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What wearing a $6,000 Rolex for a month taught a millennial about wealth and status

12 sayings only people from California will understand


I-405 freeway california los angeles traffic

California is known by many as the land of beautiful celebrities, packed freeways, and perpetual summer. 

But the nation's most populous state also has a huge variety of people with unique ways of speaking, from valley girl speak to surfer lingo to slang inspired by Bay Area hip hop. 

The people of the Golden State speak a dialect distinct enough to warrant its own name: California English.  

We've come up with 12 sayings that only people who hail from the Golden State will understand.

1. "There's a Sigalert for the carpool lane on the 5 south." 

Freeways are a huge part of Californians' daily existence, so of course there are plenty of slang terms associated with it. Californians may be the only people in the country to put "the" before the number of a freeway route (and they're never called highways), and the only people to call it the carpool lane instead of the HOV.

And if there's a Sigalert, take it as a hint to avoid the area completely. Sigalerts are messages issued by the California Highway Patrol when there's an accident or anything else blocking multiple lanes of traffic, meaning that notorious California traffic is even more horrendous than usual (see also: Carmageddon).

2. "It takes 20 minutes, depending on traffic."

People from California say this all the time to describe their location, and it's barely ever true. 30 minutes just sounds way too far, and 15 minutes is unrealistic.  

We all know that 20 minutes away really means something closer to 40, and that light traffic is never something you can depend on. 

3. "June Gloom."

Beginning in June (or even at the end of May if it's a particularly unlucky year), a wave of foggy weather invades coastal areas of California and ruins everyone's beach plans. June Gloom/Grey May/No-Sky July are southern Californian terms used to describe a weather pattern that brings low-lying clouds and mist during the early summer months. 

Though people from out of town will try to convince you it's just air pollution, the fog that appears every morning usually clears up by mid-afternoon or so. 

4. "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." 

This San Francisco cliche is usually attributed to Mark Twain, though there's no evidence he ever actually said it. Contrary to what pop culture may have you have believe, summer in the Bay Area is pretty cold, and fog is a nearly constant presence. 

The fog may be a nuisance to visitors touring the Bay Area, but San Franciscans embrace the fog as an essential part of what makes their city home. They even named the fog Karl and gave it its own Twitter and Facebook pages.

5. "It's pretty gnarly out, bro. It's double overhead today!"

surf surfing surfer beach California summer funSurfer culture has had a huge influence on the way coastal Californians speak. You may hear surfers, skaters, and snowboarders talking about "shredding the gnar," but even those who refrain from participating in extreme sports tend to use the word "gnarly" to describe things that are either extremely good or extremely bad.

You'll also hear words like "epic," and of course, "dude." Waves that are "double overhead" are not meant for the faint of heart.

6. "I'm stoked." 

Though Merriam-Webster defines "stoke" as "to stir or add fuel to (something that is burning)" this expression has absolutely nothing to do with building a fire, at least in a literal sense. Californians are stoked when they're totally, completely exhilarated about something, whether it's a trip to the mountains or a huge swell coming just in time for the weekend. 

Now a commonly used word in many regions, "stoked" became popular with "The Endless Summer," a classic surfing movie documentary by Bruce Brown from 1966.  

7. "Hella."

Perhaps one of the most distinctive and divisive words on this list, the use of the word "hella" is an immediate indication that the speaker is from northern California. Derived from "hell of a" or "hell of a lot," the word is generally used in place of "really," "a lot," or "very."

Don't get caught using this word in the southern part of the state, however. You'll only hear people from the Bay Area say this, while people from elsewhere in California will probably find the term annoying

8. "The industry."

Vague references to "the industry" might be a little confusing to people not from southern California. When someone says their husband or wife works in "the industry," they don't mean they're an industrial worker, though they may belong to a different kind of labor union. Actors, directors, producers, screenwriters, art directors, film editors, and talent agents are just a few people who make up the huge entity that is "the industry." 

Show business is so prominent in Los Angeles that southern Californians should immediately get the reference. 

9. "This burger is bomb."

We've all heard people refer to things as "the bomb" since the late '90s.  Californians often put their own spin on this outdated expression by taking out "the."

It's usually food items that are referred to as "bomb," though theoretically anything awesome could be referred to in this way. 

10. "I'll take a Double-Double, animal style."

in-n-out burger

Californians are deeply proud of their In-N-Out, a fast-food burger chain that comes with its own jargon and a secret menu not advertised in stores. A burger served "animal style" has mustard fried into the patty and comes with extra spread and grilled onions. 

You can also order your fries animal style. If you're especially hungry, try a 3x3 burger, which comes with three beef patties, or even a 4x4, which comes with four.

