#372 (9/1/2009) Weight Loss Products!

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Life itself is the proper binge.

Julia Child

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The Slim Pantry: 5 Weight Loss Products You Already Own

By Ben Kallen

When you're trying to lose excess fat, every advantage helps. Of course, your main tools are an effective exercise program, a proper food plan, and supplements that fit your lifestyle. But beyond those basics, anything that can boost your results is a plus.

Kitchen Items

Luckily, you probably have some safe, effective, and inexpensive fat burners in your kitchen already. Include the following items in your diet plan, and you can start losing more weight right now—without even making an extra trip to the store.

  1. Apple cider vinegar. While cider vinegar may not be the magic remedy your great-grandmother thought it was, there is increasing evidence showing that it can help you eat less and reduce the effect that carbs have on your body. The active ingredient, acetic acid, appears to improve insulin sensitivity and slow the absorption of carbohydrates, helping prevent blood-sugar spikes and excess fat storage. It can also make you feel fuller with less food.

    In a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, mice on a high-fat diet gained up to 10 percent less fat if they were given acetic acid than if they were given only water.


    1. Mix vinegar with extra virgin olive oil and your favorite spices for a simple, healthful, and delicious salad dressing. In a Penn State University study, women who ate large, low-calorie salads before lunch ended up consuming 100 fewer calories during the meal itself . . . and they loaded up on extra nutrients as well.
    2. Combine vinegar with oil and herbs to make a tenderizing meat marinade.
    3. Add a splash of vinegar to top off soups or stews; this will brighten up the flavors.
    4. Add a tablespoon of vinegar before boiling, steaming, or stir-frying vegetables to bring out their fresh tastes and help them hold their colors.

  2. CinnamonCinnamon. This common spice has been found in several studies to help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar, so it helps prevent the spikes and dips that can cause food cravings. This effect may be due to healthful antioxidant chemicals known as polyphenols.

    Keep in mind that most grocery-store brands of "cinnamon" are actually cassia bark, a close-tasting relative of the cinnamon plant. (If you want the real thing, look for "true" or Ceylon cinnamon on the label.) Both varieties seem to have health benefits, but be careful about using cassia in large amounts—it contains coumarin, which acts as a blood thinner and may cause liver problems when taken in high doses.


    1. Add powdered cinnamon to hot or cold cereal, fruit, sweet foods, and even savory dishes such as curry or chili.
    2. For cinnamon-flavored coffee, mix a little into your grounds before brewing.
    3. Heat a cinnamon stick in water, apple cider, or even red wine for a spicy hot drink.

  3. Hot sauce and red pepper flakes. The active ingredient in hot peppers, capsaicin, creates thermogenesis; that is, it temporarily turns up your body's thermostat. Studies have shown that people who eat pepper-laced food get a small metabolic boost, and burn more fat, for up to half an hour afterward. Hot food also makes you feel full more quickly, so you're likely to eat less.

    Hot sauce and red pepper flakes are great flavor boosters, too, adding zest to meals with few extra calories. You don't need to ladle it on till there are flames coming out of your ears. A little bit will go a long way.


    1. Add a few drops of pepper sauce to anything that needs spicing up, including eggs, soups, seafood, and even frozen dinners. (These sauces can be high in sodium, so go easy on the shaker.)
    2. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on pizza, pasta, or sandwiches, or add to sauces or salad dressing.

  4. Curry PowderCurry powder. This complex spice mixture, which contains such ingredients as turmeric, ginger, cumin, and coriander, was created as a shortcut for preparing Indian food. While each of the spices can provide a small metabolic boost on its own, they may burn fat even better when used together. Turmeric itself has a variety of healthful properties, and shows promise as a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can help relieve joint pain and post-exercise muscle soreness.


    1. Add as needed to flavor Indian and South Asian dishes.
    2. Mix with ground beef to spice up burgers or meatloaf.
    3. Add to soups and stews.
    4. Mix with a little olive oil or light mayo as a dressing for chicken or tuna salad.

  5. Ice. Really? Well, yes. Regular old frozen water has several properties that can help you in your fight against excess fat:

    1. When you blend ice into a fruit smoothie or protein shake, you get a thick, creamy consistency with no added fat or calories. And you're likely to drink it more slowly, if only to avoid brain freeze.
    2. Making your beverages more refreshing encourages you to drink more, which is important when trying to lose weight.
    3. When you drink an ice-cold beverage, your body actually has to expend calories to warm itself up to a normal temperature. Nobody agrees on exactly how much of a calorie-burning effect this has, and it's probably pretty slight. But every bit helps.


    1. Blend ice cubes or crushed ice with other ingredients to make thick and creamy protein shakes, fruit smoothies, or meal replacement shakes. (Check your blender's instructions to make sure it's powerful enough to chop ice.)
    2. Add lemon or fresh mint to water, and freeze it in an ice-cube tray. Whenever you want a cold glass of fresh, calorie-free flavored water, just add a few of the cubes.
    3. Don't keep your water ice cold while you're working out. When it's time for fast hydration, you'll want a slightly cool or room-temperature beverage that goes down easy.

