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Texas grandma drops 100 pounds by walking

A Texas grandmother was told to lose weight because her health was threatened. Six years later, she is 100 pounds lighter and is feeling great.

>> Read more trending news 

“Some grandmothers play bingo," Greta Ross, 61, told WFAA. "But, this grandmother goes to the gym."

Ross, from Irving, said she used to weigh 237 pounds. She refused medication from doctors but heeded their warnings to change her lifestyle.

"(It) scared me because I didn't want to leave my daughter and grandchildren behind," Ross told WFAA. "I knew I had to do something. Doing nothing wasn't an option.

"I had bad habits. I wasn't sleeping properly. I wasn't eating properly. I knew I had to do something. So I started walking."

Because of her weight, walking was the only exercise Ross could do comfortably, the television station reported. But with determination, Ross began to see results.

"It just became a routine," Ross told WFAA. "We would get up every morning and just walk. Next thing I know, the weight just started coming off.”

Within a year, Ross had lost 100 pounds, and she has kept the weight off for the past five years, the television station reported.

"I didn't stop. I just kept going and going and going," Ross told WFAA. "When I saw the transformation of my body, then my mind. ... my confidence level went through the roof. It was just incredible."

Ross has posted on social media about her turnaround.

"I just tell my real story so that way people will know you can do this," Ross told WFAA. "Is it a journey? Yes. Is it a process? Yes. Does it take time? Absolutely. But you have to be willing to say I am worth that. My family is worth that."

Every Kid in a Park program gives 4th graders free entry to any U.S. national park

Trekking through some of the country’s most beautiful terrain just got cheaper. 

Thanks to the Department of the Interior’s Every Kid in a Park program, fourth-grade students can enter any of more than 2,000 of the nation’s national parks and other federally managed lands and waters for free for one year. 

Fourth-grade students can sign up for the free pass at everykidinapark.gov.  

>> Read more trending news 

The first three members in a group with a visiting fourth-grader will be granted free entry as well at sites that charge per person. For those that grant payment and entry by car, any accompanying passengers in a private, non-commercial vehicle with a fourth-grader will be allowed to enter at no charge. Educators can also obtain free passes. 

The Every Kid in a Park program encourages children to be active and explore nature at a time when more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas and young people are more tethered to electronic devices than ever.

According to the program, the goal of the promotion is to “inspire fourth graders nationwide to visit our federal lands and waters, whether it is a backyard city park or a national forest, seashore, or marine sanctuary. By targeting fourth graders year after year, the program works to ensure every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old.”

In June, the inter-agency program announced that Every Kid in a Park has been renewed for the 2018-2019 school year. Passes will be available Sept. 1.

Learn more and get a pass at everykidinapark.gov

LA Fitness apologizes for racial profiling incident at New Jersey club

LA Fitness issued an apology after two black patrons were wrongly accused of not paying at a New Jersey club and were asked to leave, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Tshyrad Oates posted videos of the encounter, which occurred Sunday in Secaucus, New Jersey, on Facebook. Oates said he had a guest pass and his friend was a current member. Oates said in his Facebook post that a manager told them they were banned and his friend’s membership was revoked “immediately.”

Police were called to the fitness club, but no arrests were made, CNN reported.

The incident comes a week after two men were handcuffed at a Philadelphia Starbucks after the store manager called police because the men hadn't ordered anything.

LA Fitness, in a statement Thursday, said there was confusion among the employees at the club. 

>> Video of arrest of two black men at Starbucks causes outrage

"Clearly, (Oates’ workout partner) is a long-time member, with a current, valid membership. We want to clarify that no membership was canceled and no one, including the member's guest, was banned from the club."

A spokeswoman for Fitness International, the parent company of LA Fitness, said the three employees involved in the incident are no longer with the company, according to The Associated Press.

>> Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia

LA Fitness said it has apologized to the current member, assuring him that "he and his guests are welcome in our clubs at all times."

"We are currently exploring potential training content and opportunities to better train our staff," the company said.

