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Urban Outfitters pic of model w/ “Thigh Gap” Banned? Outrageous!

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Is this what the world has really come to? According to reports, the hip and pricey retailer, Urban Outfitters was forced to remove a picture of a slim model from its website and the models so called thigh gap had a lot to do with it.

 

urban-outfitters-thigh-gap-hed-2015Here’s the photo in question. There is nothing unhealthy looking about this woman. She is slender and in shape – and furthermore, we have no clue if she has a thigh gap since she is standing with her legs wide apart. Anyone but obese people would have a space between their legs when they stand like that.

So, in a nutshell – the UK advertising standards authority (ASA) has forced urban outfitters to remove this photo of a model with a “thigh gap” (but really just slender attractive legs) from its websites stating that it’s irresponsible and harmful.

To whom exactly? I guess the women who don’t look like this and feel that anyone who does is somehow forcing them to starve themselves into submission. It’s not like it’s actually possible to get slim by eating lots of nutritious whole foods and exercising regularly (/sarcasm)

Jo Swinson, the minister for women and equality, supported the decision stating that banning the photo encouraged positive body image.
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Surprise surprise. Here’s a photo of Jo rejoicing at the reveal of SIZE 16 mannequins at Debenhams (the avg. size mannequin was a size 10) – claiming to reflect the average woman! Seriously, can someone pinch me and awake me from this nightmare?

We seem to be moving backwards and instead of helping women lower the average size, people like Jo coddle and help keep women complacent by just moving the marker for what should be considered a healthy, average weight/size by calling it the new normal.

This woman claims to promote body confidence, a wonderful euphemism for fat tolerance and more accurately fat encouragement, since she seems to have a problem with slim women celebrating or showing their bodies.

Urban outfitters claimed that they didn’t believe the image was a problem stating that it was a common practice to use slim models in the underwear industry and the model was not underweight or unhealthily thin. So now, urban outfitters has to ban the thigh gap.

And you know what – Urban Outfitters was right! No one wants to see overweight/obese models in underwear. It does not make the clothing look better and certainly doesn’t make me want to run out and shop.  Average sized women (that’s the real average size and not the new normal average sized) definitely won’t be persuaded into buying clothing by seeing it on women heavier than them.  So who exactly is this benefitting?

Methinks if you want to be overweight or fat and proud then you need to realize that you will have to get lane bryant catalogs that specialize in that niche. Other retailers want to appeal to the masses – it’s just a smart business decision!

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How to Exercise on the Cheap (No gym membership required!)

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workout_without_gym_freeAs you may or may not know, I am a huge proponent of working out to burn calories, sculpt toned muscles, firm up the jiggle and just generally feel good (depending on your workout it can be quite meditative).In fact, I lost the bulk of my weight jumping around 5 times a week for a year straight in the comfort of my living room – wearing nothing but a sports bra and some skivvies.

However, too many people think working out involves obtaining an expensive gym membership, and engaging in inconvenient rituals such as buying the right workout clothes and traveling to and from the gym or workout studio. Of course, if they can’t afford the cost of a gym or don’t have the right outfit/shoes, then working out gets put off to the side.

In this day and age, not being able to afford a gym membership is a pretty lame excuse to avoid working out.

I was recently interviewed for an article by Reagan Nickl on mvelopes.com – a personal finance management app to help people live within their means (http://www.mvelopes.com/7-ways-to-skip-the-gym-and-still-lose-weight-for-free/) where I gave some tips on frugal fitness.

However, some of my tips didn’t make the article and I wanted to highlight them here;  so without further ado, here are some of my favorite fitness tips and alternatives to an expensive gym membership:

* Youtube videos – There are tons of youtube channels with partial or full length workouts –  choose from the personal channels of celebrity trainers, networks that post nothing but workout videos, or local workout instructors who upload their live classes to the site.

While many of these videos are shorter in length than the time I recommend (at least 60 minutes), you can comprise your own full length workouts by making a playlist of shorter videos to give you a more personalized and varied routine while still meeting the one hour requirement.

* Free workouts in the park – When the weather heats up the parks promote getting outdoors by not only offering free yoga and bootcamp style classes, but other activities that will get your heart rate pumping, such as free rowing programs.

Of course, you can also just bring a jump rope to the park and skip for 20 minutes to burn calories on par with a much longer stint on the treadmill, or if you’re lucky, your park may have a designated area for exercise type equipment. Failing that, the jungle gym can come in very handy for pull-ups, knee ups (work those abs), crunches, dips, etc.

