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!)

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I’m just wondering, how can you say these are the best approaches when they’re fad diets? Slim fast may work for someone looking to lose a few pounds, but if you’re looking to lose 50-100+ lbs., no one is going to be able to survive on substituting a meal for a shake. A good “diet” should put a large focus on learning how to eat properly, which includes ALL food groups, and exercising regularly.
Stress may contribute to abdominal fat, according to several studies, including a recent one at the University of California, San Francisco. "When you're stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism down and encourage fat storage inside your abdomen," explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Clinic at the University of Utah. So what's a frazzled girl to do? "Find an activity that reduces stress for you, whether it's listening to soothing music or taking yoga, and do it daily," advises Talbott.
As noted above, our bike racer study (Phinney 1983) involved 9 lean men locked up while eating a precisely controlled ketogenic diet for 4 weeks.  In addition to daily weights, three methods were used to determine changes in body composition.  As a group, these subjects lost 1 kg of body weight in the first week of the ketogenic diet, all of which was attributable to reduced muscle glycogen stores (which were directly measured).  After that, their weights were stable for the next 3 weeks.  Unfortunately in this study we did not have the opportunity to measure metabolic rate, but based on our body composition data, anything over a 3% increase in energy expenditure associated with the ketogenic diet would have shown up as non-water associated weight loss (by implication, a loss of body fat).   Clearly these 9 men did not demonstrate an obvious increase in body fat loss in the first 4 weeks of keto-adaptation.

Hi Karen! I love Sparkpeople! I have been using there tracking tools for 4 years now and love it! It really helps you keep on track. I get ya about weight! I know I can’t eat like I used to too! It’s hard, but well worth the effort! Thank you for your kind words and don’t worry you lose those last ten pounds! I’m working on 10 pounds myself! Just think positive, be true to yourself and know you can do it!!!
Wow! I truly believe that I read this post today for a reason! I have been taking anxiety medication for the past 5 years and have gained almost 70 lbs in these 5 years. I’ve literally gone to doctor after doctor about my weight gain and no one could determine why I’ve gained so much weight. I’ve literally gone back and forth about quitting cold turkey and was so fearful about the withdrawl side effects. I feel like my weight gain is causing more anxiety than why I’m on the medicine to begin with. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story and motivating me. Thank you!!
About: Jackie’s a makeup artist by trade, but has been struggling with her weight since she was 17. As she puts it, she’s tried almost every diet out there, but nothing seems to work for good. But when she started her blog in June 2015, she decided to start, and stick with, losing weight for good. Readers have been with her every step of the way as she shares recipes and meals, beauty tips and honest, down-pat product reviews.
Hi Adam. Your story is really inspirational to me. Before, the thought of diets and exercise was very intimidating to me. These methods however seem, for lack of a better word, easier. I’ve begun to follow your guide lines today and i have a question for you. What did you normally eat for dinner during your diet? I’d appreciate an answer whenever you have the time, thank you.

