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7 Clean-Eating Recipes That Prove You Can Eat Bread, Dessert, and (Good) Salads

Eating clean might sound like a whole lot of celery sticks and lemon water, but this week's featured foodie, Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple, proves there's more to (a clean-eating) life. She's sharing her favorite clean-eating recipes, ranging from dinner-worthy salads to homemade, grain-free breads. And don't worry, there's even a chocolate dessert. Hey, looks like we can all get on board with this clean-eating craze if bread and sweets are still in the mix.

1. The Best Kale and Sweet Potato Salad We know what you're thinking... of course boring salads are included in clean-eating recipes. But TBH we're just trying to prove how easy it is to throw together a delicious salad that will fill you up at dinner and clean out your fridge. Use this recipe as a base, because we'll be adding in whatever our fridge has to offer. 2. Roasted Onion Arugula Salad With Creamy Hummus Dressing Don't judge a salad by its simplicity. Roasted Vidalia onions are caramelized to a sweetness that complements savory quinoa, crunchy walnuts, and a homemade hummus dressing tossed with arugula. Pro tip: If you have leftover store-bought hummus, just mix it with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice for a super-fast DIY version. We won't tell. 3. Grain-Free Coconut Shortbread Crackers With coconut flour, cacao powder, and a peach, you might call BS on the fact that these are considered crackers. But if we're comparing to a chocolate chip cookie, these are far less sweet. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl, flatten to a 1/2-inch crust, and bake in the oven for close to an hour. Who cares what you call them? All that matters is they are damn good. 4. Grain-Free Parsnip Focaccia Bread Your Italian grandmother might say WTF at this bread, but we say it's FTW. It may not be as fluffy as standard focaccia, but if you're going grain free or Paleo and you miss bread (who doesn't?), then get out a few parsnips, chickpea flour, and flaxseeds and you're already halfway done. 5. Paleo Sweet Potato Flatbread Sweet potatoes, you just keep getting better. This recipe looks just like the focaccia bread you've already drooled over, but the taters give it a unique (and also drool-worthy) taste. Once you give these no-grain-needed breads a try, you might consider a bread-free life forever. 6. Quinoa Pizza Crust With Carrot Ribbon and Shallots Invite your gluten-free friends over, because you're ready to throw a pizza party. You'll need to be somewhat prepared, because the key to this crust is soaking the quinoa the night before, but then you're just mixing it with veggie broth and flaxseeds before sticking it in the oven. The easy-to-prep toppings give it that gourmet look that will impress guests but keep you stress free. 7. Raw Chocolate Coconut Banana Tart When you think of "clean eating," desserts aren't the first thing to come to mind. But this no-bake, chocolaty recipe is about as squeaky clean as it gets. With a crust made up of almonds and dates and a creamy filling of mostly bananas and coconut milk, we think it's totally OK if you eat this for breakfast.

Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is the founder of The Healthy Apple and best-selling author of Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. She is a Manhattan celebrity chef, nutrition expert, wellness consultant, and motivational speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free clean-eating recipes. Amie lives in New York City, where she cooks for clients with busy lifestyles. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Drowning In A ‘High-Risk Insurance Pool’ — At $18,000 A Year

Some Republicans looking to scrap the Affordable Care Act say monthly health insurance premiums need to be lower for the individuals who have to buy insurance on their own. One way to do that, GOP leaders say, would be to return to the use of what are called high-risk insurance pools, for people who have health problems.

But critics say even some of the most successful high-risk pools that operated before the advent of Obamacare were very expensive for patients enrolled in the plans, and for the people who subsidized them — which included state taxpayers and people with employer-based health insurance.

Craig Britton of Plymouth, Minn., once had a plan through Minnesota’s high-risk pool. It cost him $18,000 a year in premiums.

Britton was forced to buy the expensive coverage because of a pancreatitis diagnosis. He called the idea that high-risk pools are good for consumers “a lot of baloney.”

“That is catastrophic cost,” Britton said. “You have to have a good living just to pay for insurance.”

The argument in favor of high-risk pools goes like this: Separate the healthy people, who don’t cost very much to insure, from people who have preexisting medical conditions, such as a past serious illness or a chronic condition. Under GOP proposals, this second group, which insurers expect to use more medical care, would be encouraged to buy health insurance through high-risk insurance pools that are subsidized by states and the federal government.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan made the case for high-risk pools on public television’s “Charlie Rose” show in January.

“By having taxpayers, I think, step up and focus on, through risk pools, subsidizing care for people with catastrophic illnesses, those losses don’t have to be covered by everybody else [buying insurance], and we stabilize their plans,” Ryan told the TV host.

Minnesota’s newest congressman, Rep. Jason Lewis, a Republican representing Burnsville and Bloomington, recently endorsed high-risk pools on CNN.

“Minnesota had one of the best … high-risk insurance pools in the country,” Lewis said. “And it was undone by the ACA.”

It’s true that the Affordable Care Act banned states’ use of high-risk pools, including the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, or MCHA. But that’s because the MCHA was no longer needed, the association’s website explains; the federal health law requires insurers to sell health plans to everybody, regardless of their health status.

Supporters of the MCHA approach tout a return to it as a smart way to bring down the cost of monthly premiums for most healthy people who need to buy insurance on their own. But MCHA had detractors, too.

“It’s not cheap coverage to the individual, and it’s not cheap coverage to the system,” said Stefan Gildemeister, an economist with Minnesota’s health department.

MCHA’s monthly premiums cost policyholders 25 percent more than conventional coverage, Gildemeister pointed out, and that left many people uninsured in Minnesota.

“There were people out there who had a chronic disease or had a preexisting condition who couldn’t get a policy,” Gildemeister said.

And for the MCHA, even the higher premiums fell far short of covering the full cost of care for the roughly 25,000 people who were insured by the program. It needed more than $173 million in subsidies in its final year of normal operation.

That money came from fees collected from private insurance plans — which essentially shifted a big chunk of the cost of insuring people in the MCHA program to people who get their health insurance through work.

Gildemeister ran the numbers on what a return to MCHA would cost. Annual high-risk pool coverage for a 40-year-old would cost more than $15,000 a year, he says. The policyholder would pay about $6,000 of that, and subsidies would cover the more than $9,000 remaining.

University of Minnesota health policy professor Lynn Blewett said there is a better alternative than a return to high-risk pools. It’s called “reinsurance.” In that approach, insurers pay into a pool that the federal government administers, using the funds to compensate health plans that incur unexpectedly high medical costs. It’s basically an insurance program for insurers.

The big question is whether lawmakers will balk at the cost of keeping premiums down for consumers — whatever the approach, Blewett said.

“The rub is, where that funding is going to come from?” she said. “And is the federal government or the state government willing to put up the funding needed to make some of these fixes?”

The national plan Ryan has proposed would subsidize high-risk pools with $25 billion of federal money over 10 years. The nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund estimates the approach could cost U.S. taxpayers much more than that — almost $178 billion a year.

Researchers at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company say reinsurance would likely cost about a third of what the high-risk pool option would.

This story is part of NPR’s reporting partnership with Minnesota Public Radio and Kaiser Health News.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

To Pay Or Not To Pay – That Is The Question

K.A. Curtis gave up her career in the nonprofit world in 2008 to care for her ailing parents in Fresno, Calif., which also meant giving up her income.

She wasn’t able to afford health insurance as a result, and for each tax year since 2014, Curtis has applied for — and received — an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s coverage requirement and the related tax penalty, she says.

This year, given President Donald Trump’s promise to repeal the ACA, along with his executive order urging federal officials to weaken parts of the law, Curtis began to wonder whether she’d even have to apply for an exemption for her 2016 taxes.

She also heard that the IRS recently flip-flopped on its previous decision to reject 2016 tax returns that don’t include the taxpayer’s health coverage status.

“I thought, ‘Maybe I won’t have to apply for the exemption again,’” says Curtis, 59. “The public debate about the law makes it confusing.”

Indeed, there’s widespread confusion among consumers about the status of Obamacare, and because of that, they are uncertain how to handle Obamacare-related tax requirements.

Should you still submit your 1095 tax forms that show when you were covered — or, if you purchased a plan from an exchange, the amount of tax credits you received? Should you apply for an exemption from the Obamacare coverage requirement?

If you were uninsured in 2016 and don’t qualify for an exemption, should you pay the Obamacare tax penalty?

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths floating around,” says Lawrence Pon, a certified public accountant (CPA) in Redwood City. “Some of my clients ask me, ‘Does the law still exist?’”

It sure does.

As a result, California tax experts have some relatively simple advice for confused taxpayers.

“Until Obamacare is no longer the law of the land, we don’t have much choice other than to continue under the current rules and regulations,” says Janet Krochman, a CPA in Costa Mesa.

Death, Taxes And Obamacare

This year’s tax filing deadline is April 18.

And as many of you learned in the past few years, Obamacare and taxes are inextricably linked.

As part of filing your tax return, you need to prove you had health insurance, or pay a penalty, unless you qualify for one of the law’s exemptions.

If you bought coverage through a health insurance exchange such as Covered California and received federal tax credits, which are based on an estimate of your income, you must report whether your actual income varied from your estimate. Since most of you received tax credits in advance, if there’s a difference you may either owe or be owed money.

Many tax preparers say they’d rather not deal with the law’s arcane and complex requirements. But every single one I spoke with says they will continue doing so as long as former President Barack Obama’s health law exists.

“I tell everybody I want all of their forms. We’re going to document everything,” says Rebecca Neilson, a registered tax preparer in Sheridan, about 40 miles northeast of Sacramento. “I’m not going to change what I’m doing because the law might get changed.”

However, a recent IRS switch has fueled hopes among some consumers that the agency won’t enforce the Obamacare tax penalty for 2016.