* Running or cycling meet up groups – These groups, and other activity / sports based meet ups, are usually free and will allow you to meet and get to know like minded people who can hopefully inspire you to keep showing up. It’s like having tons of work out buddies that won’t ever flake on you (at least one other person – the organizer – is bound to show up).

* Pedal to the metal – Riding your bike (just avoid hills and steep inclines if you don’t want to build up the thighs too much) is a great way to get your heart rate pumping and burn calories. If you don’t have a bike but reside in a city with a bike share program,  you have yet another way to get some exercise in on the cheap. Alternatively, a number of bike sharing websites have popped up that will allow you to rent your neighbor’s bike for as little as $5 a pop.

* Workout DVD’s – The old standby, and again, how I originally got into shape, is fitness DVD’s. While many of the older ones can be found online, you can find these just as effective videos on the cheap on websites like craigslist and ebay, or even snag them for free on websites like free cycle or the library.

* Exercise books and pins – Videos are not the only game in town! There are many books with full workout routines you can follow that can be found for free at the library, on amazon on the cheap for a limited time (kindle unlimited or the books under $3 tabs), and worksheets with detailed sets and reps can be found on sites like pinterest and tumblr.

* Income based workout programs – Companies like yoga to the people strive to bring yoga to the masses by allowing every individual to pay based on their income.

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Oil Free Sweet Potato Fries Recipe | Crispy, low calorie & Delicious

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In honor of the release of my latest book, “The Oil Free Diet” (May 7th 2015) I have decided to post some of my favorite oil free (no added oil) recipes that didn’t make the book (the book has 30 recipes). The first one up is oil free sweet potato fries (you can also cut the sweet potatoes to make wedges or circles instead)

 

Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potatoes, peeled and evenly cut
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of Vanilla Extract
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • All Spice
  • 5 cloves of Garlic
  • A pinch of sea salt

 

Directions:

1. Soak the sweet potatoes in a bowl of water from 35 minutes up to 2 hours. This will release the starch and is the secret to getting crispy fries

2. Drain the sweet potatoes, pat dry or allow to air dry and turn on the oven to 350 – 375 degrees Fahrenheit so that it can heat up while you add the seasoning.

3. Generously coat the potatoes with all of the spices and mix thoroughly with your hands so that all of the potatoes are evenly coated

4. Take a baking pan lined with parchment paper or non stick foil and arrange the sweet potatoes so that none of them are overlapping. If you don’t have non stick foil regular foil will do but you must be sure to keep on them and flip them before they stick)

5. Bake for about 20 – 30 minute before removing from the oven. Flip each fry / slice over and return to the oven for another 20 – 30 minutes.

6. (optional) If you like your sweet potato fries extra crispy, put in the broiler for 2 to 5 minutes making sure to watch them so that they do not char.

That’s it! You now have yummy sweet potato fries that are low calorie, crispy, crunchy, slightly sweet and incredibly satisfying! Never buy another bag of frozen sweet potatoes with weird additives again! Bon appetit!

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Annoying or Smart? Why I Pay Full Price to Order Half Entrees

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In front of a restaurant that wouldn’t serve me a half portion of food (I’m not so good at making a frown face)

Yesterday, I was featured in a NY Post Article titled The Annoying New Dining Trend – Ordering Half Entrees.

From that article, I was asked to do an interview with Fox 5 News to give a more in depth report on why I order half entrees and sometimes pay full price for it.

Obviously, I would prefer to pay half the price if I’m getting half the food another patron is getting, but sometimes that’s not possible. In those situations I would rather pay the full price for half an entree.

Why would I ever do that? I promise you, there is a method to my madness, and here it is:

* What’s the price of your goals?

Especially when I first started losing weight, I had to come to the realization that I needed to stop trying to get the most bang for my buck when it came to food. Most of us have been taught to finish everything on ours plate since we could eat on our own, but if you blindly eat what’s put in front of you when eating out it will be very hard to not fall into the overweight / obese category so many Americans are trapped in.

Since the restaurant weren’t going to help me with portion size, I had to make sure I helped myself! That meant creating an environment that would ensure I did not overeat (if there is no more food left on your plate it’s impossible to eat more of it).

Now that I have reached my goal weight, eat slower, retrained my hunger (which I teach you how to do in my book, “The Thigh Gap Hack,”) and know what it feels like to be satisfied, I am apt to paying the full price for the entree, stop eating when I should, and have the rest boxed to go.

