The degree to which exercise aids weight loss is open to debate, but the benefits go way beyond burning calories. Exercise can increase your metabolism and improve your outlook—and it’s something you can benefit from right now. Go for a walk, stretch, move around and you’ll have more energy and motivation to tackle the other steps in your weight-loss program.

If you ate nothing but Twinkies or apples for a few months, you'd probably lose weight. You'd also lose muscle mass and gym performance—and threaten your overall health. Your goal is to build a healthy diet that gives you the right amount of macros (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) that will sustain you over that time. Let's look at these macros one at a time.
Of course, it's not always easy to find—or afford—organic produce. But in general, conventionally grown items that you peel—avocado, grapefruit, bananas—are fine. But choose organic when buying celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale and collard greens, cherries, potatoes, and imported grapes; they tend to have the highest levels of pesticides.
The body doesn't react to all fats in the same way. Research correlates high intake of saturated fat (the kind in meat and dairy) to increased visceral fat, says Patton. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats (the kind in olive oil and avocados) and specific types of polyunsaturated fats (mainly omega-3s, found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon) have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good. But Patton warns that eating too much fat of any kind increases your calorie intake and could lead to weight gain, so enjoy healthy fats in moderation. 

Carbohydrates are extremely important to training since they are the primary fuel source for working muscles. During weight training the body uses ATP for energy. ATP is replenished through something called the glycolytic pathway. This pathway converts glucose into ATP. Glucose (carbohydrate) is obtained from the bloodstream or from carbs stored in the muscle tissue as glycogen.


Boundary bullies are the people, places, and activities that pop out of nowhere and suck the time and energy out of your day. Figure out where they are, who they are, where they’re "hiding" and what it is that makes you the victim of said "bullying." Is it happy hour at the local bar where the buffalo wings become dinner? (Pack a snack before you go.) Is it a colleague who always gets coffee at the same time as you and talks you into donuts? (Make this mid-morning run a part of your breakfast by eating half of your breakfast sandwich before the break, and the other half during coffee.) Is it friends who order items "for the table" when you’re at a restaurant, only to leave you grazing on a bucket of fried dumplings you didn’t even want in the first place? (Tell Jane, "No thanks, I’m having the shrimp and broccoli instead.")

Over the years fasted cardio has become an incredibly popular method used to shed fat. Fasted cardio means waking up in the morning and performing cardio on an empty stomach before breakfast. The reason this has become a popular fat loss method is because fasted cardio increases the percentage of calories derived from fat during cardio while minimizing the amount of glycogen used for energy. As discussed earlier, it doesn’t matter if energy comes from carbs or from fat the fat loss will be the same no matter the substrate.
Earlier, belly fat was considered healthy; it was perceived as a reservoir of adipose tissues that could be utilized when a person needed extra energy. With time, the views have changed. Researchers state that excess belly fat triggers chronic cardiovascular diseases. So, it is important to measure belly fat and check how much you need to reduce. Here are some parameters to measure your waistline.
Appetite-suppressant drugs and other diet pills:"Wonder" products that permanently reduce weight do not exist. Products that promise immediate or effortless weight loss will not work in the long run. Appetite suppressants, which often contain a stimulant like caffeine or hoodia, are associated with side effects including nausea, nasal dryness, anxiety, agitation, dizziness, insomnia and elevated blood pressure. Alli reduces fat absorption; following the package directions will reduce risk of side effects, which may include oily diarrhea and anal discharge. With any product, side effects may be worse if you exceed the recommended dosage.
If you want to shrink your gut, get enough protein in your diet. In this case, about 25 percent of calories. Why? For starters, protein makes you feel full and helps you build muscle (which increases metabolism, thereby making it easier to lose weight). Just as important, high-protein diets have been shown to be the best way of attacking belly fat. In one study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, Danish researchers put 65 people on either a 12 percent protein diet or a 25 percent protein diet. The low-protein dieters lost an average of 11 pounds, which isn't bad. But the high-protein subjects lost an average of 20 pounds--including twice as much abdominal fat as the low-protein group.

