For even more impressive effects on body composition: aim for exercise forms which elicit a positive hormonal response. This means lifting really heavy things (strength training), or interval training. Such exercise increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone (primarily in men) as well as growth hormone. Not only do greater levels of these hormones increase your muscle mass, but they also decrease your visceral fat (belly fat) in the long term.
And maybe a new mattress, because it’s not just the amount of time you spend sleeping that keeps you lean, it’s also the quality of your sleep. Fat cells in your body produce a hormone called leptin that helps the body keep track of how much potential energy (i.e. fat) it has stored. But leptin is only produced during certain stages of sleep. Miss out on those stages because you’re not resting soundly enough, and you’ll disturb levels of the hormone, leaving your body with no real idea of its energy reserves. Consequently, you’ll end up storing calories rather than burning them.
I wish I could tell you the habits formed without a problem, but it was HARD. I had to figure out what worked best for me. I learned that packing my lunch the night before work was super helpful. I also learned that nights were hard for me. There were days I ate super well all day long but then felt like I ruined it when I ate a bunch of candy or dessert. I would also indulge over the weekends, late at night, or when going out to dinner. I was also not in shape so working out was hard. I felt super weak and was tired after work so it was extra difficult motivating myself to get to the gym only to find out and remind myself I was not good at running or lifting. It took me a while to learn that exercising over my lunch break was a good fit for me – it gave me a break from work and I had enough energy to push myself. There were a lot of days of missing the mark, when I would be too tired to work out or days when I didn’t think about what I was consuming and ate whatever was in front of me (not the nutritious kinds of food). There were many days when I felt like I was making any progress whatsoever. The biggest and most important thing I started to learn in this summer was to give myself grace. I hard to learn to forgive myself and move on when I fell short of the mark I set for myself. I had to learn to keep my head up and remind myself that the tiny baby steps would lead to progress.
About: Mindy doesn’t just blog about weight loss, it’s actually her job to help people lose weight. She’s a busy, Washington, D.C.-based one-on-one weight loss coach, and (luckily for us), spends some of her spare time blogging about it too. Her blog is great in that it clearly comes from an experienced professional, but it’s also fun to read and features Mindy’s quirky personal touch, just what the doctor ordered for people as they work to drop those extra pounds.
Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning Sparkpeople! Last week, I came across your website after visiting Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and reading a woman’s recipe about pumpkin pie oatmeal. She listed your Crockpot pumpkin oatmeal recipe as a recommended recipe. I’ve been having a hard time taking off ten pounds–I’m in my forties and I can’t eat like I used to! I joined Sparkpeople a week ago and have been really liking it. I don’t feel so isolated, and the tracking tools are really great (and it’s free, too!). Thanks for introducing me to Sparkpeople, Jennifer!
While many people turn to artificial sweeteners in a misguided attempt to whittle their waistlines, those fake sugars are likely to have the opposite effect. According to researchers at Yale, artificial sweeteners are actually linked with an increased risk of abdominal obesity and weight gain, possibly because they can trigger cravings for the real stuff and spike insulin levels in a similar fashion to real sugar.
Limit foods high in refined carbohydrates and refined sugar (white bread, white pasta, white rice), and replace them with high fibre ‘complex carbs’ – think: whole grains, brown rice, sweet potato, oats, beans and pulses. Fill your boots with as many vegetables as possible – they’re low calorie, high in micronutrients, and the fibre in them will keep you full.
Some antidepressant medications can cause weight gain, especially the older tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as Tryptizol, Saroten, and Clomipramine; as well as newer drugs such as Remeron (Mirtazapine). Lithium (for manic-depressive disorder) often causes weight gain. The most common antidepressants known as SSRI’s (for example Citalopram and Sertraline) usually don’t impact weight significantly. More on depression

