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6 Sneaky Jedi Mind Tricks That Will Help You Lose Weight

Jedi Mind Trick #2: Repeat After Me
When you’re having a down-in-the-dumps day, it’s really easy to dig into a bag of dark chocolate with sea salt (because the sea salt really seals the deal) or overload that froyo cup. But doing so can toss you into a vicious cycle of bad food habits and negative thinking, as research shows the two are closely related and one fuels the other. Instead, when things start to go awry, turn to those good old-fashioned mantras mom always told you were important. Cruise says that not only will optimistic thoughts—think “There’s a reason they hired me for this job; I’m great at it and know what I’m doing”—raise your serotonin levels (the feel-good hormone that brings on calm and happiness), but research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that they improve a person’s overall ability to recover from stress. And as we learned in Jedi mind trick number one, stress is what triggers weight gain, so getting out of that zone—stat—is good for your sanity and jeans size.

Jedi Mind Trick #3: Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Remember that happy hormone we talked about earlier? One way to easily get more of it: Carbs. Research shows they help bring serotonin levels back up when you’re feeling blue, which is why you long for a savory bowl of pasta or want to dive face-first into the bread basket when you’ve had a rough day. It’s comfort food. But that doesn’t do anything good for your weight loss efforts, and those carbs are a quick fix. Instead, focus on a future positive event, like the half-marathon you’ve always wanted to run or the vacation you want to rock a swimsuit for. A study from the National Institute of Mental Health found that when people did that, it triggered the same area of the brain that activates serotonin production. Best part? Cruise says it also helps reduce those carb cravings, so you’ll yearn for a cheesy bowl of noodles less often.

Related: The 8 Best Foods to Detox Your Body

Jedi Mind Trick #4: Have Friends in Low Places
At least when it comes to their weight. While we’re not telling you to ghost your friends that are heavier, Cruise says they could have a negative affect on your brain game while you work to lose a few pounds. “Several studies have found that your risk for obesity increases when you have overweight friends,” he writes. “An obese friend increases your [own] risk of obesity by 57 to 171 percent, depending on the closeness of your relationship. [And] a recent study from Arizona State University revealed that [it’s because] we unconsciously change our habits to mirror those of our friends.” Again, we’re not saying to drop those lifelong friends like a hot potato just because their pant-size is a little bigger—that’s taking a trip to crazy town. Instead, Cruise suggests branching out to make new friends in places where people are making healthy choices, like the park, a local boot-camp class, or a healthy cooking event. “Having people in your social network who pay attention to their health will be encouraging for both you and your other friends,” he writes.

And while we’re at it, make sure you’re really connecting with those health-focused friends. “Studies have found that social isolation leads to increased cortisol, while having more high-quality social connections reduces the stress hormone,” writes Cruise. So if you haven’t caught on yet, let us spell it out: Cortisol majorly affects your weight, and having regular bonding time with your BFFs is one way to help lower those levels—and your number on the scale.

Jedi Mind Trick #5: Meditate…In Your Kitchen
The whole point of meditation isn’t to simply sit in a room and chant “ommmm.” Simply put, it’s to center yourself, hone in on what’s happening in that exact moment, and basically forget—if only for a few minutes—about all the crazy sh*t going on in your life. Knowing that, why would you restrict such a calming activity to a quiet corner in your bedroom, or some secret space your kids can’t find (does that really exist?). Cruise says the kitchen is just as good a place as any, and can directly influence the quality of food you create. “For many, cooking in the kitchen is a spiritual experience,” he writes. “It allows you to take time away from other activities, and bring your focus solely to cutting, slicing, chopping, sauteing, or broiling. Enjoying this time can transform your evening.” But if your kitchen is more of a stress zone than relaxation station, Cruise suggests taking the time to look around and identify areas or items that freak you out. Maybe the cupboard is overflowing with pots and pans, but you can’t find any lids—take a few minutes to calmly organize them. Or perhaps that cabinet is overflowing with four containers of cinnamon and god-knows-how-many packages of taco seasoning. “Throw out the items you never use, or have double of. Take charge of your creative zone,” writes Cruise. “You’ll be able to really focus on the nutritious meal you are about to prepare, and fully enjoy the process.” Now that beats haphazardly throwing together a case of instant mac and cheese, don’t you think?