I was super scared to start this program. It seemed so intense but was excited for the challenge and to get results. Well, I ended up loving it! I feel less restricted on this program and get to eat a wider variety of food. I used to eat pretty healthy but I would restrict myself so much that I would go on these binges on the weekends having no self control. I would wake up the next day feeling horrible inside and out. This program helped me break that cycle. I never felt like I was missing out or deprived of anything because I had the built in cheat within my macros on Saturday and got to eat yummy food all week! I realized I was over exercising and under eating. The workouts are a lot of bang for your buck, using your time and effort to get results fast. Since I began the program, I've been able to increase my weights significantly and feel stronger. I've had many people notice a change in my appearance and ask what I'm doing. I ended up losing 10 pounds and inches everywhere! This truly is amazing well rounded program that has become a true lifestyle change for me. I've loved having all the support, encouragement, and accountability in the Facebook page! Thank you to Amanda and the coaches for a great experience!!
Too little sleep or too much sleep can throw your stress and regulatory hormones out of whack, and may lead to weight gain. A single night of sleep deprivation can increase levels of ghrelin (a hormone that promotes hunger), making you more likely to overeat the next day. Reduced sleep may also lead to fatigue during the day (duh) and less physical activity, which may be another reason why people who regularly don't get enough sleep tend to gain weight.
Loretta Barna (My Honey) and I (Brian Lane) began the partners challenge apart for prep week and for week one. Loretta came home (after 10 1/2 weeks of being apart 😃) in time for week 2. We were both doing well at this point in time. By week 3 we were on vacation in California for my sister's 60th Birthday. We had good intentions of working out, but with all the family around it just did not happen. We did do our best in trying to watch what we ate and still posted our macros. So by the time we got back home, we were into week 4 and 11 days absent of exercise. Back at it until the middle of week 5. At this point we had made Loretta's flight plans to go back home to Ohio to be with her mom who is in a nursing home. So knowing I had limited time left to spend with her I made the decision to sleep in with her next to me. I think I worked out once in that week and a half. I believe Loretta worked out a few times while I was at work in that week and a half. But knowing that she had been in 3 different time zones within 3 weeks she was tired. Not making excuses for her, just telling you how she was feeling. Loretta went home yesterday (July 8th). 
If you want to keep burning fat, you’ve got to get moving. Whether you’re able to hit the gym first thing in the morning (after your snack from tip #1) or just taking the stairs throughout the day at work and going for a lunchtime walk – the important thing is to get moving and find simple ways to squeeze fitness into your busy day. Since your body will need carbs to recover from your workout, save your larger, healthier meal for afterward.
Good sleep hygiene can help. “Our ancestors needed to sleep when it was dark, quiet, and cool, Gillespie says. “That meant it was safe.” Despite technological advancements like heat and air conditioning, our bodies still crave those cave-like conditions. Draw the blinds, use a white noise generator, and keep the thermostat set between 63 and 68 degrees.
The human body will process carbohydrates the same way first thing in the morning as it does right before bed. So feel free to eat some carbs before bed. It will not hinder your fat loss one bit. In fact, newer studies have even shown that consuming carbs before bed may even lead to a slightly higher metabolism, but further research is still needed on this subject.

