Three Mistakes Keeping Smart Dieters Fat

Do you make these mistakes in your diet – especially if you are trying to lose weight?

They’re common. Sadly, I’ve made every single one of these dieting mistakes myself – even when I’ve known better.

1. Counting calories. Conventional wisdom says the key to diet success is “Calories in, calories out”. In other words, if you want to maintain your current weight, match the calories you take in through your food and drink to the calories you expend through daily living, activities and exercise. If you want to lose weight, you need to reduce the number of calories you eat / drink. And preferably you will also exercise more to expend more calories.

This theory is somewhat helpful, in that you do need to be aware of how much you are eating and drinking. But the real secret is not in the number of calories you are eating….it’s in the TYPE and QUALITY of the calories.

Also, when it comes to exercise, the calories expended through a typical exercise program are negligible, compared to the calories you expend all day long, through breathing, moving, thinking – in other words, basically through living. So exercise in and of itself does not have the impact most people think, in terms of this obsession on calories. You have to exercise in a certain way to actually burn enough calories to make a meaningful difference.

2. Following diet and food group guidelines from the government. These days the government is an easy target, given Congress’s and the President’s recent abdication of responsibility and common sense, leading up to a government shutdown and almost-default. So….if we can’t trust the government to perform the basics of governing, can we really trust them to provide us with accurate, scientifically-based guidelines for healthy eating?

The answer, unfortunately, is no. The current US guidelines for the composition of a “healthy” diet is weighted far too much toward processed foods such as grains and cereals…and way too little toward natural foods our bodies truly need, such as meat, fowl, vegetables and fruit. This is largely because the huge, rich processed food companies and dairy producers have the most clout with the government….and your local organic farm or dairy has very little clout or influence.

I see the current guidelines at work in the cafeteria at my son’s school. The meals typically feature high carbohydrate, low protein and low fat options. The only milk available is low fat or skim milk – although they think it’s OK to offer chocolate and vanilla milk with added sugar.

To their credit, they also offer fresh vegetables and fruit, and even present these healthy options in an appealing manner. But only about half the kids actually choose – and eat – the fresh stuff.

Our kids – and we adults – don’t need more carbs, more grains, more sugars. We need less of the “three poisons” – white sugar, white salt, white flour. We need more whole fats (including animal fats which currently are depicted as “bad”), more protein, and more fresh vegetables and fruits.

Basically, if you invert the US food pyramid, you will be closer to the healthy diet on which humans thrive.

3. Following a “grazing” eating plan where you’re constantly eating or snacking. The “Eat six small meals a day” fad has been in vogue now for about 10 years and counting. Some people get decent results with this way of eating, at least for awhile. And I think it can help you become more aware of portion sizes and how you can be satisfied with eating less than you usually do.

However, when you eat or graze all day long, you never give your body the chance to go through its normal cycles of hunger and satiety. Your body is constantly digesting food, so your energy levels may suffer. And each “meal” in a six meal regimen has to be pretty small to ensure you don’t consume too much food over the course of each day.

Here’s the other big problem with the six meals a day plan, especially if you are dieting to lose weight:

If you have any kind of issue with food, this regimen presents you with six opportunities per day to overeat, to make poor food choices, to obsess about food or give in to food cravings. Your time and energy is better served by focusing on something other than food.

So there you have it, my top three mistakes that keep smart dieters fat.

Notice I said “smart” dieters. We all make, or have made, these mistakes. Like I said, I’ve made them too, even when I’ve known – from reading, research, and direct experience – that they were mistakes. It’s just so easy to follow the conventional “wisdom”, or do what everyone else around us is doing.

So, what can you do to avoid these mistakes? What are some of the keys to successful dieting?

I’m glad you asked.

I’ve actually written a lot about nutrition and diet choices that promote health and wellbeing – and can provide you with the added benefits of natural, sensible weight loss and dramatic changes in body composition and appearance.

One of the best resources I’ve published is the <strong>“Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program.

The program centers around two major areas:

The first is an approach to exercise and a simple program you can do each day, or every other day, which combines breathing with specific exercises that really hit the major muscles and ramp up your metabolism and fat burning – not only during the exercise period itself, but all day long.

The other area includes specific guidelines and recommendations for your eating plan (notice I said eating, not dieting) which provide you with nutritional strategies to burn fat, lose weight in all the right places, and enjoy optimal energy – all without dieting and deprivation.

Honestly, I’d say the nutrition recommendations alone are worth the price of the program.

There’s just so much crap out there we have to sift through and try to make sense of. In the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program, I’ve done the sifting and analyzing and research for you… and reduced it all to an easy-to-follow set of guidelines and recommendations.

Right now I’m offering the program at a special price. And, if you order within the next 48 hours, I will also throw in one of my most popular special reports – “Eat More, Weigh Less!”

Plus the program includes a special bonus section, “Ten Simple Strategies to Effortlessly Accelerate the Fat Burning Power of Your Body – All Day Long”.

