I Don’t Count the Pounds I’ve Lost, I Count the Moments I’ve Gained

I don't count the pounds I've lost on my weight-loss journey. I focus on what matters - I count the moments. I could get stuck in an endless cycle of stepping on the scale and putting my worth into a number, but I refuse. I put away my bathroom scale and no longer welcome its cold measurement of my progress. My progress is about so much more than a number; my worth is something that can't be counted. My beauty can't be written down as a measurement. I am six months into my weight-loss journey, and the difference in how I feel is what matters to me.

I take a walk with my children and notice how easily I can chase them and play silly games. I visit a theme park with my family and can manage to walk the entire day without tiring out. I join in with my children at the trampoline park. We have long, active Summer days and I don't find myself needing a nap by 2:00 p.m. I no longer sit on the sidelines while my family is active and having fun. I think of all of the fun I missed before I made health a priority. I vow to no longer miss the fun.

I join my friends for nature walks. I get outside and enjoy the fresh air, the sun on my face. I appreciate how my body feels as it moves. My clothes are getting looser - while my legs continue to feel stronger. I notice how I can laugh and carry on long conversations without feeling winded. I couldn't do that before. I get compliments from family and friends, telling me things like, "You look like a different person!" Sure, I realize this is true. They are only noticing my physical changes. I am keeping track of things that can't be counted.

My son asks me to spin him around. I take note of how easily I lift him up and can run around and be silly. I'm not worrying about the size of my pants or how many calories I've consumed. I fuel my body with foods that are good for it, and I stay active. The rest falls into place. I'm at peace with my body. I appreciate that the more I focus on getting healthy, the happier my body seems. My skin is no longer dull - it glows. My body is changing for the better, in so many ways. Part of self-love and body positivity is taking care of your body. I've always felt beautiful and loved myself, but now I am showing my body the love it deserves and needs to flourish.

When you eat foods that your body thrives on, your body thanks you. It thanks me by moving easier, breathing easier, playing easier, and so much more. I am active each and every day, whether it is a nature walk or playing for an hour outdoors with my children. I make exercise something I can enjoy. My body deserves the best, so I have made my health a priority. But my mental health is equally important, so I won't obsess over numbers.

No, I will not step on the scale to measure my progress. I will not measure the width of my hips, waist, or arms. The only thing this measures is the space you take up. Measure your weight-loss journey in moments. They are what truly matter.

Do Air Squats Burn Fat? Here’s What Trainers Had to Say

Air squats seem to be the favorite bodyweight exercise for HIIT classes and other boutique fitness studios. Since you use no other equipment except your body, air squats are supposed to help you tone your legs, build a booty, and torch lower-body fat. But are these promises too good to be true? (Spoiler alert: squats alone won't transform your butt.)

We asked personal trainers the truth about air squats and whether or not they are actually an effective exercise. If you're embarking on a squat challenge and busting out dozens of air squats a day, will you see any results? Here's what the experts had to say.

Air Squats Are a Beginner Move

For more advanced gym-goers, air squats may seem like a waste of time, especially if you're able to sidle up to the squat rack and take on 150 pounds. But for beginners, air squats can be a great place to start.

Personal trainer and dietitian Jim White, RD, ACSM health fitness specialist, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, recommended people start out with air squats before advancing on to other squat variations.

"Air squats are the beginner squat; they help to ensure that your squat form is correct in order to avoid injuries," he told POPSUGAR. "As the person advances and the air squats become easier, they should try regular squats and jump squat intervals because it will keep their heart rate high and in the anaerobic part of their workout. Then weights should be added to the squats that will lead to more calories being burned as well as increasing the BMR (basal metabolic rate) and cardiovascular for burning a higher amount of fat."

Using Your Bodyweight Is a Functional Movement

Some people may be so into weightlifting that they dismiss bodyweight moves and neglect the importance of functional movement for not only muscle building but overall fitness. Certified personal trainer Kendall Janicola, NCSF and instructor at Fhitting Room in New York City, told POPSUGAR that air squats are a functional movement with a "plethora of benefits," even if you just use your bodyweight.

