Fitness,Fitness Exercises & Weight losing tips

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What is Fitness? What is fitness and what does it mean to be physically "fit?" Physical fitness is defined as "a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity" (USDHHS, 1996). What is "cardiorespi

What is Fitness?

What is fitness and what does it mean to be physically "fit?" Physical fitness is defined as "a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity" (USDHHS, 1996).

In other words, it is more than being able to run a long distance or lift a lot of weight at the gym. Being fit is not defined only by what kind of activity you do, how long you do it, or at what level of intensity.

While these are important measures of fitness, they only address single areas. Overall fitness is made up of five main components:

  1. Cardiorespiratory endurance
  2. Muscular strength
  3. Muscular endurance
  4. Body composition
  5. Flexibility

In order to assess your level of fitness, look at all five components together.

What is "cardiorespiratory endurance (cardiorespiratory fitness)?"

Cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability of the body's circulatory and respiratory systems to supply fuel during sustained physical activity (USDHHS, 1996 as adapted from Corbin & Lindsey, 1994). To improve your cardiorespiratory endurance, try activities that keep your heart rate elevated at a safe level for a sustained length of time such as walking, swimming, or bicycling. The activity you choose does not have to be strenuous to improve your cardiorespiratory endurance. Start slowly with an activity you enjoy, and gradually work up to a more intense pace.

What is "muscular strength?"

Muscular strength is the ability of the muscle to exert force during an activity (USDHHS, 1996 as adapted from Wilmore & Costill, 1994). The key to making your muscles stronger is working them against resistance, whether that be from weights or gravity. If you want to gain muscle strength, try exercises such as lifting weights or rapidly taking the stairs. What is "muscular endurance?" Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscle to continue to perform without fatigue (USDHHS, 1996 as adapted from Wilmore & Costill, 1994). To improve your muscle endurance, try cardiorespiratory activities such as walking, jogging, bicycling, or dancing.

What is "muscular endurance?"

Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscle to continue to perform without fatigue (USDHHS, 1996 as adapted from Wilmore & Costill, 1994). To improve your muscle endurance, try cardiorespiratory activities such as walking, jogging, bicycling, or dancing.

What is "body composition?"

Body composition refers to the relative amount of muscle, fat, bone, and other vital parts of the body (USDHHS, 1996 as adapted from Corbin and Lindsey, 1994). A person's total body weight (what you see on the bathroom scale) may not change over time. But the bathroom scale does not assess how much of that body weight is fat and how much is lean mass (muscle, bone, tendons, and ligaments). Body composition is important to consider for health and managing your weight!

What is "flexibility?"

Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint (USDHHS, 1996 as adapted from Wilmore & Costill, 1994). Good flexibility in the joints can help prevent injuries through all stages of life. If you want to improve your flexibility, try activities that lengthen the muscles such as swimming or a basic stretching program.

 What Is a Fitness Test?

Fitness tests, often referred to as fitness evaluations or fitness assessments, includes a series of measurements that help determine the health status and physical fitness of an individual.
There are an endless number of possible tests and measurements that trainers and coaches may use to determine an individual's baseline fitness level. These tests are often the starting point for designing an appropriate exercise program. The specific tests used in an assessment depend on the health and fitness goals of the individual, the trainer's experience and the type of workout routines being performed. A combination of some or all of the following may be used.
 

 

Why Have a Fitness Test?

  • to determine current health conditions, risks or limitations
  • to learn about past injuries or surgeries
  • to assess current fitness level
  • to identify fitness goals, interests and motivation for exercising
  • to identify appropriate training options
  • to establish methods to track progress and evaluate program success
  • to create a one-on-one relationship and establish appropriate expectations for both the athlete and the trainer

Neck & Shoulder Stretches

It's important to maintain good flexibility on your neck and muscles since these are where most people accumulate tension. This section contains instructions on how to stretch your neck and shoulder muscles properly to avoid accumulation of tension.

Neck Stretch

Our neck is highly sensitive and vital. Thus, you should not overstretch or bounce your neck to any direction when performing the neck exercises. You can prevent this by having your neck stretched. Use this section as guideline so that you can be sure you are stretching your neck the right way.

STEP 1:

Stand (with feet hip-width apart) or sit with your shoulders relaxed and arms hanging loosely at sides
 
 

STEP 2:

 

 
Gently tilt your head sideways to one side to feel the stretch in the other side of the neck. Hold for 8-10 seconds on each side. Repeat 2-3 times.
Stress makes your muscles tense up and can cause headache, stiff neck, sore shoulders and a knotted back. Full body stretching will relax your muscles, help you to breathe deeper and release all of the accumulated tension your body takes each day

Head Forwards Stretch

Regular stretching now can help retain your flexibility and a good range of motion when you grow old, not only for exercising but for your daily activities as well. Maintain a regular stretching routine by following this exercise.