You don’t have to take a three-month sabbatical in Bali or enrol on a ‘breathing class’ in a Scandi Yogi retreat to find inner calm. You don’t even have to meditate (though it’ll almost certainly help). If a few minutes of deep-belly breathing in a quiet spot doesn’t chill you out, try a bodyweight workout or taking a walk around the block. Exercise boosts your circulation, transporting cortisol to your kidneys, which flush it out.
How many times have you thought something like this – “I ate because my sister had a diagnosis and I was so freaked out. I ate because my grandchild had the flu and was up all night.  My job is so stressful, I will never get out from under all the work.  I went out after that stressful meeting and ate what I wanted to relieve the stress.” These are what I call stress thoughts.
This story was beyond relatable, it brought me to tears. I’m lying in bed as I write this. I had a miscarriage and had my D and C surgery this morning. I was on anxiety pills for a little over a year and when i found out I was pregnant with my third baby I decided to quit taking them. My OBGYN said the same thing yours did, but something inside of me urged me to quit taking them. I am at 180 pounds today. This is the heaviest i have ever been in my life. I’m turning a new page in my life. Although I have lost my baby, I’m so grateful to finally be off the antidepressants. This miscarriage was a wake up call for me. I look in the mirror and don’t even know who I am anymore. Your story has inspired me. I want to go back to being thinnish (I’m so stealing your so stealing your word “thinnish”!!). Thank you so much for sharing this.
Do you even lift, bro? If you’re serious about getting rid of that belly fat fast, resistance training might just be the key. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that adding weight training to adult male test subjects’ workouts significantly reduced their risk of abdominal obesity over a multi-year study period, although doing the same amount of cardio had no such effect. Research from the University of Maryland even found that just 16 weeks of weight training boosted study participants’ metabolic rates by a whopping 7.7 percent, making it easier to ditch those extra inches around your middle.
Eating patterns that restrict certain food groups can certainly help you lose weight, but many people find it hard to continue to eat that way forever. If you want to think of your diet like a relationship, you don’t want to be in an “it’s complicated” or “on-again, off-again” situation. You want to find your match — a meal plan you can feel content with for the long haul. That doesn’t mean you have to ditch all of your favorite foods for eternity. It’s okay to flirt with the foods that make you swoon, but you don’t want to settle down with them. When your healthy habits are solid, enjoying your favorite foods sometimes is no big deal.
About: Sara, a new mom, is all about living a happy, healthy and fun life. She’s struggled with her weight for years, and, as she puts it, can’t wait for the day when weight no longer gets in her way. Sara’s biggest appeal is that she’s all about using good ole fashioned weight loss techniques — eating healthy and exercising. And that philosophy permeates through her blog, inspiring readers and engaging fans along the way.
Well, I should begin on the child hood years.  As a child I was not over weight.  I was pretty active as a child, my weight didn’t go up till I hit puberty.  I guess all that candy and soda caught up with me.  However when I hit about 15, the weight came back off, I was a cheerleader in the fall, and I played softball in the spring,and did a lot of other activities in between.  Then when I hit 18 I really started to work out.  I kind of got obsessed, I was working out to Carol Alt’s VCR tapes (remember VHS tapes?) and I got into the best shape ever.  I am 5’11 and made it to 135 lbs, not too shabby.  However, I didn’t eat that much and felt horribly guilty when I did eat.  Not good!  Honestly I don’t know what happened after that, to why I stopped working out that is.  I guess that’s when I hit age 20.  The discovery of pizza, beer, bars, guys and friends.
Weight loss occurs when the body is expending more energy in work and metabolism than it is absorbing from food or other nutrients. It will then use stored reserves from fat or muscle, gradually leading to weight loss. For athletes seeking to improve performance or to meet required weight classification for participation in a sport, it is not uncommon to seek additional weight loss even if they are already at their ideal body weight. Others may be driven to lose weight to achieve an appearance they consider more attractive. However, being underweight is associated with health risks such as difficulty fighting off infection, osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength, trouble regulating body temperature and even increased risk of death.[3]
I was doing so well, getting into a routine again and eating well, and then HURRICANE MICHAEL. I had to eat fast food (no fresh fruit and vegs) for almost a month. I just got my Instant Pot, and was able to buy fresh veggies and fruit again…I didn’t realize how much I’d miss them!! I’ve always loved fresh fruit and veggies (except avocados, mushrooms, cauliflower and strawberries and blueberries). But, I also love potatoes, rice, bread, chips – anything salty.
I didn’t always have healthy eating or living habits. I loved me some cherry pie and the faster the food came out of the box or package and into the microwave, the more satisfied I would be.  I didn’t have much interest or skill in cooking elaborate meals. The problem was I was craving more and more junk food and putting on the pounds. I was watching my mom continue to gain weight and develop full blown Type 2 Diabetes.
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.
In the summer of 2009, I was stressed out with life!  So after dinner, every night, no matter what I went for a short walk around the block, and within 1 month I lost 10lbs.  My body must of went into shock with actually moving around.  That was the push I needed.  I was so excited to lose the weight that I actually started to watch what I ate.  I didn’t calorie count, I started out with portion control.  By November I dropped another 10lbs.  I was sitting around 150lbs.  That’s when I took notice of calories in food.  I was shocked to find out how many calories there were in my favorite foods.  I thought ordering a salad from Baja Fresh was a good idea!  Nope!  Having reduced fat desserts from Starbucks was ok,nope.  So I started to track calories on a website, my Virtual Trainer.  I was sticking to around 1200 calories a day, because that is what the magazines would tell me.
Since May 2015 I have lost 100lb naturally (7 stone 2lb/45kg). I have not had any weight loss surgery, taken any ‘magic’ pills or shortcuts, I have lost all of my weight by following a healthy balanced lifestyle consisting of lots of healthy food and plenty of exercise. I count calories and log all of my meals in a food diary to ensure I am in a calorie deficit over the week (meaning that I make sure to burn more calories than I consume, allowing my body to be burning fat resulting in weight loss).

