Weight Loss Success Story: "I Finally Put Myself First"
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.RELATED: The Same 10 Weight Loss Mistakes All Women Make 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 part was cleaning up my cooking habits. I learned to use zero-calorie seasonings, as well as olive oil instead of butter, sugar and salt. The results quickly showed; I peeled off 2 to 3 pounds each week. Then the scale started creeping up again, but this time it was because of the lean muscle I was building. I didn’t mind it—those new, “strong” pounds whittled my body fat percentage down by more than 15 percent! Seeing my frame transform made it clear to me that I needed to stop feeling guilty for making myself a priority—to be a good mom, I had to be a healthy one. RELATED: 13 Women Who’ve Lost 100+ Pounds 4 Tips to Keep Pounds Away How does Twyla stay so lean and toned? Check out her favorite strategies below, and find even more tactics at health.com/weight-loss-stories. Sweat with your spouse My hubby and I make exercise outings “our” time. We’ll go to the gym for an hour and lift weights together. Having him there keeps me accountable. Swap out store-bought I make healthier versions of sweets: For chocolate chip cookies, I use unsweetened applesauce instead of butter and sub in oat flour for white. Workout must: Military press There is something about this exercise that makes me feel empowered and strong. Plus, I love training my shoulders, and this really works that part of my body. Pull out that stopwatch I love that I can jog three miles in 24 minutes now; before, it took me 46 minutes! Tracking my running times and seeing how far I’ve come helps me stay committed.
Your Urinary Tract: A User's Manual
Ever wonder why you spend so much time in the bathroom? It’s because your urinary tract is your body’s drainage system, designed to remove waste and toxins. (Think of it as your own regular natural cleanse!) Unfortunately, women are more prone to urinary problems than men, thanks to our unique anatomy, hormone changes and the effects of pregnancy and childbirth. But don’t fret: Here’s everything you need to know to resolve your loo-related issues. Problem No. 1: Urinary incontinence The lowdown: About a quarter of women leak urine when they’re not actively trying to go. The most common culprits? Pregnancy and labor. “The increased weight during pregnancy puts pressure on your pelvic-floor muscles, and childbirth stretches them out, causing tears that can lead to urinary incontinence,” explains Costas Apostolis, MD, director and chief of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at Akron General Medical Center in Ohio. But you can be susceptible even if you’ve never had a kid. “As estrogen levels decline through menopause, your urinary tract muscles weaken, making it more likely that you’ll leak,” Dr. Apostolis says. And while we’re all about staying active, running and classes that require a ton of squatting and lifting (like CrossFit) can put stress on pelvic muscles and make the problem worse. What it feels like: Coughing, sneezing, laughing, squatting or lifting something puts pressure on your bladder, leading to leakage—as little as a few drops or as much as a geyser. Rx: Visit your ob-gyn. She may recommend pelvic-floor therapy to strengthen those muscles. If you’re dribbling during exercise, your doctor can prescribe a device called a pessary (inserted into the vagina) or outpatient surgery to support your bladder. Problem No. 2: Urinary tract infections The lowdown: Blame bacteria like E. coli that invade your urinary tract, often from your stool. Your ureters, urethra, kidneys or—most often—your bladder gets infected as a result. And women can be especially vulnerable. Why? “The proximity of the rectum to the urethra in women allows for easier transmission of bacteria into the bladder,” explains Courtenay K. Moore, MD, a female reconstructive surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological Institute. A tendency to get UTIs can run in families. You’re also more likely to get one if you have multiple sexual partners—or are simply having sex frequently (good for you!). And you may start getting UTIs after menopause, due to declining estrogen levels in your system: “Estrogen promotes an acidic pH in the vagina, which protects against the bacteria that cause UTIs,” Dr. Moore says. What it feels like: The classic symptom is a burning sensation during and after peeing. You might also constantly feel like you have to go while only passing a small amount of urine. Rx: See your doctor pronto: If left untreated for several days, infection can spread to your kidneys, causing permanent damage. She’ll likely put you on antibiotics…
Weight Loss Success Story: "I Lost 96 Pounds"
Suheily Rodriguez27, 5’7″North Wales, Penn.Before: 236 lb., size 18After: 140 lb., size 2Total pounds lost: 96 lb.Sizes lost: 8 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 also traded in fast-food stops for home-cooked meals, feasting on spring-mix salads topped with chicken breast, salmon or tilapia every day. Within three months, I knocked off 10 pounds. Next I got a handle on my portions, serving my meals on my son’s mini plates. Home-gym slim Thirty pounds lighter, I was ready to sweat. The problem: I was too embarrassed to go to a gym. So I built a home one, where I exercised an hour a day six days a week. I dropped another 25 pounds by September. Just as exciting, I was able to fit into size 6 jeans! This motivated me to kick up my training intensity. I started using ankle weights while on the treadmill and when doing leg exercises. That really helped me firm up. One year after committing to getting fit, I reached my goal. Even better, I no longer want to hide when a camera comes out. Secrets of a 96-pound loser A doable diet and exercise plan were the keys to Suheily’s makeover. Try her tactics, and find even more at health.com/weight-loss-stories. Flat-belly trick: Eat yogurt When I have more Greek yogurt (I like Yoplait’s tropical flavors), even for just a week, my tummy is instantly flatter. Fitspiration: Massiel arias I stumbled across her on Instagram (@mankofit). She posts great workouts and fitness challenges. Workout must: Electronic dance I listen to Tiesto’s podcasts; the fast pace makes me push harder. Go-to meal: Kimchi jjigae It’s a Korean stew made of kimchi, tofu, chili pepper, pork belly, red pepper paste, sesame oil and scallions, and it’s pretty low-cal, too.
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Weight Loss Success Story: "I Finally Put Myself First" – health.com
Your Urinary Tract: A User's Manual – www.health.com
Weight Loss Success Story: "I Lost 96 Pounds" – health.com