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Although barefoot running has been practiced in some parts of the world for hundreds of years, the concept has only recently gained popularity as an alternative to traditional running shoes in the Western world. The book "Born to Run," published in 2009, explored the patterns of distance runners who are able to avoid common injuries by running without shoes. This sparked a whole new interest in barefoot running and minimalist running shoes, which are lightweight and flexible and have very little padding or support. Proponents of barefoot exercise claim that the excessive support and cushioning of traditional running shoes leads to muscle weakness and injury, while opponents contend that running in minimalist footwear (or no shoes at all) doesn't provide enough protection or support.

Read more: The Pros and Cons of Barefoot Running

If you're seeking to reduce your caloric intake, then sugar substitutes are worth a look. Sweeteners like sucralose and stevia are 200 to 600 times sweeter than granulated cane sugar, and they contain 0 to 5 calories per 1 g serving. When used in moderation, they are a great way to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (Learn more about the science and concerns of artificial sweeteners here.)

We commonly think about sugar substitutes as colorful little packets at the coffee shop or on a restaurant table. In fact, these ingredients are primarily used to sweeten hot and cold drinks. But more and more, calorie-conscious home cooks are looking to these alternatives to help reduce the sugar content of their favorite desserts and baked goods.

Read more: Sweet Swaps: Baking with Sugar Substitutes

Do you struggle with cravings and wish you had the will power to cut out certain foods completely? When we work toward a healthy diet, so many of us think that making a list of food culprits and calling them off-limits will help us to succeed. However, if you take a deeper look at the psychology behind this flawed method, you'll see so many reasons why adopting a ''good food'' or ''bad food'' attitude will never work. Restricting certain foods won't just make dieting miserable--it can also ruin your good intentions of getting healthy and losing weight. Making arbitrary rules about good and bad food isn't the answer to lasting lifestyle change. Instead, use the tips below to build a better relationship with food, learn to master cravings, build self-control and enjoy all foods in moderation.

Stop Labeling Foods as 'Good' and 'Bad'

For decades, behavior analysts have studied the effects of deprivation on people's preferences for food, tangible items and activities. The majority of literature on this topic says that, when we're deprived of something, we're more likely to select that particular item from an array of choices. In a recent study conducted at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, researchers found that participants who were asked to restrict either high-carb or high-protein foods for three days reported higher cravings for the banned foods. So, if you label chocolate as evil and forbid it from your menu, you'll be more likely to want it in any form.

Read more: How a 'Bad Food' Attitude Can Backfire

If you've wandered into a natural food store lately, you might have noticed that the selection of sweeteners seems to have multiplied. Powders, syrups, and liquids with exotic-sounding names catch your eye, each claiming to be tastier, healthier, or more environmentally-friendly than plain old table sugar. But are they really any better? Is it worth the extra expense and hassle of deviating from the mainstream to try "natural" sweeteners? Whether you choose natural, artificial or conventional sweeteners is up to you. This article provides a rundown of the most common types of "natural" sweeteners you'll find on the market to help you decide.

Sugarcane Sweeteners

Read more: The Truth about ''Natural'' Sweeteners

As you've probably figured out, winning at weight loss is about making long-lasting, life-altering change. Just like any sport or skill, you might start out a little rocky. Choosing healthy foods, trying different workouts, and finding the strategies that work for you will take a little practice. As you find your stride, those habits will get easier and you'll start knocking down more barriers that try to get in your way. Your momentum will start to build and you'll be ticking away at your weight loss goals one by one. Soon enough, you'll reach a fantastic tipping point when you feel a shift in the energy and really enter "the zone"—the stadium starts to flutter, the crowd starts to cheer! And you are winning at weight loss!

Whether you're focusing on your diet or hitting the gym, the commitment to long-term weight loss takes the mindset and mental stamina of a champion. You've got to have a supportive team and a great playbook to get on a winning streak. In this head-to-head match that lasts a lifetime, it's all about preparation. Your success will be determined by how well you set your strategy and play the game.

Read more: 7 Things that Separate Weight-Loss Winners & Losers

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