I’ve learned a ton about health and fitness – specifically weight loss and motivation – over the past several months. So much so that I’ve recently become a personal trainer so that I could help others reach their health and fitness goals as well. I’m super excited about this new found passion and can’t wait to start helping more people. If you have any questions about this program or any other exercise program please don’t hesitate to ask – I’m here to help.

This means that the more fat you have, the more estrogen you’ll have, and it also seems to work the other way around. For example, estrogen overload can exacerbate hypothyroid issues, slowing metabolism and causing weight gain. If that “estrogen overload” comes from obesity in the first place, this can very quickly become a vicious cycle (you’re overweight because you have thyroid problems, and you have thyroid problems because you’re overweight).


Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning Sparkpeople! Last week, I came across your website after visiting Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and reading a woman’s recipe about pumpkin pie oatmeal. She listed your Crockpot pumpkin oatmeal recipe as a recommended recipe. I’ve been having a hard time taking off ten pounds–I’m in my forties and I can’t eat like I used to! I joined Sparkpeople a week ago and have been really liking it. I don’t feel so isolated, and the tracking tools are really great (and it’s free, too!). Thanks for introducing me to Sparkpeople, Jennifer!
About: Elizabeth’s list of credentials for writing the kind of blog that helps you stay healthy is a long one — she graduated with dual degrees in food & nutrition and mass communication & journalism, and has now dedicated herself to developing healthy recipes and tips for achieving a wholesome, balanced lifestyle. She also shares her own musings — and her stunning photography — to add a personal touch that connects with readers in a meaningful way.
Here’s a shocker: When a group of U.K. researchers told 30 women to avoid chocolate, then packed them into a room filled with the stuff; the women were much more likely to sneak a bite than individuals who hadn’t been given the order. Blame the allure of the forbidden: The more you tell yourself you can’t eat something you love, the more you’re going to want it.
Green tea isn't known only for its cancer-fighting benefits: It may help boost your metabolism, too. People who took green-tea extract three times a day saw their metabolic rate increase by about 4 percent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (Translation: You could burn an extra 60 calories a day, which equals about six pounds a year!) It may be because green tea contains catechins, which increase levels of the metabolism-speeding brain chemical norepinephrine, says Joy Bauer, a New York City nutritionist and author of Cooking with Joy.
Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Get these seven tips for the best sleep ever! Why? Ever notice how you start to crave donuts and drive-thru breakfasts when you’re exhausted? When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones are thrown out of balance. Running on no sleep can actually drive up the hormones that make you want to eat, while pushing down the hormones that signal for fullness—and that’s a recipe for weight gain. When you’re well-rested, it’s much easier to make healthy decisions and stay on track.
Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning Sparkpeople! Last week, I came across your website after visiting Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and reading a woman’s recipe about pumpkin pie oatmeal. She listed your Crockpot pumpkin oatmeal recipe as a recommended recipe. I’ve been having a hard time taking off ten pounds–I’m in my forties and I can’t eat like I used to! I joined Sparkpeople a week ago and have been really liking it. I don’t feel so isolated, and the tracking tools are really great (and it’s free, too!). Thanks for introducing me to Sparkpeople, Jennifer!
Unfortunately, that balance can be hard to find when our ancient evolutionary responses just aren’t appropriate for the modern food environment. Especially for women who are already overweight, it’s entirely possible that the fat -> estrogen -> fat cycle can spiral out of control. Weight loss by itself approaches this problem from one angle (less fat means lower estrogen production), but specifically addressing estrogen might also be helpful.

Unfortunately, despite the expertise of these highly regarded scientists, they systematically mis-calculated the energy needs of the study subjects.  As a result, instead of everyone getting an accurately-dosed energy balancing diet, they were under-fed by about 300 Calories per day.  Because all of the subjects got the high carb diet for the first month and the ketogenic diet for the second month, the natural effect of restricting energy intake by 10% would have been a small but significant reduction in resting energy expenditure that would have occurred progressively over the 2-month study duration.  In other words, by significantly underfeeding the study subjects and always administering the ketogenic diet in the second month, the deck was stacked against the ketogenic diet.  Taking this into account, the 2-4% rise in daily energy expenditure in the second month would probably have been double this amount had the study been properly designed.  Whatever the true effect, these numbers are fairly small as noted above; but this is a study in which the odds were tipped in favor of the status quo through clever experimental design, and in which the conclusions were not justified by the data.  