Our increasingly slothful lifestyles are partly to blame for skyrocketing obesity rates, so it’s no surprise that being more active is a simple fix for belly fat. In 2003, a first-of-its-kind study from Duke University showed that sedentary adults accumulated abdominal fat surprisingly quickly — and that sedentary women stacked on fat more visceral fat than sedentary men, even though they added less fat overall.
Don’t think going low-carb on the overfeed day is going to improve the results. It will make them worse. You do not need to avoid fat, but you do need to work on making sweet potatoes, yams, and white rice the bulk of your diet for this one day. You can drown your sweet potatoes in butter or not; it doesn’t matter as long as you eat the potatoes.  It’s important to choose glucose based carb sources like sweet potatoes and Taro over fruit. Fructose is 10-20% more lipogenic (fat forming) during overfeeding than glucose.
It's the age-old question: How many sets do you need, and how much time should you spend in the gym each day? The answer varies from person to person, but when burning fat is the primary goal, a good rule of thumb is to train until you're pretty beat up, but not to the point at which you're flattened and thoroughly exhausted. That type of kamikaze training may satisfy your pysche, but it does a number on your anabolic hormones.
High carb days need to be inserted into your fat loss plan regularly to prevent a metabolism stall, but high carb days cannot be taken too frequently without slowing progress. The frequency with which to take high carb days will depend on how fast your metabolism is and how lean you are. Below is the guide for determining the frequency of high carbs days based on body type.
Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar — up to four grams per tablespoon — and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat fast. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better; the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.
Nuts are an excellent way to curb hunger between meals. They're high in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Studies suggest nuts can promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation. They're also rich in calories, so limit your portions. If you have to get them out of their shell, you'll slow down and not eat as much.
A study from Canada’s McMaster University (partly funded by  Dairy Farmers of Canada) put women on several different diets (lower protein, low dairy; lower protein, medium dairy; higher protein, high dairy) and found they all lost the same amount of weight — but that the higher-protein, high-dairy group lost the most belly fat while also gaining and holding onto the most muscle mass. “It seems… increasing calcium and protein in the diet may help to further promote loss of fat from the worst storage area in the body,” said Andrea Josse, lead author of the study.

Carbohydrates are a touchy subject: while some blame them for all fat gain, it’s the type of carbs you eat that’s key. A 2011 study out of the University of Alabama found that a diet that slightly cut back on carbs, and which comprised mostly low-GI carbohydrates, lost more deep abdominal fat than those who ate a lower-fat diet. GI stands for glycemic index, a measure of how fast carbohydrates supply your body with energy: high-GI foods make you spike then crash, while low-GI foods provide a slow burn.


According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans those who achieve and manage a healthy weight do so most successfully by being careful to consume just enough calories to meet their needs, and being physically active.[10] According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), healthy individuals seeking to maintain their weight should consume 2,000 calories (8.4 MJ) per day.[citation needed]
For me I am working on a total mindset shift - "not comparing my week 3 to someone's week 20" as one of the FTWFL coaches recently posted in a video. Have I seen the start of results from improved cleaner eating habits/balanced meals, tried new foods to be GF, dairy free, and all but drinking my coffee black (oh the humanity!), embraced those weekly small non scale victories and begun a lifestyle change? Yes! Have I ended up with those long desired abs, wearing all those shorts and skirts that are a size down and ditching all my bad food habits after just 6 weeks? No, but I am down 4lbs of my goal of 10#, seeing improved upper body definition and a loss of a few inches overall. A few things fit better, friends and family have noticed, and I don't beat myself us AS much as I used to. I enjoy cooking and trying new foods so the cookbooks and idea/meal sharing have been such a plus. Moreover, when I share this program and journey I am constantly telling people that the coaches are REAL people, with emails, facebook, videos - with a family, activities, cute tops from TJ Maxx and a shared love of donuts! I know we have room to improve and room to grow, but this is manageable as a couple and a lifestyle that I plan to keep. I know as a couple we have each others backs and selfishly we want to stay in shape and sexy for each other - but I also know we want a healthy mind and body to enjoy that time together. I'm glad I didn't keep scrolling blindly through the posts I found, and have had the chance to grow in my fitness journey with plans to continue with Amanda after this next round. If I can inspire and change the lives of 1/10 the number of people you all have reached I will consider that a huge win.
Spreading the same amount of calories out over the course of your day so that you’re eating within an hour of waking up and then every four to six hours will jumpstart your metabolism, kicking off your calorie burn, and keep it going at a steady pace all day long, Crandall says. This works for a lot of people by keeping blood sugar levels steady, preventing the surges and plunges that can lead to ravenous hunger and overeating. It also keeps you from feeling deprived.