11. "This burrito is dank." 

"Dank" is a prime example of a term whose connotation has changed from negative to positive thanks to slang usage. Though Merriam-Webster defines it as meaning "wet and cold in a way that is unpleasant," as in a dank basement, the word was adopted by stoner culture to describe high-quality marijuana. 

The word has since evolved to describe anything that is especially good, like an exceptionally tasty burrito. 

12. Whatever you do, definitely don't say "Cali." 

The only people who don't refer to California as "Cali" are the Golden State natives themselves. You will very, very rarely hear a Californian call their home state by this name, even though people from everywhere else love to call it that. 

If you want to blend in, try to avoid this shudder-inducing word in the presence of California natives.

SEE ALSO: The best steakhouse in every state

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Here's everywhere Obama has traveled since leaving the White House


Former President Obama has been globe-trotting for the past five months.

After leaving office in January, Obama traveled to Palm Springs with his wife, Michelle, before heading to entrepreneur Richard Branson's private Necker Island.

He made a quick pit stop in his home state of Hawaii, then flew to French Polynesia to check in to The Brando, an exclusive island resort that can only be reached by boat or by two-engined Air Tetiaroa planes. It was here that the Obamas were pictured aboard billionaire David Geffen's yacht, alongside Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks, and Oprah Winfrey. 

In May, Barack headed to Europe to deliver a speech at the Food Innovation Summit in Milan. Afterward, he was joined by Michelle for a six-day vacation in Tuscany. 

Obama has since traveled around Europe on business for the Obama Foundation. 

Check out the map below to see exactly where he has been:

Obama map

SEE ALSO: The Obamas have been touring the world since leaving the White House — here's where they've been so fa

Join the conversation about this story »

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Millennials are revolting against the American family vacation



How old is too old to go on family vacation? 

As millennials wait longer to get married and have kids, they are also navigating new norms about vacationing with their families. 

"Am I a bad daughter if I don't want to go on vacation with my parents?" a recent letter writer asked New York magazine's money advice columnist, Charlotte Cowles.

The 26-year-old explained that while she and her long-term boyfriend were invited on a trip with her family, their vacation days and funds are limited, and they'd rather do their own thing. 

The question of when to put the kibosh on family vacation has become a common one in advice columns. 

Baby boomers were typically settled and starting to have kids in their early 20s. At this point, they would theoretically break off and go on vacation with their new family units.

Many millennials, however, are waiting until their 30s to start getting married and having kids, meaning they're living — and vacationing — with their families longer. 

Many of the 23-to-35-year-olds also struggle with having a sparsity of vacation time to begin with. 

The increasingly competitive job market — and the need to pay off student loans — means many millennials are also valuing work above family and vacation time, according to a study by Project: Time Off

"Millennials are the first generation to enter the workforce in the era of vacation decline," Project: Time Off, an advocacy group for Americans taking more vacation time, writes on its website. After decades of using an average of 20.3 vacation days, Americans now take an average of 16.3 each year. 

americans vacation days chart

Millennials' workaholic tendencies are unlikely to let up anytime soon. 

"The youngest generation in the U.S. workforce has created an era of work martyrdom, prioritizing work above family and personal happiness," Travel & Leisure writes

SEE ALSO: The Obamas have been touring the world since leaving the White House — here's where they've been so far

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Your dad’s favorite 114-year-old beer is suddenly cool


Miller High Life

It seems these days more beer drinkers are living the high life and choosing "The Champagne of Beers."

Miller High Life is enjoying a steady and swift comeback as some beer drinkers connect with the less expensive and easy-drinking alternative to heavy craft beers in bars and stores across the US.

MillerCoors, which brews High Life, identified the beer as a brand with potential to be a key player in its bid to return the brewer to total overall volume growth by 2019, according to AdAge.

The brand was given a "genuine" refresh, with new marketing that speaks to the beer's history and heritage in what the company says in an authentic way.

Since the beer has been around since 1903 and was once considered a high-end brand, the company has a lot to draw from. It's new slogan — "If you've got the time we've got the beer" — came from a jingle used to promote the beer in the '70s. A snippet of the jingle plays over close up shots of the distinctive bottle, while a disembodied voice welcomes viewers to "the high life."

The packaging has changed somewhat as well. The clear longneck bottle it is served in allows drinkers to peer at the pale golden suds is accounted for, as is the vintage-looking label is an eye-catching anachronism that proclaims "The Champagne of Beers" is within. The aesthetic is a standout from the brown glass bottles most beer is sold in and it all looks remarkably close to how the beer was sold in the early 20th century.

It's all about "celebrating the authenticity that this beer and brand has stood for for over 100 years," according to Ryan Marek, the director of the economy portfolio at MillerCoors. 

