Six Excellent Ab Exercises

Long-Arm Weighted Crunch
This abs exercise targets your upper abs. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms straight back beyond your head. Now crunch your rib cage toward your pelvis, keeping your shoulders still and your arms straight. Don't generate momentum with your arms. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions.

Seated Ab Crunch
Sit on the edge of a bench. Grip the edge of the pad and lean back slightly, extending your legs down and away and keeping your heels 4 to 6 inches off the floor. Bend your knees and slowly raise your legs toward your chest. At the same time, lean forward with your upper body, allowing your chest to approach your thighs. Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions.

This abs exercise targets both the lower abs and the obliques. Lie on your back, with your legs raised directly over your hips. Your knees should be slightly bent. Place your hands at your sides with the palms down. Use your lower abs to raise your hips off the floor and toward your rib cage, elevating your feet straight up. Simultaneously twist your hips to the right. Hold, then return to the starting position. Repeat, twisting to the left. Do 10 repetitions to each side.

Weighted One-Sided Crunch
This abs exercise targets both the upper abs and the obliques. Lie with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, and hold a dumbbell with both hands by your right shoulder. Curl your torso up and rotate to the left. Lower yourself, finish the set on that side, then switch directions and repeat, holding the dumbbell next to your left shoulder. Perform three sets of eight repetitions to each side.

Kneeling Cable Crunch
Kneel facing the pulley and hold the ends of a rope attached to the high cable along the sides of your face. Bend forward, aiming your chest at your pelvis. Return to the starting position, then repeat the movement, this time aiming your chest toward your left knee. Return, then repeat to your right. That's one repetition. Perform three sets of eight repetitions.

Crunch/Side-Bend Combo
This exercise targets both the upper abs and the obliques. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and hands behind your ears. Curl up so your shoulder blades are off the floor. Bend at the waist to your left, aiming your left armpit toward your left hip. Straighten, then bend to your right. Lower yourself to the starting position and repeat. Perform three sets of eight repetitions to each side.

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Dealing With a Sweet Tooth

Having a sweet tooth can become a problem if you are trying to lose weight or follow a diet program. 
The following article was written by Karen Collins, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., American Institute for Cancer Research.
The good news is that healthy eating does leave us with some room for sweets. Yet few of us can have a sweet drink or treat each time we see one and meet the goal of “moderation.” Is it seeing sweets or knowing they’re around that draws you? Studies show that one way to reduce the tempting power of sweets is to limit variety. If ice cream or cookies are your weakness, stock one flavor at a time. Identify the sweets you enjoy most and try to stick only to those, skipping sweets you eat just because they’re available. Some people find that using sweets only for dessert, rather than snacks, makes it easier to limit them and decreases cravings. One study found that after two weeks of eating chocolate twice a day, 15 to 30 minutes after a meal, chocolate cravers reduced their desire for chocolate. But both cravers and non-cravers who ate chocolate daily between meals ended up with increased desire for chocolate. The researchers suggested that regularly using chocolate to satisfy hunger teaches us to crave it. If true, that could apply to other sweets, too. Normalizing sweets can also gradually reduce cravings that are rebound effects of overly restrictive dieting. If your cravings are emotion-related, each time you use sweets to cope with emotions the pattern may become stronger. Try not to focus on what you don’t want to do (eat sweets) and focus instead on non-food strategies you’ve identified to respond to emotions and stress.

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3 Rules for Getting a Healthy, Lean Body

This is probably the simplest diet ever. You'll find that when it comes to eating for a healthy, lean body, everything else is just details.

1. Embrace Fat

Research shows that diets containing upward of 50 percent fat are just as effective for weight loss as those  that are low in fat. "Fat is filling and it adds flavor to your meals, so it helps you avoid feeling deprived," says Alan Aragon, M.S., a nutritionist based in Thousand Oaks, California. In other words: Enjoy the fat in meat, dairy, avocados, olive oil, and nuts.
You won't store fat if you are not eating too many total calories.
Aragon's rule of thumb: Shoot for half a gram of fat for every pound of your desired body weight.

2. Prepare Your Own Meals
Cooking for yourself is your gateway to delicious meals made with healthy, fresh ingredients. 
USDA scientists recently found that men eat 500 more calories on days they consume fast foods compared with days they don't.

3. Eliminate added sugars

"This is the simplest way to clean up any diet," says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., the author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. According to a USDA survey, the average American eats about  20 teaspoons of added sugar daily, or 317 empty calories. The researchers report that 82 percent of that added sugar can be attributed to soda, baked goods, breakfast cereals, candy, and fruit drinks. This is what you can eat instead: Meat, vegetables, whole fruit, and eggs, along with unsweetened whole-grain and dairy products. Eat accordingly.

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