Visceral fat—a type of fat that lies deep inside your abdomen and surrounds your internal organs—is linked to a whole slew of terrifying health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Even scarier: According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), your risk of those health issues increases even more if your waist size is greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
Excessive abdominal fat, or belly fat, is a serious health concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having excessive abdominal fat increases your risks for developing Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious health problems. No exercise, including rowing, can specifically target your belly fat. According to celebrity personal trainer Bill Phillips, the idea that an exercise targets a specific area for fat loss, called "spot reduction," is a soundly debunked fitness myth. Fat loss comes from your body as a whole. However, as rowing workouts burn overall body fat, the fat on your belly will unavoidably be part of the fat you burn.

About: Jade’s 6+ years of experience blogging means, at first glance, we would have passed right over her for this list. But it’s her recent debut into weight loss and healthy living blogging that caught our eye. Jade lives in Singapore, and just looking at Jade’s photos, it’s hard to imagine her as ever being overweight. But in 2012, she was unhappy with the way she looked, a feeling she’d had her whole life. Then the thought occurred to her that she had the power to change it. A total lifestyle overhaul and 44 pounds later, and Jade’s story is a success we can all admire.
Hi Joan… Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and loving reply – I am in tears… It’s really freeing to read what you wrote- about not going at this new plan so aggressively. I was reading other blogs about being so strict with everything right off the bat. I think that this is why many fail & go back to their old eating habits – they feel that they can’t maintain it – it’s too hard. Having done that Nutrimost plan – this Keto way is so much more flexible, and satisfying (love that butter). This is a entirely different way of eating, really a new way of life. We obviously LOVED those starches & sweets & relied on them much too much, or we wouldn’t be where we were. But – I also feel better already – without that logy, starchy fog, after 3 days. I will keep your reply as my inspiration, because it was written with compassion, for a complete stranger – me! It’s going to be a bit challenging, because I eat out a lot with my lady friends & church girls. It has taken me over a year to begin to come to terms with my husband’s passing, from being his much loved wife, a role I cherished so much, to suddenly being single & alone again. I am going for grief counseling thru a church group of wonderful gals, and I feel that this new way of eating is another piece of the puzzle God has given me, to give me a new purpose in life. I never thought I would say something like this. When I lost my beloved husband, I wanted to die with him. I never contemplated suicide but did not want to go on without him. He truly was my soul mate, my Prince Charming.. I don’t know how the afterlife works, but if the Lord allows, my wonderful husband is watching out for me – like he always did, cheering me on with all his love & support.
Thyroid hormone is essential for fat loss. Unfortunately on a low carbohydrate diet thyroid hormone production can slow down. This is crucial to bear in mind for women especially because women’s metabolism and thyroid activity are much more sensitive than men’s. It is important in the “low carb” times of the cycle to still not be very low carb. Stay above 50 grams of carbohydrate a day, at very minimum (and higher if physically active).
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Hi! Great article. I know what you mean about how seeing fast results can get you so excited that it motivates you to do more – eat better, become more active, etc. I lost 5 pounds on a program and I didn’t exercise at all but I got so much energy and desire to have more results that it is changing the way I think and live. I look up great healthy recipes, exercise tips all kinds of healthy minded things. Also I totally agree about the cheat days. No matter what program we are on we need to feel ok when we have a cheat day. If we punish ourselves because we enjoyed a little extra one day then we end up in worse shape. (well that was my experience) Now I know it’s ok if I have a little extra every so often because I know the next day I’m excited to get back to following my plan.
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.
Calcium is vital for proper bone development and bone density. Teenagers require the greatest amounts of calcium of approximately 1200 mg a day. So it is advisable to replace your soft drinks with milk. Since milk contains fortified vitamin D, it also helps in strengthening the bones. Other sources of calcium include yoghurt, hard cheese and low fat cottage cheese.
Excellent question! I suppose you could look at it like this: you are less insulin sensitive in the luteal phase, so in order to prevent fat gain it is “more important” to burn sugar and fat at this time – so if weight loss is your goal, and if you do good, hard anaerobic workouts, then this will sharpen your insulin sensitivity as much as possible and help keep you lean via that mechanism. If, on the other hand, weight loss is not your goal but fitness and strength are, then you may wish to do aerobic work at this time (with higher blood sugar you can accomplish greater aerobic feats), and save the anaerobic work for the rest of your cycle. Does that make sense? At least, that is what I am guessing is happening here.
More importantly, though, strength training does wonders for your body. It helps make bones denser, critical because our bones become weaker as we age, increasing the risk of osteoporosis — of the 10 million Americans suffering from the disease, 80 percent are women. (4) Strength training helps build lean muscle tissue, helping you lose more weight all over, including the dreaded belly fat. It also reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (5)
When you’re eating to deal with your emotions, like anxiety, stress or unhappiness, you’re likely not reaching for carrot sticks and blueberries, but carbohydrates, processed foods and even alcohol. Those calories eventually add up and, at the same time, you’re avoiding learning how to deal with difficult emotions and situations. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.
Thanks, I know the amount of food I was consuming was low working to increase (did I mention I’m Vegetarian) options are limited. Yes I am on the candida diet for a purpose, because of the access of yeast in my body, but I have been told it helps to lower weight. I wasn’t talking about weighting myself every day (saving that for every 2 weeks) I was just talking about a difference in my body. After I’m finished this candida diet I plan on continuing on a weight loss diet similar to what you are on, yet side I don’t eat meat I find it hard to get foods high in calories that are healthy, any suggestions. Thanks for your time.
I was doing so well, getting into a routine again and eating well, and then HURRICANE MICHAEL. I had to eat fast food (no fresh fruit and vegs) for almost a month. I just got my Instant Pot, and was able to buy fresh veggies and fruit again…I didn’t realize how much I’d miss them!! I’ve always loved fresh fruit and veggies (except avocados, mushrooms, cauliflower and strawberries and blueberries). But, I also love potatoes, rice, bread, chips – anything salty.

