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How I dropped six pant sizes without a diet

After having had my second child, I found myself at a steady size 16. Three years ago I started my fitness journey, and today I am a size 4. And I did it through a magic, secret method used by people down through the centuries. Today is the day that I reveal this method to all of you. I did it through steady exercise and healthy eating. There was no diet pill, no diet, and no crazy fitness regime that had me doing 100 burpees in the gym every day.

I did it through a lifestyle change. Diets are all about quick and immediate change. Truly being healthy and fit is about changing your entire life.

To me, fitness is about being healthy and living a better life. It’s not about being super skinny or model-worthy. In fact, I’d venture to say that many of today’s models aren’t any healthier than a lot of obese people. It’s about choosing good foods for the body, and staying active.

Here are the choices that I made that turned my health around.

1. Eating Whole Grains. I cut out all bleached flours of any sort, and stuck with whole grains. That includes breads, cereals, cakes, muffins, pies...anything that uses flour. If I couldn’t buy it, I made it myself.

2. More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. This is what’s really important. Forget about the carbs in fruits. Fruit provides so many vital nutrients for the body, and should never be eliminated from any diet. Including more fresh fruits and vegetables is key to a healthier lifestyle.

3. Healthier Oils and Fats. The body needs good oils and fats in order to function properly, and dispel toxins and non-healthy fats from the body. I turned to things like olive oil, real butter, coconut oil, and avocados, just to name a few of the healthier fats.

4. Choosing Organic Whenever Possible. Pesticides, chemicals, gmo’s, sewage sludge...you name it...it can all be found on or in food if it’s not organic. Choosing organic means less chemicals are going into my body, and more nutrients are.

5. Eating Out Less. Fast food was cut out completely. If I do eat out, I try my best to make better choices. Instead of going for the fried food, I’ll go for the Salmon or the salad. Vegetarian options tend to be a lot healthier choices when eating out, and I can still enjoy some Veggie Fajitas at the local Mexican Restaurant on occasion.

6. 20-Minute Exercises. I’ve never been into hardcore fitness. It’s just not my thing. But I do like to stay fairly active on a regular basis. I make it a goal to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day for 3-5 days a week. There are a lot of fabulous exercise videos out there that only take 20 minutes to go through. In particular, I’m a fan of any of Jillian Michaels’ workout DVDs. The 30 Day Shred is a good one to start with.

While I am not a medical practitioner and this is not meant to offer any kind of medical or health advice to anyone else, I can tell you that this is what worked for me. Three years later, I am active and healthy. I am now a size 4. But more importantly, I feel healthy and have more energy to make it through my day.

Crystal Collins is an Atlanta local, adventurer, a health advocate, Savings.com DealPro and thrifty as can be. Check her out on her blog TheThriftyMama.com.