On 1040 tax forms, taxpayers must check a box attesting that they had health care coverage, or enter their penalty amount if they didn’t.

For the first two tax years that Obamacare was in effect, the IRS accepted tax returns that didn’t include this information but often followed up with taxpayers to get it. For 2015, about 4.3 million taxpayers did not check the box, claim an exemption from coverage or pay a penalty, according to the IRS.

The IRS had said it would start rejecting those forms outright for the 2016 tax year — until Trump signed his executive order.

Citing the order, the agency now says it will continue to process tax forms that don’t include a taxpayer’s health coverage status. “This is similar to how we handled this in previous years,” says an IRS statement.

At the same time, the agency says it will continue to enforce the health law and may follow up with taxpayers who withhold their coverage information.

“Legislative provisions of the ACA law are still in force until changed by the Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe,” the IRS statement says.

Mixed Signals

Andrew Porter, a CPA in Contra Costa County, believes that the agency “has just added to the confusion” with this change but that taxpayers shouldn’t be lulled into complacency.

“They have to enforce the law,” he says. “It’s exactly the same as last year.”

Though Porter doesn’t advise it, if you choose not to report your coverage on your tax return, he urges you to make sure you have your 1095 form so you have proof of coverage.

“If the IRS does come calling and says you owe this penalty, producing that document may be very useful,” he says.

Michael Eisenberg, a CPA in Encino, acknowledges that there may be consumers who owe a penalty and are hoping that a repeal in the coming months would get them off the hook.

They could request a tax-filing extension, allowing them to submit tax forms to the IRS in October, he says.

But that’s not a sure thing and would require any change in the law to be retroactive to the 2016 tax year, he says. If the penalty is not forgiven, they would have to pay it, plus interest.

“Maybe there will be clarity by October, maybe there won’t be,” Eisenberg says. “You can take your chances, but what’s the likelihood the law would be repealed retroactively? I don’t think it’s that great.”

Krochman, the Costa Mesa CPA, has a few clients who owed the penalty in previous years but haven’t paid it.

“They’re kicking the can down the road in the hopes there will be retroactive removal of the penalty once the law is repealed or replaced,” she says. “What happens down that road, we don’t know.”

Given the uncertainty, my biggest piece of advice is, and always has been, to consult with a tax professional. If you can’t afford it, multiple programs offer free tax help, including the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, run by the IRS (www.irs.gov/VITA) and the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program (www.aarp.org/findtaxhelp).

In the face of the confusion, Curtis, of Fresno, erred on the side of caution.

“I ended up deciding this year to go ahead and file the exemption paperwork and be safer than sorry,” she says. “It is the law, and we’re stuck navigating our way through it, as difficult as it may be.”

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Liberal Vermont Tests The Waters On GOP Health Care Overhaul

Tiny — and very blue — Vermont could be at the leading edge of the health reforms envisioned by the Trump administration and a Republican Congress.

The Green Mountain State, population around 626,000, got a broad waiver last October from the federal government to redesign how its health care is delivered and paid for. The statewide experiment aims to test new payment systems, prevent unnecessary treatments, constrain overall growth in the cost of services and drugs, and address public health problems such as opioid abuse.

The six-year initiative — an outgrowth of a failed attempt by Vermont a few years ago to adopt a single-payer plan for all residents — could eventually encompass almost all of its 16 hospitals, 1,933 doctors and 70 percent of its population, including workers insured through their jobs and people covered under Medicare and Medicaid.

The Obama administration approved the experiment, but it fits the Republican mold for one way the Affordable Care Act could be replaced or significantly modified. The Trump administration and lawmakers in Congress have signaled that they want to allow states more flexibility to test ways to do what Vermont is doing — possibly even in the short-term before Republicans come to an agreement about the future of the ACA.

Two Republican senators, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine, introduced legislation in January that would permit individual states to design their own health reforms and keep provisions of the health law intact.

Coincidentally, the ACA contains a provision that allows states to launch such experiments starting this year, as long as they meet the ACA’s overall goals for coverage expansions and consumer protections. One possible scenario, then, is that the Trump administration and Congress would agree to retain a version of that provision — modified to make it easier for states to experiment, experts say.

“It’s a very reasonable approach, especially if it looks as if Congress can’t agree on an immediate replacement plan,” said Stuart Butler, a senior fellow in economics and health policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. “States have long been the laboratories for social change and policy reform, and I think many governors, Republican and Democrat, would welcome this opportunity.”

Chris Jennings, a longtime health policy adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, said Democratic states also may be amenable. “There’s a long way to go on this and there are downsides — for example, what would state legislatures actually do — but it looks like it will be a meaningful debate.”

‘We Want To Simplify How Things Work’

Al Gobeille, Vermont’s secretary of Human Services and a Republican serving under newly elected Republican Gov. Phil Scott, said the hope is that the Trump administration will preserve the state’s initiative.

“We are doing what [the Republicans] seem to be talking about,” said Gobeille, who owns a restaurant company in the state. “We want to simplify how things work, with both coverage and access to care. We want to enhance competition and we want to lower cost growth even as we improve quality.”

Scott and Gobeille this month announced the formal launch of the program’s pilot phase. In 2017, 30,000 of the state’s roughly 190,000 Medicaid patients will get care, under a set budget, through an organization called OneCare Vermont. OneCare’s network of hospitals and doctors already provide care to about 100,000 Vermonters.

The state will give OneCare $93 million, in monthly payments, for the care of the 30,000 Medicaid patients — $3,100 per person. If OneCare spends more than $93 million, the company will absorb the loss. If OneCare spends less than that amount, the company and the state share the savings.

“This tests the concept of a global budget and streamlined payment which incentivizes better care,” says Todd Moore, OneCare’s CEO. “We may be a small state but we are trying a big thing. If it works, many states are likely to stand up and take notice.”

Moore added that patients will be informed they are part of the program and can seek redress with the state’s Department of Human Services if they feel their care is stinted in any way.

In announcing the pilot program, Scott said that if it’s successful the experiment will be expanded in 2018 and beyond to encompass the rest of the Medicaid population, Medicare beneficiaries and people who have insurance through private employers and on their own, including through Vermont Health Connect, the state’s Obamacare insurance exchange. Additional hospitals, doctors and other providers would become involved, likely under the umbrella of OneCare Vermont.

Medicaid covers almost 30 percent of Vermont residents, Medicare covers 21 percent, and the rest have either private insurance, coverage through the VA or Tricare (military) or are uninsured. About 4 percent of Vermonters were uninsured in 2015, one of the lowest rates in the nation.

Under the terms of Vermont’s contract with the Obama administration, the target for the state’s maximum overall cost increase in health spending would be 3.5 percent per year from 2018 to 2022 — that’s two percentage points lower than the annual 5.6 percent average increase in health care spending nationally the federal government projects between this year and 2025.

Success or failure will also be assessed based on population health and quality of care measures. For example, the plan calls for a reduction of substance abuse deaths by at least 10 percent by 2022. Likewise, the plan sets a target for not more than a 1 percent rise statewide in the number of people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The allowance for the slight increase takes account of the state’s aging population.

The number of people with ready access to a primary care physician will also be evaluated, with a target of 90 percent of residents by 2022.

A Shift From ‘Fee For Service’

To make all this work, almost every doctor and hospital would have to join OneCare Vermont or create their own accountable care organizations, or ACOs. In these organizations, providers agree to work together to improve and coordinate care and reduce spending under a set budget.

ACOs are also set up to allow payers to gradually shift to global per-patient payment, or other simplified forms of payment, and abandon traditional “fee-for-service” payment. Fee-for-service payment in medicine is widely viewed as providing incentives for excessive and wasteful care, as well as fraudulent billing. Both the Affordable Care Act and a 2015 law setting up an incentive-payment system in Medicare for doctors take major steps to test whether ACOs and alternative payment systems improve the efficiency and quality of care.

Vermont’s initiative builds on those efforts.

Some in Vermont are skeptical the experiment will work well, however. Paul Reiss is a family doctor in Williston and chief medical officer for HealthFirst, Vermont’s largest independent practice association. HealthFirst represents (but does not own or operate) 66 doctor groups with 250 doctors, physician assistants and nurses. Reiss said the state’s largest hospital system — the University of Vermont Medical Center — dominates health care in parts of state.

“We are fearful that much of a restricted pot of money will still go mostly to that company, baking in the inefficiencies of a bloated hospital budget, and not be deployed equitably to the front lines of patient care across the state,” Reiss said.

The University of Vermont Medical Center vigorously denied that its budget was bloated. Moore, who is affiliated with the hospital as well as being OneCare Vermont’s CEO, said: “Statewide data do not confirm those assertions. The medical center is, in fact, a strong leader in ushering in a value-based system for Vermont.”

