Monday, January 31, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Walking to school helps...if you're a girl

My Life's Biggest Project: Walking to school helps...if you're a girl: "As most of you know one of the things that I have decided to do is walk to school. The good thing about this is that it helps me wake up bef..."

Walking to school helps...if you're a girl

As most of you know one of the things that I have decided to do is walk to school. The good thing about this is that it helps me wake up before I get to school, it gives me time to think about and mentally prepare for my and now according to studies it may even make me do better on tests. Sounds silly right, well it just might not be as silly as you may think it to be.

I scanned the news and saw an article entitled, Girls who walk, bike to school do better in tests: Spanish study shows that the longer the commute the higher the scores. This article was found on msnbc. com. So basically the study talks about how girls do better on exams when they have more than a 15 minute commute to school. They however found no significance in boys. The reason for this is unsure, but there are a couple of theories. One would be that boys may get more exercise overall throughout the day so this morning walk would not really make a difference. The second theory is that it may just be a difference in boys and girls brains. The theory has to do with neurological stimulants being different in the female brain and the male brain. The problem with this is that these two things are just theories so the answer to what the difference is between boys and girls in this aspect has yet to be found.

Wondering if it were just a difference between boys and girls in Spain a very similar study was done in Sweden, where they found the very same results. There was a difference in up to four points in girls who walked or biked to school, but still no difference for boys. The other thing that was found was that the longer the commute to school the better the female child did on the test.

So this is just something else that Europeans have going for them. If this be so overseas it should be so in the United States...right? Well yes and no. The fact is that not all commutes are equal. In Europe the child will have a much more stimulating walk by walking through town and passing shops and cafes. A typical suburb here in the States is not going to do much to stimulate us. We will end up walking by cookie cutter type houses. Also safety plays a factor. As we all know not all neighborhoods are good ones to be walked through and if their is high traffic then that would also not be beneficial. One of the plus sides to this study is that the female student has time to think about her day and if she is worried for her life she obviously is going to be thinking about more important things than her exam.

I was intrigued after I read this article for many reasons. But the biggest thing that it told me was that it was yet again another great reason for me to walk to school. I have about a 20 to 30 minute walk from my apartment to my college, I walk past a museum with cafe tables and chairs, dorms and a lot of really pretty landscaping because one thing that OU doesn't skimp on is that. I have all the right ingredients to be a good candidate for doing better on my tests or whatever at school. I'm a female and I have a good long commute. Graduate school is not the easiest thing I've ever done by any means so if it talks a little walk to put some pep in my step and an increase in my grades them of course I'm down. If you are able to walk to school I suggest you give it a try too.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Addiction Awareness

My Life's Biggest Project: Addiction Awareness: "Yesterday after my post I was waiting on my friend Eric to get around so that he and I could go tackle the day. While I was waiting for him ..."

Addiction Awareness

Yesterday after my post I was waiting on my friend Eric to get around so that he and I could go tackle the day. While I was waiting for him I decided to watch some television. Being a fan of pop culture I stumbled across an episode of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. I truly love hearing his perspective on things. I remember in middle school sometimes I would listen to Dr. Drew's radio show Loveline on The Edge. His speaking voice is very soothing, which is great for his patients I'm sure.

Well while I'm watching this reunion show I caught myself coming to tears with everything that these people had gone through. Addiction is one of those things that people can not truly understand unless they themselves have been through it personally. Have any of you? I have seen it first hand. Someone who I was very close to at one point in my life struggled through drug addiction and still does, because like they said on the show I watched, being a recovering addict can take up to 20 years or more for someone to really truly concur this problem. Relapses are normal.

I have lost relationships that meant a lot to me due to addiction. It's sad, but it is one of those things that nobody can fix for the other person. The addict has to do it all by themselves. Now you can be supportive, but they have to be the one to decide that they are through. I bring this up because one thing a lot of people do not realize is that obesity caused by overeating is in fact an addiction problem. Drug addicts and alcholics did not become addicts over night. It was a process the same as food. The only difference is that taking cigarettes, drugs or alcohol out of the mix is good and will save the person's life. Taking food out of the person's life is not an option.

People do not understand that food can be one of the most addicting things of all. They think oh you're fat because you have no self control, yet we sympathize with someone who shoots something into their arm that was concocted in a bathtub with ingredients found under your kitchen sink. Where is the logic? This is the reason why people struggle to lose weight. They never deal with the root of the problem. If you were in drug rehab, Dr. Drew or whoever would have counceling sessions with their patient to try to find out when and why you turned to escapism or the need to be high. They would break you down to finding the very instant in your life that this thought process took over your brain. Once this is found then the addict can begin to overcome the problem. We do not do this for people who have a food addiction.

Food addicts have withdrawl symptoms just like alcholics and drug addicts. They suffer from relapses, temptation (and lots of it because no matter where we go food is everywhere. Recovering drug addicts don't have lines of blow thrown in their face everyday unless they hang out at places where it is accessible.) and the very same feelings of depression and anxiety. Using food as comfort is the same thing as an addict using to numb themselves. For a food addict they get the same kind of high off of it. Another thing is what we call the "come down period" for alcoholics and drug addicts this is where they start to sober up and come off of their high. They felt great while they were high, but now they are hitting a low because yet again they have messed up. Someone with a food addiction feels great while they are eating, but once they have that moment of clarity of what they are doing they too feel the same guilt.

Honestly and truly anytime someone talks about drug or alcohol addiction they could interchange those words with food and it would be the same thing. Sadly in our society it is more socially acceptable or at least something that reacieves more sympathy than someone who claims to be addicted to food.

Just the other day one of my friends was talking on Facebook about how all the new years resolutioners were going to be taking up lots of space in the gym and that by the end of February they wouldn't even still be going. There was a long feed of responses to this of people agreeing with him and understanding where he was coming from. I even get what he was saying, but it is that mentality that keeps people from keeping on. Discouragement is the greatest excuse to stop. And all an addict needs is a teensy tiny excuse. Another one of my friends commented on this post saying that because people say things like that is what keeps these people from keeping their resolutions and she is 100 percent correct. Now my friend who had this as his status did not mean it to be mean. He's a super nice guy and I've personally never witnessed him do or say anything mean. He probably was genuinely annoyed by the fact that he couldn't get to his machines because of the new crowd and I get that. However with that said, we need to not be the excuse.

My person in my life who was suffering from drug addiction would try to find excuses to relapse and really if you look for one you can find it. It is amazing what the mind can create if we want it to. The reason for this like I said is because of all the temptation that is everywhere. I was in church today and that is what the sermon was all about was trying to not give into temptation. The problem is that it will never go away so we must find a way to overcome it.

I ask you all to consider everything I've said today. Try to be sensitive and encouraging to those around you. You never know what they are going through or how inspirational even a smile can be to that person. We are all more important to others than we can imagine. I believe that God puts us in certain places at certain times for a reason and if my reason was just to tell someone good job then my job is done. Those two words really could change someone's entire perspective of themselves. It really really is the little things in life that can make the biggest difference.

