The Ultimate Body Applicator!

A focused strategy will help you reach your weight-loss goal. Counting calories and getting active will help.

By Madeline Vann, MPH

Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

Search online and you’ll find dozens of Web sites promising to tell you exactly how to lose 20 pounds (or more), often with hyped-up claims of speedy success, like losing the weight in 30 days or “just six weeks!” The reality is that losing 20 pounds is an achievable goal if you apply proven strategies, such as counting calories. This approach may take a bit longer than those miracle diets, but it will actually work and help you develop healthy habits to keep the weight off, and even lose more, if that’s your goal.

Related: 10 Steps to Lose Weight Faster


Lose 20 Pounds: Why Counting Calories Matters

“Having a realistic weight goal makes good sense,” says dietitian Jenna Anding, PhD, RD, of the department of nutrition and food science in the Texas A&M System at College Station. “Eliminating 500 calories a day can help promote a one-pound-per-week weight loss. Increasing physical activity can also help promote weight loss.”

In order for counting calories to work, you will have to do a little math (it’s okay to cheat and use a calculator). If you want to lose 1 pound a week (it is safe to lose up to 2 pounds a week or 1 percent of your body weight, if you weigh more than 200 pounds), that means you need to cut out or burn through exercise about 500 calories a day. But remember not to eat less than 1,200 calories daily, so that your body doesn’t retreat into starvation mode. A reduction of at least 500 calories a day means you could lose a pound every week or 20 pounds in about five months.

Related: 13 Portion Control Secrets

Lose 20 Pounds: Successful Strategies

Here are four diet truths to help you achieve your goals:

  • Cutting out sweet drinks is non-negotiable. Sweet tea, soda, and flavored and sweetened milks, waters, and coffees all have to go. Drink plain water, low-fat milk, and sugar-free drinks instead. A study of 810 adults between 25 and 79 years old showed that after 18 months, those who cut out sweet drinks had greater weight loss than those who cut down on food calories. One possible reason: While your body lets you know when it is full of food, there is no way for your body to tell you when you’ve maxed out on liquid calories.
  • Physical activity helps counting calories. Being physically active burns calories while it improves your overall health. Aim for 30 minutes a day most days of the week. A brisk 30- to 45-minute walk burns 100 to 200 calories. If you can burn 200 calories through exercise, you only have to cut out 300 calories in food or drink to reach your daily calorie-cutting goal.
  • Strategically eating less drops weight. A study of 811 overweight people who participated in four popular diets found that whether diets were low-fat, high-protein, or a combination didn’t matter — weight-loss success depends on cutting out calories. In fact, you can continue to eat filling portions if you simply replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods that contain a lot of water, such as fruits and vegetables. A study of 97 obese women who ate either a low-fat diet or a low-fat diet with additional fruits and vegetables found that those who emphasized fruits and veggies lost up to five pounds more.
  • Journaling leads to success. Counting calories is easier if you write down (or type in) what you eat, including serving sizes and details such as condiments you may have added. “Research has shown that exercise and journaling really make a difference in long-term weight management,” says Gail Curtis, assistant professor at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C. A detailed journal will help you identify your successes and pinpoint where you can cut additional calories or replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie ones.

With dedicated work you can apply these truths to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks or less. So get moving!Scale


Meditation and yoga practices help us to work toward becoming happier and peaceful human beings. This is an ongoing process and can take a lifetime. Sometimes you may wonder if your daily meditation and yoga practices have been benefiting you, and if so, how.

Below are some signs that your practice(s) are making a difference and helping you in your daily lives. Although meditation is a part of yoga, I am differentiating the two here because of the tendency is for yoga to be seen as only a physical practice here in the West. This list is by no means exhaustive or mutually exclusive, but these are some of the benefits and changes that are commonly experienced by those who regularly practice meditation and yoga.

1. Your happiness comes more from nurturing your mind, body, and spirit, rather than from other people or material objects.