Miller High Life

These new efforts seem to have appealed to both long-time loyal High Life consumers, most of whom are over 50 years old and have been drinking it for decades, as well as younger beer drinkers looking for a brand telling an authentic story, according to Marek.

Younger consumers can "sniff through the bullshit out there" and "know when they're being marketed to and it's not a real deal," Marek said.

In an earnings call with investors call to discuss the results from the first quarter of 2017, MillerCoors president and CEO Gavin Hattersley told investors the beer that saw a return to growth and had its best quarter since the third quarter of 2009. High Life's growth is well-distributed across the country.

High Life's growth is well-distribute across the countryMarek called the beer's turnaround "remarkably fast," though he said he said he wasn't surprised as he always knew the beer brand contained an "embarrassment of riches."

High Life has become so popular that without MillerCoors even pitching the beer to wholesalers and others in the market, Marek said they're asking for it specifically.

"That to me is the greatest level of success, because we are not having to push ourselves," Marek said. "We're simply being who we are, standing for the values that we stand for and that's resonating with enough folks that they're actively requesting it for their bars."

Miller High Life

In major cities across the US, the beer's popularity has become obvious to bargoers.

When bar owner Jon Ehrlich opened Jackbar in the popular nightlife destination of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2013, he asked his distributor specifically for Miller High Life. Ehrlich said he goes through about 140 cases of High Life in a month. They don't carry close to that kind of volume for the other bottled beers they stock, and at $4 a bottle, High Life is one of the cheapest beers that the bar carries. 

Ehrlich, who says he drinks High Life himself, speculates that the beer has become more popular, especially in expensive metro areas like New York, because of the classic beer-and-shot combo. A bottle of High Life and a shot of well liquor  — often whiskey — is frequently known as a "Low Life combo" in bars. It costs $6 at Jackbar.

"You can barely get a hot dog in NYC for that little," Ehrlich said. "And that's a common deal throughout many neighborhoods in Brooklyn."

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A little-known California 'micro-hood' is suddenly the hottest housing market in America


bushrod oakland hottest 4507

Bushrod, Oakland, a small enclave across the Bay from San Francisco, was named the hottest neighborhood of 2017 by real estate site Redfin.

The accolade might come as a surprise to Bay Area locals, in part because there's not much to do in Bushrod. We bet few could find the three-block-wide micro-neighborhood on a map.

It's the first time an Oakland neighborhood has made one of Redfin's "hottest neighborhoods of 2017" lists. The site based the ranking on increases in internet traffic to listings in specific neighborhoods. Bushrod homes typically sell in under two weeks at 115% of the listing price.

I recently spent the afternoon in Bushrod to see if it's worth the hype.

SEE ALSO: Nobody wants this mansion near San Francisco's 'Billionaire Row' that's on sale for $29 million

Bushrod, Oakland, is one of a shrinking number of Bay Area neighborhoods where you can buy a home for under $1 million. That might not be true for long.

Nestled between Berkeley and Oakland, the micro-hood sits in an area that's said to be "closer to San Francisco than San Francisco is." It takes about 20 minutes to travel from the city's downtown to Berkeley's Ashby Station, a 15-minute walk from the heart of Bushrod.

Source: East Bay Times


A long-time enclave for the black working class, the neighborhood has tree-lined streets and a handful of businesses with storefronts that haven't changed in years.

Not much happens in Bushrod. A Wikipedia entry makes note of a 2006 incident in which a large chunk of ice fell from the sky and left a crater, making the local news.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Expert reveals how often you should really clean your closet and 5 tips for when you do


The Fitz 23

The stylists of Fitz, a new closet-cleaning and styling service started by Gilt cofounder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Fandango founder J. Michael Cline, have seen a lot of messy closets.

Business Insider recently tagged along with stylists Ellie and Maggie during a Fitz Foundation appointment — which for a flat fee of $300, gets two stylists to help curate and organize the items in your closet and drawers. 

We asked Ellie, the lead stylist, for her top tips for keeping your closet in order and clean — ahead, her advice.  

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Edit and organize twice a year.

Ellie, who asked that we not use her last name because of her contract with Fitz, suggests a bi-annual closet cleaning session. During those times, you can purge items you no longer want to create space for updated pieces.

Replace plastic and wooden hangers with velvet ones.

Fitz stylists, which work in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Fairfield County, Connecticut are use to seeing small closets. To save space Ellie highly recommends hanging closet items on a thin, velet hanger which save space. They also prevent items from falling and slipping.  

Organize clothes by item and color.