Jedi Mind Trick #6: Study Up
Remember those gigantic “Knowledge is Power” posters guidance counselors had hanging in their office to motivate us to stay in school? Well, they were on to something. The thing to remember is that when you’re not knowledgeable about a subject—say, what foods are your best bet when headed to a restaurant—it automatically triggers a sense of fear. And fear is not your friend, says Cruise. “It increases [those] cortisol levels, causing you to hang on to that stubborn belly fat,” he writes. But there’s an easy, obvious solution to the issue: learn. “Take a few minutes to think about your favorite restaurants and look up nutritional information online to find a healthy go-to meal you can order at each one.” Bonus: You’ve automatically eliminated that annoying, “What do you want?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” conversation that lasts for 20 minutes.

By Samantha Shelton

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The Skinny on 6 Popular Diets

Warm weather is setting in, and many folks are hoping to slim down before slipping into their teeny teeny-weeny bikinis. But before giving a popular diet a whirl, find out if it’s right for you.

Mediterranean Diet
This plan is inspired by life in Mediterranean countries surrounded by the ocean. The diet calls for eating fish at least twice a week, consuming minimal red meat, and using lots of fresh herbs and spices. It also emphasizes exercise and the importance of enjoying your meal with the company of family and friends. Here are 15 Mediterranean Diet-inspired recipes you can try.

U.S. News World Report ranked this diet as No. 3 out of 35 as best overall diet. The recommended foods are healthy and well-balanced. But given that there are numerous versions of the Mediterranean diet, be sure to find one that includes all the food groups and isn’t too restrictive.

Dukan Diet
On the Dukan Diet, you eat lots of lean protein, and must eliminate carbohydrates, including fruits and veggies at first. The plan has four phases; where phase 1 is most restrictive, allowing you to eat unlimited lean protein, 1 1/2 tablespoons of oat bran and 1 1/2 liters of water every day. Throughout the phases, you slowly add foods back in, like some vegetables and small amounts of fruit.

Diets like the Dukan, where you begin on a very restrictive regimen, will result in weight loss. That doesn’t mean they’re healthy. The National Institutes of Health recommends a rate of one to two pounds per week for safe weight loss. A more dramatic rate of weight loss can result in medical issues such as gall stones, muscle loss, and possibly a drop in blood pressure.


Atkins Diet
So many versions of Atkins have popped up over the years, but some die-hard fans still turn to this plan. The Atkins Diet has four phases, with the first being the most restrictive on carbohydrates. Over time, you increase other foods, specifically those that are heavier on carbohydrates, like starches and fruit. Cutting out most carbs for prolonged periods of time can result in side effects such as leg cramps, faintness, headaches, and cold sweats. And no matter how many times the book tells you that’s “normal,” it most certainly is not.


Wheat Belly Diet
The author of this diet claims that due to over-breeding and modification over time, the whole whole-wheat grain has become unhealthy. He equates wheat and any processed foods made with wheat with opiate drugs. Besides wheat, the plan also eliminates or limits foods like fruit, starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, dried fruit, corn-starch and corn meal. Although this plan encourages whole foods, many entire food groups are drastically limited or eliminated, making it a dangerous and difficult plan to stick to over the long haul.


Gluten-Free Diet
This diet refers to folks who do not need to be gluten-free, yet choose to follow a gluten-free diet in order to lose weight. This means they eliminate any food or drink containing wheat, rye, or barley — and many of the nutrients found in these foods. But avoiding these foods won’t necessarily guarantee weight loss. Many of the gluten-free processed foods found at the market are just as calorie-heavy (if not more so) than their gluten-filled counter parts.