Head Forwards Stretch (Neck and Shoulder Stretches)

One of the major benefits of Stretching is that it increases your flexibility. While Stretching may appear a bit bland as compared with resistance exercises such as Training with Free Weights and Weight Training Exercises, without a good stretch, you will not be able to minimize the risk of injury.

For safety purposes, do not overstretch or bounce your neck to any direction when doing the Head Forwards Stretch.

STEP 1:

Stand (with feet hip-width apart) or sit with your shoulders relaxed; arms hanging loosely at sides. Keep your back straight.

STEP 2:

Gently drop your head forward until you feel the stretch in both the neck and upper back. Hold for 8-12 seconds.

It would be relaxing if we get into a really good Stretching session to release all of the accumulated tension our bodies take each day.

Shoulder Stretch

There are various shoulder exercises and the Shoulder Stretch is one of the best ways to exercise your deltoids. Stress makes your muscles tense up and can cause headache, stiff neck, sore shoulders and a knotted back. Add this stretching exercise to your fitness routine.

Shoulder Stretch (Neck and Shoulder Stretches)

One of the major benefits of Stretching is that it increases your flexibility. While Stretching may appear a bit bland as compared with resistance exercises such as Training with Free Weights and Weight Training Exercises, without a good stretch, you will not be able to minimize the risk of injury.
The anterior deltoid is the front part of the deltoids or "delts". The deltoids muscle is the cap of the shoulder and has three parts: anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear). The anterior deltoid allows you to raise your arms to the front. The lateral deltoid allows you to raise your arms to the side, while the posterior deltoid allows you to rotate your arms to the rear.

Stengthen the muscles in your shoulders by doing the Shoulder Stretch. This section will show you how to do this exercise:

STEP 1:

Stand (with legs slightly bent and feet hip-width apart) or sit.

STEP 2:

Put your right arm across your body so it is near your left shoulder. Extend until you feel the stretch in the back of your shoulder.

STEP 3:

To push the stretch a little further, hold your right arm with your left hand. Hold for about 8-10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Stress makes your muscles tense up and can cause headache, stiff neck, sore shoulders and a knotted back. Full body stretching will relax your muscles, help you to breathe deeper and release all of the accumulated tension your body takes each day.

Anterior Deltoid Stretch

The Anterior Deltoid Stretch is a great way to exercise the front part of your shoulders. The anterior deltoid allows you to raise your arms to the front, the lateral deltoid allows you to raise your arms to the side, and the posterior deltoid allows you to rotate your arms to the rear.

 

Anterior Deltoid Stretch - Neck and Shoulder Stretches

One of the major benefits of Stretching is that it increases your flexibility. While Stretching may appear a bit bland as compared with resistance exercises such as Training with Free Weights and Weight Training Exercises, without a good stretch, you will not be able to minimize the risk of injury.
The anterior deltoid is the front part of the deltoids or "delts". The deltoids muscle is the cap of the shoulder and has three parts: anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear). The anterior deltoid allows you to raise your arms to the front. The lateral deltoid allows you to raise your arms to the side, while the posterior deltoid allows you to rotate your arms to the rear.

Stengthen the muscles in your shoulders by doing the Anterior Deltoid Stretch. This section will show you how to do this exercise:

STEP 1:

Stand (with feet hip-width apart) and keep your back straight. Holding by the wrist, take your right arm behind you and gently ease it behind your back.

STEP 2:

You should feel the stretch at the front of your shoulder. While doing this, be sure to keep your shoulders straight. Hold for about 8-10 seconds and repeat on the other arm.
 
Stress makes your muscles tense up and can cause headache, stiff neck, sore shoulders and a knotted back. Full body stretching will relax your muscles, help you to breathe deeper and release all of the accumulated tension your body takes each day.

 

                                                     Chest & Arm Stretches

 

The chest, like the neck, is also a common area for tension build-up. Instructions on how to do the Basic Chest and Arm Stretches that can help prevent muscle tension in the chest and upper back can be found in this section.

Fitness Exercises - Chest and Arm Stretches

The chest, like the neck, is also a common area for tension build-up. Consequently, the chest muscles can become tight and inflexible, which can cause problems in your posture. To prevent muscle tension in the chest and upper back, you need to have strong and flexible triceps and biceps. Keep in mind that these exercises also cut the risk of injury from strenuous exercise and lessens muscle soreness. The following are Fitness Exercises for your Chest and Arms. For more detailed information about each fitness exercise, click on an exercise image or its heading.