To get more information, or to claim your copy of the program today – including the special bonus report, “Eat More, Weight Less!” – click here.

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2013

Zombies Know: Focus On This If You’re Trying to Lose Weight

Hey, it’s almost Halloween – I couldn’t resist the zombie theme.

But before we talk about zombies, I have an important question for you:

What’s the most important number to focus on if you’re trying to lose weight?

You probably answered, “My weight, of course.”

Good answer. That IS an important number.

But your weight isn’t necessarily THE most important number. Many people underestimate their healthiest weight.

Plus, the main consideration is how you look after you’ve lost some fat and put on some muscle.

When they embark a weight loss program, most people think about losing flab in their waist and hips, because this can have the most dramatic impact on their appearance.

They want to lose the beer belly and the love handles. They want smoother curves. They want a trim waistline and hips.

Some even want to be able to see their abdominal muscles, a la Brad Pitt. (Although we don’t get asLady Zombie good a look at those abs in his latest movie, “World War Z”. I guess the zombies don’t care about what shape you’re in. They’ll eat any human.)

For a long time, doctors and other health experts would laugh at or ridicule this obsession with the midsection. They pushed the BMI, or body mass index, as the most important number to be concerned with.

The problem with the BMI is that naturally big people, people with lots of muscle, can actually have “bad” (too high) BMI’s. For example, Brad Pitt has a pretty high BMI because he has packed on some muscles over the years. But I think he looks pretty healthy, don’t you? (And the zombies chasing him apparently think so too).

Plus, I’ve known plenty of thin people who have great BMI’s, but actually have a fairly high body fat percentage because they never exercise.

The other issue with it: it’s so darn difficult to calculate.

So the BMI has fallen out of favor somewhat.

Guess what? Many doctors and health professionals have come around to our way of thinking. Wanting a trim waist is a worthy goal, after all.

Currently THE most important number is your WHR: your waist-to-hip ratio.

It turns out that your gut size, not your weight, appears to be the best measure of health risk.

It’s been known for some time that extra fat around the midsection is correlated with increased risk of heart attack. This is thought to occur primarily because this type of fat is concentrated around the internal organs.

However, recent studies have implicated a high WHR with increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

So, if you are planning on losing weight, improving your fitness levels, and/or getting healthier — be mindful of the fact that extra fat around the midsection increases your risk for some of the most serious diseases.

Before I forget, here’s how to calculate your WHR:

Grab a tape measure and measure the circumference at the point where your waist is the smallest. This is usually just above belly button level. Then measure the circumference around your hips where they are the widest.

Next, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.

Here’s an example:
Waist measurement is 32″
Hip measurement is 40″
WHR = 32 divided by 40 = .80

So what does this number mean?

Well, the ratios at which increased risk for heart attack, diabetes and high blood pressure starts is 0.95 for men, and 0.80 for women. Higher ratios are worse. If you aren’t already, you want to get under these ratios.

Getting back to the vanity thing: some years ago I developed a program to help me bump up my metabolism in a safe, natural way.

I was trying to improve on the weight loss I had achieved through more “conventional” means. But I didn’t want to go on any of those metabolism boosters, which are basically products with a high dose of caffeine combined with some other stuff that may or may not have any real effect. Mainly they just jack you up so you can’t sleep….and you end up stuffing carbs down your throat in an effort to stave off the inevitable fatigue from not sleeping well…not to mention they also jack up your cortisol levels, which promotes weigh gain in all the wrong places.

Anyways, I wanted safe, natural, and something that wouldn’t involve having to spend hours and hours in the gym.

My refined approach became the heart of the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program, which I recently made available again as an Ebook (available at the Best Breathing Exercises website).

In the program, I emphasize deep breathing and dynamic exercises that concentrate on the torso muscles, including the abdominal, back and hip muscles.

Why? Three primary reasons:

(1) the focus of most people trying to lose weight is to get as lean a waistline as possible, for better appearance;

(2) the muscles of the torso are the largest in the body, so working these can have the greatest impact on your metabolism; and

(3) combining deep breathing with movements that focus on the core area improves appearance more dramatically through toning and strengthening these muscles, as well as improving posture and the health of the internal organs.

This last point is really critical.

It’s typically said in sports that, “When the legs go, the fighter / player is finished”. This is largely true.

But when it comes to competing, and winning, in the ultimate competition – your battle for health, energy and freedom from debilitation throughout your life – the most important area is your core. When the core goes, your vitality begins to dissipate.

This is a truth known throughout the ages, in both Western and Eastern health practices.

In ancient Greece, the ideal physique included a tight waist combined with broad shoulders and strong legs. This same ideal reappeared in the late 1800s and early 1900s in physical culture practices throughout the Western world.

In traditional Chinese medicine, prevention is paramount – and a key focus area for preventive medicine is specific exercises for the torso area.