This diet has been ranked No. 1 as the best overall diet by U.S. News World Report five years in a row! The diet plan includes all the food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. High-calorie proteins, high-fat foods, and high-sugar foods are discouraged, while reducing your overall salt intake is encouraged. The recipes on the DASH Diet are well-balanced and can absolutely be delicious. Here’s a recipe for DASH Diet Black Bean and Beef Burgers with Salsa by Marla Heller, the New York Times best-selling author of The DASH Diet Action Plan, The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution, The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook and The DASH Diet Younger You.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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Joe Wexler Diet: 777-Pound Man ‘Baffled’ By Weight Gain, Says He Eats A …

Joe Wexler says his diet is healthy and that he eats two full meals a day with snacks in between. While someone might think this sounds like a guy who has his eating habits figured out, you might be shocked to know that Mr. Wexler weighed 777 pounds.

According to Mail Online, the 31-year-old Tennessee resident was baffled by his weight gain and couldn’t figure out how he got so big eating so “healthy” (as he calls it). He apparently didn’t realize that ranch dressing and ice cream were bad for him.

It wasn’t until Wexler went to meet with a bariatric surgeon that he learned that he was actually consuming 10,000 calories a day. He says that he’s “living a nightmare.”

“I’ve been in and out of hospital 10 times in the last nine months. I can’t go up and down the stairs. I can’t even get behind the steering wheel of a car anymore. I’ve been homebound and it’s very lonely. I feel like a prisoner inside this body. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I am living the nightmare. One that I wish very much I could wake up from.”

Joe Wexler needed to change his diet in order to see improvements in his health and in his every day life, and that’s exactly what he has done. He identified the problem, and he’s working hard to fix it.

He explained that his parents’ divorce really bothered him, and that he began emotional eating shortly after.

“Growing up, I could never have imagined that I’d end up like this. I’ve always had problems with my weight ever since I was little. Bad habits got picked up early. I was allowed to do whatever I wanted, including choosing what to eat. The relationship between me and my dad was strained. I think buying those things [treats] was his way of dealing with me. I think I would have given up anything I had if he had paid me some attention and I felt like life was punishing me for some sin I didn’t commit. I ate to deal with my feelings and I never stopped.”

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Joe took part in the TLC reality show, My 600-lb. Life. He has been to the gym, and has learned to eat better. He is already losing weight, reportedly down to about 650 pounds, and he was approved for gastric bypass surgery — a very bright light at the end of his tunnel.

According to InTouch Weekly,Wexler recently had the surgery.

“Words can’t describe how I feel. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have hope.”

[Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]

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Diet Swap Shows How Junk Food Might Give You Cancer

Just a two-week diet swap shows just how bad a Western diet of junk food is for us.

Americans who ate a traditional South African menu for two weeks showed big changes in their digestive system. And, frighteningly, South Africans who ate the foods usually eaten by a group of African-Americans from Pittsburgh showed digestive changes that could, in theory, lead to colon cancer.

It’s a small study and covered just a short period of time. But the researchers say they are struck at how clear the changes were and how short a time it took to change the inner workings of the gut with a change of diet.

“It will be important to know whether these types of dietary changes will have a meaningful effect not just on biomarkers but on actual rates of colon cancer over time,” said Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the study.

“Animal protein and fat intake was two to three times higher in Americans.”

Colon cancer is the No. 2 cancer killer of men and women in the U.S, with 136,000 new cases a year, and 50,000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

Rates are far higher in the U.S. than in South Africa, Colon cancer affects five out of every 100,000 rural South Africans. It’s diagnosed in 65 out of every 100,000 African Americans.

Doctors also know diet is a huge factor. Immigrants to the U.S. quickly develop high risks of colon cancer. But is it diet, or some other lifestyle factor such as exercise, smoking or even pollution?

