"Feeling stressed can wreak havoc on our bodies. It can cause our body to produce the steroid hormone cortisol, which can make you crave sugary foods that provide instant energy and pleasure. Short-term bursts of cortisol are necessary to help us cope with immediate danger, but our body will also release this hormone if we’re feeling stressed or anxious. When our cortisol levels are high for a long amount of time, it can increase the amount of fat you hold in your belly."
And maybe a new mattress, because it’s not just the amount of time you spend sleeping that keeps you lean, it’s also the quality of your sleep. Fat cells in your body produce a hormone called leptin that helps the body keep track of how much potential energy (i.e. fat) it has stored. But leptin is only produced during certain stages of sleep. Miss out on those stages because you’re not resting soundly enough, and you’ll disturb levels of the hormone, leaving your body with no real idea of its energy reserves. Consequently, you’ll end up storing calories rather than burning them.
Some of you are probably scratching your heads thinking “why is exercise at the bottom?” well it’s because it is not nearly as important as what you put in your mouth! Exercise is great for burning off a few calories (emphasis on a few), for toning up your body and overall health, but no matter how hard you work out, if you don’t have the diet aspect down you won’t be losing the weight as fast as you want… or at all. But it is still an important part of how to lose weight fast, and here’s why:
I acknowledge that you may want to lose weight for any number of reasons. It’s not my job to tell you what your motivation for weight loss should be. It is my job to help guide you in that journey to greater health, energy, and love. My goal is to teach women how to love themselves above all else, and then let weight loss follow gently in its path.
It takes more than just crunches! We start to gain weight in our midsection when our cortisol levels spike. Stress is one of the primary culprits for high levels of cortisol secretion. When this happens cortisol breaks downs lean muscle (the type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently) and also holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region. That stress can even get WORSE with bad dieting; studies show that the stress caused by dieting can increase cortisol levels, making no change in belly fat even with calorie restriction. So how do you shape up? Incorporate these 6 things below and you will be on your way to a flatter belly in no time flat!
Nuts have a very high satiety power—meaning they make you feel fuller after eating than many other foods. And even though they’re high in calories, those calories appear to be processed differently in the body. University of Michigan researchers found that men who added 500 calories’ worth of peanuts a day to their diet gained no excess weight at all.
If you're mostly sedentary (and let's face it—with 9-to-5 desk jobs being the norm, it's hard to avoid), you'll start to see noticeable results with just a slight increase in your activity level. Break up the hours in front of the computer by using your lunch break to move around. "I started walking for 45 minutes during my lunch break," says Melissa Leon, who ultimately dropped 53 pounds. "The area was super hilly, but feeling the burn in my butt and quads as I powered up those hills let me know I was making progress."
When I was younger, I’d managed to maintain my weight of 130 pounds by being active. I belonged to the dance team and played intramural sports, so it wasn’t difficult for me to motivate myself to exercise. After college, I started a desk job, and with that came long hours, pizza lunches, and plenty of happy hours. I continued to exercise almost every day, but it wasn’t enough and my weight climbed to 153 pounds, which was too much for my 5-foot-4-inch frame.
Josie Maurer is a mother of four and blogger for Yum Yucky. Yum Yucky is a place where Josie helps her audience achieve healthy-living goals with a sensible, stress-free approach that won’t leave you starved for your favorite foods. She has lost over 40 pounds throughout her weight loss journey and she shares motivation, workouts, healthy recipes, and natural health tips.
Just like your brain has pain sensors to tell you that the curling iron is hot, your brain has hunger sensors. Basically your brain is telling your stomach “we need nourishment” or in the case of the curling iron “hey, woman that’s hot stop touching it”. The only way to turn off hunger receptors is to feed your body the nourishment it needs to sustain itself… and yep you guessed it that means veggies! (7,8)
We all want a toned, flat stomach. No surprise there. But since many women are still relying on crunches to get it, we want to make one thing clear: Crunching is not the most effective abs workout. "Crunches work only the muscles on the front and sides of your abdomen, but it's important to target all the muscles of the core to get more defined abs—including lower back, hips, and upper thighs," says Lou Schuler, co-author of The New Rules of Lifting for Abs. (Also try these 20 tricks for engaging your core and getting a sneaky abs workout.)
Because men are larger than women on average and have more muscle to support, men can usually eat more calories while still losing weight, compared to women. Portion control may be especially important for women. In one study, women who ate smaller portions of food (and less food overall) had lower BMIs than women who limited or avoided a certain type of food.2 This approach seems to work better for women than men.3
Red wine can actually be good for your health, thanks to the antioxidant resveratrol, which studies have shown is good for your health and could help you lose weight. But any more than one glass, and you’re opening yourself up to extra sugar, empty calories, and a boozy buzz, which may inhibit your ability to make healthy food choices. If you’re out to happy hour, stop at one glass and opt for club soda (which is calorie free) or water with lemon instead.
I also started doing home exercise programs and found them to be highly effective. No more money and hours wasted at the gym. But now for maintenance, I only do high-intensity interval exercises with basic equipment (dumbbells, kettlebells, bodyweight) at home. Only 20-30 minutes for 3-4 days a week will keep your metabolism high and continue to burn fat throughout the day.
Katie’s weight has been a challenge her entire life. But after having two boys, she reached an all-time high: 253 pounds. That was when she decided to make a change, but it didn’t happen right away. For the next three years, she dieted and bounced between losing and gaining 50 pounds. Her real weight loss journey began in 2009, when she used calorie counting and running to take off 125 pounds. Today, she writes about maintaining that loss, running, being a mother, and managing a bipolar diagnosis. Visit the blog.