After losing 40 pounds, certified personal trainer Gina Harney was on the hunt for guides on weight maintenance. But at the time, her options were limited. So she started The Fitnessista, which is focused on fitness advice and healthy recipes that only sound indulgent (think: pecan pie oatmeal, pumpkin pie protein smoothie bowl, and chocolate protein donuts).

You don’t have to be the next Usain Bolt in the making to enjoy some serious belly-slimming results from hitting the track from time to time. Even a moderate-rate jog a few times a week can blast through that belly fat; in fact, a study conducted at Duke University Medical Center found that, over the course of an eight-month study, overweight adult study subjects who jogged 12 miles a week lost the most belly fat and burned 67 percent more calories than participants who did an equivalent amount of resistance exercise, or a combination of cardio and resistance work.


"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."

Most people who want to lose weight have more than 12 pounds to lose. That’s why even the best weight loss drug in the world can only be an optional complement to other treatment. That’s why this piece of advice is number 18 out of 18. It may be a helpful addition for some people, but the advice higher on the list is what can make the biggest difference, by far.


I lost my weight by only optimizing my diet. I changed what I ate dramatically and literally melted the weight off. I remember waking up on the fourth day after starting this in complete amazement by the fact that my fingers felt skinny. I’m not sure if it was the amount of salt I ate or what, but my fingers and hands have felt fat for the last year – this alone was enough to keep me going. For the sake of this overview, I will not go into any detail on supplements (as I have yet to learn much about them), and will only briefly touch on exercising. Instead, I’ll focus on optimizing diet for rapid weight loss.


At that point, I stopped with the drinking and going to bars, but still didn’t exercise and I didn’t cut back on the eating.  I ended up going down to about 172lbs.  That seems to be where my weight stayed for years, and I excepted that.  If you punch in my height and weight, I was at the top of my average range.  People in my family made comments here and there but nothing to make me think differently.  I didn’t know I had a weight issue.  I remember my Grandmother saying to me  “your Mother at your age was skinny”.  I remember that hurt my feelings, but it still didn’t do anything.  I thought this is where I was suppose to stay.  I didn’t know how to lose weight. 