Scott, in announcing the launch of the pilot phase this month, said if it does not work this year, the state would consider terminating the experiment early.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

6 Ways to Prevent Snoring

Snoring—that loud, hoarse breathing during sleep—is a nuisance, whether it affects you personally or the person you share a bed with. And that's a lot of people, since 37 million people are consistent snorers, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The sound originates in the very back of the mouth, where the soft tissues of many structures meet. When these tissues vibrate together, snoring occurs. This phenomenon is much more common in men than in women, and usually increases with age. Generally, snoring is not a cause for concern, unless it interferes with the sleep of others. But in some cases, it can be a sign of a serious medical condition called sleep apnea. In sleep apnea, people actually stop breathing for about 10 seconds at a time throughout the night, causing dangerous dips in blood-oxygen levels. According to the National Institutes of Health, this disorder may contribute to high blood pressure and even stroke. Anyone who snores on a regular basis should be medically evaluated to rule out this condition. If sleep apnea is not involved in your snoring, then there are lots of techniques to try that may help reduce or even eliminate snoring. Here are six simple suggestions that may help to reduce snoring: 1. Lose weight if you're overweight. Excess weight can contribute to a host of health problems, but it also narrows the airway, increasing the likelihood that those tissues will rub together. 2. Limit or avoid alcohol and other sedatives at bedtime. These substances relax the airway, leading to snoring. Limit yourself to less than one drink daily for women, or less than two drinks daily for men, and consume your last drink at least four hours before bedtime. 3. Avoid sleeping flat on your back. Back-sleepers are more prone to snoring since this position allows the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway. If you are a habitual back-sleeper, try this method to retrain yourself: Stuff a tennis ball into a sock, and safety-pin the sock to the back of your pajamas. Each time you roll to your back during the night, you'll feel uncomfortable and turn back to your side. 4. Don't smoke. Besides contributing to other respiratory problems, smoking also leads to nasal and lung congestion, which can result in snoring. Take steps to quit today. 5. Avoid secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful, and causes snoring in the same ways actual smoking does. Encourage your loved ones to quit, and avoid smoky restaurants and bars. 6. Improve your fitness level. When you have poor muscle tone, you're more likely to snore. Exercising tones and strengthens muscles all over the body, while also regulating your sleeping patterns. Aim for at least three cardio sessions and two strength training sessions each week. In most cases, snoring isn't caused by one single factor, but a combination of many. If these suggestions don’t work, see you doctor for more ideas. There are lots of products and procedures designed to reduce snoring, from removable plastic nasal dilators to nasal surgery. If you or your loved ones are suffering from snoring, a good night’s sleep may be just a doctor’s visit away.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=853

4 Easy Ways to Assess Your Well-Being

You're committed to a healthy lifestyle. You hit the gym every day when they open their doors, ditch soda for water, and brought healthy fruits and vegetables back to the center of your plate. Then you step on the scale, only to find that you haven't lost a single pound after all your hard work. Is it even worth it? Of course, the answer is yes. Although weight loss can take time, there are other changes happening in your body—and mind—that you can't ignore. After just a few days of sticking with your healthy lifestyle plan, you might start to notice a difference in your energy level, stress level, quality of sleep and overall feelings about yourself. By tracking your progress in these areas, you can stay motivated and learn to appreciate all the little improvements you are seeing, regardless of what the scale tells you. Taking a daily stock of your energy level, stress level, sleep quality and self-esteem is important for everyone who is trying to live a healthier life. It will help you notice trends and patterns (you tend to eat more on high-stress days or sleep better when you exercise in the morning) so that you can tweak your plan for optimal results. And it can help you appreciate the small achievements—like feeling more confident when you exercise regularly. That's why we recommend recording these wellness measurements on a daily basis. Here are some tips for assessing your daily wellness in each of these four areas. Energy Level On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest), how is your energy level today? Do you feel full of vigor and ready to tackle the challenges of the day (5), as if you can barely drag yourself out of bed (1) or somewhere in between? Many factors can affect your energy: how much you slept the night before, how stressed you are, whether you're exercising too much or too little (both of which can zap energy), and the quality of your diet (too many sweets and not enough nutrient-rich foods can both be culprits). Serious health conditions like depression or anemia can also affect your energy levels, so talk to your doctor if you notice a long-term trend of tiredness. Stress Level On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest), how would you rate your stress level today? Do you feel like you're about to bite someone's head off (5), like everything just rolls off your back (1) or something in the middle? Stress affects more than your quality of life. It can contribute to high blood pressure and hinder your weight loss, making you want to eat more or causing you to eat as a way to relieve stress. There are many ways to reduce stress, from exercising and meditating to simply relaxing or practicing breathing exercises. Looking for some easy ways to reduce the stress in your life? If you notice a problem with stress, learn how to deal with it in a healthy way before it gets the best of you. Quality of Sleep On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest), how well did you sleep last night? Did you feel well-rested when you woke up this morning (5)? Did you toss and turn all night and feel terrible today because of it (1)? Something in the middle? Like stress, poor sleep can lead to a host of other health problems, from weight gain to a suppressed immune system. SparkPeople's Better Sleep Resources can help identify your sleep problems and suggest ways to improve the quality of your shut-eye. Self-Esteem On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest), how good do you feel about yourself today? Do you feel confident and self-assured like a rock star (5), like you don't matter and there's nothing good about you (1) or something in the middle? Your self-esteem goes hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle. If you don't think you're worthy of good nutrition, moderate exercise, and a better body, then you can lose your motivation to make the right choices. When you feel like you're worthwhile, you're more likely to make the best possible choices to care for yourself. It isn't easy to go from chronically low self-esteem to high confidence, but it is possible. Learn how you can use exercise, positive self-talk, and yoga to feel better about yourself and your body. It's easy to get caught up in the numbers—calories, pounds and pants size. But taking these daily wellness measurements is a good reminder that your overall feelings of health and well-being are just as important!Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=1358

Depression in Men: Why It's Different

For many years, mental health professionals viewed depression as primarily a women’s disease. Of the 11 million Americans diagnosed with clinical depression every year, less than 1 in 10 were men; and an even larger percentage of people actively seeking treatment for this problem were women. Likewise, the majority of reported suicide attempts were made by women. But there was one troubling statistic that made this stereotype of depression as a woman’s condition a little hard to swallow—that 80 percent of the people who actually died by suicide were men. As researchers began to dig a little deeper, trying to understand this apparent contradiction, it gradually became clear that depression is just as common among men, but men simply weren’t seeking or receiving treatment in proportion to their numbers. Many factors, including both cultural stereotypes and biological differences, made men less likely to report symptoms of depression, and their health professionals less likely to identify the problems they did report as symptoms of depression. This situation has changed quite a bit recently. Last year, more than six million men were diagnosed with depression. But many men (and the people around them) may still have trouble recognizing that their problems are caused by depression that needs to be treated. Here are some things you need to know to avoid this problem. Depression can look different in men. Most experts believe that although the basic symptoms of depression are very similar in men and women, men express them very differently. Here are the differences most often seen:

  • Depressed men are more likely to notice and report the physical symptoms of depression:
    • Tiredness
    • Sleep problems (trouble falling or staying asleep, insomnia, sleeping more)
    • Lack of energy
    • Changes in appetite (increased or decreased)
    • Chronic muscle tension  
  • Depressed men are less likely to exhibit and report the emotional symptoms of depression. This may be due mostly to cultural stereotypes that view the expression of certain emotions as “feminine." In some cases, men may be aware of their feelings of sadness, hopelessness and guilt, but feel compelled not to talk about them. In others, these feelings may be suppressed and go unrecognized. In either case, depression may go unrecognized because the tell-tale symptom of low mood appears to be missing.  
  • Depressed men are more likely to display behavioral signs that aren't easily recognized as signs of depression:
    • Unusual degrees of irritability, anger, and/or aggression
    • Blaming others for problems
    • Alcohol and drug abuse
    • Attempt to manage their moods by taking on more activities, like working overtime
    • Engaging in high-risk behaviors such as dangerous sports, gambling, or compulsive sexual activity  
  • Depressed men are less likely to display the behavioral signs that are commonly associated with depression, such as spontaneous crying, loss of interest in usual activities, and thoughts or talk of death or suicide.
These patterns are not rigid. Many men will experience the same basic symptoms common among women, just as women may experience the symptom patterns described above. And any given individual may experience a combination of “male” and “female” symptoms. If you or someone you know seems to be experiencing unusual or unexplained increases in the physical or behavioral problems mentioned above for two weeks or more, talk to your doctor. There’s a good chance that those problems are signs of depression, and effective treatments are available.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=828

Allergy-Proofing Your Home

Allergic reactions to everyday substance in the home can make life uncomfortable, no matter how much medication you take. Avoiding known allergens and making your home as allergen-free as possible can help minimize your symptoms and increase your quality of life. While no home can ever be 100% allergen-free, with the right steps you can reduce your exposure to common substances like dust mites, pet dander, mold and pollen. Reducing Dust Mites Dust mites are microscopic, eight-legged insects that are mainly found in bedding, curtains and carpeting. Dust mites are a significant cause of indoor allergies—up to 10% of the U.S. population is sensitive to these tiny organisms. An allergic reaction to dust mites can include itchy eyes, a runny or chronically-stuffy nose and other symptoms that often worsen during the night. The first step to reducing your exposure to dust mites is to remove the carpet from your home, especially in the bedroom. A hard surface such as hardwood is ideal, as it can be cleaned with a damp cloth or a sponge mop. If you can’t remove all the carpeting, you should vacuum daily and use special carpet treatments that inactivate the accumulated allergens and reduce the dust mite population. Frequent vacuuming is needed to remove surface allergens from carpets, however many vacuums simply blow allergens into the air. Replace your standard vacuum bag with a high filtration multi-layer bag and add a vacuum exhaust filter. To reduce the number of dust mites in your bedroom:

  • Use zippered covers on all mattresses, box springs, and pillows.
  • Wash all blankets, sheets, and pillowcases in hot water (set your water heater for one hundred and thirty degrees) at least every two weeks.
  • Replace down comforters and feather pillows with synthetic fibers.
  • Keep your bedroom as dry as possible by using an air conditioner during hot, humid weather. (Dust mites need humidity to thrive.)
Control Animal Dander Contrary to popular belief, it’s not animal fur itself that causes allergies, but a protein in the saliva, urine and skin flakes (dander) that remain on an animal's coat. To minimize your exposure to this protein:
  • Keep your pet out of the rooms you use most frequently, such as the bedroom and the living room.
  • Have other family members bathe and brush your pet as often as possible.
  • If you are severely allergic, you may have to keep your pet outside or separated from you more often.
Minimize Mold Mold spores thrive in warm, moist, and humid areas. Take the following steps to reduce the amount of mold in your home:
  • Remove and discard any curtains, carpeting, or wallpaper that show visible signs of mold.
  • Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom and use them frequently.
  • Use dehumidifiers in damp areas like basements to remove water from the air. Keep the humidity in your home below 50% to prevent the growth of mold. Humidity gauges are available at any hardware store.
  • Clean shower curtains, tiles and grout regularly to prevent mold from building up.
  • Avoid storing clothing or other items in damp areas like the basement.
  • Don’t lay carpet in damp areas such as kitchens or bathrooms. Use ceramic tiles, vinyl flooring or laminates instead.
  • Use interior paints that contain an added mold inhibitor whenever you paint in a damp area, especially in the bathroom, kitchen and basement walls made of brick or cinderblock.
  • Place a chemical moisture-remover, such as calcium carbonate, in moist closets to prevent mold growth, or add it directly to damp shoes and boots.
  • Store firewood outside, as it is naturally covered in mold.
Mold can be removed from surfaces and walls by using a solution of one part bleach to 20 parts water. Dead mold can still cause an allergic reaction, but bleach has been found to reduce the severity of the reaction in susceptible people. Limit Pollen Even if you don’t have plants and flowers in your home, pollen can still be carried in from outdoors. The following steps will help to minimize the amount of pollen in your home:
  • Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible during pollen season and use an air conditioner to cool the indoors.
  • Install an air filtration system with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter to remove pollen from circulating air.
  • Bathe pets often to reduce the amount of pollen they carry into the home.
  • Dry your clothes and bedding in a dryer instead of using an outdoor line since pollen can cling to fabric and be transferred into your home.
Nearly all allergens thrive in moist, damp environments, so keep your home as cool and dry as possible. While it’s virtually impossible to completely remove all allergens, regular cleaning and taking preventative action will make your home as comfortable as possible for allergy sufferers.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=843

The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness

If you’ve wanted to cook healthier meals, lose weight, or get some self-help advice, chances are you’ve looked to a brand or a person to help guide you on your journey. And there's a very strong chance that person is on our annual list of the most influential people in health and fitness.

Our 2016 list makes one thing clear: Body positivity is finally mainstream. You’ll also notice plenty of household names, another indication that wellness is increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives.

We compiled this list based on a strict set of criteria—check out our methodology at the bottom of this article. And while we may not agree with everyone’s approach, we can’t deny their impact on the way we think about health.