                                 Triceps Stretch or Arm Pullover

Like the shoulders, the triceps are also a three-headed muscle complex. The triceps are the muscles that run on the backside of your upper arm from your shoulder to your elbow. They constitute two-thirds of your upper arm.

Triceps Stretch (Chest and Arm Stretches)

One of the major benefits of Stretching is that it improves your flexibility. Regular Stretching can help retain your flexibility and a good range of motion when you grow old, not only for exercising but for your daily activities as well. While Stretching may appear a bit bland as compared with resistance exercises such as Training with Free Weights and Weight Training Exercises, without a good stretch, all your hard work at the gym will be in vain.

STEP 1:

Stand (with legs slightly bent and feet hip-width apart) or sit and raise your left arm over your head with your elbow bent.

STEP 2:

Place your left hand over your back as if you were reaching down your spine. With your right hand, gently push your left arm back to extend the stretch. This will stretch down the back of the arm. Hold for about 10 seconds and then change sides.

                                              Chest Stretch

The chest, like the neck, is also a common area for tension build-up. Consequently, the chest muscles can become tight and inflexible, which can cause problems in your posture. Thus, it is important to stretch your chest.

Chest Stretch (Chest and Arm Stretches)

One of the major benefits of Stretching is that it increases your flexibility. While Stretching may appear a bit bland as compared with resistance exercises such as Training with Free Weights and Weight Training Exercises, without a good stretch, you will not be able to minimize the risk of injury.

The chest is made up of pectoral muscles - major and minor. The pectoralis major covers the front of the upper chest and is attached to the upper arm. This muscle is responsible for major arm movements such as flexion, rotation, and adduction towards the body

STEP 1:

Stand (with legs slightly bent and feet hip-width apart). Hold your abdominals tight. Your head, neck, and shoulders should stay relaxed. With your back straight, clasp your hands behind your back.

STEP 2:

Lift your arms behind you until you feel the stretch across your chest. Hold for about 10 seconds.

                                                      Fitness Exercises - Back Stretches

 Upper Back Stretch

Your upper and lower back muscles consists of a large group of muscles that run from above your hips to your neck, arm, and shoulder areas. The main job of this muscle group is to help you with pulling and lifting loads. To stretch your upper back, follow the steps in this section.

Upper Back Stretch (Back Stretches)

 

 STEP 1:

Stand with your legs slightly bent and feet hip-width apart. With arms straight, clasp your fingers in front of you while keeping your lower back firm and your body upright.

STEP 2:

Gently push your hands away from you until you feel a stretch across your upper back and at the back of the shoulders. Hold for about 8-10 seconds.

                                                Lower Back Stretch

One of the most common spots of injury is the lower back. Injuries in this site usually result from muscular imbalance, weak or inflexible muscles, or poor posture. The Lower Back Stretch is a great way to exercise these areas.

STEP 1:

 Lie on your back (on the mat or on the floor). Clasp your hands on top of your shins and bring in both knees to your body.

STEP 2:

Gently pull your knees closer until you feel the stretch in your lower back. Hold for 8-10 seconds.

Hyperextension of Back

Back pain is a common ailment especially since the back takes in tension more than any other part of the body. Back pains can range from mild discomfort to pain that hinders you from working or participating in your favorite leisure activities. Preventing back pain before it strikes means you have to exercise it regularly.

STEP 1:

Lie face down (on the mat or on the floor). Move your elbows close to your body.

STEP 2:

Push your torso up until your elbows are supporting your body weight. Keep your hips on the floor.

STEP 3:

Be sure to keep your neck relaxed. Hold for 12-15 seconds.

                                                       Spine Rotation

 

One of the major benefits of stretching is that it increases your flexibility. Full body stretching will help your muscles relax, help you to breath deeper, and help release all of that accumulated tension your body takes each day. The spine rotation is a great way to stretch it.

Spine Rotation (Back Stretches)

 

STEP 1: Lie on your back (on the mat or on the floor) with arms outstretched at shoulder level. Bend both legs.

STEP 2: Slowly, drop your knees to the right until the right knee is touching the floor. While dropping your knees, keep your shoulder blades flat on the floor. However, don't force the stretch. Hold for 8-10 seconds and repeat with the other side.

                                                        Cat Stretch

This Fitness Exercise is designed to relax your lower back muscles and to relieve the spasm which causes pain in your lower lumbar region. Performing the cat stretch alone will ease your tired back and minor aches and pains caused by bad posture.

 Cat Stretch (Back Stretches)

STEP 1:

Go down on your hands and knees. Maintain a straight back.

STEP 2:

Create a curve in the middle of your back by pushing your spine upward. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then release the stretch and return to the starting position.

