For even more impressive effects on body composition: aim for exercise forms which elicit a positive hormonal response. This means lifting really heavy things (strength training), or interval training. Such exercise increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone (primarily in men) as well as growth hormone. Not only do greater levels of these hormones increase your muscle mass, but they also decrease your visceral fat (belly fat) in the long term.

#5 – Read Labels!  If you choose processed foods to eat, read your labels, not everything is bad for you, but some stuff is.  I look at the calories, serving size, carbs, protein, fiber and sugar.  If it’s low on protein and fiber, I don’t get it.  If it’s high in fat and sodium I put it right back onto the shelf.  Be a smart consumer and read those labels.  If you can’t pronounce and ingrediant, it’s probably not good for you.  Don’t buy something because the package says low fat or no sugar added, that  doesn’t mean crap!  Sugar Alcohol is still sugar!!!   Not to mention if it’s low in fat, it’s high somewhere else, they need to add something to perserve and add flavor.

"Avoid splashing 'light' olive oils over your salads," says Elena Paravantes, registered dietitian for the Hellenic Dietetic Association in Greece—light varieties have fewer cancer-fighting antioxidants than the extra-virgin kind, plus they have a less intense flavor. Not sure if your oil's up to snuff? "Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil should have a fruity, peppery, slightly bitter taste and leave a faint burning sensation on the throat," she says


In terms of exercise, I kept working hard. Exercising was one of my priorities and so I fit it into my schedule every day, usually on my lunch break. I exercised 6 days of week, and the bulk of my exercise was focused on running with the occasional lifting or circuit (my amazing sister, Lindsay, a certified personal trainer, created lifting plans for me). It was important to me at this point in my journey to have a cardio-based plan and running seemed the most practical. I started running over the summer (it was a SLOW journey of gradually increasing the time and speed on the treadmill every day) so by the time it came around to fall I could actually go run on the roads and continue to improve my endurance. (Note: I am planning on writing a whole post about my relationship with running because it has grown into such an important part of my life. Running used to be extremely hard and I hated it but stuck with it because I knew it would be good for me, but now I love it and the way it makes me feel). 

Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else," suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.

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