Want a flatter stomach? Look in your glass—milk and soda are two major causes of tummy inflation. Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, which means that your glass of warm milk before bed may be the reason you wake up with too-tight pajamas. And when it comes to soda, both regular and diet are belly busters both from the sweeteners used and the carbonation. Try eliminating these from your diet and see if it helps flatten your tummy.
These Common Mistakes Can Impede Your Weight Loss Goals 50% of Americans say they are unsuccessful at losing weight because they don't have enough self-discipline. But the fact is, even if you have all of the self-discipline in the world, losing weight isn't easy without knowing the science behind your change in lifestyle. That being said, there are a number of common habits that people think are effective, when in reality, they're holding you back from achieving your health goals. Here are just a few of the most common mistakes to avoid when trying to lose weight.  READ MORE
And while the weight room can be intimidating for women, pumping iron is key to getting a toned and fit physique. Don’t worry, lifting heavy weights won’t make you bulky — you just don’t have the testosterone to build the size of a man. Lifting will improve your posture, make your arms, core and lower body more shapely and boost your metabolism by building muscle. Resistance training also helps you hold onto muscle that you naturally lose as you age.
When you're at your heaviest, it can be intimidating to step into a gym and begin running or lifting among the spandex-clad. Working out in your own space is also simply easier to schedule—you can lift weights while the baby naps or first thing in the morning without dragging yourself out the door. "I bought an exercise bike so I can work out whenever I want," says Sarah DeArmond, who lost 100 pounds.
Once you hit 30, your lean muscle mass decreases by about a pound a year. If you’re inactive, that lost muscle mass often is replaced by fat. So if you’re not already lifting weights two to three days a week, start now. Need proof that weight training will reduce your waistline? Two studies that analyzed the effects of strength training in older adults between ages 50 and 70 showed a 10 to 15 percent decrease in belly fat despite no weight loss. “Stick with basic moves that work the major muscle groups—shoulders, chest, back, abs, butt, legs, and arms,” says Sherri MacMillan, owner of Northwest Personal Training in Portland, Oregon, and author of Fit Over Forty: The Winning Way to Lifetime Fitness (Raincoast Books, 2003). “As you get stronger, continue to increase your weight load to counter gradual muscle loss.” But don’t rush it: progress no more than 5 to 10 percent every one to two weeks to minimize strain on your tendons, ligaments, and muscles. (Check out our total-body strength-training workouts using either free weights or fitness machines.)
The menstrual cycle itself doesn’t seem to affect weight gain or loss. But having a period may affect your weight in other ways. Many women get premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS can cause you to crave and eat more sweet or salty foods than normal.4 Those extra calories can lead to weight gain. And salt makes the body hold on to more water, which raises body weight (but not fat).
“Most people who have been lean their whole lives have a much better understanding of proper portion size than people who are overweight,” says Deborah Riebe, Ph.D., a professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island. “If they go out to eat, they’re much more likely to ask for a doggie bag right away or to leave food on their plate rather than cleaning it up.”
One review found that people who sleep between 3.5 and 5.5 hours a night consume nearly 385 more calories the next day when compared to those who sleep between 7 and 10 hours. (6) Sleep is critical for our bodies to repair and function properly. When you consistently don’t get enough sleep, not only are you more likely to gain weight, but you’re also at a higher risk for chronic diseases, anxiety, irritability and more.
When your clothes don’t fit you right, you tend to go for looser fitting, such as picking the medium over the small size. You become very conscious that your stomach might be visible. It’s also unhealthy. Belly fat (as oppose to “regular fat”) has a high concentration of visceral fat. This has links to a wide range of health conditions. It’s not only about the way you look, your belly is working against your health and well-being.

Mindfulness matters. “If you slow down and stop just mindless eating, you often realize you don’t need to eat as much as you thought you did; you’re already full,” said Dr. Steinbaum.” Part of this is watching portion sizes, which have ballooned in restaurants over the past 40 years, leading adults to consume an average of 300 more calories per day now than they did in 1985. Did you know that one serving of bread is actually just one slice? Or one serving of pasta or rice is just half a cup? And a serving of cheese is only two ounces, or the size of a domino? You’re probably eating much more than you realized. “There have been multiple studies that see keeping a food journal is effective,” said Dr. Steinbaum. “When you start paying attention, you can really see what you’re doing.”


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At 20/20 LifeStyles, we’re here to help you make the rest of your life the best of your life. As a nationally-recognized, medically-guided weight loss program in Bellevue and Seattle, WA, we’re here to help you lose weight and keep it off, long term. And because no two people are alike, we conduct a comprehensive study of how your body works – including advanced genetic testing and a complete study of your blood chemistries, biomarkers, hormone levels, sleep patterns and more. Our physician-led team of geneticists, registered dietitians, personal trainers and licensed psychologists translates those revelations into a weight loss plan that’s 100% personalized for your body.
Under-eating and skipping meals have various links to weight gain, not weight loss. Alyssa Ardolino, RD, Nutrition Communications Coordinator, International Food Information Council Foundation, explains that hunger is a pendulum—and restrictive diets cause people to go from one end to the other. “When we’re extremely famished, we’ve swung the hunger pendulum so far back, the only natural reaction is to have it swing hard in the other direction, which means we’re more prone to overeating,” she says. “Opt instead for a healthy medium by eating regularly to keep your hunger at bay.” Here are 15 things you don’t realize are sabotaging your weight loss. 

Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings," she says. "Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won't be reaching for the cookie jar."

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