Health Boosters http://blog.withings.com Freshly blended healthy tips and news by Withings Mon, 30 May 2016 16:13:08 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Pop into Disneyland for An Active Vacation http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/28/disneyland-10k-steps-vacation/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/28/disneyland-10k-steps-vacation/#comments Sat, 28 May 2016 01:11:32 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20549

My family recently embarked on a two-day odyssey to Disneyland. While we love going to Disneyland for many reasons, surpassing 10,000 steps each day is an added bonus. Disneyland is divided into two parks: California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom, both of which offer ample opportunities for walking and healthy snacking if you know where […]

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Disneyland small world

My family recently embarked on a two-day odyssey to Disneyland. While we love going to Disneyland for many reasons, surpassing 10,000 steps each day is an added bonus. Disneyland is divided into two parks: California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom, both of which offer ample opportunities for walking and healthy snacking if you know where to look.

Ready for a California Adventure

disneyland activityWe hit up California Adventure on the first day. According to my Withings Activité Pop, I clocked almost 1000 steps just walking from the parking lot to the tram to the entrance. The park has an amazing replica of Radiator Springs, the town featured in the Pixar movie, Cars. Walking through it is like walking around inside the movie and serves as a nice distraction from all the steps you are taking. California Adventure park also features a Bugs Life Land, Paradise Pier, Hollywood Land, and Grizzly Peak, all with a wide array of rides to choose from.

If you need a break from rides and want to pack some extra exercise into your day, head over to the Grizzly Peak area, which includes a Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. While not a ride, this area offers a network of simulated Redwood Forest hiking trails, stairs, rope bridges, rock climbing walls, a zip-line and side-by-side slides.

After spending about eight hours at California Adventure, my Pop revealed that I had taken 10,078 steps, traveled 4.8 miles of Disney terrain and burned over 2,000 calories total. There are only two major dips in my step-o-meter, shown below, which were lunch and dinner.

Disneyland California AdventureI recommend hitting Flo’s V-8 cafe in Cars Land for a healthy lunch. Their menu has no fried food and includes items like roasted chicken and vegetables. Pooh Bear would not have gotten stuck in Rabbit’s hole if he had ordered the low-calorie meal I selected for lunch, a veggie tater bake with a side of fruit and an iced green tea. There are many healthy options like this in the park. This virtuous lunch enabled me to snack on the delicious fried dough dipped in cinnamon sugar known as the Disney churro later that afternoon. After all, that churro fueled me through three round trips from the Little Mermaid Ride to Mater’s Tractor Pull.

 

Hitting the Magic Kingdom

Disneyland teacups

The next day, my family ventured into the beloved Magic Kingdom, which contains all the beloved Disney World rides like the Teacups, Peter Pan, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. The Tiki Room has also been there since the doors opened. And if you like ice cream, don’t miss the Dole Pineapple Whip sold exclusively in front of the Tiki Room. One cup of this gluten-free, vegan, 90-calorie pineapple soft serve is a grand slam of goodness! Plus you can enjoy it in the company of singing animatronic birds and chanting Tiki masks. It’s a feast for the eyes, ears, and tongue.

Disneyland stepsThe biggest spike in my steps was the distance from the Teacups in Fantasyland to Splash Mountain in Critter Country. It’s clear by my graph that there was some time spent waiting in lines or rides, but the biggest dip is during mealtimes again. I was not so virtuous in the lunch department on day two and indulged my desire for fish and chips at the Golden Horseshoe saloon. I gobbled up almost 1600 calories in one meal here, but it was delicious and ranked high on “The Top 8 Most Delicious Meals to have at Disneyland” on The Secret Menu website.

As with most Disney tales, there is a happily ever after to my gorging because I ended up walking 12,136 steps during day two, covering 5.8 magic miles and burning 2324 calories. For more tips on how to navigate Disneyland with your health in mind, check out the Healthy Disney website.

If your “Once Upon a Time” includes a trip to a Disney theme park this summer, be sure to trade in your glass slippers for comfortable shoes, keep yourself hydrated, and enjoy the wonderful world of walking over 10,000 steps a day the Disney way.

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Jeanne Simpson is a working actress, dancer and choreographer in Los Angeles. Get to know more about her here

 

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Activate Your Free Lose It! Premium Trial http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/26/gain-premium-lose-pounds-activating-lose-premium/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/26/gain-premium-lose-pounds-activating-lose-premium/#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 19:56:23 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20618

Are you ready to kick your summer weight loss goals into high gear? Awesome. We’ve got a special deal for you from our friends at Lose It! As you can see from the graphic, Lose It! users who go premium lose 3X more weight than basic members, and premium Lose It! members who pair with […]

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Lose It! Premium + Withings Scale Infographic-2 (1) Are you ready to kick your summer weight loss goals into high gear? Awesome. We’ve got a special deal for you from our friends at Lose It! As you can see from the graphic, Lose It! users who go premium lose 3X more weight than basic members, and premium Lose It! members who pair with a Withings scale? They see 4X more weight loss.

So, if you don’t have it already, download the Lose It! app to your iOS or Android device to take advantage of your free 60-day Premium trial. Then, see below for detailed instructions on how to take advantage of this excellent offer, followed by a few amazing Lose It! / Withings success stories to get you inspired.

Note: This offer cannot be redeemed via desktop.

How to activate if you are a new Lose It! user

After you’ve downloaded the Lose It! app, follow the directions below to take advantage of this exclusive offer.

iPhone users: 

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 1.51.27 PM

Android users:

Lose It android

> Open the app, click “more” and then click on “Enter a promo code.”

> Enter the code: SIZZLE

> The next screen will indicate that you have a Withings 2 month free trial of Premium available. Click the button to activate Premium and agree to the Subscription Terms.

> You can now return to the home screen and select “Sign Up” to activate your Lose It! account.

 

How to activate if are already a Lose It! basic user

Follow the directions below to upgrade for 60 days.
Lose It with basic

> Make sure you’ve got the latest version of the app, and then open the app, click “more” and then click on “Enter a promo code.”

>Enter the code: SIZZLE

> The next screen will indicate that you have a Withings 60 day free trial of Premium available. Click the button to activate Premium.

> Agree to the Subscription Terms and your Premium trial will begin.

 

Don’t forget you can link your Lose It! app with your Withings products, so you can view all your health data in one place.

Follow the directions below:

Lose It connect

> In the menu of your Lose It! account, select “Apps & Devices.”

> Select the Withings devices you own to link them to Lose It!

 

Need help with setup? Have any questions? Contact Lose It! Customer Support

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Read weight loss success stories from users of both Withings and Lose It! products:
Alisa and Tom Cutter
Calvin Smith
Jaydeep Bhatia

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Will This New FDA Nutrition Label Help Us All Eat Smarter? http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/24/fda-nutrition-label/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/24/fda-nutrition-label/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 12:43:00 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20552

The good news? Now you can eat more ice cream. Ok, we’re kidding, but only kind of. One major update to the label deals with servings sizes. By law, serving sizes listed on food labels must reflect the amounts that people are actually eating. As this label hasn’t been updated since 1993, and Americans are […]

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The good news? Now you can eat more ice cream.

Ok, we’re kidding, but only kind of. One major update to the label deals with servings sizes. By law, serving sizes listed on food labels must reflect the amounts that people are actually eating. As this label hasn’t been updated since 1993, and Americans are eating more than ever, servings sizes have become quite unrealistic. So yes, the serving size for ice cream will change from ½ a cup to ⅔ of a cup, and all other packaged foods must now have servings sizes that reflect what people eat.

All kidding aside, this change should make it easier for you to more accurately estimate how many calories you are eating, as you are more likely to actually consume one serving.

A significant win for health advocates, “Added sugars” will now be included on food labels as well, in both grams and as percent Daily Value. Iron and potassium will join vitamin D and calcium on the label, in both gram amounts and percentages, while vitamins A and C are no longer required. Daily values for some nutrients, including sodium and fiber, are also being updated based on new scientific evidence.

And the change that you’ll notice right away? The label will feature a “refreshed” design, with “Calories,” “Servings per container,” and “Serving size” in a larger type size, with “Serving size” and the number of calories bolded as well. These changes should make it easier to see essential information about your food immediately.