You see, as you age, your stomach muscles and other support structures in your pelvic area can get weak and, basically, lazy. Years of bad posture from hunching over the computer or tablet and sitting or standing incorrectly, plus the tendency of most people to exercise less and less, leads to less support and tension in your core muscles. This in turn can lead to the development of even worse posture, chronic back and neck pain (and even headaches), and loss of continence (ever have to sprint suddenly for the bathroom, ladies?).

Good tone in your core muscles is also important for the health of your internal organs. It aids in digestive health and more efficient elimination. And, as I said above, we now know that improvements in the waist and hip area can help avoid increased risk for heart attacks, diabetes and high blood pressure — the three major scourges of modern living.

In other words, bending, flexing, stretching, tensing and tightening your core every day should be one of your key focus areas. This is not just a vanity thing (as in, I want a slimmer waist) – it’s truly a centerpiece of vibrant health!

So, while your current weight and goal weight are important numbers, be mindful of your waist-to-hip ratio, your WHR, as you plan and implement your weight loss or fitness program.

And if you’d like to kick start your efforts, get the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program.

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. You control how young you look, feel and do. This is exciting stuff! To help you leverage this power, I’ve put together an excellent exercise and eating plan for you in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program. The specific steps, recommendations and exercises I share with you will put you on the fast track to vibrant energy, fitness and health. And it’s easy to work it into your current schedule. Pick up your copy today at

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2013

Sixty Really Is the New Forty (Lessons from Chuck Norris)

Have I ever told you about the time I met Chuck Norris?

Actually, I didn’t just meet him….I was his bodyguard.

What Karen, you worked as a bodyguard?

Well, not exactly. I did provide bodyguard services a few times to celebrities. Chuck Norris is the only one I can remember (the others were minor celebs who flashed bright, then disappeared).

Chuck Norris was coming into town to promote one of his new movies. I forget the name of the movie. It was the one with the little kid. Supposed to be part action, part comedy. It wasn’t very good. Nevertheless, he had to promote it.

Now, if you’re a Chuck Norris fan, don’t get your pants in a bundle! I am a fan too, especially ofChuck Norris_InvasionUSA early Chuck: the “Lone Wolf McQuade” movies, the “Delta Force” series, “Missing in Action”, “Invasion USA” (which had a really good bad guy – like an albino with no eyebrows – he just looked creepy). Chuck couldn’t act well. But he pulled it off because you just sort of liked the guy.

I’ve also always admired his spinning back kick. Beautiful AND effective. Especially when he’s wearing his cowboy boots.

Anyways, Chuck was coming into town to promote this movie and the promoters wanted to ensure he had plenty of protection. My Tae Kwon Do instructor somehow got the inside track into providing “bodyguard” services. He asked several of us black belts, who were also instructors, to accompany him.

We weren’t really bodyguards, we were more like an extra escort to help out. But hey, it was a chance to meet Chuck Norris! And say we were his bodyguards! What self-respecting black belt wouldn’t jump on that?

So, there we were outside the theater, in position and waiting for Chuck to arrive. The crowds were cordoned off behind barriers. It was kind of exciting, lots of energy, lots of anticipation. We were trying to be cool, of course, like we had actually done this “bodyguard thang” before.

Finally, Chuck’s car pulled up. He got out. I remember my first impression was, “He’s so LITTLE!”

Chuck is not a tall guy, maybe 5’6”. With his cowboy boots on, he’s a little taller. His build was slight too.

My second impression was, “He seems older than I expected”.

I have to admit, at first I was a little disappointed. Here’s this larger than life action hero, and….he’s way smaller than me. (I’m 5’10”, and I’ve never in my life been described as having a “slight” build.) And he’s older than I expected. (Chuck was in the Air Force and ran his own martial arts schools for years before he broke into acting. By this time, he was already well into his 40s. Yikes, did I really say that was “old”?)

However, I quickly recovered because Chuck was also…in great shape! Here was a guy who worked out every day – and I mean, a real workout every day. You could tell. He was fit, he was hard, and he carried himself with great confidence.

I was also won over by his attitude toward us. Here we stood, a bunch of so-called bodyguards who were really just there so we could meet him. But he walked right up to us, smiled and shook our hands, and thanked us for coming. Then he went right over to work the crowd.

I learned a useful lesson that evening. Here was a guy who was short, was “old” – well into his 40’s – and couldn’t act very well. Yet he was producing movie hit after movie hit – action movies, to boot! And he did all of his own fighting and many of his own stunts.

Chuck had obviously made the commitment to get into, and stay in, great shape. And he was committed to his career. He wasn’t letting anyone tell him he was “too old” to do action movies, or crisp fight scenes, or dangerous stunts.

I was in my 30s at this time. But this glimpse into the possible – that you don’t have to give into chronological age as a determinant of what you can or should do, or how much energy you should have, or how you should look or feel – or even the activities you engage in – was quite meaningful.