I also ask you all to not give into the temptations and you have no idea how very proud of yourself you will be. The overwhelming feelings will subside and in the end you will be so proud of yourself. That my friends is an amazing award. Really over all what I hope you take from this post is to be thoughtful of yourself and others. In the end you will be happier for it. So be kind to one another and have a great remainder to your weekend. Monday's coming along with some wacky winter weather in this part of the country so enjoy it now. I'll post new things to think about tomorrow!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Happy Healthy Heart

My Life's Biggest Project: Happy Healthy Heart: "Most of the time when we hear about heart attacks we hear about them in men, but that is not always the case. Women have heart attacks too. ..."

Happy Healthy Heart

Most of the time when we hear about heart attacks we hear about them in men, but that is not always the case. Women have heart attacks too. One of the highest reason for heart attack in both men and women is because of leading unhealthy lifestyles, obesity and stress. Obviously men and women both suffer from all of these things, so it should not have come as suprise to me when I came across this article on Yahoo news written by Leah Zerbe of, that it was about women.

I am just not use to hearing about women having heart attacks. Part of the reason for this is because of where men and women tend to carry their weight. This can also mak eyou more prone to having heart failure. People who suffer from heart attacks tend to carry all of their weight in their stomach, which is more commen in men. Women tend to carry more of their weight in their lower body. Areas like the hips, thighs and butt. I certainly fall into this category as well. Even when I'm thinner than now I always have a big booty and child bearing hips.

Zerbe's article talks about how women suffering with work stress are more likely to have an attack. So she offers stress relief suggestions. I've talked about this before because the more stressed out people are the less likely they are to have results when losing weight. Here are the tips that Zerbe posted and I will share them with you :)

"An August study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that students taking part in Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) enjoyed changes in white brain matter (within 11 hours of practice) that seemed connected to better regulation of emotions and behavior," said Zerbe in her article.

You've got to change up the way you think about things and IBMT will do that for you. It consists of the "practice of maintaining a state of restful alertness to tap into body-mind awareness while a trained coach guides your breathing and mental imagery." Kind of like when you are doing breathing exercises in Yoga. Another thing it is similar to is the more recognized and well known thing called mindulness-based stressed reduction (MBSR). This involves focusing on "your present-moment thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. MBSR has been shown to help people make clearer decisions in times of crisis, which could help when all health breaks loose at the office."

You don't have to turn to pill popping to lower your stress you can do it all nat-u-ral! Here is what Zerpe suggests in her article;

Get your daily IBMT. Previous research out of the University of Oregon and three Chinese institutes has found that you could adopt stress-zapping properties of IBMT before the workweek's out. After practicing it for 20 minutes a day for five days in a row, participants reported reduced stress and increased energy. Prevention suggests this intro IBMT exercise: Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and think of your mind as a full cup; as thoughts come and go, keep returning to an image of the cup becoming empty. Repeat for five minutes.

Regardless of your meditation style, know this: Compared to non-meditators, women who practice meditation enjoy up to a 66 percent drop in stress hormone levels, which can dramatically improve heart health.

Pop a piece of gum.
If you're in need of an emergency quick freak-out fix, reach for a piece of gum. (Avoid artificial sweetened gum, though—some are linked to health issues.) One study found that chewing gum boosts blood flow to the brain by up to 40 percent, helping you stay calm and in the present. This prevents you from ruminating over some aggravating office event.

Learn more about meditation.
You don't need to be a monk to enjoy the benefits of meditation. In fact, more and more Western integrative medicine practitioners are using it as a nontoxic health improver. To learn more about meditation, read: Meditate Like a Marine to Pump Up Your Mental Muscles.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Don't Worry...Be Happy

My Life's Biggest Project: Don't Worry...Be Happy: "Yesterday I went to work and we were suprisingly slow. Me being a doof I completely didn't think to bring my homework or even my Chelsea Han..."

Don't Worry...Be Happy

Yesterday I went to work and we were suprisingly slow. Me being a doof I completely didn't think to bring my homework or even my Chelsea Handler book that I'm reading for fun. Instead I didn't bring anything but myself so I had lots of time to blow. I did everything I needed to do work wise, but lets just say I had an over abundance of down time. So I Facebooked like a crazy person and read a whole lot of things on the Internet. I don't always love down days like that because I'm one of those people who constantly needs to be on the go, but it was really nice yesterday because my energy levels have been super low this last week. This was sign number one.

After lunch with my friend I walked home from campus and felt some pain at my incision site. Well that sucks I thought so I went to look at it and... (this part may be gross so if you are faint of heart go ahead and skip to the next paragraph) it looked like the Texas chainsaw masacre occured on my floor. I was so pissed off. I cried and not because it hurt super bad, but because I am beyond frusterated. I really thought this time was it. So after I cleaned myself up and my floor I called the doctors office.

They scheduled me an appointment a week from today, but the on call doctor told me that if it continued to bleed heavily that I needed to go to the ER. Well hell this brought up a whole new list of problems so I called my insurance company to see if this was going to cost me an arm and a leg. You know there is a problem with the healthcare system if someone bleeding profusely considers not going to the doctor because of money, but hey I have enough debt because of college and all the previous surgeries so I do everything I can to not add to that.

So at the end of the night I decided to not go to the ER, but I was so upset. I had a lot of things I needed to do, but instead I layed around and cried and felt sorry for myself. Yes even today I still feel justified in being upset and disapointed, but really there was a better way of handeling this mishap. So after feeling sorry for myself I decided that I needed to concentrate on being happy because mental health is essential to physical health. This reminded me of what I saw on Oprah the other day while flipping through the channels. I stopped because I saw that Goldie Hawn and Jenny McCarthy were going to be a part of the show, but a lot of things were very important.

The entire show focused on happiness. It talked about the happiest place to live, the happiest careers, the fact that more money doesn't make us happy and all other kind of things. I'll share some of the facts with you from the show.

1. According to a 2010 Gallup Poll, 57 percent of Americans say they are happy, 40 percent say they are struggling or trying to be happy and 3 percent say they are suffering.

2. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that people can be born happy—up to 50 percent of your happiness is genetic. (40 percent can be learned and 10 percent is influenced by life circumstances.) 

3. A Harvard University study has shown that spending just 10 minutes each day sitting and breathing—doing absolutely nothing—will increase your happiness.

4. According to a study by Dartmouth College, the more sex you have, the happier you'll be. (This must be were Meredith Grey from my favorite TV drama learned to be such a little slutty Notice in early season's she always has three things: tequilla, her Dartmouth sweatshirt and a one night stand).

5. Research from Dan Buettner's book, Blue Zones, shows that while having a child is stressful, a parent's happiness rises after the child turns 18 years old…and it keeps rising!

6. A Pew Research Center study found that almost 1 in 3 Americans don't know their neighbors. Yet, according to a study by Harvard University, the more neighbors you know, the happier and safer you feel. Plus, if your neighbor is happy, it increases your happiness by 34 percent.

7. Research shows that the happiest people watch the least amount of TV, while the least happy people watch 10 hours or more each day, according to a study by the University of Maryland.

8. Research shows that the more TVs you have in your home, the more TV you tend to watch. For ultimate happiness, watch between half an hour to one hour of TV per day. 

9. According to a Gallup Poll, Americans, on average, say they have nine close friends. Experts at the National Institute of Health say you should have at least two close friends for maximum happiness.