Here’s the original FDA nutrition label v. the new one:

nutritionlabel

If all of this change stresses you out, just remember that the healthiest foods are those that don’t have nutrition facts labels – fruits & veggies!

To read about the changes in more detail, check out the FDA website.

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Related: Eat Your Greens

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Broadway Pole-esque: Who Said Fitness Wasn’t Fun? http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/23/pole-dancing-class-fitness/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/23/pole-dancing-class-fitness/#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 16:29:58 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20467

Goddess Fitness Dance in Sherman Oaks, California is proud to be “the original pole dance fitness studio.” Their mission is to provide a welcoming environment for you to unleash your inner goddess, all while getting in the best shape of your life. Excited to give it a try, I signed up for a Broadway-inspired burlesque pole […]

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Pole Dancing Class

Goddess Fitness Dance in Sherman Oaks, California is proud to be “the original pole dance fitness studio.” Their mission is to provide a welcoming environment for you to unleash your inner goddess, all while getting in the best shape of your life. Excited to give it a try, I signed up for a Broadway-inspired burlesque pole dancing class on their schedule called Broadway Pole-esque.

As I entered the studio, I felt like I had walked onto the set of Moulin Rouge. There were pink walls and red curtains draped everywhere. A mirror ball flanked by two chandeliers lit up the dance floor, while two hot pink fuzzy covered ladders leading nowhere ran up the back wall. Rococo-esque accessories adorned a coffee table in front of a luxurious couch, and most importantly, eight shiny poles graced the floor. If Strawberry Shortcake owned a brothel, it would look like this.

Alana Cheuvront I was feeling a little shy about the sensual component of this workout, but the instructor, Alana Chauvront, picutred, welcomed me and immediately put me at ease with her warm demeanor and playful sense of humor. The pole I selected had been named Raphael by the studio owners. Alana told me I was welcome to rename him, but I decided to honor his original christening.

As a 30-year dance veteran, I assumed I would be able to do the Broadway Pole-esque class with ease, but I could not have been more wrong. After stretching out, we placed a mat in front of the pole to do some body sculpting. One exercise involved lying down while holding onto the pole behind our heads, slowly raising and lowering our extended legs to strengthen our lower abdomen muscles. It was awesome in a grueling sort of way.

Then we got on our feet and learned a combination using a chair and a pole. I was killing it with the chair moves, but just when I was starting to feel confident, we headed to the pole. I quickly figured out how incredibly strong you have to be to hold yourself up on the pole for even a second. Forget about doing actual tricks, twirling, and posing, all while looking graceful and sexy.

Alana and some of the other students made it look so effortless, despite each move requiring great arm and wrist stability, core strength, balance, and flexibility. I realize now that I made several rookie mistakes. These are some of the greatest challenges I faced as a first timer:

SWEATY PALMS: My hands were so slippery that I could barely maintain my grip. The teacher eventually noticed and offered me hand gel designed to make your hands more sticky and less sweaty.

WARDROBE MALFUNCTION: I made the mistake of wearing too many clothes. You want to leave your legs and arms as bare as possible, because you need direct skin-to-pole action to help you stay connected.

HUG OF DOOM: I found out the hard way that holding onto the pole too tightly increases your rotation speed. Clinging to the pole for dear life sent me into a top speed death spiral. If I had put some space between the pole and my upper body, I could have slowed down my speed and softened my eventual wipeout.

PRIVATE EYES: I foolishly wore my glasses instead of my contacts. I should have found a moment to rip them off and let down my hair, sexy-librarian style, but instead my glasses kept falling off or bumping the pole during transitions between moves.

WEAK LINKS: The only parts of my body that can be described as tiny are my wrists, which did not serve me well in this sport. My wrists were often too weak to stabilize and support my body mid-twist.

Even with all of my personal obstacles, I managed to have a blast and get a tremendous cardio and body-shaping workout. I thanked Raphael for being a supportive partner during my maiden pole voyage. As we cooled down, Alana made me and all the students feel wonderful about how hard we worked.

After taking the class, I finally understand the testimonials in the popular film, Why I Dance, that went viral on YouTube. The pole dancers in the film explain why they love pole dancing, saying, “Because I love my body,” and “Because it’s a killer workout.” One of the co-producers of the film, Amy Main, explained to Shape Magazine that “Pole dancing accomplishes so many things at once. Not only is it an incredible core and upper-body strength builder, it is also sexually liberating, emotionally cathartic, and a form of expression, and an exploration of self.”

***

Want to read more about unique fitness classes? Check these out:

SkyRobics Takes Your Workout To A Whole New Level

PILOXING: Punch and Crunch Your Way to Good Health

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Lipedema: The Disease They Call FAT http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/20/lipedema-disease-call-fat/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/20/lipedema-disease-call-fat/#comments Fri, 20 May 2016 20:41:35 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20274

When I first applied for a job at The Lipedema Project, I, like most people, had never heard of lipedema. It was unbelievable to learn that such a prevalent disorder could be so under-recognized. And beyond that, that so many women who have lipedema and don’t know it spend their whole lives blaming themselves for […]

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When I first applied for a job at The Lipedema Project, I, like most people, had never heard of lipedema. It was unbelievable to learn that such a prevalent disorder could be so under-recognized. And beyond that, that so many women who have lipedema and don’t know it spend their whole lives blaming themselves for not being able to lose weight when in fact, it’s not at all their fault.

So what is lipedema? It’s a little-known disorder of the adipose, or fat, tissue of the body, where fat cells accumulate and grow abnormally. Lipedema often begins at puberty or other times of hormonal change and affects the legs, hips, and buttocks, but it can also affect the upper arms. Women with lipedema often have a disproportionately large lower half, column-like legs, and difficulty losing weight in the affected areas. They may also experience legs that are painful, heavy, sensitive to the touch, easily bruised, and swollen. A cuff of fat may be seen at the ankle where the lipedema fat stops suddenly, leaving the feet spared. Without treatment, lipedema will progress from Stage 1 to Stage 3 or 4.

4stages-liplegs-copyright

So why haven’t we heard of this? That’s a great question. While lipedema has undoubtedly existed for thousands of years, it was only formally identified by Allen & Hines at the Mayo Clinic in 1940. Even still, awareness and knowledge about the condition has only begun to grow in the last few years. One reason may be that as a condition of “fat” people, it’s not taken as seriously. Sad, but true. The anti-fat bias of the public, and especially of medical professionals, is a huge problem, and has real effects on the quality of medical care that overweight patients receive. Lipedema patients, who are often misdiagnosed as obese, face this anti-fat bias frequently, which makes a proper diagnosis even more difficult to obtain.

Catherine Seo, director and producer of the documentary, The Disease They Call FAT, has been through it all. When she hit menopause, despite continuing the strict diet that had previously led to a 140-pound weight loss, she began to gain weight again. She encountered extreme anti-fat bias from doctors, many of whom didn’t believe that her weight gain was not due to personal choices. Due to an ongoing misdiagnosis that led her to have several surgeries, Catherine developed lymphedema, a condition that causes severe fluid retention due to lymphatic impairment.

While undergoing intensive therapy and exercise to reduce the swelling, she stumbled upon Földi’s Textbook of Lymphology. One particular chapter described lipedema, and she was astonished to discover that she had all of the listed symptoms. It was lipedema, in fact, that had been the source of her weight struggles and weight gain, and had put her at great risk for developing lymphedema from surgery.

Catherine had spent so long blaming herself for the weight gain that it was a relief to discover it was out of her control. Still, the disease had come close to robbing her of mobility, and she was disappointed in the lack of awareness of lipedema, especially in the United States. In 2013, she traveled to Europe, where slightly more knowledge and treatment existed, to find out everything she could about lipedema. She interviewed doctors, patients, and advocates who knew about lipedema, and discovered many other women with lipedema who had gone through a similar experience to hers. From this journey, she produced the documentary, The Disease They Call FAT to help promote awareness and understanding of the condition.

catherine-video-camera

Current treatment of lipedema includes both conservative therapy and surgical intervention. Conservative treatments include compression bandaging and garments, manual lymphatic drainage, and a healthy lifestyle. Compression and manual lymphatic drainage, a special type of massage for the lymphatic system, help move excess fluid out of the tissues and reduce pain, but they cannot get rid of lipedema fat. A healthy diet and consistent exercise can also help reduce fluid and prevent lipedema from progressing.

