Another benefit to writing this blog is the opportunity to bring in an extra income. Actually, blogging can bring in A LOT of extra income.  In August 2014 I quit my full-time cushy state job to pursue my new career as a FULL – TIME PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER. Read all about that here. It takes a ton of work but it can be done. Dreams do come true if you are willing to work hard for them!

Let’s go back to the beginning. I was always thin-ish. From my skinny teenage years to “just a healthy weight” college years, I was always thin-ish. Like I maybe topped 130lbs by the age of 21. Like most of you may know, Mark and I started dating at 14, got married at 20, started a business at 22 and then graduated college by 23. By the time we graduated college, we had somehow managed to build a legit company… APF, Inc. What literally began as Mark’s desire to be self-employed combined with his amazing gift of self-taught construction skills and my marketing “abilities”, quickly went from a backyard hobby to a full fledged stone countertop company. He spent his junior year of college fabricating granite in my Uncle’s backyard with a $2,500 saw loan from my uncle, a rope and a truck to maneuver the slabs along with a big humongous dream. This is going somewhere I promise ;-). He took Tuesday/Thursday classes and worked Monday, Wednesday and Fridays fabricating in the ole’ backyard. I was answering client e-mails and returning client calls between classes and at night while we worked at a local restaurant on the weekends. By our senior year, our company had grown just enough to afford for us to lease our own fabrication facility and that’s when life started to officially get CRAZY. It was amazing but it was absolutely INSANE. Once Mark graduated in December 2004, he was able to devote his full attention to the company and then I joined him when I graduated in May 2005. Upon my graduation in 2005, we had just moved to a much larger fabrication location, had approximately 11 additional employees and we were opening up a separate showroom location in downtown Monroe, GA. As exciting and wonderful as it all was, it was a stress that I cannot put into words. We had both worked so hard to grow the company yet didn’t quite realize what we were getting ourselves into. As two 23 year olds “self-thrust” into suddenly owning a company, we started to truly bring the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard” to reality. Well as much fun as it was at times, the stress was intense. From managing employees to handling customers and issues and bills and everything in between, I got to a point where I started taking anxiety medication. Biggest mistake EVER.
About: Holly’s story starts and ends with food. Years ago, Holly spent every waking minute obsessing over every calorie, every bite and trying every yo-yo diet she could think of to shed pounds. But then one day she woke up and realized she would never find happiness living that way. She began focusing on finding a love of healthy food and cooking, a love she now shares on her blog and sees as her true purpose in life. There, you’ll find everything you need to learn to enjoy food again without all the guilt.
Many television ads are now pitching devices that supposedly stimulate muscles to contract repeatedly without exercise. I even saw an infomercial for an "ab belt" that claimed it does the work of 700 sit-ups in 10 minutes! The ad shows people doing various abdominal exercises the wrong way, hating every second of it, versus smiling men and women going about their days with "Ab-whatevers" strapped around them. How enticing!

I am going to be 60 on Feb. 5th. I didn’t have a weight problem when I was young. I am 5’9″ and weigh 196 right now. I am build med. to large boned. I have lost some weight in the past, 15 to 20 lbs. But I go back to my normal eating always and feel so angry at myself. I eat when I am board or angry or stressed. I also have a fit husband and he is my food police, (not my idea). I have depression and really have a hard time in the winter. I have no energy to do anything. I have started to lose weight and do some excercise but always stop. I feel like a failure most of the time.
Accountability is key, a fact that Gretchen knows all too well. That’s why she started her blog, and that’s what has helped her not only lose 60 pounds - but also to accept that her battle with weight and emotional eating is something she’ll have to fight for the rest of her life. The good news - Gretchen also knows that she can and will be able to take on that fight every single day with the support her friends, family and blog followers provide her. Gretchen is also the author of Terra, a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel.
While it will help, it’s not going to eliminate your sleep deprivation. That apart, doing this will throw off your natural sleep-wake cycle so it could end up doing more harm than good. Not only can the right food aid sleep, it works the other way too — better sleep promotes weight loss. Lack of sleep, however, has been found to stimulate production of hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes us overeat.
Eat so you can create a healthier and a sexier version of you. The trick is for you to eat naked foods. These foods should be organic, fresh, seasonal, local, grown in harmony with the natural world, unpacked, unrefined, whole, homemade, prepared in a proper way and most of all, taste amazingly. This is the lifestyle you definitely need. This is all about the simple things in life, including the way you eat. It is how you can accomplish a richer life. Try to reveal your true self by peeling out the layers, and when you do that, the authenticity is what will reveal itself. You have to feel free to remove all the barriers between you and the world around you, as well as the food that surrounds you. The key to committing yourself to this particular lifestyle is that you should first of all learn how to live in an environment where there is harmony. Achieve this and you will create a healthier version of yourself.