10. Travel agents, clergy, special education teachers and firefighters have the happiest jobs in America. And, on average, not one of those jobs pays more than $50,000 per year, according to research by the University of Chicago.

11. Studies show that money can make you happier, but only to a point: According to Princeton University, happiness maxes out once you earn $75,000 per year for a family of four.

12. Research from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Cornell University shows that spending money on a life experience produces longer-lasting happiness than spending money on material things; in fact, the impact of a new material thing only lasts about nine months.

To go with number 12 I think I should tell you that this is not the first time I heard that, but this last summer was. One of my friends said that he was going to start spending money on experiences instead of things because it just made more sense to him. I thought that was one of the most insightful things I had ever heard at that time. Seems like he knew what he was talking about!

I'll keep you all updated on what happens with my post post post op appointment and you all continue to read and be positive. I'll try to do the same thing. Do you have any happy suggestions or things you do that pull you out of a bad day? I'd love to hear your suggestions because I may need them. Don't worry about the little things and try to be happy because happy people are the prettiest people :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Most important meal of the day...or is it?

My Life's Biggest Project: Most important meal of the day...or is it?: "This morning I just could not drag my booty out of bed. I was so tired. So I didn't get to have any kind of breakfast, which really isn't th..."

Most important meal of the day...or is it?

This morning I just could not drag my booty out of bed. I was so tired. So I didn't get to have any kind of breakfast, which really isn't that rare of an occurrence for me, but I am going to be in my office until around 1:30 today with a little break before I have to go TA for my intro to mass communication class. I will be starving by then. Trying to plan a little bit I grabbed a cereal bar and ran out the door to catch the bus so that I wouldn't be late to work this morning.

One of the things we always hear is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that if we eat a big ol' breakfast we will be less hungry throughout the day. I personally have not found this to be true. I know that for health reasons we should eat breakfast, but a healthy one, not a hearty one. We do this to jumpstart our metabolism in a good way. However many people think that breakfast is kind of a free for all because you have all day to burn off those calories. Myth? Well let me tell you about what I found.

Once I got to work I started scanning the Web for some health news and on CNN I found an article about breakfast and after my morning fiasco I decided to go ahead and read that article that I am now going to share with you.

A new study has found that a big breakfast will not help you lose weight. The research in this study found that no  matter what someone had for breakfast they still seemed to eat the same amount and lunch and dinner. The study followed 280 obese and 100 normal-weight German's and they recorded everything they ate and drank for two weeks. Most of those in the study ate cereal or sausage and bread for breakfast.

"It's common belief when you have a big breakfast, you reduce energy intake during the day," said Dr. Volker Schusdziarra, a researcher from the Else-Kröner-Fresenius Center of Nutritional Medicine in Munich, Germany. "This is not true. Whatever you eat for breakfast doesn't influence lunch and dinner. The breakfast calories are added on top. You end up with more calories at the end of the day."

So the study found that no a big breakfast is not going to keep you from having the munchies later in the day in fact it will just help you pack on a higher caloric intake during the day. In fact Schusdziarra even disputes the wise tale that you need to have breakfast.

"If someone doesn't need breakfast, why should they eat breakfast? If I don't feel hungry, I don't miss anything," said Schusdziarra. "They've already saved some breakfast calories. If you want to have breakfast, eat it. But you can save calories at breakfast. Big breakfast doesn't save calories. This is what people should know."

The one thing that was found in the study was that people who skipped breakfast did tend to snack more in the morning. I just consider that a breakfast substitute. So what have we learned from this. If you are wanting to lose weight, have breakfast or don't. It doesn't really matter, but the important thing to do is to keep track of what you are eating throughout the day. I hope you all have a great morning!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Better For You Comfort Food

My Life's Biggest Project: Better For You Comfort Food: "I am pretty sure that this super cold weather we have gotten has made more than just myself feel like a need for warmth. I call it snuggle w..."

Better For You Comfort Food

I am pretty sure that this super cold weather we have gotten has made more than just myself feel like a need for warmth. I call it snuggle weather, but thanks to my current single status that is not an One of the other things that comes to mind this time of year when I'm freezing is wanting comfort food. In the summer when it's hot and I'm sweating like a man I don't normally want something heavy, in fact that is the time of year that I love sandwiches, not sure why, but that is what seems like a summer food to me. In the winter though I tend to want something a little more hearty. Another thing I think about is how ridiculous my utility bill is going to be so I go ahead and stay a little bit more cool because really I can wear a hoodie and have a blankie when I'm sitting on the couch and that's not a problem. You know the poor kid strategy for survival lol.

Just the other day for example, I got home and my hands were freezing because I had forgotten my gloves, well I immediately thought that, that day would be a great soup day. So I go through my cabinets and look around and I didn't have any soup, but I did have some Ramen noodles that my mom left when she was staying with me after my surgery. I got a packet out and struggled with wanting to eat it. The packet is still sitting on my counter because I opted for a grapefruit instead of my sodium packed noodles. But the point is I really wanted something to make me feel warm and the problem with that is that normally these kinds of foods are packed with bad for you stuff. So seeing that this was a problem for me I thought that it might be a problem for others out there so I decided to do some research.

In this I came across a Web site that gave five different options for some of our favorite winter dishes, but in a more healthy way to have them. The article is entitled "5 Winter Dishes Lightened Up" (good title huh!) and it is written by Laurie Saloman and reviewed by Quality Health's Medical Advisory Board. I will fill you in on the secrets of the page.

Eggplant Parmesan- As I've said before I have a weakness for Italian food. The problem with this dish is while yes it is more healthy in the sense that you are having a veggie than overloading on protein you are pulling in some other bad things. Most of the time when you order this at a restaurant it is breaded and fried and doused in fatty cheese and sauce so Saloman writes the following;

"A better solution: Grilled eggplant. Salt eggplant rounds, lightly spray each side with cooking spray, and grill until they're brown and soft on both sides. Layer them with tomato sauce and low-fat mozzarella and bake until bubbling. Add wilted spinach leaves or roasted pepper slices for extra flavor."

Meatloaf- Everyone has there own way of making meatloaf and sometimes it can be better for you than others. I myself am a huge fan of my BFF Eric's, but it probably isn't the best thing in the world for me, but I'm in love with it regardless.

The slimming secret offered in the article is to substitute "lean ground chicken or turkey" instead of the fatty beef that we normally use in meatloaf. Saloman suggests cooking, "diced peppers and onions mixed in with the meat" to provide a little kick and some more flavor. She says that it is even OK to top it with fat-free cheese mixed in with some Salsa to give it a little for of that extra something.

Chicken pot pie- I forget about chicken pot pie most of the time, but whenever I have one I remember that I really do like it. It's just one of those things like Ramen noodles that I have pretty much told myself that I just can't have. Here is a way that you can according to Saloman's article;

"Skip the butter, flour and heavy cream that traditionally give this dish its thickness. Instead, substitute a can of reduced-fat cream of celery soup. Simply mix the soup, frozen vegetables of your choice, and cooked chicken pieces together and put into a pie tin. Top the pie with reduced-fat refrigerated crescent-roll dough and bake for a satisfying winter night's dinner."

