I’ve been at this for a while and thanks to some excellent, well-reasoned sources (like Virta and its contributors, among others) I’ve learned a lot about my appetite/satiety, emotional triggers, carb tolerance, food intolerances, etc. and I just wanted to say that this was a great, well presented article. No matter where one is on their journey, we can all benefit from reminders and strategy reassessments. Thank you, it’s much appreciated!
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.

It’s impossible to target belly fat specifically when you diet. But losing weight overall will help shrink your waistline; more importantly, it will help reduce the dangerous layer of visceral fat, a type of fat within the abdominal cavity that you can’t see but that heightens health risks, says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., director of Clinical and Research Physiology at Johns Hopkins.

In high school, my body didn’t seem to go through many changes. As far as exercise goes, I stuck with track and field and figure skating. I never exercised outside of whatever practice I was going to during the week. As far as nutrition goes, I had a lot of the same habits as middle school but developed quite a few new unhealthy habits.  Once I could drive and spend late nights with friends, my nutrition was crap. I remember stopping at QT (the best gas station in existence) on the way to every shift to work and getting a drink and snack or candy. I remember meeting friends late at night at whatever fast food joint. I remember ice cream multiple days of week in the summer, snacking after school before dinner, and snacking again before bed. One positive choice I made as a high schooler was when I vowed never to eat fast food meat again (I had to read the book “Fast Food Nation” in an English class and was disgusted about the fast food meat industry and have never missed it since). As far as body image goes, again, I remember feeling overweight and embarrassed, but also being muscular because of figure skating. Again, like middle school, really solid and supportive friends surrounded me so I never felt isolated or disliked because of my weight. However, I would say in middle and high school I never felt confident in my body or loved the way I felt or looked. 
An article published in Consumer Reports in 2006 recommends avoiding the fat-burning supplements 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, and citrus aurantium, also called bitter orange, as these both have potentially serious side effects. Bitter orange can cause increased heart rate, anxiety and chest pain, and 5-HTP can cause inflammation and pain in the joints and muscles and severe gastrointestinal issues. Another article, published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology in 2011, notes that an herbal fat-burning supplement containing usnic acid, guggul tree and green tea extracts was linked to a case of liver failure.
Processed foods are one of the biggest sources of salt in Americans’ diets—and the scary part is you probably don’t even realize it. Because of the way these addictive foods are formulated, salt is hidden in everything from soups to pasta sauces to even sweet things like boxed cakes. Swap out processed foods in favor of fresh fare and your tummy will thank you. Not only will you lose the salt-bloat but you’ll also lose the extra empty calories and lose weight. Learn about these 50 more ways you can lose weight without a lick of exercise.
I am mid 40s and already going through perimenopause phase sinc last year. Seems like I gained suddenly body fat even exercise with HIIT, cardio and weight lifting. I eat clean, no sugar, no flour and processed food. I assume it is to do with my hormone change. I have light period and shorter now these days. Still experiencing mood swings, breast tenderness, bloating and weight gain, hungry for sweets and salty before period. I try to find any articles about carb cycling for women who go through perimenopause phase but can’t find them.
I came across your article at just the right time! I’ve been keto-ing for about a month now and only down four lbs. Was ready to give up and go back to my beloved cake, bread, and pasta. I have no doubt my body needs a lot of healing, and I hope that’s what I’m doing for it now. I’ll keep on going with my keto lifestyle because of your post. Thanks for this insight.
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.

Hi Joan… I am new to Keto, but have tried low carb diets in the past, Also am hypothyroid, and post menopausal, have battled weight all my life. In 2014, I did the Nutrimost weight loss system, very very limited calories & foods, for 40 days, then more foods are added in. all kinds of “tests” thru electronic testing & diet drops from a blue bottle, & various other drops in water. I did lose 60 lbs, and was able to keep it off for 2 yrs. Then in July 2016 – my beloved husband of 34 yrs passed away suddenly, and I was put into a tailspin of intense grief, where I still remain.
I would love to hear more about how the recovery from the abdominoplasty was and how you a manged to do it with the girls being so little. My son is 5 and daughter 2 and I need to have a hernia repair, muscle repair with the abdominoplasty. And I just have no clue when to do it. My daughter still likes to be held often so I’m debating on waiting until she’s 3/4 but I’m so ready to have my body back. Thank you again for sharing your story and being open to answer questions!
For even more impressive effects on body composition: aim for exercise forms which elicit a positive hormonal response. This means lifting really heavy things (strength training), or interval training. Such exercise increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone (primarily in men) as well as growth hormone. Not only do greater levels of these hormones increase your muscle mass, but they also decrease your visceral fat (belly fat) in the long term.
Meal prepping takes a few hours a week, but it's worth it: By getting your meals ready ahead of time, you won't be so tempted to order your go-to Chinese takeout when you're tired and hungry after work. "When you plan an entire week of dinner in advance, you're way less likely to go off course and indulge in foods that aren't good for you," says Pamela Salzman, a certified holistic health expert and cooking instructor. And since you planned things out, you'll actually get the protein, fruit, and veggies your body needs — and you'll lose weight in the process.
Eat Breakfast Every Day. One habit that's common to many people who have lost weight and kept it off is eating breakfast every day. "Many people think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, but they usually end up eating more throughout the day, says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. "Studies show people who eat breakfast have lower BMIs than breakfast-skippers and perform better, whether at school or in the boardroom." Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy for a quick and nutritious start to your day.
I am 22 and recently lost about 20 pounds. I have been jogging 2-6miles 5-6 days a week, usually in the morning. I lift light weights and do p90x when I have free time after work. I have been struggling to lose the last 5 pounds for 2 weeks now. My diet is mostly plant based, but I usually eat a normal dinner. I wouldnt say my diet is strict but I am always in calorie range. Any advice to lose my last few pounds I have been struggling to lose?