Besides being the preferred fuel for the brain and heart, we have recently recognized that BOHB also functions like a hormone that signals multiple changes in gene expression (aka ‘epi-genetic effects’).  Among other effects, BOHB turns on the body’s innate defenses against oxidative stress and inflammation (Schimazu 2013, Youm 2014), and it also acts to reduce insulin resistance at its source (Newman 2014).  This new information has the potential to be nothing short of revolutionary!  From this perspective, the liver can make a ‘hormone’ from fat that protects us from oxidative stress, inflammation, diabetes, and probably Alzheimer’s disease and aging as well (Roberts, 2017).   All we need do to accrue these benefits is restrict carbs to allow the keto-adaptation process to occur.  But to date, none of these beneficial epigenetic effects seem to include pathways that might make body fat melt away.
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! 🙂
If you need inspiration, look no further! Sean is a fabulous weight-loss blogger who has lost 200 pounds! His blog follows his journey toward "improved health and fitness, one sport, goal, and day at a time." Sean's goal is to lose 225 pounds through eating healthy foods and exercise. I love his approach to weight loss. Sean writes: "It’s taken me years to put this weight on so I guess I’ve always just known it was going to take time and motivation to get it off. I also wasn’t looking for a quick fix…instead I wanted to find a permanent and intelligent way to live and be healthy while still enjoying life along the way."
Last but certainly not least we have the DASH Diet. The DASH diet is a balanced diet similar to the Mediterranean diet. It is the result of research carried out in 4 medical centers and sponsored by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The main purpose of this diet is to help you lower your high blood pressure through healthy eating practices and lifestyle changes. By eating healthy food and following an active lifestyle you also promote weight loss. It is a diet that can be really helpful especially for women over 40 and 50. The basic principle of the DASH diet for losing weight is the following:  first you need to calculate how many calories you need per day and then you must adjust the calories you consume and the calories you burn so that you constantly create a calorie deficit or ensure that you are not creating a calorie surplus. In other words you need to consume fewer calories than what you burn.
So, we’ve scoured the internet, researched hundreds of blogs, and of all the incredible women we came across, these 35 inspirational blogs stood out the most. Not just because they’ve been through a weight loss transformation of their own, but because they have completely changed the way they see themselves throughout the process, the impact they have on their audience, and the fact that they are truly badass women who have a purpose, a message, and the vulnerability to lay it out on the line, in hopes that their journey will help just one person on theirs.
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.
Yoga is great. I’ve done a bit of at-home yoga but not nearly as much as I would like. I’m hoping to get it into my routine more once I get close to my first marathon. It’s a great core workout and will certainly get your heart rate up – especially when you’re just starting with it. I always like variety though, and really enjoy a resistance workout in there as well – test things out for a couple weeks to see how they work out and make adjustments from there.
ANYWAY, as far as the beginning of college goes, I thought a lot about nutrition and fitness and really wanted them to be incorporated into my life. For exercise, I joined the women’s ultimate frisbee team.  I honestly joined because the team was a built in community of really amazing people who were great friends but even better accountability partners that kept me coming to practice and pushing myself while I was there. We had practice for 2 hours about 3 times a week, and I never exercised outside of those times. On the topic of nutrition, I never thought I ate that bad. However, college dining halls can wreck your body. Unlimited buffets with more unhealthy than healthy options was not in my favor. Of course I ate salads, chicken/fish, and veggies on a regular basis, but I also ate my fair share of french fries, frozen yogurt, cookies, and whatever desserts were available. So many weekly activities and meetings had free food, and late night study snacks were a regular occurrence.
About: Andie’s well-known for her New York Times bestselling memoir “It Was Me All Along” where she chronicles how she lost 135 pounds 10 years ago. But it’s her blog that drew us to her for this list, especially considering that she’s managed all this time to KEEP that weight off. Andie also wrote a cookbook, “Eating in the Middle,” featuring (mostly) healthy recipes. Plus, Andie’s blog is chock full of healthy recipes too (and the occasional indulgence), lessons she learned while losing weight and how she transformed her relationship with food and her body.
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.
Hi Karen! I haven’t dealt with chronic pain and fatigue myself, so my experience is pretty limited in that area. I would encourage you to move however you can without overdoing it. There is a woman who is going through this herself who talk about that here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWiu-u3Liww) and there are all kinds of gentle workouts available. There is a bed workout here (http://www.domorebemore.net/getfit/bed-workout-easy-workout-chronic-pain-fatigue/) and more workout suggestions here (https://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/best-workouts-chronic-pain-and-fibromyalgia). I hope that helps!
In a 2012 study in the journal Obesity, subjects who increased their soluble fiber intake by 10 grams a day—the equivalent of two small apples, one cup of green peas, and one half-cup of pinto beans—reduced visceral fat by 3.7 percent after five years. Even more, participants who also engaged in moderate physical activity (exercising vigorously two to four times a week) experienced a 7.4 decrease in visceral fat over the same period of time.
I have one concern about eating eggs everyday and the cholesterol. I have high blood pressure, what would you recommend?? I come from a family of obese, and myself i am very overweight. Not as active as i should be. I also have a family of bad hearts on both sides. My mother had a heart attack at age 44, my dad passed away from heart attack at age 55, my younger sister had a heart attack at age 34. So far i only have high blood pressure, we also have diabetes in our family. Please help me loose this weight, any suggestions???
Try this interval-training trick on the elliptical trainer: Ride for 30 seconds as fast as you can, then immediately reverse your direction and ride for 30 additional seconds just as fast in the opposite direction. Rest 60 seconds, and repeat. The force of stopping your momentum, as well as going from a dead stop to full speed twice in the same interval, will give your fat-burning efforts a massive boost, says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S.
Cortisone as an oral drug is another common culprit (e.g. Prednisolone). Cortisone often causes weight gain in the long run, especially at higher doses (e.g. more than 5 mg Prednisolone per day). Unfortunately, cortisone is often an essential medication for those who are prescribed it, but the dose should be adjusted frequently so you don’t take more than you need. Asthma inhalers and other local cortisone treatments, like creams or nose sprays, hardly affect weight.
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.
Drink at least 2 liters (0.53 US gal) of water each day. Water has the double effect of both hydrating your body and filling your stomach with a certain volume of a liquid that has zero calories. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (0.8 US gal) (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.[12]
While you may be tempted to eat as few calories as possible to lose weight more quickly, as mentioned above, it’s important that you don’t cut more than 1,000 calories from your daily diet or eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day — even if that means your energy deficit is smaller than 1,000 calories. Eat too little and you’ll slow down your metabolism and put yourself on track to regain the weight — often with a few extra pounds.
This is amazing. Absolutely amazing! My daughter is 15 months old and I’m struggling with about 25 pounds of extra-ness. How do/did you find the motivation?! I literally need a swift kick in the butt. We don’t sleep much either, as you said. I’m not happy with the way I look, but the exhaustion, as you know, plays a huge role in the lack of motivation. I would love to chat!
One study from the University of Adelaide in Australia suggests you may lose more weight when you work out towards the end of your menstrual cycle, as opposed to right when a new one begins. That’s because the hormones estrogen and progesterone tell your body to use fat as an energy source. "Women burned about 30 percent more fat for the two weeks following ovulation to about two days before menstruation," study author Leanne Redman says.
While it will help, it’s not going to eliminate your sleep deprivation. That apart, doing this will throw off your natural sleep-wake cycle so it could end up doing more harm than good. Not only can the right food aid sleep, it works the other way too — better sleep promotes weight loss. Lack of sleep, however, has been found to stimulate production of hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes us overeat.