White agreed that squats are an essential move for overall fitness. "Squats are one of the most intense exercises you can do," he said. "They work out the complete lower body for an intense metabolism boost." He said that while air squats are a good place to start, you should move on to adding weights to keep boosting your metabolism and burning fat.

So, Do Air Squats Actually Burn Fat?

This answer is a little complicated since you can't spot-target fat loss. If you're looking to lose fat in your lower body, doing an endless number of squats alone won't get you there. You need to lose weight overall to burn fat, and this is done by eating in a calorie deficit and working out. Ultimately, your genetic makeup determines where fat is lost on your body.

However, air squats can help get you there. White said air squats can help you burn fat, but they may not be as effective as other squats, such as squats with barbells or jump squat intervals. Janicola agreed.

"Air squats can and absolutely do burn fat and build lean muscle," she told POPSUGAR. "If you're new to weight training, the air squat is the perfect place to start to turn on those muscles and learn the right technique to get things going." However, you can only do so many air squats for so long before you'll eventually plateau, in which case you should add weight to burn fat, build muscle, and get stronger.

In short: yes, they burn fat, but you shouldn't rely on them as an exercise that will burn leg fat and build your butt muscles. Combined with other strength-training moves, bodyweight exercises, and functional movement, they can help you shed fat and sculpt muscle. Just don't expect that doing 100 air squats a day will magically transform your body (or your booty) - eventually, you'll have to pick up some weights.

Mindful Eating May Be the No-Diet Weight-Loss Solution You’ve Been Looking For

You're snacking on a bag of chips while watching a show. You look down at the end of the episode and realize that you've just eaten the entire bag. Or even if it's not that extreme, maybe you simply don't remember what you ate for breakfast today. It may not seem like a big deal, but it could cause you to unwittingly make bad food choices and/or overeat. That's where mindful eating comes in.

Mindfulness encourages you to be more present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. When this concept is applied to food, it encourages you to be more conscious of what you're putting into your body (as well as environmental sustainability) and to be more in tune with your body's cues (aka whether you're hungry or full). Dr. Lilian Cheung, a nutritionist and lecturer at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Harvard Health that "mindless eating" could be contributing to our national obesity epidemic. On an individual level, being more mindful when you eat can improve your relationship with food and serve as an effective long-term weight-loss solution.

The whole idea is to pay attention to not only what you eat and how much, but what you buy and how you prepare it as well. In doing so, you become much more appreciative of food and you're less likely to overindulge. According to Healthline, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you're full. So instead of scarfing down your dinner, chew and eat slowly and free your table of any distractions. This means not responding to texts until you're finished eating, not scrolling through Instagram as you eat, and not eating in front of a TV.

According to the Center For Mindful Eating, the practice consists of the following:

  • "Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom."
  • "Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body."
  • "Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes, or neutral) without judgment."
  • "Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating."

Apply this practice starting with your next meal!

Umm, Where Has This Keto Snack Subscription Box Been Our Whole Lives?!

Struggling to find new ketogenic diet-approved snacks to munch on when those 2 p.m. hunger pangs strike? Then boy oh boy, do we have a treat for you. We recently discovered Keto Krate, a game-changing subscription service that delivers a boxful of low-carb bites to your doorstep each month. It totally solves the all-too-common issue of spending an entire day checking the nutrition fact labels in your supermarket's snack aisle to make sure they adhere to the keto diet. Been there, done that.

Here's how Keto Krate works: for $35 a month, you receive an assortment of eight or more snacks each containing 5 grams of net carbs or less - all packaged in a nifty orange box that arrives to your home. Plus, the boxes include more than $20 worth of discount codes for all you coupon-lovers out there. Score!

Since the first Keto Krate was sent out, the service has accumulated more than 7,000 subscribers and shipped more than 130,000 Krates that have featured nearly 200 different keto snacks. It's safe to say that keto dieters of the world are quickly catching onto the hype! Ahead, get a peek at some of the goodies included in past Krates to see if you're up for hopping on the bandwagon.