Photo: JP Sears 100. JP Sears The Wellness Satire King Sears is a hard nut to crack. He’s an emotional healing coach who pokes fun at the more woo-woo side of wellness. He catapulted to internet fame in May with his spot-on satire in the viral video If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans. The three-minute clip has tons of memorable one-liners, including, “Broccoli, that’s what my food eats. That’s my food’s food, and I don’t appreciate you eating that.” Photo: Whole Foods 99. Adriene Mishler The YouTube Yogi The actress and yoga guru is the creator of Yoga With Adriene, a YouTube channel (and lifestyle) loved by yoga newbies and experts alike. Mishler's channel has nearly 2 million followers, and it’s easy to see why: Her sequences are easy to follow and smooth, making them perfect for yogis of all levels. She kicked off 2017 with “Revolution,” 31 days of yoga videos that challenge her viewers to practice daily. We can’t wait to see what Mishler has planned for the rest of the year. Photo: CrossFit 98. Rich Froning The CrossFit King A CrossFit legend and four-time winner of the “Fittest Man on Earth” title, Froning is the guy to see for training tips. His web series, What's Rich Doing?, offers CrossFit plans at every level to those who want a workout just like Froning’s. Whether his huge Instagram following comes from fitness advice, baby pics, or the many shirtless shots is unclear; suffice it to say, we’re all interested. Photo: Fit Bottomed Girls 97. Jennipher Walters and Kristen Seymour The Fit-Everything Gurus Fit Bottomed Girls publishes content for real women (and men!) interested in deprivation-free health. Cofounded by Walters and Erin Whitehead (though now operated by Walters and Seymour), Fit Bottomed Girls grew from a blog to a brand—with offshoots for food and moms, a book (The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet), and a sizable social community. Photo: Sophie Gray 96. Sophie Gray The Feel-Good Social Media Maven Even in today’s world of Instagram empires, Gray’s stands out. Maybe it’s her unfailing positivity or her commitment to advocating for self-love over any diet or fitness regimen. Either way, 2016 was a killer year for her. Gray's business, Way of Gray, launched a Self-Love Challenge that asked thousands of women to take small, daily steps toward self-acceptance, and we were on board. Photo: Facebook 95. Jennifer Cohen The Trendspotter Cohen is all about finding workouts you can do anywhere. The fitness expert’s most recent book, Strong Is the New Skinny, goes beyond training the body to encourage readers to get stronger physically, mentally, and nutritionally. Cohen’s no-nonsense approach to getting healthy has won her many fans, and she’s a frequent guest on shows like Good Morning America and Dr. Oz. Her favorite piece of advice? “The only time greatness comes before hustle is in the dictionary.” We can’t argue with that. Photo: Facebook 94. Sohee Lee The Beauty and Beast Lee wants to be your online personal trainer. But that’s not all there is to know about her. The creator of the Eat. Lift. Thrive. movement is an amateur powerlifter and certified strength and conditioning specialist who also happens to have a degree in human biology from Stanford. (The woman knows what she’s talking about when it comes to fitness.) She’s also super inspiring—Lee overcame an eight-year eating disorder after she discovered weightlifting. Photo: Adam Rosante 93. Adam Rosante The Surfer-Slash-Trainer Rosante is proof that living a balanced, healthy lifestyle can be fun and affordable. His pay-what-you-can fitness classes, The People's Bootcamp, were sold out all year, and at the end of 2016, he released a new book of delicious, nutrient-packed smoothie recipes, Super Smoothie Revolution, for free. Why? This upbeat personal trainer genuinely wants to help people, not just A-list celebs and athletes. Photo: Instagram 92. Dalai Lama The Spiritual Guru Last year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama coauthored a book with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and it really couldn’t have come at a better time. The Book of Joy is about how to find happiness and peace in a changing, tumultuous world, and its success proves just how many people are listening when the Dalai Lama talks about mental and spiritual health. Photo: Tony Gaskins Jr. 91. Tony Gaskins Jr. The Real Love Relationship Advisor With almost 2 million fans on Facebook, Gaskins knows how to inspire the masses. The former drug dealer-turned-motivational speaker has had multiple nationwide tours, launched his own life-coach business, and written more than 20 books. His most recent, The Dream Chaser: If You Don't Build Your Dream, Someone Will Hire You to Help Build Theirs, hit shelves in late 2016. Through his work, Gaskins hopes to provide guidance in relationships, business, and self-development.
Photo: Instagram 90. Chrissy Teigen The Supermodel Foodie Embracing her stretch marks and sharing them with her millions of Snapchat followers, Teigen was one of body positivity's greatest champions in 2016. She's absolutely fearless when it comes to taking down internet trolls; meanwhile, her soft side shines through when she talks about her baby girl and her fertility struggles. In February 2016, Teigen's first cookbook, Cravings, debuted, and while it isn’t filled with the world’s healthiest recipes, it’s clear she has a healthy relationship with food... and with John Legend. Photo: Steve Kamb 89. Steve Kamb The Fitness-Is-Fun Cultivator Everyone interested in physical fitness should feel welcome—that’s why Kamb started Nerd Fitness, a “community of underdogs, misfits, and mutants that can’t wait to help.” On a mission to promote fitness through comics and superheroes, Kamb offers intensive fitness plans, classes, and retreats, as well as free resources to help his “Rebellion” achieve their goals. It’s like the X-Men Academy but for realsies. Photo: Yoni Freedhoff 88. Yoni Freedhoff The Obesity Doctor A self-described “certifiably cynical realist,” Freedhoff discusses evidence-based nutrition and weight management on his blog, Weighty Matters. The author of The Diet Fix and founder of Bariatric Medicine Institute has dedicated his career to obesity treatment and management, and toward abolishing the cycle of failure-oriented fad dieting. Photo: Lewis Howes 87. Lewis Howes The Successful Adjuster After an injury sidelined his professional football career, Howes set his sights on business. His self-help podcast (which also happens to be a book by the same name), The School of Greatness, shares inspirational stories from top athletes, distinguished entrepreneurs, and talented celebs. Always interested in sharing the greatness, Howes also teaches business-growing webinars and runs a mentorship program, the School of Greatness Academy. Photo: Facebook 86. Michael Morelli Former Addict-Turned-Fitness Fanatic After nearly losing his life to drug and alcohol abuse, Morelli decided to get in shape. In fewer than six months, he earned five fitness certifications. He put his knowledge to good use and created HIIT MAX, a weight-loss method that combines high-intensity workouts with a healthy diet. Beyond that, he’s also developed a line of supplements and a seven-day detox program. Morelli has even more planned for 2017, including the release of a new book, The Sweet Potato Diet. Photo: Instagram 85. Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram The Raw Food Proselytizer If you’ve even been curious as to what a raw diet entails, you need to follow Carrillo-Bucaram. The FullyRaw vegan has tons of knowledge: She’s been eating this way for almost nine years and is a triple major in kinesiology, specializing in health science, raw foods, and fasting. Her book, The Fully Raw Diet, hit shelves in 2016, as did her ebook, 14-Day Body Reset. Carrillo-Bucaram also launched her own natural skin care line and is the mastermind behind FullyRaw juice—a subscription service that delivers fresh creations to your door. Photo: Tony Robbins 84. Tony Robbins The Motivation Dealer Robbins has been a leader in the self-help world for decades, and this past year he proved he still has plenty of career and life wisdom to dole out. When he’s not giving motivational speeches or promoting his audio books, Robbins can be found on Instagram and Twitter, encouraging users to be kind and live their best life. His Netflix documentary, I Am Not Your Guru, came out in March 2016, and his newest book, Unshakeable, hits shelves February 28. Photo: Jen Selter 83. Jen Selter Instagram’s Most Famous Backside More than just a “belfie” aficionado, Selter has transformed what started as Instagram fame (she has more than 10 million fans) into a business that includes fitness plans and workout motivation, as well as food and lifestyle tips. A virtual-community advocate, Selter encourages followers to use #Seltering and #JenSelterChallenge to stay connected. Photo: Larry Hamilton 82. John Romaniello Emperor of the Alphas If you just looked at the homepage of Romaniello’s company, Roman Fitness Systems, you'd probably think he’s a stereotypical lifting bro. After all, the page asks users to pick between programs that “make people hot” and “get people huge.” It also reminds you to “choose wisely.” But that’s just Romaniello’s signature bluntness (after all, aren’t those two pretty common reasons people want to work out?) When you look beneath the surface, you quickly realize Romaniello is one of the smartest fitness experts of our time, and his style and intellect has struck a chord with thousands of devoted followers. Photo: Michael Pollan 81. Michael Pollan Food Philosopher It’s hard to believe a decade has passed since Pollan published The Omnivore’s Dilemma. That book, along with Fast Food Nation and Food Politics, is credited with changing the way Americans think about their food—where it comes from and how it’s made. Now Pollan is researching a new book on another topic Americans know too little about: the psychedelic properties of plants. He’s already given us a sneak peak with a story in The New Yorker about ongoing medical trials where cancer patients take psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) to help with their anxiety.
Photo: Todd Durkin 80. Todd Durkin Muscle Mogul Durkin is a coach and personal trainer, but there are tons of coaches and personal trainers. Durkin is different, and not just because he works with some of the world's most elite athletes. He's different because he's constantly expanding his practice and his business, growing not only the services he provides (he gets NFL players to try yoga, which, c'mon), but the way he provides them. He has gyms, training programs, speeches, a charity, educational events, and, most recently, a stint on NBC's short-lived reality series Strong. Photo: Eric Cressey 79. Eric Cressey Strength Sensei In the world of personal coaching, there aren't many bigger guns (literally) than Cressey. Though he's an accomplished powerlifter in his own right, Cressey specializes in making athletes better, healthier, and stronger. His high-performance training facility, Cressey Sports Performance, has become a small empire, and he's been able to use YouTube and Facebook to dole out advice and recommendations to people who can't make their way to his gym. All said, Cressey's a coach to thousands of people, and he's making them all stronger and more careful athletes. Photo: Amanda Bisk 78. Amanda Bisk The Social Vaulter Bisk is a former pole vaulter who was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. Her illness forced her to give up the sport for good in 2012. While recovering, she discovered the benefits of yoga and bodyweight training, which she combined to create her 12-week training guide. She’s used her influence to create a robust online fitness community, which includes just over half a million Instagram followers. Photo: Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley 77. Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley The Clean-Eating Sisters The sisters have taken the UK clean-eating scene by storm over the past few years. Their style is simple: They use fresh, well-sourced ingredients to create meals that make you feel energized and healthy. The dynamic duo launched their own TV series, Eating Well With Hemsley + Hemsley, in 2016, and also have their own line of products (aprons, spiralizer) and a London cafe. Photo: Mark Sisson 76. Mark Sisson Primal O.G. A Paleo advocate long before it was trendy, Sisson practices what he preaches tenfold, overseeing the growth of Primal Kitchen restaurants (coming to California, Oregon, and Indiana), The Primal Blueprint book series, and the Primal Health Coach program. The former elite marathoner and triathlete also blogs regularly on Mark’s Daily Apple, covering everything from recipes and workouts to supplements and general health. Photo: Instagram 75. Tom Daley Diver-Turned-Lifestyle Blogger The British diver walked away with a bronze at the London Olympics, but he managed to steal the show (and our hearts). He was back at it again in Rio, winning another bronze in men’s synchronized diving. But he’s not just an Olympic athlete; he’s also a lifestyle guru. In December he released Tom’s Daily Plan—part cookbook, part fitness plan, part self-help guide. Photo: Facebook 74. The Final Five The Olympic Darlings We don't know how you would have missed it, but in case you did: The Final Five dominated the Rio Olympics. On top of breaking the record for the number of medals won by a U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, and Aly Raisman became instant role models for kids all around the country because of their strength, talent, and poise. Not bad things to be known for, if you ask us. Photo: Joe Cross 73. Joe Cross The Juice Man We’re pretty sure Cross is the reason juicing went mainstream. Even though his documentary, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, was released seven years ago, it continues to inspire millions of people around the world to start their own juicing journey. Meanwhile, his latest film, The Kids Menu, tackles the issue of childhood obesity. Cross's most recent book, Juice It to Lose It, helps juicing newbies, while the newly launched juicing certification program recruits anyone passionate about wellness who wants to help inspire others. Photo: CNN 72. Sanjay Gupta, M.D. The Newsroom Doctor As CNN’s chief medical correspondent in an election year when health care was one of the central campaign issues, Gupta had a busy 2016. He spent days detailing the dire consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act and explaining why he’s now in favor of medical marijuana. He’s still a practicing neurosurgeon, plus he somehow found time to meditate with the Dalai Lama. Does this doc sleep? Photo: Bret Contreras 71. Bret Contreras The Glute Guy Contreras wants to make your butt look better. The author and trainer says he developed an obsession with glutes after growing up with none to speak of. Now “The Glute Guy” develops programs and writes books to help others attain perfect posteriors. His hip-thrusting workout has undoubtedly transformed the lives—and butts—of hundreds. Contreras also holds a PhD in sports science and fills his Instagram with information about new studies, so you know those butt-sculpting workouts are science-backed.