Related Articles
"10 Tricks for Losing Those Last 10 Pounds"
"7 Tips for Portion Control"
"Eat Your Way to Great Abs""

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers on Monday, September 14th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Ben KallenIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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10 Reasons Women Need to Lift Weights

By Whitney Provost

Many women believe that the only way to lose weight is to do cardiovascular (aerobic exercise). So they jog or take aerobics classes five times a week. Eventually, though, they notice that while their bodies are a little smaller, there are still a lot of flabby and jiggly bits. Sound familiar? Aerobic exercise is important for good health, but it's only half of the equation. Keep reading for the other half.

For optimal fitness, longevity, and a lean body, weight training is essential. If you avoid pumping iron because you're afraid of getting "bulky," then you're missing out on one of the best fat-burning methods around.

Weights, Weight Loss, and a Tape Measure

When you're weight training, you shouldn't rely exclusively on the scale to gauge your progress. You can use a body fat tester or a tape measure to track how many inches you're losing. The size of your body will shrink as you shed fat and build muscle, but your weight may not change as dramatically as you expect. Besides, what's more important, the number on the scale or how you look in your skinny jeans?

If you're still not convinced that you need to lift weights, here are 10 reasons you should reconsider.

  1. Chalene Lifting a DumbbellBurn more fat. Researchers at Tufts University found that when overweight women lifted heavy weights twice a week, they lost an average of 14.6 pounds of fat and gained 1.4 pounds of muscle. The control group, women who dieted but didn't lift weights, lost only 9.2 pounds of fat and gained no muscle. When you do an intense weight-training program such as ChaLEAN Extreme®, your metabolism stays elevated and you continue to burn fat for several hours afterward. During regular cardio exercise, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.

  2. Change your body shape. You may think your genes determine how you look. That's not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves, and help avoid the "middle-age spread." Just look at the amazing body transformations of the women who've completed P90X®. Dropping only 3 percent of your body fat could translate into a total loss of 3 inches off your hips and thighs. And no, you won't bulk up—women don't have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do. If you keep your diet clean and create a calorie deficit, you'll burn fat.

  3. Boost your metabolism. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss. Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you'll burn all day long.

  4. Woman with GroceriesGet stronger and more confident. Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight training can make you 50 percent stronger in 6 months. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

  5. Build strong bones. It's been well documented that women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass, and to prevent osteoporosis. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they're made to bear weight. Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.

  6. Fight depression. You've probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help alleviate depression, and weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training. Many women find that regular strength training, in conjunction with psychological treatment, helps lessen their depression symptoms substantially.

  7. Family BicyclingImprove sports fitness. You don't have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it's bicycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing . . . whatever sport you enjoy.

  8. Reduce injuries and arthritis. Weight lifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life. It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis. A study conducted at the University of Wales in Bangor, United Kingdom, found that mildly disabled participants who lifted weights for 12 weeks increased the frequency and intensity at which they could work, with less pain and increased range of movement.

  9. Get heart healthy. More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don't realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping. Lifting weights increases your "good" (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that people who do 30 minutes of weight lifting each week have a 23 percent reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don't lift weights.

  10. Defend against diabetes. In addition to keeping your ticker strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 weeks of strength training can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking diabetes medication. The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood, which can reduce complications from diabetes or even help prevent type 2 diabetes in the first place.

Related Articles
"5 Ways to Speed Up Your Six-Pack"
"5 Ways to Keep Cortisol Under Control"
"10 Urban Food Myths"

Whitney ProvostGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers on Monday, September 14th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your Labor IQ!

By Daniel V. Donatelli

FirefightersSeptember 7 is Labor Day, a day when we in America celebrate what makes this country great: not working on the first Monday in September. In a way, Labor Day marks the end of summer, the beginning of the school year, and the solemn day when I must pack away my sexy white pants with the embarrassing mustard-and-blood stain. We all know that working hard is hard work, but how hard? Find out by matching the occupation with the number of calories burned per hour.

    1. Firefighter - 816 calories. Of course, this is referring to when firefighters are actually doing real work—sliding down the pole, putting out fires, saving lives, posing for calendars, and climbing back up the pole. Most of the time, however, they have a lot of free time on their hands, and they don't burn nearly as many calories when they're just going around setting fires and throwing cats up trees.
    2. Farmer - 544 calories. There is nothing more rewarding than working the land and seeing your crops grow higher than a giraffe's self-esteem, except when you also burn a bunch of calories in the process. Day-to-day farming is truly laborious work—forking straw bales, tilling the land, spreading seed, cashing farm subsidies—and that's why my father always told me, "Danny, don't work hard; work smart. In fact, don't even do that. Move to France."
    3. Actor - 204 calories. Speaking of not-working, wine-chugging, quasi-socialist wastelands, here in California we have lots and lots of actors. At a tame 204 calories per hour, acting isn't exactly going to Bring It. However, some roles are much more labor-intensive than others—for instance, the volleyball scene in Top Gun and the door-chopping scene in The Shining.
    4. Desk job - 122 calories. In our modern era, the American economy is no longer predominantly manufacturing based. Our service-based economy leaves a significant portion of our workforce sitting behind a desk and typing on a keyboard. As you can see, that and occasional walks to the water cooler do not burn very many calories. This means that everyone with one of these jobs—proofreader, data entry specialist, Secretary of Labor—needs to get some exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Remember, as my friend DeLane McDuffie says, "It's not just more of you to love; it's more of you to tolerate."

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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