I Tried Tru Women Protein Bars, and They Taste Like Dessert

The protein bar industry is worth more than $800 million. The little prepackaged treats are the ultimate convenience and often claim to be a healthy alternative to a real meal while on the go. I, luckily enough, have tried just about every bar on shelves and am constantly claiming I found "the one" that provides all the things: as few ingredients as possible, high protein, low carb content, and good taste. It sounds near impossible, but the all-female company Tru Women set out to perfect this intricate formula.

Tru Women prides itself on providing plant-based bars and protein powders that are equally dedicated to both health and flavor. That means its products are soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free, as well as free of GMOs and sugar alcohols. Best of all, the flavors of the product line are inspired by dessert, and they all clock in around the magic 200-calorie mark with 12 grams of protein. In fact, the company's founders, Rafferty Jackson and Karyn Gayle, consider their bars "indulgent nutrition."

The bars - Oh Oh Cookie Dough, Daydreaming About Donuts, Smother Fudger Peanut Butter, and Zamn Good Zesty Lemon - taste like no other bar I've ever tried. The usually chalky texture and taste of most protein bars was nonexistent. In fact, each tasted more like a real treat because of the sweetness and brownie-like texture. As a serious peanut butter enthusiast, the Smother Fudger was my absolute favorite, but if you're one to go for something fruitier, the Zesty Lemon is a very refreshing option for a post-workout snack.

I incorporated the bars into my usual fitness regimen or just when in dire need of an on-the-go snack. The best part? I didn't have a bloated feeling or a pang of hunger I can get after eating an unsatisfying bar. These bars are sweet and delicious but made without artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes.

For me, protein and sugar aren't the only important factors when it comes to finding a bar. Ingredients, too, are so crucial for keeping healthy while steering away from anything overly processed. These bars aren't quite as simple as RXBars, which boast only five ingredients, but they don't go overboard either. The Donuts bar, for instance, contains the following: cassava flour, brown rice protein concentrate, roasted almond butter, cane sugar, palm oil, natural flavors, sea salt, sunflower oil, and sunflower lecithin. Not too shabby considering how tasty the bar is.

With convenient snacks, I do worry that by noshing on a chocolate-flavored bar, I'm actually masking my desire for a real sweet treat, like a brownie, rather than a less-delicious version in a package that's fortified with protein. "Something I see pretty often is clients eating so many 'light' versions of something, that when you look at it calorie-for-calorie, they may as well have just had the original thing they were craving," explained New York registered dietitian Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN. Tru Women, however, is fully aware of its bars being a "substitute" for unhealthy, high-calorie treats, which may or may not be the solution for a lot of consumers. The founders explained, "Women are fully formed functioning people who make their own decisions all day long. We just wanted to go into the marketplace to add to their lives, and this is something that's convenient and delicious and also good for you."

The company also makes it a point to be a brand by women, for women. So Tru Women is, according to its founders, "not just marketing to women, but this is who we are. We have women at the table and we prioritize women when we're making business decisions." That's something I feel good about sinking my teeth into.

Sip Your Way Slim With the 5 Best Drinks to Burn Belly Fat, According to a Dietitian

If you're trying to lose weight, odds are you probably want to eliminate your belly fat. After all, visceral fat, or the belly fat stored in your abdominal cavity, is the most dangerous. It's been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

But getting rid of belly fat specifically may be easier said than done. You can't spot-target fat loss; your genetic makeup determines where you gain and lose fat. However, you can lose weight overall, including from your belly, with a mix of dietary changes, exercise, and other lifestyle factors.

When it comes to your diet, it's not just what you eat but also what you drink that's important. If you're downing sugary beverages on the regular, you may be ingesting hundreds of empty calories each day, which can lead to an excess of belly fat. On the flip side, there are some beverages you can drink that can help you lose weight and burn belly fat. We tapped dietitian Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, who told POPSUGAR her top five picks for what to drink to shrink your belly.