Harvie, M. N., Pegington, M., Mattson, M. P., Frystyk, J., Dillon, B., Evans, G., … Howell, A. (2011, May). The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: A randomized trial in young overweight women. International Journal of Obesity (London), 35(5), 714–727. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3017674/

About: The first thing you’ll notice when you check out Adam’s blog is that he’s funny — like really, really funny (hence the name of his blog). A self-proclaimed “boring guy” and “dork,” Adam’s blog started as a way to share his thoughts on being a traveling management consultant to a place for sharing running, humor, life and more — probably one of the most interesting changes we’ve run across. Adam’s been battling some knee problems off-and-on, but still makes it a priority to live healthy, exercise (like hiking) and share it all in his traditional good-humored, naturally-engaging way.
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.
I played tennis from my freshman through junior year of high school and, again, really enjoyed the sport, but abhorred the running.  Our coach was a middle-aged guy who could run circles around me.  The entire team would have finished their laps around the field, while I was still stumbling along next to the (also middle-aged) assistant coach, who I’m quite sure they sent in as an attempt to get me to run faster.

In high school, my body didn’t seem to go through many changes. As far as exercise goes, I stuck with track and field and figure skating. I never exercised outside of whatever practice I was going to during the week. As far as nutrition goes, I had a lot of the same habits as middle school but developed quite a few new unhealthy habits.  Once I could drive and spend late nights with friends, my nutrition was crap. I remember stopping at QT (the best gas station in existence) on the way to every shift to work and getting a drink and snack or candy. I remember meeting friends late at night at whatever fast food joint. I remember ice cream multiple days of week in the summer, snacking after school before dinner, and snacking again before bed. One positive choice I made as a high schooler was when I vowed never to eat fast food meat again (I had to read the book “Fast Food Nation” in an English class and was disgusted about the fast food meat industry and have never missed it since). As far as body image goes, again, I remember feeling overweight and embarrassed, but also being muscular because of figure skating. Again, like middle school, really solid and supportive friends surrounded me so I never felt isolated or disliked because of my weight. However, I would say in middle and high school I never felt confident in my body or loved the way I felt or looked. 
If you want to lose weight, you’d better avoid special “low-carb” products that are full of carbs. This should be obvious, but creative marketers are doing all they can to fool you (and get your money). They will tell you that you can eat cookies, pasta, ice cream, bread and plenty of chocolate on a low-carb diet, as long as you buy their brand. They’re full of carbohydrates. Don’t be fooled.