* What are they going to do with the leftovers?

I understand the hesitation of some restaurants to half the price of an entree when a diner only wants to order half the food. After all, what are they going to do with the leftovers? Who are they going to serve it to if there are not many other diners requesting the same dish halved?

That being said, if I find a restaurant that can accommodate my needs (and the number of restaurants catering to this need is growing every day) I am more likely to return to that establishment than the ones that won’t.

* Sometimes you don’t want to carry a doggy bag!

If I won’t be home for a few hours after eating and can’t refrigerate my leftovers (in other words the food would probably spoil from seating in a hot car or I don’t have my car to store the food while I go about the rest of my day) then it just doesn’t make sense to receive what is likely to be a huge portion of food and then force myself to eat it all.

As I mentioned in the Fox 5 interview, your stomach shrinks when you start to eat smaller portions and overeating to the point of feeling uncomfortable just so that I don’t waste the food is not worth it to me.

* It’s not such a foreign concept

Whenever I travel internationally I am served smaller portions of food and pay the equivalent of what I would pay for a meal here in NYC. Additionally, whenever I eat at more upscale restaurants, I pay a lot more money for a small portion of food.

To me, eating out is not so much about stuffing myself like a bloat fish, but being social and enjoying the company I am with, especially since I try to cook most of my meals at home.
New York News

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Demi Lovato Joins in on the Thin Shaming w/ Thigh Gap Hate

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thin shaming courtesy of demi lovato

thin shaming courtesy of demi lovato

After famously struggling and supposedly beating an eating disorder, Demi Lovato has jumped on the thin shaming bandwagon by posting an instagram picture of herself to all her fans with the classy caption “Ph_kkk yo thigh gap”.

 

That’s right – in an absurd move to push back against fat body shaming (who are all these people shaming and demanding that Demi Lovato get a thigh gap?), she has resorted to being a total hypocrite, and kind of a tool, by turning right around and shaming women with thigh gaps (including many of her very own fans i’m sure).

I just thought I’d point out that her logic is flawed because although it’s clear she meant to degrade skinny women with her comment, overweight and average sized women and men can have thigh gaps if they have wider hips.

Additionally, there are those who are able to obtain a thigh gap through healthy diet and exercise (e.g. a fitness model who eats whole unprocessed foods and exercises regularly is able to maintain a low body fat (get very lean) and thus might have a thigh gap with narrower hips, as I explain in my best selling book, “The Thigh Gap Hack”)

There is a way to uplift and be happy in your own body without tearing others down, Demi. And I have to think if you need to call people out for their thigh gaps in order to make yourself feel better you are not as secure and confident as you claim to be.

Final note – have you ever noticed how people who claim to hate or not care thigh gaps just can’t stop talking about it? It’s funny because the things I don’t care about rarely ever cross my mind.

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How to Get Legs Like Taylor Swift

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taylor-swift-at-2014-mtv-video-music-awards-4Long gone are the days of people only associating Taylor Swift with cheesy pop music about former lovers and that infamous incident involving Kanye West.

Now, all the talk about the 5’11” singer is more about her looks (specifically her lean, slim and shapely legs), closely followed by those less than stellar dance moves and finally, her music.

It’s quite obvious that in the last year or so Taylor has undergone a complete body transformation and in most people’s opinion, it’s for the better!

No, Swift has never been grossly obese or even overweight, but there is no denying that the star has dropped a few pounds and is looking more modelesque than ever.

Call it the breakup diet (when you’re so sad and depressed from a breakup that you lose your appetite, no longer have a boyfriend to constantly take you out or order food in with, or want to show your ex just what he’s missing by hitting the gym), single girl diet (where you suddenly get the surge or motivation to look your best so you can do better in the dating market or actually resemble your old pictures on tinder), or the model friends diet (where you learn all the weight loss tips from your skinny BFF’s Karlie Kloss and Cara Delavigne), whatever reason is responsible for Taylor’s new look has clearly raised her stock and women worldwide are wondering how to follow in Swift’s footsteps.victorias-secret-2013-19_115338715420

Clearly, no one will be privy to exactly what and how much Taylor Swift eats, works out, exactly what types of exercises she does, and how active she is on a day to day basis. However, we can assembles pieces of her diet that she has divulge to the media, get insight into the types of work outs that she prefers thanks to the stalkarazzi taking pictures of her everywhere she goes, and drawing from others who have managed to get similar bodies.

With that said, here are some tips to on how to get the Taylor Swift Body (and amazing legs)!