It’s wise to want to eliminate sugary drinks from your diet, but replacing them with “diet” versions or drinks with artificial sweeteners is not the solution. One study conducted by researchers from Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin showed that artificial sweeteners could actually contribute to weight gain in a way that does not happen with natural sugars. Other studies have shown that drinking artificial sweeteners was highly correlated to an occurrence of dementia and stroke.
#1 – Eat enough food!  Your body can’t function without it’s fuel!  You need a MINIMUM of 1200 calories a day for woman, but I personally recommend at least 1500, but you should consult your doctor for a better amount.  Just remember if you don’t eat enough, your body goes into starvation mode and will store everything as fat.  Also if you eat to much, you’ll gain!   Remember 1lbs is 3500 calories!   Your body burns calories when we do nothing so dont’ think you’ll gain 3500 calories if you eat that in a week.  Here’s more information about that.  It’s to hard for me to explain.  http://www.caloriesperhour.com/tutorial_BMR.php

Ross Enamait is a boxing coach and trainer. He has a passion for high-performance conditioning, strength, and athletic development. His philosophy is that successful training requires figuring out what works for the individual. On Ross Training, he provides the research and real-world advice his experiences have backed up, but never a “my way or the highway” approach. Visit the blog.
Patty, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 pounds to lose or 100. You know when you need to make changes to get back to feeling better. I’m so glad you’re taking the action to make it happen! Diet-wise, definitely try to avoid sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs as much as possible (those are big contributors of belly fat!). Unfortunately, losing weight in one specific area isn’t something we really have control over, so it’s going to be tough to target your stomach. Sometimes it’s just genetics that decides where those extra pounds decide to cling. So, as far as exercise goes, the cardio you’ve been doing with your bike rides is great! And with strength training, try to target your big muscle groups to boost your metabolism to burn off that fat. This is a great article on burning stomach fat – https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-truth-how-to-burn-abdominal-fat.html . And I highly recommend HASfit workouts! https://hasfit.com/

About: Georgina is a natural in the kitchen. She loves experimenting with new recipes, often figuring out ways to make them healthier, as well as crafting and just generally living a happy life. When she started her blog four years ago, it was for a long time only read by her mother. Now, it’s a huge part of Georgina’s life and features all sorts of yummy recipes, tips for finding happiness and wellness, beauty and crafts. Georgina’s also a very visual person, so you’ll find no shortage of photos to tell the story in an even more vibrant way.


