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.
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.
Basic Principles Simply put, we lose weight if we consume less energy than we use. Energy comes from the food and drink that we eat and is measured in calories (Cals, cals or kcals). Energy is burnt constantly by our bodies, the amount of energy burnt doing a particular activity varies by its intensity. Assuming that your weight is currently stable, your energy-in and energy-out are equal. To lose weight, this equation needs to be unbalanced, so energy-out is greater than energy-in. Naturally, we can achieve this in two ways. We can burn more energy, by doing exercise, or we can consume less energy, by eating fewer calories (note, this need not mean less food by weight or volume). For most people losing weight is roughly a 80:20 diet:exercise split, simply because it's a lot easier to deny yourself a ~300kcal slice of cake than walking 2-3 miles to burn it off. You can lose weight without any exercise whatsoever if you wish, but exercise in itself is very good for you either way. Be Realistic Besides the very basics, you have to be realistic and accept that, if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to change a few things. Possibly the most important realization is that you need to make a lifestyle change. The majority of people need to change their diet, as opposed to go on a diet; reverting to old habits will see you reverting to old body-weights, too.
Tired of carrying around those extra pounds? The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to create a low-calorie eating plan that you can stick to for a long time. If you just want to drop a few pounds fast, there are plenty of techniques and tips you can adopt to help you reach your short-term goals, too. Scroll down to Step 1 to learn more. Understand that you may not lose more than a pound or two per week, however.
About: Jess doesn’t blog as often as she used to, but every once in awhile she’ll pop in to share her latest life experiences, and, when she does, it’s sure to touch you deeply. Jess started blogging in 2013 to document her training for her first marathon, but quickly found that running ran in her veins. She uses it as a way to cope with life’s hardships and adventures — and takes her readers along a relatable journey as she does.
It's easy to overdo it when you're eating something delicious — and that's why it's good to focus on foods that will force you to slow down. "Slowing down can help you check in with your hunger levels. For that reason, I love snacking on 100-calorie packs of in-shell pistachios," Gorin says. "Shelling the pistachios helps you slow down your snacking, and the shells leave a visual cue to remind you of how much you've eaten. Because you're more in tune with what's gone into your mouth, you may be less likely to have extra servings." In one preliminary study, people snacking on in-shell pistachios ate 41% less calories than those who ate the shelled version.
About: Gina has the kind of success story that really touches a nerve. She started out at 298 pounds and went on to lose 168 of those pounds in 25 months. As someone who always struggled with her weight and achieved such a huge thing, she has an especially good grasp on how to help other people who have 100 or more pounds to lose achieve their goals. Her blog is a place she uses to motivate, inspire, energize and connect with others. And that’s exactly what it is.
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.
Lets be honest, there were mornings that I just didn’t have it in me to make this. For those mornings I would fall back to just 2-3 hardboiled eggs, or a single hardboiled egg and a protein shake made with water + whey protein isolate. Since I work from home, I can typically take the time to make a big breakfast, but probably 1/6 days I would have to fall back to the quick breakfast.
About: Sara’s blog is a healthy blend of family and her faith in God, combined with valuable insight on how to find health and happiness and reduce stress. And trust us, she’s someone that knows. About a decade ago, Sara was 100 pounds overweight and miserable. She started journaling and found an affinity for running and competing (even though she’s not particularly athletic). Today, Sara shares her passion for helping other women find balance and tips on losing weight the same way she did.
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).
I can completely relate to your struggles with weight. At times, I almost felt like I was reading my own story. Take out the college dorm stuff and throw in 2 jobs, one of them at a gym, and add a baby and I’d say our stories are pretty similar. My husband is deployed now, and I started running (did my first 5K 10 days ago). I’m down a solid 15 lbs in 2 months… and I haven’t even been strict with my “diet”. Keep running, girl! You can do it! 🙂
About: Christie literally just got going (her first post was in March). But she didn’t waste any time putting it all out there. Her goal is to lose more than 100 pounds and beat a lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety. Her openness caught our attention immediately, and we can’t wait to follow along with her as she takes each and every step.
I think the most important changes though is the removal of the “white carbohydrates” and the sugary drinks. These and other highly processed and pre-packaged foods that have become our western culture staple is really what’s contributed to obesity and so many other health issues. Just getting that out of your diet and replacing it with natural, low-GI, high-fiber foods will melt the fat off quicker than you can imagine.
Heather Gannoe-Hart is an avid runner, adventure seeker, Exercise Physiologist, and writer for her blog Relentless Forward Commotion. For Heather, running started as an attempt to shed some pregnancy weight after having her first baby—eventually, it turned into a passion that kick-started a new outlook on life. Relentless Forward Commotion is a place where she shares her passion for fitness, the outdoors, and the newest adventure she encounters, whether its trail running, mud runs, obstacle courses, cycling, or hiking. Her fitness journey will inspire you to step outside your comfort zone, try something new, and see the world in an entirely new way.
Eat more protein. Protein is required by the body to repair damaged cells and plays a vital role in growth and development. But it can also play a role in weight loss. Diets high in protein tend to make people feel fuller, and when paired with a reduction in carbohydrate intake these diets can help with weight loss. However, it's important to remember that not all sources of protein are good for you: red meat and full-fat dairy products, though high in protein, can also increase the risk of heart disease. Good sources of protein include:
Andie is a healthy recipe developer and New York Times best-selling author. She shares some of her most delectable food ideas on her blog. She’ll tell you right up front: She believes in balancing health and happiness. And it was through that balance that she lost 135 pounds — a journey that can also be found in her memoir, “It Was Me All Along.” Visit the blog.