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  • Health n Beauty

    There are clear distinctions between the concepts of health and beauty and, being 'beautiful'. The two are as far apart as 'chalk and cheese' and I'm going to show you why.

  • Diet n Nutrition

    Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.

  • Weight Loss

    Excess fat in relation to lean body mass, known as altered body composition, can greatly increase your risks to cardiovascular dis- ease, diabetes, and more. BIA fosters early detection of an improper balance in your body composition, which allows for earlier intervention and prevention.

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    Real Life Stories

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    Thursday, December 31, 2015

    Macro Mama - Laura Carson

    Eating right helped Laura Carson lose 32 pounds, shake her inhibitions and ditch her eating disorder.
     


    Name: Laura Carson | Hometown: Nashua, New Hampshire | Age: 47
    Height: 5’6” | Old weight: 160 lb | Current weight: 128 lb | Occupation: Vice president, customer advocacy
    Best advice: “Live by the ABCs: Always take it one day at a time; Be accountable; Consistency is key.”
    Ice cream, cake, candy, pizza, cereal — these were the staples for Laura Carson, who spent a lifetime struggling with an eating disorder: She would binge on hundreds of calories and then purge by doing hours of cardio. “I became an avid runner and tried to outrun a bad diet,” she says. She was also painfully shy and could not give presentations or even engage with strangers in conversation.
    Her binge/purge cycle continued for decades, but all that exercise could not combat the glut of unhealthy, empty calories she would take in during her binge. One by one, the pounds crept on. In 2013, she had had enough. “I was sick of waking up every Monday morning, vowing to make a change, then doing nothing,” she says. She had seen a friend compete in a bikini show and was inspired to do so herself.

    Carson hired an online coach who introduced her to macrobiotic-based eating and helped Carson determine how many carbs, proteins and fats she needed every day in order to reach her goals. “I was addicted to sugar and the wrong types of carbs and didn’t even know what protein was,” she says. “Macro-based eating was easy to understand and live with. I didn’t want a diet; I wanted a lifestyle.”
    She cut out all the processed junk and used MyFitnessPal to track her food to ensure she was getting exactly what she needed. “The hardest part was killing my sugar addiction,” she says. “It took about three weeks for the cravings to go away completely. It was also difficult to get used to eating every few hours and consuming more food than I ever had.”
    Carson also swapped her cardio-centric training for more focused weightlifting to add muscle and shape to her frame. Slowly, her body fat dropped and her new physique began to emerge.
    In 10 months, she lost 32 pounds and stepped onstage in May 2014 for her first bikini competition. “The girl who could not do a school presentation or speak in front of co-workers was onstage in a teeny-tiny bikini in front of 1,500 people!” she says. “It was very empowering.”
    These days, Carson is part of a group of fit women from Best Fitness in Nashua, New Hampshire, who inspire one another and organize activities such as dinners, movies, hikes and zip lining. She has become certified as a specialist in fitness nutrition from the International Sports Sciences Association and is planning on getting her training certification. “I also started a Facebook blog called 40somethingfitness, and we have more than 1,000 followers,” she says. “We share tips, tricks, recipes and more.”
    As for public speaking — bring it on. “Needless to say, I am over my fears,” she says. “I now speak regularly for my job with no hesitation and get onstage to compete at least once a year.”

    Michelle Kruk Recruited Her Family


    Weight before: 160 lb
    Weight now: 123 lb
    Age: 37
    Height: 5'7"
    Location: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
    Occupation: Teaching assistant and personal trainer
    Tip for newbies: “Plan ahead!”

    For Michelle Kruk, it was her then¬–eight-year-old son that inspired her to shape up her physique 37 pounds ago during a shopping trip. “Mommy, you have jiggly arms like a grandma!” he told her. After that, there was no going back for Michelle.

    She ditched her membership at a women’s-only gym, where she previously stuck to cardio and half-hearted machine circuits, and split the cost of a personal trainer with a friend. After losing the first 20 pounds with her pal, Michelle joined a local running group, ran a half marathon with friends, and spent more time getting active with her kids.

    As a working mom, Michelle says that planning skills can make or break fit family habits. That’s why she spends one day per week pre-cooking healthy meals and snacks, and jumps out of bed “before the rooster crows” every morning to fit in a 5 a.m. weights sessions.

