like I did as a kid on the beach your whole midsection starts to activate its stabilization instincts. Vacuums are especially important if you suffer from lower back pain as it activates the transversus abdominis which is the deepest of your abdominal muscles.

Here’s how to do it:

  • “Lying on the floor, exhale completely, forcing all the air out of the lungs/ diaphragm with your abdominal muscles. Next, instead of inhaling, suck in your gut, pulling it in so far that you can imagine your abs actually touching your spine. Since there’s no air in your lungs, you should be able to suck your stomach way in, which will contract your transversus abdominis.
  • Practice holding this vacuum for longer and longer periods of time. Eventually, your waist will get smaller, providing you don’t stuff yourself at meals and bloat with massive amounts of liquids between meals.
  • After you have achieved a sense of control in the lying position, next practice the standing position. Initially, it will be easier to achieve the vacuum if you press your palms against your upper thighs after exhaling and sucking in your gut.
  • The final step in doing the ultimate vacuum is to start practicing with your hands behind your neck.This particular vacuum is not easy, but keep at it.
  • I like to do this after workouts when my abs are already weak, usually holding the vacuum for around 20 seconds and then taking a break before repeating.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

3. Hold something heavy over your head
2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

This is one of my favorite’s but it requires a gym or a heavy barbell.

  • Push Press a heavy weight over your head (not too heavy, be sensible)
  • Hyper extend your arms and contract your midsection and stand
  • After about 10 seconds you should start to feel your midsection weaken and shake, this means your abs are working full-out to stabilize your body
  • Repeat for 2-3 sets of 20 seconds

Drop up to 20 lbs off your belly in only 3 weeks using this weird trick.

4. Throw something heavy
2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

This is another great one but requires a heavy medicine ball but a big rock will do if you want to go primal.

  • Head out to a park or playing field with a medicine ball
  • Throw the thing as far as you can
  • Run towards it and repeat
  • When you feel your abs weaken, your work is done

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5. Dumbell Pullovers
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This actually makes your abs sore, and it’s not just for your lats. A favorite of many women bodybuilders. This is a great exercise and should be part of everyone’s full body training regime, its old school but it works!

You Want Streamline Functional Abs
Remember, function is what we should ultimately strive for. Forget the crunches and conventional abdominal training, the only way to build abs for real is to do real exercises that will benefit your bodies functionality in the real world. I guarantee you a combination of these technique’s will get your mid-section sore and feeling deeply worked out.

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