Photographer shows behind-the-scenes shots from Nike photo shoot 30 stories above ground

Sneaker manufacturer Nike recently commissioned a photo shoot to promote its new VaporMax footwear line and hired San Francisco-based photographer Benjamin Von Wong to capture a series of thrilling photos to promote the brand.

>> Read more trending news 

 

To create the essence of an air-filled sneaker, Wong suspended his models off the side of a 30-story skyscraper in downtown Manila, Philippines, to create the illusion that they were flying.

 

Von Wong documented the shoot in a blog post, saying that the models wore form-fitted harnesses clipped by the side so they could “run” along the side of the building. The photographer spent hours in a harness himself, as he needed to be suspended off the roof in order to capture the intense action on film.

Von Wong, who photographed social entrepreneurs and community leaders instead of traditional models and fitness figures, wrote about the experience in detail on his blog

“There was no rulebook on ‘how to hang people from skyscrapers’ or ‘what equipment to use’ and suddenly I found myself locked in a battle between what I wanted to create in my mind and what was actually doable,” Von Wong wrote, before explaining the harnesses used. “Over and over my newly trained models would leap out, pushing themselves and contorting into dynamic positions that would fit the camera’s perspective. As athletes, they were no stranger to pain and repetition making this surprisingly easy despite their lack of experience.”

Von Wong posted photos from the shoot on his blog without the wires photoshopped out because he said “editing the wires out (takes) away from the story.”

“By showcasing everyday people doing extraordinary things, I hope that viewers, will feel empowered to challenge themselves, support others and to pursue amazing life experiences of their own,” he wrote

Check out some of the photos posted on Von Wong’s site:

Study: Skin patch that melts love handles in mice could work on humans 

Scientific researchers have developed a medicated skin patch that dissolves fat in targeted areas of lab mice, and future testing could reveal that the patches can treat obesity and diabetes.

>> Read more trending news 

The patch uses nanotechnology to increase the body’s metabolism and transform energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat, according to the report released Friday by ACS Nano, a publication of the American Chemical Society. During the four weeks of the study, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the University of North Carolina, the mice saw 20 percent reduction in body fat where the patch was applied.

“Many people will no doubt be excited to learn that we may be able to offer a noninvasive alternative to liposuction for reducing love handles,” said study co-author Li Qiang, assistant professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

According to Science Daily, to apply the treatment, the drugs are encased in nanoparticles, which are approximately 250 nanometers (nm) in diameter -- too small to be seen by the naked eye. The nanoparticles are then packed into a centimeter-square skin patch containing dozens of microscopic needles. When applied to skin, the needles painlessly pierce the skin and gradually release the drug from nanoparticles into underlying tissue.

"The nanoparticles were designed to effectively hold the drug and then gradually collapse, releasing it into nearby tissue in a sustained way instead of spreading the drug throughout the body quickly," said Zhen Gu, PhD, patch designer, study co-leader associate professor of joint biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

The new treatment approach was tested in obese mice by loading the nanoparticles with one of two compounds -- rosiglitazone (Avandia) or beta-adrenergic receptor agonist -- known to promote browning in mice but not in humans. Each mouse was given two patches -- one loaded with drug-containing nanoparticles and another without it -- that were placed on either side of the lower abdomen. New patches were applied every three days for a total of four weeks. Control mice were also given two empty patches.

Mice treated with either of the two drugs had a 20 percent reduction in fat on the treated side compared to the untreated side. They also had significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels than untreated mice. Even in lean mice, the treatment with either of the two drugs increased the animals' oxygen consumption (a measure of overall metabolic activity) by about 20 percent compared to untreated controls.

Genetic analyses revealed that the treated side contained more genes associated with brown fat than on the untreated side, suggesting that the observed metabolic changes and fat reduction were due to an increase in browning in the treated mice.

The patch has not been tested in humans. The researchers are currently studying which drugs, or combination of drugs, work best to promote localized browning and increase overall metabolism.

Armed jogger stopped sex assault on fellow runner, police say

Court paperwork filed Tuesday said an armed good Samaritan stopped an attack on a runner on a popular trail in Austin, Texas, last week.

