Let’s go back to the beginning. I was always thin-ish. From my skinny teenage years to “just a healthy weight” college years, I was always thin-ish. Like I maybe topped 130lbs by the age of 21. Like most of you may know, Mark and I started dating at 14, got married at 20, started a business at 22 and then graduated college by 23. By the time we graduated college, we had somehow managed to build a legit company… APF, Inc. What literally began as Mark’s desire to be self-employed combined with his amazing gift of self-taught construction skills and my marketing “abilities”, quickly went from a backyard hobby to a full fledged stone countertop company. He spent his junior year of college fabricating granite in my Uncle’s backyard with a $2,500 saw loan from my uncle, a rope and a truck to maneuver the slabs along with a big humongous dream. This is going somewhere I promise ;-). He took Tuesday/Thursday classes and worked Monday, Wednesday and Fridays fabricating in the ole’ backyard. I was answering client e-mails and returning client calls between classes and at night while we worked at a local restaurant on the weekends. By our senior year, our company had grown just enough to afford for us to lease our own fabrication facility and that’s when life started to officially get CRAZY. It was amazing but it was absolutely INSANE. Once Mark graduated in December 2004, he was able to devote his full attention to the company and then I joined him when I graduated in May 2005. Upon my graduation in 2005, we had just moved to a much larger fabrication location, had approximately 11 additional employees and we were opening up a separate showroom location in downtown Monroe, GA. As exciting and wonderful as it all was, it was a stress that I cannot put into words. We had both worked so hard to grow the company yet didn’t quite realize what we were getting ourselves into. As two 23 year olds “self-thrust” into suddenly owning a company, we started to truly bring the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard” to reality. Well as much fun as it was at times, the stress was intense. From managing employees to handling customers and issues and bills and everything in between, I got to a point where I started taking anxiety medication. Biggest mistake EVER.
About: When you read Ayah’s blog, it’s almost like you can hear her accent. And that’s what drew us to her blog — the idea that no matter how different cultures might be, we all struggle with the same things. As Ayah puts it, she’s a person just like anyone else, a person who’s fought to lose weight, gone up and down multiple times and these days just tries to maintain her fitness while sharing her journey (and tons of great recipes) along the way.
About: Nicole’s just a regular ‘ole girl that occasionally likes to try new fitness and, as she puts it, only gets up to work out at 5 a.m. if she’s under duress. And it’s that attitude that makes her so gosh darn appealing. She’s not the in-your-face runner, the strict “paleo-diet-only” recipe blogger. She’s just an average girl doing average things — much like the rest of us. Plus, she’s pretty darn funny and not afraid to use self-deprecating humor. Love it.

Reading Stefani’s take on intermittent fasting was the slap in the face I needed to actually start listening to what my body was telling me. Her WLU Program has utterly and completely changed my relationship to my body and how  I treat myself. I owe Stefani an unbelievable debt of gratitude for showing me the way not just to self love but also to being able to fit into my favorite leggings. 

Try the paleo diet. Back when cavemen still ruled the earth, they didn't have time to bake cupcakes or fry potato chips. The paleo diet (short for paleolithic) seeks to recreate the same diet that our early ancestors ate, claiming that our systems are not built for modern ingredients and cooking styles. You eat meat, vegetables, fruit, and other foods that would have been available back then, and avoid anything paleo people wouldn't have had.


Rise and shine—literally! Researchers from Northwestern University found that people who were exposed to bright daylight earlier in the day tended to weigh less than those who didn’t get sunlight until later. So right after you wake up, open the blinds and let the sunshine in. Or better yet, step outside and enjoy your morning cup of coffee on the front porch
#3 – Eat breakfast!  As Mom always said it’s the most important meal of the day and it is.  Your body needs fuel to speed up your metabolism and to get you going.  I like to eat yogurt with fruit and granola, or oatmeal with Greek Yogurt, and sometimes eggs and pancakes.  I like to eat about 300 calories for breakfast.  Having full hearty meals, with protein, a pinch of fat and carbs will keep me filled for 3 or 4 hours.
Insulin (in-suh-lin): A hormone made by the cells in your pancreas. Insulin helps your body store the glucose (sugar) from your meals. If you have diabetes and your pancreas is unable to make enough of this hormone, you may be prescribed medicines to help your liver make more or make your muscles more sensitive to the available insulin. If these medicines are not enough, you may be prescribed insulin shots.
About: Holly’s story starts and ends with food. Years ago, Holly spent every waking minute obsessing over every calorie, every bite and trying every yo-yo diet she could think of to shed pounds. But then one day she woke up and realized she would never find happiness living that way. She began focusing on finding a love of healthy food and cooking, a love she now shares on her blog and sees as her true purpose in life. There, you’ll find everything you need to learn to enjoy food again without all the guilt.
*NuSI stands for ‘Nutrition Science Initiative.’  It was a not-for-profit organization that sponsored research attempting to objectively answer some basic questions about low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets.  In this particular study, they paid for a very meticulous study at 4 different top-notch academic sites comparing energy expenditure, first on a high carb and then a ketogenic diet in a total of 17 individuals.  In order to have the best chance of changing the negative mainstream bias against nutritional ketosis, NuSI chose some of the most steadfast ‘ketone skeptics’ in academia to run this study.  