Photo: Michelle Tam 70. Michelle Tam Paleo Kitchen Blogger If you’ve ever googled a Paleo recipe, one of Tam’s creations is sure to pop up. The Queen of Paleo wrote a NYT best-selling cookbook and recently launched a podcast that goes behind the scenes of her blog, Nom Nom Paleo, to dive into delicious recipes, food trends, and Tam's culinary (and nonculinary) adventures. Photo: Mark Bittman 69. Mark Bittman The Plant-Based Convert The well-known food writer dropped a bombshell at the end of 2015: He was leaving his position as a columnist for The New York Times to work at Purple Carrot, a vegan meal kit company (à la Plated or Blue Apron). In May, Bittman announced he was already parting ways with the company. Six months later he was back in the spotlight again with How to Bake Everything, the latest book in his How to Cook Everything franchise. Photo: Gretchen Rubin 68. Gretchen Rubin The Happiness Guru In 2016, author and podcast host Gretchen Rubin continued to give followers straightforward, actionable advice for living their happiest and healthiest lives through her podcast, the Happier 2016 calendar, and her app, Better. In October Rubin spoke at the S.H.E. Summit; she also regularly interacts with readers on social media and at live speaking events. Photo: Joel Fuhrman 67. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. The Nutritarian “America’s Health Coach” is all about eating right and getting enough exercise. In addition to authoring a number of weight-loss books, he’s a frequent guest on health shows and even produces his own: His program, Eat to Live With Dr. Fuhrman, premiered on PBS this past June. Fuhrman’s mantra is “salad is the main dish,” and with all his credentials, maybe it’s time to take his advice. Photo: Kerri Walsh Jennings 66. Kerri Walsh Jennings The Nearly Undefeated Olympian Many people would argue that Walsh Jennings is one of the greatest American athletes of all time—she's the most decorated beach volleyball player ever, for one thing, and she's lost only one Olympic match in her 15-year career. But her influence goes way beyond that: Walsh Jennings boycotted an AVP beach volleyball event last fall after the company tried to change the rules of the game without discussing it with the players. She was advocating for the rights of athletes, and the overwhelming support she received proves that people want her to succeed. Photo: The Fitness Marshall 65. Caleb Marshall The King of Dance Cardio If Zumba showed us that working out can actually be fun, then The Fitness Marshall proves breaking a sweat can be sexy (and even a little silly). In the past year, Marshall has gone from a virtual unknown to a popular YouTube personality, thanks to his dance workouts paired with pop songs. Marshall’s personality is infectious and the comments he makes about his choreo keep his subscribers (all 770,000 of them) coming back for more. Photo: Instagram 64. Misty Copeland The Path Paver On top of dancing lead roles in several American Ballet Theatre productions, Copeland spent 2016 cultivating her position as a national role model and advocate for racial and body diversity. She had some help from the release of her Barbie doll and the three-part interview she did with Barack Obama, but really, it was all her. Photo: Robb Wolf 63. Robb Wolf The Original Paleo If you’ve got questions about eating Paleo, Wolf is the man to ask. He uses his serious science know-how (he's a former research biochemist and review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism) to help people understand the benefits and reasoning behind following the eating plan in his podcast, speaker series, and best-selling book, The Paleo Solution. His newest book, Wired to Eat, comes out this March. Photo: Dolvett Quince 62. Dolvett Quince TV’s In-Demand Trainer Despite the controversies surrounding The Biggest Loser in 2016, Quince continues to be one of the most in-demand fitness specialists and influential figures in the health and body transformation space. When he's not training contestants on the hit show, he's working on partnerships with brands like Dr. Scholl's, Trop50, and Brookstone. Photo: Kimberly Snyder 61. Kimberly Snyder Food-Is-Makeup Artist Snyder’s personal health mantra is something we can all relate to (or at least hope to): Life is about progress, not perfection. In her most recent book, Radical Beauty, written with Deepak Chopra, M.D., Snyder shares practical tips to help you “progress” to your highest potential of beauty and health through sleep, natural living, and foods. She influences some of Hollywood’s biggest names (Drew Barrymore, Kerry Washington, and Reese Witherspoon) via her blog and podcast, but her newest and most important client is likely the baby she had this past year.
Photo: Mary Helen Bowers 60. Mary Helen Bowers The Ballerina to the Stars If you’ve taken a ballet-inspired fitness class in the last few years, you likely have Bowers to thank. After dancing with the New York City Ballet for a decade, she pirouetted onto the fitness scene after training Natalie Portman for her role in Black Swan. Today she regularly teaches classes at her Ballet Beautiful studios in New York and posts two new workouts per month via an online streaming service. Photo: YouTube 59. Kelly Starrett The Standing Evangelist For years Starrett, a renowned CrossFit coach and physical therapist, has preached the importance of functional fitness. He even created a movement and mobility course for CrossFit trainers, so they can craft WODs that focus on getting fit for life—not just reaching a new PR. This past year Starrett published Deskbound, a scathing critique of how much we sit and an action plan for how we can change that. Photo: Gary Taubes 58. Gary Taubes The Conversation Starter Never one to shy away from controversial topics, science writer Gary Taubes addressed America’s guilty pleasure head-on in 2016, ending the year with his newest book, The Case Against Sugar. He also wrote a popular editorial for the LA Times entitled “Why Do We Get Fat?,” gave several lectures, and continued to serve on the board of the nonprofit he cofounded, Nutrition Science Initiative. Photo: David Perlmutter 57. David Perlmutter, M.D. The Brain Food Doctor Five years after making a big splash with Grain Brain, a book that claims low-carb diets decrease your risk for neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, Perlmutter is back with The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan. The book and television special offer recipes and advice about how to ease into a gluten-free lifestyle. And like his first book, this “life plan” is plenty controversial among neurologists and other mainstream medical authorities. Many are quick to point out that research doesn’t show a gluten-free diet can prevent brain disorders. Photo: Instagram 56. Bethenny Frankel Svelte Business Savant An OG Real Housewife and a trained chef, Frankel continues to dominate with her line of Skinnygirl products, which includes everything from margaritas and power bars to shapewear, blenders, cookbooks, and more. Frankel also blogs about food, home organization, and happiness on her website, and continues to tell it like it is on the RHONY. Photo: Facebook 55. Tom Brady The Health-Obsessed Quarterback Brady might be one of the best quarterbacks to ever play football, but that's not why he's on this list. He's on this list because his commitment to health and healthy eating borders on insanity in a really impressive way. His cookbook, TB12 Nutrition Manual, aimed to share his healthy diet with a wider range of people, and judging by its crazy popularity, it did exactly that. Photo: Reebok 54. Gigi Hadid The Model Who Packs a Punch If you don't know who Hadid is by now, you might be living under a rock. In one year, she went from little-known daughter of a Real Housewife to full-blown top supermodel status. But don't write Hadid off as just a pretty face. Aside from walking in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and hosting the American Music Awards this year, the girl kicks ass regularly in the boxing ring at Gotham G-Box, was named a Reebok brand ambassador and face of its #PerfectNever campaign, and opened up about her anxiety and social media bullying. Photo: Tim Ferriss 53. Tim Ferriss The Productivity Hacker Ferriss is truly a master of many trades, and preaching about health has always been one of them. In 2016 alone he dedicated episodes of The Tim Ferris Show, his No. 1 ranked podcast, to meditation, one-minute workouts, dramatic diet plans, and the changing food industry (plus so, so, so much more). With each episode, Ferriss guides millions of people to live better, healthier lives, and that's still impressive even after all these years. In his newest book, Tools of Titans, he's sifted through hundreds of hours of expert interviews to present the most helpful daily tips and habits. Photo: Instagram 52. Serena Williams The Unapologetically Strong Athlete Despite spending 2016 cementing her reputation as one of the best athletes of all time, Williams is constantly assaulted with critiques of her body and her femininity. But she doesn't take the criticism sitting down—Williams endlessly defends her strength and her aggression, and in doing that, she's correcting our society's unhealthy relationship with female athletes in a really essential way. Photo: Martha Beck 51. Martha Beck The Leader Life Coaches Turn To Known as the guru who coaches other life coaches, Beck has spent much of the past two decades at the pinnacle of the self-help world. With more than a half-dozen books under her belt, she took a turn this year, publishing her first fictional tale, Diana, Herself: An Allegory of Awakening. In true Beck fashion, it’s a fable—there has to be some life advice in there somewhere!
Photo: David Wolfe 50. David Wolfe The Raw Environmentalist If you’re not a raw foodie, Wolfe might persuade you to start taking a big bite out of that head of broccoli. His magnetic energy and appreciation for organic foods, outdoor adventures, and the environment are basically why he wants to make every day "the best day ever." But while his teachings inspire his more than 10 million Facebook fans, he's caught some heat from science advocates who scrutinize his preachings. One thing we can all agree on? Wolfe has delicious and healthy smoothie recipes. He is the spokesperson for NutriBullet, after all, so it makes sense. Photo: Training for Warriors 49. Martin Rooney The Battle-Prepping Trainer If you combined CrossFit with the Spartan race, you’d get Training for Warriors, a seriously intense strength and conditioning program with a killer community of motivated followers. Rooney created the program nearly 30 years ago while training MMA fighters. Now it has expanded to 250 locations in 30 countries. This year he published The Book of 5 Things, a follow-up to his best seller, Rooney’s Rules. Photo: Kris Carr 48. Kris Carr The Plant-Passionate Survivor Wellness activist, plant eater, and green juice drinker Carr is in her 14th year of living with a rare, incurable stage-4 cancer. Scratch that: She’s not just living, she’s thriving in a world where the odds are against her. Now she’s an inspiration to not only cancer patients but to anyone who wants to live a happy and healthy life. Carr has revolutionized the way we think about cancer both with her documentary, Crazy, Sexy Cancer, and her ongoing Crazy, Sexy book series. Photo: Facebook 47. Rich Roll The Ultra-Inspiration Roll is really, really fit. He's literally famous for it. His books, podcast, and blog all focus on how he fuels his ultra-marathoner body with a plant-based diet, and his advice and inspiration reach millions. Roll spent the past year focusing on growing and engaging his community, and that paid off—more people than ever are learning from and improving because of him, and that's incredible. Photo: Instagram 46. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson The Relatable Strong Man In the past few years, The Rock has proven he’s so much more than a wrestler with a signature eyebrow raise. In 2016, Johnson launched Project Rock, an apparel and accessories line for Under Armour; had a leading role in Disney’s animated film Moana; and shared plenty of motivating selfies from the gym with his 77 million followers on Instagram. Oh yeah, and he was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive, begging the question: Does Johnson ever sleep? Photo: Saks Fifth Avenue 45. Anna Kaiser The Cardio Dancer 2016 was a big year for celebrity trainer and fitness pro Anna Kaiser. After creating an on-demand platform and app to bring her dance-inspired interval method, AKT, to the masses, she partnered with Target to create her own apparel and accessories line, C9 Champion Limited Edition by Anna Kaiser. Inspired by her own changing body during her pregnancy, Kaiser made sure items were available in sizes ranging from XS to 4X. Photo: Josh Axe 44. Josh Axe Food-As-Medicine Doc Axe made a name for himself by promoting natural medicine—the use of food or things found in nature to cure ailments. He’s amassed an impressive following (6 million readers flock to his site every month for recipes, advice, and access to supplements), and he just published Eat Dirt, a book that gets into the nitty-gritty of so-called “leaky gut.” It’s worth noting that even though he’s branded himself “Dr. Axe,” he’s not an M.D. Axe's schooling is in natural medicine, chiropractic, and nutrition. And he has gotten himself in hot water by publishing information—like the claim that whole grains and peanut butter lower your metabolism—that’s not backed by science. Photo: Instagram 43. Lena Dunham Hollywood’s Women’s Health Champion Dunham is unflinchingly open about her personal life, so we know a lot about the health struggles she went through this year. You could argue that veers into TMI territory, but since she spoke at length about endometriosis (which is chronically, dangerously underdiagnosed), we're thankful she's bringing it some attention. Plus, her newsletter, Lenny Letter, and podcast, Women of the Hour, remain two of the only places we see an open discussion about women's health happening in a mainstream way. That's major. Photo: Dave Asprey 42. Dave Asprey The Highly Caffeinated High-Fat Exec You may not be familiar with his name, but chances are you know about Asprey's invention: Bulletproof coffee. The concoction, which mixes a cup of joe with two tablespoons of grass-fed butter and two tablespoons of coconut oil, put Asprey on the map. It’s purported to have major health benefits, such as boosting metabolism, upping alertness, and increasing stamina. And though the scientific community has had lukewarm feelings about Asprey, that hasn’t stopped him from achieving big wins. In 2016 his podcast, Bulletproof Radio, continued to top the iTunes charts, and he expanded the Bulletproof Training Institute—a program that trains people to become successful coaches—internationally. Up next: Head Strong, a two-week plain to boost your brainpower. Photo: Dr. Oz 41. Mehmet Oz The Controversial TV Doc Though we could argue forever about whether or not Dr. Oz is a good influence, there's no question that he has influence. With an Emmy-winning TV show, a wellness magazine, several books, and a massive social following, everything Dr. Oz says reaches millions of people. Whether he's endorsing veganism or Donald Trump's health, people are listening, and that makes him endlessly relevant to the health world.
Photo: Arnold Schwarzenegger 40. Arnold Schwarzenegger The Renaissance Man The bodybuilder-turned-actor turned-politician added another title to his résumé this year: host. Schwarzenegger replaced our current Commander in Chief as host of The Apprentice. Schwarzenegger also made headlines by selling apparel with his new catchphrase: “Come with me if you want to lift.” He says he wants to inspire a new generation of people to be healthy and claims the movement starts with a t-shirt, but we have yet to hear about next steps. Photo: Amy Schumer 39. Amy Schumer The Comedian Who Claps Back Amy Schumer has done her time as a Hollywood It Girl, and she did it without ever fitting into a size 2. That'd make her a de facto body-positive advocate, even if she didn't spend half her time shooing away trolls on Instagram and generally defending her right to be normal, hot, and cool at any size she wants to be. Photo: Joseph Mercola 38. Joseph Mercola, M.D. The Alternative Medicine Evangelist Mercola’s alternative medicine philosophy has earned him an army of followers and skeptics. His homeopathic ideals and line of health supplements may be controversial. Yet, as the doctor’s highly trafficked Instagram page proves, Mercola’s theory that “proper nutrition, not medicine, is the key to good health” seems to resonate among his followers. Photo: Facebook 37. Shaun T Blokker The Insane Trainer Though it's been a few years since Insanity was the workout program to do, its creator still preaches health and hard work above all else. Last year, Shaun T's podcast, Trust & Believe, really took off, as did his line of apparel. Plus, the online community he's created continues to be an essential resource for men and women trying to get healthy (and get abs). Photo: Iskra Lawrence 36. Iskra Lawrence The Unretouched Model Who's Lawrence, exactly? The body-positive advocate went from virtual unknown to that model who’s front and center in Aerie’s unretouched ads. She has inspired millions of people (seriously, she has 3.2 million followers on Instagram) with her message: “When you know that your value is not based on your jean size, not based on the scale, not based on how someone looks at you… Then you can't let anyone bring you down." Photo: Lisa Lillien 35. Lisa Lillien No-Longer-Hungry Health Guru Lillien (a.k.a. Hungry Girl) is all about big portions that are still healthy. What started as a weekly recipe newsletter over a decade ago has spawned everything from cookbooks to a TV show. In 2016, Lillien added another book to her collection, Hungry Girl Clean & Hungry: Easy All-Natural Recipes for Healthy Eating in the Real World. Photo: Mark Hyman 34. Mark Hyman, M.D. The Top Functional Doc Avocado lovers praise him because he just may be the It Guy who made eating fat cool. In his latest book, Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health, he scientifically backs up why eating fat doesn't make you fat. Did we mention he's a New York Times best-selling author, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, founder of the UltraWellness Center, and regular contributor to the Today Show and Good Morning America? All we can say is he's definitely not eating sugar to maintain that high-energy lifestyle. Photo: Facebook 33. Tony Horton The Supercharged Trainer Though he's been on the fitness scene for close to 30 years, Horton's empire hasn't stopped growing. What started as a personal training business evolved into his famous P90X workout. From there, Horton launched even more fitness programs, and then some books, motivational speeches, and a line of skin and hair care products. Horton is endlessly relevant and a constant inspiration, and he's not going anywhere. Photo: Gabrielle Bernstein 32. Gabrielle Bernstein The Positive Spirit Junkie The next time you’re feeling down, open up Bernstein’s latest book, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith. The certified yoga instructor, motivational speaker, and meditation teacher preaches how to truly live life by achieving happiness, security, and clear direction. Named the "next-generation thought leader" by Oprah, Bernstein hosts frequent empowerment workshops, and her Spirit Junkie daily affirmation app reminds us all to stay positive. Photo: Chris and Heidi Powell 31. Chris and Heidi Powell America's Fittest Couple Husband-and-wife duo Chris and Heidi Powell are best known as the co-hosts of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss. While the show was on hiatus in 2016, the Powells promoted their newest book, Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days, and unveiled the America’s Fittest Couple Challenge. Recently they’ve championed the importance of taking small steps to lead a healthier life, but they’ve been criticized in the past for promoting unhealthy and unrealistic weight-loss practices.