>> Read more trending news 

Police have accused Richard Jordon McEachern, 22, of forcing a runner to the ground Friday and sexually assaulting her on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail on Friday around 5:46 a.m.

Police who responded to the incident found a woman on the trail with no shorts or shoes but being tended to by other runners. News of the attack had sparked fear and anger this week among Austin runners.

McEachern was found Monday and booked the next day into the Travis County Jail and charged with felony sexual assault, which is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

According to an arrest affidavit filed against McEachern, the woman told police she was headed east on the trail early Friday when she heard loud steps approaching behind her.

“The victim was grabbed behind by the suspect with both the suspect’s arms, (bear hug),” the affidavit said. “The victim said they fell to the ground and she was on her back and the suspect was on top of her.”

READ MORE: Runners on edge after second attack on popular Austin trails

The document said the woman reported that the attacker put his hand over her mouth and kept saying, “Shh, it’s me baby, it’s me” as she struggled to scream and use a whistle she carried to call for help.

As the assault continued, the man told the victim that he was a virgin, and this was his first time, according to the report.

Another jogger who was carrying a flashlight and a handgun heard the victim scream and ran over to help.

The affidavit said the jogger told police he shined his light in the direction of the screams and saw the victim on her back and the attacker on his left side on top of the victim.

The jogger pointed his gun at the suspect and demanded he get off the victim. The attacker stood up and was naked from the waist down, the affidavit said.

The woman got up and started walking to the jogger to get away from the attacker.

EARLIER COVERAGE: Suspect arrested after hike and bike trail sexual assault reported

The affidavit said she did not know the jogger had a gun because she’d been blinded by his flashlight.

The attacker took off with the woman’s shoes and shorts when she walked in front of the jogger’s line of fire, the affidavit said.

Investigators found video of a possible suspect later in the day. Then on Monday, they found McEachern sleeping just off the trail in the area of the attack. The affidavit said he was naked from the waist down.

Two people picked McEachern out of a photo lineup after he was taken into custody, police said.

Police have not said whether McEachern has been tied to any other attacks in the area, including another on a jogger at the Austin High School track on Aug. 22.

During that attack, a man with a similar description grabbed a jogger from behind and tried to cover her mouth, according to police.

How to lose weight: Take a break from your diet for 2 weeks, study suggests

Diets are a great way to cut down on calories. But if you’re hoping to shed the pounds, taking a two-week break from your regimen could help you lose even more weight, according to a new study.

>> On AJC.com: Why this diet praised by Jennifer Aniston could work for you

Researchers from the University of Tasmania in Australia recently conducted an experiment, which was published in the International Journal of Obesity, to determine ways to improve weight loss success based on eating patterns.

To do so, they assessed 51 obese men over a four-month period, breaking them off into two groups. Those in the first one were asked to follow a diet, which cut one-third of their calories, for all four months. Those in the second group were required to go on the same diet only for two weeks, taking a break from it for the next two weeks. They repeated the cycle eight times.

>> Read more trending news

After analyzing the data, they found that those who took breaks lost 50 percent more weight than those who didn’t. Those who deviated from the plan also shed more fat.

Six months after the study, both groups regained weight. However, those who took breaks were about 18 pounds lighter than those who followed the diet continuously. 

>> On AJC.com: Lose the belly pooch: 7 do’s and don’ts to accomplish a flat stomach

Why is that?

Researchers believe dieting can alter the body’s biological process, which can lead to slower weight loss or even weight gain. 

“When we reduce our energy (food) intake during dieting, resting metabolism decreases to a greater extent than expected; a phenomenon termed ‘adaptive thermogenesis’ – making weight loss harder to achieve,” co-author Nuala Byrne said in a statement. “This ‘famine reaction’, a survival mechanism which helped humans to survive as a species when food supply was inconsistent in millennia past, is now contributing to our growing waistlines when the food supply is readily available.”

Although the researchers’ method proved to be more successful than nonstop dieting, they noted that it wasn’t more effective than other popular diets. But it could provide another weight loss alternative. 