2. You’re able to express yourself without hurting others.

3. You view challenges as opportunities for growth.

4. You know the right thing to do, and you do it.

5. You feel compassion for others, including people, animals, and the earth.

6. You accept your current circumstance or situation, and either feel grateful for it or work toward improving it.

7. You begin to appreciate things that you once took for granted.

8. You focus on the solution, rather than the problem.

9. You try to maintain an ongoing positive attitude and recognize when you feel off-balance.

10. You love, appreciate, and respect yourself.

11. You listen to your intuition.

12. You not only genuinely feel happy for others’ successes, but also try to support them in the best way you can.

13. You think more about what will benefit the greater good, instead of what will benefit yourself.

14. A willingness to work through resentments, let go, and move forward.

15. You feel calmer in your daily interactions with others, as well as in situations that may have once caused anger.

16. You realize you aren’t perfect, and life is a series of lessons to help you continue progressing.

17. You start making time for the things you enjoy doing.

18. In a given situation you ask yourself, What is happening here, instead of, Why is this happening to me.

19. Others feel happy and positive just being around you.

20. You continue seeking and finding ways to feel inspired and motivated.

21. You make conscious efforts to bring your awareness back to the present moment.



Nobody likes to feel bloated! Unfortunately, most women are familiar with the unpleasant feeling of having a distended belly. It often seems to strike at inopportune times, like when you need to get dressed for a dinner or when you’re about to enjoy a night on the town with your girlfriends.

Bloating usually occurs as a result of too much fermentation in the digestive tract. Some common triggers include: stress, a food sensitivity, a lack of enzymes, uncoordinated peristalsis, or eating too much fiber.

Your best bet is best to prevent bloating, instead of trying to address the issue when it’s already there. This is a lot easier and will save you the trouble of experiencing discomfort. Here’s how to beat the bloat:

1. Eat only when truly hungry.

Try to avoid emotional eating and overeating.

2. Allow your previous meal to digest before eating the next meal.

Wait at least three hours between meals.

3. Chew well and don’t talk while chewing.

If you’re eating with others, put down your folk between bites and let the flavor and the experience of food be your only focus. Don’t eat and speak at the same time. Better yet, meet friends for walks or for a tea and keep social eating to minimum until your gut is healthy and strong.

4. Be careful with your fiber.

Coarse or poorly chewed fiber will delay passage through the digestive system and slow the rate at which the food is digested and absorbed. So if you don’t chew a slice of bread or a piece of potato properly, you’re leaving a lot more work for your stomach and it will take longer.

5. Eat easy-to-digest meals when you’re in a rush, stressed, or anxious.

Focus on soups and warm mono-meals such as kitchari and sautéed vegetables.

6. Eat fruit at least 30 minutes before meals.

Don’t eat fruits after a meal. This habit is gas-forming and leads to bloating.

7. Get hip to ginger.

Try chewing on a slice of ginger with lime juice 20 minutes before a meal.

8. Use digestion-stimulating spices when making your food.

Try black pepper, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamon, or fennel.

9. Don’t drink anything cold while eating.

Ideally, you’ll limit cold foods as well. Fruits should be room temperature (not straight from the fridge). If you can’t live without your ice cream, have some ginger tea afterward.

10. Avoid drinking 30 minutes after the meal.

It will dilute digestive juices and make it harder to digest food.

11. Reduce salt.

The easiest way? Start cooking your own meals. Restaurant meals are often overly salty.

12. Eliminate caffeine and alcohol.

This is particularly important if you have a leaky gut or inflammation.

If you feel bloated, try these remedies:

1. Chew on fennel seeds or sip a hot fennel and ginger tea.

Prepare fennel tea by crushing one teaspoon of fennel seeds and adding it to one cup of water in a pot. Bring the water to a boil, cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and strain.

A traditional dose of fennel tea is about two to three cups daily. If you’re at a restaurant or don’t have fennel seeds, opt for a mint tea. It’s also soothing to the digestive tract. Another tip: carry tea bags in your purse so you’ll always have the kind you like handy.

2. Go for a brisk walk.

Aim for 30 minutes of walking. I also like to add a few jumping jacks or twists. This helps to increase blood circulation and to release gas.