More recently, we’ve seen Diana Nyad finally accomplish one of her long-lasting goals: to swim from Cuba to Florida.

When I heard she had finally achieved this goal – a 110 mile swim through shark infested waters – I had to read more about it. I mean, I remember being a kid when she first gained fame for attempting to – and often successfully completing – incredible long-distance swimming feats.

We hadn’t heard much about her in recent years. I didn’t even know she was still swimming.

Here’s the really interesting part. Diana has attempted this Cuba to Florida swim several times in the past, at much younger ages. She never could complete it.

This time, she said she knew she would make it. She had confidence from having attempted it before and her experiences with long swims.

More importantly, Diana said she knew she would make it because she felt fitter than ever – at 64! In fact, she felt better attempting this swimming feat at 64 than she did at 40, or even 30.

How cool is that?!

So you see, sixty really IS the new forty. That is not just a cliché.

Often, as people get older, they tend to become less active. This is partly due to life changes, such as increasing responsibilities at work, which can lead to more stress and time required on the job. Getting married or co-habiting and having kids puts additional time sucks on your day. You just don’t have the same free time you did when you were young.

More insidiously, many people begin to shy away from more intense or difficult activities because they are “too old” for it, or they have less energy to get in shape.

But you shouldn’t.

You truly are as young as you feel.

If Chuck Norris can continue to make action movies and TV shows well into his 60’s….and if Diana Nyad can finally accomplish one of her life-long extreme swimming goals at age 60….then you and I can surely commit to a healthy lifestyle including proper exercise and activity every day.

So push yourself to do something today, even if it’s as simple as doing some deep breathing, a few pushups and situps, and some walking. Even a little each day can benefit you. And it can “sneak up” on you too. A little bit today feels so good, you’ll want to do more tomorrow.

Before you know it, your new healthy activity will snowball into your own health and fitness program. One you follow consistently, just like Chuck.

One that will enable you to pursue that big bold goal you may have put aside, just like Diana.

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. You control how young you look, feel and do. This is exciting stuff! To help you leverage this power, I’ve put together an excellent exercise and eating plan for you in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program. The specific steps, recommendations and exercises I share with you will put you on the fast track to vibrant energy, fitness and health. And it’s easy to work it into your current schedule. Pick up your copy today at

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2013

Getting Started Is Half Done

Whenever you have a challenge in life, you eventually reach
the point where you know you have to take action.

No matter how much of a procrastinator you may be, you
finally get to where you’ve had enough of the status
quo, of the limitations, of the fear or anxiety.

So you begin a process of figuring out what to do about
your challenge.

One challenge many of us face is that of maintaining or
improving our health.

You may need to lose weight…or lower high blood
pressure….or you may struggle with how to manage and
transform the stress and anxiety in your life.

Regardless of your motivation or reason, once you have
made the decision – or, I should say, commitment – to
make the changes in your life that will help you improve,
you need to get on a program.

Now, when you hear program, you may think of something
that has to be complex, complicated, perhaps overly

But it ain’t necessarily so.

Of course, you can make things as intricate and
complicated as you want to.

But most of us get overwhelmed with too much complexity.

Simplicity is your friend when it comes to planning and
following a program. Simplicity and certainty help you
stick with the program.

As an example, I organized the <strong>”Fire Up Your Metabolism”
into three main sections.

Each section addresses an important area of your life:

-Improving your breathing, energy levels and the
results you get from exercise;

-Making simple changes to your diet that support a healthy
metabolism and help you lose fat and gain muscle; and

-Small, almost effortless things you can do every day
to help keep your energy and metabolism at high levels.

Many “doers” jump in with both feet and follow all areas
of the program, right off the bat. They have a high level
of certainty in the program, and they see it as a model
for the way they want to live their lives.

However, I think that most people focus in on a couple of
areas first. Then they follow through on the other areas
after they have had some success.

In this case, the certainty comes after the early results,
where they see improvement and are now motivated to do

While I’m all for the “jump in with both feet” approach, I
actually think the “take one or two steps first” approach is
a good one for most people.

This allows you to begin to establish the empowering habits
and routines that will immediately help you…and last for
the long term.

The key is consistency. If you bite off more than you can
chew, you will not be consistent with your program.

For example, you can begin by doing your metabolism-
boosting, fat-burning exercises first thing every morning,
which is activity-oriented.

And you can reduce the amounts of refined, highly processed
carbohydrates you eat and drink, which is diet-oriented.

These are two simple and relatively painless actions you
can take today, without overwhelming yourself.

And you’ll actually see results very quickly.

Remember: Getting started is half done. The hardest
part is to get off your duff and get moving.

You Can Do It!

Karen Van Ness

“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2013

How to Make HIT Training Work For You

How would you like to spend less time exercising…do less exercising when you are working out…and still get great results? How would you like an approach to fitness, getting in shape, losing fat that can actually fit into your schedule, no matter how hectic your schedule is?