French Fries- As Americans we are all so very use to having fries as a side with everything that we eat. Heck they come with every combo meal that is out there. Fries have become the default food and the sad thing about it is that they are so freaking bad for you. If you still want to be able to eat fries and not feel as guilty about it you should definitely read this tip.

"There's no rule that says French fries have to be friend to be good. Slice up some potatoes, lightly salt them, place them on a baking sheet and spray them with cooking oil. The bake them at 450 degrees, turning once, until they're crispy all over. Want a nutritional boost? Substitute butternut squash slices for white potatoes."

I for one can tell you that the squash option is amazing. I actually prefer it to the potato.

New England clam chowder- This is where we get back to what I said about soup earlier. One thing we can't help but think about during chilly weather is soup so it only made sense to me that at some point during this article it would be mentioned. It may be the last on the list, but that doesn't make it any less important of an option than the rest.

"A bowl of this creamy, briny soup packs in boatloads of calories, so lighten it up. Adding extra vegetables and clams gives the soup body, while cutting the heavy cream to half a cup and using reduced -fat milk instead of whole milk slashes fat. Enjoy with whole-grain crackers or bread, " said Saloman.

I hope that some of these things help you and I hope you enjoy them. If you try any out or have any other suggestions for healthier options I would love to try them and even post them in another post later on. Let me know what you got.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Soda or Pop

My Life's Biggest Project: Soda or Pop: "It doesn't really matter what you call it, it's the same thing. I for one prefer to call my bubbly beverage soda, but I may be the only Okla..."

Soda or Pop

It doesn't really matter what you call it, it's the same thing. I for one prefer to call my bubbly beverage soda, but I may be the only Oklahoman who does. The pop thing doesn't really bother me, but I just don't say it. What does bother me however is when somebody says something about a coke. Like, "what kind of coke do you want?" That question does not even make sense at all. Why would you ask me what kind of coke I want? I mean unless you are asking if I want cherry or vanilla or diet, but a coke is a coke, like coca-cola. It is not the universal word for soda.

This tangent may sound silly, but it has to do with what I want to talk to you all about today. I don't care if you call it soda, pop or coke, but the fact remains that it's not good for you. I for one miss Dr. Pepper when I can't have it. In fact while dieting I cut all soda from my diet, but when I just can't take it any more I go get a Diet Dr. Pepper and it is the best thing I've ever put in my mouth. I mean seriously I would rather waste calories on that soda than on a donut or piece of cake. I'm pretty serious about my Diet DP. If you are like me then you know it is a struggle when trying to lose weight. By doing this I mean trying to cut out your favorite soda. I truly think that DP is like my crack. So while researching today I came across an article that I will post for you that is written by Steve Edwards, a writer for The article is entitled "Top 10 Reasons to Give up Soda". I am going to assume that Mr. Edwards is from the north because he called it soda instead of the top 10 reasons to give up pop. Or maybe he is a uniquely different southerner/ middle American like Regardless this is what he has to say.

  1. "Soda may cause cancer. According to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, consuming two or more soft drinks per week increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly twofold compared to individuals who didn't consume soft drinks. As reported, the study "followed 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years. During that time, there were 140 pancreatic cancer cases. Those who consumed two or more soft drinks per week (averaging five per week) had an 87 percent increased risk compared with individuals who did not."

    "Then why, you're probably asking yourself, is this number 10 on our list, and why is soda still even on the shelf? Not that I'd challenge the ability of such large corporate power to hide such a thing but, in this case, the study slit its own throat. As one of the researchers noted, "Soft drink consumption in Singapore was associated with several other adverse health behaviors such as smoking and red meat intake, which we can't accurately control for," meaning that we have no way of knowing for sure if soda was the culprit. Still, it doesn't hurt to know that when you drink soda it lumps you into a fairly unhealthy user group.1"
  2. "It's not just about calories. Calories grab headlines, but recent science is showing that diet soda drinkers are still in the crosshairs. A 2005 study by the University of Texas Health Science Center showed there's a 41 percent increased risk of being obese—and a 65 percent increased risk of becoming overweight during the next 7 or 8 years—for every can of diet soda a person consumes in a day. Admittedly, this one should be higher on the list, but I wanted to make sure the article-skimming crowd knew the score up front: that diet sodas are very much a part of the problem."
  3. Pouring Water"It's the water . . . and a lot more. Okay, so that was a beer slogan, but soda is also made up mainly of water, and when you're slinging as much of it as they are, and you need to sling it cheap, sometimes you can't help but run into problems with your supply chain. In India, Coca-Cola® has found itself in hot water, and not the kind they thought they were purchasing rights to. Two of their factories have been closed, but one continues to run amok." 

    "According to a report in The Ecologist, "They accuse the company of over-extracting groundwater, lowering the water tables and leaving farmers and the local community unable to dig deep enough to get to vital water supplies. Since the bottling plant was opened in 2000, water levels in the area have dropped six metres, and when a severe drought hit the region earlier this year the crops failed and livelihoods were destroyed."2"
  4. "BPA: not just for water bottles anymore. Nalgene® and other water bottle companies took the heat when the dangers of bisphenol A (BPA) were made public a couple years back. While these companies went to great lengths to save their businesses, the soda companies somehow flew under the radar and continue to use it in their products. A recent Canadian study has found that BPA exists "in the vast majority" of the soft drinks tested. Most of these were under the national limits set for toxicity, but some were not. And remember how much soda the average person consumes, meaning odds are most soda consumers are at some risk."

    "Out of 72 drinks tested, 69 were found to contain BPA at levels below what Health Canada says is the safe upper limit. However, studies in peer-reviewed science journals have indicated that even at very low doses, BPA can increase breast and ovarian cancer cell growth and the growth of some prostate cancer cells in animals."3
  5. "Can convenience. As in the 1950s colloquialism: can it. Speaking of the 1950s, those were the happy days when most of our soda was consumed at soda fountains, obesity was a term hardly anyone had heard of, and the most feared epidemic was one involving atomically mutated insects taking over the world. Now instead of hoofing it down to the corner confectionery for one soda, we fill trucks with pallets of shrink-wrapped cans or bottles and quaff the stuff by the six-pack. Not only does this ensure that our diets will be out of balance, it wreaks havoc on the world around us. The bottled-water industry (which is mostly owned by the soda industry) famously uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and the aluminum industry uses as much electricity as the entire continent of Africa. Not only that, aluminum mining accounts for a ton of toxic chemicals left behind for every ton of the metal produced.4"
  6. "The Frankenfood factor. Whether you consume diet or regular soda, you're getting all the genetically modified food you need and more, via high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. Both of these are under plenty of scientific as well as anecdotal scrutiny. Findings aren't pretty, but so far this multibillion-dollar industry has kept these sweeteners on the shelves while alternative sweeteners meeting cost requirements are explored. Since it's almost impossible to read health headlines without finding one of these ingredients in some type of controversy, I'll just use one example:"

    "The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and food safety advocacy group, called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the claims, which stem from research conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation in Italy. The foundation reported that rats who consumed aspartame in exceedingly large quantities were more likely to develop cancer. CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson considers this an important finding that should not be overlooked." 5

    "I know, there I go again with the cancer. But some people need to be shocked in order to take action. For me, seeing the Diet Coke® and Mentos® experiment was all I needed to swear off the stuff."
  7. Child Drinking Soda"Foreign news cares how much soda we sell in our schools. How bad is your country's problem when the whole world is watching its daily actions? "Nearly one in three children and teenagers in the U.S. are overweight or obese and health experts say sugary drinks are part of the problem." 6 Yep, bad. The world is well aware of the problems soda is causing and is looking to us to lead. And we certainly are trying. Are you with the program?"