Organizing your clothes by their type — long sleeve, short sleeve, button ups — and color can shave time off getting ready.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

7 questions successful couples should be able to answer


adam driver lena dunham girls

People in healthy relationships know they'll always be learning about their partner — and their partner will always be surprising them.

But there are certain things about your partner and the relationship in general that you should know pretty early on. We asked a bunch of experts — including a dating coach and a marriage therapist — to tell us the key questions that couples in successful partnerships can answer readily.

Note: If you can't answer most of these (admittedly tough) questions, that doesn't necessarily mean you're headed for a breakup. But it might mean you and your partner need to have some real talk, so that you both understand what you want and expect from the relationship.

SEE ALSO: 6 experts share the worst piece of relationship advice they've ever heard

What are your partner's biggest emotional triggers?

"Knowing the answer to this question is important because it can defuse conflict and increase empathy within the relationship.

"Often in life we are triggered by external events that remind us of negative feelings from previous trauma. When this happens we tend to lash out at those closest to us.

"If your partner knows what triggers you to behave badly — and understands the pain that's motivating that behavior, then they can take a step back and acknowledge that the tension has nothing to do with them."

Emyli Lovz, dating coach

Does your partner have debt?

"How are they currently managing it and how do they plan to pay it off?

"We know that money issues are a big cause of relationships breaking up; so it's essential for both parties to communicate their status and plans so resentments or secrecy doesn't build up."

Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and founder of pregnantish

What are your partner's deal-breakers? What are yours?

"Successful partners know who they are, who they aren't, what their struggles and blind spots are, and perhaps most importantly — they know their absolute bottom line deal-breakers.

"My wife, for instance, would never tolerate me even looking like I'm even approaching getting violent with her. I make a fist during an argument, and she'll be gone. Now, I've never been in a fight in my life, but this is not about me — this is about what she knows she cannot tolerate.

"And that's the point — great partners are actively working on self-awareness, and they actually use their partner's feedback to help them grow."

Hal Runkel, marriage and family therapist and author of "Choose Your Own Adulthood"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This German airline will book you a cheap flight — but the destination is a surprise


German airline Lufthansa

Airlines have been under increased public scrutiny in recent months, following an incident in which a United passenger was violently removed from an overbooked flight.

But a top German carrier wants to give fliers something to smile about.

Lufthansa, the largest airline in Germany, is offering an option that lets people book a flight to a surprise destination. Called the "Lufthansa Surprise," the deal allows passengers to choose from nine categories — including nature, shopping, and "bromance" — and pick their travel dates.

The airline will only reveal where the passenger is going after they complete their purchase.

Passengers might end up in popular European tourist destinations like Rome, Madrid, and Paris — or have the chance to explore less trafficked cities like Warsaw, Poland; Turin, Italy; or Izmir, Turkey. Customers can opt out of cities, though being selective drives up the cost.

Lufthansa started offering blind bookings in spring 2016. The round-trip flights start at €89 ($99), which is cheaper than the average fare.

 "The more flexible you are, the cheaper your flight," the Lufthansa website says.

Unfortunately, the flights only depart from Munich and Frankfurt airports, so people from other areas would have to spend hundreds more to get Germany if they want a Lufthansa Surprise.

Once a ticket has been purchased through Lufthansa Surprise, no refunds will be given — so if you're prone to buyer's remorse, this deal might not be for you. 

SEE ALSO: Airlines are starting to offer a luxury perk to the masses

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Why billionaire Steve Ballmer spent $10 million to build a free — and strangely patriotic — website


Steve Ballmer at Code 2017

It's been said we're living in a post-fact, post-truth world, where people choose to ignore facts or believe lies that challenge their own worldview.

Steve Ballmer, the billionaire former CEO of Microsoft and current NBA Clippers team owner, isn't buying it.

That's why he wrote $10 million worth of personal checks to create a free website called USAFacts.org, he told Business Insider. 

The site takes government data from 70 different government sources to create a financial report on the government. It makes it easy to find out everything, from how much taxes we all really pay to crime and divorce rates.

Ballmer says the idea for the site has nothing to do with one political party or another, but everything to do with state of politics in general.

"It's not a political site, but I hope it plays a role," he told Business Insider. "I am partisan for facts themselves."

He says today's political environment feels like a sports event, where everyone is rooting for their own team and against the other team — and that's inherently dangerous.

"A sports game is easy. Somebody wins, somebody loses, and that's OK. But that's not how it should be in this country," he says. "In politics, unlike sports, everybody needs to arrive at a common conclusion and we all live with the conclusion."

In other words, the same laws govern us all, no matter which team championed it. And there's a reason to hope that Ballmer is onto to something and people still do care deeply about facts, even if we all have different opinions about what to do about them.