In my last tip, I discussed the comeback of HIT training. Actually, it’s more like an ongoing cycle. HIT training seems to periodically cycle up and down in terms of attention, number of adherents, etc.

In today’s society, everyone from parents to executives to business owners to students are busy. So the prospect of trading long, boring cardio sessions of 45 minutes to an hour, three to four times per week…(the traditional area people focus on) for two or three short, 20 minute workouts per week…is a no-brainer for many people!

The trick to keeping your workouts short, yet still achieving good results, is to (1) exercise with sufficiently high intensity, to the point where you are really huffing and puffing; and (2) focus most of your efforts on certain types of exercises.

To point #1: Obviously this means pushing yourself. However, to work at a sufficiently high level of intensity necessitates using an interval, or pulsing, approach.

Interval Training involves working hard for a short period of time, followed by either a complete rest or a slower pace of the target activity. For example, you run at a good clip for five minutes (the work interval), then run more slowly or walk for five minutes (the rest interval). That’s one set.

Or, you perform repetitions of a compound movement, such as a squat or pushup or bench press, and push yourself to momentary muscular failure (that is, you can’t do another repetition without cheating, breaking down in form, or your movement becomes super slow). Then you rest. That’s one set.

Put together a sufficient number of sets of high intensity effort, and you’ve got yourself a super workout! And the good news is, you only need about 20 minutes to complete such as workout. In fact, if you are really pushing yourself, you probably won’t want to do more than 20 minutes!

I think people shy away from high intensity training because they associate it with highly intense levels of effort and think it is too tough for them to do. But the truth is, just about anyone can successfully adapt this type of training, no matter their present level of fitness.

The key is to set the intensity and duration of your work interval at a level sufficient to push yourself — but not push yourself over the edge.

Just about every activity I can think of lends itself to interval training. It just takes a little creativity.

For example, strength training is naturally interval in nature. You perform sets of repetitions of exercises, interspersed with rest periods.

Walking and running are also naturals for intervals. Simply walk or run faster for a period of time, interspersed with periods of walking or running more slowly.

Certain breathing exercises are interval in nature. Typically, each exercise is done for a certain number of repetitions.  You pause briefly (rest interval) and move on to the next one. Also, breathing floods your system with oxygen, creating immediate surges in energy levels and metabolism.

Now, to point #2: Notice that the type of exercising – walking, sprinting, resistance training – as well as the types of exercises – squats, pushups, bench press – I discuss are either full body movement OR compound exercises.

Compound exercises involve multiple body parts. They tend to be the most effective exercises because they involve the large muscle groups, such as quads, gluts, chest and back. These muscles require more energy and focus to work hard. Focusing on them means you can train your entire body with fewer movements.

In addition, compound exercises make much more significant demands on your entire system, especially if you push yourself…meaning more calories burned not only during exercise, but post-exercise.

In fact, a short but high intensity exercise session, focused on as few as five exercises, can actually elevate your metabolism for 24 to 48 hours AFTER the exercise session.

Imagine what this could mean to your efforts to get into better shape, burn off some fat, or get stronger?

You Can Do It!



“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. In the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program, you have a complete, fat burning and muscle toning program at your fingertips. When you perform the core set of exercises in the program, you combine the power of deep breathing, intensity and focus with compound movements activating the large muscles of your body. This combination is a powerhouse when it comes to activating the fat-burning potential of your body.

For more information, or to download your own copy of the program, go to

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2012

Finally – Achieve Your Goal to Lose Weight

If you’re like 80% of adults, you probably made a resolution to lose weight and get in better shape in 2011.

If you want to lose weight, or have been told by your doctor (or a significant other) that you ought to lose weight….I’m here to help you.

But first, full disclosure.

I’ve battled my weight, off and on, for many years now, going back to college days.

Yes, even though I’m a fitness trainer, producer of information products that help thousands of people improve their health and energy levels, a black belt in two martial arts, and a former collegiate athlete – I too have had a few periods in my life when I have been overweight.

When I was overweight, I resolved to diet and exercise in order to lose the pounds and firm up. I typically would join a gym and embark on a conventional program of doing cardio, lifting weights, stretching, and doing lots of abdominal exercises.

I even tried yoga and pilates (before pilates was popular!). I also put myself on a diet and was very careful about what I ate.

I experienced success for a time. I would lose weight, usually up to 10 or 15 pounds. I would be feeling good about myself. Then, I would inevitably hit one of those momentum-stealing, motivation-sapping plateaus, and the weight loss would stop.

It was hard to stay motivated at these times, because the pounds just didn’t come off as quickly as I expected. I felt like I was working so hard and depriving myself. I should have been seeing better results.

Each week, I stepped on the scale. And each week, I was disappointed at my lack of progress. Even worse, I sometimes found that I had gained weight! Maybe it was just “water weight”, but who cares? I was so frustrated and heartbroken that I would cry whenever I looked at myself in the mirror.