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  • UPDATE: At 6pm the National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Tulsa, Rogers, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnie, Creek, Mayes, Washington and Wagoner counties until 2am. ****************************************************************** Green County is bracing for what could be an interesting evening. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Tulsa say a cold front to our west will provide the spark for strong to severe thunderstorms across northeast Oklahoma. We could see winds up to 70 mph and hail the size of golf balls. Meteorologist Mark Plate, with NWS, predicts the timing of the storms to be somewhere between 9:00 and 11:00pm. KRMG is in constant communication with the National Weather Service and the team of meteorologists with FOX23. Tune to NEWS102.3 and AM740 for the very latest on the severe weather threat. The threat for severe weather will diminish as we move through the overnight hours.  Thunderstorms are also expected on Wednesday along with much cooler temperatures.
  • Another protest of the city’s abandonment and sale of part of Helmerich Park drew a few dozen people Tuesday, even as the next step in the legal battle was taken by those opposed to the deal. “We filed a second lawsuit, which we filed actually again today, we perfected that lawsuit and filed it today,” former Mayor Terry Young told KRMG Tuesday. “So there are two lawsuits  pending before Judge Jefferson Sellers. He has set a hearing for June 1st on the consolidation of those two lawsuits into one. We basically allege that the city council had no right to sell this land, and demand that the city council act as the duly elected officials of the city to recover this land as city park land.” The new filing drops several allegations of violations of open meetings laws, Young says, because of the difficulty and complexity of proving those claims. Meanwhile, he’s confident that the lawsuit will halt the development until it’s resolved. “It would be quite unusual if it happened, because a lawsuit creates a cloud on the title to the land. And as you know, lenders want to know that clear title exists before they will lend money on a project, even on buying a home. And as long as the lawsuit is pending, either in the district court or in the court of appeals, if we necessarily have to go there - or even to the state supreme court - there’s a cloud on the title. If they were to close with that cloud, it would be very unusual.” Young says the River Parks Authority was created in 1974, with a clear purpose. “The intention (was) that everything between Riverside Drive and the river bank was going to be preserved as open space and operated for park purposes. That’s really the story of all of River Parks, a part of which Helmerich Park is, and it’s our goal to see to it it stays that way.” The council voted March 1st to abandon 8.8 acres of the park. REI Sporting Goods plans to build a retail development on the land.
  • Years of testing remain, but UT Health San Antonio researchers say they’ve cured Type 1 diabetes in mice. In peer-reviewed paper, they say a “gene transfer” can “wake up” cells in the pancreas to produce insulin. >> Read more trending news  Health researchers at the University of Texas think they have found a way to trick the body into curing Type 1 diabetes. The immune system of a person with diabetes kills off useful “beta” cells, but the UT researchers say they have found a way to make other cells in the pancreas perform the necessary work. Their approach, announced earlier this month in the academic journal Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, not only would have implications for Type 1, formerly called juvenile diabetes, but also could help treat the far more common Type 2 variety, also known as adult-onset diabetes. The researchers have cured mice, which are genetically similar to people but different enough that new rounds of animal testing — and millions of dollars more — are needed before human trials can begin. The researchers’ approach is sure to garner skeptics, at least in part because it is a significant departure from the many other attempts at curing diabetes, which typically involve transplanting new cells and/or suppressing the immune system’s attempts to kill off useful ones. By contrast, “we’re taking a cell that is already present in the body — it’s there, and it’s happy — and programming it to secrete insulin, without changing it otherwise,” said Ralph DeFronzo, chief of the diabetes research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Diabetes is a disease characterized by a person’s inability to process carbohydrates, a condition that if untreated can lead to often-catastrophic health consequences: lethargy, diminished eyesight, heart attacks, strokes, blindness and a loss of circulation in the feet that could lead to amputation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that in 2014, about 29 million Americans – almost 1 in 10 – had diabetes. The core problem is insulin. Most people naturally secrete that substance when they eat something with carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes and candy bars. Insulin acts like a concierge that escorts the sugar from the bloodstream into the cells, providing the cells with the energy to function. In most people, the body is continually monitoring blood sugar and producing insulin as needed. In Type 2 diabetes — which makes up 9 out of 10 diabetes cases and is generally associated with older people and weight gain — the cells reject the insulin, causing sugar to build up in the bloodstream even as cells are starved for energy. Type 2 is often treated with pills that tell the cells to let in the insulin. But in Type 2 diabetes, the body also often gradually loses the ability to produce insulin, requiring insulin injections. In Type 1 — the type the researchers studied — the body has simply stopped producing insulin. This