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.

About: Andie’s well-known for her New York Times bestselling memoir “It Was Me All Along” where she chronicles how she lost 135 pounds 10 years ago. But it’s her blog that drew us to her for this list, especially considering that she’s managed all this time to KEEP that weight off. Andie also wrote a cookbook, “Eating in the Middle,” featuring (mostly) healthy recipes. Plus, Andie’s blog is chock full of healthy recipes too (and the occasional indulgence), lessons she learned while losing weight and how she transformed her relationship with food and her body.
Fast forward to the present. In terms of weight loss, I have kept off those 50 pounds, but it took me over a year to find a comfortable weight. More important, I am not as focused on losing weight but on building lean muscle and getting toned. My energy levels, positivity, confidence, and purpose are more important than size and weight. In terms of nutrition, I prioritize eating wholesome foods and nourishing meals; and I am learning more about the ratios and best foods to fuel my body for my lifestyle. For exercise, I still consider myself a runner though and through, but I have struggled with some injuries. I tend to go super hard at the things I love, so I have gone in and out of working my body too hard. That being said, I have been mixing up my workouts with running (I have a destination half marathon planned for March!) and more lifting (thank you to Lindsay for all of the lifting plans!) and yoga (Yoga with Adriene is amazing.) I have also had an epiphany on self-care, but that’s for a different post. I am working towards real-deal peace and happiness. I’m getting fit, healthy, happy, indulge when I want, have confidence in what I’m doing and the choices I make daily, know my way around a kitchen, and listen to my body.
Illescas-Zarate, D., Espinosa-Montero, J., Flores, M., & Barquera, S. (2015, April 19). Plain water consumption is associated with lower intake of caloric beverage: Cross-sectional study in Mexican adults with low socioeconomic status. BMC Public Health, 15, 405. Retrieved from https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-015-1699-0
Christina Russell is a Celebrity Trainer, author, and the writer behind the healthy living blog, Body Rebooted. Christina lost over 60 pounds in just 5 months incorporating a gluten-free diet and fitness routine and created her blog as a place to share her gluten-free recipes along with the ins and outs of her weight loss journey. Her blog has since evolved into a full-blown healthy living website that provides resources for you to reach your goals.
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.

Demonising whole food groups isn’t helping anyone. Yes, cut down refined flour but only because it lacks fibre and micronutrients such as folate. Sugar isn’t great for your teeth and easy to over-consume, which is really the actual problem. It’s simple maths, consume more than you burn, regardless of whether it’s fat, sugar or protein, you gain weight. Consume less than you burn, you lose it.


About: Shannon’s a fit girl, but her mission in life is to get even fitter — and motivate others to join her along the way. She’s also a full-time marketing executive, but her true passion is bringing together and inspiring them to reach their goals. You’ll find her posts are full of positivity, motivation, practical tips for exercising (without killing yourself) and even fun fashion bits. If the sun was shining through a blog, it would be shining through Shannon’s.
In my experience, most patients consider weight loss drugs or surgery only as a last resort.  “I want to lose weight naturally,” they say. Once we screen for (and treat) any contributing medical problems that could be causing weight gain (low thyroid function, polycystic ovarian syndrome, prediabetes, among others), or psychological issues (bulimia, binge-eating disorder, depression, anxiety), I encourage a diet-and-lifestyle approach for many reasons, among them my own personal experience.

Use the meal as a reward for a week’s worth of hard work, or the completion of a project you’ve been dreading. “It’s OK for people to blow one meal a week without feeling guilty,” says James W. Anderson, M.D., director of the Metabolic Research Group at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “If you follow a healthy diet 95% of the time, you can relax and enjoy yourself the other 5% of the time without gaining weight.”

About: Rachel, Valeri and Dori are three lifelong, childhood friends who share a very strong common bond: They all were fat, and they’re all now fit. But they’re also very unique — each has her own approach to weight loss and fitness, approaches that come together for one heck of a diverse blog. No matter what your level of fitness is or how much weight you need to lose, you’ll find a style from one of these ladies that resonates. Inspirational, logical and practical, Rachel, Valeri and Dori truly put together a masterpiece.
Erika Nicole Kendall’s ongoing weight loss journey is beautifully chronicled on her blog, Black Girls Guide To Weight Loss, or BGG2WL, for short. Her weight loss transformation began unexpectedly after signing up for a gym membership from some persuading from her mother. But after losing over 170 pounds, Kendall became a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist and writes about food, fitness, body image, and beauty on her blog.
Saturday was my weigh day (at home) and also treat day so I ate whatever I wanted on Saturday evenings (literally anything I fancied) sometimes a meal out but usually a takeaway pizza, bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate and I wouldn’t log it or feel guilty. I’d make sure to get straight back on plan on Sunday morning or occasionally I would sometimes have a small treat on Sunday night like leftover chocolate from Saturday or tea and biscuits. From Monday I would then be 100% on plan for the duration of the week. One night of eating a lot of food didn’t ruin my progress as long as I didn’t continue to over indulge for the next few days and I ensured that I was in a calorie deficit for the rest of the week.
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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