I knew there was a beautiful body – MY beautiful body – in there somewhere. But how could I get to it?

If you’ve tried and failed to lose and keep off a significant amount of weight, I’m sure you can understand my frustration and despair.

This is the point at which most people say, “Aw, what’s the use!” and give up on their quest for a great body.

I wasn’t done yet, though. I decided to investigate and try one more thing – something I thought could accelerate my results and melt away the pounds.

Here’s what I discovered:

Through my training in martial arts, energy disciplines and breathing methods, as well as research I have done into old-time methods of physical training and health enhancement, I came to a realization:

All the exercising and dieting I had been doing was good for me, and I was getting some results. BUT I was missing a key ingredient: deep breathing.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to lose weight:

One of the primary actions of deep breathing is to provide the body with ample quantities of oxygen. Oxygen provides the spark which heats up your metabolism, which in turn increases your body’s need for energy, or calories.

When you engage in deep breathing on a regular basis, you pull more oxygen into your system. This causes your body to more quickly burn the calories you take in from food and drink. It then goes into a deficit, and turns to fat stores as an additional source of energy.

Priming this mechanism is the secret to dramatic and lasting weight loss. And the key is oxygen: the more oxygen you take in, the faster the results.

So I leveraged this information I already had, but had taken for granted. I put it to use. And my results were fantastic!

Not only did I lose the weight, including those last 5 or 10 stubborn pounds that you can never seem to get off…I also toned my waistline and core to the point I could actually see my abs!

Later, I shared the exercises and recommendations in this program with a few of my private training clients. They also achieved wonderful results using this method.

Maybe you have a lot of weight to lose. Perhaps you would like to radically improve the results you’re getting from your current fitness or weight loss program. Or maybe you want to lose that last 5 to 10 pounds so you can see your abs.

Whatever your situation, you can put this program to work immediately to help reach your goal.

I call this the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program, because that is exactly what it does.

I encourage you to check it out and put it to work for yourself. You can read more about it at

You Can Do It!

Karen Van Ness

“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. Another full disclosure: I’ve let myself slip – yes, me, the so-called health nut – and I have some weight to lose. One of my priority goals for 2012 is to get back into fighting trim. But I don’t have a lot of time to try to fit in workouts. So I will be following a very focused program – the approach in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program – so I can get the results I want in less time. Why don’t you join me? Discover how at

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2012

This Is Better Than Aerobics

Warning: before you kick off your New Year’s resolution to work out and get in better shape, please read this message. It could save you a lot of time, wasted energy and frustration.

Did you know that your lung capacity is the best predictor of how long you will live?

A number of studies, including the very highly regarded Framingham Heart Study (which has been going on for over 50 years), have found that lung capacity is the best predictor of longevity.

The bigger your lungs, the more air they can process, the longer you live. Unfortunately, once you hit your 30s, your lung capacity begins to decline. In fact, depending on how active you remain, by the time you hit 70 you’ll lose about 50 percent of your lung capacity.

In order to improve and preserve lung capacity, you’ve got to build up a reserve of capacity.

You may think this means jumping into an aerobic exercise program.


Aerobic exercise to a certain point is OK. But unless you are a marathon runner, there is no need to do that much aerobic exercising.

You will make a superior investment of time if you focus on your breathing exercises; perform shorter, more intense interval training two to three times per week; and include two brief, well-rounded strength training sessions per week.

In fact, you can even program your strength training so that it provides strength and lean muscle building effects while also giving you the cardiovascular work you need to improve lung capacity.

The truth is, aerobics can actually decrease lung size. Sure, your lungs may become more efficient. But their overall capacity declines.

On the other hand, focusing directly on your breathing – as with the exercises in the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume II: The Dynamic Energy Routine is the surest way to build lung capacity.

These exercises tone and strengthen the muscles and structures that support healthy, proper breathing. Proper breathing can also  lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and help you burn more calories.

Bottom line: you don’t have to subject yourself to long, boring bouts of “cardio” or aerobic exercise.

Whether you’re overweight and need to lose some L-B’s….or you are trying to gain weight and are having trouble putting on lean mass….a solid program of deep breathing, intervals and well-rounded resistance training is the way to go for optimal results.

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. The combination of deep breathing with specific exercises in the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume 2: The Dynamic Energy Routine, is a powerhouse. For even faster results, especially if you wish to lose weight and melt off fat, go with the Fire Up Your Metabolism Program. This program provides you with an excellent workout centered around breathing, dynamic tension, and movements that work the large muscles of the body. Visit the Best Breathing Exercises website  for more information or to get your copy today.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

To Lose Weight, Stop Dieting

If you want to get into great shape, or back into shape, you’ll
find your best friends are a solid set of goals. Weight goals
(including interim milestones as well as your ideal weight); weight
loss (or more accurately, fat loss) goals, waist size, etc. You
can also set more subjective goals such as fitting into your
old jeans, looking great in your bathing suit, and so forth.

