Dinner: Dinners are all over the place. If you missed my blog post from a few weeks ago, I made a Recipes for Success post which included a lot of the meals I've been cooking recently. You can read the post for actual recipes, but basically my favorite thing to make is "bowls." I like having quinoa or brown rice with veggies, greens, and protein. You also don't need to be a cook to throw everything in a bowl. I just tried to make a lot of "lighter" means with protein and fresh foods.
Love this post of your weight loss journey. Thank you for sharing. You are so real and honest and I love that about you and your blog. I too am struggling with my weight loss/gain since having my daughter in Jan 2009. I lost 80lbs back in 2000 but it has all come back on especially since having my daughter and not focusing on my well being and putting all my enegy into my daughter. This totally inspires me that I can get back on track. Congrats to you for your weight loss accomplishments. You look fabulous!
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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."
While it will help, it’s not going to eliminate your sleep deprivation. That apart, doing this will throw off your natural sleep-wake cycle so it could end up doing more harm than good. Not only can the right food aid sleep, it works the other way too — better sleep promotes weight loss. Lack of sleep, however, has been found to stimulate production of hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes us overeat.
About: Rachael’s got a unique combination of expertise. She’s an avid fitness lover, a health fanatic and a registered nurse. She also has to combat strange work hours to keep up her active lifestyle and exercise regimen, which is exactly why we picked her. When you’re among those who are trying to lose weight but have a hectic schedule, Rachael’s the blogger to turn to for advice. She knows how to fight obstacles like sleep deprivation, food cravings, boredom hunger and (of course) being “too busy” to get healthy.
"Only doing abdominal-focused workouts, like crunches, won’t help you banish the bulge. Belly fat is simply where your body stores energy, so you need to take a whole-body approach to tackle it. HIIT training (high intensity interval training) is a great way to burn fat and get your heart rate up. Squats, burpees and treadmill sprints are all examples to try."
Physical activity helps burn abdominal fat. “One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that you get a lot of bang for your buck on body composition,” Stewart says. Exercise seems to work off belly fat in particular because it reduces circulating levels of insulin—which would otherwise signal the body to hang on to fat—and causes the liver to use up fatty acids, especially those nearby visceral fat deposits, he says.
Those trans fats on your menu are hiding out in plain sight and sabotaging your lean belly plans every time you eat them. If a food product says it contains partially hydrogenated oils, you’re eating trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity with every bite. In fact, research conducted at Wake Forest University reveals that monkeys whose diets contained eight percent trans fat upped their body fat by 7.2 percent over a six-year study, while those who ate monounsaturated fat gained just a fraction of that amount. Instead of letting harmful trans fat take up space on your menu, fill up with the 20 Healthy Fats to Make You Thin.
Since we can’t spot reduce fat, the only way to ever get those flat abs is to burn body fat overall. For this reason, HIIT workouts, exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously (like push ups, squat thrusters etc.), and weight lifting are going to be the most effective fitness strategies for bringing out your six pack because they are the most metabolic. Hours of cardio and tons of crunches are not the way forward here.
Your welcome! You should really follow what Sparks tells you how much to eat, for me its about 1500 – 1700 calories a day. Thats what helped me to lose weight, I wouldn’t of been able to do it without Sparks. Not eating hinders your weight lose efforts. It’s amazing that eating helps you lose weight. Shocking I know! If you don’t eat, your body goes into starvation mode and instead of burning calories it holds onto them. Enjoy food! I do as you can see. I eat healthy 80% of the time and eat not so healthy 20% of the time. If I eat bad, it’s a small portion, so I don’t go crazy not getting the foods I love, other wise this won’t work for me. This is my lifestyle now and I stopped counting calories, and I am still maintaining. I just need to exercise more, since I started this blog, I’ll admit I’ve slacked, but I do keep my weekly weigh ins. I’m glad you stopped by my site. You made me realize that I need to get back on track, because it’s easy to fall back into old habits!! Keep in contact! If you need any support, you can count on me!!

