Hi Jennifer! I just spent about an hour looking over your blog and I love it. I especially love your weight loss story. It’s very motivational and informative. I just opened a Yogurtland in Brentwood a few days ago. Our grand opening is July 8th and I would love it if you came. Yes there are a ton of toppings that are not the best health choice, but we also have a lot of fresh fruit and other toppings that make frozen yogurt a good dessert choice for those that are trying to keep it healthy but also have a sweet tooth. Let me know if you would like to come on the 8th and please feel free to bring friends or family! Hope to meet you soon!
So at age 20 my weight started to climb, but I didn’t notice or care because I was having fun.  At about age 24, I still didn’t workout at all and just partied and enjoyed my time with my friends.  I had an asthma attack, and went to the Doctors and that is when he told me, if I keep going this route I would die! (Thanks Dr. Becker) Pretty abrupt, but it’s true.  I was hitting near 200lbs and heading down the road of disaster.  I don’t think I ever made it to 200lbs, but I came pretty close.  (That’s me with the brown hair and bag in the picture, gross huh?)
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.

1000 crunches a night may get you strong abdominal muscles, but with a full layer of fat on top, you will not get the results you really want. Instead of all those crunches, do exercises that engage multiple muscle groups and work your cardiovascular system. Try planking, where you hold yourself in a push-up position, resting your forearms on the ground. Try 3 or 4 sets of holding for 30 seconds each. Getting up and moving throughout the day by going for walks will also help.


We just got a FREE treadmill though, and my goal is to walk at least 15 minutes a day (to start, I have a heart condition) and work my way up from there. And keep eating well. I don’t have a certain weight or size I want to get down to. That is just detrimental for me. I am changing my lifestyle. I want to get fit and healthy for the rest of my life and whatever size and weight that gets me to is just fine with me!

About: Ruzele’s had weight issues her whole life, but it wasn’t until after her mother passed away in 2011 that the pounds really started to pile on. She ballooned up to 335 pounds and had a rock-bottom moment that led her to where she is today: 50 pounds lighter and on a mission to lose 130 more. Ruzele’s blog posts are short and sweet, but always delightful and full of musings, emotions, progress reports and the occasional vlog (which work oh-so-perfectly). Ruzele’s one to follow if you’re looking for someone who’s accountable and gets to the point, but still leaves you rooting her on day-in and day-out.
Fathi, Y., Faghih, S., Zibaeenezhad, M. J., & Tabatabaei, S. H. (2016, February). Kefir drink leads to a similar weight loss, compared with milk, in a dairy-rich non-energy-restricted diet in overweight or obese premenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(1), 295–304. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-015-0846-9
Monica Olivas is a holistic health coach, certified running coach, and writer for the blog Run Eat Repeat. She has been a passionate runner for almost 10 years and has completed over 50 half marathons and 30 full marathons. Running has helped her lose 20 pounds and uses her blog as a way to share healthy recipes, running tips, and motivation to help you do the same!
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.
Drink water. Contrary to another popular misconception there is no specific amount of water you should ingest. Everyone has different needs based on genetics, activity level, the environment they live in etc. The key is to drink water until your pee looks like lemonade. If it looks like apple juice keep drinking. The reason this helps flatten your tummy is two fold: hydration can boost fat metabolism by up to 3% and drinking water flushes out excess bloat and water weight you might be holding on to.
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.
But just because belly fat comes off a bit more easily doesn’t make it less dangerous. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. “Belly fat is unfortunately the most dangerous location to store fat,” says Dr. Cheskin. Because belly fat—also known as visceral fat, or the deep abdominal fat that surrounds your organs—is more temporary, it’s more active in terms of circulating in the bloodstream. That means it’s likely to raise the amount of fat in your blood (known as blood lipid levels) and increase your blood sugar levels, which as a result raises your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Andra is the creator of this blog, and through it she shares her story with you. She started with it in the fall of 2008, and the reason for it was that she became a barely recognizable version of herself. She could not have been more unhappy, out of shape or unhealthy. This is why, she decided that creating a blog and making some small tasks for herself every day would help her become a better person, a healthier one, carving her into a more vibrant and lively person, and a happier person. She has learned so much through her experience and is gladly sharing all of that with her readers, the ups and the downs. Even though she thinks she still has a long way to go, Andra is hoping that one day she will be completely free of the obesity she’s been struggling with. What she also hopes is that this blog and her successes and struggles will serve as an inspiration to others to try create and maintain a happier and a healthier life for themselves too.

About: It’s difficult enough trying to get yourself on track to living healthy, but add in a family, and it can seem like the odds of success are astronomical. Enter Katie. As the mother of six, she has a lot of experience and a laundry list of tips and tricks busy moms and families can work together to achieve wellness. She sticks to real food, natural remedies and natural living in an effort to combat all the chemicals and pollution that could potentially hurt your family — and she does a darn good job of it.

"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
Make sure that everything you're eating is whole — as in nothing processed or packaged. Since salt is a preservative, these are the foods that are highest in sodium — something to keep in mind when planning your meals. Plan on making sure that all items you choose are fresh. That means filling up on fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
Want to hear a cliche story about how a guy loses weight? Want to stop swearing while you are trying to lose some weight? You are in the right place! This guy was borderline obese until the age of 25, and he was literally the one who made the geeks in gym class look good. When he met the love of his life, he decided that before proposing to her, he would get in shape – and this is how the title for this blog was created. His name is James Fell, and he is incredible! Even though his weight loss process took a lot of time, it taught him a lot of valuable lessons – he now knows how to eat healthier, how to respect his body, learned the value of slow and steady work, and how to develop passion for physical activities. The thing he realized is that yes, you can have good genetics and work out just a bit, and be fit and healthy, but what you can do is that you can also make yourself do the program and work your body until you make it. This is a fun blog through which you can learn a lot, including how to never stop working on yourself, from every aspect in life.
Over 3 years ago, Lori decided she had had enough and that it was time to change her life. Lori opted to get fit the right way, by eating right, exercising and blogging to keep herself accountable. Today, with over 105 pounds down, Lori’s not just your run-of-the-mill fitness enthusiast. She’s competed in a triathlon, shares fun photos and daily happenings, and incorporates whole foods, lots of fruits and veggies, less sugar and the occasional Reeses Peanut Butter Cup into her diet (hey, everybody’s got a weakness, right?).

When you open up Lynn’s blog, the first thing you will notice is an absolutely stunning transformation - a severely obese woman that now looks like she has never been obese. And then you’ll start reading, and you’ll realize Lynn is special not just because she lost 150 pounds, but also because she did it by changing her overall mindset. Lynn was simply tired of losing and gaining and losing and gaining again through diet after diet. Lynn’s writing style will suck you in. It’s easy, flowing and intimate, and she’ll immediately have you coming back again and again.


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.
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."
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