The only current method of removing lipedema fat is a specialized form of liposuction, either water-jet assisted or tumescent, which must be performed in a way as not to disturb the lymphatic system. However, such expensive surgery is not covered by insurance and can be a long process, and in some cases, lipedema fat may recur. More research on better treatments is needed, and better yet, a cure.

While awareness has begun to take hold, and some research on lipedema is underway, there is still a long way to go. To learn more about this disorder, visit The Lipedema Project or watch The Disease They Call FAT, available on Amazon and iTunes now.

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Programme Ronde Helps Women Cross The Finish Line of La Parisienne http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/20/programme-ronde-helps-women-cross-finish-line-la-parisienne/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/20/programme-ronde-helps-women-cross-finish-line-la-parisienne/#comments Fri, 20 May 2016 14:08:33 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20458

Signing up for a race can be great motivation to get in shape, but sometimes you need some extra support to get through the day-to-day training. That’s where Programme Ronde comes into play. This unique plan for women sporting a few extra pounds includes 10 unique training sessions with a certified coach. Each participant also […]

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Signing up for a race can be great motivation to get in shape, but sometimes you need some extra support to get through the day-to-day training. That’s where Programme Ronde comes into play. This unique plan for women sporting a few extra pounds includes 10 unique training sessions with a certified coach. Each participant also receives a Withings Go to help them track daily activity, set goals, and engage in some friendly competition to meet and surpass their step goals.

After the 15 women in the program had completed three training sessions, we met with three of them to find out how they were enjoying their workouts and their all-new activity trackers.

IMG_4876

Finding Fitness: An Interview with Soukéïna, Stéphanie, and Claude

Why did you decide to join this program?

“4 years ago, I entered the workforce and gained over 50 pounds from stress and my sedentary lifestyle. Today, I finally have all the tools I need to take back control of my life. That’s why I signed up for this program. Little by little, I’m getting back into exercise, all while benefitting from the accountability and support of a group.” – Soukéïna

“I signed up for this program because recently I joined the Army Reserve, and I realize that even if my morale is high, my body does not follow suit! I want to lose weight and stay in shape.” - Stéphanie

“I discovered this program last year. The idea of learning how to run alongside other overweight women, who have the same questions and experience the same hardships as I do, without judgment, reassured me.” – Claude

 

How did your spend the 2 first sessions of the program, especially the second one that focused on gear you might need? I suppose that by now, you have all installed the Withings Go?

IMG_4819

“We received our Go’s at the first training session and were invited to “connect” with each other (on Health Mate) to follow each person’s progress over time. The app is intuitive, and as I already use MyFitnessPal, I can synchronize a lot of information all to one app. I clip the Go to my pants or slip it in my pocket. The main screen lets me immediately see where I stand with regard to the goal that I set. Personally, I try to reach 10,000 steps a day.” – Soukéïna

“The training sessions are very informative. We feel that we are progressing step by step, learning the basics. I set up the Go right after the first session, and I couldn’t wait to jump into this adventure.” - Stéphanie

“The first two sessions were light. A lot of warm-ups, a few minutes of easy jogging. No pain, just taking pleasure in the movement. Genevieve (our coach) emphasized the importance of proper gear, especially for those who are overweight. The importance of keeping the chest up, of wearing good shoes to avoid injuring the joints…We received our Go’s at the first session, and we installed them immediately. The third session was a bit more difficult, with a few kilometers of running and climbing stairs. Genevieve made sure that each of us was following her own rhythm and explained to us how to catch our breath.” – Claude

 

How do you use the Go and how do you find it useful?

“I use it daily to see if I walk enough during the day, if I am falling behind the others. It motivates me to walk more.” – Stéphanie

“I wear it day and night. The sleep analysis is very interesting. And above all, my competitive spirit really motivates me to walk. I try to increase the number of steps I walk each day. It’s interesting to see how far I walk each day and to see the calories I burn as well. I love that I can be part of a “challenge” with the other girls in the group. Wearing the Go makes me want to push myself, to see the progress bars light up around the screen.” – Claude

 

What do you think is the most important information to have in order to make progress, that you can find directly on the Go or in the app?

IMG_4855 - copie

On the tracker, at a glance you can see if you are on the right track to meet your daily step goal or not. On the app, seeing the percentage of your goal completed is very helpful. The leaderboard with rankings is also a fun and motivating tool to help me reach my goal during the week.” – Stéphanie

“It’s interesting to know the number of steps and the distance walked. Receiving badges is also very motivating and gets me excited to receive the next one.” – Claude

 

Does the Go help you to be more active in your daily life?

“The Go clearly motivates me!” – Stéphanie

“Yes, it really helps me. Each day, I try to walk a little bit more than the previous day.” – Claude

 

Do you reach 10,000 steps every day? Do you also use the leaderboard to make progress and challenge yourself?

“More than the goal of 10,000 steps, the leaderboard in the app motivates me. To get to first place and stay there, I find myself waking up and leaving earlier in the morning so I can get off the train one stop early and walk to work.” – Soukéïna

“No, not all the time. It’s hard to reach 10,000 steps with my job.” – Stéphanie

“Yes, I average between 11,000 and 12,000 steps each day. I enjoy walking, each day a little bit more. I love challenges and seeing other girls’ scores inspires me. I like wearing the Go on my wrist and seeing the progress bars on the screen light up. And above all, I feel more energetic. I walk to work, which is already 3000 steps at the beginning of the day, and it gets me in shape!” – Claude

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Withings would like to thank Soukéïna, Stéphanie, and Claude for their feedback. When the 15 women cross the finish line of La Parisienne on September, we will report back on their final thoughts about the entire experience, Programme Ronde, and the Withings Go.

If you are interested in tracking your activity, check out Withings Go.

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Success Story: Alisa and Tom Cutter http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/19/success-story-alisa-tom-cutter/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/19/success-story-alisa-tom-cutter/#comments Thu, 19 May 2016 01:56:14 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=19982

Tom Cutter, 51, and Alisa Cutter, 50, have been married for 30 years and are the parents of two grown daughters and grandparents of two lively grandchildren. They also share an employer, Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont where Alisa is the Assistant Bursar and Tom works in IT. Everyday they eat a healthy lunch together […]

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Tom Cutter, 51, and Alisa Cutter, 50, have been married for 30 years and are the parents of two grown daughters and grandparents of two lively grandchildren. They also share an employer, Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont where Alisa is the Assistant Bursar and Tom works in IT. Everyday they eat a healthy lunch together and enjoy a walk around the college’s beautiful campus. But although these days Tom and Alisa prioritize their health and wellness, that wasn’t always the case, and together they’ve both struggled and worked hard to revamp their lifestyle and get where they are today.

CuttersBefore&After

In March of 2013, Tom was pre-diabetic, had high cholesterol, and needed a hip replacement. Alisa was a smoker who found it challenging to ride a stationary bike for 15 minutes straight, even at an easy pace. Tom and Alisa lived a sedentary life and ate whatever they pleased without much thought to nutrition. “I was employee of the month at McDonald’s,” Tom jokes, remembering how his old way of eating ballooned him to 235 pounds. Tom’s resolve to lower his blood pressure and cholesterol sans medication inspired Alisa to join him and embark on her own weight loss and fitness journey. These self-described “determined people,” had hit a breaking point, and made up their minds to take on one small habit at a time to effect a lifestyle change before, as Tom put it, “it was too late.”

Read on to learn how this tightly-knit couple kept themselves accountable by using the Lose It! app and the Withings Smart Body Analyzer to lose weight, kick the blood pressure meds, and find a new, happier normal.

Finding Health Together: Interview with Alisa and Tom Cutter

Withings: What kicked off your decision to take control of your health?

Tom Cutter: I had high blood pressure. I was pre-diabetic. I needed to have a hip replacement surgery; I’m a deer hunter and I could barely drag my leg into the car. My doctor gave me a prescription for pills, and I took one. That’s the last one I took. I thought, “This is crazy. Do I want to change my natural blood chemistry?”

Alisa Cutter: It was Tom’s health. I wanted him to get healthy so his surgery would go well.

Do you remember what the first step was?