When the site officially launched in April, Ballmer didn't know what the response would be, if anyone would care. But the day it launched, the site was so overwhelmed with traffic that the traffic crashed the site for hours. In its first 48 hours, USAFacts.org chalked up more than half a million visitors and 2 million page views. He even got fan letters from people with suggestions on how to better calculate divorce rates or from those who found some typos. 

Some of the stuff the site has discovered about America is downright fascinating. Take a look:

SEE ALSO: Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer wants his wealth to help families here at home in the US

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USAFacts is surprisingly patriotic because it begins with the Preamble to the Constitution. It reminds us that we're all in the country together. The Preamble is treated as the government's four mission statements. The site then delves into how each mission is doing.

One area Ballmer finds personally fascinating is where the government gets its revenue. In 2014, the latest year that data was available, the government brought in $5.2 trillion. For all the talk about corporate tax rates, it only accounts for 7% of that. Most revenue, 33%, comes from individual taxes.

The country spends more than it makes — and the mission of "securing blessings" takes the biggest chunk. This includes education (14% of the total US budget), Medicare (9%), Social Security (16%) and interest payments on our debt (6%). In comparison, we spend 11% on defense.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

14 of your most embarrassing questions about wine answered with science


rose wine

We've been there.

You're in a liquor or grocery store, trying to pick out wine with a group of friends when, inevitably, some unexpected member offers up their expert opinion.

Truth be told, there's a whole lot of science behind wine. Genetics, chemistry, microbiology, and even psychology all play a role in everything from how wine is produced, to which bottles we buy and when.

To get a better sense of what goes into making that glass of red or white, in 2016 we chatted with James Harbertson, a Washington State University professor of enology — that's the study of wine. In honor of National Wine Day, here's everything you need to know.

SEE ALSO: The definitive, scientific answers to 20 health questions everyone has

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Is cheap wine bad for you?

No way. Last year, rumors of a lawsuit that claimed that cheap wines had high levels of arsenic in it began circulating. One small detail the rumors left out: The lawsuit compared the levels of arsenic in wine to that of drinking water. To have any kind of negative experience as a result of this, you'd most likely have to drink about 2 liters of wine — a little more than 13 servings' worth.

That's an awful lot of wine.

What's the difference between a wine that costs $50 and a wine that costs $500?

The short answer? Not a lot — so long as you're just drinking it.

The price comes from a number of different factors — the maker, the type of grape, how long it's aged, etc. But if you're just looking for a solid bottle of wine, an inexpensive bottle could taste just as good if not better than a thousand-dollar bottle.

If anything, there's a bigger psychological component at play. A study that conducted a blind taste test in which people were given samples of wine found that they did not get any more enjoyment from a more expensive wine compared to a less expensive version. In another study, researchers found that untrained wine tasters actually liked the more expensive wines less than the cheaper ones.

If you're collecting, on the other hand, of course the price tag will make a difference.

"In the end, it's just wine," said Harbertson.

What are tannins and what are they doing in my wine?

You know that dry feeling you get in your mouth after a sip of red wine? You can thank tannins, naturally occurring chemicals that are found in wine and other beverages, like black tea.

Tannins give wine its weight — what makes it more milky than watery — so they're integral to all red wines, Harbertson said. They bind to proteins like the ones in saliva, which is what makes your mouth dry out. It's not as simple an experience as tasting something that's bitter, he said. The interaction of red wine in your mouth ends up feeling more like a texture than just a taste, something known as a "mouthfeel."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The insane workouts Alison Brie did to get in shape for her new show


Glow Netflix final

At 5'3", Alison Brie seems like the last person who could play a convincing professional wrestler, but her trainer is here to tell you she's the real deal. 

For Brie's new show, Netflix's "GLOW" (available June 23), the funny actress busted her butt for months with trainer Jason Walsh to not just look the part, but also to actually withstand the rigors of playing one of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

"Alison did all her stunts," Walsh recently told Business Insider. "I'll tell you right now, I've worked with a lot of people and she's a little bad a--."

In "GLOW," Brie stars as Ruth Wilder, a struggling actress who gets invited to audition along with 12 other women for the professional wrestling promotion Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (G.L.O.W.), which was indeed a real promotion started in the '80s.

Walsh, who's worked with everyone from Emily Blunt on "Edge of Tomorrow" to Matt Damon for "Jason Bourne," put together a workout plan for Brie that was a mix of cardio and strength training four days a week (often with a workout in the morning and afternoon each day) so her body could take the abuse.

"Alison would be jumping off ropes and landing on people and flipping. I wanted to get her resilient so she didn't run the risk of injury," Walsh said. "The science of training has really shifted the past decade to that more than glamour muscles." 