    Between cleaning up her children’s lunches (“I learned how to make healthy Pizza Pops so they wouldn’t feel deprived!”), taking part in family 5K runs, and participating in “any activity that doesn’t involve sitting on the couch,” Michelle has taken pride not only in her own transformation, but in the love for movement that her kids have picked up. “Having my 12-year-old daughter, Julia, understand that looking skinny does not mean you are healthy is so rewarding,” she says.

    Strutting on stage during her first fitness competition, Michelle couldn’t imagine placing first in her category without her family’s support, understanding and even their brutal honesty. “I am so proud of who I have become. And I know that my family and friends are proud of what I have accomplished as well.”

    Michelle’s Clean Chocolate Mousse

    Mix together:
    1. 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
    2. 1 tbsp natural cocoa powder or carob powder
    3. 1–2 drops caramel Stevia

    Zain Jamal Broke Through with Mindfulness


    Weight before: 145 lb (89 lb during anorexia)
    Weight now: 105 lb
    Age: 33
    Height: 5'3"
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Occupation: Nutritionist/yoga instructor/fitness model

    Weighing 145 pounds after a period of binge eating that followed years of anorexia (her lowest weight was 89 pounds back in 2005), Zain knew it was time to commit to a lifestyle of consistent, healthy habits rather than bouncing between two extremes. “When I started practicing mindfulness, everything changed,” says Zain.

    Spending time with herself was the first step. After some reflection, Zain realized that her body image was a wreck and that her eating habits stemmed from a desire to be accepted by others. Applying mindfulness techniques she had learned through yoga and meditation, she decided once and for all not to succumb to her own “mind games.” Zain began to practice deep breathing, boosted her motivation by repeating inspiring mantras, hired a personal trainer, and began to educate herself in clean eating.

    To combat emotional eating, she stopped having meals while working, watching TV or chatting on the phone. “When I didn’t focus on the meal, I would get to the end and never feel satisfied,” she says, which led to late-night snacking.

    “I faced my fears and worked through them,” says Zain, who lost 40 pounds the healthy way and now teaches private workshops for women recovering from eating disorders. “Mindfulness has taught me to cultivate humility, maintain discipline and choose love rather than fear.”

    Zain’s Mindfulness Mantras

    Getting her mind and body in sync was monumental to Zain’s success. Her tips?
    1. During a meal, savor each bite, chewing slowly while admiring the colors, textures, aromas and flavors.
    2. Dine outdoors or near a window to calm your body and mind.
    3.  Before your workouts, perform a mental “body scan.” Ask yourself, how are you feeling that day? Are you energetic? Tired? Stressed? Are any of your muscles sore? Are you carrying tension? Every time you scan your body, become familiar with its needs for that workout.
    4.  While weight training, pay attention to your breathing.

    Lynn Lester-Howland Went From 'Skinny Fat' to Muscle Mom


    Weight before and now: 126 lb
    Age: 37
    Height: 5'7"
    Location: Dubuque, IA
    Occupation: Optometrist
    Words of Wisdom: "If you don't make an ugly face, you are not lifting heavy enough."

    Lynn's breast cancer diagnosis back in 2009 propelled her towards fitness and taught her to get tough. "I made the decision that I was in control," she says. Despite feeling lost in the weights section at first, Lynn cut back on endless cardio and got serious about building muscle. She knew having a lean, toned body was one of the two things she could count on to make her feel stronger.

    The second thing? Her kids. She got her son and daughter on board, teaching them about the benefits of eating clean and exercising. "I have to laugh now because my children will ask me if they can come to the gym and tell me to feel their muscles as they flex their biceps," she says.

    Cancer free and more confident than ever, Lynn is putting her muscle into shaping up her future with her family. No longer skinny fat but fit, she welcomes new challenges with strength and focus. "I feel like I own the gym now," she says.

    Lynn's Tips
    1.     Do weights before cardio so you're not depleting your energy before you start lifting.
    2.     Go heavy. "If I can do more than seven reps, I bump the weight up."
    3.     Perform intervals instead of steady-state cardio. "I go as hard as I can, then recover and repeat. If I get to 20 minutes, it's a rare day!"
    4.     Immediately after your workout, consume a whey isolate protein shake and a fast-acting carb.
    5.     Eat! "If you don't eat enough, you won't build muscle."