    "Under the voluntary guidelines, in place since 2006, full-calorie soft drinks were removed from school canteens and vending machines. Lighter drinks, including low-fat milk, diet sodas, juices, flavoured waters and teas were promoted in their place."6

    "And, while great and all, it appears that no one got the memo about diet sodas."
  8. "Diet? Um, that's just like your opinion, man. When it comes to soda, treat the word "diet" as a slogan. A study at Boston University's School of Medicine linked diet soda with increased risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. To be more specific, the study "found adults who drink one or more sodas a day had about a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome," which is a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of "good" cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other symptoms that lead to heart disease and/or diabetes. And, for those of you only concerned about how you look in the mirror, "Those who drank one or more soft drinks a day had a 31 percent greater risk of becoming obese."
  9. "Soda outkills terrorists. A study out of the University of California, San Francisco, shows that soda has killed at least 6,000 Americans in the last decade."

    "From ABC News: "The new analysis, presented Friday at the American Heart Association's 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, offers a picture of just how horrifying the damage done by excess consumption of sugary drinks can be."

    "Using a computer model and data from the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers estimated that the escalating consumption between 1990 and 2000 of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages, which they abbreviated as 'SSBs,' led to 75,000 new cases of diabetes and 14,000 new cases of coronary heart disease. 

    "What's more, the burden of the diseases translated into a $300 million to $550 million increase in health care costs between 2000 and 2010."7
  10. "It's the "real thing" . . . not exactly. Should having the number-one source of calories in the world come from something that's entirely manmade be a metaphor for a dying world? It doesn't have to be this way. After all, there's nothing in soda that we need. In fact, there's nothing in soda that even comes from the earth except caffeine, and that's optional. It's a mixture of altered water (injected with carbon dioxide gas), artificial flavors (yes, "natural flavor" is artificial), artificial color, and phosphoric acid, along with its sole caloric source that is a by-product of genetically modified corn production and offers virtually no nutritional value. It's about as real as The Thing."
  • Sources:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4,
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7"

Also a lot of you had a lot to say to me about the HCG diet and I really appreciate your feedback. I got Facebook messages, e-mails, phone calls and even some face to face talkings to about the diet. I heard good things and bad and would love to hear whatever else it is that you have to say about it. Your words are always welcome. I look forward to hearing what you have to say. Also the next time you get that crazy caffeine craving and have to have that soda, feel free to refer back to this post, it may be inspiration you need to not drink that soda!

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: To HCG or Not to HCG

My Life's Biggest Project: To HCG or Not to HCG: "This is the big question I have looming over my head at this point. The question being wether or not I should try out this HCG diet or not. ..."

To HCG or Not to HCG

This is the big question I have looming over my head at this point. The question being wether or not I should try out this HCG diet or not. My sibling who is a gorgeous girl and not what I would consider overweight in the least is a promoter of the HCG diet. I’ve talked about it a little bit in an early post, but she truly believes that it is a miracle diet, so I decided to do a little bit of my own research. One of the things I found was how it is a miracle. Promising quick results like up to 30 pounds lost in 30 days. But of course I found this on Web sites that were promoting or selling the HCG diet kit so of course I have to consider my source. In a country where two thirds of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese it only makes sense that there would be a need to promote something that promises quick and easy results. I’ll tell you a little bit about the diet.

HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin which is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. The HCG hormone is supposed to suppress hunger and trigger your body to use stored fat as energy. Most of these diets restrict eaters to only take in about 500 calories a day and the food must be organic, unprocessed along with taking the HCG injections or serum drops under their tongue (according to an article on written by Kathleen M. Zelman, the oral HCG may contain very little if any HCG). The dieter is to follow the plan for 45 days straight and it promises to fix your metabolism and lose up to three pounds a day.

Diet experts are not on board with this. Most believe that the reason the dieter is losing weight is obvious it is because they are essentially starving themselves by cutting their calorie intake down to 500 a day. This also is not fixing the metabolism it is in fact ruining it according to nutrition experts.

Knowing everything that I read on this Web site should of course be a deterrent for me trying this out myself right? Well yes and no. Here is where I need your advice. When my friend Adrienne was down the other day she and I talked about this diet and she said a woman that she went to church with lost a lot of weight on this particular diet and that she did not do the 500 calories instead it was more like 1000 or 1200, I can’t remember exactly what Adrienne said. However the point is that the woman who did the HCG diet lost like 80 pounds and it has changed her life. Not only has she been off the HCG portion of the diet for three months she has maintained her weight loss and made a lifestyle change that has allowed her to lose this weight. Adrienne said that she lost the weight fast, but has kept it off. Sometimes I know all we need is that little push to keep at it.

So I am seriously considering trying this particular thing out. I would love to hear your input. Is this something I should try out or not? Have you tried it or known of anyone else who has? I know my sib wouldn’t do it if she didn’t believe that it truly would work out so I trust her judgment. I would just really like to get some other opinions before I try it out myself. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Shake it Fast, But Watch Yourself

My Life's Biggest Project: Shake it Fast, But Watch Yourself: "To go with last nights theme today I tried out a hip hop dance workout that I picked up at Wal-mart for like five bucks. I bought it right a..."

Shake it Fast, But Watch Yourself

To go with last nights theme today I tried out a hip hop dance workout that I picked up at Wal-mart for like five bucks. I bought it right after my surgery because I thought it might be something that I could do to keep on track with my weight loss goals, but as it turns out and obviously something that I myself should have thought of the problem with this is that in hip hop dance there are lots of lunges and things that my doctor specifically ordered me not to do. So here we are two months later and I finally decided to take the celephane off the DVD box.

The name of the DVD is 10 minute solution Hip Hop Dance Mix. It is a 10 minute workout that says it will shape up your body. There are five different ten minute workouts. The five are as follows: hip hop basics, fat burning funk, edgy grooves, body re-mix and cardio street heat. Pretty clever little names huh. Well the beauty in this DVD is that you can do just one of the workouts or you have the option to combine whichever ones you want so that you can personalize it to what you want it to be. This also means it is completely up to you on how much time you spend working out to this particular program on any given day.

Today I just did the hip hop basics for the 10 minutes and let me tell you what, by the end of it I was already breaking quite a sweat. The best part about this program was how much fun it was. Just like with dance central I didn't even realize that what I was doing constituted working out. This one maybe a little more than the game, but that is probably because the other thing was just that, a game.Now to kick it a little more old school for you I'll tell you what other fun little thing I'm going to do today.