Walsh did this through two different workout methods of his creation: Rise Movement, which is one-on-one strength training, and Rise Nation, a cardio class in which clients use a VersaClimber.

Here's a glimpse at the exercises Walsh put Brie through:

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Heavy bag slams

Here's Brie (center) with Molly McQueen (left) and Mika Kelly (right) doing this insane workout.

"This is a full-body, explosive workout for conditioning," Walsh said.

They would do 6 sets of 5 reps.

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Another full-body workout. Walsh said Brie was deadlifting 165 pounds and did 6 sets of 3-5 reps.

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Farmer walks

"Great way to get the body warmed up," Walsh said. Brie held onto 65-pound dumbbells and did 45-second walks for 3-4 sets.

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A new show features ‘Biggest Loser’ winners who regained weight — and reveals a deeper truth about weight loss


big fat truth

The truth hit Ryan Benson when he couldn’t fit into a seat on his son’s favorite roller coaster: He’d regained the weight he’d fought so hard to lose as a contestant on "The Biggest Loser."

In 2005, Benson was crowned the first winner of the popular TV show, which ran for 12 years and has since ballooned into a multi-million-dollar franchise. Benson lost 122 pounds and won $250,000, but he's since returned to his pre-show weight.

That problem wasn't unique to Benson — a 2016 study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) followed more than a dozen former “Biggest Losers” and  found that of the 14 people studied, 13 regained a significant portion of the weight they lost on the show. Four were heavier in 2016 than they were before they set foot on the set.

Experts have various takes on why this happened, blaming everything from inevitable biological factors to the show’s shaming approach to weight loss. But the show's producer, JD Roth, argues that anyone can push themselves to slim down by breaking what he calls “bad behaviors.”

To that end, Roth has produced a new show called “The Big Fat Truth," which is set to premiere June 11. The program seeks to highlight "bad" behaviors and mentalities that it suggests are responsible for participants' weight gain. In one episode, six former “Biggest Losers" — including Benson— return and try to lose some of the weight they've regained.

“They all say the same thing,” Roth says of the contestants. “They say ‘I went back to my old behavior and made bad decisions.’”

But nutritionists and dietitians counter that Roth’s new show is another version of what they see as a dangerous approach to weight loss that favors quick results over science. As with many things in the world of health and nutrition, the truth falls somewhere in between.

From 300 to 175 to 325

After spending five grueling months exercising and dieting as a "Biggest Loser" contestant, the first thing Benson did to celebrate his accomplishment was order a burger and fries.

“In my mind I just thought I’ve been training so hard I want to eat something I craved for a few months — a burger, fries, some ribs,” Benson tells Business Insider. “That was one of the things that propelled me to the finish line. I thought, when I’m done I’m going to get this. It was a reward.”

Within weeks of returning home, the clothes Benson had worn during the show's season finale seemed to shrink. He caught himself stopping by his favorite fast-food chain more and more on the way home from work to appease his appetite for the foods he missed.

“It was real easy to slip back into old habits,” he says. “The cameras aren’t on 24/7 so no one’s going to see you pick up four donuts on the way to work.”


The NIH study of "Biggest Losers" — along with a New York Times feature story on the research — suggested that slimming down for good is virtually a biological impossibility for people who have been significantly overweight. Despite forcing their bodies to shed pounds in an intense 3-month boot camp, most of the show's participants seemed to succumb to powerful hormonal and metabolic forces that were out of their control.

“The key point is that you can be on TV, you can lose enormous amounts of weight, you can go on for six years, but you can’t get away from a basic biological reality,” Michael Schwartz, an obesity and diabetes researcher at the University of Washington, told the Times last year. “As long as you are below your initial weight, your body is going to try to get you back.”

Studies suggest that people who've lost significant amounts of weight produce fewer of the hormones that make human bodies feel full and more of the hormones that make us feel hungry. There’s evidence that the metabolism also slows down, perhaps because strict dieting convinces the body that it is starving, leading it to run as efficiently as it can and burn the fewest calories possible.

Roth has spent the past 15 years working on reality TV shows about weight loss, but rejects this idea. 

“I just don’t believe that that’s true,” he says of the Times’ suggestion that it might be biologically impossible for some people to keep weight off. “It’s different behavioral things. A lot of times emotional reasons are why you gain the weight back. There are so many factors that go with it.”

Heart hunger 

Roth blames Benson's weight gain on the fact that he fell prey to old habits.

“People start to get comfortable, sort of like how you might get a job you’ve really been working hard towards, and then after you get it you say to yourself, ‘Oh I knew I’d get that job.’ And they start accepting over and over again.”