Most random item you'll find in my purse: a resistance band loop. 🤓#fitnessnerd I love that they're so easy to tote around, especially when you're training a client and want to take their workout to the next level. I also add them for a little *spice* in my barre classes. 🔥 🌶 Some of my fave loop exercises: Hip raises (in the pic above. Try it with one leg to make it more exciting) Low squat walks Clamshells Side leg raises Donkey kicks Hip extensions and banded burpees (<-- try it, you'll love it) 🙌🏻 Any favorite loop exercises? What's the most random thing you have in your purse or gym bag right now? 📸: @capturedbycolson
Hey, im 17 and have been struggling with my weight since i was a kid. I had started working out at the gym and cutting down on the calories LITERALLY, i would go to bed hungry which kinda made it worth while, i lost 20-25 lbs but have plateaued … Its depressing & i still got 15 more lbs to lose, my mom makes us eat so much carbs, thats all there ever is after the vegetables and stuff are finished … I really need your help on losing those last 15 🙂 xx
Hey, I read this guide from the top to bottom (thoroughly might I say) and I feel that this might be a little rigourous for me. I need to lose weight and I’m only 12. 5’5 and 180 pounds. I don’t want to run/walk the treadmill, when I have a very nice neighborhood to walk about, but my parents won’t let me. I occasionally do about 20 situps/20 pushups, I play basketball. I don’t think I can do bicep curls or whatever you called them, no offence. What do you recommend I do?
About: For some people, the idea of sweating it out in a gym or running for miles along the road is this side of awful. And for them, there’s Graceful Fitness, an approach that incorporates dance, yoga and deep-breathing — but also acknowledges the body’s limits and celebrates rest time. Plus, Graceful Fitness author Faith also has a unique approach to food — blending eating for health with eating for fun. It’s pretty much the peaceful way to incorporate fitness and healthy eating into your weight loss regime, and it’s all done by a young woman whose blog shows you step-by-step how to get there.

On top of exercise, it’s nutrition. I believe they go hand in hand. In the beginning, improving nutrition was just as hard as improving fitness, except for sometimes now I think nutrition is more challenging. Exercising was just 1 - 1.5 hours a day of busting your butt, but nutrition was the remaining 22 hours, so there were way more opportunities to fall short or not eat as well as I could. However, because I think it is important to be optimistic, I will say that there were 22 hours a day to nourish my body with good and healthy foods. It just took me a long time to figure out the best way to do that (and just to clarify, I'm still figuring it out.)


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.
To lose belly fat and uncover amazing abs, Schuler recommends a series of core stabilization exercises based on a training program devised by co-author and personal trainer Alwyn Cosgrove. "Core exercises like the plank help train muscles to stabilize the spine and pelvis so you can avoid back pain and improve posture, Schuler says. "Planks also burn more calories than crunches because they work more muscles." (P.S. crawling is a great dynamic abs exercise too.)
I do agree with you 100% that the best way to lose weight is to learn how to eat healthy without excluding any food group from your meals and in essence to follow a balanced diet, but not all people have the patience and willingness to do that. From the hundreds of commercial diets in the market today we consider these 5 to be among the healthiest and most effective for people who want to go for a commercial solutions. Having said that, for those who want to avoid commercial programs they can start by reading: http://www.weightlosshelpandtips.net/2011/04/healthy-weight-loss/
Andie Mitchell is a writer, healthy recipe developer, and New York Times bestselling author of “It Was Me All Along”, a memoir documenting her 135-pound weight loss journey. Andie’s blog is a truly inspiring compilation of life lessons, mindset, healthy habits, recipes, and real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression and anxiety, and how to navigate the struggles of a weight loss transformation.
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