Once I finish getting my house all cleaned up I'm going to bust out my old Darrin's Dance Grooves. On this oh so awesome VHS (yeah I said it) Darrin Henson, choreographer to some of our favorite pop artists of the nineties teaches us the choreography that he created for Britney Spears, NSYNC, and Jordan Knight. Which songs? Well I won't leave you in suspense, I'll tell you. First thing that Darrin will teach is the choreography to Britney's "Crazy", then we get a little bit of "Bye Bye Bye" from NSYNC and last but not least Jordan Knight's "Give It To You", which Henson himself was actually in the dance video for. Not only will I be having a blasty balst while doing this, I'll also be working up a sweat and burning calories. What a fun way to spend the last day of my weekend. I better keep my energy levels up because as of tomorrow I'll probably be suffering from a bad case of the Monday'

Any of you remember this tape and or DVD? It use to come on the commercials all the time during TRL and pretty much MTV all day long really. In fact Carson Daly said, "You'll notice...he's just better than everybody..." when talking about Henson. Use to way back when I was pretty much a fan of whatever Carson told me to be a fan of. As a result I begged my mom for this dance tape and like a good mother she caved and got it for me. I've never been in a situation where I've had to bust out my mad moves, but who knows maybe being a pro at Bye Bye Bye will come in super handy someday. What do you think?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Dance Central

Get your game on and dance dance! My Life's Biggest Project: Dance Central: "So last night after I posted my blog I went to Bricktown with a couple of friends and we had a blasty blast. Proof that you can go out have ..."

Dance Central

So last night after I posted my blog I went to Bricktown with a couple of friends and we had a blasty blast. Proof that you can go out have fun and guess what you don't have to drink. We started our night at Coyote Ugly and then worked our way over to some Pub/Tavern place (I don't remember the name). Regardless of what the name is it was a really nice place. After we came home I decided to chill and relax to some old school reruns of my favorite comedy series of all time, that's right Friends. My buddy Chrystle hooked me up with the entire series as a birthday present so I see a lot of reruns in my future as I am currently watching season three.

You know how I told you that I had homework that I needed to work on today, well let me tell you about that fiasco. I went to Wal-mart to get a picture printed for my press pass and what should have taken 15 minutes ended up taking an hour in a half. I was bored hanging out at Wally world and kept thinking there was so much more better things I could be doing with me time. I was also sad because in Tahlequah several of my friends work in the electronics department. Had I have been there I would have been getting my flirt on for an hour and a half, but instead I was forced to walk around the store pick things up and then with all my extra time decide that I didn't really need to buy the things that I had put in my cart. By the end of this trip I ended up walking out of the store with just my pictures for the bargin price of $1.49.

On my way home from Wal-mart I received a text from my friend Kat inviting me to a dance party at her apartment tonight. I said sure. As I've said before finding buddies to work out with is a plus as well as dancing being a great method of working out. This was an invite that I simply couldn't turn down. So what did I do you may ask? I went and got  my dance on.

By dance party Kat meant playing Dance Central on her boyfriend Jason's X-Box. I for one am not a big fan of video games (those of you who know me know why), but let me tell you something, I am now in love. We danced for like four and a half hours. We danced alone, we battled eachother and I worked up quite a sweat (probably because it was 75 degrees in the apartment). After tonight Kat may have a new friend at her apartment more than she bargained for, that is unless someone wants to purchase me an

Point to today's blog post is simple. Find something to do that constitutes working out that is also something you will enjoy. By the end of it not only will you have burned calories, but you will not realize that what you were doing was working out instead while you are cranking that solja boy you will be having the time of your life! Have any of you played this game? What's your favorite? If you haven't I strongly suggest you give it a try for yourself. Don't just take my word for it, but if you want to I must say that it is AWESOME :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: TGIF

How has your friday been? Read all about mine here: My Life's Biggest Project: TGIF: "Hello world! How you been? Today I got to see one of my favorite friends! I hope that you are all having a wonderful Friday. I sure have. It..."


Hello world! How you been? Today I got to see one of my favorite friends! I hope that you are all having a wonderful Friday. I sure have. It's been kind of a lazy day, but my friend Adrienne got to come down for a job interview in OKC this morning and since she was out this way I kidnapped her for the day and the two of us got to catch up. I hadn't seen her since May so it was great to spend time with her. She looks fantastic by the way.

Adrienne has been going to a dietician and has been calorie cutting and watching what she eats and let me tell you how awesome she looks. Words can't begin to describe the transformation I have seen in her body. She is stunning. I would like to take some credit (as little as it may be) because she told me that one of the reason's she decided to work on her weight loss was to be competitive with me since I've started this blog. I told her I was happy to have been that for her, you know a little inspiration to continue on this project.

In actuality after getting to see her and talking to her about how much better she feels and all of that I would have to say that Adrienne is now my inspiration to keep at it. I have known her since I was in high school. She and I have both struggled with our weight and to see how happy and beautiful she is makes me aspire to be more like her. Adrienne is one of those girls who would be beautiful at any size, but she seemed genuinely happy which is motivation in itself.

Congratulations on all of your hard work and I hope to be as good at this as you. Yes I have lost weight, and yes I have not been as strict about this project as I need to be, but after seeing her it definitely put things into perspective for me. I had that surgery which really has put a damper on this for me and limited my ability on several levels, but I am not a quitter. I was talking to my friend who works with me in student services and she told me that even under these circumstances she still thinks it is great that I haven't put any of the weight back on.

I haven't lost any more since I started losing, but I also haven't gained and maintaining weight loss is one of the biggst struggles that people have, especially women. Just to know that there are people out there rooting for me to be successful really helps me want to do well. It's funny because there are days that I think is anyone really reading this stuff that I post and then I will run into someone who tells me about my blog. I know that they have actually read it because they tell me about something that I have said and it inspires me to do better.

Basically what I am telling you is that your feedback is critical. Knowing that you are out there, that you are reading this and that my words mean something to you is the most important thing to me. I do not want to let you down because you are my accountability buddies. So from the bottom of my heart thank you to all who are still reading and I promise to keep at it! I will post more exciting things for you to read tomorrow, but I felt like it was important to let you know where I was at today.

Tommorrow I am dedicating my day to homework because it is that time again and research, not only about the HCG diet which has caught my attention, but also good old school research. The end of this semester is right around the corner and I have a lot of future plans to make. I just thought that today would be a good time to tell you all reading this how much you are appreciated. So again Thank you! Have a good night and I'll talk to all tomorrow :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: A Group Thing

My Life's Biggest Project: A Group Thing: "Remember when I told you the personal accounts of the people who were half their size. It was an article that I read in a People magazine. W..."

A Group Thing

Remember when I told you the personal accounts of the people who were half their size. It was an article that I read in a People magazine. Well in that very same magazine there was another article and it was about an office diet where a particular group of collegues got together and lost over 300 pounds between the theree of them. The article was written by Liza Hamm and should be an inspiration for us all.

Accountability is one of the biggest pushers for people to be successful when trying to change something. I have read book after book and article after article talking about weight loss and they all suggest either working out with friends or having some kind of an accountability buddy. This is something that will assist in keeping you on track. At this point a lot of us trying ot have lose weight have done this more than once, and we are use to letting ourselves down, but we aren't use to letting others down. That's why doing this is so effective.