Biggest LoserThe new show is in part a response to criticisms from some registered dietitians and nutritionists, who suggested the restrictive regimen imposed by “The Biggest Loser" failed to address what may be potential emotional and psychological issues connected to weight gain.

“If someone is using food as escapism or as comfort from emotional trauma, you have to deal with that," says Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian and the cofounder of Dietitians for Professional Integrity. "That takes time and that takes a very qualified professional to help you get to the bottom of that. That has nothing to do with weight loss tips or Bob Harper telling you to run an extra mile.”

Nichola Whitehead, a nutritionist and registered dietitian with a private practice in the United Kingdom, calls emotional eating “heart hunger.”

“Food won’t satisfy heart hunger in the long-term,” she says. “It can’t solve the underlying problem.”

Whitehead advises her clients to take a closer look at when and why they eat certain foods to see if certain feelings drive specific eating behaviors.

“So being aware of what you’re craving — are you craving chocolate because you’ve just seen it?" Whitehead says. "Do you just need to relocate or move the chocolate inside a cupboard? Are you feeling emotional? Is something else going on? Is it a good time to call a friend to talk or maybe take a walk?”

Safe, sustainable weight loss

When Roth got involved with “The Biggest Loser,” he says he assumed he could get contestants to lose about 100 pounds over the 5-month window of the show. When he talked to doctors, however, they told him that participants should only be losing one to two pounds per week. That figure, which exercise physiologists and registered dietitians agree is a good ballpark number for safe, sustainable weight loss, would mean that contestants could only lose about 30 pounds by the show’s end.

Roth says the network told him that number simply wouldn’t work for TV. So season after season, the show’s contestants lost one to two pounds per day— essentially seven times what doctors had said was healthy.

Experts say such rapid weight loss doesn’t give people enough time to create new healthy eating and exercise patterns.

“You’ve got to give yourself two, three, four years of consistent behavioral changes. That is hard work. You’re building new habits. And that takes time,” Bellatti says.

Roth's new show seems to accept this logic — to some degree. In one scene, he visits Benson at home and sends him out to pick up a fast food dinner in the time Roth says it'll take to prepare a vegan meal. When Benson returns with a bag of fried chicken sandwiches for his family, Roth has a fresh pasta and vegetable dish ready for them to eat.

Roth believes that showing Benson how easy it is to cook a healthy meal will spur him to change his behavior.

“I’m not a doctor or an exercise physiologist, but that said I have more experience in this area than most people have,” Roth says. “I live it.”

This one-off example may be enough to prompt some people to change their behavior. But for many of those who struggle with weight, long-term behavioral changes are grueling. Results don't come quickly, and many people simply give up.

“I’ve seen it a lot with people I work with,” says Bellatti. “I’d say nine times out of 10 the people who change slowly and do manageable goals are the people who three years out still have success. I know many people who’ve gone on some kind of crash diet for a week and lose a bunch of weight and a few months later they’re back to square one.”

Building new habits

biggest loserA recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association illustrates just how hard sticking to a diet can be. For the study, 160 adults spent two years on one of four popular diets. For the first two months, they had to adhere to the diet fairly strictly; for the rest of the time, they were told they could be as strict or lenient as they wanted.

At the end, everyone who'd kept up with the eating plans had lost some weight and seen moderate improvements in their heart health. But a lot of people didn’t make it to the end — in one group, more than half of the participants dropped out.

“A variety of popular diets can reduce weight and several cardiac risk factors under realistic clinical conditions, but only for the minority of individuals who can sustain a high dietary adherence level,” the study authors write. “No single diet produced satisfactory adherence rates.”

In other words, as registered dietitian nutritionist Kara Lydon likes to say, “Diets don’t work.”

It’s a finding that squares with what many dietitians recommend — that the best eating plan is simply the one you can stick with.

“If you don’t take the time to help somebody set up realistic, sustainable behaviors that they can keep up over time, gaining weight and going back into old habits is inevitable,” says Bellatti.

For many people, losing weight means committing to a different lifestyle — one that in large part is not supported by the dietary options made available to us.

“We live in a society where making healthy choices and being at a healthy weight, it’s not defaulted toward that," says Bellatti. "Unhealthy foods are cheaper and they’re everywhere; if you go to any store, you can buy a candy bar at the checkout but not a piece of fruit.” 

Nevertheless, he maintains that losing weight and keeping it off is possible.

“It can be very challenging, and you need to stay on top of a lot of things, but I know a good number of people who’ve lost a significant amount of weight over a long time.”

Ryan Benson says his experience on Roth’s new show did encourage him to make changes to his diet and lifestyle. But he’s also made use of several tools outside of the show’s guidelines, such as learning how to prepare healthy food and becoming involved in the healthy food scene in his Los Angeles neighborhood.