About: Britni’s been blogging for years, but only in the past couple did she start on a journey to lose weight in a unique way — by working towards getting her personal training certification (and blogging, of course!). She’s a hardcore lover of food and fitness, and she’s also dedicated to making sure other young mothers like herself are given the tools they need to shed pounds and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Hi I’m 22 an just moved to Canada from USA an have lots of immigration and legal things I’m paying for I married a Canadian woman that’s why I moved to Canada but I need help and we are on a right budget livin on one income us paying for Immigrations but within 6 months I can barely fit my jeans anymore and I got stretch marks which I never had in my life in cant afford a gym membership and I can’t work legally yet and still won’t be for a while I’m 6ft 3 Caucasion and pushin 250 lbs I feel drained and restless all the time and we live In a apartment so it’s hard to do anything with out neighbours complaining about noise even normal walking I was only 210 lbs when I moved here 6 months ago do you have any help ful advice
Well, I should begin on the child hood years.  As a child I was not over weight.  I was pretty active as a child, my weight didn’t go up till I hit puberty.  I guess all that candy and soda caught up with me.  However when I hit about 15, the weight came back off, I was a cheerleader in the fall, and I played softball in the spring,and did a lot of other activities in between.  Then when I hit 18 I really started to work out.  I kind of got obsessed, I was working out to Carol Alt’s VCR tapes (remember VHS tapes?) and I got into the best shape ever.  I am 5’11 and made it to 135 lbs, not too shabby.  However, I didn’t eat that much and felt horribly guilty when I did eat.  Not good!  Honestly I don’t know what happened after that, to why I stopped working out that is.  I guess that’s when I hit age 20.  The discovery of pizza, beer, bars, guys and friends.

“Going public with my weight loss goals helped me lose 91 pounds. I joined the 61 Day Health Challenge, a program sponsored by my employer, the Detroit Medical Center. Suddenly, I was accountable to all of my colleagues, not just myself. And the amount of support I was shown was enough motivation to propel me into a new world of healthy eating and healthy living.” —Mo Minard, 43, MSN, RN, EMT-P, Director of Emergency Services for Detroit Medical Center

And while the weight room can be intimidating for women, pumping iron is key to getting a toned and fit physique. Don’t worry, lifting heavy weights won’t make you bulky — you just don’t have the testosterone to build the size of a man. Lifting will improve your posture, make your arms, core and lower body more shapely and boost your metabolism by building muscle. Resistance training also helps you hold onto muscle that you naturally lose as you age.
Watching that extra junk around your trunk turn your body into a full-blown Buddha belly puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and early death. Luckily, losing the weight doesn’t have to take forever; with these 22 belly fat-fighting tips, you can shave two inches off your waistline in as little as two weeks. Think your age will stand in the way of your weight loss? The 20 Ways to Lose Your Belly When You’re Older will help folks of any age get on track to their best body ever.
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.

Yes whey: the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high-protein shakes are a vital part of a weight loss plan, so don’t hold back – especially at breakfast. According to research from the University of Bath, eat 700 calories before 11am and you’ll have better blood sugar levels than those who skipped the most important meal of the day. It’s the best excuse you’ll have of sticking with a morning fry-up and avoiding a costly Starbucks lunch.


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.
"Order without looking at the menu. Almost every restaurant has the basics—veggies, grains, and protein. If you go in knowing what you want, I guarantee you'll be able to make a meal. If you're too uncomfortable to ask for what you need, tell a white lie: Say you're allergic. I know it's controversial to suggest this, but women in particular can really have trouble standing up for their own needs. So if you want the broccoli soup puréed without cream, tell the waiter you're lactose intolerant."
Most women will need to eat and drink fewer calories and get the right amount of healthy foods to lose weight. Increasing exercise or physical activity may help with weight loss, but choosing healthy foods (lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits) is what works best for many people to achieve a healthy weight.1 Combining healthy eating with increased physical activity is best. Talk to your doctor or nurse before starting any weight-loss program. He or she can work with you to find the best way for you to lose weight.
Teenage or adolescence is a crucial phase of our life. It is at this age that several hormonal changes take place within our body. It is also the growth phase and hence, special attention is required for the overall fitness of the body and mind. Unfortunately, lack of physical activity and consuming excessive junk food has pushed numerous teenagers into the obesity whirlpool. Being overweight affects their self-confidence and they often take to skipping meals or following fad diets to the point of starvation to attain their desired weight. But the results are usually not as good as expected and many teenagers end up with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, which deprives their bodies of vital nutrients.
It sounds like you are in healthy weight range. I think that you probably look great. The thin obsession is not always the healthy way. If someone doesn’t think that you look good at 122 pounds, then they have the problem. If you don’t think that that weight is small enough, then perhaps you may need to consult a counselor. All I am saying it that weight is not overweight for hardly anyone unless they are 4 foot 8 or under.
I am not one to read blogs, but I stumbled upon yours and just read your entire story (and many of your other posts). I am nearly in tears at how inspiring you are! You have such an amazing outlook at the entire weight loss journey. I have struggled my entire life with my weight and I am so glad that you gave me a different way to look at it. It isn’t about a true end goal, but a complete lifestyle change. So from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you! You have impacted me and my mindset in a positive way! I pray that your fitness lifestyle continues to inspire those that cross paths with you!
The scale is not necessarily your friend. You may want to lose fat – but the scale measures muscles, bone and internal organs as well. Gaining muscle is a good thing. Thus weight or BMI are imperfect ways to measure your progress. This is especially true if you’re just coming off a long period of semi-starvation (calorie counting), as your body may want to restore lost muscles etc. Starting weight training and gaining muscle can also hide your fat loss.