Photo: Instagram 30. Tracy Anderson The A-List Body Sculptor Anderson might look unassuming, but don't let that fool you—she's one of the toughest trainers out there. Her Method is favored by Hollywood A-listers (Tracee Ellis Ross and Olivia Wilde are two recent recruits), but it's available to the rest of us too: Between physical studios, online videos, workout apparel, and a newsletter, if you want Anderson to work you into shape, you'll be able to find a way. Photo: Anna Victoria 29. Anna Victoria The Transformer Ranked as one of the top trending fitness icons by Google in 2016, Victoria made headline news for socially sharing her stomach rolls, not just once, but multiple times. This kind of honesty made her a key player in the body-positivity movement that has inspired thousands of fitness and social media influencers to share their own non-posed, imperfect photos. That, on top of the success of her Fit Body Guides and hosting several meet-ups with her community of #fbggirls all over the U.S., lands her at 29 on our list. Photo: Vani Hari 28. Vani Hari The Reigning Queen of Controversy Hari, the activist behind and founder of Food Babe, is no stranger to controversy, but she doesn’t let haters hold her back. While many believe she makes claims about food additives based on suspect science, she’s still a force for change when it comes to common foods known for artificial ingredients. Ahem, your PSL from Starbucks didn’t have artificial coloring in 2016 thanks to Hari's lobbying the year prior. She also continues to stream downloadable clean-eating guides and meal plans for her readers. Photo: Melissa Hartwig 27. Melissa Hartwig The Brains Behind Whole30 If it weren't for Hartwig, the cofounder of Whole30, we'd all still be stuffing our faces with brownies and potato chips. Designed to give us a 30-day break from processed crap, the Whole30 eliminates any foods that might be negatively impacting our health (good-bye, dairy, bread, desserts, and booze). It sounds tough, but it's actually totally doable because the approved recipes are out-of-this-world delicious. Photo: Marion Nestle 26. Marion Nestle The Food Politics Professor Nestle might be the most unassuming force in the health world. She publishes books and research at basically the same frequency that everyone else publishes brunch photos on Instagram, and while she doesn't have a TV show or a branded diet plan, she does have a 2016 James Beard Award for her book, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning). She's quietly schooling the world on food politics and nutrition, and we need her. Photo: Instagram 25. Gwyneth Paltrow The Wellness Starlet The goddess of Goop recently made headlines after advocating jade eggs for vaginas. We thought Paltrow would stop at vaginal steaming, especially since critics were quick to debunk it, but she even went so far as to suggest that we burn our bras to get over an ex-lover. At least she came back down to Earth a little bit with her latest cookbook, It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook. Photo: Chalene Johnson 24. Chalene Johnson The Organized Entrepreneur While Johnson is best known for her fitness DVDs (she has the Guinness World Record for producing the most workout videos), she’s spent the last few years transitioning into more of a self-help guru. Her newest endeavor, the SmartLife Push Journal, is a planner on steroids—and she says it's the secret to how she’s been able to manage her chaotic life. Photo: Natalie Jill 23. Natalie Jill The Relatable Digital Darling If you’re looking for some serious fitness inspiration on Instagram, look no further than Jill. The certified trainer posts daily videos of equipment-free exercise routines anyone can do. But she wasn’t always this healthy. For years Jill struggled to find helpful resources to get her physical and mental health in check after giving birth and getting divorced. In 2016, she released a new book, Natalie Jill's 7-Day Jump Start: Unprocess Your Diet With Super Easy Recipes. Photo: Instagram 22. Michelle Obama The Fit Former First Lady In her last year in the White House, Obama set up her public health campaign, Let's Move!, with all the tools it needs to succeed without her. She showed off her organic garden one more time, she tended to her beehives, and more than anything else, she made sure we all knew that as First Lady, she changed the national discussion about health and obesity. Photo: David Martinez 21. Tara Stiles The "Do You" Yogi Since starting Strala Yoga, Stiles’s life has moved at lightning speed. And while her unique take on yoga is now taught by instructors around the world, she knew it was coming at a cost. In a vulnerable blog post last August, she revealed she had a miscarriage three years earlier and later struggled with marital problems. The solution? Make more space for herself. That meant slashing her schedule and really focusing on the things that brought her joy. The best part of this story is that Stiles recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Photo: Joy Bauer 20. Joy Bauer TV's Top Nutritionist Even if you don’t know Bauer by name, chances are you’ll recognize her. The registered dietitian has made hundreds of appearances on Today as the show’s nutrition and health expert. Last year she released a new cookbook, From Junk Food to Joy Food, based off a recurring segment where Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb challenge her to make healthier versions of their favorite comfort foods, from mint chocolate chip ice cream to buffalo wings. Photo: Kathryn Budig 19. Kathryn Budig The Intentionist Best known as a yoga teacher, Budig wants to inspire others to find balance beyond the mat. And that’s exactly what she does in her newest book, Aim True. The self-help paperback includes yoga sequences, recipes, homeopathic self-care remedies, and an introduction to meditation. It’s basically Wellness 101. Photo: Facebook 18. Ronda Rousey The Fierce Fighter Rousey is all fierceness and strength, and she's been redefining what female athletes look (and act) like since she stomped onto the scene. Last year brought her return to the ring, and it doesn't even matter that she lost—the fact that she was there at all is proof she's still pushing MMA to be a sport with space for women. Photo: Arianna Huffington 17. Arianna Huffington The Thriving Media Mogul Huffington spent years pouring her heart and soul into the Huffington Post, but 2016 was the year she stopped. Instead she turned her focus toward the health and wellness universe: Her new project, Thrive Global, promises to make companies and workers' relationships to them healthier. Since it's Huffington behind the wheel, we trust they're going to do it. Image: Reebok 16. Emily Skye The F.I.T. Phenom Recently named one of Reebok's global fitness ambassadors, the Australian fitness pro has been in the game for years, inspiring her millions of fans through her F.I.T. programs and her honest social posts. But being this influential isn't always easy. "You can't please everyone, and sometimes I get upset," she says. "But then I remember why I'm doing this—to truly help people. So all the hate, bring it on, because it's worth it." Photo: Wikimedia Commons 15. Jillian Michaels The Tough Trainer (With a Softer Side) 2016 was the year Michaels proved she’s more than just the tough trainer you’ve seen on TV by letting the world in on her personal life. She starred in her own reality show, Just Jillian, on E!, where fans got to see her balance family life with a busy career. Plus, motherhood and her partner Heidi’s pregnancy inspired Michaels to write a new book for moms, Yeah Baby: The Modern Mama’s Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby, and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever. Photo: Daily Burn 14. Bob Harper America's Top Trainer Harper slipped in our ranks this year. The former Biggest Loser trainer transitioned to host the hit reality show's 17th season but faced a lot of controversy surrounding the show and his training methods. Nevertheless, he continues to push people to the next level with his 60-day Black Fire program on Daily Burn. Photo: Instagram 13. Rachel Brathen SUPer Instagram Yogi If you know Brathen better as Yoga Girl, you're one of 2 million. Brathen has (what she calls) the largest yoga Instagram in the world, and she uses it to share wisdom, inspiration, and, most recently, prenatal yoga poses. On top of this, Brathen hosts yoga classes, retreats, and workshops, and publishes yoga books, so it's clear she's committed to the craft. And judging from the amount her community grew last year, her influence isn't waning. Photo: Facebook 12. Jamie Oliver The Celebrity Chef With a Cause Between his cookbooks, TV shows, social presence, and new line of cookware products, Oliver is an active figure in millions of kitchens around the world. That means his commitment to sharing healthy recipes directly affects a lot of people. He's helping usher in a generation of healthy eaters, and for that, we should thank him. Photo: Andrew Weil 11. Andrew Weil, M.D. Integrative Medicine Guru It only took 40 years, but the rest of the world finally caught up with Weil. Since 1975 he’s preached the importance of integrative medicine—an approach that aims to heal mind, body, and spirit—and touted the significance of an anti-inflammatory diet. Both concepts have finally become popular among mainstream audiences. Weil is still regularly criticized for not favoring evidence-based medicine, but given his track record, it’s a safe bet that most of his claims will eventually be supported by research.
Photo: Khloé Kardashian 10. Khloé Kardashian The Fitness Diva Two things are for certain: Kardashian is on a fitness journey, and she isn’t one to shy away from controversy. We saw that first with the release of her book, Strong Looks Better Naked. Now she's taken things to the next level with her new show, Revenge Body. The program is similar to other extreme weight-loss shows, except contestants want to get a “revenge body” to prove someone wrong. Kardashian argues the best person you can get revenge on is your former self, but after watching the trailer, we’re not sure we buy that explanation. Photo: Jessamyn Stanley 9. Jessamyn Stanley The Body-Positive Yogi Four years ago Stanley started taking photos of her yoga practice to document her progress. At first she couldn’t help but look at her stomach. “But over time, I realized that I’m really strong to be able to hold these poses,” she told The Guardian. “My belly is there, and I’m still strong.” And to Stanley’s surprise, her photos went viral. She never intended to change the face of yoga, but by putting herself out there, she did. Now Stanley has a book, Every Body Yoga, due out in April, plus she recently modeled for Lane Bryant’s activewear campaign and she also made our list of 34 Under 34: The Rising Stars in Health. Photo: Deepak Chopra 8. Deepak Chopra Alternative Medicine Advocate Chopra has a lot of thoughts about meditation, spirituality, and alternative medicine, and he has a lot of ways of sharing those thoughts with the public. Books? Check. Apps? Check. Talk show appearances? Check. Musings on the universe via Facebook video? Check. For better or for worse, the forum doesn't really matter—people are listening to pretty much everything Chopra says, no matter how he says it. Photo: Jen Widerstrom 7. Jen Widerstrom The Most Authentic TV Trainer The weight-loss expert and Biggest Loser trainer continued to slay on the hit show, landed in several glossy health and fitness magazines, and released her new book, Diet Right for Your Personality Type. But even people as seemingly perfect as Widerstrom have moments of self-doubt. She kept it real last year in a viral Instagram post that showed her belly rolls. "I wanted to post it and let people know where I was at, that I struggle too, and it’s OK to struggle. But we can also rise above it because we have each other," she says. Photo: Tone It Up 6. Karena Dawn and Katrina Hodgson The Girls Toning It Up Online These real-life besties are the creators behind Tone It Up, the über-popular fitness program with workout videos, a six-week meal plan, and an impressively engaged community of followers. Since launching TIU just over seven years ago, Dawn and Hodgson have developed a multimillion dollar brand. And that brand is only growing, especially after recent collaborations with activewear brand Bandier and Perfect Fit Protein. Photo: Facebook 5. Phil McGraw The Intervention-Loving Talk Show Host Oprah's one-time protégé remains a force in his own right—McGraw's talk show, Dr. Phil, consistently tops ratings and pulls in several millions viewers every day. Though he's dabbled in diet plans and nutrition, Dr. Phil's focus has always been rewriting how Americans think about mental health. And he does that on a truly massive scale. Photo: kaylaitsines.com 4. Kayla Itsines The Fitness Queen of Instagram The Fitness Queen of Instagram slipped from our No. 1 spot this year, but don’t let that fool you—Itsines is still as powerful as ever. She transitioned her Bikini Body Guide PDFs to the new Sweat With Kayla app (a brand shift we totally applaud), took an online community and brought it to life via boot camps, and wrote her first book, The Bikini Body 28-Day Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide. Photo: Cassey Ho 3. Cassey Ho The Internet's Pilates Princess If you needed proof that social media sensations aren’t going anywhere, Ho is it. The YouTube guru continues to expand her growing empire year after year. Her channel, Blogilates, has grown to 3.5 million subscribers and counting. She partnered with 24 Hour Fitness locations to launch her workout method, POP Pilates, as an IRL workout. On top of all that, she launched a brand new workout program, PIIT28, a Pilates version of intense interval training; her own line of trendy activewear, POPFLEX; and still somehow has time to tease us (and her 1.3 million followers) with mouthwatering food photos on Instagram. We don’t know how she does it. Photo: Weight Watchers 2. Oprah Winfrey The Weight Watchers Media Mogul One of the many through lines in Winfrey’s career is her lifelong struggle with her weight. And when it comes to living healthy, she hasn’t always given the best advice. (There was that time she wheeled out a wagon with 67 pounds of animal fat, representing the weight she lost on an all-liquid diet, at the start of her 1988 season, for starters.) Now she’s living a much more balanced life. As the new face of Weight Watchers (with a 10 percent stake in the company), she assures us she loves bread. She eats it every day and still managed to lose 40 pounds on the program. Photo: Facebook 1. Ashley Graham The Barrier-Breaking Model In case you somehow missed it, 2016 was the year body positivity became mainstream. We learned to rethink what health and beauty look like, and Graham was (and still is) at the forefront of that revolution. On top of maintaining an Instagram full of gym selfies, killer model shots, occasional cellulite snaps, and inspirational body-positive wisdom, Graham was honored with her own Barbie (with thighs that touch, of course) and launched a swimwear line. She also became the first plus-size model to be featured on the covers of Vogue and Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. We'd say she's making waves alright.