                                                             Leg Stretches

Another part of your body that you need to stretch is your legs. Instructions on how to do the basic leg stretches which target the major leg muscles like the hip flexor (often the most neglected leg muscle) can be found in this section.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Muscles such as the hip flexor are often neglected that's why it's important to stretch it. Keep in mind that this exercise also cuts the risk of injury from strenuous exercise and lessens muscle soreness. Learn how to do the hip flexor stretches in this section.

Hip Flexor Exercises | Leg Stretches and Muscle Stretch

STEP 1:

Kneel down with your back straight.

STEP 2:

Step forward with your right foot while keeping your left knee on the floor. Put your hands on top of your right thigh.

STEP 3:

Slide your back leg behind you until you feel the stretch in the front of the hip. To intensify the leg stretches, push your hip forward, straighten your body, and put your hands on your front knee. Hold for 10-12 seconds and then change sides.

Glute Stretch

The gluteus or "glutes" form your buttocks. This large muscle is mainly used to extend the leg into a straight line with the torso and to rotate leg at the hip. Common exercises which involves the glutes are squats, leg press machine and most stability ball movements.

STEP 1:

Lie on your back (on the mat or on the floor). Bend your left knee.

STEP 2:

Cross your right leg over your left knee so your right ankle rests just above your left knee.

STEP 3:

Hold behind the left thigh with both hands and gently pull towards you until you feel the stretch in your bottom and outer thigh. Hold for 8-10 seconds then repeat on the other leg.

Supine Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings consist of three muscles that make up the back of your upper leg - the biceps femoris, semitendinosis, and semimembranosis. Their function is to extend the hip joint and flex the knee. There are various stretching exercises for the hamstrings.

Supine Hamstring Stretch (Leg Stretches)

STEP 1:

Lie on your back (on the mat or on the floor).

STEP 2:

Bend your left leg.

STEP 3

: Hold your right leg with one hand behind the thigh and the other behind the calf muscle. Slowly, maintaining your right leg as straight as possible, pull it towards you until you feel the stretch down the back of your thigh. Allow the muscle to relax into the stretch. Hold for 8-10 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

                                                           Standing Hamstring Stretch

Quadriceps stretches strengthen your knees. Bear in mind that by keeping your quadriceps strong, you also cut the risk of knee injury from strenuous fitness activities. Practice the Standing Hamstring Stretch and you're on your way to strong knees.

Standing Hamstring Stretch (Leg Stretches)

STEP 1:

Stand and straighten your left leg on a bench, a step or a rail. Maintain that position with your left, supporting leg bent slightly. You can hold on to a bar or wall for support.

STEP 2:

Gently bend forward from the hips until you feel the stretch in the back of the thigh, top of calf, and at the back of the knee. Without bouncing, hold for about 8 seconds, and then intensify the stretch by slowly leaning in further. Repeat the stretch on the other leg. Raise the height of the bench as your stretching capability increases.

                                                             Standing Quadriceps Stretch

If you have trouble balancing on one foot, you can stand against a wall or rail for support while doing this exercise. It is important to stretch these muscles especially before walking, running, jumping, and climbing. Learn how this stretch is done in this section.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch (Leg Stretches)

STEP 1:

Stand up with your left, supporting leg bent slightly. Bend your right leg and hold your right foot.

STEP 2:

Holding your right foot with your right hand, pull your foot up towards your bottom. Keep your back as straight as possible, your hips pointing forward, and your knees together. To intensify the stretch, push the knee of the stretched leg slightly further. Hold for about 8-10 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.

                                                          Prone Quadriceps Stretch

Quadriceps Stretches strengthen your knees. Bear in mind that by keeping your quadriceps strong, you also cut the risk of knee injury from strenuous fitness activities. It is important to stretch these muscles especially before walking, running, jumping, and climbing.

Prone Quadriceps Stretch (Leg Stretches)

STEP 1:

Lie face down (on the mat or on the floor). You can place your free hand in between your forehead and the floor to be more comfortable.

STEP 2:

Maintaining your hips on the floor, bring your left leg up behind you and hold your foot. Keep your head down and your neck relaxed. Hold for about 10-12 seconds then repeat on the right leg.

Adduction (adductor muscles) or Inner Thigh Stretch

Our muscles do not work alone when we perform certain exercises. Our adductor muscles are working simultaneously with others while doing squats, leg presses, or lunges. Make sure that your adductor muscles are in their good condition everytime you perform stretching activities.

Leg Stretches: Adduction Stretch and Inner Thigh (adductor muscles)

Sit (on the floor or mat) with your back straight. Place the soles of your feet together in front. Clutching your ankles, pull your feet in towards you, feeling the stretch in your inner thighs, as your legs relax down towards the floor. To intensify the stretch, place your hands on your ankles and your elbows on your knees. With your back straight, slowly ease the body forward from your hips. Hold for 10-15 seconds then slowly ease the stretch a step further.