3. Stretch.

You want to do poses that create extension and contraction of the abdomen such as cat/cow, child’s pose, or seated twists.

4. Get warm.

Apply a warm compress on the lower part of the stomach or take a warm bath to improve circulation and counteract muscle contraction that might be causing bloating.

By Nadya Andreeva

We all want to feel unending enthusiasm and love for life. We all long for miracles. What if they’re easier to invoke than you think? Recently, I watched Marianne Williamson on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, and she inspired me to combine some of her teachings with the lessons I’ve learned about miracles and love in life.

What is a miracle? A miracle is a shift in perspective from fear to love, a naturally occurring expression of love. Here are eight strategies to begin inviting more miracles into your everyday life/

1. Remember that you can’t have both a grievance and a miracle.

If you harbor an “attack thought” toward someone, that’s a grievance. That grievance will prevent you from experiencing the wonder of life around you.

2. Ask yourself, “Where am I showing up with unkindness?”

Kindness is the ultimate act of love, toward the self and others. Witnessing, receiving or extending an act of kindness will cause your central nervous system to release serotonin. Acknowledge and then surrender the unkindness within you so that you can embody kindness with ease.

3. Ask yourself, “Who have I not forgiven?”

Grudges, regrets, sorrow, guilt, shame, humiliation — these are all grievances, and they often occur because you have yet to forgive. Your mind doesn’t like forgiveness. It often feels unfair. But your heart needs it. The only truth you really need to know is that we each long for the same things: love, worthiness, connection and feeling good. If we can extend compassion, toward the self and others, no matter what, we can receive it. Forgiveness is key to removing the barrier of fear from your heart so that love can rush in, and your miracle can occur.

4. Ask yourself, “What am I not giving?”

The only thing lacking from any given situation is that which you aren’t giving. This can be a challenging concept to accept. No doubt, it’s advanced. But when you allow yourself to take a deep breath in the face of a moment of discomfort, and you allow yourself to truly see what’s transpiring, you might be surprised at your own role in what’s happening around you. Then you’re empowered to choose a new reality.

5. Shift the alchemy in your brain.

Pray for the happiness of those who have wronged you. Granted, this isn’t easy. But our minds are connected. When you allow yourself to pray for the happiness of those you perceive to have wronged you, you shift the alchemy between yourself and your perceived enemies, and one of two things will happen: They will change their behavior, or you’ll cease to care. Or both.

6. Don’t be afraid, because fear prevents love from rushing in.

What is it that you’re afraid of? Fear? Pain? Rejection? Not belonging? Death? Meditate. Get to know this side of yourself. We all have it. Everyone is afraid of something. The question is, which do you want to dominate your life: fear or love? At all times you’re either growing toward love or toward fear. Which one is it for you?

7. Understand that you can learn in one of two ways — via joy or pain.

Pain in life is inevitable, yet suffering is optional. When you choose a path of pain, knowingly or unknowingly, it can indeed be a great teacher. But when you choose a path of joy, the lessons sink far deeper and integrate effortlessly. It takes awareness. It requires complete acceptance of self. Kind accountability is mandatory. But then sit back and feel the love. It will come in. Just like when you were a child. The love will rush in and tickle you deep inside. You’ll giggle. Learning will become fun again. The path to unconditional happiness becomes yours.

8. Be love. Right now.

We are each living a highly individualized spiritual curriculum designed to help us reach our highest potential. Our greatest opportunity to practice the lesson to help us achieve this state is happening right now. Lay down your arms. Welcome in love. Right now. In this moment. With this breath. And the next. And so forth.


By Rebecca Butler


A few days ago, I was in my office snacking on some roasted chickpeas. A few people asked what I was eating. Which is the story of my life! I eat “weird” things because I don’t want to put artificial sweeteners, colors, or allergens in my body (when I can help it). Plus, I’m not a great cook and am prone to eating on the run.

In case you can relate, here are my favorite easy and healthy snacks:

1. Avocado with lemon, salt, and pepper

I hope you try this! It takes a minute, and is great on the go. It’s got healthy fat and keeps you satisfied without making you sick and bloated.

