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Top 13 Tips to Avoid Vacation Weight Gain

You've heard of the freshman 15 -- those mysterious 15lbs that appear during your first year at college.  But what about the 'vacation 5'?  Doesn't it seem like
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How to Make Rice in the Microwave

How many times have you made rice, only to find that most of it sticking to the bottom. Or worse yet, you forget the pot on the stove and before you know it
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30 Day Challenge - May 13th 2013

I thought I'd put together a 30 day challenge based on my Challenge Yourself: 5 Steps to a 30 Day Lifestyle Makeover post.

Are you in?

Start Date: May 13th, 2013
Location: Right here (we'll use the comments section down below)
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Challenge Yourself: 5 Steps to a 30 Day Lifestyle Makeover

When it comes to weight loss and getting fit, making several changes at once can be not only intimidating but confusing too. Add in wacky, fad diet rules -- it's Tuesday, can I eat fruit and yogurt together? -- and it's no wonder people give up and revert back to bad habits.

When you make small changes that feel right for you, these changes become sustainable. They become changes that you can live with for the rest of your life. They become a habit.

A while ago, I came across a TED Talks video by Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team over at Google. He proposes trying something new for 30 days. 30 days is enough for you to create a habit -- and enough time for you to discover that a particular habit isn't right for you. It's also enough time to help you break a habit.

Watch the video and then read on as I show you how to create your own 30 day lifestyle makeover to either make or break your weight loss and fitness habits.
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Jazz Up Your Chicken with These Easy and Delicious Marinades

Warning: Not for vegetarians or vegans! If you don't eat meat, read this article instead.

One of my favorite lean proteins is chicken. It's easy to cook; you can toss it into a salad, add it to soup, eat a serving with a plateful of vegetables or make a yummy chicken sandwich loaded with spinach and tomatoes.

But when you eat the same kind of food over and over again, you run the risk of getting bored. And what happens when you get bored? You make bad food choices, that's what.

Losing weight or going on a 'diet' doesn't mean eating plain food. You need to take advantage of the abundance of flavors available to you.

What I do is marinate my chicken to give it a different flavor each time. Plain, flavorless chicken? Not in this house!

Here are five chicken marinade recipes that will have you asking, "Please, sir, can I have some more?"
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How Can I Reduce My Belly Fat?

"How do I get rid of belly fat?"

"How do I get rid of the fat on my thighs?"


Those are two frequent questions over at FitWatch.com. It's what's called 'spot reducing' -- as in, you want to 'reduce' fat in one specific 'spot.'

The thing is, as much as it would be awesome to do a few sets of crunches and burn the fat right off your belly, the truth of the matter is this: you can't spot reduce.

That's right, you can not spot reduce. Let us all have a moment of silence to digest this sad, sad fact.

Your body decides where to burn the fat through a complex process -- and the areas with most fat tend to be the last place where the fat seems to come off.

Kind of like when you're emptying a swimming pool with a deep end and a shallow end: as you empty the water, the shallow end will empty out first, while the deep end will take a while longer. In this case, the "deep end" is usually places like our belly, thighs, hips and buttocks.

Another way to look at is like peeling an onion. Take one layer off, the onion gets smaller. One more layer off, and the onion get smaller still.

But does this mean that you can't get rid of the fat on your belly, thighs, hips and butt? No! It just means you need to keep working at reducing your body fat until you reach a normal body fat percentage.

The best way to reduce your body fat is by creating a calorie deficit through healthy eating and exercise. A calorie deficit means eating fewer calories than your body burns in day.

Here are the four numbers you need to know to plan your attack on fat and reach your normal body fat percentage.
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Do You Really Need to See a Doctor Before Exercising?

You've seen it hundreds of times. A nasty disclaimer that begins with a big, red WARNING that gets in the way as you start up an exercise DVD or stream an exercise video. "See a doctor before starting any exercise program," it reads. Here by dragons. This means you. You try your best to fast forward through it, and then don't give it a second thought. I bet you haven't even read FitWatch's disclaimers, right? Sure, a company adds those disclaimers as a "CYB" (Cover Your Butt!), but there are certain circumstances when it's important for you to see a doctor before exercising. We want to help, not hurt, you. When you exercise, certain physiological changes happen to your body.
  • You put additional stress on your bones and joints.
  • Your body burns fat and glucose for energy to fuel the muscles.
  • Your heart rate and the amount of blood pumped to the body increases.
  • Your blood flow is diverted away from your abdominal area to provide more blood to the muscles.
  • Your blood pressure changes as you exercise: your systolic number -- the number on top -- increases.
It's important to know your whole body is in good working order before you head out for a run, start pumping iron or do a downward facing dog. Here are the questions you should be asking yourself before you start exercising:
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12 Week Walking Program for Weight Loss

Feeling sluggish and unmotivated to exercise? Can't stand the thought of huffing and puffing your way through a strenuous exercise routine?

While getting your heart rate up is an important part of an exercise program, jumping in and going all out is the wrong way to go about things. If you're new to exercise or are more than 20lbs overweight -- or if you have an aversion to *shudder* the big E -- one of the best ways to ease yourself into exercise is to start a walking program. Studies show that people are more likely to stick to a walking program.

See? I'm always trying to set you up for success!

Let me, um, 'walk' you through an easy-to-follow 12 week walking schedule that will having you walking away those extra pounds -- and may even get you to like exercising. (Hey, it can happen!) I'll even tell you one simple tip on how to walk faster. Bet you didn't know this one...
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Forget Bobby McFerrin: Eat Veggies, Be Happy

No disrespect to Bobby McFerrin, but he may need to change the title of his song from Don't Worry, Be Happy to Eat Veggies, Be Happy. A study of 80,000 people in Britain concluded that people who eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables are the happiest.

The study looked at 80,000 individuals and used seven different methods to measure an individual's happiness. Seven servings of fruits and vegetable seemed to set free those bluebirds of happiness.

Don't eat enough fruits and veggies? Here's what you need to know to help you stop singin' them blues:
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Soup's On! How to Make Vegetable Stock

There's nothing like a bowl of soup to help keep cravings at bay and help you drop those extra pounds. A healthy, low-cal bowl of soup before a meal can help fill you up so you don't overeat at lunch or supper.

Add a lean source of protein to the soup and you've got yourself a low calorie meal. It's a great way to cut down on calories in a healthy way.

When you start with a basic vegetable stock, you can add in any number of vegetables, beans, legumes and spices to create spectacular soups. The only limit is your imagination.

Who says healthy eating has to taste bad?

If you don't have the time, store-bought vegetable stock will do in a pinch. But I recommend making a homemade vegetable broth. The taste is so much better than a canned broth -- and you can control the sodium. And when you make healthy meals taste good, you'll be more likely to eat them. I make soup on Sunday afternoons, so that I have soup handy throughout the week.

Here's my favorite homemade vegetable stock recipe:
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