A lot of people are doing hundreds of reps of abduction and adduction exercises in the hope of burning fat and slimming their thighs. Unfortunately, if you just concentrate on a particular muscle and that muscle works hard enough, it gets bigger, not smaller. Also, the muscle that you are exercising has nothing to do with where fat is burned. So, while there are many reasons to work these muscles, shrinking your thighs isn't one of them.

                                Outer Thigh (abductor muscles) or Abduction Stretch

Although the hip abductor muscles work with your other muscles when performing exercises such as squats and lunges, it would be really great if you choose to isolate them. Muscles in the leg such as the hip flexor are often neglected that's why it's important to stretch it.

Leg Stretches | Abductor Muscle Stretching Exercise

STEP 1:

Sit (on the floor or mat) with your legs straight out in front of you.

STEP 2:

Bend your right leg, crossing over your left leg so that the foot is on the outside of the knee.

STEP 3:

Use your left arm to ease the knee across the body, with your right arm for support until you feel the stretch in the outer thigh. Hold for 12-15 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.

                                                           Calf Stretch

One of the major benefits of stretching is that it increases your flexibility. Calf stretches that bend the knee of the calf being stretched focus on the soleus muscle. On the other hand, calf stretches that extend the knee focus on the gastrocnemius muscle.

Calf Stretches

STEP 1:

Lean forward with your hand at shoulder level against a wall. Bend your right leg forward and extend the other leg with a straight knee behind.

STEP 2:

Keeping your lower back flat, gently move your hips forward. Make sure to keep the heel of your left leg on the ground with your toes pointed towards the wall. Don't bounce. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

                                                       Stretching Sequences

This section will provide you with the suggested sequential stretches to have a good and relaxing stretch. When your body becomes accustomed to a particular stretch, you can increase the duration time of each exercise to lengthen a particular stretch.

Fitness Exercises - Stretching Sequences

With the loads of battering our bodies take each day, it would be relaxing to get into a really Good Stretching Session to release all of that accumulated tension. The following Stretching Sequences are suggestions to Having a Good and Relaxing Stretch. Keep in mind that the duration times of each exercise are merely suggested minimums. When your body becomes accustomed to a particular stretch, you can increase the duration time of each exercise to lengthen a particular stretch.

Stretch sequence for the entire body

For this stretching sequence, maintain a slow and controlled breathing all throughout. The calculated stretching time is 7-10 minutes.

Stretch                                                     Duration

Neck stretch                                               8-10 seconds

Shoulder stretch                                       10 seconds

Triceps stretch                                         10 seconds

Chest stretch                                           10 seconds

Upper back                                               8-10 seconds

Calf stretch                                              10-15 seconds

Hip flexor                                                 10-12 seconds

Standing hamstring stretch                       8 seconds

Adductor stretch                                      10-15 seconds

Spine Rotation                                           8-10 seconds

Lower back                                                8-10 seconds

Glute stretch                                              8-10 seconds

Prone quadriceps stretch                        10-12 seconds

                                                     Stretch sequence for the lower body

If you have been out walking or running, or maybe have just been intensely working out your lower body, and still have a lot of time to stretch, the following stretch sequence will provide you with a major lower body stretch. The calculated stretching time is around 5-7 minutes.

Stretch                                                                 Duration

Calf stretch                                                            10-15 seconds

Hip flexor                                                                10-12 seconds

Adductor stretch                                                     10-15 seconds

Abductor stretch                                                      12-15 seconds

Spine rotation                                                             8-10 seconds

Lower back stretch                                                      8-10 seconds

Glute stretch                                                                8-10 seconds

Prone hamstring stretch                                               8-10 seconds

Prone quadriceps stretch                                           10-12 seconds

                                                                   Standing stretch sequence for the on-the-go

This suggested stretching sequence is for those people who have a very busy schedule and do not have time for a full-body stretch. The following standing exercises, although they are not time consuming, stretches all the major muscles. This quick sequence is also an ideal cool down after a fast walk, a run, or even a game of football. The calculated stretching time is around 5 minutes.

Stretch                                                     Duration

Shoulder stretch                                          8-10 seconds

Chest stretch                                              10 seconds

Upper back stretch                                       8-10 seconds

Calf stretch                                                 10-15 seconds

Standing hamstring stretch                           8 seconds

Standing quadriceps stretch                         8-10 seconds

                                                      Weight Loss Tips

1. Prioritize.

The beds might not get made, but Amy Reed, 36, still makes time for exercise. That's how she's kept off more than 80 pounds for 13 years. "I have to schedule it in and let go of other things -- like a perfectly clean house," she says.