>> On AJC.com: 6 of the best apps to track your eating

“It seems that the ‘breaks’ from dieting we have used in this study may be critical to the success of this approach,” Byrne said. “While further investigations are needed around this intermittent dieting approach, findings from this study provide preliminary support for the model as a superior alternative to continuous dieting for weight loss.”

Report: Aetna in talks with Apple to provide Apple watches to millions of customers

A partnership between Apple and Aetna could bring Apple watches to the insurance company’s more than 20 million customers, according to a report. 

>> Read more trending news 

The two companies held private meetings Thursday and Friday in southern California to discuss options for such a move, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.Aetna already offers an Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees as part of its corporate wellness program and to individuals with Aetna plans under “select large employers.”

According to CNBC, Aetna is negotiating with Apple to try to provide a plan in which its 23 million members could receive an Apple watch for free or at a discounted price.

The perk would benefit both Aetna, which has increased efforts to get its members more health-conscious, and Apple, which has begun to promote health and fitness-tracking as a primary use for the Apple watch.

Apple, which reportedly surpassed Fitbit as the top-selling wearable fitness tracker, may have plans to develop its watch to better cater to wearers with chronic diseases, making the gadget even more desirable and multifunctioning, CNBC reported.

An unnamed source told CNBC that Aetna is pushing to have the plan developed by early next year.

Read more at CNBC.

Bodybuilder dies in accident while doing backflip

An African bodybuilder who attempted a backflip during a competition over the weekend and landed on his head has died due to the injuries he suffered, the New York Post reported.

>> Read more trending news 

A disturbing video of the incident shows Sifiso Lungelo Thabete, 23, hyping up a crowd as he walks onto the mat at a competition. He attempted a backflip but didn’t fully rotate, and he landed on his head. The crowd, as heard in the video, wasn’t sure what to make of what happened as the bodybuilder lay on the mat, motionless.

A moment later, people rushed to his aid as it became apparent something was wrong. It was later discovered that Thabete had broken his neck after awkwardly landing on his head.

Body Building South Africa chief Wayne Price told South Africa’s News24 that the backflip was Thabathe’s “signature” move.

“We suspect, because he was wearing socks this time, that he slipped or didn’t get enough momentum and landed horribly on his head,” Price said, according to The Washington Post.

Muscle Evolution, a South African bodybuilding magazine, said the bodybuilding community was shocked and saddened by the news of Thabete’s death.

According to the magazine, Thabete was an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness junior world champion in the up-to-165-pound category who had recently won an event at the IFBB Muscle Mulisha Grand Prix in July.

Feeling depressed? Hot yoga could help

If you want to help put an end to your depression, a new report from the American Psychological Association suggests giving hot yoga a try. 

>> Read more trending news

“Yoga has become increasingly popular in the West, and many new yoga practitioners cite stress-reduction and other mental health concerns as their primary reason for practicing,” Lindsey Hopkins, one of the analysts, said in a statement. “But the empirical research on yoga lags behind its popularity as a first-line approach to mental health.” 

That’s why the scientists from the APA conducted a study to determine how the practice could combat symptoms of depression including anxiety, stress, rumination and worry.

To do so, they led several different studies. In the first one, they rounded up 23 male veterans to participate in twice-weekly yoga classes for eight weeks. The subjects gave the exercise an average enjoyment ranking of 9.4 out of 10, and those with elevated depression scores had a significant decrease in depression symptoms.

» RELATED: Need to relieve stress? Try talking to yourself

For the second one, scientists gathered 52 women ages 25 to 45 and asked more than half of them to attend twice-weekly hot yoga classes for eight weeks. The others were placed on a wait list. At the end of the experiment, those who tried yoga saw a reduction in their depression symptoms compared to those in the control group. 

And in another, they examined 74 mildly depressed university students, giving them a 15-minute instructional video to follow at home for two months. They found that their symptoms had also subsided significantly.

Researchers noted that the practice isn’t a cure-all but should be a complimentary practice to traditional forms of therapy. 

“However,” Hopkins said, “based on empirical evidence, there seems to be a lot of potential.”

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