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The "Magic Bullet" for Long-Term Weight Loss: Day 17

I’ve been on many “diets” in the past—always struggling to lose stubborn pounds. And while doing regular cardio has always been part of my routine, it wasn’t until I started incorporating consistent strength training into my weekly routine that I started to notice the biggest changes in my body: I’m leaner than ever, I have more definition in all my muscles, and—without dropping a lot of weight—my clothes are looser.

I won’t say it’s easy. And before I lose you here, think about this: if someone told you they had the “magic bullet” for permanent weight loss, but it would take just about 30 minutes 2 times a week, would you shy away? I know I wouldn’t. I’d say “Sign me up now. What do I have to do?” That magic bullet is a toning routine. In addition to toning, sculpting also builds muscle, which increases the rate at which you burn calories all day long.

So today’s healthy habit is to start a toning routine. For me, I need to get back on the wagon after an extended holiday break (I haven’t been doing my regular sculpting workouts since before the holidays!).

You should be doing 2-3 sets of at 6-7 toning moves on at least two days a week. And no, you don’t need to go to the gym to do them; you can do them right in your living room, but may need to invest in a few relatively inexpensive home workout tools, depending on the workout.

But here’s the key: you shouldn’t just do a few of your favorite moves here and there. Look for a plan created by a trainer that hits different muscles; we feature one in each issue of Shape and here on our website (look for the key words “Home Strength Training Routine”). You can also buy a toning DVD (it’s like having a trainer right in your living room with you!); Shape’s are available from this site: one of my favorites is our Makeover your Hips, Butt & Thighs as it really works my (and everyone’s) top trouble spots. There are also iPhone apps you can buy from iTunes. The great thing about technology is it’s easier than ever to get expert advice in the privacy of your own home. What that means: none of us really have any excuses!

Good luck—and let me know how you’re doing!

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