About: Loretta’s certainly no stranger to blogging — she been sharing her weight loss journey since 2009. But the thing that caught our eye most about Loretta’s blog is that unlike most long-time healthy living/weight loss bloggers, her website’s not chock full of product reviews and recommendations, links to goods, etc. It’s very authentic, as is Loretta. Loretta started at 460 pounds. Now, she hovers around 199. And she does it “one good choice at a time.” Her style of writing is engaging and real — the kind of blog that you read and finish thinking, I really know this woman in a deep way. Bravo.


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About: Jenn’s story is one we can all relate to. She’s struggled with her weight all her life, and has spent many times going up and down with winning over her food addiction — and succumbing to it. Her posts represent the deepest emotions we battle when it comes to food, and it’s her willingness to open up that really touches readers. She’s been blogging for a long time, and her constant battle is one that more people definitely should follow.
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.  

Thyroid hormone is essential for fat loss. Unfortunately on a low carbohydrate diet thyroid hormone production can slow down. This is crucial to bear in mind for women especially because women’s metabolism and thyroid activity are much more sensitive than men’s. It is important in the “low carb” times of the cycle to still not be very low carb. Stay above 50 grams of carbohydrate a day, at very minimum (and higher if physically active).
About Blog The SkinnyJane Weight Loss Challenges and their weight loss products were created for women by a women's weight loss professional who has 15 years experience helping women lose weight and is owner/manager of a women's only weight loss facility. SkinnyJane includes the details and materials of the weight loss plan that has been carefully developed over 15 years of helping women lose weight.

Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m a mother of 5 and I homeschool. I’m 39 and 40 pounds overweight. I’ve never been over weight and I’m struggling. I emotionally eat all day, everyday and my weight just keeps creeping up. I’ve hoped the Lord would tell me to fast so maybe I’d lose weight but He knows that’s not the right heart and so do I. I’ve been praying for something to stand out, something that will help me desire to make a change. I’ve been feeling lost and hopeless. After reading your blog here, I’m crying and praying because I feel like this might be my answer to prayer. I stumbled upon your story accidentally and I’m finding myself feeling the Lord all over it. Thank you! Through praying now, tears and not believing in myself because I ALWAYS fail, I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe this might be the time. Thank you!
“Once you decide on the method that you’re going use to lose weight, put the blinders on every well-meaning friend or family member who thinks it’s not a good idea. For me, it was raw juicing. Along with a healthy diet, it helped me lose 48 pounds and keep it off for over a year.” —Jennifer Devlin Waller, 48, founder and CEO of Celtic Complexion Luxury Artisan Skincare
Fleury, N., Geldenhuys, S., & Gorman, S. (2016, October 11). Sun exposure and its effects on human health: Mechanisms through which sun exposure could reduce the risk of developing obesity and cardiometabolic dysfunction. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(10), 999. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/10/999/htm