Tom: The Lose It! app was a big help. I’m very technical… I’m in IT. The app spoke to me. I like the bar code scanning. I was at work, looking on Reddit, and I stumbled upon a thread about how the Lose It! app changed some guy’s life. After that, I gave Alisa the Withings scale for Christmas. And I turned my boss onto the scale. It’s really quite easy to use. I like my gadgets.

Alisa: I had lost weight before with Weight Watchers, and put it back on. Now, we use the Withings scale, and activity trackers. Pairing it with the Lose It! app really works. When I get on the scale, I can tell when I’ve had too many almonds the day before.

How did you get started once you’d made the decision to clean up your health the natural way?

Alisa: When we started, we did not exercise at all. We had a bike upstairs collecting dust. We took small steps doing very little on the bike at first. We did a few sit-ups. We lifted 10-pound weights.

Tom: We started doing some crunches. It was just us. There was no formal gym or trainer.

Can you tell me more about your routine back before you got fit?

Alisa: When we first started, we rode a stationary bike for 15 minutes a day at an easy pace. Through time we increased the intensity and time until we rode 30 minutes a day. We lifted 10-pound weights and started with 10 reps each, then increased to 50 reps per day. The crunches started with 10 and increased to 50. Our planks started with 30 seconds and increased to 2 minutes.

Tom: I couldn’t walk up a hill without huffing and puffing. Sometimes I’d see stars. Now I can tell the difference. And I see it in my clothes and when I look in the mirror.

Alisa: Tom went from a 38/XL to a 32/M in clothes.

Did your commitment to fitness lead to other good results?

Tom: Alisa quit smoking in the middle of it. I ate McDonald’s all the time. I don’t want it anymore. Now, we cook our own food. I have no desire to go back to it.

What do you do for fun?

Alisa: Walking is our hobby. On weekends, we take a two-hour walk in the area around our house. When we’re at work, we walk around campus. We make up our own routes. There is one trail that goes all around Middlebury, and we walk that, too.

What do you feel you’ve given up to achieve your health and weight loss goals?

Tom: Nothing. We eat good, and everything tastes great. Nothing is off limits. You just have to be mindful.

Alisa: We’re not suffering. We eat chocolate, but we don’t eat the whole bar. I’ll still eat sweet potato fries, I just won’t finish them. On holidays we take a little bit of everything, and reconcile with ourselves if the scale goes up the next day, we’re ok with that. It’s moderation.

What can you do now that you couldn’t before?

Alisa: I can walk up a steep hill and not be out of breath. It just feels good to be healthy. Now we walk three to four times a day. It’s about 10 miles every day. When we started walking it was only once a day and about 3 miles a day. My lifetime steps since quantifying are 13,546,418. Tom’s are 6,114,283 .

What motivates you to stick with the new lifestyle?

Alisa: I fought my weight my whole life. I was just tired of being fat and unhealthy, and on blood pressure medicine. What motivates me to keep doing it is that I feel really, really good. I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence because I didn’t feel really good about the way I looked. Using the Lose It! app held me accountable. I had to look at what I put in my mouth. I wanted to look better for myself. Using the scale to see the weight drop was motivating, too. When I ate too much, and the number went up, I would jump off the scale because I didn’t want to record it! I would get so mad at myself when I gained. But then I got back on track.

Tom: I’m going to retire in 5 to 7 years. I felt bad before. Now I feel like I’m 18. I want to keep up with my grandkids.

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Not everyone manages a full lifestyle change. What’s your secret?

Alisa: We are pretty determined people. When people had opinion, or told us what we were “doing it wrong,” we just stuck to it. It’s calories in and calories out. This is how we do it now: Habits. We walk now. We track our food now. We weigh every day. We don’t finish the chocolate bar now.

Tom: Get out and walk. It’s so easy; it’s so peaceful. You can hold hands with your wife. Put technology away, you can talk. We talk to each other all the time now.

What would you say to inspire someone who’s at the point at which you started?

Alisa: It seems like a daunting task, but if you’re committed you really can do it. There will be bumps, but don’t let those make you get off the train. Just try again. Get back on the scale. When I picked myself up and got back on the scale, I was even more determined to do it the right way.

Tom: Don’t wait until it’s too late. The sooner you can change your life, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

***

Many thanks to Tom and Alisa for sharing their story.

Want more inspiration? Check out Success story: Jaydeep Bhatia

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Weight Loss Success Story: Calvin Smith http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/18/weight-loss-success-story-calvin-smith/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/18/weight-loss-success-story-calvin-smith/#comments Wed, 18 May 2016 16:39:00 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20001

A serious athlete in his youth, Calvin Smith, pictured, played soccer throughout high school and college, a routine that helped him stay fit and lean. Unfortunately, once he graduated college and entered the demanding world of full-time work, Smith’s health began to decline. During his time in the service, lots of exercise kept his weight low, […]

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CalvinSmithBefore&After1

A serious athlete in his youth, Calvin Smith, pictured, played soccer throughout high school and college, a routine that helped him stay fit and lean. Unfortunately, once he graduated college and entered the demanding world of full-time work, Smith’s health began to decline. During his time in the service, lots of exercise kept his weight low, but constant stress and very little sleep took its toll on his overall health, happiness, and well being. After leaving the service, he became a social worker who provides support for homeless veterans. With this stressful, sedentary job, his weight crept up to 250 pounds, and he found it challenging to establish a routine of regular physical exercise.

In 2012, tired of being overweight, Smith set a goal weight and began seriously working out, doing both cardio and strength training. While exercise benefitted his overall health, Smith was frustrated that the scale and mirror didn’t reflect the progress he’d been dreaming of.

Reluctantly, he accepted that he would need to focus on his diet to drop the weight. He began tracking his food intake with the Lose It! app, which he linked with a Withings scale to keep himself honest because, as he says, “The scale doesn’t lie.”

Today, he is as fit as he’s ever been, weighing in at 190 pounds. In fact, he recently ran The Manchester City Marathon, a feat he wouldn’t have dreamed of four years ago. Read on to learn more about how Smith re-discovered his healthier, fitter self.

“I think nearly everyone can personally connect with the challenge of weight loss, fitness, and being healthy.” — Calvin Smith

Withings: What made you dissatisfied enough to decide to make a change?

Calvin Smith: That’s a tough question. I think I was just tired of looking in the mirror and feeling like this is not the body I should have. I knew there was a better me in there.

To what do you attribute your weight gain after college and again when you entered the workforce?

A couple things. I think it becomes more difficult to prioritize taking care of yourself as you get older in many ways, including physical fitness, because you suddenly have the demands of a full-time job or career that becomes your priority and eats up so much time in the day, and no one else does much to afford you the time or resources to prioritize yourself. Also, I think it’s really hard to establish a routine that includes physical fitness. For me, having a regular routine is key to a healthy lifestyle, so now my eating schedule is routine, entering food in Lose It! right after I eat is routine, stepping on the Withings scale each morning is part of my routine, and some type of physical activity is part of my afternoon routine. That activity is on my daily calendar, and I schedule other things around physical activity instead of the other way around.

Was there any element of vanity or dissatisfaction with your looks, or was health the only motivating factor to propel you on this journey?

Oh, for sure vanity played a big part. I wanted to look good and I felt a lot of disappointment with myself when I looked in the mirror. Others may judge me about wanting external validation, but I don’t care — it matters to me. I like being told I look good!

When you were in the service, what was your relationship with food and exercise like?

Well, my weight was way down because I exercised a lot, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I was healthy. I did not enjoy my time in the military, and I was pretty unhappy. I was constantly exposed to highly stressful situations and only averaged a couple of hours of sleep a day. It was really tough. I may have looked good, but I sure didn’t feel good.

Were there any emotional components to packing on the pounds?
Calvin runs MC marathonFor sure! I have always enjoyed food. No doubt that food became a coping mechanism for me: Feel bad, eat something sweet to feel better. Then it becomes a bad cycle: Feel bad, eat, feel bad about eating and the resulting weight gain, eat some more. The good news is that I have found making progress with being active works the same way but in reverse: Exercise, feel good, drop weight — motivation to exercise more! Emotions are so powerful, right? It’s so hard to do something when you don’t feel good about yourself, and yet the way to feel good about yourself is oftentimes to do the thing you don’t want to do.