“I think [“The Big Fat Truth”] set me on the right path,” says Benson, though he adds, “it’s a lifetime struggle.”

SEE ALSO: Americans have been making a huge diet mistake for 100 years — here's what they should do instead

DON'T MISS: 13 diet 'truths' that are doing more harm than good

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The pros and cons of drinking protein shakes after a workout

Trump crashed a wedding at his Bedminster golf club Saturday night


While he was spending the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey over the weekend, President Donald Trump crashed a wedding.

Newlyweds Kristen and Tucker looked pleasantly surprised the president dropped by their reception Saturday night. Guests shouted, "Lookin' good, Donald!" and started chanting, "USA!"

Trump's unannounced appearances at weddings taking place at his companies' properties used to be a selling point, The Hill reported. "If he is on-site for your big day, he will likely stop in & congratulate the happy couple," an old Bedminster National Golf Club brochure read, according to the New York Times.

Check out photos people posted to social media:

He stopped to say hello at the wedding party 🥂🇺🇸

A post shared by Madelyn Smith (@madelyns_moving_castle) on Jun 10, 2017 at 7:18pm PDT on

President Donald Trump swings by a reception held at his New Jersey golf course and poses for pictures with guests.

A post shared by KolHaolam (@kolhaolam) on Jun 11, 2017 at 12:03pm PDT on

Watch video that CNN obtained of the interaction below:

SEE ALSO: Trump's weekend trips to his estates are being documented through random people's Instagrams

DON'T MISS: Trump remained surprisingly quiet throughout Comey's blockbuster hearing

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Kids tell us what they really think of Trump

A grocery chain you've never heard of is about to be one of the biggest in America


New Aldi

Aldi says it has a plan to become the third largest grocery chain by in the US by store count within the next four years.

The discount chain is investing $3.4 billion to expand to 2,500 stores — up from 1,600 stores today — by 2022, the company said Monday.

The aggressive expansion plan would make Aldi the third largest supermarket chain behind Walmart and Kroger. 

"We pioneered a grocery model built around value, convenience, quality and selection and now Aldi is one of America’s favorite and fastest growing retailers," Aldi US CEO Jason Hart said in a statement. "We’re growing at a time when other retailers are struggling. We are giving our customers what they want, which is more organic produce, antibiotic-free meats and fresh healthier options across the store, all at unmatched prices up to 50 percent lower than traditional grocery stores."

Aldi also said Monday that it's continuing to invest $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 existing stores with a new design that features softer lighting than its older stores, as well as a larger fresh produce section, wider aisles, and electronic displays on the walls.

The German-owned grocery chain debuted the new design in October at a store in Richmond, Virginia, and it looks almost identical to Whole Foods' new cheaper chain of stores called 365 by Whole Foods.

Here's what it looks like:

SEE ALSO: Chick-fil-A has a new ad to hook millennial moms — and some dads are offended

The new Aldi store looks similar to its older stores on the outside.

But stepping inside, it feels much different. The lighting is softer and more natural, and the aisles are wider.

Permanent eye-level shelving fixtures are everywhere in the new store. In the older stores, shown below, many items are stacked on top of each other in cardboard boxes instead of placed on shelves.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A steak master shares his 7 steps to grilling the perfect cut of meat


grilled steak

Becoming a master at grilling steak is easier said than done. Sometimes the steak ends up too rare or, even worse, terribly overcooked.

But if you're looking to truly impress guests at your next backyard barbecue, you'll want to try these steps to the perfect steak, courtesy of chef Wade Wiestling of Mastro's Steakhouse.

Emma Rechenberg contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.

SEE ALSO: The best steakhouse in every state

1. Choose your meat.

Wiestling recommends a juicy rib eye because "it's extremely tender and fatty and extremely flavorful."

Specifically, Wiestling suggests selecting the spinalis cap of the rib eye, which is typically known as the most tender piece of meat on the cow.

2. Pour a glass of wine.

"When I'm cooking steak, that's the only thing I'm doing," Wiestling told Business Insider.

He said properly grilling steak requires your complete attention. Wiestling recommends tossing a salad or baking a potato after the steak is done cooking instead of attempting to multitask.

"There's no need to walk away," he said. "That's why I pour a glass of wine ahead of time."

3. Unwrap the steak and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.

Wiestling says the key to making great steak is to let it come to room temperature before you cook it.

"If you throw an ice-cold slab of beef on the grill, your chances of getting it cooked to the perfect temperature are going to be more difficult," he said. "You may not get that nice char on it."

When the steak adjusts to room temperature, the meat relaxes and the fats soften up. This brings the steak to its prime grilling state.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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