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Exercises to Help Reveal Your 6-Pack

Your six-pack is on its way! The important thing to remember is that, as Jillian Michaels has said, "You can't spot-reduce fat." You need to lose overall body fat to reduce your belly fat so you can show off your amazing abs. You can do this through diet and cardio, specifically HIIT workouts. While you're on your journey to get leaner, you still want to include these effective ab exercises to strengthen your core, and once your belly looks slimmer, you'll reveal your sculpted abs.

After Seeing These Bathing Suit Comparison Photos, You’ll Be Psyched About Slipping One On

We're gonna get real here for a moment. We get it. Wearing a bathing suit in public for many women can cause a ton of anxiety if they feel self-conscious or embarrassed about how they look. Mallory King, a fitness trainer and registered dietitian who's lost 80 pounds, gets it too.

She posted these comparison photos as a sort of PSA. She said, "YOU ARE NOT ALONE IF YOU TRY ON SWIMSUITS EXPECTING TO LOOK BANGIN IN IT BECAUSE THE MODEL LOOKS BANGIN IN IT AND IN FACT YOU LOOK LIKE A FRUMPY LEPRECHAUN." Her words, not mine! She added, "And this is not to say I'm not bangin, I sure am, but some things that may look flattering on someone else's body doesn't feel so flattering on mine and THAT'S OKAY. DONT LET IT GET YA DOWN BOO. GO FIND YOU A SUIT THAT YOU FEEL LIKE THE GODDESS YOU ARE IN."

Yes to all of this! This is a great reminder to embrace your unique body and what it's been through, including all its curves, stretch marks (wherever they are), wrinkles, and dimply cellulite. Keep in mind that only about one percent of the population looks like a model (and even they are airbrushed!), and your body is uniquely yours, and that in itself makes you gorgeous.

It's OK if you don't feel confident strutting on the beach in a string bikini. Maybe a tankini is more your speed, or a cute pair of surfer shorts, or a swim skirt. There are a million different brands and styles, so bring your bestie along for a shopping outing so you'll have someone to giggle with, to give you an opinion you trust, and to keep your spirits positive, because this sh*t can be hard emotionally.

At the end of the day, remember that your soul is beautiful, you are kind, generous, and loving, and that's what matters most - not what you look like in a bathing suit. Enjoying yourself at the pool or beach is your decision. You can choose to pout in your lounge chair under a beach towel, or you can choose to be grateful that you're able to enjoy the sun, the water, and the company. What will you choose?

If You Want to Build Muscle Without Lifting Weights, You Need to Read This

One of the quickest ways to build muscle is to begin implementing consistent weightlifting into your workout routine. Weightlifting is effective because it creates micro-tears in the muscle and the muscle then repairs itself becoming stronger, which means you build more muscle. A solid weightlifting routine can help you build muscle fast, but it's not your only option. You can actually begin to build muscle by using just your body. Bodyweight training will not only help you sculpt muscle, but it will also help you to develop functional strength for everyday life.

Bodyweight Training

If you're new to working out, bodyweight workouts are a great place to begin to build muscle. By utilizing your bodyweight, you'll become more functional (being able to jump off a curb without rolling your ankle), stronger, and leaner. The only downside to bodyweight training is that if you're looking to increase your muscle mass or are training for maximal strength, power, and speed, you won't be able to achieve maximal results without weightlifting.

Bodyweight Exercises to Start Doing

If your goal is to see muscle definition, doing variations of exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once will help you reach that goal. Exercises like push-ups, burpees, lunges, and squats are all great bodyweight exercises to do for strength and lean muscle mass.

The Weight Debate

Whether or not you lift weights is 100 percent up to you. If you're happy with how you feel and look by only doing bodyweight exercises, keep it up. If you're looking to continue to challenge yourself, increase your strength, and really sculpt your body, you should consider lifting weights. And if you can't decide on which one is better for you, we suggest implementing both into your routine.