Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
About: Bonnie’s been sharing her life — and family of 7 — with readers for years. But the reason she found her way onto our list is because of what she started Jan. 2 — a full-on commitment to cut out the junk food, soda and other unhealthy habits and lose weight. More than three months later, and she’s more than succeeded. Her daily struggle is the kind of thing anyone who’s stopped and started and stopped and then started again can attest to. But what really makes it special is that this time, she not stopping.
Avoid fad diets, diet pills, and "quick-fix" diet plans that severely restrict calories or food groups. Fad diets and techniques for rapid weight loss are not always effective, and some may be dangerous. Pills, powders, and diet programs that require extreme calorie restriction, total avoidance of entire food groups, or excessive exercise can be very hazardous to health. Pills and supplements are not monitored by the FDA and may not be safe. Unless you have a medical reason for avoiding a particular type of food, a balanced and varied diet is essential for adequate nutrition and healthy, steady weight loss. Diet pills and restrictive diet plans can cause nutrient deficits, organ damage, high cholesterol, and many other dangerous health problems.
Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you not only lose weight but weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying. This means that you won’t just be thinner but will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way.
Of carbs and protein, that is. Carbs certainly aren’t the enemy; you can totally enjoy carbs and still lose weight. The trick is to choose something complex (like brown rice, quinoa, or whole grain bread) or something refined (like white rice, white pasta, and white bread), and pair it with a protein. So if you’re having crackers for a snack, make sure you also eat some almonds or a stick of string cheese. “I always incorporate a protein and carbohydrate at every meal,” Jim White, RD, ACSM Health, and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios told us. “It can curb your appetite and it slows down the glycemic index of some of your higher sugar foods.”
Estrogen and progesterone have significant impacts on carbohydrate metabolism. At different parts in the menstrual cycle, carbohydrates are processed either much more efficiently or with much more fat storage. This is the secret to female carbohydrate cycling. Instead of sticking to a simple regimen provided by a personal trainer or some internet forum, the best thing you can do to maximize the effectiveness of your carb cycling is sync it up with your menstrual cycle.
The influence intermittent fasting has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off. Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.
Yasmine Farazian, a professor at an art and design college, can thank Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., author of The One One One Diet, for the easy rule of thumb that helped her shed 50 pounds: At each meal, she made sure to eat one carbohydrate, one protein, and one fat. Finally, Yasmine had the template for making a healthy, well-balanced meal that she needed. "I would have the bun, beef patty, and avocado," she says. "And if I wanted fries, I'd ask for lettuce instead of the bread."
About: Dustin spent much of his life being “slightly overweight,” never obese, but enough so that he wasn’t super comfortable in his own skin. But one day he decided to start exercising — lifting weights, crossfit and similar workouts, and slowly but surely, his body began to see the results he’d hoped. His interest in food also grew. He always liked meats, but decided to expand into baking too. These days, he’s packing his blog with clever twists on recipes — always making sure they’re nutritious and delicious — as well as fitness routines and updates on his progress. He’s just the guy if you want to take it nice and easy to lose weight.

Stop treating your kitchen like an all-night diner and you’ll stop seeing those unwanted pounds piling onto your frame, too. The results of a study published in Cell Metabolism found that mice who only had access to food during an eight-hour period stayed slim over the course of the study, while those who ate the same number of calories over a 16-hour period gained significantly more weight, particularly around their middle. When you’re finished with dinner at night, shut the fridge and don’t look back until morning — your belly will thank you. When you do head back to the kitchen in the A.M., make sure the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen are there waiting for you.

These days I am definitely not a hard core eater like I was back then. I have determined that to stay sane and happy and thin-ish, I have to give myself realistic expectations. The empty pantry and laser focus was not something that I could personally keep up with forever and ever. I have also learned that controlling my stress and anxiety is crucial for me. I am such a stress eater that recognizing my weak point has helped me so much in maintaining my weight loss. I still try and shop the perimeter of the store, I do not keep treats or chips in the house if I can help it because I recognize the fact that I have zero will power and I try and move at least a little every day. I give myself a weight gain-loss range rather than a set weight that I need to maintain forever. That way if I get off track I don’t sink back into feeling like I have failed and just give up on staying thin. To be completely honest, I am not 120 lbs anymore. I have gained about 10lbs since 2013 but am hoping to get back down a little over the Summer. And one last SUPER honest confession, after getting down to my goal weight of 120 lbs, I did have a full abdominoplasty in August 2013. It was literally my only option given the amount of extra skin I had from the weight loss.
Sugary treats, while obviously delicious, aren’t very good for our bodies—and that includes our tummies. Not only do the added calories add inches to our waistlines, but sugar overload leads to insulin resistance, which tells the body to store extra fat around the waist. But that’s long-term stuff. Sugar also bloats your tummy in the short-term by feeding the bad bacteria in your gut, leading to extra gas. When it comes to flattening your belly, nixing sugar is one of the best things you can do including these 42 other easy tips to lose weight fast!
What are you doing this weekend? I hope you’re signing up for MEND our new virtual 6 week workshop with the wonderful @rosiemolinary We launched a BONUS #bodykindness #podcast today and we have a coupon code for listeners. Enter SpiralUp at registration and you’ll save $130— all 6 weeks for $299 included our live session and Facebook group. Head on over to the podcast for Rosie and Rebecca insight. Then sign up for MEND with us... the only thing broken is how you see yourself. Starts 3/14
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.
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!
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.
This was one of the biggest challenges for me. That said it is crazy how fast you can lose weight quickly if you simply cut out drinking unnecessary calories. Admittedly, I’ve historically enjoyed a beer or two over dinner at home – and even more than one or two if out with some friends. Although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a beer a night, or a glass of wine a night, I know the former is not great for losing weight.
About: Megan is a lifelong runner who exemplifies what’s it’s like to find happiness in fitness. Her blog is mainly a personal diary about her running, race trainings and occasional trim-ups, but it’s her integrity and honesty that makes you want to keep reading once you start. She’s a real person with real ups-and-downs, perfect for a person who is well on their way to their goal weight and a general healthy lifestyle, but sometimes takes a few steps back and struggles. Megan, like them, has downs, but her continuous determination is something you’re sure to admire.
About: One of the things you’ll notice first when you open up Lori’s blog is that she’s a very visual person — a style that reflects in her posts, which are chock full of photos sharing her fitness, food, travel and more. Lori started blogging about three years ago when she decided to lose 115 pounds. Now, she’s 105 pounds down and went from tipping the scales to doing a triathlon. Quite impressive, especially considering Lori has been overweight all her life. Follow her if you want to read about someone who’s the epitome of success, someone who continues to eat right, stay fit and maintain a huge weight loss. 

