Stress skyrockets your levels of cortisol, often called “the belly fat” hormone because it signals to the body to store fat around your waist. Add the daily stressors of living our modern lifestyle and you can see how cortisol can be constantly coursing through your veins. This perma-stress mode isn’t good for a lot of healthy reasons, your tummy being just one of them, so it’s important to take time every day to de-stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, doing a hands-on hobby, or playing a musical instrument are all great time-tested methods. (Hint: Know what isn’t? Watching television. The boob tube actually increases your levels of cortisol!)
When Tufts University researchers studied the waistlines and diets of 459 people, they found that even in men of similar age and activity level, those who ate white bread frequently weighed more than those who didn’t. “The calories from white bread and refined grains just seem to settle at the waistline more than calories from other foods,” says Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., the study author.
Just to be clear: if you’re struggling with a chronic hormonal issue like PCOS, infertility, or amenorrhea your best bet is to go find a good endocrinologist who can run blood tests and give you specific advice. Diagnosing yourself over the internet is not a substitute for a doctor! But while you’re waiting for an appointment, here are some studies that point to possible avenues for normalizing estrogen levels.
So, we’ve scoured the internet, researched hundreds of blogs, and of all the incredible women we came across, these 35 inspirational blogs stood out the most. Not just because they’ve been through a weight loss transformation of their own, but because they have completely changed the way they see themselves throughout the process, the impact they have on their audience, and the fact that they are truly badass women who have a purpose, a message, and the vulnerability to lay it out on the line, in hopes that their journey will help just one person on theirs.
About: Laura is a health coach whose passion to help others overcome addiction and gain a satisfying life comes from her own history: For years she battled addiction (to food, cigarettes and many other things) and was taught to believe that as a woman, she was less valuable than a man. Trapped in her own mind and truly miserable, Laura one day realized that the key to overcoming her addictions was to make deliberate choices for every single thing she did — a mindset that taught her just how valuable she is. Now, she’s an extraordinarily strong-willed champion of women’s health who shares her knowledge and expertise with others. A true inspiration on so many levels.
Use a calorie-needs calculator like LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate app to figure out your daily calorie needs, then subtract calories to create your energy deficit. With an app like MyPlate, you can factor in your weight-loss goal, and it will tell you the exact number of calories (as well has how much fat, protein and carbohydrates) you need to reach that goal.
Get a rowing workout in one of two ways. You can row an actual boat across actual water. Alternately, use a specialized rowing machine on dry land. According to Bruce Lee in "The Art of Expressing the Human Body," one key to rowing and similar exercises is maintaining a constant rhythm. This provides a better calorie burn than alternating between bursts of speed and slow patches.
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.
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.
There’s a phenomenon I’ve see happen again and again. A husband and wife realize they’ve been enjoying their after-dinner snacks a bit too much and are seeing the numbers on the scale rise. They decide to embark on a healthy diet to shed those excess pounds and, ideally, lose weight fast. Two months later, the husband’s shed serious pounds and is looking trim, while the wife struggles to get the scale to budge, even after a diet full of kale salads and grilled chicken breast.
I also started doing home exercise programs and found them to be highly effective. No more money and hours wasted at the gym. But now for maintenance, I only do high-intensity interval exercises with basic equipment (dumbbells, kettlebells, bodyweight) at home. Only 20-30 minutes for 3-4 days a week will keep your metabolism high and continue to burn fat throughout the day.
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.
There is plenty that you can do to get even more out of your walks. Stephanie Cyr began her 102-pound weight loss journey by walking for an hour each night—but there was a catch. "I mapped out a 3-mile course that took me through the hills in my neighborhood," she says. Live in a flat area? Alternate 1 minute of super-fast walking with 1 minute of slower walking for a calorie-torching interval routine.