These types of goals can motivate you because you are “beginning
with the end in mind” and are visualizing yourself looking fabulous
in those jeans.

When we decide to lose weight, many of us fall into the trap of
radical or fad dieting.

I know because I have done this myself in the past, as have my
friends, as have many with whom I have worked.

Problem is, most people (as in 99%) crash and burn with this type
of approach.

So, in an effort to dissuade you from starting that crazy diet
you have in mind, I’d like to introduce a little rationality.

An important step towards lasting weight loss, as well as better
health, is to take an honest look at what you are eating. But the
key is not to focus on what you can’t have.

The key is to focus on eating more of the healthy foods: berries,
fruits and vegetables; lean meat and poultry (organic if possible);
fish; eggs; nuts and seeds; organic dairy, especially yogurt and
cottage cheese; and whole grain breads and cereals.

Don’t deny yourself any particular food (unless you have allergies
to it). Saying you “can’t eat chocolate cake” inevitably causes
you to crave it…until you feel like tearing into an entire cake
in one sitting.

On the other hand, allowing yourself a piece of chocolate, perhaps
with a cup of coffee or tea as an endpoint to a meal, can keep you
feeling satiated and happy.

Especially us women. We need our chocolate. Guys tend to lean
more toward cookies. So have a cookie or two, if that’s what
makes you happy.

Here’s a key point: don’t think about diets or dieting any more.

Instead, think “eating plan”.

“Diet” includes the word “die”. It’s associated with deprivation
and hardship.

On the other hand, “eating plan” sounds more like something good,
something to build you up, give you more energy, and make you

Plan out your meals for each day (at a high level at least), and
fill your plate and stomach with healthy foods. Focus on feeding
yourself well.

View what you eat in the context of building yourself up — your
health, your vitality and energy levels, your muscles, and so

If you are an athlete, have a hectic schedule, or are dealing
with a chronic health condition, you especially need to view the
food and drink you are taking into your body as part of your
overall program to build yourself up and gain (or regain) strength
and stamina.

Set a goal of eating well 75% of the time. See how you do and, more
importantly, how you feel. Eating well most of the time, but not
expecting perfection or adherence to a strict diet, gives you the
leeway you need. When you don’t have to adhere perfectly to a diet,
you will find that you stick to your eating plan.

Later, as you get a grip on things AND experience some results,
you will find you are motivated to eat well 80%, or even 90%, of
the time.

I know this flies in the face of “dieting” conventional wisdom,
which dictates that you can’t get into good shape and good health
without deprivation, denial, food restrictions, and so forth.

But you know what? That deprivation stuff works for a very, very
small percentage of people. The rest of us may lose some weight.
But eventualy we gain it all back again, and then some.

More importantly, we end up being obsessed with food and our

If you’ve been on this treadmill, make the decision today to hit
STOP, step off, and embrace a more rational plan. Along with
exercise, this the most important step you can take to get in
shape and ensure robust health and energy.

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. If you’re not in shape now, and are starting to worry about
the summer, don’t fret. You can get started the sensible way by
getting a copy of the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program. If you’re
ready to do it this year and finally achieve the weight loss you’ve
been dreaming of, you will get the jumpstart you need from this
this program. For more information or to acquire your own copy, click here.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Follow Your Body’s Wisdom for Better Breathing, Faster Weight Loss

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

This well known phrase has been a staple of nutritional advice
since the 1700’s, when it was coined by Benjamin Franklin.

I’ve been told by friends from other countries that they have their
own originator of this little piece of advice. Ben was a pretty
smart guy, though, so my money is on him as the “original”

Regardless of who first said it, this is valuable advice for all
of us.

When it comes to breathing, you should know that some recent
studies have shown that eating one apple per day can help improve
lung function by keeping the airways open and clear.

Eating apples can also help with weight loss.

As I recall, a few years back there was a program called the
“Apple Diet”, or something like that, which became somewhat
popular for awhile. I normally avoid and ignore the fad diets
that seem to proliferate, especially around this time of year.

But this diet was actually on to something.

The basic approach of the diet is to eat an apple before every
meal. This helps reduce your appetite so you eat less. Also, the
malic acid in apples is thought to help with weight reduction.

The Vitamin C found in apples and other fruits and vegetables
contributes to improved airway function. It’s an antioxidant and
helps reduce inflammation. Vitamin C also contributes to tissue

Yet another reason to eat more fruits and vegetables!

Just in case you need it, here’s one more reason:

A number of doctors, including specialists in complementary
medicine, believe that overconsumption of foods, in particular
refined carbohydrates, can negatively affect your breathing.

The culprit is too much insulin in the body.

The body secretes insulin as part of the digestive process. If
you eat too much, or eat the wrong kinds of foods, your body
secretes excess amounts of insulin to help break down the food.

