Many people struggle with weight loss issues. Losing belly fat in particular is about more than just aesthetics: visceral fat, the kind of fat that tends to settle around the midsection, can cause an increase in your body's production of stress hormones that can affect your body's insulin production. As a result, excess belly fat can lead to serious complications like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There is no way to target belly fat, but diet and exercise will eventually burn off belly fat. Knowing how to take the first step can help you feel better and get you on the road to a healthier, more active lifestyle.
About: Bonnie’s been sharing her life — and family of 7 — with readers for years. But the reason she found her way onto our list is because of what she started Jan. 2 — a full-on commitment to cut out the junk food, soda and other unhealthy habits and lose weight. More than three months later, and she’s more than succeeded. Her daily struggle is the kind of thing anyone who’s stopped and started and stopped and then started again can attest to. But what really makes it special is that this time, she not stopping.
When Annabel started blogging 3 years ago, she did it to chronicle her weight loss. But as the pounds came off and her life started to change, so too did Annabel’s blog. Annabel’s journey became about much more than losing weight. For her, weight loss was not about melting pounds off and being thin. She realized that just because people were thin by no means meant they were happy. Rather than focusing on weight loss and obesity, Annabel decided to focus on health overall. She lost 150 pounds, and her method of inspiring others is truly unique: rather than encouraging them to focus on weight loss, she advocates for focusing on the health you gain.
The researchers hypothesize that participants who abstained from animal products dropped significantly more pounds since plant-based foods include loads of filling fiber and slow-to-digest complex carbs. Though more research is needed to confirm these results, the study authors write, "Vegetarian diets appeared to have significant benefits on weight reduction compared to non-vegetarian diets."
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a half-cup of granola has anywhere between 200 and 300 calories, 12 to 16 grams of sugar, 3 to 15 grams of fat (depending on low-fat options), and nearly 40 grams of carbs. Plus, granola is usually mixed with something, like yogurt or fruit, which only increases its caloric value. “Although you may think starting your day with a bowl of granola is the healthy thing to do, the calories can easily add up to over 600 calories, just at breakfast,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD nutrition expert and author of the Greek Yogurt Kitchen.
"When we’re lacking in sleep, our body’s hormones get thrown off balance which can impact our hunger levels the next day. We all have two hormones that affect our appetite: ghrelin and leptin. When we don’t get enough sleep, our ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) rise, and our leptin levels (the hormone that makes us feel full) drop. This means that when we’re awake, we tend to eat more but feel less satisfied. Try going to bed a little earlier than usual to avoid this imbalance and remember to remove any distractions that might prevent you from nodding off."
If you feel like you're making smart moves to lose weight but the scale isn't moving the way you want, your diet may contain some sneaky foods that can lead to bloating, water retention (ahem, salt!), and a higher calorie intake. Veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, fish, whole grains, and other smart choices loaded with fiber and protein will keep you fuller longer, all while working their nutrient-powered magic. When it comes to healthy eating and weight loss, these plant-based foods loved by registered dietitians have your back.
Avoid sweetened drinks. Drinks that are sweetened, whether artificially or naturally, will have little nutritional value and add lots of empty calories to your diet. Do not drink fruit juice or other sweetened drinks. Even natural sugars will increase your daily calorie intake and prevent weight loss. If you chose to drink juice, do not exceed 4 oz per day (1/2 cup). Instead of drinking sweetened beverages throughout your day, drink unsweetened, calorie-free beverages. Some beverages to avoid include:
There’s a reason everyone harps on about protein: Not only does it help keep you full, but it’s also responsible for repairing the tiny tears caused by strength training in your muscles. This helps them grow bigger and stronger, nudging out body fat in the process. As a general rule of thumb, aim to get at least 70 grams of protein throughout the day, says Dr. Cheskin. (These high-protein foods can help you reach that goal.)
One of the great things about Stefanie’s blog (other than it being extremely creative and fun to browse around), is that she not only lost 50 pounds since 2008, but has managed to keep it off - all by making complete 180 degree changes in her life. She used to hate running. Now, she is obsessed with it. She used to devour meat. Now, she is a vegetarian. She used to eat fattening foods. Now, she eats clean. After making the changes initially, something clicked for Stefanie, and she kept at it. Her mission now is to make healthy living attainable and realistic for anyone who stops by - a mission she works to complete through her writing every single day.
Seemingly nutritious packaged and prepared foods often abound with added sugars, preservatives, and dangerous, belt-breaking fats. To help you sort out some of the biggest culprits we have have identified the most punishing health ruses and replaced them with delicious alternatives that will keep you satisfied and give you all the purported nutritional benefits that many of our most beloved foods sadly do not.
You can’t skimp on sleep. Losing weight for good calls for a total lifestyle change -- and that includes getting more Zs. Missing the recommended seven to nine hours of shut-eye has been linked repeatedly with increased obesity rates. “When you don’t sleep enough, it certainly affects your brain,” explained Dr. Arad. “What we’ve learned is that people who don’t sleep well are making poor choices — eating more unhealthy diets, and they are obviously more fatigued, so they become less physically active.” In fact, people who sleep six hours or fewer per night on average consume about 300 extra calories the following day.
#11 – Most importantly, set a goal and try to achieve it! Don’t give up, even if you mess up for a day or two. Just get back on that horse and keep going. Along that note, you need to reward yourself! If you reach a mini goal, then treat yourself to a pair of jeans, or something you desire. I bought clothes at every 5lbs loss. A little crazy, but it worked and I felt great!!
What to eat to lose weight is a sticky subject because there are so many diets on the market right now. You must use a diet that helps you eat the best food, and you need a diet that is tailored to your body. Someone who plans to lose weight must have a diet that fits into their exercise routine, and they must be willing to eat things that they might not have eaten before.
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: Kristen is a 42-year-old woman who a few years back decided she was going to lose weight — and she was going to do so by running and blogging about it. She lost 50 pounds, and along the way discovered that far from hating running like she assumed she would, she actually loved it...and hiking, and yoga, and much, much more. Her blog posts are full of inspiration, simple tips and tricks for making healthier choices, healthy recipes, fitness and personal musings.
Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings," she says. "Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won't be reaching for the cookie jar."