The nutritionist has slowly led me into a ketogenic diet and within 2 months my PSA has gone from 8 to 6.6 and the latest reading is 6.0. I have gone from 62 kilos to 58 kilos in about 2 weeks and it is fair to say that I do not feel hungry although I have one meal or at most 2 meals a day. I jog almost every day for about 60 minutes keeping my heart rate above 120. My diet bothers everyone else but not me.
About: Bailey is a grad student studying to get her degree to become a registered dietitian. As she goes, she’s working to establish herself as a go-to source for people online to learn how to create SMART goals, learn about food traps, get fitness tips and more – and it’s totally working. Bailey intermixes her professional posts with a bit of her own musings, making for a very personalized experience that combines getting to know the author with getting to know yourself, and how to achieve your goals.
In terms of exercise, I kept working hard. Exercising was one of my priorities and so I fit it into my schedule every day, usually on my lunch break. I exercised 6 days of week, and the bulk of my exercise was focused on running with the occasional lifting or circuit (my amazing sister, Lindsay, a certified personal trainer, created lifting plans for me). It was important to me at this point in my journey to have a cardio-based plan and running seemed the most practical. I started running over the summer (it was a SLOW journey of gradually increasing the time and speed on the treadmill every day) so by the time it came around to fall I could actually go run on the roads and continue to improve my endurance. (Note: I am planning on writing a whole post about my relationship with running because it has grown into such an important part of my life. Running used to be extremely hard and I hated it but stuck with it because I knew it would be good for me, but now I love it and the way it makes me feel). 