 

Do you share your mindfulness about health with the vets with whom you work?

I do. I think nearly everyone can personally connect with the challenge of weight loss, fitness, and being healthy. It serves as a great way to relate with the vets I work with, many of whom live unhealthy lifestyles and want to change. When you can say, “Look, I’ve walked in your shoes, and changing your lifestyle is possible. I’m proof,” it becomes a great way to encourage others. I’ve also found that my example inspires a lot of my friends and colleagues. It’s one of the greatest compliments anyone has ever given me. “You inspire me!” What could be more flattering?

You say “The scale doesn’t lie,” and you journal your food. Does that kind of honesty and accountability inform other facets of your life?

Yeah, or maybe it’s just my OCD nature that’s made it easier to adopt a disciplined approach to entering food and stepping on the scale first thing each morning. Like I said, when something is part of my routine, I’m much more likely to invest the time and energy that it takes to be successful. Also, having concrete feedback is a big reinforcer and motivator for me.

How did you discover the Lose It! app as a tool? Had you tried other tools or programs?

Yeah, I started with My Fitness Pal, but switched to Lose It! because of the integration between the Withings Scale and Lose It! — My Fitness Pal was fine, but I really like the Lose It! interface.

What would you tell others who can’t seem to stick to a health plan?

I can only speak from my own experience, of course, but my advice is start with a vision of what you want to look like. I always had this mental picture of the body that was waiting to come out, so during low times and moments when I have been discouraged, I close my eyes and picture that me that I want to look like. The other thing that I learned is that the tools —Withings and Lose It! —are really helpful. They don’t do it for you, of course, but they sure are valuable assets to help.

What part of the weight loss and fitness gains makes you the happiest?

If I’m honest in responding to this question, I have to say it’s probably most gratifying to hear someone tell me I look good, which I know is external validation. I do get self-satisfaction from looking in the mirror, feeling good about what I see looking back at me, and knowing I accomplished a big goal. That’s my internal validation. But it’s at least 70% external.

Interested in how technology can support spiritual, physical, and emotional health? Watch Calvin’s #Connection2015 presentation about how technology is changing social services when it comes to engaging and maintaining communication with homeless youth.

***

 

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Oxfam Trailwalker: 62 Miles, 30 Hours To Fight World Poverty http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/18/oxfam-trailwalker-france-2016/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/18/oxfam-trailwalker-france-2016/#comments Wed, 18 May 2016 12:37:38 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20385

Strolling through the beautiful French countryside sounds like a dream come true. But what about walking for 62 miles straight in under 30 hours through the French countryside? Now that sounds like a challenge. But that’s exactly what four brave Withings teams pledged to do. To raise money for Oxfam, an international charity organization that […]

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Strolling through the beautiful French countryside sounds like a dream come true. But what about walking for 62 miles straight in under 30 hours through the French countryside? Now that sounds like a challenge.

But that’s exactly what four brave Withings teams pledged to do. To raise money for Oxfam, an international charity organization that fights poverty across the world, each team will set off on Saturday, May 20 at 7:30am to cover a total of 62 miles in under 30 hours. Each team of 4 walkers and 2 supporters will walk day and night through Morvan Regional Natural Park in Burgundy, France.

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As part of their participation in the Oxfam Trailwalker challenge, each team raised €1500 to help Oxfam end poverty in 90 different countries. In addition to asking for donations from friends and family members, they hosted fun events such as wine tastings, bake sales, and an international walking challenge.

But how did these Withingers prepare themselves for such a grueling 30-hour day? They formed strong bonds, meeting each weekend to walk as a team. Each time they met, they increased their distance slightly until they felt confident that together, they could cover all 62 miles.

Can they do it? Follow along with #WithingsOxfam and check back here for updates and photos from the trail!

UPDATE: An incredible feat — check out photos from the trail, including the activity and sleep graph from one employee who crossed the finish line.

Oxfam Trailwalker 2016

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Big City Big Screen Big Sweat: IMAX Spin Class Anyone? http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/12/imax-spin-class-brooklyn/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/12/imax-spin-class-brooklyn/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 13:58:44 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20301

If you follow this blog you know we are big fans of fun new fitness trends. So IMAXshift, a spin class in front of an immersive big screen to “visualize and enhance your workout,” sounds awesome. Virtual biking in a virtual world… well it sure sounds better than biking to nowhere in a plain old […]

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Imax spin classIf you follow this blog you know we are big fans of fun new fitness trends. So IMAXshift, a spin class in front of an immersive big screen to “visualize and enhance your workout,” sounds awesome. Virtual biking in a virtual world… well it sure sounds better than biking to nowhere in a plain old room.

But what does it cost? Is it fun? Does it come with popcorn?

Follow the link below and watch as two NY Post employees try out the brand new screen time cycling fad in Brooklyn, NY.

Get an exclusive look at the insane new IMAX cycling workout 

 

Related: Skyrobics Tampoline Fitness, PILOXING and Fight Like A Knight Class

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Linda Pétursdóttir: Former Miss World Finds a Healthy Balance http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/11/linda-petursdottir-former-miss-world-finds-healthy-balance/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/11/linda-petursdottir-former-miss-world-finds-healthy-balance/#comments Wed, 11 May 2016 19:07:04 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20283

Linda Pétursdóttir, pictured, grew up in Húsavík and Vopnafjörður, small fishing villages in Iceland. In her senior year of high school, she flew across the world to Sandstone, Minnesota as an exchange student. Her experience in a foreign country sparked her love of travel, and informed her global worldview. At age 18, she won Miss […]

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LindaP_Vetur2013

Linda Pétursdóttir, pictured, grew up in Húsavík and Vopnafjörður, small fishing villages in Iceland. In her senior year of high school, she flew across the world to Sandstone, Minnesota as an exchange student. Her experience in a foreign country sparked her love of travel, and informed her global worldview. At age 18, she won Miss World, and was able to travel once again as a fashion model and Miss World ambassador.

At the age of 24, Pétursdóttir founded her own company, which she owned and operated for over 20 years. She has since remained in the health, beauty, and wellness business for over 25 years. While she holds a degree in graphic design, last year she took a break from business to study for a second degree in health coaching.

Nowadays, she splits her time between Iceland and North America and spends her free time meditating and relaxing in India. As a single mom, she lives with her 10-year-old daughter, Isabella, and their dog, Stjarna.

Pétursdóttir wears many hats, as businesswoman, mother, animal welfare advocate, graphic designer, meditator, and health coach. Read on to find out how she stays healthy of mind and body, with the help of Withings products, while pursuing her many passions.

 

Get to know Linda Pétursdóttir

 

Withings: We heard that both you and your mother use Withings fitness trackers. Can you tell us which ones, and why you chose Withings over other trackers on the market?

Pétursdóttir: A couple of years ago, I was on a business trip in New York City, and I was basically looking for a step tracker. The Withings Activité is the one that got recommended to me at the store, and the one I found most to my liking at the time. I’ve been using it for the past two years — I guess it´s looking rather old by now! It’s a great motivational gadget for me. I like seeing how many steps I get in for the day… It urges me to reach my daily goal of 10,000 steps, and I like tracking my sleep as well. I got one for my mom, who is in her 70s, for her birthday, and it has also been a great motivator to getting her moving more regularly. She is very competitive so it really gets her going!

My goal is to get in 5,000 steps by 9am, and I manage to do that as I take my dog for our morning walk, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour. It makes it so much easier to get up to 10,000 steps when I start the day off this way. It gets my blood moving, my energy up, and I get my day off to a wonderful start.

Do you use any other Withings devices?

I also have the Withings Smart Body Analyzer scale back home in Iceland. Pretty much, I would like to own many more of the products in the Withings line — I find most of them quite interesting and a good dose of medicine towards a healthier daily life, which I am all for. Then I have the Withings Health Mate app on my phone which both of my gadgets upload to, which is a great tool to have.

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Can you tell us how being a mom informs the choices you make around career and health?

Having lived most of my adult life as a public person by virtue of being in the health and beauty business, taking care of myself and making healthy choices have been a part of my daily life for a long time. My daughter has grown up observing and practicing the healthy choices I try to make and teach her about, but I’m not a fanatic. I believe kids should be kids. Isabella loves having a smoothie, which I make more or less every day. I have always told my daughter she can do and be whatever she puts her mind to, so I try to be a good role model for her myself, and live what I preach.