Being a single mother is in and of itself quite the accomplishment. It’s tough to manage work and motherhood when you have a partner, let alone on your own. Kristen’s blog documents what life is like as a single mother trying to lose weight and get healthy, as well as her views on politics, religion and more. She has a very sarcastic, but also extremely authentic, style to her writing, and it’s always entertaining to follow along with her as she dishes about her life, weigh-ins and the happiness she finds in her beautiful little girls.

Don’t feel bad! Losing weight is hard! At least you have a Husband who is the food police! Mine tries forcing me to eat his fatty stuff and I have to restrain myself and say no, which is hard. The key is taking it step by step. I feel your pain! I tend to eat when I’m bored too and I am trying to break that habit! Just remember you are a strong woman and you can do it!!!! Start small! Go for a 10 minute walk, even march in place during commercials when watching tv, next thing you know you are getting in some exercise and maybe you can march for a whole show? Also, cut up some healthy veggies and grab those when you need to eat! Just think to yourself, you are doing this for you and you are worth it!!!
Last January, I started the year off training for a big kickass squat PR. 💪🏼⠀ ⠀ This year, my weights are lighter. My body looks and feels unfamiliar. My training is different, but I’m still thankful for the days I can move and feel strong. Something tells me the end result will be better than a squat PR. In fact, it’ll probably the best accomplishment of my life. 🤰🏻💗⠀ ⠀ #birthfit #babybuilding #movementislife #squats #fitpregnancy #secondtrimester
Can a food-loving chef lose weight? Tony of The Anti-Jared said yes, to the tune of more than 200 pounds. When he started coughing up blood and having other severe health problems in 2008, the chronic yo-yo dieter decided that he was finally losing the weight for good. And he's made good on that promise to himself. But his primary motivation for the weight loss and for keeping it off was so he and his wife could have another baby. Unfortunately the baby did not survive, but the poignant lessons he learned&mdas;and wrote about in his post The Butterfly—go far beyond losing weight for a loved one.

There are a couple of things I tried my best to remember each day. One of the biggest things was portion control. Portion control makes such a difference! What I mean is having one serving of something instead of two or three. It means that when I went out to dinner, I would eat half of my giant plate and take the other half home for lunch the next day. I think I always thought my body needed more food than it actually did. I used to eat something as soon as I started feeling hungry, but it's actually totally normal for our stomachs to feel hungry sometimes. That isn't to stay you should starve yourself by any means, but let yourself get hungry before you go in for a big meal. I remember packing multiple snacks (granola bars, pretzels, candy, etc.) for the 3 hour drive from Kirksville to St. Louis, which just wasn't necessary at all - I now pack one snack like some fruit or granola.  
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.
At any given time, there are dozens of weight-loss hypes in the marketplace that claim to take off 10 pounds in 10 days, or whatever. Desperation can tempt us to try anything — from "clean eating" to cutting out food groups entirely. Keep in mind: Just because an avocado-walnut-"crunchy"-kale-salad dripping in coconut oil is deemed "clean" by a so-called "expert" on your Instagram feed does not make it an unlimited food. Moral of the story? Avoid fads, eat real food, watch some Netflix, and unwind (perhaps with a glass of wine in hand). Now that's my kind of detox.
Your weight loss story couldn’t have come at a better time. Congrats to you sweetie! It definitely isn’t an easy journey. My husband has started juicing, after watching a documentary over the weekend. I’m not a stress eater; however I do love my red wine. My recent weight gain started after I lost my mom to Pancreatic cancer in February 2015. I can’t get motivated to do much of anything. I have always weighed under 130 lb., but now I weigh 145 lb. Ugh! I have been on anti-depression medication ever since my daughter was born in 2003. I struggled with the baby blues big time. Now, at age 51, I know how important it is to be healthy and keep muscle. Again, good job!
In July of 2010, Mary tipped the scales at 345 pounds. She’d had enough, and decided that it was time to embark on the road to health and happiness by losing 210 pounds. Before getting pregnant, Mary was well on her way, weighing in at 188 pounds just two years later. Along the way, she’s been given numerous awards for her creative and unique style of writing, as well as her amazing weight loss accomplishments. 
Nuts have a very high satiety power—meaning they make you feel fuller after eating than many other foods. And even though they’re high in calories, those calories appear to be processed differently in the body. University of Michigan researchers found that men who added 500 calories’ worth of peanuts a day to their diet gained no excess weight at all.
About: Let’s start with Katie by rewinding three years to January 2013 when she hopped on the scale and realized she weighed 247 pounds. That was the moment that “something just clicked” for Katie. Fast forward back to the present, Katie lost 100 pounds, dropped six pants sizes and along the way found a fierce determination to pursue (and stick with) her fitness goals. Katie found her purpose, and she uses her blog to fulfill that purpose: helping others who struggle with obesity, weight loss and food addiction.