“I learned how to cook from scratch and experiment with flavors. The biggest change my husband Mark and I made was planning our meals for the week on Sundays. We also rely on food optimizing—using vegetables to bulk up our meals but still keep them low-calorie. It helped me lose 52 pounds and 8 dress sizes, while Mark lost 110 pounds.” —Amanda Gibbon, 46

Thank you so much for this article on carb cycling & weight loss for women! I found it tremendously helpful for personal reasons but also because I work with so many women (as a personal trainer) who encounter significant frustration when it comes to weight loss, health & hormonal status (the interplay among them). Your article seems to speak to mostly women of reproductive age or to women who are still menstruating. I also work with many women age 50+ and wondered what recommendations, if any, might you have to offer regarding carbs/carb cycling for peri-/menopausal/post-menopausal women? Thank you so much, Stefani – the info & wisdom you share on your blog & via your podcast (which I love!) are invaluable to me. I also totally dig your book and recommend it to other women all the time! I so appreciate the work you’re doing!
At the end of the summer (August) I weighed myself again and found out I had lost 10 pounds since January. I didn’t get down on myself when it felt like I had working so hard for little progress, but instead decided I was going to kick it hardcore into gear. It was at this point that my healthy habits were formed and I could continue in the direction of a healthy lifestyle. I could work harder in the hopes of seeing results. I realized at this point going forward it would be more of a mental battle than physical battle. The habits were formed, but I needed to continue believing in myself, staying encouraged, and thinking positive. I tried my best.
A review article published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011 notes that while there is some evidence for chitosan, Irvingia gabonensis, conjugated linoleic acid and pyruvate, there isn't yet enough evidence to say for sure that they're helpful for weight loss. The article notes that Garcinia cambogia and chia seeds don't appear to show promise as fat burners. The 2011 Obesity Reviews article notes that evidence is also lacking for the use of forskolin, fucoxanthin, kelp and chromium for weight loss.
Jennifer, I am a little different than you. I have always been a big girl and right now, I am near 200 pounds. I am about 5’3 and I’ve always had trouble losing weight. I’m actually very athletic. I love to play sports and I’m good at them, but I hate running. I also splurge a lot. it’s a bad habit of mine to snack when I’m bored. I’m a recent college student and eating healthy is difficult, not to mention exercise. since I live on the fourth floor, I try to take the stairs only. I’m pretty good about that. I have a slow metabolism and I have no sense of calorie counting. I’m desperate for help, but I need to concentrate on my studies. what advice can you give me?
Since insulin sensitivity is at its lowest in the final two weeks of the cycle, and carb intake is also at its lowest, exercise should be more anaerobic (this means hard and fast, really getting your heart pumping). It should be focused more on high-intensity interval training, with short bursts of high intensity work, either from brief sprint exercises or from weight lifting. This is an excellent way to sharpen insulin sensitivity while simultaneously burning fat, increasing muscle mass, and spending calories. It also helps the body stay healthy and as stress-free as possible during this time in which the body is gearing up to menstruate and the least capable of handling stress.
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.
Everyone is different. How quickly you burn calories when you are not physically active can be very different from other people based on your specific genes, biology, and past. While scientists know that there are 3,500 calories in one pound, simply eating 500 fewer calories every day for a week (or 3,500 fewer calories in a week) does not always end in losing exactly one pound.
About: If there’s anyone who feels the pain of bouncing up and down with weight loss, it’s Emily. In 2011, she started working to shed the pounds, and got down to 151 by 2012. Then she went back up again...to 181. 2013 rolls around, and enter: her blog. Emily set out to lose the weight for good. She’s already down to 148, and although she only blogs about two times a month, her quirky style definitely makes them worth reading.
I didn’t realize just how many calories I was consuming, so tracking what I ate helped keep me aware of what I was putting in my mouth. I don’t count calories anymore, but I track macros (protein, carb, and fat grams) to keep my diet balanced and in check. Macros allows me to have my carrots and cake, too! If you’re interested in learning more or want to work together, check out my macro plan options!
The menstrual cycle itself doesn’t seem to affect weight gain or loss. But having a period may affect your weight in other ways. Many women get premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS can cause you to crave and eat more sweet or salty foods than normal.4 Those extra calories can lead to weight gain. And salt makes the body hold on to more water, which raises body weight (but not fat).
Want to lose that belly fat? In your dreams! Seriously, though: a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to get rid of that extra fat around your waist for good. Among the 60,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, those who snoozed for fewer than five hours a night were at the greatest risk of becoming obese and gaining 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period when compared to those who slept for seven or more hours.

