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December 12, 2008

Your New Year Rx for Eating, Thinking, and Living Strong

Eat healthy, lose weight, and get happy in 2010.

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woman doing bicep curl

Pressed for time? Combine two moves into one. For instance, do a squat with an overhead shoulder press, or a reverse lunge with a bicep curl. This is great for a more intense workout or if you're really crunched for time.

Don't do the same old thing week after week. Cut your chances of boredom and improve results with these six strategies.

Photo Credit: Arne Trautmann/iStock/iStock

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STAND UP TO FLAB

A typical American spends up to 95 percent of her day sitting. But growing research shows that if we'd just stand up more, we'd increase fat metabolism and improve heart health, not to mention burn 33 percent more calories than if we did the same activity sitting. Rachel Huber, a dietitian and associate director of education at The Cooper Institute in Dallas, lists a few things we shouldn't take sitting down:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Chores (e.g., paying bills, folding laundry)
  • Work meetings
  • Happy hour (as in, forgo the bar stools)


  • But don't go crazy. Multitaskers need downtime in an overstuffed chair now and then, too.


RETAIL THERAPY

Found: An athletic tank that feels as comfy as an old tee.

Puma Tech Performance Tank Top, $38 (pumawomen.com)

The secret: The adjustable built-in power-mesh bra supports without chafing and feels like a light fleece.
Icing on the cake: The slimming design details and sexy peekaboo back.

LITE READING

These healthy-eating guides make your get-fit resolution a reality:

  • If you want to laugh your way to your goal weight, try: The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude, by Carol Lay.


The scoop: A syndicated cartoonist describes, in words and pictures, how she lost 35 pounds; the pages are packed with science-based tips and recipes.

  • If deciphering nutrition labels gives you an anxiety attack, try: Joy's Life Diet: Four Steps to Thin Forever, by Joy Bauer.


The scoop: The celeb dietitian provides menus, recipes, and exhaustive lists of "acceptable" foods in a multistage plan.

  • If you're into talk therapy, try: The Complete Beck Diet for Life, by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D.


The scoop: A cognitive therapist motivates readers to change their eating by changing their thinking.

GET HAPPY

Start 2010 on a cheery note with these proven tricks from positive thinkers:
  • Seek out careers and partners that play to core character strengths. Research from Cincinnati's VIA Institute on Character suggests that those with jobs matching their strengths are more productive and loyal. The same idea can be applied to relationships. To find your strengths, go to viasurvey.org.
  • Every night, write down at least one thing you're thankful for. Sounds hokey, but in a University of California, Davis, study, subjects keeping "gratitude journals" ended up with a more positive vibe overall than those who didn't.


SUGAR SWAP

It doesn't look as chic as the purply acai berry, but the yacon plant may just be the next hot — and — healthy sweet treat from South America. A crisp root vegetable that tastes like a cross between an apple and a melon, it keeps the digestive system in check, while registering super-low on the glycemic-index charts. That means no sugar spike, nor the subsequent crash. TerrAmazon (wholefoodsmarket.com) packages yacon in dried slices as well as in a syrup, which, at 130 calories per ounce, pairs nicely with green tea, whole-grain pancakes, and Greek yogurt.


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