In 2011 I had enough of being fat, I hated that I was always the fattest person in the room. I started reading every blog, book and website about losing weight and found some information and a cookbook that highlighted clean eating. I started cooking 3 meals a day and enjoyed the ritual of cooking and taking better care of myself, but most of all I enjoyed the food.
Over 70 pounds heavier and extremely unhappy, Larisa decided it was time for a change. she was invited to run a 5K, and discovered that with no training 3 miles seemed like an eternity. As a prior group fitness instructor, Larisa knew that she was capable of overcoming her weight issues and getting her life back on track. So, in 2011, she joined a gym and started using a SmartPhone app to count calories. She lost over 50 pounds in 5 months and started her blog as a way to share about her experience as a runner who competes in regular races.

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/


Hannah Howlett is a YouTuber and healthy lifestyle blogger for High Carb Hannah, formerly known as Raw Till Whenever. Her philosophy for achieving lasting weight loss without all the dieting gimmicks, restrictions, and rules is to eat a whole food, plant-based diet in whatever way works best for you. By changing her mindset about eating, no longer revolving her life around what she ate, and never forcing herself to eat, she lost 55 pounds and continues to inspire and encourage others to do the same. Her blog is a compilation of healthy recipes, cookbooks, and meal guides to help you achieve a life and body that you love.
About: Contrary to the title, Helen’s blog is anything but “another weight loss blog.” Helen’s been on a journey to lose weight since June 2013. She’s had many ups and downs along the way — which is one of the best things you’ll notice about her posts: that she never gives up and she is extremely positive no matter how difficult things get. If you’re looking to find real encouragement from someone who knows, look no further.
The 7-minute Workout is an example of a High Intensity Circuit Training (HICT), which involves intense bursts of exercise intervals, combined with short rest periods with the workout being completed in as little time as 7 minutes. It is certainly very convenient for the modern exerciser, who may not have extended periods of time to devote to an exercise program. IS this a new approach to exercise? No way!! Classic Calisthenics were popular and highly promoted 50 -100 years ago! The only change for modern HICT calisthenics are that the old routines done at a very fast pace with strict rules so that each type of 12 exercises is done at a very fast pace for only 30 seconds each, with 10 second rest between sets and exercise types. In about 7 minutes the entire session is finished. The old/new routine is backed up with research that shows that it generally meets guidelines for quantity and quality of exercise, made by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Tempting as that post-workout shower may be, making time to hold a static stretch at the end of your workout can increase your muscle mass by as much as 13 per cent, according to US research. How? It has much the same effect on your muscles as resistance training, a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found. Both cause micro tears that prompt the manufacture of muscle fibres. Stretch yourself swole.
About: Jessica started blogging in 2012, but it really slowed down in 2014 and 2015. Now, she’s back at it, with a blog about all things weight loss, fitness, healthy recipes and healthy living, sure. But it’s also much, much more than that. Jessica is the kind of woman you can relate to, who will inspire you (without even meaning to) and who gets that being a mom is tough — and that it’s even tougher to fit in exercise and healthy eating. But she also shows you that it absolutely can be done. And that’s what makes her so special.
We’re almost up to speed, but still rewind a little bit back to the early years of college. In the fall of 2012 I started school at Truman State University in good old Kirksville, Missouri. If you’re in college or have been to college, you know that it’s the time to form independence and truly make decisions, on your own, for how you wish to live your life. For a lot of people this means starting over, turning over a new leaf, making new habits, developing a new lifestyle, etc. Honestly college is crazy and weird and I don’t want to ramble on it too much because this post is focused more on the fitness/nutrition journey I’ve experienced (though I now realize its all connected.)
Be patient. This is very important. You’re not going to burst to a million pageviews in a month. I had only 57,000 pageviews in my entire first year of blogging and my second year I saw 636,000 pageviews for the whole year (FYI I see that in a month now). I didn’t hit around 100k pageviews a month until the end of my second year of blogging. I’m not saying it will take you that long – there’s so much more information out now – but it’s not going to happen overnight. My advice is to give yourself at least 6 months to a year to start seeing any real traffic growth. I should also say that you need to install google analytics right away on your blog. This is how you’ll keep track of your blogging statistics.