type often manifests in children, though it can sometimes develop in adults as well. The reason the body stops producing insulin is that it kills off the pancreas’ beta cells, which produce insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must get their insulin from injections or ingestion, a cumbersome and often imprecise task. Too little insulin and blood sugar levels stay high for extended periods, potentially damaging the body; too much and blood sugar levels crash, possibly causing a person with diabetes to faint or experience an even worse problems, such as a stroke. DeFronzo’s partner, Bruno Doiron, decided to see whether the body could reliably produce insulin without transplanting new cells. He used a “gene transfer” technique on mice, delivered via a virus, that activated insulin production in cells already in the pancreas — for instance, those that produced certain enzymes. “We’re not fundamentally changing the cell,” DeFronzo said. “We’re just giving it one additional task.” The mice immune systems did not attack the new insulin-producing cells. Most important, according to the findings: The cells produced the right amount of insulin: not so much that they sent a mouse into a blood sugar free fall, not so little that blood sugar levels stayed high. The mice have shown no sign of diabetes for more than a year, according to the findings. Quite a bit of work remains before testing will start on people. If they can raise enough money — they estimate $5 million to $10 million — they can proceed to testing on larger animals, such as pigs, dogs or primates, a next step that would be planned in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They hope to start human trials in three years. DeFronzo and Doiron said they expect skepticism but said much of it will be driven by how unconventional their work is. Doiron added that, although the technique is unconventional in the context of diabetes, using a virus to deliver a gene transfer is an established technique, having been approved dozens of times by the FDA to treat diseases. “We can use the cells the body has naturally,” Doiron said. “This will simply wake up the cells to produce insulin.” Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes The work of Bruno Doiron and Ralph DeFronzo focuses on Type 1 diabetes, not Type 2. Both diseases involve a problem with insulin, the substance that healthy bodies produce to take sugar from the bloodstream into the cells and power the body. Type 2 is far more common. The main issue is that the cells reject insulin, causing sugar to build up in the bloodstream. The common treatment is a pill that makes the cells accept the insulin (and sugar it carries into the cell). But over time, people with Type 2 diabetes often lose the ability to produce insulin. With Type 1 diabetes, people simply stop producing insulin. Their bodies kill off the cells in the pancreas that produce it. Those with Type 1 diabetes must inject or ingest insulin. People with Type 2 often grow increasingly dependent on insulin injections, though Type 2 can sometimes be cured or controlled through diet and exercise.
  • Going into this week's federal budget battle, the White House toyed with a hardball tactic to force congressional Democrats to negotiate on President Donald Trump's priorities. They just might eliminate billions of dollars in disputed 'Obamacare' subsidies. But a study out Tuesday from a nonpartisan group suggests that could backfire. Stopping the Affordable Care Act payments at issue may actually wind up costing the federal government billions more than it would save. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that taxpayers would end up paying 23 percent more than the potential savings from eliminating the health law's 'cost-sharing' subsidies, which help low-income people with insurance deductibles and co-payments. It adds up to an estimated $2.3 billion more in 2018, or an additional $31 billion over 10 years. How's that possible? The short answer is that insurers would still be free to raise premiums, driving federal spending even higher on a separate subsidy provided under the program. 'You end up with a counter-intuitive result,' said Larry Levitt, one of the study's authors. Former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a Republican economist, reviewed the Kaiser study for The Associated Press and concurred. 'I think this may even be a conservative estimate,' he said. 'It says what's at stake: double-digit premium increases and more money out of the Treasury, not less.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver, will retire at the end of the season, his team, Hendrick Motorsports announced. Earnhardt, known as just “Junior,” is the son of the NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr., who was killed in the Daytona 500 in 2001. His grandfather Ralph Earnhardt also raced stock cars. Earnhardt Jr. has won the most popular driver award 14 straight times. In 18 full seasons in NASCAR’s top Cup series, Earnhardt won 26 times, twice in the Daytona 500, in 2004 and 2014. But he never won the series title. His best finish this year is fifth; he is currently 24th in the standings. Earnhardt is 42 years old; his father was killed at 49. Earnhardt was married on New Year’s Eve to Amy Reimann, and he is also returning from a serious concussion that sidelined him last July. It was his second concussion in four years, and it caused him to miss 18 races. “When I got my first concussion, in 1998, it was like, ‘Wow. I feel dizzy, ha ha,'” he said in January. “It’s scary now, knowing everything we know. There’s still a ton to learn. We’re going through such a transition how we talk about concussions, how we treat concussions. It’s very interesting to me. Very educational.” “I do feel like this is a new chapter, for whatever reason,” Earnhardt said before the new season started this year. “I don’t have a vision for what’s going to happen. I don’t know how to explain it, but it feels like a new me.”