To make, all you do is slice the avocado in half. Sprinkle it with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. (If you’re on the go, leave the pit in.)

2. Roasted chickpeas

If you love salty snacks, this is a winner. It uses chickpeas, a great source of vegan protein. This recipe takes longer to prepare then the others, but you can make a big batch and store the seasoned chickpeas in an airtight container for days. You can used canned chickpeas if you’re in a pinch, but I prefer soaking them overnight.

Soak 3 cups dried chickpeas overnight in a bowl with water and cover with a paper towel.

Place in a boiling pot of 3 cups water with 1 teaspoon salt.

Cook for about 60 to 75 min. Cool and dry completely.

Place the cooled chickpeas in a bag with coconut oil, salt, and cayenne pepper or curry powder and shake.

Place coated chickpeas on a greased cookie sheet and place in the oven for 300 degrees for 1 hour. Shake them and place them back at 400 degrees for another 30 min.

3. Fuji apple with chat masala (Indian spice mix)

This is one of my favorite snacks and my four year-old loves it, too. Just slice a Fuji apple very thin and sprinkle chat masala or jiralu over it. We buy chat masala and jiralu from our local Asian grocery store. (It’s about $1.50 for 100 grams.) Go light with the masala at first and add more as you get used to the spice level.

4. Dark chocolate with coconut oil and sliced almonds

This combination of coconut oil, almonds and chocolate give me the satisfaction of a decadent dessert without all the bad stuff.

It’s so simple to prepare! I grab 1 or 2 squares of dark chocolate (85-90% cocoa and raw if possible), plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil for dipping, and top with 10 raw sliced almonds.

5. Roasted Brussels sprouts

For this you’ll need:

  • 1 bag Brussels sprouts
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the outer leafs of the Brussels sprouts. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half and place them in a large Ziploc bag or container with all the other ingredients and shake.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the Brussels sprouts flat side up on a baking dish. Place them in the oven for 15 min and then flip them over and bake for another 10 to 15 min.


By Dr. Amy Shah


One of the greatest contributors to joint pain is inflammation. It’s the body’s reaction to injury or damage, but when inflammation’s out of control it can lead to severe impairment of mobility and increased pain. Fortunately, it can be attacked head-on and at the cellular level with inflammation-reducing foods, supplements and exercise.

Here are 9 ways to reduce inflammation:

1. Put your kitchen on a diet.

Empty your fridge and pantry of food that will add to joint pain. Out go high-carb, high-salt, unhealthy trans fats and saturated fat-laden foods.

2. Shop for healthy joints.

This means that you’ll want to buy:

  • Vegetables full of vitamins and phytonutrients (zucchini, red peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and more)
  • Seasonings to liven up your meals and please your palate (including ginger, garlic, cinnamon)
  • Dairy products that contain healthy fats to slow carbohydrate absorption (cottage cheese, yogurt, mozzarella cheese)
  • Fruits that are full of nutrients and fiber (apple, avocado, pomegranate)
  • Beans that are packed with protein and fiber (like chick peas, lentils)
  • Breads and pastas that are tasty and low-carb (such as pumpernickel, whole wheat, fettuccine egg pasta)
  • Proteins that are the mainstay of an anti-inflammatory diet (including salmon, lobster, grass-fed beef)

3. Dump your coffee and drink green tea instead.

Green tea burns calories, protects your cartilage, reduces the rate of bone loss, and is a powerful inflammation fighter.

4. Add fiberparticularly in snacks.

It will add to the feeling of fullness and bridge the gap between meals. Munch on apple slices or thin slices of cucumber with hummus. When eaten with carbohydrates, the fiber will slow down the absorption of the inflammation provoking carbohydrates.

5. Restrict carbs.

They cause the hormone insulin to be secreted and insulin is inflammatory. Keep your carbs to no more than 50 grams per day (approximately one regular-sized bagel or two bananas) and no more than 25 grams in any one meal.

6. Power up your protein.

Go for lean cuts of grass-fed beef or wild salmon to boost your protein. These powerful protein sources will provide healthy saturated fats (yes, there are healthy saturated fats!) as well as inflammation-fighting Omega-3 fats that will help keep you trim and give your joints some relief.