People who get enough sleep tend to weigh less than those who don't. Additionally, researchers found that well-rested dieters lost more fat than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle. "Whenever I don't sleep enough, I'm ravenous the next day," says Weil. To keep her hunger in check and help her maintain her slim figure, she tries to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
One review found that people who sleep between 3.5 and 5.5 hours a night consume nearly 385 more calories the next day when compared to those who sleep between 7 and 10 hours. (6) Sleep is critical for our bodies to repair and function properly. When you consistently don’t get enough sleep, not only are you more likely to gain weight, but you’re also at a higher risk for chronic diseases, anxiety, irritability and more.
I try my very hardest not to compare myself to others. Everyone is going to have a different journey. It’s hard when I can look at people that seem like they can eat whatever they want and not have to work hard to look great. I get that. But my journey is about the progress I an making and discovering my best self. I found a community to celebrate accomplishments together, which was a game changer. It is helpful, fun, and encouraging having buddies to journey with.

Fruits like berries, cherries, apples, and oranges are high in quercetin, a natural compound that reduces inflammation in the belly. And if you put a bowl of the good stuff right where you can see it in your kitchen, you’re more likely to reach for it when you want a snack. These are the 10 reasons why apple cider vinegar is brilliant for slimming down.

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.
Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”  

The trick here is not only to avoid all obvious sources of carbohydrate (sweets, bread, spaghetti, rice, potatoes), but also to be careful with your protein intake. If you eat large amounts of meat, eggs and the like, the excess protein will be converted into glucose in your body. Large amounts of protein can also raise your insulin levels somewhat. This compromises optimal ketosis.
Wow, Penny. You sure have had more than your fair share of struggles! I am so impressed at how you have continued to persevere and do whatever you could to succeed, despite all of the setbacks. YOU are the inspiring one! You found a way to exercise that didn’t cause you pain, you are making the healthiest choices you can in your circumstances. I am so glad you shared your story with me!
Eating sugary foods might be satisfying in the moment, but they can increase your cravings for more sugary foods in the future — and that only leads to trouble. "Many foods high in added sugar are also higher in calories and fill you up less than lower-calorie, still-sweet alternatives like fruit," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. But there are still ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without ODing on sugar. "When you're baking, cut out some of the sugar in recipes by adding in vanilla extract or cinnamon, blend unsweetened cocoa powder into a smoothie instead of honey, top your French toast with unsweetened frozen fruit instead of syrup, and nosh on a slab of watermelon instead of cookies."
I do want to tell you that I think it is great that you are on a weight loss journey and that you joined Sparks People. I have been with them for 5 years and I love it! It keeps me motivated! Your doing a great job and it is wonderful that you are eating clean and healthy, just remember that in life there are some not so great for you foods, but you should never deprive yourself. Everything in moderation, just be conscience of what your putting in your body!
Your body needs a certain amount of essential vitamins and minerals to function properly. What happens when you don’t get enough of them? What happens when you eat too little food, or when the food you eat isn’t sufficiently nutritious? Perhaps our bodies catch on and reply by increasing hunger levels. After all – if we eat more, we increase the chances of consuming enough of whatever nutrient we are lacking.
DO IT: Assume a pushup position with your hands below your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels. This is the starting position. Lifting your right foot off of the floor, drive your right knee towards your chest. Tap the floor with your right foot and then return to the starting position. Alternate legs with each repetition.

A little garlic in your meals could mean a lot less weight around your middle. The results of a Korean study found that mice given a high-fat diet supplemented with garlic lost significantly more weight and abdominal fat than those who just ate fatty foods. Even better, they also improved their liver health, making it easier to stay healthy and burn off that excess fat in the long term. For more flavorful ways to make your food more enjoyable, turn to the 20 Spicy Recipes That Fire Up Your Metabolism and watch those pounds melt away.


I tracked everything from fat, carbs and protein.  I was eating what I was suppose to and within 5 months, I dropped the remaining 10lbs.  I did it, I met my goal!  As of today, I am trying to maintain my weight, which in my opinion is harder then losing it.  I get so afraid of putting the weight back on, since it’s so easy to lose motivation.  Just because you meet your goal doesn’t mean you can go back to the way it was.  That’s when I decided I needed to make this my lifestyle.  I started reading up on healthy foods, different exercises, and I kept calculating my calories.  I was a true calorie counter, every bite I ate, I tracked it.  If I didn’t know the calories, I wouldn’t eat it.   I was having allot of fun.  I was exercising and maintaining my weight!  Then it happened.  Something was brought to my attention from my friends and family, I was obsessed they told me!  Obsessed with what?  Eating right and exercising?  It was the calorie counting!  People told me I’m not enjoying life if I calculate every bite.  Can I do this forever?  Well, maybe,I am pretty dedicated after all, but who wants to?  I have learned so much over the past couple of years, about eating, exercising and most importantly myself.  I have a lot of will power and I know how to be healthy, so I should be able to do this!!!!  