In what is perhaps the biggest buzzkill of all time, sex doesn’t quite count as cardio or burn a significant amount of calories: Women burn about 3.6 per minute. "It’s still a good idea," Dr. Seltzer says, citing the activity’s other benefits, like increasing the output of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which naturally reduce food cravings.
Face it, if you want to lose weight over the long haul, your best bet is to make sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes like the nine simple ones this woman made to shed 45 pounds and keep them off. But sometimes life comes at you fast and you need a fast solution. One smart lifestyle change is to eat plenty of veggies—especially for someone looking to lose weight. Vegetables are nutrient-packed and provide plenty of filling fiber with hardly any calories. Plus, non-starchy veggies have a high water content, so they hydrate you while filling you up—the perfect combination for weight loss.
About: Kristina is a plus-size model with a mission: help women learn to love their bodies while working to exercise, eat right and live healthfully. But most importantly, Kristina’s blog is about exploring body confidence and “healthy curves.” Her blog is the perfect balance of encouraging healthy living and loving yourself at the same time. Plus, Kristina’s great about taking it outside herself. Every month, she features the “Curvy Girl of the Month” where she profiles other successful women.
Roni starting blogging in 2005 as a way to stay accountable on her personal weight-loss journey. Six years later, she still blogs, but her mission is to inspire others and share her ideas to live a lighter, healthier life. Roni does this through openly and honestly chronicling her weight loss, health, and fitness goals. Roni also founded FitBloggin’, a conference to bring new and seasoned health and wellness, fitness, and weight-loss bloggers together for knowledge, personal growth, and networking. It's clear that Roni is committed to living a healthy lifestyle and sharing her passion with others. I'm so glad to know her professionally and personally.
Do you even lift, bro? If you’re serious about getting rid of that belly fat fast, resistance training might just be the key. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that adding weight training to adult male test subjects’ workouts significantly reduced their risk of abdominal obesity over a multi-year study period, although doing the same amount of cardio had no such effect. Research from the University of Maryland even found that just 16 weeks of weight training boosted study participants’ metabolic rates by a whopping 7.7 percent, making it easier to ditch those extra inches around your middle.
I believe that this cheat day is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, the science behind it suggests that if you go for too long on a limited-calorie diet (which this isn’t, however I noticed that it took me much, much less food to fill me up when I ate well, so you tend to naturally eat less on this diet) that your metabolism will shift to a lower gear in order to compromise for the lower intake of calories. By cheating one day and spiking the number of calories you consume, it will keep your metabolism from doing this – and allow you to maintain your high metabolic rate throughout the week.
Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate how honest you are! I read a lot of stories and the answer is something like “I cut out soda and started walking” and they don’t talk about the really hard work, food choices, portion control, maintenance, etc. I’m also a person who can’t just eat anything & over the course of my marriage have gained a lot of weight – there’s something about weirdly trying to “keep up” with my much taller/larger husband who has a completely different metabolism! We are about to move & I finally feel really motivated to make changes in my lifestyle. I also appreciate that you are honest about your skin removal – so many people aren’t!!
About: It’s difficult enough trying to get yourself on track to living healthy, but add in a family, and it can seem like the odds of success are astronomical. Enter Katie. As the mother of six, she has a lot of experience and a laundry list of tips and tricks busy moms and families can work together to achieve wellness. She sticks to real food, natural remedies and natural living in an effort to combat all the chemicals and pollution that could potentially hurt your family — and she does a darn good job of it.
About: Blogs full of heart-felt writing and deep emotions are great, but it never hurts to toss in one with a laugh-out-loud humor to it as well. Enter Running off the Reese's blogger Cely. If her blog mantra “Because no one should have to choose between their pants and chocolate” doesn’t pull you in, her creative use of gifs and humorous style of writing will. Cely was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 18 — a diagnosis she certainly didn’t let hold her back. She runs races (usually half-marathons or less), shares her experiences, has a long list of book reviews...and talks a bit about life in general in between. And it’s awesome.
I wish I could tell you the habits formed without a problem, but it was HARD. I had to figure out what worked best for me. I learned that packing my lunch the night before work was super helpful. I also learned that nights were hard for me. There were days I ate super well all day long but then felt like I ruined it when I ate a bunch of candy or dessert. I would also indulge over the weekends, late at night, or when going out to dinner. I was also not in shape so working out was hard. I felt super weak and was tired after work so it was extra difficult motivating myself to get to the gym only to find out and remind myself I was not good at running or lifting. It took me a while to learn that exercising over my lunch break was a good fit for me – it gave me a break from work and I had enough energy to push myself. There were a lot of days of missing the mark, when I would be too tired to work out or days when I didn’t think about what I was consuming and ate whatever was in front of me (not the nutritious kinds of food). There were many days when I felt like I was making any progress whatsoever. The biggest and most important thing I started to learn in this summer was to give myself grace. I hard to learn to forgive myself and move on when I fell short of the mark I set for myself. I had to learn to keep my head up and remind myself that the tiny baby steps would lead to progress.
Fitness and nutrition were my two focus areas, and I completed some sort of action for them each day. Fitness each day looked different, but it was usually an hour of busting my butt. If you’re a list person, this is a tangible action that can be “checked off your list.” In my opinion, nutrition is not as concrete. Again, if you’re a list person, it’s a little difficult because either you write things like “eat balanced, nutritious breakfast” or “don’t eat sweets” or whatever. It also lasts all day long instead of one hour. This category leaves a lot of room for improvement.
Out-of-whack hormones have all kinds of uncomfortable side effects and belly bloat is one of them. There’s a reason that bloating is one of the primary complaints women have during menopause! While you can’t turn back the clock and reclaim the hormone profile of your 20’s, you can make sure you’re within the normal range—something your doctor can check for you. In the meantime, eating right and exercising are natural ways to balance your hormones.
Hey Adam! I’ve gained almost 30lbs in the last year. My motivation for any athletic anything has tanked. I travel 100% of the time only home on weekends. It makes any routine for healthy eating difficult. If I’m lucky I have a small fridge and microwave in my room…fridge is most common. I am a huge snacker. I’ve gotten better. I snack on tricuits, and special K chips and granola/cereal bars, apples with peanut butter, etc… I drink wine or beer every day but would be the easier of the two to give up (snacking or alcohol).
About: The mantra “everything in moderation is pretty much exactly what Bertha is all about. Her blog provides creative ways to tweak your favorite recipes to make them healthier and with lower calories. What does that mean? You can still chow down on the things you love, but do it in a better way that gets you closer to reaching weight loss goals.
This drug is an injected variant of a satiety hormone called GLP-1. It slows down how quickly the stomach empties and tells the brain that you don’t need to eat yet – a great idea for losing weight. As a bonus this drug works fine while one is on the keto diet and it works even better with intermittent fasting – for a rapid weight loss with no hunger.
So excited to say that I have started cooking healthier meals from scratch and I am eating less and less processed junk every day and my family is slowly but surely following. My husband is a junk food junky and while I love the fact that he ‘loves me just the way you are’, sometimes I wish he would say, ‘lose some weight tubby’. No, not really. That would break my heart! I just need more motivation!!