No. That’s not what I’m saying. Cardio isn’t bad – quite the opposite. Everyone should do some form of cardio; swimming, walking, running, hiking, playing a sport – whatever. The point I’m trying to impress upon you is that most people resort to ‘cardio’ when trying to lose fat but it’s of the least importance when changing your body composition is the goal.


Say cheese! Adding some extra calcium to your diet could be the key to getting that flat stomach you’ve been dreaming about. Over just 12 months, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville found that obese female study subjects who upped their calcium intake shed 11 pounds of body fat without other major dietary modifications. To keep your calcium choices healthy, try mixing it up between dairy sources, calcium-rich leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.

Social conditions such as poverty, social isolation and inability to get or prepare preferred foods can cause unintentional weight loss, and this may be particularly common in older people.[43] Nutrient intake can also be affected by culture, family and belief systems.[28] Ill-fitting dentures and other dental or oral health problems can also affect adequacy of nutrition.[28]
Caffeine also has a dramatic effects on the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands regulate hormone levels within the body. Most notably of theses hormones are the “fight or flight” hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. Caffeine causes a release of these hormones which will give a short term energy burst. The problem is when there is chronic stimulation of the adrenal glands. This will lead to adrenal burnout which can negatively effect energy levels, metabolism, and digestion.
We also love yoga, hula-hooping (yep, great for the abs) and the good standby “Abs of Steel” videos, and trust me the outfits in the 1990’s video will increase the cardio aspect just from laughter alone! There are also a slew of videos online, find one you love and can stick to every few days and you’ll be toning as you shed the unwanted belly fat.
If you find yourself cutting down your calories and doing cardio, yet your extra fat is still sticking around, it may be a good idea to focus on your lean body mass. Increasing lean body mass wakes up your resting metabolism. It also affects many different hormones in the body like insulin, leptin, and ghrelin. These hormones communicate with your cells and instruct them about whether it’s time to store fat or release it.
High carb days need to be inserted into your fat loss plan regularly to prevent a metabolism stall, but high carb days cannot be taken too frequently without slowing progress. The frequency with which to take high carb days will depend on how fast your metabolism is and how lean you are. Below is the guide for determining the frequency of high carbs days based on body type.
Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack. Adding a source of lean or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer so you're less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats. Experts also recommend eating small, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar levels steady and to avoid overindulging.
The popular "flat belly diets"embrace much of the wisdom found in eating a Mediterranean diet, which helps everything from brain health to hearth health. The basic premise for both diets is eat foods rich in monosaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that may help reduce your belly fat storage. MUFA-rich foods include olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocodos, and fish. Eating yogurt regularly has also been found to be helpful in reducing belly fat.
I have struggled with my weight and binge eating my entire life. Finally, at 49 years old, I have found a lifestyle - the FASTer Way to Fat Loss lifestyle - that works with me and my busy life. I am a busy full time professional and I travel quite a bit. Never knowing where I am, I am able to do the workouts and eat following the guidelines of the plan from anywhere. I knew I had experienced a major mind set shift over the weekend when I came across an old bottle of prescription diet pills I had been hanging onto as a crutch. I no longer need those and never would consider taking those now that I have taken control of my body and changed my mindset. Eating real whole food and moving my body consistently has led to this transformation from a size 10-12 to a size 6. I'm wearing clothes I haven't worn in years. Most importantly, I don't have a deadline to get weight off or see a certain number on the scale as I used to. I am trusting that my body will continue in its transformation until I lose this excess body fat. I am halfway there, and I know I'll be successful. I no longer have the mindset that I have to be perfect in my eating. I used to fall off the wagon and literally binge for three days and then feel horrible. Progress, not perfection. Thank you for that mantra, Amanda, and for creating this wonderful program. I am so thankful that I discovered this program and can continue to enjoy it with VIP membership now that I've completed two 6 week cycles.