About: Emma’s blogging personality is emphasized in her blog name. She’s a health and fitness junkie who uses her own life experiences to inspire others. For Emma, fitness is a release, and she wants it to be the same for her readers. Emma provides multiple recipes, weight loss tips and is an avid believer in “macro-counting,” eating the right kind of calories to maintain a healthy body weight.
About: Tiffany’s blogging officially started in 2009, but it was kind of an off-and-on thing until 2013. Then, Tiffany really amped up her blogging efforts, much to the thrill of her followers. Tiffany’s blog is packed with healthy recipes, weight loss challenges and tips on how to find happiness — all from a girl who is extraordinarily relatable and “loves cheesy dance workout videos, dark chocolate, watching movies, with her husband, and riding my beach cruiser around the neighborhood like a kid.” Enough said.
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 am sorry for the loss of your Dad. He obviously was a wonderful man, to have had a daughter like you. I also was Daddy’s Girl, and miss him every day, too. Well – before I drown in my tears, I wanted to tell you that I have already ordered my Pink Himalayan salt, and some exercise bands. I will go out to the store to get Keto food, and get the starchy food out & in the downstairs freezer – maybe give it away to skinny friends! As far as eating out – I can get bacon & eggs at most places – many serve breakfast around the clock. I know that this Christmas – like most of us – I was surrounded by delicious tempting sweets, and felt compelled to eat as much as I could, after all – it was there. And I felt physically sick afterwards – but that didn’t stop me. I have to admit- I am a foodaholic. I hope that if there are other widows & other folks in emotional pain out there, who have also been taking comfort in “empty” food, but also hate what their grief & overeating has done, can try out this new way of eating – WHEN they are ready. Thanks again, and I thank God I found your blog. I will be hanging around & checking in with you from time to time!
Hi Karen! I love Sparkpeople! I have been using there tracking tools for 4 years now and love it! It really helps you keep on track. I get ya about weight! I know I can’t eat like I used to too! It’s hard, but well worth the effort! Thank you for your kind words and don’t worry you lose those last ten pounds! I’m working on 10 pounds myself! Just think positive, be true to yourself and know you can do it!!!

Portion size matters and it’s easy to fall into the habit of overeating and underestimating protein portions. An extra egg for breakfast, an additional ounce of nuts as a snack, or perhaps one more ounce of cheese on your salad–it all adds up. Too much dietary protein can drive down ketone production (Marliss 1978) when consumed in excess of our body’s needs. Read more about this in our deep dive on protein.

Like I said, all of this revamped progress started in August and the weight loss was slow. Slow like an average of 1 pound a week. Some weeks I would lose 1 or 2 pounds and other weeks I would lose nothing. For a while, I didn't notice any physical changes and if it wasn't for the fact that I was standing on a scale looking at a different number, I wouldn't have any guessed my body was changing. The biggest change for me during this time was not what my body looked like, but what it felt like. I noticed the food I ate (in combination with my work outs) left me with more energy. I felt less sluggish and more ready to take on the day. Completed workouts and nutritious choices filled me with confidence and empowerment.


Hi Stefani, I would like to ask your opinion. I’m eating an average 90-100g protein, about 100-120g carbs and about 60g fat a day. It usually comes out to be around 1200-1400 calories. I just simply can not eat any more a day. What do you think is better? To get enough highly nutritious but low calorie food or higher calories less nutritious food. Thank you very much in advance
As my middle 30’s were here, I ate better, more home cooked meals, but again didn’t do any exercise.  I was tracking calories, but I wasn’t eating enough.  I didn’t know how many calories I needed in a day, I just thought I wasn’t suppose to eat.  At work the other day, I was cleaning my desk drawer out and came across papers that had my calorie intake for the day on it and it said I was eating 800, 900 and 1000 calories on a high day!  I was shocked, well no wonder I wasn’t losing any weight, I wasn’t eating enough.  You can’t go from eating way over 2000 calories a day to practically nothing.  But back then I didn’t care, I did that for a few months and gave up.  The scale didn’t move, so I figured again, this is the weight my body is comfortable with. (image of my calorie count from January 2009)

Whereas many beverages can increase your waistline (see above), there is one that is guaranteed to trim your tummy: water. Drinking plain ol’ H2O works because staying fully hydrated tells your body it’s okay to release any extra water it’s retaining, decreasing the accompanying bloat. Plus, drinking water has been proven to reduce cravings for sweets, lower your appetite, and help you feel satiated faster. Here 9 more ways to bust belly fat in a single day!
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.
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. :,(
Leah Campbell is a writer and editor living in Anchorage, Alaska. She’s a single mother by choice after a serendipitous series of events led to the adoption of her daughter. Leah is also the author of the book “Single Infertile Female” and has written extensively on the topics of infertility, adoption, and parenting. You can connect with Leah via Facebook, her website, and Twitter.
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