Your most immediate and best option is to combine aerobic exercise and exercise involving lifting weights, as you will not only burn body fat but tone your muscles as well, positively changing your hip to waist ratio, and working quickly towards a healthier body in ever aspect. As you burn belly fat, you'll burn fat where it doesn't need to be elsewhere, too!
I started listening to my body. It was really easy for me to mindlessly eat food in front of me, even if I wasn’t hungry. I noticed my body also did this thing where it would feel like I was hungry ten minutes after I finished a meal, which I would then need to tell myself I actually wasn’t hungry yet. As your body changes, you will notice that your appetite might have changed and you don’t need to eat as much before feeling full.
“Most people who have been lean their whole lives have a much better understanding of proper portion size than people who are overweight,” says Deborah Riebe, Ph.D., a professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island. “If they go out to eat, they’re much more likely to ask for a doggie bag right away or to leave food on their plate rather than cleaning it up.”
You’re only losing one or two pounds a week. Sustainable weight loss is slow and steady. “It depends on where you start — if you have quite a bit of weight to lose, you tend to lose the initial weight faster,” noted Dr. Steinbaum, “but losing more than a pound a week is quite a bit. A gradual decrease in weight loss implies that your dietary changes are sustainable. If you lose weight very quickly, it means that there has been a calorie restriction or an increase in activity that is really significant, and it is really hard to sustain that.” That’s why so many yo-yo dieters gain the weight back. But aiming for smaller targets can add up to big changes -- and reaps more health benefits than the numbers on the scale suggest. “Even when you lose only 3% of your body weight (six pounds for a 200-pound person), your blood sugar improves; your insulin sensitivity is improved; inflammation goes down; your cholesterol goes down,” said Dr. Arad. “You don’t have to cut down half of your weight; even losing 3% to 5% is an excellent goal.”
Hi Ashley! Lol! I love that we could be soul sisters! Both my sister and my brother-in-law are nurses and those nursing hours are just insane…and adding a toddler to the mix makes for a crazy schedule, I’m sure! So for stupid easy but healthy recipes, I highly recommend Once A Month Meals (https://onceamonthmeals.com/?ref=soveryblessed). They have Instant Pot plans and so many of them are just dump and go recipes (and lots of other easy, healthy non-IP meals, too). And honestly? For me, frozen vegetables are a lifesaver. If I’m putting energy into cooking a main dish, I don’t want to put much time into prepping sides too, so my freezer always has a ton of steamer bags of various veggies. Also, one pot/one pan/one skillet meals are awesome. I love throwing potatoes, baby carrots (no chopping necessary), and smoked turkey sausage onto a sheet pan with a little bit of oil and garlic & herb seasoning and roasting it all. The less I have to think, the better! I’m so glad my story could give you a little inspiration. If I can do it, you absolutely can too. Thanks so much for your comment!
About: Lindsey’s real. That’s it. Her blog, her writing style, her topics...they’re from a real person who shares her real experiences in a way that’s anything but dull. Lindsey’s posts are always chock full of photos to tell the story better, and range from fitness, to eating, to life lessons and more. Lindsey started her blog as a way to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle while remaining full and happy, but it has over the years morphed into a funny mashup of recipes, reviews, travel, pets and healthy living. (Be sure to check out her “best of” section — which includes titles of posts like “The Time I Almost Got Arrested.” You can figure it out from there).
What started as a little nudge from her mother, ended up being a major life change for Erika. This woman tells, through her blog, the adventures of her journey, how she managed to slim down, her ups, her downs. She even shares her experience of being pregnant and how her baby girl and the fact that she separates from the father of the child makes her determined that she would gladly make a great living for her and her daughter. This is the push she definitely needed. In order to make more time for her family, Erika decided to be a self-employed mother, on her quest for health, healing and happiness. It is safe to say that she is on a right path to it all, because through this blog, she manages to describe her days and shares the little as well the big successes one person can make.
Eating less does more for weight loss than exercising more. Consider putting the money you’d spend on a gym membership toward healthy groceries, instead. “Trying to exercise your way out of your weight problem is very difficult (because) it’s very hard to exercise that much,” explained Dr. Aronne. Burning about 3,500 calories equals one pound; someone weighing 150 pounds walking for an hour would burn around 250 calories. “You really need to cut down on calorie intake to lose the weight. Exercise is better at preventing weight gain.” The recommended daily diet is around 2,000 calories, but if you want to lose weight, Dr. Avigdor Arad, the director of the Mount Sinai Physiolab, suggests that women consume between 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day on average, and men between 1,500 and 1,800 calories. But visit your doctor to see how your own metabolism, family history and any medications you’re taking could be influencing how easily you gain and lose weight, and what your nutritional needs are. “There is a lot of variation,” he said.