2. Find a passion.

"I have a dance background and when I found jazzercise, I said, 'Thank God.' If somebody told me I had to go out and run five days a week, I'd still weigh 185 pounds," says Anne Geren, 41, who lost 55 pounds and has kept it off for 13 years.

3. Keep an Exercise Log.

It makes you more accountable. Norma from Dallas, TX, who hangs hers on the refrigerator, checks off six workouts a week dutifully. "If I miss one day, I make that my day off for the week."

4. Set a Goal.

Sign up for some fun runs and try to improve your times. "I went from a 5-K to a 4-miler, then a 5-miler, then a 10-K. As I was building miles and speed, I was getting fitter and losing more weight," says Therese Revitt, 42, who lost 80 pounds and recently ran a marathon.

5. Get Pumped.

"It wasn't until I put on more muscle through resistance training that I was able to keep the weight off -- almost effortlessly," says Verona Mucci-Hurlburt, 37, who went from a size 18 to an 8. The reason? Muscle burns more calories around the clock.

Eat Smart

6. Make changes for the long haul.

"I learned how to eat and live with it for the rest of my life," says Barbara Miltenberger, 42, who lost more than 40 pounds and hasn't seen any come back in three years.

7. Stop dieting.

"The best thing I did was quit dieting," says Reed. "I'd always find ways to cheat. So instead, I stopped forbidding myself certain foods and just started eating less of them."

8. Get a grip on reality.

"When I started keeping a food diary, I discovered that I was eating somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 calories a day," says Rebecca, 46, who found the number shocking.

9. Eat minimeals.

Having smaller, more frequent meals can prevent you from getting ravenously hungry and overeating. On average, weight loss winners eat five times a day.

10. Follow the 90% to 10% rule.

"If you watch what you eat 90% of the time, the other 10% is not a problem," says Mucci-Hurlburt, who learned this tip from a fitness professional.

11. Dine at the dinner table only.

If you eat in front of the TV, then every time you nestle in with the remote control, it's a cue to eat. Instead, designate an eating spot for all meals and snacks. "Even when I want potato chips, I set the table just like I was going to sit down for a full course meal," says Kathy Wilson, 47, who took off more than 100 pounds. "I put a handful of chips on the plate, put the bag away, and then sit down to eat. I never just stand at the counter and eat now."

12. Think before you bite.

Creating rituals -- like Wilson did or the old standby of waiting 10 minutes before giving into a craving -- can stop you from eating when you really aren't hungry. "Nine chances out of 10 the chips go back in the cupboard, and I just walk away," says Wilson.

13. Drink up.

"Drinking lots of water keeps me from snacking when I'm not hungry, and it gives me more energy," says Revitt. "It also stopped what I thought were hunger headaches, which were probably due to dehydration. "

Set Yourself Up for Success

14. Do it for yourself.

"My doctor told me for years that I had to take the weight off. But you've got to want it yourself," says Wilson. "As long as somebody else is pushing you, no matter what you do or what you try, it'll never work," adds Victoria Bennett, 39, who shed 60 pounds and has kept them off for five years.

15. Take it slow.

We all want to lose it yesterday, but slow is the way to go if you don't want to see those pounds again. "It took me a year to lose 100 pounds this time," says Rebecca, who's kept it off for eight years. "I had lost 100 pounds twice before, in less than six months each time, but I didn't maintain it."

16. Customize your approach.

What worked for your best friend may not work for you. And what works for you today may not work six months from now. You need to decide what you need. Mucci-Hurlburt joined a structured program for accountability. "I needed to know that I was going to get weighed each week," she says. But for others that's exactly what they don't need.

17. Learn from the past.

Everyone we talked to had tried to lose weight before. Part of their success this time was that they learned from past failures. "Before, the more I focused on weighing, measuring, and preparing food, the more I ate," says Wilson, who finally succeeded with a program that offered prepackaged foods.

18. Set small goals.

"My first goal was to lose only 10 pounds," says Rebecca. "I had very high blood pressure, and my doctor said if I would just lose 10 pounds, he believed that I could get off the pills. Every other doctor before said I had to lose 100 pounds, and I thought 'I can't do that.' But 10 pounds, I thought 'maybe I can do that.' Doing it one bite at a time made it more achievable for me."

19. Make changes you can live with.

"Before I'd go to bed I'd ask myself, 'Is what I did today something I could do for the rest of my life?' If I felt deprived, I'd do it differently tomorrow. If I thought, 'Yeah, I could do this tomorrow,' then I was on the right track," says Revitt

Control Portions

20. Go back to school.

Joining a weight loss class or working with a dietitian can help you learn proper portions, even without weighing and measuring. "If you get a half cup of cottage cheese, it should look like a tennis ball, a quarter cup should look like a Ping-Pong ball," says Wilson. "Now, I know what appropriate portions look like."