This is our partners transformation story after I had been social media stalking Amanda for a month or so and decided to just jump into the FWTFL program! Needless to say I was super excited (though not sure Lee was) about Brandon announcing a men's group for the first time that would coincide with my first round. Lee wasn't too hard to sell on the idea since he knew I would likely be meal planning, reminding him of our gym schedule and then agreeing to be his proxy on the facebook group (oh, and enter his food logs to MFP). Honestly, I enjoy being in charge (not control haha) of these adventures so we were both okay with it all.
Too many tough days at the office or ongoing arguments with family members can sabotage your weight-loss efforts, says Jeremy Shore, C.S.C.S., a group education director for Matrix Fitness. When your body is stressed, your cortisol levels rise, telling your body to store fat for protection, says Shore. While that might be helpful in the Amazon, it's not going to save you from your boss's emails. Shore recommends deep nasal breathing to relax. "This directs air into the lower lobes of the lungs where there are a greater number of parasympathetic nervous system receptors—stimulating repair and recovery while calming the mind," he says. Inhale and exhale deeply from the nose, spending five to eight seconds on each inhale and five to eight seconds on each exhale. 
Earlier, belly fat was considered healthy; it was perceived as a reservoir of adipose tissues that could be utilized when a person needed extra energy. With time, the views have changed. Researchers state that excess belly fat triggers chronic cardiovascular diseases. So, it is important to measure belly fat and check how much you need to reduce. Here are some parameters to measure your waistline.
Yes, you can dance your way slim! Grooving hard while celebrating with pals can blast even more calories than running, swimming, or cycling, per recent research from the University of Brighton in England. Dancing for an hour can burn anywhere from 200 and 600 calories, while also helping to build strength, increase flexibility, and even slow the aging process.
Over the past five or six days of this protocol, you’ve been in deep ketosis and burning only fat, but you haven’t had to be particularly calorie restricted. In order to reset leptin levels and prevent a large drop in energy levels, you need to re-feed. Contrary to our normal recommendations, you need to pound down the carbs. When it comes to normalizing leptin levels, fat has no effect, while carbs are going to send them sky high.
The 3 branched chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. It has long been known that these three amino acids are great for preventing muscle tissue breakdown and building new muscle tissue. What most people do not know is that BCAA supplementation can increase fatty acid utilization for energy by decreasing protein breakdown for energy use.
After you train, it's difficult to gain body fat. Why? Depleted, broken-down muscles soak up both protein and carbohydrates for growth and recovery. If you eat too little at this time, you may actually set yourself back by impeding recovery; supporting recovery and growth actually increases metabolism while impeding it slows metabolism. In terms of spurring recovery and growth, just about the most counterproductive thing you can do after a hard workout is starve yourself.
Even if you do meet your goal, it's nearly impossible to keep off the weight over the long term: "The amount of restriction required [to maintain that number] will make you so hungry that you’ll eat everything in sight—it’s survival instinct," Dr. Seltzer says. And since calorie restriction gradually slows your metabolism, your body will be less prepared to burn the foods you binge on, he adds. That could mean gaining more pounds than you lost in the first place.