I have been following the slow-carb diet for nearly 3 weeks with no significant weight loss. I will admit I have made a few tweaks to fit my lifestyle. I go to the gym at 5:30am and do not have time or the desire to eat a big breakfast before going. So I normally make a whey protien shake with water and about 1/4 cup frozen berries (I know fruit is a no-no) when I get home from the gym at 7. I then eat breakfast – eggs, black beans and spinach at 10. Lunch is either a salad with beans or slice of deli turkey or chili. I have not eaten any grains, sweets etc… I do use milk in my coffee instead of heavy cream. Why is heavy cream a better choice? I do have a glass of red wine at night and an occasional serving of sugar free gelatin. I take a spin class 2-3 days a week and run 20 miles per week as I am training for a Ragnar Relay.
"It’s easy to become impatient and frustrated when you’re trying to lose weight and haven’t seen the results yet. But be realistic – you won’t see the affect overnight. Your brain’s wiring plays a huge part in resisting changes in lifestyle, and it takes time to establish new habits – up to 12 weeks. Stick with it for at least eight weeks and you should notice a change."

I’m not a big milk chocolate fan, and I do love dark chocolate the best. I made different kind of chocolates and things for my family. My family and I eat so different, that I try to incorporates everyone’s taste buds. 🙂 Your right, moderation of anything and you can still lose weight. That took me a long time to learn that. It’s nice to know you can eat more than carrots and celery! Thank you so much Susan for the kind words!
This is amazing. Absolutely amazing! My daughter is 15 months old and I’m struggling with about 25 pounds of extra-ness. How do/did you find the motivation?! I literally need a swift kick in the butt. We don’t sleep much either, as you said. I’m not happy with the way I look, but the exhaustion, as you know, plays a huge role in the lack of motivation. I would love to chat!
I also think its important to note that having portion control is not the same thing as being on a diet. I never considered myself to be on a "diet." I remember a few co-workers asking me what kind of diet I was on and I didn't know how to answer because I never thought of myself of dieting because I still ate all foods that I loved. It was more just eating all foods in moderation. I could still eat a good burger and sweet potato fries if I went out to dinner, drank wine on special occasions, ate dark chocolate and ice cream, etc. I never stopped eating the foods I enjoyed, I just ate them less. 

“It can take 12 minutes or longer for the signal that you’ve started to eat to make its way to your brain,” says Mark S. Gold, M.D., of the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida. Quick tips: Sip some water between every bite of food you eat, or at least eat more meals with friends or family members. You’ll be more likely to talk and therefore to eat more slowly.
Losing weight is no small feat—it often requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, and with so much information out there, it can be tough to know what strategy might work for you. And to top it all off, all the weight loss myths that just will not die threaten to throw you off track. That's why it's helpful to know what has worked for real people—in their own words. Here, we've gathered advice from 28 women who have lost between 26 and 174 pounds—and kept that weight off for good.