The article is amazing. It talks about a group of women who work at Geico's Woodbury, N.Y., branch. The three women have lost a significant ammount of weight and have done so by going to Weight Watchers at Work meetings. As a lot of us know offices are the worst for having junk food laying around. It is always someone's birthday, anniversary or shower of some kind. Someone has always just gotten married, engaged or knocked up. The fact is for some reason we are a nation that feels like food is the only way to celebrate. This can be a problem for you if you have a fear of falling off the weight loss wagon.

Tori Fuchs, 29 coming in at 5 foot 9 inches lost an amazing 210 pounds in the last three years. She did this as a result of going ot Weight Watchers at Work. She originally weighed 376 pounds and now looks amazing at 166 pounds. The Other women in the group, Denise Simicic and Nancy Edwards believe Fuchs to be an inspiration.

Edwards is 56 years old and 5 foot 6 inches. She has lost a total of 47 pounds, which is much harder to do the older we get. She originally weighed in at 230 pounds and now is a lighter 183 pounds. Simicic the last component of the three musketeers is 52 years old and 5 foot 5 inches. She originally weighed 202 pounds and dropped a total of 54 pounds. This brings her down to her current weight which is 148 pounds.

How do these women keep the weight off? Well simple they have formed a camaraderie. Days it gets hard at the office with all the extra goodies lying around they just go to eachother and talk about it. Having a support system is what helps them through. The tips they offer for weight loss at work are simple. Of course the first suggestion is to create a slim down circle who will help you when you are going through this kind of lifestyle change. Fuchs says that they help monitor one another and keep track of eachother's progress.

Eating together once a week may also be beneficial. " We have very busy jobs, so our lunches don't overlap- except on Wednesday's," says Fuchs. Adds Simicic: "Everyone eats the same way we do. It will help."

The last and final suggestion is to fill up before any kind of office party takes place. Whenever you know there is going to be a lot of junk food lingering around the office you should fill up on healthy food choices like having a healthy "vegetable omlette , whole wheat toast and fruit" for breakfast suggests Fuchs. Basically if you are full you are less likely to make poor decisions once you are at work.

I know how hard it can be to be surrounded by yummy things in one's office. I'm not saying that it got worse once I started this blog, but maybe I just noticed it more. Everyday it seemed that there was some kind of new temptation in the office. First it was tons and tons of left over Halloween candy, then it was cookies because someone had defended their thesis and then it was left over pizza from something else. No matter what it was it was free food just hanging out in the office. It was hard not to snag something everyday, but it would have been easier if I had had someone to go to talk about it. Instead I blogged and you all got to hear all about it lol.

I've heard that Weight Watchers is where it's at and if you can tie in even more ways to be successful then do it. Having friends to be a part of this venture is only further going to assist you on achieving your goals. I hope that this article was as inspiring for you as it was me. To lose 210 pounds is astonishing! Go her! What kind of things do you do to keep your hands off of yummy junk food that finds its way into your office? Any suggestions? Let me know if you have any!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Life's Biggest Project: Hollywood's Hottie's Secrets

My Life's Biggest Project: Hollywood's Hottie's Secrets: "There are a lot of celebrities out there that we hold up as our standard of beauty. Why? Well because the media has told us that they are th..."

Hollywood's Hottie's Secrets

There are a lot of celebrities out there that we hold up as our standard of beauty. Why? Well because the media has told us that they are the most beautiful people in the world so of course we want to look at them. I was trying to stream my favorite radio station currently (Tulsa Gen X radio) in my office today and when I pulled up their Web site they had a link to a Jennifer Aniston interview that she she did with Allure, talking about her diet and exercise. Well when I clicked on the link all that was there was a quote from the actress talking about how her stomach isn't her biggest problem area, but instead that her booty is. There were pictures from the photo shoot with Allure, but that was it.

So basically I figured that I would look for something else and that's when I came across this article from a few years back in People magazine. It was published April 7, 2008 and written by Michelle Tauber. The article is entitled How to Get a Hollywood Body! and I'll share it with you here.

1. Hayden Panettiere
Less (clothing) is more. "There are parts of my body that I don't mind and parts that I can't stand," the actress admits. How she gets around it: bathing suits ("There's nothing constricting the bad areas") and "long, flowy summer dresses. You never feel fat." 

2. Is a tomboy. "I've always played a lot of sports—volleyball, softball, baseball. I was a gymnast for nine years." 

3. Walks with her dogs. When she's not working, Panettiere takes daily strolls with her pets up the hill near her West Hollywood condo. 

4. Jennifer Aniston
Is consistent. While filming Marley & Me in Miami, the actress has been working out for an hour a day on the hotel's elliptical machine. 

5. Makes workouts fun. Aniston does her cardio to her iPod. 

6. Watches the cocktails. She's fond of red wine and lychee martinis— but usually sticks to just one. 

7. Eats fish. In Miami, a typical meal for Aniston has been three rolls of sushi or a fish entrée at Michael's Genuine. 

8. Hugh Jackman
His workouts consist of "interval strength training"—doing, say, a squat and a shoulder press at the same time. 

"I definitely love to stay active. If it gets me outside and gets me moving, then I love doing it." 

10. Rihanna
"I go through a phase where I just eat whatever. Then when I'm finally fed up, I stop and I'm back on my regimen. And it keeps going like that." 

11. "I do the elliptical for 30-40 minutes. I speed it up in between, then I come down, then I come up some more." 

12. "I hate vegetables but vegetables help. Carbs are my biggest enemy." 

13. "If I know I'm going on vacation, I'll do Pilates for two weeks straight." 

14. Flaunts her assets. Her favorite body part? "My butt. It makes my clothes look good. It's not a dress—it's a dress! My butt perks up everything." 

Yes, these stars say: You can eat pizza and skip the gym. 

15. Anne Hathaway
"When I'm working, I'm incredibly disciplined, because when you're portraying someone else, your body isn't your own. But when I'm not working, I think less about what I eat. For example, last night I had a club sandwich and two nights ago I had pizza. You've got to live!" 

16. "I normally eat everything under the sun. But once a year for a month, I eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean fish, and I feel great." 

17. "Just have a little bit of something that you want. Don't overdo it." 

Claire Danes
18. The star's trainer Joe Dowdell says three days of cardio a week "is healthy. You shouldn't go to extremes." 

19 Penélope Cruz
Doesn't obsess about working out. "She gets in, gets the work done, gets out," says her trainer Gunnar Peterson. 

20. Gets plenty of sleep. "I think she gets more than eight hours a night," Peterson says. "She never comes into a workout sluggish or tired." 

21. Doesn't believe in bad eating days. "If she eats fries, then she eats them and moves on to the next thing. It's not a big deal," Peterson says. 

22. Keeps her body proportioned. "She has a butt—and the key for anyone with a butt is to do adequate shoulder work, to balance things out." 

23. Gwyneth Paltrow
Works out six days a week, doing dance aerobics for cardio. 

24. Sets goals. For the upcoming Iron Man, "she wanted a Victoria's Secret butt, like Gisele!" says her trainer Tracy Anderson. 

25. Recently completed a five-day "live food" (raw and organic) fast from N.Y.C.'s Organic Avenue. 

26. Katherine Heigl
Follows Harley Pasternak's 5-Factor Diet, eating five small meals a day. 

27. For exercise, works out with kettle balls twice a week. 

28. Beyoncé Knowles
"She loves southern cooking," says her rep, but when it's time to trim down, "she packs up on the salads, grilled fish and chicken." 

