Remember that these are all perfectly understandable evolutionary design features. Higher estrogen levels during puberty drive fat gain as an energy reserve in case you get pregnant. During early pregnancy, they go into overdrive to “stock up” for the approaching challenge. Your body still hasn’t caught up to the 21st century; it still thinks its job is to keep you (a) alive, and (b) fertile in an environment of extreme food scarcity and a constant threat of famine. So storing extra fat at every opportunity makes perfect sense: back in the day, it could have meant the difference between life and death (or a healthy baby and a miscarriage).
That’s all good – but on the other hand, estrogen also has a very tangled and complicated relationship with adipose tissue (body fat). Fat cells aren’t just inert blobs of energy storage sitting around on your hips. Actually, fat tissue is a very active part of the hormonal system, and one of its biggest jobs is to produce estrogen. Fat tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen – estrogen comes from other places as well (most obviously the ovaries), but fat is certainly an important part of the process.
Suspect you have a sluggish metabolism? You might have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, which afflicts about 25 percent of American women — many of whom don't know they have the condition, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. "The thyroid gland controls your body's metabolism, so one of the first signs that it may be off is an inability to lose weight," explains Pamela Peeke, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fight Fat After Forty. Your doctor can determine if you're suffering from hypothyroidism by running a blood test. If you do have an underactive thyroid, you'll be treated with a synthetic thyroid supplement, which you will need to take for the rest of your life (it will return your metabolism to normal, so it should be easier to drop unwanted pounds).
Chronic migraines were what first inspired Amanda Tagge to start exercising. “I was hoping to find some relief from my headaches and working out did help but I realized that if I really wanted to feel better I needed to revamp my health habits overall and lose weight,” she says. The more she changed, the better her headaches got and she lost 70 pounds in the process which helped her feel even better. Focusing on all the ways her health was improving kept her going even when the scale wasn’t moving.
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.
Last but certainly not least we have the DASH Diet. The DASH diet is a balanced diet similar to the Mediterranean diet. It is the result of research carried out in 4 medical centers and sponsored by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The main purpose of this diet is to help you lower your high blood pressure through healthy eating practices and lifestyle changes. By eating healthy food and following an active lifestyle you also promote weight loss. It is a diet that can be really helpful especially for women over 40 and 50. The basic principle of the DASH diet for losing weight is the following: first you need to calculate how many calories you need per day and then you must adjust the calories you consume and the calories you burn so that you constantly create a calorie deficit or ensure that you are not creating a calorie surplus. In other words you need to consume fewer calories than what you burn.
The healthiest way to lose weight quickly combines a healthy and nutritious diet, proper hydration, and a moderate and varied exercise routine. If you use a fad diet or other rapid weight loss technique to drop a few pounds very quickly, switch after a few days or weeks to a long-term weight loss plan that promotes healthier weight loss to protect your health and promote sustainable weight loss.
Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack. Adding a source of lean or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer so you're less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats. Experts also recommend eating small, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar levels steady and to avoid overindulging.
To find your spirit blog, think about what you want to get out of it, recommends Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., a certified weight management specialist and the blogger behind Jessica Cording Nutrition. If you want someone who is going through the same struggles you are, look for a blogger who's in the same stage of their weight-loss journey, suggests Cording. Need new healthy recipes? A nutritionist who posts her favorites might be your best bet.
Consider liposuction. Liposuction is a surgical option for fast, targeted weight loss, generally only recommended for people with one or two specific areas of highly fatty tissue but otherwise relatively healthy body weight. Because it is a surgical procedure, it carries significant health risks and should only be performed by a licensed professional.
Don’t skip meals. Eating a healthy breakfast increases your resting metabolic rate earlier in the day, keeps your energy levels high, and may help you resist the urge of high-calorie snacks throughout the day. Plan to eat a small snack or meal every two to four hours to keep your metabolism active. Eating regularly also keeps your blood sugar stable and reduces unhealthy calorie binges or deviations from your meal plan.
If you're mostly sedentary (and let's face it—with 9-to-5 desk jobs being the norm, it's hard to avoid), you'll start to see noticeable results with just a slight increase in your activity level. Break up the hours in front of the computer by using your lunch break to move around. "I started walking for 45 minutes during my lunch break," says Melissa Leon, who ultimately dropped 53 pounds. "The area was super hilly, but feeling the burn in my butt and quads as I powered up those hills let me know I was making progress."
Beth has struggled with her weight for nearly her entire life. Overweight since puberty and then obese throughout high school and college, Beth tipped the scales at 250 pounds. In early 2009, she resolved to take better care of herself, which included quitting smoking and running for exercise. Initially, Beth didn't drop weight as quickly as she would’ve liked, so she took a look at her eating habits. She joined Weight Watchers where she learned how food should be measured and weighed, and how much she should eat in a day.
Even if you do meet your goal, it's nearly impossible to keep off the weight over the long term: "The amount of restriction required [to maintain that number] will make you so hungry that you’ll eat everything in sight—it’s survival instinct," Dr. Seltzer says. And since calorie restriction gradually slows your metabolism, your body will be less prepared to burn the foods you binge on, he adds. That could mean gaining more pounds than you lost in the first place.
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.
Work indulgence foods into your calorie plan. If you do want to have something that is a little higher in calories, then make sure that you work it into your overall calorie goal for the day. For example, if you are following an 1,800 calorie plan, and you want to have a brownie that is 300 calories, then you would only have 1,500 calories left for the day.
But as far as I understand the resting energy expenditure will not fall under nutritional ketosis (adjusting for body composition), even though you are naturally satiated to have a lower energy intake, because the body will oxidize body fat, thus limiting the requirement of dietary fat? Is that the metabolic advantage? Or is it the fact that you might have a higher energy expenditure even under eucaloric conditions in comparison to, say low-fat diets?
Monica Olivas is a holistic health coach and certified running coach. And as the blog name implies, she loves to run and eat! Running helped her shed 20 pounds, and she’s since competed in 50 half-marathons and 30 marathons. Run Eat Repeat has giveaways for runners, tips for improving distance, and all kinds of healthy, delicious recipe ideas to fuel your next run. Visit the blog.