I couldnt agree more. After I fell of the wagon the first time I realized how awful by body reacts to all the junk. It made me understand it’s not about how much weight I lose, it is about how good I feel. Only down 32lbs in 2 yrs, but I am more active than I have ever been in my life. I used to wear 3x shirt and wore 22 pant. Now I am wearing wan xl shirt and 16-18 pant. I am ok with losing slowly because I feel great. If I could go back to my early 20s I would have changed my ways of eating.
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.
I really needed this. Been on the keto woe for 4 weeks and haven’t really lost. I am feeling good and I haven’t had a hot flash since week 2!! I was having them at least once an hour! So, totally worth it even without the weight loss. Plus, I’ve had several people tell me that I’m looking really good. Only 4 pounds lost, and clothes are fitting the same, but will keto on and hope that I see a change in the scale. I have about 60 pounds to lose to get to a good weight for me. I’ve been keeping my carbs low, but haven’t really focused on macros, but will start fine-tuning them. Just wanted to get used to the very low carb woe before worrying about fine-tuning. Again, thank you so much for the encouraging article!
I want to say congratulations to you!!! It’s hard getting up at 5am to workout and you do it! That is fantastic!! Love that you changed your lifestyle, as you know I did the same thing. I feel so much better about myself and I imagine you do too! Thank you again for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s comments like yours that keeps me staying healthy!!
About: Lisa hails from the United Kingdom — a long way from the U.S., but with a touching story of strength that is impossible to ignore. Lisa suffers from Chronic Fatigue, a debilitating condition that’s slowed her down significantly in life, and one that she’s also managed to fight back from. Lisa started her blog about a year ago as a way to lose weight in the hope that it would help improve her disease — her fight is definitely an inspirational one to follow.
Yoga is great. I’ve done a bit of at-home yoga but not nearly as much as I would like. I’m hoping to get it into my routine more once I get close to my first marathon. It’s a great core workout and will certainly get your heart rate up – especially when you’re just starting with it. I always like variety though, and really enjoy a resistance workout in there as well – test things out for a couple weeks to see how they work out and make adjustments from there.

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.
Drinks: I started drinking so much water! I found a water bottle I love and brought it everywhere with me. If you don't have a water bottle you like, find one and have it on you 24/7. Along with water, I'm a huge coffee drinker so that is regularly apart of my diet. I also drink Diet sodas (specifically Diet Dr. Pepper and Diet Coke). Other than that, I don't drink much else. I know a lot of people tend to consume extra calories through drinks but I don't have as much issues there.
Sarah Dussault is a mother, a Certified Personal Trainer, Holistic Health Coach, and full-time health and wellness blogger and YouTuber. Her mission is to help young women learn how to eat clean and get fit so they can feel confident about the way they look, without depriving themselves of a social life. She shares fitness videos, healthy recipes, mom stuff, and health and fitness for pregnancy all on her blog!
No, we’re not telling you that you need a tummy tuck (although that would flatten your belly, we suppose). Rather, there are several common health conditions that can make your belly bulge and until you fix the anatomical issues underneath, nothing else can flatten it out. For instance, many women have a diastisis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, after pregnancy. In about 25 percent of these women, the muscles never quite come back together, leading to a permanent protrusion. Similarly, a hernia (congenital or from an injury) can also cause your belly to stick out. Both conditions can be resolved surgically.
Harvie, M. N., Pegington, M., Mattson, M. P., Frystyk, J., Dillon, B., Evans, G., … Howell, A. (2011, May). The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: A randomized trial in young overweight women. International Journal of Obesity (London), 35(5), 714–727. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3017674/
Thank you for your response. I do agree the Mediterranean diet & Dash are healthy & sound, but I also think it’s important for people to change their habits, vs. “going on a diet” — whether you eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day, with a small amount of healthy fat, plenty of protein and good, whole grains, OR you eat McDonald’s value meals four times a day, they are both considered someone’s “diet.”
Alice Williams created Honestly Fitness with the intention of giving an honest opinion, backed up by factual evidence, about anything and everything concerning fitness, health, and everything in between. Her passion for sharing the reality of the health and fitness world makes her one of our most inspirational blogs. She discusses important and controversial topics, healthy recipes, and provides honest reviews and feedback of all the latest trends in fitness.
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