In August of 2010, one of my members of Getting in Shape 2010 group recommended I joined Sparks People.  I thought what the heck, since my virtual trainer was giving me issues.  Well I set up my profile, entered how much exercise I do a week, and what my goal was and guess what?  It calculated how many calories I needed to lose 1.5 lbs a week.  Don’t forget I was eating only 1200 calories a day.  Sparks told me I needed to eat 1550 at the low end and 1700 on the high end.  I was so happy, I could eat!!!!  It was like a new world opened up for me.

About: Normally, we’d skip right on over a blog that doesn’t identify the author’s name, but the woman authoring “Frantic at Forty” gave us pause. Why? Because her story is one that so many can relate to — a woman about to enter midlife trying to make sense of things and lose weight. The author started the blog just before she turned 40 as a way to stay accountable while she started out to give herself the only gift she wanted — thin. She’s lost plenty of weight, and, even more importantly, found some happiness in the process. We just hope that turning 40 doesn’t mean an end to her blogging.
OMG, I can totally relate to everything you said. I have already lost 16 kg (about 35 pounds) with home exercising. You are so pretty, congratulations. An inspiration to all of us. I just fell in love with healthy eating and exercising, so much that I enter the hall of unhealthy foods in the market and don’t want to buy any of them. Surprising. I still have a long way to go, but will do it!
I can’t tell you how much I needed this today, Brittany. I know each of us has a story, and a unique scenario of why changes have happened to our bodies…but I’m sure yours could strike a cord with many others who can relate to the stress, pain, and struggle of unwanted weight gain. I greatly appreciate your raw honesty (and bravery!) on sharing your story and how your account of weight loss can inspire us all. I, too, was the skinny kid, even underweight most of my life, and even after childbirth, would quickly lose the weight (plus more!) after giving birth. I’ve never taken anxiety medications, but have experienced that stress alone, and the cortisol changes that the stress brings on in our bodies, is enough of a catalyst to cause weight gain. I never really had to worry about weight gain (lucky genes I guess)…but then my Mom died, four years ago this month, and my life was turned upside down. I’m an only child, and my Mom was everything to me…my number one supporter, my confidante, my cheerleader, my best friend, my gift of unconditional love. We talked every day, we shared everything, we knew without a doubt, that we could count on each other for everything. My Mom taught me everything I know about life, except how to live without her. Needless to say, the stress of losing my best friend, has taken a toll on me, and I have gained a significant amount of weight over these rough four years. So, thank you for sharing…and thank you for the inspiration!! I adore you, friend, and I thank you for putting your story out there to motivate me, and others, to take the steps that I need to do to get back to my healthy weight. You look fabulous, Brittany, and I’m so proud of you!! Keeping shining, my friend!!
Grains get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, but that's because refined grains (read: processed foods!) are linked to wider waists. 100% whole grains are bloat-busting superstars, however, as they're packed with minerals and de-puff by counter-balancing salt. Stick to brown rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, millet, farro, sorghum, and amaranth for the biggest benefits.
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.
I would think a lot about exercise. Especially when I was watching TV.  I remember “the Bean.” The Bean was going to get me to exercise without fear of hurting my back and give me a six pack.  I made a promise to myself as I was dialing the number on my TV screen, “You are definitely going to exercise this time.” Yet the 1st time I blew up that bean (you have to fill it with air), boom -- I hurt my back. I quit. 
About: Brand new to the blogging world, Ayla’s story is a familiar one. She started out her journey at about 200 pounds and tried tons of different things to lose weight — pills, dieting, the gym, you name it — none of which seemed to work. Finally, Ayla gave it one last go using Insanity workouts and overhauling her diet, and, what do you know, it worked. Ayla lost 63 pounds, and now dedicates her time and energy to sharing tips and tricks that worked for her with others. Her blog has easy-to-follow, quick-hit guides and ideas for losing weight quickly and effectively.
Katie’s weight has been a challenge her entire life. But after having two boys, she reached an all-time high: 253 pounds. That was when she decided to make a change, but it didn’t happen right away. For the next three years, she dieted and bounced between losing and gaining 50 pounds. Her real weight loss journey began in 2009, when she used calorie counting and running to take off 125 pounds. Today, she writes about maintaining that loss, running, being a mother, and managing a bipolar diagnosis. Visit the blog.
When you have the option to choose between dried fruit and fresh fruit, always opt for the fresh variety. “Dried fruits have a lot of calories and added sugar for very little volume,” says Summer Yule, MS, RDN. “For instance, one cup of raisins (not packed) contains 434 calories and 86 grams of added sugar. By comparison, a cup of grapes contains only 62 calories and 15 grams of sugar. This means that you could eat 7 cups of grapes for the same amount of calories as 1 cup of unpacked raisins.”

When you want to turn your diet around, don’t focus on the idea of restriction, Zeratsky says. Instead, think about the foods you can eat and how you can manage your hunger. “Eat foods that are more filling and have more water, like fruits and veggies, which will help your stomach respond to the weight to food,” she says. Plus, they’re low-cal and you still need that calorie deficit to drop belly fat.

While losing weight, I tried and experimented with many different fasting lengths and eating windows.  I would do a 19 hour fast (of which 6 – 8 of those are hours are spent sleeping) 2 – 3 days a week, doing a 12 – 16 hour fast the other days.  An example 19/5 day would be having an “eating window” of 12:30pm – 5:30pm.  Basically, I skipped breakfast (with exception of some coffee with cream) and would officially break my fast with lunch.  I’d often eat a snack if/when I felt hungry again and then would try to finish up with dinner before 6.  Other days I would do a 12-16 hour fast to give myself a break from the longer fasts or because I needed to accommodate something in my schedule or my family’s schedule.  (i.e., Eating dinner together is more important than an eating window of exactly 5 hours.)  If I meant I finished dinner a little later than 6 some nights, no biggie.  I was very happy that it was possible to shift or extend my eating window as needed without derailing my weight loss efforts.
SOURCES: WebMD Feature: "With Fruits and Veggies, More Matters." 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author, The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. Elaine Magee, MPH, RD,author, Comfort Food Makeovers. Brian Wansink, PhD, professor and director, Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Ithaca, N.Y.; author, Mindless Eating. Barbara Rolls, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences; and director, laboratory for the study of human ingestive behaviors, Penn State University; and author, The Volumetrics Eating Plan.
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