I am a world traveller, and have taken my daughter with me to explore lots of different locales. So far, she has been to about 10 countries, and many more cities around the world. For example, I was a judge on the recent Miss World show, televised from China last December, and Isabella went with me. She has seen a lot of the world already, for being only 10, and there is much more to explore. I look forward to each and every trip with her. She is my favorite travel companion.

You’ve publicly said that you’re a strong believer in meditation. What role does that practice play in your life?

I have studied meditation with Deepak Chopra at the Chopra Center near San Diego. I also taught a meditation seminar at my former company in Iceland —a women’s-only health club and spa. I do some sort of meditation daily, and I consider it an essential part of my wellness routine.

What piece of advice do you have for your daughter that you hope will stick with her?

Show compassion towards all beings. I teach her to think about where her food came from, and how it ended up on her plate, and to make choices accordingly. Being an animal-welfare activist, she has grown up with being aware of my philosophy of kindness and compassion, and it is my wish that she will carry those values with her into her adult life. Isabella is an intelligent and grounded person, and she truly believes she can do and be whatever she wants to, as long as she puts the work in.

Here in America, the presidential elections are the biggest story in the news. We heard you considered a run for the presidency of Iceland. Wow! Can you tell us more?

The Presidential elections in Iceland are very different to the ones in The States. I had been encouraged to run by many of my people. I was both honored and humbled by being approached. I considered it carefully, and made a conscious decision coming from my heart, which was not to run at the present time. One never knows what will happen in the future, however, and I am always open to exciting challenges.

Can you tell us a little about the lifestyle in Iceland versus in North America? Is it easier or harder to stay healthy there?

Being healthy starts with yourself, regardless of where you are, and you can stay healthy anywhere. Of course, it is a lot nicer being able to put on my shorts, tank top, and tennis shoes and go out into the sunshine here in California, versus working out in a cold climate.

Do you think doors open for you because you are beautiful?

I’ve had to work hard for all my success in life. I´m sure sometimes it has been to my advantage, but in other cases I have had to work harder because of it.

What’s something that you’d like our readers to know about you?

I´m an animal welfare activist, and my heart’s passion is fighting against the mistreatment of animals. I´m on the organizing and welcoming committee of noted British anthropologist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall´s visit to Iceland this coming June, and I am looking forward to spending time with her, and listening to what she has to say. She is someone that I have looked up to for a long time, and the work she does on behalf of animals and the earth is truly amazing. As always, I´m glad to be involved and to be able to lend animals my voice in making their lives better, one animal at a time.

So you’d say you’re an advocate on behalf of animals who cannot speak up for themselves?

Yes, I´m on the forefront of a group of people including Arni Stefan Arnason, an animals rights lawyer, who have signed a petition for Parliament. We sent an open letter to the members of parliament proposing the opening of an animal shelter in Iceland as there is an urgent need for it. There is no such shelter open to all animals in Iceland at the moment. I´m always willing to lend my voice to the animals, and I’m thankful for all the other hundreds of people that are doing that as well.

That sounds like worthy work. Would you like to leave us with any final thoughts?

Yes, a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

***

Want a boost? Enjoy two of Linda’s smoothie recipes:

 

Related: 6 Ways Meditation Helps Health & Fitness 

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Ready To Become A Lean Green Machine? http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/11/eat-greens-weight-loss/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/11/eat-greens-weight-loss/#comments Wed, 11 May 2016 16:16:24 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=19947

If the idea of leafy greens brings back childhood memories of gagging down piles of limp, watery spinach from a can, you’re not alone. Just ask influential Irish book reviewer and weight-loss success story, Margaret Bonass Madden. “As kids, we were told to ‘eat your greens,’ in the same tone of voice as ‘cut your […]

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If the idea of leafy greens brings back childhood memories of gagging down piles of limp, watery spinach from a can, you’re not alone. Just ask influential Irish book reviewer and weight-loss success story, Margaret Bonass Madden.

“As kids, we were told to ‘eat your greens,’ in the same tone of voice as ‘cut your toenails’ or ‘tidy your room.’ — and I blame cabbage!” Madden explained her early fear of greens stemmed from how it was prepared — often boiled to a pulp and served with ‘hairy bacon’ (literally a joint of pork with the pig’s hairs still sticking through the skin). She says it was “One of the most unappealing, stinky greens on the planet that has traumatized many an Irish child.”

But today, Madden is an avid greens supporter, and she credits them with helping her reach her 26-pound weight-loss goal. And with the upsurge in CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), farmer’s markets, and high-end supermarkets like Whole Foods, you no longer have to live on a farm to experience the bountiful variety of greens.

To get the skinny on green superfoods, we spoke to Carolyn O’Neil, a registered dietician, weekly food and travel columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and author of The Slim Down South Cookbook. “Greens,” O’Neil explained, “are a good source of the minerals magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium. But that’s not all. They’re also high in fiber and fresh greens are a good source of vitamin C.”

“You can enjoy a variety of greens prepared in a variety of ways, from fresh in salads, to braised in stews or soups, to sautéed as a side dish,” she told us. “And the greener they are, the better.” Still, O’Neil thinks there’s room on the plate for all greens. “Don’t ignore iceberg. It’s full of water and can help with hydration. So feel good about iceberg in a wedge salad.” The extra water also fills the stomach, making you feel fuller and eat less, which can help you lose weight.

Madden1Madden3Madden too recounted the advice of her weight-loss leader at, Slimming World, that “greens speed up weight loss and that it’s key is to fill your plate with one third speed.” Speed is right: After cleaning up her diet, and adding a daily dose of greens, she was down three dress sizes and 26 pounds in just over three months.

If you think the kids in your life won’t eat them, think again. As a mom with a houseful of kids, Madden confides that she was “initially worried about scaring her children with a switch to a diet including ‘all things green,’” but she had a plan, and it worked. Madden “holds the cabbage and tries not to cook [any vegetable] that stinks out the house.” She’s gotten little pushback and a lot of satisfaction knowing she’s feeding her children right while keeping herself healthy and slim.

Did You Know? The Fat in Greens Can Fatten Up Your Brain (In a Good Way)

When we think fat, we usually think of unhealthy fare like fried chicken or mayonnaise-laden salads. It turns out that greens are a great source of the healthful kind of fat. Kale, for example, is actually a great source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), the omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential for brain health, according to Dr. Drew Ramsey, TEDx health speaker, and the author of The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood and Lean, Energized Body. Ramsey blogs that “plant-based ALA is linked to numerous health benefits like lowering the risk of depression and diabetes. Both diabetes and obesity wreak havoc on the brain and kale is a great first step to fighting both.”

Kale tops the charts for brain health, but don’t overlook bok choy, collard greens, or Swiss chard. All of these greens have small amounts of healthy fats.

 

Did You Know? Greens Are Great for Dem Lady Bones

Sure, we’ve been told to consume dairy to keep our bones strong, but the calcium and vitamin k in greens can do the job with fewer calories and more fiber. A study at Tufts University in Boston found that low dietary intake of vitamin K in women was associated with low bone mineral density in women. So ladies, if you want to avoid osteoporosis and hip fractures in your twilight years, start gulping those greens now.

 

Did You Know? Eating Your Greens Helps You Shed Pounds, and Keep Them Off

At only around 100 calories per pound, leafy greens bring a lot to the table without weighing you down. According to the books and blog of healthy food guru, Dr. Joel Furhman, author of Eat to Live and The Nutritarian Handbook, leafy green vegetables are the most nutrient-dense of all foods, and should be eaten in unlimited quantities for optimal health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agrees, urging citizens to munch leafy greens liberally not only to fill up on fiber, but to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, vision impairment, and gastrointestinal maladies.

Convinced you need to add more greens to your plate? Add watercress to that vegetable and hummus pita pocket, add escarole to round out vegetable soups, or toss a tangle of curly endive atop your dinner salad.