21. Don't toss those measuring cups, though.

"I usually misjudge portions of salad dressing, mayonnaise, and ice cream," says Revitt. "They're really high in fat and calories and cause the most damage if overdone. So I still measure them."

22. Cook for your family, not an army.

Even for low-fat foods like grilled chicken, Bennett stopped overfeeding her family of four. "I stopped making six or seven breasts, thinking that everybody had to have two or three," she says. "Now I make just one for each person."

Take Some Cooking Lessons

23. Plan ahead.

An empty fridge after a stressful day begs for pizza. The now-slender crew doesn't leave meals to chance. Many of them plan their menus a week or more in advance. Others even cook ahead, freezing meals for the week in individual containers.

24. A little dab will do it.

If you just can't pass on some high-fat favorites, stick to the most flavorful ones. "A single slice of bacon is enough to flavor eggs or a potato," says Helen Fitzgerald, 61, who lost about 51 pounds. Her husband's lost more than 150 pounds.

25. Fake fry.

Try"frying" with calorie-free cooking sprays instead of oil. Spray sliced potatoes and roast them in the oven for french fries that taste fried without the fat, suggests Miltenberger.

26. Stock frozen veggies.

With pasta or stir-fry sauces, they are diet saviors. "I've been known to eat a whole bag of vegetables -- and with only a quarter cup of sauce, it's only about 3 grams of fat," says Mucci-Hurlburt. "It's saved my butt many times when I was really hungry and had to eat now."

27. Flavor up.

Rice, beans, and other cooked grains are the staples of many successful dieters. For variety, Fitzgerald cooks them in different liquids -- tomato juice, apple juice, beef or chicken stock. "Rice done in pineapple juice is especially good for rice puddings and Chinese dishes," she says.

Don't Go It Alone

28. Find the right support person.

A nag won't do. Neither will a partner in crime. Look for someone who can empathize and support you in a positive way. When Reed finally succeeded in losing weight, her fiance was a big help. "We didn't focus all our socializing around food. We went bike riding a lot and played tennis instead of going for pizza."

29. Join a support group.

"Hearing someone say she lost 50 pounds would be real motivating," says Revitt. "I'd think, 'She's just a normal person like me. If she can lose 50 then I can do it too.'"

30. Create your own group.

"I started my first women's group when I first started exercising. It was just a bunch of women that got together once a week, and we would compare notes," says Debra Mazda, 44, who's 135 pounds slimmer than she was 13 years ago.

Don't Boycott Dining Out

31. Be picky.

"I'm not afraid to ask for dishes to be prepared differently," says Bennett. "My philosophy is that every restaurant has a grill and an oven. They don't have to fry everything."

32. It's not the Last Supper.

This is not your last chance in life to have a particular food. "Those french fries will be there in a half hour if I really have to have them," says Mucci-Hurlburt. Or they'll be there next week.

33. Don't wait to doggy bag.

"As soon as the waitress puts the food down in front of me I cut the whole portion in half, put it on my butter plate, and ask her to wrap it," says Revitt. If you wait until the end of your meal, oftentimes you pick at it until the waitress returns.

34. Tackle buffets.

"I get only one tablespoon of everything," says Rebecca. "Usually I don't even fill my plate, but I at least taste everything so I don't feel deprived."

Deliver Yourself from Temptation

35. Stay busy.

Do something that's not conducive to eating. The folks we talked to aren't sitting around thinking of hot fudge sundaes. They're singing in choirs, taking classes, running marathons, leading weight loss groups, and more.

36. Keep 'em out of sight.

Overwhelmingly, weight loss vets control foods like chocolate, ice cream, and potato chips by not having them around. "It's easier to fill the house with treats for my kids that I don't like such as Oreo cookies," says 30 year old Tammy Hansen, who trimmed off 60 pounds.

37. Moderation is key.

But they're not depriving themselves, either. "If I want a piece of cake, I'll have one," says Mazda. "Then I just won't have another one for a week or so. Knowing that I can eat something and no one's going to say 'you can't' works for me."

38. Indulge and enjoy!

Go for the best brand of ice cream or the best cut of steak. "If I'm going to blow 500 or 600 calories, I want to make sure that I'm enjoying it to the max," says Mucci-Hurlburt. "Often desserts look much better than they taste. If it tastes like cardboard, forget it. It's not worth it."

39. Limit portions.

"When I have to snack, I put my hand in the bag or box and whatever I can grab, that's what I eat -- only a handful," says Fitzgerald.

40. Buy individually packaged snacks.

Cookies, chips, even ice cream come in single serving sizes. "If I want some cookies or chips, I grab one little bag instead of a whole box," says Reed.