About: She had us with her name, but diving a little deeper, Shawn’s creativity really sinks the hooks in. Her “about” section is written like a sad (and playful) fairytale, but it’s her very real struggle that also touches a nerve. Shawn’s always been a hard worker, but her pursuit of education and a career took a toll on her body — causing weight gain and a deep depression. Shawn started Shrederella as a way to take back her life and chronicle the journey, and she’s done one heck of a job. Follow her for an authentic person with real struggles that you will surely relate to — plus a host of delicious, healthy recipes and fitness tricks.
“If there’s one thing that comes up over and over with the thousands of patients enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry, it’s weighing yourself every day on a scale,” says Rena Wing, Ph.D., founder of the registry, which tracks more than 4,500 men and women who have lost an average of 20lbs or more and kept it off for at least six years. “Don’t obsess over the number,” she says, “but at least keep track of the general range of what you weigh so you can catch small changes as they occur and take corrective measures immediately.”
Although I am not tiny or super duper in shape, I feel that I am finally at a comfortable and healthy weight that I can maintain while being busy and always on the go. My routine over the last year has been to try and eat fairly healthy during the week and then cheat a little on the weekends. If I splurge at one meal, I try and drink a healthy shake or a plate of veggies at the next to “make up for” the last meal. As I said before this is NOT health advice, just how I maintain my weight without counting every calorie. I am  not one of those people with a crazy metabolism who can eat whatever they want so I have to be conscious about it all the time. Boo to any of you who are that way. I am forever jealous. One thing that has really helped me to start losing some again recently has been an alkaline diet. I honestly FEEL so much better too!
How would you like some motivation? Open any of these sites, and you will get that last push you have always lacked. These bloggers and experts (some of them) will provide you with all the means necessary, all you will need to do is read what they have to say and follow their rules, and next thing you know it, your appearance will be exactly as you want it to be! You will be most amazed by it. Take better care of yourself, start leading a healthier and a happier life now!

[…] Jennifer Drummond’s weight loss journey began in the summer of 2009 when she walked every day after dinner — no exceptions. She lost ten pounds in one month. “That was the push I needed,” she said. But she didn’t stop there. Drummond started controlling her portions and later she started counting calories. In 2010 she began working out to TV exercise channels. Gradually she continued to do more. […]
Shelley started her blog on the same day she decided to start what she believes will be her final diet. That day, she weighed 256 pounds—two years later she lost over 110 pounds and was her lowest weight in over 20 years, 146 pounds! Shelley uses her blog as a way to remember all of her successes, failures, plateaus and everything else in between. She’s found tremendous support through the blogging community throughout her weight loss journey and continues to share it all on her blog.

Full Plate Living is a nonprofit dedicated to a simple mission: Encourage, educate, support, and inspire anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. They don’t advocate for starving yourself, spending your life at the gym, or giving up the foods you love. They’re also not about fad diets or weight loss supplements. Instead, they offer practical, straightforward steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Visit the blog.
Don't get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people's metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you've stopped moving. What that means for you: You're less likely to go back for seconds or thirds. Plus, it'll help you relax post meal so you won't be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories, quickly.

It’s not just the dynamic website graphics that will catch your eye when you visit Krystle’s blog. Her photos are sure to draw you as they are evidence of a truly stunning transformation. Krystle dropped almost 100 pounds, and her current photos make it difficult to ever imagine her as overweight, let alone obese. Krystle takes others on a journey through her many workout choices (she likes to switch it up often!) and incorporates some healthy (and some not-so-healthy) food into her diet, showing others that it doesn’t take total deprivation and constant 2-hour workouts to lose weight and change your life.
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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