Dairy products contain varying amounts of lactose (milk sugar), which slows down weight loss. What’s more, part of the protein in milk generates a significant insulin response, which can have the same effect. Consequently, cutting back on dairy products may accelerate weight loss. This applies especially to dairy products typically lacking in fat, such as regular milk and various yogurts, but be careful with full-fat dairy such as cream and cheese all the same. And don’t forget whey protein powder, which is pure milk protein.
Carbohydrates are essential to keeping a fast metabolism. Leptin and other fat burning hormones are directly related to carbohydrate intake and body fat levels. Leptin is a fat burning hormone that serves many functions. One of the most important functions is the control of energy expenditure. When food intake, and most notably carb intake is high, leptin levels will be high. This sends signals to you body that it is in a fed state and this can cause your metabolism to remain high.
This could be because the body increases insulin secretion in anticipation that sugar will appear in the blood. When this doesn’t happen, blood sugar drops and hunger increases. Whether this chain of events regularly takes place is somewhat unclear. Something odd happened when I tested Pepsi Max though, and there are well-designed studies showing increased insulin when using artificial sweeteners.

It is possible to do more in less time — at least when it comes to your workouts. By incorporating interval training — that means bursts of high-intensity moves — you’ll give your metabolism a huge boost, says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., director of the Kinesiology Program at the University of Virginia and author of The Spark. If you usually jog at a consistent pace, try adding a 30-second to one-minute sprint every five minutes, or, if you’re on a treadmill, change up the incline for one-minute intervals.
Sometimes, to whip your body into shape, you have to get a little nutty. While nuts are high in fat, it’s that very fat that makes them such powerful weapons in the war against a ballooning belly. In fact, research from Reina Sofia University Hospital reveals that study participants who consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those in nuts, over a 28-day period gained less belly fat than their saturated fat-consuming counterparts while improving their insulin sensitivity.

When I signed up for this program, I was in a pretty dark place. I was using all kinds of unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with (hide from) hurts and insecurities that had piled up over the last few years. I was approaching my highest pregnancy weight- and I wasn't even pregnant. Every day was a struggle, and my poor habits were spiraling out of control. I didn't like or recognize the shell of a woman who looked back at me in the mirror. Something had to change, for myself, and also for my husband and 3 kids. They deserve better.
Science backs these ideas up when it comes shedding belly fat: In one study published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers had overweight men and women follow a high-protein diet (30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, and 30 percent fat) or a high-carb diet (15 percent protein, 55 percent carbs, and 30 percent fat). After one year of weight loss and maintenance, they found that the high-protein group experienced a 21 percent greater weight loss and 27 percent greater body fat loss on average than the high-carb group.

After you train, it's difficult to gain body fat. Why? Depleted, broken-down muscles soak up both protein and carbohydrates for growth and recovery. If you eat too little at this time, you may actually set yourself back by impeding recovery; supporting recovery and growth actually increases metabolism while impeding it slows metabolism. In terms of spurring recovery and growth, just about the most counterproductive thing you can do after a hard workout is starve yourself.
Instead of satisfying your sweet tooth with some refined sugar, turn to berries and enjoy a slimmer waistline in no time. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, and research from the University of Michigan reveals that rats given a berry-rich diet shaved off a significant proportion of their belly fat when compared to a control group. Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are also loaded with resveratrol, an antioxidant pigment that has been linked to reductions in belly fat and a reduced risk of dementia, to boot.
Some people truly love doing cardio while others absolutely despise it. No matter which side you are on the only that matters is that you have to do cardio if you are serious about getting lean. When I say cardio I am not talking about taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Low intensity cardio is not going to give you the real results you are after. For serious fat loss you need serious cardio.
If you're dehydrated, it can be hard to tell if you're hungry or just thirsty. If you're craving a mid-day snack, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes before reassessing how hungry you really are. Water also helps food move through your digestive system, lessening feelings of bloating. It's a good idea to keep a water bottle with you throughout the day. Add in cucumber slices or fresh fruit to infuse flavor.
It's easy to overdo it when you're eating something delicious — and that's why it's good to focus on foods that will force you to slow down. "Slowing down can help you check in with your hunger levels. For that reason, I love snacking on 100-calorie packs of in-shell pistachios," Gorin says. "Shelling the pistachios helps you slow down your snacking, and the shells leave a visual cue to remind you of how much you've eaten. Because you're more in tune with what's gone into your mouth, you may be less likely to have extra servings." In one preliminary study, people snacking on in-shell pistachios ate 41% less calories than those who ate the shelled version.

Water isn’t just a calorie-free beverage, it’s also essential to the process of metabolizing fat, known as hydrolysis, says Pence. So it’s important to drink enough fluids every day—and you’ll need even more if you’re overweight. A good rule of thumb is to drink a milliliter of water for every calorie you consume. Not into the metric system? If you’re following a 2000-calorie diet, that comes to 67 ounces or just over a half gallon of water.
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