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Question From Megan S.

I strength train twice a week, and my arms still have zero definition. What am I doing wrong? Megan S., Baltimore, MD

To look toned, you need to keep increasing the weight you’re lifting. “Most women carry a five-to 10-pound purse every day, and then think lifting five pounds at the gym will make a difference,” says trainer and Women’s Health advisor Rachel Cosgrove.

Use this rule: If 12 to 15 reps with a certain weight becomes a breeze, add a few more pounds. Incorporate upper-body moves that target multiple muscle groups (like pushups and rows) and remember that you can’t see muscles if it’s covered with a layer of flab, so do cardio two or three times a week and a eat a balanced diet to reduce your body fat, says Cosgrove.

Don’t wait to shed a few pounds before loving your looks. In a study at the Technical University of Lisbon, women who were counseled to improve their body image lost a higher percentage of weight than those who weren’t. Poor body image can lead to emotional eating and anxiety, which hinder weight loss, says Ph.D. candidate Eliana Carraca. So focus on what you like about your body rather than what you would change.

Best ways to lose weight

  • Think about how much better you feel when you are thinner
  • Eat healthy snacks
  • Limit sugar intake
  • Don’t skip meals

Best ways to keep it off

  • Reward yourself for sticking to your diet or exercise plan
  • Eat plenty of low-fat sources of protein
  • Follow a consistent exercise routine

Best ways to do both

  • Eats lots of produce
  • Control portions
  • Weigh yourself
  • Plan purchases before grocery shopping

The Mental Approach to Weight Loss


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