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!!


Tired of carrying around those extra pounds? The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to create a low-calorie eating plan that you can stick to for a long time. If you just want to drop a few pounds fast, there are plenty of techniques and tips you can adopt to help you reach your short-term goals, too. Scroll down to Step 1 to learn more. Understand that you may not lose more than a pound or two per week, however.
If you follow the slim-fast program by the book it will work. There is no way out since the major meals are composed of slim-fast products that guarantee the amount of calories you consume. Now, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach. First it is costly because you will have to order all those slim-fast products and second there is a chance that you will get bored quickly and quit. On the other hand it is a perfect solution for the working woman who does not have the time to cook or organize her meals in advance. If you want a quick solution that is healthy and can generate good results then the slim-fast solution is for you.
Another question I get often is “if I am exercising how many extra calories can I have per day?” and my answer is (sorry, you’re not going to like this) “None! Unless you are training for a marathon or the like you don’t need more calories.” Too often we erase all our hard work by justifying eating more calories, and if you do your research you’ll find that the “calories burned” ticker on your exercise equipment is not accurate. Exercising is not an excuse to eat more, exercising will help tone your body, give you a healthy heart and burn off a few calories… what’s the point in burning them off if you’re just gonna add them back?!
About: A brand new blogger, Nikki’s trying to achieve wellness and healthy living, but what she’s really best at is getting product freebies and reviewing them so you know what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to weight loss, fitness, beauty, you name it. Nikki’s blog is loaded to the tee with useful product reviews, but she’s also not shy about sharing her own personal journey towards wellness either. Practical and emotional. We love it.
To drop serious lbs, you need the one-two punch of aerobic exercise plus strength training. Resistance helps build and preserve metabolism-boosting lean muscle while burning fat and is especially key when you hit a plateau. Amanda Green lost 15 pounds in two months doing hour-long cardio DVDs, but it wasn't until she started running outside and lifting weights three times a week that she was able to ditch the last 15 of her 30-pound goal.
Between his hilarious poetry, inspiring post-it notes, and top ten lists that make Letterman sound unoriginal, reading Jack Sh*T, Gettin' Fit can feel more like your daily dose of comedy than weight-loss advice. Of course you get that too, you're just laughing so hard you don't realize how good it is for you. Check out his post When Harry Met Salad to see what I mean.

Sometimes, to whip your body into shape, you have to get a little nutty. While nuts are high in fat, it’s that very fat that makes them such powerful weapons in the war against a ballooning belly. In fact, research from Reina Sofia University Hospital reveals that study participants who consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those in nuts, over a 28-day period gained less belly fat than their saturated fat-consuming counterparts while improving their insulin sensitivity.

Bottom line:  While there might be a ‘metabolic advantage’ to a ketogenic diet over one containing a fair amount of carbohydrate, on average the difference is small.  This does not explain why some people seem to lose weight relatively easily when carbs are restricted, which may be due to inter-individual variation. However the common observation of significant and sustained weight loss over months and years (Hallberg et al, 2018) is more likely a result of the benefits of nutritional ketosis on fuel flow, appetite, and cravings; as well as the reduced inflammation that is triggered by modest levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate. Clearly humans following a long-term ketogenic diet can eventually remain weight stable by adjusting fat intake to balance daily fat use for fuel.  For those wishing to lose weight additional rather than remain weight stable, one’s goal should be to reduce dietary fat intake down to the margin of satiety (just enough, but not too much) and avoid or limit non-satiating energy sources such as alcohol.


Meal prepping was super helpful to me. Packing lunches and making dinners that lasted more than one night were great strategies for my meals. I usually used Sunday as my day to prepare lunches for the week, and my dinners on Sunday and Wednesday. There are so many amazing meal ideas on Pinterest, and you can experiment with all of the meals you life. My Recipes for Success blog post lists a lot of my favorite food bloggers where I get several recipes. Overall, more mindfulness about when and what I was going to eat set me up to make positive choices.

This is the weight loss blog for self-described “underdogs, misfits, and mutants.” Basically, if you’ve never seen yourself as the meathead grunting and lifting weights at the gym, this might be the space for you. Home to a community titled “The Rebellion,” this blog is full of resources, training courses, and options for private coaching. Nerd Fitness is all about deliberate, small changes to help you live a happier, healthier life. Visit the blog.
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