Growing up Puerto Rican, I ate meals that were mainly rice-based and filled with fried plantains and pernil (roast pork). My saving grace: I was active—a cheerleader and a gymnast. But once I graduated from high school, the number on the scale shot up. Two pregnancies later, I weighed 236 pounds. The worst part: I couldn't walk for long without my ankles and knees throbbing. Still, it wasn't until I saw the few photos I was unable to dodge from a trip to Puerto Rico in December 2011 that I was forced to confront my size; it was staring me right in the face. Though I had tried and failed to lose weight before, I decided to give a healthy lifestyle a go one last time.
No more drive-throughs
Starting in March 2012, I cut back on carbs, eliminating my daily helpings of rice, bread and pasta. Then I added more fruit and vegetables to my diet. I a…
I was never a healthy eater. In fact, the only reason I was able to stay thin for so long was that I was a cardio addict. That ended when I remarried in 2011; focusing on my newly blended family left little time for workouts. The result: I put on 25 pounds in less than a year. One time, someone even asked when my baby was due! Still, it wasn't until December 2012, when I saw a video of myself looking doughy all over, that I knew it was time to take action.
Up for the challenge
I started 2013 off with a promise to exercise but didn't get my butt in gear until February, when I joined the Labrada Lean Body Challenge, a 12-week fitness contest. Through it, I learned about strength training, which I did nightly. I also made sure to fit in an hour on the stairmill or treadmill each morning before work. I shed 18 pounds in three months.
Back to basics
I also focused on eating better; I measured and weighed everything. The hardest …
Can't budge the belly fat? If you've been targeting your tummy with little success, it's time to find out if you're sabotaging your efforts. Here are 10 common traps to avoid in the battle of the bulge.
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Some people gain the freshman 15. I gained the college 50. Here's what happened: I grew up vegetarian, eating my mom's dinners built around fresh produce from her garden. Then I went to college, where the only meat-free options in the dining halls were oily pizza and fries. And with my mind focused on studying for my double major, I stopped paying attention to what I was eating. By the time I graduated in 2012, I was up to 183 pounds.
Good-bye, greasy grub
Fast-forward nine months; I was living and working in Manhattan and finally had some disposable income. I decided to prioritize my health and sign up for Nutrisystem. I had never been good at meal planning, so the structure was perfect for me. Each day, I got four preportioned meals, including dessert. I supplemented them with fresh grocery items, like little packets of peanuts tha…
Squats and lunges aren't the only moves that will get your lower body in top form. In this video, Health contributor Tracy Anderson demonstrates 4 exercises that target those tough-to-reach muscles that help you pull in your stomach, boost your backside, and sculpt your thighs.
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