 

Did You Know? Bitter Is Better

The slightly bitter taste of many leafy greens indicates high levels of calcium. Dandelion greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and kale deliver high doses, and if the bitterness bothers you, there are ways you can mute it. Cooked greens are less bitter than raw, and you can add salt to cooked greens to take the edge off. Alternatively, you can capitalize on the strong taste by seasoning your greens with complementary flavors such as caramelized onions, sautéed garlic, fish roe, or soy sauce.

However you choose to eat your greens, you’ll be doing your body a world of good just by adding in a few servings each day.

***

Related: 5 Vegan Myths Debunked

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Jeanne Simpson Works Out The Actor’s Life For Us http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/10/jeanne-simpson-hollywood/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/10/jeanne-simpson-hollywood/#comments Tue, 10 May 2016 13:44:16 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20271

Funny, warm, and exuberant, Jeanne Simpson, pictured, would make the perfect best friend. But beyond her inviting personality, she boasts an impressive resume of acting, dancing, and choreography roles. While she’s appeared on some of the hottest shows of the past decade, Jeanne discloses that the life of a working actress is fun, but not […]

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Actress Jeanne Simpson

Funny, warm, and exuberant, Jeanne Simpson, pictured, would make the perfect best friend. But beyond her inviting personality, she boasts an impressive resume of acting, dancing, and choreography roles. While she’s appeared on some of the hottest shows of the past decade, Jeanne discloses that the life of a working actress is fun, but not particularly glamorous. But let’s back up to the beginning.

Dreams and Doilies

When Jeanne was 3, she landed her first part in a play. “I was a skunk,” she recalls. “I had black and white makeup and a giant tail, and I ran out during a picnic scene and scared everyone away even though I was tiny and stamped my foot and said, ‘I just don’t understand it.’ And the audience went crazy and laughed hysterically, and I was completely hooked. I was like, ‘Yes, I will do this for the rest of my life!’” Jeanne also began dancing at age 5, and continued starring in plays and dancing ballet throughout her youth. Her passion for the arts only grew, and she dreamed of being an actress, a dancer, or a choreographer.

Jeanne opted to attend Harvard for college, where she had the opportunity to work at the American Repertory Theater as work-study and earn her equity card. She also started her own theater company called Working Title Rep, which staged 12 shows during her undergraduate career. As a sociology major, she recalls that the head of the department was a big theater fan. “He would come to all my plays, so with my grades, he would write a review of my performance. So he’d be like, ‘This paper is an A-. However, you as Nina in The Seagull were an A+’ or whatever. It was hilarious.”

When Jeanne graduated, she moved to New York City to pursue her acting dream. “I was so naive, I thought that I’d go to New York and I would audition, and because I was a great performer, someone would discover me. And then the paper would spin and be like, ‘Simpson stars on Broadway!’ I had a completely 1930s version of what would happen.”

But becoming an actress is very tough, and Jeanne was extremely poor. She and her sister moved into the “Hungarian Hideaway,” an apartment building for expatriates. Furnished with the previous tenant’s furniture, “everything had a doily on it, and it was the saddest apartment. And the oven wouldn’t stay closed unless you propped a chair against it, which would get really hot, so you’d have to be really careful. And it had no address; you couldn’t actually ring the doorbell or come visit.”

Gluttons and Girdles

Jeanne2Eventually, she began to land some decent gigs. One of her first and favorite roles was on Wishbone, a children’s series that taught classic works of literature with a Jack Russell terrier as the hero. Working with a dog, whose name was Soccer, held a unique set of challenges. She recalls playing Juliet to Soccer’s Romeo, where she spent 2 days filming on a balcony with the dog trainer hiding under her skirt so she could get Soccer to look up at Jeanne on the balcony.

Wishbone also had two stunt dogs, one who would fly in a flying harness, and one who would swim. While the stunt dogs remained slim, Soccer gained so much weight from frequently being given treats that his costumes had to be let out. Jeanne says that the difference between the dogs became quite obvious as the show went on.

While on Wishbone, Jeanne also had the opportunity to play Joan of Arc, one of her favorite roles to date. As part of this role, she was involved in various stunts, including being actually set on fire. While she wore flame-retardant clothes to avoid getting hurt, she could still feel the warmth of the flames. “When they lit me on fire, as a joke, they turned out all the lights because it was the last shot of the night and left me tied up there. And everyone had planned this before as a prank, and they all just left. It was hilarious. I was laughing, everyone was laughing, and then they were like, ‘Just kidding!’ and they came back.”

Jeanne also put her choreography and dance skills to use on the animated kids’ show, Blue’s Clues. She explains, “So what they would have me do is dance each part. So I’d be like, ‘Now I’m a salt shaker. Now I’m Blue. Now I’m side table drawer.’ And they would film me actually doing that, and then the animator would take it and draw the version of the character doing whatever I was doing…But one of my last dances for them was a toilet training dance, and I was like, ‘Oh my god. I cannot believe that I am choreographing a toilet training dance.’ The lyrics were like, ‘Squat, flush, wash your hands. You just used the toilet.’…I was like, ‘I think maybe this is one of my last numbers.’”

Jeanne3Jeanne has landed roles on a variety of critically-acclaimed shows, including Mad Men, Parks and Recreation, and How to Get Away with Murder. She loved working on Mad Men, except for the undergarments, “because they made you wear period underwear, so girdles and like…all from the sixties, real stuff. You can just barely breathe. So you spend 8 to 10 hours in that. It’s like you’re about to pass out.” One of Jeanne’s scenes required her to drive a car, but the car she got was very old and didn’t work well. “It kept idling and dying on me in the middle of the shot. And the brakes were really weird and jerky because it was so old and I didn’t quite know how to do them. So I kept almost crashing into the car in front of me, and I was so panicked.” While she spent all day driving around in circles filming the scene, that scene was ultimately cut from the show anyway.

 

Trailers and Tears

Jeanne5While Jeanne has walked red carpets and loved working on such amazing shows alongside other talented actors, she maintains that the life of a working actress is “so not glamorous.” Walking us through a typical day on set, she explains that most of the time, you film on a soundstage. After going through security and checking in, “if you’re just there for a day or a week or even two weeks, you have a trailer. And the trailer’s really gross. It’s…a Port-a-Potty flush type situation that doesn’t really smell good, and if it’s hot, it’s really over air-conditioned in there, and if it’s cold, it’s really overheated because it’s so tiny. And sometimes, they have a little tiny TV, but usually it’s just a place to sit and a place to hang your clothes and a little tiny bathroom.”

Eventually, your costume is brought to you, you put it on, and you head immediately to hair and makeup. While Jeanne says that the hair and makeup crew are amazing, she explains that, “they’re under a time pressure, so they’re trying to go as quickly as they can and also they’re very honest about, you know, ‘Oh my god, you look so tired today,’ or they’re like, ‘Oh no! Why didn’t you wash your hair?’ So it’s not like a loving spa situation.”

Once transformed into your character, you are brought “sides,” tiny pieces of paper printed with the lines from your scene. “So you don’t have the whole script for the day on you. You just have your scene so that you can look them over, have them handy. And sometimes they change them at the last minute, so they’ll bring you a new side, and they’ll be like, ‘Ok, you’ve got five minutes to learn this. And it’s kind of scary. And so you have to constantly be making sure that the sides are what you thought they were. And then you wait all day. Say you go back to your trailer now that you’ve done hair and makeup, and you sit there for four hours. And then they come and get you, and they’re like, ‘Hurry, hurry! We’re ready to shoot your scene.’”

Once on the soundstage, “you don’t even get introduced to the people you’re doing the scene with, even if you’re supposed to be their best friend. So maybe in between shots, you’ll say, ‘Oh hi, I’m Jeanne,’ and they’ll say ‘Hi, I’m..’, you know, some famous person. But sometimes you don’t even get that, you just have to connect with them immediately in that moment as if you are their best friend or their mother or their dog trainer or whoever you’re playing that day, and just walk into that world as if you’ve been in that house a million times.

So you do your scenes, and it’s chaos. People running around, taking pictures of you for continuity and all this stuff, and then it gets really quiet, and they ring a bell, and they’re like, ‘Action!’ And it’s deadly quiet. And if it’s your line, it’s a little shocking because you haven’t worked all day. There’s no warm-up like in a play. You just jump into a moment. Like maybe it’s a moment where you’re supposed to burst into tears, and they’re like, ‘Quiet. Action.’ And you have to just be in that moment. And then, ‘Cut,’ maybe two seconds later, or ‘Cut’ because something that has nothing to do with you happened. So you have to be able to do your work under really weird circumstances, and just turn it off and turn it on like a faucet constantly.”