A note about our methodology: This list is intended to highlight people who had the greatest impact and reach in health and wellness—they're not necessarily people we personally endorse.

The order is determined by a long list of criteria. We started with a list of nearly 300 individuals nominated by the Greatist staff and Greatist ambassador network. We then created a scoring system based on the following categories: followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube; studies published; professional degrees and certifications; number of Google News mentions; number of products created (including starring TV and film roles); brand partnerships; and an estimate of how much each person's career focuses on fitness and health.

This data was collected primarily throughout the month of December 2016. We tallied each individual’s score, then arranged the list from highest to lowest and used our qualitative judgment (a.k.a. the Greatist editorial staff had a good old-fashioned debate) to fill in the gaps. We purposefully excluded most health care executives, professional athletes, and spiritual leaders, unless we felt they strongly contributed to health, fitness, or mental health. If you think anyone is missing, please reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Written by Evin Billington, Jeff Cattel, Rebecca Firsker, Madison Flager, Romena Ibrahim, Jess Novak, Caroline Olney, Molly Ritterbeck, and Jamie Webber. Additional research by Amy Eisinger, McKenzie Maxson, and Alyssa Raiola.

Vasectomy didn’t stop Georgia couple from having a baby anyway

You might remember the story of a Georgia woman, who was quite surprised to learn she was pregnant because her husband had had a vasectomy.

Well that couple has now welcomed their fourth child.

>> Read more trending news  

 Back in August, Tim Brummel posted a video on YouTube about the couple’s unlikely pregnancy.

The video starts with Tim explaining how he surprised his wife, Rachel King Brummel. He said for a few days, she had been "acting pregnant," feeling a bit nauseated, hungry and tired. They thought it was impossible, since Tim had recently undergone a vasectomy.

 

But when Tim called the doctor, he found out it was possible.

Before bed one night, he disabled the water in the house so that the toilets wouldn't flush. The next morning, he tested Rachel's urine in the toilet with a home pregnancy test when she wasn't around.

He broke the news to her with a card, flowers and the positive test.

Tim says there are not too many secrets these days – and that he’s happy to announce their son was born on Feb. 23.

The delivery went smoothly and both mother and baby are healthy and doing well.

They named him Merrit Andrew Brummel.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“We had found out that the name Merrit meant ‘the little famous one’ and it just seemed to fit,” Tim said.

 

Tim said that even though Merrit may not have been in their plans, the couple is grateful for him and knows God has something special in store for him.

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