Insulin has been shown to produce bronchoconstrictors, which
narrow your airways and make breathing more difficult. It can
also restrict blood flow in the lungs, which reduces oxygen
flow at the cellular level.

By the way, excess insulin is also associated with weight
gain – as in fat gain and fat deposition in all the wrong

So, if you want to make your breathing worse (and/or get
fatter), eat an excessive amount of refined carbs such as cakes,
cookies, white bread products, and so forth.

If you would like to improve your breathing, AND improve your
body composition – both of which go hand in glove with improved
energy, focus, productivity, health and longevity — eat more
healthy foods…like apples.

Here’s a simple way to control spikes in insulin: always pair
a portion of protein with a portion of carbohydrate in every
meal and snack. Also, include healthy fats in at least two
meals per day.

The protein and healthy fats help prevent insulin spikes that
would otherwise be caused by the carbs. Eating foods rich in
fiber also helps reduce the insulin response.

I discuss what I call the “complete meal” approach, as well as
other powerful nutrition strategies, in the “Fire Up Your
Metabolism” Program, available at the Best Breathing site.

It’s not a diet plan.

It’s simply some common sense principles and strategies to help
you eat more intelligently without feeling deprived. AND
without having to measure and weigh portions, count calories,
keep track of grams of carbohydrates, and so forth.

If you are serious about improving your energy levels and health,
take a hard look at your eating habits.

When you’re younger, your body has such vast reserves of energy.
It can function well no matter what you put into it.

As you get older, your body starts to rebel against the poor
nutritional choices you may have been making. It begins to
assert its own wisdom.

Best that you listen to it!

Your body will guide you in the right direction, if you will
just pay attention.

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. Summer is already upon us here in Texas! We’re talking 101
degrees today…and it’s still early June. Summer is fast
approaching in your neck of the woods too. If you’re worried about
not being in shape for the beach or the pool, don’t fret. Get
started the sensible way with the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program.

Yes, you can do it this year! You can get into great shape and
achieve the weight loss you’ve been dreaming of. Without having
to follow some crazy fad diet or ineffective exercise regimen.
This program will give you the jumpstart you need. Get your copy

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Turn On Something Positive Inside

Article first published as Turn On Something Positive Inside on Technorati.

In my previous blog post, we discussed the importance of keeping things simple
when you are beginning a fitness program.

If you’re trying to get in better shape…trying to get BACK into
shape after months or years of relative inactivity…or thinking
about getting back into shape…focus on three key numbers:

(1) Your weight

(2) Your waist size

(3) Your body fat percentage (or, alternatively, your lean
mass percentage).

I also mentioned a “magic ingredient” you should add to your “get
into awesome shape” program.

When sprinkled in and over your efforts, this ingredient will
almost guarantee good results.

What is it?

It’s enthusiasm.

Did you know the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek “en theos”,
which means “filled with the divine” or “God within”?

When you get excited about your life and your work, you bring a
powerful , divine energy to everything you do. And when you are
excited about something, you attract other people to your cause
as well. They want to be around you because enthusiasm is a
winning feeling, a warm feeling, a fun feeling.

Enthusiasm is power. With faith, it can transform adversity,
failure, or temporary setbacks into action – action that moves
you forward toward your goals and dreams.

Seems like many of us in our 40’s and 50’s often lose the
enthusiasm we recall from our youth. It can be hard to muster
up excitement and energy. It’s easy to get caught up in the
schedule, the to-do’s, the responsibilities….and lose sight of
our ultimate vision for our lives, as well as the importance of
having some fun along the way.

For example, it becomes easy to make excuses for not exercising

“Too busy…change in schedule messed up my day…no energy at the
end of the day”. And we forfeit one of the most effective ways
to supply energy and enthusiasm into our lives.

Yes, exercising regularly – even for short to moderate amounts
of time – can have a huge impact on your energy levels, your
productivity, your confidence, and your mood. Once you embark
on a program of regular, consistent exercise – even if it’s
only 15 minutes a day – something changes inside you.

It’s tough to put your finger on. But the constructive change
you achieve by exercising regularly, as a daily habit, results
in a feeling of control, of power, of charting your own positive
destiny. In turn, this feeling permeates the rest of your life.

I can’t tell you how many people I have spoken with over the
years who have told me how much more productive they are when
they exercise regularly. And how much more confident they feel.

And guess what.

This observation often comes from people who still need to lose
weight. They aren’t even close to their ultimate goal. Yet they
feel like something mysterious and wonderful has “turned on”

You can turn on this mysterious power for yourself.

It only takes a small investment of time and effort to do so.
But it’s an investment that will reward you time and again
throughout your life.

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. For more tips and tactics on simple things you can do
each day to help you lose weight, or maintain your ideal
weight, get the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program. This
program is simple, fast and effective. It can help jumpstart
your “get back into shape” program so you make more progress,
sooner…and keep your enthusiasm levels high. Claim your
copy today.
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011