Once your work for the show is done, you leave and probably never see those people again. “And that’s the life of an actor. An actor who’s just a working actor.”

***

 

Interested in following Jeanne’s fitness adventures for Withings? Check out some of her articles below:

TAProbics: Dance Your Heart Out With A Unique Cardio Workout

My 10,000 Step Tour In Los Angeles

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The Secret to Manon’s Weight Loss http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/06/meet-manon-learn-secrets-weight-loss-changed-life/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/06/meet-manon-learn-secrets-weight-loss-changed-life/#comments Fri, 06 May 2016 15:45:50 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20196

Withings: What were the first steps you took? What tools helped you? Manon: My weight loss journey started in November 2014 thanks to MyFitnessPal and the Withings scale that I discovered a few months after I began losing weight. By weighing my food, I realized how many calories it contained, which naturally led me to […]

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Manon

Withings: What were the first steps you took? What tools helped you?

Manon: My weight loss journey started in November 2014 thanks to MyFitnessPal and the Withings scale that I discovered a few months after I began losing weight. By weighing my food, I realized how many calories it contained, which naturally led me to alter the quantities that I ate. I used to eat half a baguette with my meals and, when I realized how many calories that was, I reduced my portion sizes dramatically. I didn’t stop there, however, because I soon started running as well.

Did you make a radical lifestyle change or instead take small steps toward change? 

In terms of my diet, I didn’t feel like I changed my habits radically, because I didn’t experience any frustration or ever feel hungry. However, with hindsight, I did switch from eating a lot of fatty foods to a healthier, more balanced diet.

How did you discover MyFitnessPal and the Withings scale?

I discovered MyFitnessPal online when I was looking for an app to count calories. I loved the app right from the start; it’s really practical, quite intuitive to use, and very comprehensive! I then discovered the Withings scale in spring 2015. I already had a traditional scale, but I wanted to invest in something more comprehensive and personalized that would measure body fat. When I was looking into it online, I found the Withings smart scale.

What do you like about the Withings scale? How did it help you? Your weight-loss graph must look amazing! Did the graph help keep you motivated?

I love the scale’s design and I really like the fact that it is connected. All of my data is automatically synchronized in the Health Mate app. It’s so useful to see your weight graph right on your phone! Also, being able to monitor your body fat is really useful. I’m hardly losing any more weight now, so it’s great to have something that shows me that even when my weight is pretty stable, I’m still reducing my body fat.

Would you recommend the scale to someone who wants to lose weight? Why?

Yes, I would really recommend this scale because it lets you measure the things that are important for losing weight. Besides your weight, it can calculate your body fat, your heart rate, and even the air quality of the room. All of the data is synchronized automatically with the Health Mate app, which is a great hub for all your health data.. When you’re in the app, you can see different graphs, including ones for weight and body fat. Seeing those lines steadily go down over a long period of time helped motivate me and encourage me to not give up!

How many times a week do you weigh yourself? Do you think frequency is important?

I weigh myself every day. It’s an argument I have a lot on Instagram, because people say you shouldn’t do that, but I feel the need to jump on the scale every morning. It helps me not give in to unhealthy habits, I’m more rational and, when the results aren’t great, I can take a step back and resolve not to throw in the towel.

Has logging your meals in MyFitnessPal changed your attitude towards food?

MyFitnessPal helped me become aware of the quantity of food I was eating every day. I had a totally distorted view of reality. One portion of pasta was a plate crammed full of food, one portion of bread was half a baguette…

When did you decide to share your story on social media? What do you get out of sharing this story with other people?

From the very start of my weight loss journey, I got interested in Instagram on the recommendation of a friend. At the beginning, I only used it to follow pretty “Fit girls”, then I gradually started to post things on there as well. The more people started to follow me, the more I got into it, and the more I would post! My followers are so supportive. That’s why I can’t give up. I can never thank them enough.

When did you start to feel really good about yourself?

That’s a difficult question… Girls are never satisfied, everybody knows that! At the beginning of my diet, the body that I have now would have made me very happy. Now that I’ve reached that target, I still see things I want to change.But I can see that I’m much happier with myself now.

Have you managed not to make this weight loss a day-to-day obsession, to find some balance between your personal life and your health goals?

It isn’t always easy to find that balance in life. As my Instagram account took off, it inevitably took up more and more time in my life. But I make an effort to maintain a healthy balance to avoid getting obsessed.

What advice would you give someone who would like to embark on a diet like yours, but doesn’t know where to begin?

Most importantly, don’t go on a diet! You just need to find some balance and, of course, do some exercise. Analyzing what I was eating was a real light bulb moment for me and helped me embrace some better habits. It’s been almost 6 months now since I stopped counting calories, but I’ve held on to my healthy habits and sensible portions.

***

Thanks to Manon for her time! 

Remember that the Health Mate app and MyFitnessPal work together to become a real-time weight loss coach. By linking your accounts on the two apps, you can balance your diet with your physical activity to reach your weight loss targets.

Realted infographic: How to Win at Losing

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Penn Jillette On Mother’s Day http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/06/penn-jillette-mothers-day/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/05/06/penn-jillette-mothers-day/#comments Fri, 06 May 2016 11:17:42 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=20168

  Mother’s Day by Penn Jillette   Yup, Mother’s Day is a phony jive-ass holiday. Total jive. The advertising for Mother’s Day is as bad as the cheeseburger ads that I tried to blame for my being fat. So what? I was always thankful for Mother’s Day because it gave me some focus. If not […]

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Mother Penn Jillette

Mother’s Day

by Penn Jillette

 

Yup, Mother’s Day is a phony jive-ass holiday. Total jive. The advertising for Mother’s Day is as bad as the cheeseburger ads that I tried to blame for my being fat. So what? I was always thankful for Mother’s Day because it gave me some focus. If not for that one jive day in May, I would have had to buy my mom flowers every day of the year.

I still think about my mom all the time. So many people in the comedy business almost brag about how “dysfunctional” their families were. Not me. I had and have a perfect family. They couldn’t have been better. Maybe that’s the reason I’m not funnier. Maybe that’s the only thing I can blame my family for.

I was very close to my dad and my sister, but I’ve never been closer to anyone than I was to my mom. We shared a heart. We understood things together that no one else understood. Will I ever feel that again? I don’t know. I have young children now, and maybe they’ll click in at some point, but I’ll still miss my mom every second. I talked to her every day that our lives overlapped, from before I could talk until after she was in a coma.

I always wear bright red nail polish (now it’s gel) on the ring finger of my left hand. When I’m asked why, I often say: “It means I killed a person for asking personal questions.” But the real reason is simple: it’s for my mom. When I was in high school I had been doing mostly juggling, but a little bit of magic too, for several years. My mom told me I should keep my nails clean, well-manicured, and not bitten, because I was asking people to look at my hands. In order to mock her, I grabbed her nail polish and painted my nail (I already had hair hanging past my shoulders and eye make-up, so the nail wasn’t a stretch). She rolled her eyes. I kept doing it as a way to show her she shouldn’t tell me what to do (it didn’t work).

That painted nail, which began as a way of mocking my mother, eventually became a secret code, and finally a tribute. When I would go on Letterman, if I brushed my thumb against my left ring finger my mom, watching at home, knew I was thinking of her on that joke. And when she died on the first day of 2000 (she made it for that first digit change), I knew the nail was going to stay. It’s not accurate to write that I wear my mom’s nail polish and my dad’s ring to remember them. That’s not the problem. The problem is trying not to think about them every second of every day. So, with those things focusing my memory, maybe I can get along in life. It’s like Mother’s Day.

I think my daughter, who is about to turn 11, started telling her friends that I wear the nail polish for her, my daughter, my little Mox. I think my mom would approve of all the little distortions that we use to make poetry out of our lives without her.

Yeah, it’s a jive-ass holiday, but think about your mom and buy her something. Maybe a Withings product, but at least something goddamn it.

***

 

Read more articles by Penn in our Penned By Penn section and get to know Penn’s Friends

Related: How did Penn lose weight?

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