Thank you so much, Kate! I’m not over the cravings for junk food! I try not to keep very much snack food in the house, because between-meal snacking is really my downfall, but I also don’t deprive myself. I always have Nutty Bars in my fridge, because I just love ’em. I also keep almonds, honey wheat pretzels, and hummus on hand for my salty cravings, I just really watch myself on the portion sizes. The other huge change in my eating was cutting out fast food. Those calories add up fast and I’ve found that I really don’t miss it. I prefer to splurge on an occasional nicer meal out than on more frequent fast food visits.
One of the easiest ways to burn some extra calories is to get up from your chair at work; standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting, according to a British study. If you are lucky enough to have a standing desk, make sure you utilize it. If not, you can easily make your own by stacking books or boxes on your desk and standing up to work. At the very least, make sure you’re taking a break every hour to stand up and stretch, and possibly go for a walk around the office. Every bit of movement counts!
If you're dehydrated, it can be hard to tell if you're hungry or just thirsty. If you're craving a mid-day snack, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes before reassessing how hungry you really are. Water also helps food move through your digestive system, lessening feelings of bloating. It's a good idea to keep a water bottle with you throughout the day. Add in cucumber slices or fresh fruit to infuse flavor.
Blood vessels (veh-suls): The system of flexible tubes—arteries, capillaries and veins—that carries blood through the body. Oxygen and nutrients are delivered by arteries to tiny, thin-walled capillaries that feed them to cells and pick up waste material, including carbon dioxide. Capillaries pass the waste to veins, which take the blood back to the heart and lungs, where carbon dioxide is let out through your breath as you exhale.
What's more trustworthy than a diet built by experts from the Mayo Clinic? Created by doctors, nutritionists, and all-star chefs, the plan has a few phases: In the first, you should lose 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks. After that, you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week until you reach your goal weight. You're also given plenty of resources and advice to help you keep the weight off.
This popular plan recently underwent a rebranding to create a more balanced program, changing its four-phase approach with the help of a science advisory board. The Atkins Diet is still low-carb, but you won't be chowing down on steak and eggs all the time to promote weight loss. Lean protein is still key, but there's more of a spotlight on fiber, fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats.

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.
If figuring out what to put into your body is too overwhelming, start with how much you're serving yourself. The easiest way to do this? Swap out your plates for smaller ones, like mother of two Jeanenne Darden did. With the help of this trick, she managed to lose an amazing 22 percent of her body weight, going from 187 pounds to 146 pounds. "I ate normally," she says. "I just ate less of everything." Pro tip: This trick is even easier with some cute portion-control dishware.
Recently I have started walk and a little control in diet. Honestly speaking I dont eat much but i love milk shakes and junk food and lots of teas and coffees and might be this diet increased my weight. Now I have to reduce it but I am unable to do it. 10 days according to you seems quiet impossible to me because I have been taking alot of care since one month but there is no change in weight at all.
If figuring out what to put into your body is too overwhelming, start with how much you're serving yourself. The easiest way to do this? Swap out your plates for smaller ones, like mother of two Jeanenne Darden did. With the help of this trick, she managed to lose an amazing 22 percent of her body weight, going from 187 pounds to 146 pounds. "I ate normally," she says. "I just ate less of everything." Pro tip: This trick is even easier with some cute portion-control dishware.
Hey, Adam… Just read your article… sounds fantastic… first of all, i weigh about 128-130 lbs 5’2… 14 years old!!!! I struggle everyday trying to control what i eat… Perhaps u could give me some advice on how to lose around 25 lbs in 4-5 weeks max; the healthy and so that i keep it off. I am always tempted by the junk food around me. Also, I’ve had problems in the past about me weight and my parents and siblings aren’t very supportive about what i eat. Please, my weight has been an obsession ever since i could imagine..
Stopping eating after dinner is an easy way to easily cut back on mindless munching and extra calories, and can help boost weight loss, White says. One way to prevent that post-dinner grazing is to brush your teeth almost immediately after your last meal of the day. The minty flavor in your mouth will make all your favorite foods taste gross anyway, and you won’t want to go back and brush your teeth all over again.