41. Keep reminders around.

A note on the refrigerator reading "Stop" kept Reed from raiding it. Underneath she listed other things to do, like "take a drink of water" and questions such as"Are you really hungry?"

42. Find alternatives.

Chocolate is still a favorite even for successful dieters. But they've found ways to enjoy it and still keep their waistlines. Bennett makes fat-free chocolate pudding with skim milk. For Sarah, who lost 40 pounds and has kept it off for two years, a cup of sugar-free hot cocoa (about 20 calories), topped with a little fat-free whipped cream does the trick.

43. Don't give in to peer pressure.

If the cookies, chips, or ice cream you buy for the rest of the family is sabotaging your efforts, stop buying it. "My daughters carried on for about a month, but after that they got used to the change," says Bennett.

Escape Emotional Eating

44. Know your triggers.

You have to know which moods send you to the cookie jar before you can do anything about it. Once you know your triggers, have a list of alternate things to do when the mood strikes. "When I get tired or discouraged, I get an 'I don't care attitude,'" says Rebecca. For those times, taking a walk or reading affirmations can help.

45. Quiz yourself.

Determine if you're really hungry or eating for other reasons. "I'll ask myself 'Do you really want this, or is it something else, like boredom or depression?' About 80% of the time it's not hunger," says Geren.

46. Call a friend.

Talking about what's eating you can keep you from eating. "I had to be willing to call my support people at 9 o'clock on a Friday night," says Barbara, 46, who's kept off 46 pounds for more than 15 years.

47. Stop worrying.

Remind yourself that you only have control over you -- not your spouse, boss, parents, or friends. If you can't do anything about it, just let it go, several people suggested.

48. Take an emotional inventory.

Ask yourself: "What do you feel guilty about? resent? fear? regret? What are you angry about?" Then deal with it, says Barbara. Confront the person involved, talk to others, or write a letter -- even if you don't send it.

49. Get spiritual.

If religion isn't for you, try yoga, meditation, or relaxation exercises. These are especially helpful if you tend to eat when you're stressed, says Barbara.

50. Challenge the power of food.

Ice cream is a poor companion if you're lonely. "If I eat the whole bag of chocolate chip cookies, am I going to be any happier? Probably not," says Wilson

Blast Off a Plateau

51. Up the ante

"I started out walking, and eventually tried running, which was the key to my success," says Revitt. "I couldn't even make it around one lap (1/26 of a mile) in the beginning, but it was just enough to make the weight loss continue."

52. Go back to basics.

"I'd go back to more strict measuring because you can sneak away from reasonable portions and start fooling yourself," says Mucci-Hurlburt.

53. Stop starving yourself.

"As soon as I saw the weight coming off, I thought, 'If it's working at this rate, I'll try eating less so I'll lose more,'" admits Miltenberger. "Then I'd stall or even put weight on because I was undereating and my metabolism slowed. I'd start losing again when I'd eat a little bit more."

54. Look how far you've come.

"By keeping a graph of my weight, I could see that the line would go up and down and up and down, but overall it was going down, so there was no reason to throw my progress away," says Rebecca.

Stay Motivated

55. Don't give up.

"There are plenty of times when I've wanted to give up, but I didn't," says Mazda. "I realized a long time ago that entrepreneurs fall and rise up every time they lose a venture, but they just keep getting up." The same is true for weight loss.

56. "You can do it.

" Repeat this to yourself. Many people post affirmations around their homes or offices as constant reminders. One dieter even programmed her computer screen to keep her on the right track.

57. Get inspired.

"I read a lot about other people who have come back from obstacles and really made it," says Mazda. Their determination can make you feel like you can succeed too.

58. Envision your svelte self.

"If you can actually visualize yourself as the person you want to be, you'll become it," says Wilson. "When I felt like I couldn't do this one more minute, I slipped in a motivational tape. Step by step, it would walk me through a visualization exercise so I could see myself as I wanted to be."

59. Find new measures of success.

When she lost some weight, trying on her old, too-big clothes further motivated Miltenberger. "I also bought myself a size below what I was wearing," she says. "I'd see if I could get the pants on, then if I could zip them, and finally when I could wear them comfortably

Feel Good About Yourself

60. Learn to like your trouble spots.

Peggy Malecha, who's lost about 75 pounds, dresses in a black leotard and, standing in front of a mirror, she points out everything about herself that she doesn't like. Then she counters that. For instance, "I hate my legs, but they work," she says. "I can walk and dance. I have no control over the way they look, so it's silly to obsess over them. Don't dwell on it."

61. Pamper yourself.

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+Paulose
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Daniel de Villiers
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Posted on Jan 19, 2011