Taylor Swift’s Diet:

During weekdays, Taylor is said to eat only healthy foods, such as salads, yogurt, and sandwiches. Meanwhile, on weekends she allows herself to enjoy eating cookies, ice cream, burgers, and fries. This style of eating resembles the calorie cycling technique that I talk about in my books “Bye Bye Thunder Thighs” and “The Thigh Gap Hack”.

Raising your calories on the weekends or alternate days is great for keeping the metabolism boosted so that when you go back to lowered calories during the week, you burn more fat instead of your body adapting to a steady low calorie diet all week long by slowing the metabolism.

Another secret of Taylor’s is the fact that she eats less as the day progresses. She states, “I try to eat a lot in the beginning of the day and not so much at the end.” This strategy is akin to intermittent fasting where one has an eating widow of around 6 to 8 hours and fasting window of 18 to 16 hours.

Many people chose to skip breakfast on this protocol due to social reason (wanting to eat dinner with family and friends) but it’s just as fine to skip dinner instead. Doing so allows your body to turn to it’s fat stores for energy once all the glycogen has been used up as opposed to constantly eating lots of food throughout the day and never giving your digestive system a break, or a chance for the body to burn stored fat. Again, I talk all about this in both books.

Taylor Swift’s workout:

FFN_IMAGE_51297979|FFN_SET_60073753Some websites have reported that Taylor does an hour of cardio everyday either on her treadmill, on the elliptical or on the road. Besides cardio ensuring that her endurance is on point for her to be able to perform without being out of breath, it allows Taylor to burn a lot of calories and bring circulation to her legs.

But running/jogging is not the only way Swift keeps her heart rate up. The singer has been spotted going to dance classes, hiking and long walks (steady state cardio) to switch things up.

For toning and stretching Taylor opts out of lifting weights and doing any particular muscle building exercise – as I’ve preached for years to those wanting a more feminine, slender physique than hard and buff, fitness model finish.

Instead she swears by ballet (she has been spotted leaving the hip boutique ballet bodies), yoga and pilates. In other words, this girl switches things up and has been quoted as trying not to do things that “feel like working out” otherwise she would be less inclined to do it. (Read my last article about the power of switching up your routine and trying new workouts and/or activities  you find fun or intriguing to remain motivated. Swift is a testament to this strategy working extremely well).

To sum things up, if you want to get the Taylor Swift body and legs, find activities that you’ve always wanted to try or love, be consistent with your diet and exercise – making a little room for things you enjoy that won’t derail you (if you know you’ll eat the whole bag of popcorn, ball one single serving pack) so that you don’t feel deprived, ditch the heavy weights and muscle bulging exercises (unless you don’t want to look like Taylor) and rock on!

 

 

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How to Stay Motivated When you’ve Lost Weight, but Have More to Go

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stop-giving-upPART II

This question came to me yesterday and I wanted to make sure I shared it, along with my response, here because I thought it could be beneficial to anyone who is currently facing the same problem. The first part deals with how to stay motivated and stop making excuses to work out when you formerly had the zeal and zest to do so.

It’s a very common problem people face, especially after they’ve lost a lot of weight and the weight loss has slowed or they’ve hit a plateau. Thankfully, the answers are not so complicated and difficult to turning things around – in fact there are pretty simple and effective solutions. My answer to this aspect of the question can be found here.

The second part of the question deals with how to prevent backsliding on your diet/exercise regimen and tap back into the motivation you once had specifically after you’ve lost a lot of weight but still have more to go.

Here’s the question and my answer to part II follows.

QUESTION:

Ok. I’ve lost 127 lbs. I hurt my knee pretty bad and needed surgery. I am fully recovered but I’m having suck a hard time with being motivated this time around and I don’t know why. I loved working out before and looked forward to it. Now I find myself making excuses not to. My surgery was 15 months ago. I gained 4 lbs right after surgery because I couldnt move much. I have not gained anything else, just the 4. I also find myself eating stuff I know I shouldn’t because I’m no longer trying to maintain my weight I’m trying to lose some weight. Do you have any advice?

MY ANSWER – Part II:

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How to Stop Making Excuses to Work Out (Reader Question)

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No-workout-excuses-292x300This question came to me today and I wanted to make sure I shared it, along with my response, here because I thought it could be beneficial to anyone who is currently facing the same problem. It deals with how to stay motivated and stop making excuses to work out when you formerly had the zeal and zest to do so.