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.
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
Top Quote: "I’m sharing every lesson to getting there—not as a drill sergeant and definitely not as a guru—as a friend who gets it and never wants anyone else to struggle alone. I’ve learned more in the last ten years than I ever thought possible, and I’m laying it bare here, one post a time—every lesson I’ve learned on losing weight,real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression, how I’ve moved beyond binge eating, lifestyle bits that make me feel good inside and out, and all the healthy recipes I make regularly.”
Hi Abby! I think it’s wonderful that you want to get and stay healthy! Good for you! I wish I had some miracle advice and I do want to clarify that I’m not a doctor so this advice is purely coming from my own experience, but I’m probably just going to be repeating what everybody else already says! Eat healthy. Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Try to limit the junk food, but also don’t make it off-limits for yourself, because that may just make you want to eat it more! Stay active. Try to find things you like doing, so that you enjoy and look forward to exercise, whether that’s a sport or running or yoga or going on long walks. And do things to work on your self-confidence. A lot of people believe that you gain confidence after you reach your goal of losing weight, but I found that it was when I started having a better self-esteem that I lost the most weight! Good luck, Abby! Keep me updated!
Over the past few months I’ve really learnt to control my junk food addiction and LARGE portions.. So cutting out junk food completely isn’t an issue for me and I’ve learnt to reduce my portion sizes quite vastly but I sometimes find it a little difficult. I absolutely LOVE RICE AND PASTA. However, I now only have pasta once a month if so. Also, I practically LIVE on rice and oatmeal.. Having oatmeal for breakfast 7 days a week and sometimes even for lunch. I have rice once a day or every other day.. Would brown rice grains be ok and would brown pasta be ok?
The first couple of weeks of wanting to make a change were in a very busy season of life. The first two weeks of January were filled with healthy food and exercise, but as soon as classes started, the business really kicked in. There were weekly ministry activities, ultimate frisbee practice, classes, research projects, trying to hang out with friends before everyone moved across the country after graduation, etc. The busier my schedule was, the less important healthy eating and exercise became. It was only a few weeks and I fell of the bandwagon and was back to my old habits and feeling frustrated. I would tell myself “I’ll eat better tomorrow” or “I’ll work out tomorrow night” and then had such difficulty following through. I pushed it off and pushed it off.  I had some short streaks of eating well, but my lack of self-control would lead me to easily giving up. I made excuses for my unhealthy lifestyle like “I’ve always been overweight” or “I’ve never consistently worked out” because there were overweight people that loved themselves well too.
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.”
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.
The sad truth is that conventional ideas – eat less, run more – do not work long term. Counting calories, exercising for hours every day and trying to ignore your hunger? That’s needless suffering and it wastes your time and precious willpower. It’s weight loss for masochists. Eventually almost everyone gives up. That’s why we have an obesity epidemic. Fortunately there’s a better way.

Want a flatter stomach in two seconds? Stand up straight! Slouching emphasizes belly rolls but straightening your spine elongates your whole body, making you look taller and sleeker. Want to go even flatter for a picture? Use the old modeling trick and arch your back slightly—this will pull your skin tighter across your stomach while moving it farther away from the camera, making it look slightly smaller. Yeah, it’s a temporary fix but good posture offers many health benefits beyond looking good.
I read about your weight loss and plan and its giving me hope to change. I recently am undergoing a lot of change internally and externally (adjusting to living alone , and a demanding new job) so I want a new me by the end of this month too – physically. I will try this new way of eating for 2 weeks, and keep a log of my progress and what I am eating along with the strength training. Question- I didnt see much in the way of cardio, did you do any in the first 2 weeks? thanks. Maria

I love the idea of carb cycling and I tried it in the spring when I bought weight loss unlocked. With my Hashimoto’s condition, though, I really suffered during the low carb part of the cycle. I might try it again, and just do a lower carb diet during my last two weeks, but still keep it at 100-150g per day. It’s always a work in progress. Thanks for shedding more light on this!