29. David Beckham
"He is much more health conscious since moving to Los Angeles last year," says a family friend. "He is training twice a day now." 

30. Kate Hudson
Favors salads for dinner and yogurt with honey for breakfast. 

"Break a sweat every day. I don't feel like I've woken up if I don't break a sweat first."

32. Eats every three hours. 

33. Has a cheat day once a week. "I eat a steady flow of tacos, ice cream and cookies." 

34. Curbs cravings with peanut butter. "It has some fat, and it's tasty." 

35."I like to keep my muscles guessing. I like to run, bike, dance when I can. A little yoga. And I swim when it's nice out." 


36 Mariah Carey
Water aerobics "is actually three times more effective" than other workouts, she has said. 

37. "I have my trainer move in with me—so I can't sneak food!" she says. 

38. Sticks to what she has called a "bleak" diet of lots of soup and fish. 

THEN 2006 

39. America Ferrera
Restricts pasta to lunchtime, says her nutritionist Philip Goglia. 

40. Doesn't have any starches (like potatoes or bread) at dinner. 

41. Has a mid-morning snack (usually fruit) to keep up her energy. 

THEN 2005 

Picks fitness classes over "boring" cardio machines. 

43. Doesn't mix meats and starches because "it's too hard for the body to digest." 

44. Fills up every a.m. with a glass of juice made from romaine lettuce. 

45. Eats 70% dark chocolate only. 

THEN 2007 

46. "Have a colorful plate. I make a spinach salad with things like blueberries, apples and carrots." 

47. "As I've gotten older, I definitely have to watch more of what I'm eating and work out a bit more, run a bit faster." 

Cameron Diaz
48. "To get great legs, you have to do lunges, squats and steps," says trainer Teddy Bass, who does all that with Diaz. 

49. "I eat a lot of green and raw vegetables, and I juice a lot. And I do the trampoline with my kids!" 

50. "I'm into horse show jumping. It's an awesome butt, thighs, inner legs workout. You can't walk for days if you haven't ridden in a while!" 

51. "Chocolate is not cheating! After a salty meal, you need a little bit of sweet. This is living, not cheating." 

52. "When I'm in focus mode, I do training six times a week. Carbs only in the morning. And I try not to eat at least two hours before bed." 

53. "You have to find a workout you love. I hate the gym, but I just took up pilates and it has changed my life." 

54. "Running is the only thing that gets me out of my head. It's meditative and it makes you pretty in shape." 

55. "Having a child means having lots of sweets in the house. I try to keep that stuff in the cupboard and out of sight." 

56. "Every couple of months I check myself in the mirror. If I go, 'Your jeans look a little tight,' it's time to cut out the nachos." 

57. "I don't diet. There's going to be barbecue and macaroni and cheese—but I'll have broccoli and salad the next day." 

58. "I love restaurant pasta—the sauces. So now I ask for the sauce to take home and put it on whole wheat or rice pasta." 

59. "I can't do diets. I find when I'm on them, I immediately feel like breaking them and eating a lot." 

Mandy Moore
60. "On occasion a bowl of Life cereal for dinner is the greatest thing. And I'm obsessed with Pink Lady apples." 

61. "I go with my trainer on a 35- to 40-minute walk. I'm speaking out for all those people who hate to run. I hate it too!" 

Kate Beckinsale
62. "Sleep is like the holy grail. My trainer says if you're tired, your workout will suffer. Sleep is the magic stuff." 

63. "I can do a good workout in less than an hour: 30 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the bike, then 10 minutes of crunches." 

64. "I've been really into boxing. You don't remember how hard jumping rope is! It really works my arms and I like the aggression of it." 

65. "I don't feel guilty. I love hot dogs, which are so unhealthy; but I have them on occasion so I don't feel deprived." 

66. "I don't cut anything out. If I want potato chips, I have three or four. After that, the craving is pretty much gone." 

67. "If there's a dessert table and I like it all, I take a little piece of everything, take a bite and throw the rest away." 

68. "I just became a vegetarian [recently] and I've gotten a lot thinner. And if I take out the wine, I tend to slim down quickly." 

69. "I drink a lot of water. I love the little Crystal Light packets that make you feel like you're drinking more water." 

70. "I hate that feeling of being so full that you feel like you're gonna burst, so I try not to do that." 

71. "I like my shape, but to get rid of cellulite I focus on toning, doing martial arts on a treadmill. And Spanx are my best friend!" 

72. "I do Fresh Dining, which is delivered to your home. And the DVD P90X—it's a 90-day program that transforms you." 

73. "I work my butt off. Really. I run at least 45 minutes every day. And then three days a week I do weights." 

74. "The quickest calories that add up are the cocktail calories. Might as well have a cheeseburger if you have a great margarita!" 

75. "To help my muscles rebuild after I work out, I have a small serving of cottage cheese." 

76 Kate Walsh
Rotates Pilates with weights and circuit training. 

77. "I avoid sugar, serious sugar, because you go up then come down and crash." 

78. Practices portion control so she doesn't have to be "terrified of carbs. I want to be able to have a glass of wine." 

79 Fergie
Has meals delivered from Diet Designs. 

80. "I do organic vinegar shots. Two tablespoons after lunch and dinner. It helps take toxins out of your body." 

81. Makes "fattening food low-fat," like lasagna with turkey meat and cottage cheese. 

82. Jessica Biel
"She's game for anything, like 10 reps of standing on one foot doing a single leg squat," says trainer Valerie Waters. 

83. When not with her trainer, does yoga and running on her own. 

"I'm not a morning person, but I get up and knock out exercise, because if I don't, in the afternoon I'll be tired and there's tons going on." 

85. When it comes to alcohol, "once I get my buzz, I shut it off. Two drinks is my limit." 

86. Blige's trainer Gregg Miele (left) reinforces this mantra: What you eat in private shows in public. 

87. Vanessa Williams
"I drink a beet-carrot juice in the morning or an apple-strawberry-pear juice." 

88. "On vacation I enjoy the desserts—and work extra hard when I come home." 

89. Ashton Kutcher
When it comes to feeling sexy, Demi's husband once told PEOPLE that he relies on "quiet confidence." 

90. Catherine Zeta-Jones
"I do a lot of swimming because I live in Bermuda, both in the ocean and in the pool. I've got to drag myself to the gym, but when I finish it, I enjoy it." 

91. Her most common meal? Lightly grilled chicken with a little oil and lemon and a feta cheese salad. 

92. Cuts down on bread when she needs to slim down. 

93. Ryan Phillippe
Goes for daily runs at the UCLA tracks. 

94. Sticks to an all-protein diet, ordering steaks from L.A.'s Dan Tana's weekly. 


Ali Larter
95. "Just put your shoulders back and smile." 

96. "Don't wear white, wear black. Very. Fitted. Black!" 

97. "You know what's totally amazing? Spanx!" 

98. "Black, high-waisted, really tight skirts. That's it!" 

Carmen Electra
99. "If you wear a dress with a belt placed high, you accentuate your waist." 

100. "I love baby-doll dresses, so people look at my legs—not my stomach!"