7. Skip dessert, but still satisfy your sweet tooth.

A dessert loaded with sugar will cause your joints to ache and your waistline to expand. But, you don’t need to feel deprived—a small bowl of delicious ripe berries (strawberries, blackberries) topped with tasty whipped cream will not only satisfy your sweet craving, but the little bit of fat in the whipped cream will slow the absorption of carbs and keep your insulin levels in check.

8. Choose the right supplements.

For reducing inflammation, supplements that can help enormously are curcumin, boswellia, and resveratrol. Remember, though: not all supplements are created equal. Purchase yours from manufacturers that test each batch. Keep in mind that the least expensive is not likely to be the best choice.

9. Move right and move right now!

Add aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises to your life. Even 10 minutes a day can help your joints. And if you’re in pain, move wisely—walk, use the lightest weight possible, and gently stretch.

By making these changes you can reduce the amount of inflammation in your joints, reduce your pain, and get moving in the right direction for a life of mobility, enjoyment and comfort.

By Dr. Richard Diana


Sometimes wellness can feel like a chore. Don’t get me wrong — I love cooking with coconut oil, while sipping my ashwagandha tea and rolling out the yoga mat. But it can take a lot of discipline to get there every day.

Sometimes we just don’t have time to meditate for hours, or add another workout into our mix. And, on top of everything else, it can be hard to keep up with the latest fads in wellness.

Sometimes we need to get back to the basics and keep it simple. Here are eight simple things you can do every day to become the happiest version of yourself — without breaking the bank or cramming two more hours into your day:

1. Always be reading a book.

Even if you only have 20 minutes a day to dedicate to reading, do it. Find time on the bus or train, or at night before bed. Even an audio book for quick car rides works. It doesn’t have to be lofty literature or self-help. Any book will do. Just make sure to start a new book whenever you finish one. It will make you more interesting, expand your viewpoint, and teach you something new every day.

2. Do at least one thing that terrifies you.

Whether it’s applying for a job you “couldn’t possibly get” or asking someone out for dinner, always find a way to challenge yourself. It will keep you constantly growing. When you’re afraid, it teaches you how to be fearless. When you’re accomplished, it reminds you to be humble.

3. Be completely vulnerable with one person.

It doesn’t have to be the same person every day. You can choose your mother, then your significant other, then your best friend. Just completely let your guard down and let someone in. It will remind you that everything about you is beautiful, even the “ugly” parts, and that you deserve to be loved for your strengths and your weakness. It will also teach you how to let love in and to love yourself.

4. Drop one thing from your life that you don’t love.

Each day, let go of one person, task, or object that you don’t love in your life, even if it’s as simple as those curtains that were never your style. Everything you own and everyone you associate with should be a reflection of you. If you keep anything in your life that you don’t love, it’s stopping you from loving your life entirely. Plus, dumping the dirt is just good feng shui.

5. Take a step in the direction of your dreams.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny step. It doesn’t even matter what the step is. Don’t measure magnitude; just measure direction. If you take one small step toward your dreams every single day, you’ll be 365 steps closer to achieving what you want by the end of the year.

6. Spend 30 minutes by yourself.

Find 30 minutes to spend on just yourself. Maybe it’s getting a massage or meditating. Maybe it’s as simple as a cup of tea. Or, better yet, you could double up and make it your time to read. Whatever you choose, just let yourself know that you are worth spending 30 minutes with every day. And fight for its spot on your calendar as ardently as you would for a work meeting.

7. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you love yourself.

You are so blessed to be who you are. And you don’t know how much time you have left with yourself. So don’t let a day go by that you don’t say “I love you” to yourself — even if it feels uncomfortable at first.

8. Be amazed by someone, and tell them.

There’s no shortage of amazing things people do. From voluntarily doing the dishes to writing beautiful poetry to just making you laugh, people are full of amazing qualities. So find a reason to be amazed by someone, and let them know they amazed you. At the very least, you’ll make someone’s day. And that’s not a bad thing to do every day of your life.

By Mike Iamele