Gabby is a mom, health blogger, and writer of Half Of Gabby. Additionally, she holds two degrees—a bachelors in Psychology and a masters degree in Social Work. At one point in time, Gabby weighed 262 pounds but lost nearly half of her own body weight (120 pounds)—which inspired the name of her blog. Fascinated with the human mind, Gabby delved into the psychology of being fat. She believes that eating right and exercising may be the means to lose weight, but it’s not what allows you to lose weight—it’s 100% mental. Without altering the way you think, it is impossible for a permanent change to occur. She learned how to tackle her obesity from the inside out and her entire blog revolves around teaching others how to do the same.
"Only doing abdominal-focused workouts, like crunches, won’t help you banish the bulge. Belly fat is simply where your body stores energy, so you need to take a whole-body approach to tackle it. HIIT training (high intensity interval training) is a great way to burn fat and get your heart rate up. Squats, burpees and treadmill sprints are all examples to try."
I started listening to my body. It was really easy for me to mindlessly eat food in front of me, even if I wasn’t hungry. I noticed my body also did this thing where it would feel like I was hungry ten minutes after I finished a meal, which I would then need to tell myself I actually wasn’t hungry yet. As your body changes, you will notice that your appetite might have changed and you don’t need to eat as much before feeling full.
Stavrou, S., Nicolaides, N. C., Papageorgiou, I., Papadopoulou, P., Terzioglou, E., Chrousos, G. P., … Charmandari, E. (2016, July 31). The effectiveness of a stress-management intervention program in the management of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Molecular Biochemistry, 5(2), 63–70. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996635/
Fast forward to January of my senior year of college (the beginning of 2016). One day I decided to weigh myself – I never weighed myself throughout high school and college, mostly because I was scared of disappoint but also because I didn’t have access to a scale and didn’t want to buy one. I stepped on the scale, and I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I felt embarrassed, shameful, and defeated. I knew I needed to finally commit to making a change. I wanted to commit to healthy eating and exercise because I thought weight loss would kickstart my journey to a healthier lifestyle.

This is what's known as insulin resistance. Basically, when your body doesn't respond well to insulin, it actually makes more of the stuff, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. And that can lead to fat storage, especially around the middle of your body. That's where protein comes into play: A diet high in protein may protect you against insulin resistance, says Aronne.
If you are always on the run and tackle the streets of New York City every day, searching for an everlasting balance between your work and yourself, including your health, this is the blog you need to stop and take a good look at. After diving into a greasy and unhealthy diet and declined every gym membership card that got in her way, Theodora, the creator of this blog, decided to change all of that. So, she went on a search for a happier and healthier life, through her process, she lost about 50 pounds, and discovered a way how to stay fit and healthy while being in the heart of NYC. She started running, took up those membership gym cards, and followed a nutritious meal plan, she finally got to her goal. Now, she is working her dream job, still running through the streets of the Big Apple, and making it all work because she is fitter and healthier than ever before!
Soon after the ski trip, I left my desk job to pursue graduate school and took a part-time job working at the front desk of an upscale health club. One of the perks was a free membership, which was the motivation I needed to take control of my weight. I started exercising at the health club most mornings, taking Body Pump and spinning classes on a regular basis. Finding workout buddies helped too. I made some new friends who were avid runners and I began training for and participating in road races with them.

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story…I would have never guessed you had dealt with such a thing. I”m in the process of losing over 75 lbs gained due to anxiety medicine. I too just woke up and had an epiphany that the medicine had turned me into someone I was not and I had to get off of it especially before having children. It’s definitely been a struggle, but I’ve seen the commercials on tv too and do not want to chance affecting my future children in any way and I want to be a better version of myself. For me personally, exercise, eating better, and therapy have worked to reduce my anxiety and panic attacks enough to stay off medicine.
Let yourself be introduced to a special woman, whose goal is to be as healthy as possible. Her name is Vicki, she is 30 years old, and she lives in Ireland. What she does on her very cute blog is combine fashion with good nutrition and losing weight. She loves living in her own bubble, because there she feels like she’s at her best. In order to prevent herself from eating, she started painting her nails, which later turned out to be a part of her style. Vicki adores doing that, and in combination with her healthy dieting plan, it completes her day as well as her life. What she definitely feels like is winning in this moment, losing one pound at a time, and what she really knows is that this blog will keep her on the right track.

Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate how honest you are! I read a lot of stories and the answer is something like “I cut out soda and started walking” and they don’t talk about the really hard work, food choices, portion control, maintenance, etc. I’m also a person who can’t just eat anything & over the course of my marriage have gained a lot of weight – there’s something about weirdly trying to “keep up” with my much taller/larger husband who has a completely different metabolism! We are about to move & I finally feel really motivated to make changes in my lifestyle. I also appreciate that you are honest about your skin removal – so many people aren’t!!


Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.

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