Lisa Cain is a mother and writer for the healthy living blog Snack Girl. After learning from her doctor that she needed to gain control of her weight, Lisa was devoted to finding a new strategy and approach to weight loss that would help her make a long-term lifestyle change. Her blog is dedicated to creating healthy versions of her favorite snack foods and providing helpful tips for enjoying the process.
About: Shae is a Wichita native, and, as she puts it, she is “not skinny.” But she’s blogging about fitness and healthy eating anyway, with a few (ok, a lot) of complaints. Her blog features an impressive combination of her quirky, laugh-out-loud style and visually stimulating photos that tell the story or show the recipes as well as the writing itself does. Once you start reading, strap in. Because you’re not going to want to stop.
When you’re eating to deal with your emotions, like anxiety, stress or unhappiness, you’re likely not reaching for carrot sticks and blueberries, but carbohydrates, processed foods and even alcohol. Those calories eventually add up and, at the same time, you’re avoiding learning how to deal with difficult emotions and situations. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.
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It sounds silly, but switching which hand you eat with can save you calories, and help boost weight loss. “It takes 15 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full,” celebrity personal trainer Jay Cardiello told us in our article over 40 weight loss tips. “To give your mind time to catch up to your mouth, simply switch your fork to non-dominate hand. It may be frustrating, but it’s a simple and unnoticeable way to curb overeating and lose weight.”
Say cheese! Adding some extra calcium to your diet could be the key to getting that flat stomach you’ve been dreaming about. Over just 12 months, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville found that obese female study subjects who upped their calcium intake shed 11 pounds of body fat without other major dietary modifications. To keep your calcium choices healthy, try mixing it up between dairy sources, calcium-rich leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
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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There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Your TV is making you fat. It prevents you from being active, gives you the munchies, and makes you distracted while you’re eating. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate in front of the TV consumed 10 percent more than they normally would. Eating while distracted disrupts your satiety signals, so shutting off all your electronics while munching will help you stick to your portions, and feel full.
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.
If you’re having trouble getting to bed, these 20 sleep strategies can help. To help stick to these strategies, consider these sleep tips your weight loss tips as well. Shutting off electronics an hour before bedtime, limiting caffeine intake in the afternoons, avoiding simple carbs in the evenings and journaling can all help you unwind so you get enough rest. You can also consider natural sleep aids to boost your ability to fall asleep and sleep soundly.
Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, primarily uses sugar as its fuel. This doesn’t mean that it’s not good for weight loss, though. Anaerobic exercise helps build muscle, and as we explained above, this will help you burn calories even when you’re resting. Anaerobic exercises are generally high intensity, for example sprinting and weight lifting. 
Toning your abs when trying to lose belly fat is crucial as well. To make a traditional plank routine more challenging, add in side planks. Roll onto your left forearm and stack your right foot on top of your left. Hold this position for 60 seconds, then switch sides. Having only two points of contact rather than four works your core harder and challenges your obliques as well.
About: Going through a divorce can do nasty things to a person — it can cause weight gain, low self-esteem, job changes, you name it. It certainly was a downward spiral for Emma, who went through the ringer before meeting (and getting engaged) to her current fiancé — but along the way she learned how to find the joy in life and learn to love herself. Emma decided to start a blog as a way to bring her newfound positivity to others. Her outlook on healthy living and eating, fitness and weight loss is charged with positivity. She’s a glass-half-full kind of person, and reading her blog can make you one too.
You probably feel this way because if you cut junk food out completely and suddenly, your body is shocked by the sudden change. Also, junk food has a lot of sugar, which can make you feel energetic, so when you cut junk food out right away your body isn't used to not getting the sugar you used to consume. My advice is to take baby steps. Cut out candy/ice cream, then chips, then soda. etc. until you are consuming less or none at all.
Ross Enamait is a boxing coach and trainer. He has a passion for high-performance conditioning, strength, and athletic development. His philosophy is that successful training requires figuring out what works for the individual. On Ross Training, he provides the research and real-world advice his experiences have backed up, but never a “my way or the highway” approach. Visit the blog.
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