About: Brand new to the blogging world, Ayla’s story is a familiar one. She started out her journey at about 200 pounds and tried tons of different things to lose weight — pills, dieting, the gym, you name it — none of which seemed to work. Finally, Ayla gave it one last go using Insanity workouts and overhauling her diet, and, what do you know, it worked. Ayla lost 63 pounds, and now dedicates her time and energy to sharing tips and tricks that worked for her with others. Her blog has easy-to-follow, quick-hit guides and ideas for losing weight quickly and effectively.
Americans are getting less sleep than ever these days and it’s taking a toll on our health—most visibly on our waistlines. Losing just 30 minutes of sleep per night can make you gain weight, according to a study done by the Endocrine Society. Worse, that weight is more likely to go straight to your tummy. Instead, the researchers found, the best sleep cycle is one that follows your natural circadian rhythms, which means sleeping and waking around the same time as the sun. Here are the 7 ways to banish belly bloat in your sleep.

Also, while your menstrual cycle may not affect weight gain or loss, losing or gaining weight can affect your menstrual cycle. Women who lose too much weight or lose weight too quickly may stop having a period, or have irregular periods. Women who have obesity may also have irregular periods. A regular period is a sign of good health. Reaching a healthy weight can help women who have irregular periods to have cycles that are more regular. Learn more in our Menstrual Cycle section.