Trim Portions. If you did nothing else but reduce your portions by 10%-20%, you would lose weight. Most of the portions served both in restaurants and at home are bigger than you need. Pull out the measuring cups to get a handle on your usual portion sizes, and work on paring them down. Get instant portion control by using small bowls, plates, and cups, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating. You won't feel deprived because the food will look plentiful on dainty dishware.
Hi Isabella! Don’t be so hard on yourself. I found the main thing for me, is you have to want it. When I was in my 20’s I didn’t care so much, but as I got older (mid 30’s) my mind set changed. I recommend taking it in baby steps. Taking the stairs is the first step, that is perfect. Next time you go somewhere park further away. Need Starbucks? Walk there! Cut up some veggies and keep them near by when your bored. I have to do that or my hands go in the chip bag. I have a hard time because I have a super thin Husband who can eat anything and I can’t. Find some hummus that you like and dip veggies in it, or if your a chip person, buy some snack baggies and portion out your servings. Just take it slow and day by day. You can do it! Be positive and go slow!! Small changes now will be big ones in the future.

Remember that in order to keep the pounds off and maintain your happy weight, you need to develop a healthy lifestyle. That means forming a routine and keeping up the habits so you can hang on to them for life. "I forced myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. four to five times a week to run," says Erin Bowman who has kept off 69 pounds. "My first few were horrible. But I stuck with it, eventually trading my run-walk intervals for steady 45-minute jogs," she says.
Another win for your morning cup of joe: Caffeinated coffee keeps things moving through the digestive tract. Since staying regular is key to a tighter-looking tummy, drinking about 8 to 16 ounces of java at the same time every day can help you stay on schedule. Remember: Sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, so skip fancy flavorings and synthetic sweeteners containing sugar alcohols, which can cause bloating.

The available evidence shows that moderate carb restriction is effective in treating any female hormonal problems that might be driving weight gain. In this study of women with PCOS, for example, 30% of calories from carbs worked better than 55% of calories. On the other hand, an extremely low-carb diet is not necessarily the answer either: especially for women, extreme carb restriction can cause problems of its own, including hormonal dysfunction, amenorrhea (loss of normal periods), and infertility. Sweet potatoes are not the enemy! You can eat 1-2 starchy tubers (potatoes or sweet potatoes) every day and still be well under 30% of calories from carbs.


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.
My weight was pretty consistent throughout middle school, high school, and into college. As a middle schooler, there was so much going on in just trying to develop as a human that fitness, nutrition or creating a healthy lifestyle was never going to be a priority. I exercised by figure skating (I used to be a competitive figure skater!), track and field, and soccer (I played goalie for one year so honestly I shouldn’t even count that.) I also remember many sleepovers spent eating pizzas, candy, and soda. I specifically have one memory of me and a friend challenging each other to eat entire medium pizza from dominos by ourselves…and we both succeeded…so that’s where I was as a 7th grader. I remember feeling bigger than a lot of girls and embarrassed about my weight sometimes, but I had super great friends, kept busy with activities, and overall was supported and I think that is why my weight never got me down too much. Overall, I probably lived a generic middle school life.
You can quickly change your appearance with a new hair style or color. Try a different outfit and change your scenery. Makeover is short for make over, this is reinventing, recreating yourself. A makeover can make you feel better and help you accomplish your goals. Try some new makeup or wearing glasses. Loose some weight, change your appearance, gain confidence and you will succeed!
"Crash diets (dramatically cutting down how much you eat) might help you to lose a few pounds at first, but they’re hard to sustain and won’t help you keep the weight off. It might seem like a quick and easy option, but eating too few calories can actually do more harm than good. If your calorie intake dips too low, your body could go into starvation mode. This will slow down your metabolism, making it harder for your body to lose weight. Make sensible, healthy changes to your lifestyle that you can stick to and avoid the fad diets."
We just got a FREE treadmill though, and my goal is to walk at least 15 minutes a day (to start, I have a heart condition) and work my way up from there. And keep eating well. I don’t have a certain weight or size I want to get down to. That is just detrimental for me. I am changing my lifestyle. I want to get fit and healthy for the rest of my life and whatever size and weight that gets me to is just fine with me!
This is a medical clinic providing weight loss surgeries. But their blog also has a lot of helpful information about losing weight and maintaining that weight loss without surgery. You can find posts about the types of conditions that contribute to weight gain, posts about personal weight loss journeys, and yes, tips and advice for those who might be considering surgery. Visit the blog.
×