I did this diet for several months and got down to a weight of 188 lbs at 6’1. I have a video on YouTube about my journey, think i had 60,000 hits about when the book first came out. Loved the cheat day. It does work but no fruit and sugar were hard. I will admit I never got sick, my immune system was top notch and I looked great but it still tough.

There is at least one area where women have the edge, weight-wise. When men deposit fat, it most often goes to their middles, while women's excess weight tends to settle below the belt and in the middle. And it turns out that the "pear-shaped" body has a health advantage over the "apple": Those who carry extra fat mostly around their middles are at higher risk of developing heart disease than those who are bottom-heavy.
The Dukan diet is a ‘phase diet’ similar to Atkins and 17 day diet but it’s main idea is to take care of what you eat rather than the quantity of the food you eat.  For this purpose the diet has a long list of foods you are allowed to consume at each stage. It is not an open diet where you choose what to eat (provided that you are within a certain calorie range) but it is a ‘closed diet’ in the sense that you are given a list of the foods to eat. In brief the 4 stages of the Dukan Diet are:
Refined white breads are simple carbohydrates that your body processes as sugar, and can really hinder your weight-loss efforts. Whole grain bread, on the other hand, is chock-full of slimming fiber and can help you feel fuller, longer. Just be sure to read your labels. “If the ingredients at the top of the ingredient list read sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, white or wheat flour, these foods contain mostly simple carbs and should be limited,” Rebecca Lewis, RD, told us. “A food is only considered a whole grain if the first ingredient on the packaging says, ‘whole grain’ or ‘whole wheat.’”
And while we are talking about eating at night I should bring up late night snacking. You don’t need me to tell you that this is hurting your weight loss efforts, but when should you stop eating? Make a goal to stop eating 4 hours before bedtime, if you are starving have some veggies and a big glass of water to fill up your belly. Remember your “car” is in the garage, it does not need gasoline it just wants it. Look back at how you ate today and see if there was an opportunity to eat more earlier in the day so that you don’t have those late night cravings tomorrow.
Eat more protein. Protein is required by the body to repair damaged cells and plays a vital role in growth and development.[3] But it can also play a role in weight loss. Diets high in protein tend to make people feel fuller, and when paired with a reduction in carbohydrate intake these diets can help with weight loss.[4] However, it's important to remember that not all sources of protein are good for you: red meat and full-fat dairy products, though high in protein, can also increase the risk of heart disease.[5] Good sources of protein include:[6]
I also put on almost all of the 60 lbs – but am afraid to get back on the scale. From all the reading of grief I have been doing, it seems that intense grief can alter metabolism, store fat, and change your hormonal balance. I am not on any anti depression meds, thankfully, but probably did a lot of comfort eating. I want to get off this fat wagon, cause it is very uncomfortable, and now I feel like I am being smothered in this fat body. I have already started – 2 days, and reading all I can about it. I am glad I found your website. Can you give me any starter pointers? I feel like my sweetheart is directing me from Heaven – he was so supportive and kind & loving, I want to be strong and honor his memory. He would have wanted me to be successful, he was so wonderful, and so missed. :,(

Nicole Morrissey is Registered Dietitian (RD) and author of Prevention RD. By day, Nicole is a coordinator and manager of an outpatient diabetes education department. By night, she is a home cook, blogger, cookbook author, wife, and mommy to two little girls. After being overweight nearly her entire life, she decided to make a change and lost 75 pounds in a year’s time. 15 years later, Nicole’s weight loss journey continues as she strives for a more balanced life, that includes good-for her foods, and her favorite things like craft beer and all things carbs! Her weight loss blog is an inspirational guide to a practical, straightforward, and maintainable approach to a healthy lifestyle.
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