It’s a very common problem people face, especially after they’ve lost a lot of weight and the weight loss has slowed or they’ve hit a plateau. Thankfully, the answers are not so complicated and difficult to turning things around – in fact there are pretty simple and effective solutions.

I’ll tackle the question in two parts – the first part will deal with how to stop making excuses when it comes to working out and the second part on how to quit backsliding on your diet/exercise regimen specifically after you’ve lost a lot of weight but still have more to go.

Here’s the question and my answer follows.

QUESTION:

Ok. I’ve lost 127 lbs. I hurt my knee pretty bad and needed surgery. I am fully recovered but I’m having suck a hard time with being motivated this time around and I don’t know why. I loved working out before and looked forward to it. Now I find myself making excuses not to. My surgery was 15 months ago. I gained 4 lbs right after surgery because I couldnt move much. I have not gained anything else, just the 4. I also find myself eating stuff I know I shouldn’t because I’m no longer trying to maintain my weight I’m trying to lose some weight. Do you have any advice?

 

MY ANSWER – Part I:

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How To Lose Water Weight – Everything you need to know

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10933233_10100257044357925_1034042459_nThe release of my latest book, “How to Lose Water Weight – The Fastest way to Flush up to 20 Pounds in 30 Days or Less”, is here. It is my third book, joining my current best sellers,  “Bye Bye Thunder Thighs” and The Thigh Gap Hack

WHO ‘HOW TO LOSE WATER WEIGHT’ IS FOR?

This is not a long term balanced diet and exercise plan. This is a book specifically on how to cut weight fast for people who have a special occasion or event coming up (wedding, anniversary, reunion, party, photoshoot, videoshoot, fitness competition, fight, etc.) in the safest way possible.

Our bodies are made up of 60 – 70% water, and so the easiest way to lose weight quickly and look great in the short term is to manipulate this major variable that contributes to our weight and body composition – water.

In this book, I go over every single technique and protocol that previously only hardcore fitness industry folks (like bodybuilders and wrestlers) knew about. But, I don’t just stop there. I break down timelines, the best foods to tackle bloating and water retention, how to calculate how much you should eat, how much water/salt to consume, how to workout to minimize swelling and maximize calorie burning, and cover non-cosmetic procedures and protocols that will assist you in dropping the pounds in depth.

In the following weeks I will be putting out additional videos on the subjects in the book as well as debuting my workout DVD, “CardioTwist”, a 60 minute workout optimal for burning fat while targeting water retention that is a complement to the book, so be sure to subscriber to my youtube channel so you don’t miss a thing.  Click on this link and hit subscribe.

 

BUY ‘HOW TO LOSE WATER WEIGHT’ HERE NOW!

 

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7 Ways to Weigh Your Food / Figure out your Calories When Eating Out

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eating-out-while-dieting-1Recently, thanks to Obamacare,  restaurants with 20+ locations are required to list calorie content information for standard menu items on menus. Total calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and total protein have to be made available in writing upon request.

Unfortunately, most restaurants and cafe’s don’t fall into the 20+ locations category, and as such it can be very difficult to accurately guess what’s in the food you’re consuming when eating out.

That doesn’t mean all hope is lost though. Here are my tips on how to get a good idea of the nutritional value of food not prepared by you. Keep in mind that all these things can be done in tandem to get the most accurate estimate:

 

Step 1. Order the Most Unprocessed Food

Processed foods have the most variation when it comes to calories. That’s because added ingredients meant to give food a distinctive taste (creamier, richer, sweeter, crispier) can really add to the bottom line of the nutritional content.

That doesn’t mean that a restaurant can’t totally wipe out the lower calorie value of whole foods like vegetables by pouring on sauce or oil. However, you have a better chance of asking your whole food to be prepared (or not prepared) a certain way to cut back on those calories, while you have no such option of pre-packaged foods the restaurant chooses to purchase – like bread.

So, when dining out look for the most unprocessed, whole – closest to its natural state – foods on the menu. Look out for the way it is prepared and avoid anything deep fried, fried, or breaded and go for grilled, baked, roasted, or boiled.

In case you’re wondering how ordering the most unprocessed food will let you know how many calories you’re consuming – be patient my friend, we’ll get to it in the later step.

 

photolibrary_rf_photo_of_food_take_outStep 2. Always Section Off Half to Go

The next thing you should do when ordering out is immediately upon getting your dish, divide your meal into two. If you are dealing with a solid type of food (like salmon or other white fish, it’s easy to cut and stack one piece on top of the other to visually make sure you have half).

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