In the summer of 2009, I was stressed out with life!  So after dinner, every night, no matter what I went for a short walk around the block, and within 1 month I lost 10lbs.  My body must of went into shock with actually moving around.  That was the push I needed.  I was so excited to lose the weight that I actually started to watch what I ate.  I didn’t calorie count, I started out with portion control.  By November I dropped another 10lbs.  I was sitting around 150lbs.  That’s when I took notice of calories in food.  I was shocked to find out how many calories there were in my favorite foods.  I thought ordering a salad from Baja Fresh was a good idea!  Nope!  Having reduced fat desserts from Starbucks was ok,nope.  So I started to track calories on a website, my Virtual Trainer.  I was sticking to around 1200 calories a day, because that is what the magazines would tell me.
Thanks so much for this. I was getting very despondent! I’ve been Ketogenic for 2 weeks and actually PUT ON 2 lbs! I have Hashimotos (autoimmune hypothyroidism) and adrenal exhaustion and haven’t been well for about 15 years. On top of that, I’m presently recovering from a nasty car crash 3 months ago (broken wrist and lots of deep inflammation in tissues of legs and feet).
21. Keep it simple. "I take a minimalist approach to nutrition: My diet consists of lean protein (chicken breast, egg whites, ground turkey), complex carbs (quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal), healthy fats (coconut oil, almonds, avocados), and leafy green veggies. I eat as clean as I can—locally-grown vegetables, organic when possible, and minimally-processed everything."

I wish I could tell you the habits formed without a problem, but it was HARD. I had to figure out what worked best for me. I learned that packing my lunch the night before work was super helpful. I also learned that nights were hard for me. There were days I ate super well all day long but then felt like I ruined it when I ate a bunch of candy or dessert. I would also indulge over the weekends, late at night, or when going out to dinner. I was also not in shape so working out was hard. I felt super weak and was tired after work so it was extra difficult motivating myself to get to the gym only to find out and remind myself I was not good at running or lifting. It took me a while to learn that exercising over my lunch break was a good fit for me – it gave me a break from work and I had enough energy to push myself. There were a lot of days of missing the mark, when I would be too tired to work out or days when I didn’t think about what I was consuming and ate whatever was in front of me (not the nutritious kinds of food). There were many days when I felt like I was making any progress whatsoever. The biggest and most important thing I started to learn in this summer was to give myself grace. I hard to learn to forgive myself and move on when I fell short of the mark I set for myself. I had to learn to keep my head up and remind myself that the tiny baby steps would lead to progress.
CMWL clinical study: Based on a stratified sample of 349 patients over a six-year period. Patients must have remained on the program for a minimum of 28 days and be monitored with at least two physician visits within first 31 days to be included in the study. A variety of nutritional meal replacements were used. 99% of the patients that followed the CMWL program, including a low calorie diet and individual counseling with CMWL physicians, from one month up to a year, weighed less at their last weigh-in than their starting weight.
Too little sleep or too much sleep can throw your stress and regulatory hormones out of whack, and may lead to weight gain. A single night of sleep deprivation can increase levels of ghrelin (a hormone that promotes hunger), making you more likely to overeat the next day. Reduced sleep may also lead to fatigue during the day (duh) and less physical activity, which may be another reason why people who regularly don't get enough sleep tend to gain weight.
One of the biggest mistakes women make when trying to figure out how to lose belly fat: too many crunches, too little cardio. No matter how toned your abs are, your belly won't look flat until you get rid of the layer of fat on top of them, says Jessica Smith, a certified personal trainer and star of fitness DVDs. For that, you need to rev your calorie burn. Interval training, in which you alternate high-intensity bursts of activity with easier bouts, has been shown to zap more belly fat than steady-paced moderate workouts.

Some women have trouble losing weight because of a hormonal problem. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, pumps out hormones that control body metabolism. If the gland's output isn't high enough, a condition known as hypothyroidism, the pounds can pile on - and stay on. If you think thyroid trouble might underlie your weight-loss difficulties, a doctor can test your hormone levels via a simple blood test. If you have a deficiency, effective treatment is available.
Hi Amanda! I promise you, you are NOT hopeless. You can do this! One small change at a time. Every decision matters and those small things add up so quickly. Feel free to send me an email and we can talk more and I may be able to give you more specific guidance, but for now, just know that you can do this. If God can take a junk food-loving, couch potato like me and turn me into a veggie-loving runner, I promise He can transform your life (and your heart), too!

Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings," she says. "Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won't be reaching for the cookie jar."
Do it better: The best way to know if you're eating too much is to write it down. "Even if you note it on a napkin and then throw it away, that's okay. Just the act of writing makes you more aware," says Taub-Dix. Portion control cues help too: A baseball-size serving for chopped veggies and fruits; a golf ball for nuts and shredded cheese; a fist for rice and pasta; and a deck of cards for lean meats.

My reasons for asking about the rice is because the only meat I eat is minced lamb or minced chicken. (If that makes sense, I’m really weird about meats. I can’t eat any lamb or chicken which isn’t minced..) I don’t eat any other meats apart from that. I eat fish alot.. But its ready frozen fish? Birds Eye frozen fillets/cods with Heinz baked beans is my usual dinner. I love vegatables like blackbeans and lentils so thats great to know.
We don’t recommend thinking about macros in terms of percentages, especially if you’re focused on weight loss. We recommend keeping your carb intake under 30 grams/day, eating the protein requirement we outline in our protein post, and eating fat to satiety. There’s more info on our rationale around macros in this post by Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek: https://blog.virtahealth.com/how-much-protein-on-keto/
Try out a circuit training program. If you are trying to lose weight quickly for a particular event and don’t care about keeping the weight off, you can try a condensed workout routine. Many women’s and health magazines as well as personal trainers offer similar condensed workout routines designed to maximize weight loss and visible physical slimming within only a few days of beginning the regimen.
Hi Jennifer! I just spent about an hour looking over your blog and I love it. I especially love your weight loss story. It’s very motivational and informative. I just opened a Yogurtland in Brentwood a few days ago. Our grand opening is July 8th and I would love it if you came. Yes there are a ton of toppings that are not the best health choice, but we also have a lot of fresh fruit and other toppings that make frozen yogurt a good dessert choice for those that are trying to keep it healthy but also have a sweet tooth. Let me know if you would like to come on the 8th and please feel free to bring friends or family! Hope to meet you soon!

Well done Jennifer. Inspirational. I also know from personal experience how hard it is to lose weight. It takes discipline to push through no matter what you’re feeling. For me it was getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning (Mon – Fri) to exercise but when I saw some photos of me while my wife and I were on holiday, that was all the motivation I needed to become laser focused to change. I followed a lifestyle challenge which pretty much is what you describe above. It does seem counter intuitive to eat more doesn’t it. Of course it’s what you eat more of that you need to watch 🙂
I am so obsessed with food but every time I look in the mirror it makes me feel so disappointed on myself. I did want lose weight but can’t help to eat and eat more food, I already use all kinds of method on diet like keto, vegetarian, vegan etc. but it won’t work because of my eagerness to eat foods. So, I began to research what can help me on losing my weight and to lose appetite and I saw this blimburnseeds.com/news/marijuana/news/media-tv/imprisoned-in-ecuador-for-carry-cannabis-seeds-and-paraphernalia-part-1/. A report from The American Journal of Medicine explains that regular marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and smaller waist circumference. Cbd and thc are also new to me and I don’t even smoke. Alternatively, they’ve also found new ways to infuse cannabis on food and beverages. If this is true I can’t find any solid conclusive evidence that speaks to its efficacy. Any personal experience or testimonial would be highly appreciated. Thanks
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.
Thank you so much, Kate! I’m not over the cravings for junk food! I try not to keep very much snack food in the house, because between-meal snacking is really my downfall, but I also don’t deprive myself. I always have Nutty Bars in my fridge, because I just love ’em. I also keep almonds, honey wheat pretzels, and hummus on hand for my salty cravings, I just really watch myself on the portion sizes. The other huge change in my eating was cutting out fast food. Those calories add up fast and I’ve found that I really don’t miss it. I prefer to splurge on an occasional nicer meal out than on more frequent fast food visits.
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)
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!

Michelle Vicari’s weight loss journey began the day she made the decision to do gastric bypass surgery. Michelle struggled with obesity her entire life—and with BMI of 54, several health issues, severe GERD, and obstructive sleep apnea, the surgery saved her life. Not only is she down 158 pounds, but she no longer needs any of the 8 medications she was on prior to surgery and only needs to visit the doctor on her annual checkups. On her blog, you can find recipes and menus for post-surgery lifestyle, health tips, product reviews, and ramblings about her life post weight loss surgery.
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