About: Yes, this is another one with plenty of followers, but it really is the best for one group: mom. Let’s say you are a mom. We’ll bet finding time to exercise and eat healthy seems damn near impossible, yes? Then Brooke’s blog is for you. It’s armed to the tee with quick fitness routines, easy-to-make recipes, heck, even stuff you can do with your baby. And if that’s not enough, you can also use it as a go-to resource to get the skinny on things like baby names, connecting with your loved ones and activities to do with the kiddos.
Thus these observed 2% and 4% increases in energy expenditure on the ketogenic diet underestimate the true metabolic effects of a well-formulated ketogenic diet. From the short-term perspective of a month or two, whether this is 75 Calories per day or 300 Calories per day, the added effects on weight loss would not be spectacular.  But from the longer term view, a sustained daily increase in energy expenditure of 200 Calories would translate to 20 lbs of adipose either lost or not gained.
In a way, moderate-intensity physical activity is that "magic pill" a lot of people are looking for, because the health benefits go beyond keeping your waistline trim: Not only can it reduce your risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart attacks, but studies have shown that physical activity can significantly improve the moods of patients with major depressive disorders.
When you start eating keto with weight loss in mind, you kind of have to trust the process. What you are doing is feeding your body all the nutrients it needs to heal, build, release and do whatever it needs to do in order to move towards optimal health. Some women will experience this as a fairly drastic weight loss, and others will experience this as a slow weight loss.
I must remember to measure myself to see if I’ve lost any inches – perhaps I’ll start with centimetres as that might be more realistic and have a better feel good factor! The desire to shed pounds is different for everyone. It’s a case of finding and attaining a happy medium and feeling good about yourself. Too thin isn’t always good but neither is obesity.
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:
One easy trick if you're a pasta fan is to swap out white pasta for the wonderfully named courgetti (spaghetti made from spiralizing courgette). You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but you’ll be fuller for longer despite consuming fewer calories. When you consume fewer calories, your body can go to your fat reserves for energy, rather than just burning off the food you’ve eaten.  
So when does a period of weight stability (which is expected) after weight loss become a weight loss plateau? Weight loss plateaus are often a normal, yet frustrating, part of the weight loss process. If you’re stuck in a true weight loss plateau while following a low carb or ketogenic nutritional approach, it might be due to one or more of the reasons outlined below. But first, ask yourself if you’re truly in a weight loss plateau or is this part of a weight stability period, which most people should expect at some point during their weight loss journey. While our differences are a wonderful thing, when it comes to figuring out a stall in your weight loss it can also be a source of frustration as well.
Hi Karen! I haven’t dealt with chronic pain and fatigue myself, so my experience is pretty limited in that area. I would encourage you to move however you can without overdoing it. There is a woman who is going through this herself who talk about that here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWiu-u3Liww) and there are all kinds of gentle workouts available. There is a bed workout here (http://www.domorebemore.net/getfit/bed-workout-easy-workout-chronic-pain-fatigue/) and more workout suggestions here (https://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/best-workouts-chronic-pain-and-fibromyalgia). I hope that helps!
Thank you so much, Cindy! You should absolutely document your journey! It makes such a big difference to have people to cheer you on and especially for you to have those pictures to look back on your journey. You can do it, one small change at a time. If you decide to document your journey on a blog or social media, please share it with me. I’d love to cheer you on!
What can I eat on a no-carb diet? Many people reduce carbohydrate intake to help them lose weight. Carbohydrates are important macronutrients, but cutting them can help people to lose weight by making it possible to reduce calories and improve feelings of fullness. Alternatives to carbs can make it easier to stick to a low-carb diet. Learn more here. Read now

Becky Duffett is a contributing nutrition editor for Fitbit and a lifestyle writer with a passion for eating well. A former Williams-Sonoma cookbook editor and graduate of San Francisco Cooking School, she’s edited dozens of cookbooks and countless recipes. City living has turned her into a spin addict—but she’d still rather be riding a horse. She lives in the cutest neighborhood in San Francisco, spending weekends at the farmers’ market, trying to read at the bakery, and roasting big dinners for friends.


Fast forward several years later, I had another baby (Winter) and came out of that pregnancy about 40-50 lbs over my end goal weight. I had always had this dream to finally hit the big “100” in weight loss. By 2013 I had begun to take some classes at the gym and count calories a little more but I in NO WAY did anything extreme. And I honestly believe that is the key to weight loss and to keeping it off. It was NO quick journey to that final number but by July 2013, I hit 120 lbs and had officially lost 100 lbs…
Want to blow away your belly without logging months of mind-numbing hours on the treadmill? High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will kickstart your metabolism like no other workout, burning more than twice the calories as a lighter and longer session, according to a study from Southern Illinois University. And the total amount of time you need to dedicate to HIIT: 20 minutes. It really is the least time exercising for the biggest results.
Thank you so much, Lauren! Staying healthy is SO hard when you’re trying to prioritize and balance out the rest of life’s demands, but it thrills me to hear that your boyfriend likes my quinoa recipes! I got really lucky when I was testing out ways to eat quinoa. It’s one of the few health foods my husband will eat! Good luck to you and your boyfriend – keep me updated! 🙂
Jennifer Drummond is health food blogger for Peanut Butter & Peppers where she shares healthy, and sometimes not-so-healthy, recipes that help you maintain your weight loss by taking everyday foods and making them healthier without sacrificing the flavor. Jennifer has lost 30 pounds through proper nutrition education and shares her healthy lifestyle tips on her blog.
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