Stephen O’Keefe of the University of Pittsburgh teased this out by comparing Americans to South Africans head to head.

First, they looked at the diets of 20 Pittsburgh-area black Americans and 20 rural South Africans.

“Animal protein and fat intake was two to three times higher in Americans, whereas carbohydrate and fiber, chiefly in the form of resistant starch, were higher in Africans,” they wrote in their report, published in the journal Nature Communications.

They did colonoscopies. As expected, the Americans had more of the pre-cancerous growths called polyps that can lead to cancer.

They looked at the microbes living in the gut, as well as compounds linked with digestion and metabolism. Americans had more factors associated with breaking down fat, while the Africans had more bacteria associated with fermentation and compounds called butyrates, which are known to affect colon health.

“This suggests that a move to a fiber rich, low-fat diet may impact the high levels of colon cancer in the African American population.”

Then came the big test.

“We performed two-week food exchanges in subjects from the same populations, where African Americans were fed a high-fiber, low-fat African-style diet and rural Africans a high-fat, low-fiber western-style diet, under close supervision,” the researchers wrote.

“In comparison with their usual diets, the food changes resulted in remarkable reciprocal changes,” they added. Just two weeks of eating different food changed the types of bacteria living in the colon and what they did.

“This suggests that a move to a fiber rich, low-fat diet may impact the high levels of colon cancer in the African American population,” they concluded.

Chan wasn’t surprised. “Certainly there have been other studies in the past that have shown dietary changes can result in specific changes in colon that could influence colon cancer risk,” he told NBC News.

“There is a lot of biological plausibility to what they found. “

But O’Keefe and Chan both said it’s too small and too short a study to know for sure.

They’ll have to do a bigger, longer study to see.

Want to know what the volunteers ate?

The American diet:

  • Beef sausage, pancakes, breakfast steak, hash brown and Rice Krispies for breakfast.
  • Hamburgers, French fries, spaghetti and meatballs, hot dogs and chili for lunch
  • Meatloaf, Salisbury steak, noodles, mashed potatoes, roast beef, rice, macaroni and cheese for dinner.

The African diet:

  • Corn fritters, salmon croquettes, cheese grits, bananas, biscuits for breakfast
  • Catfish, mango, tater tots, kale salad, hush puppies for lunch
  • Okra, grits, lentils, pineapple, fish taco for dinner.

9 Ways Trying To Lose Weight Can Kill You

Related: Watch Average Guys Waist Train Like Kim Kardashian

6. Swallowing tapeworms. To lose weight, one Iowa woman swallowed a beef tapeworm she bought on the Internet, reports Today.com. The tapeworm hooks into your intestines and eats food ingested by its host. One downside, besides causing abdominal pain and death: The bugger can grow as long as 30 feet inside of you. Luckily, the woman hightailed it to her doctor in time to fess up and receive treatment before it was too late.

7. Undergoing gastric bypass surgery. While this weight loss shortcut can give some people a new lease on life, it can leave others with a shorter one. A 38-year-old father of four died from an abscess, pneumonia, and a pulmonary embolism three weeks after undergoing gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, according to a CBS report. In another case, after a 362-pound 42-year-old underwent gastric bypass surgery in England, she struggled to keep food down, vomiting uncontrollably. The sickness persisted for four years, after which she ultimately starved to death, according to Daily Mail.

8. Botched liposuction. In Ecuador, a 19-year-old beauty queen died from complications in a botched liposuction surgery included in her prize, Fox News Latino reports. The judges suggested the procedure even though the teen thought exercise could target her trouble spots.

9. Working out when you’re drunk. A 28-year old man in England was 3.5 times the legal drinking limit when his neck was crushed by an 88-pound barbell he lifted during a late-night lifting session, according to a BBC report. While it’s unclear whether the bakery chef was trying to lose weight, trying to burning calories while you’re drunk is clearly a bad idea.

By Elizabeth Narins

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