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.


About: Yes, it’s true Julie is not exactly a “new” blogger (she’s been doing it since 2011). But when you look at her blog, it’s easy to see why we added her here — she’s got the same caliber as the big guns, and deserves even more recognition than she’s already had. Julie decided some time back that she was going to make better decisions when it came to her health, but progress with weight loss, as she puts it, has been “S-L-O-W.” Determined and just happier with the way she feels, Julie carried on until she reached her goal weight. Today, she hovers between 150 and 170 pounds, blogging about what she eats, what inspires her and how she hopes to inspire others, too.
Klein, S., Burke, L.E., Bray, G.A., Blair, S., Allison, D.B., Pi-Sunyer, X., et al. (2004). Clinical Implications of Obesity With Specific Focus on Cardiovascular Disease: A Statement for Professionals From the American Heart Association Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism: Endorsed by the American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation; 110(18): 2952-2967.

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.


I did this diet for several months and got down to a weight of 188 lbs at 6’1. I have a video on YouTube about my journey, think i had 60,000 hits about when the book first came out. Loved the cheat day. It does work but no fruit and sugar were hard. I will admit I never got sick, my immune system was top notch and I looked great but it still tough.
I am not one to read blogs, but I stumbled upon yours and just read your entire story (and many of your other posts). I am nearly in tears at how inspiring you are! You have such an amazing outlook at the entire weight loss journey. I have struggled my entire life with my weight and I am so glad that you gave me a different way to look at it. It isn’t about a true end goal, but a complete lifestyle change. So from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you! You have impacted me and my mindset in a positive way! I pray that your fitness lifestyle continues to inspire those that cross paths with you!
Fast forward several years later, I had another baby (Winter) and came out of that pregnancy about 40-50 lbs over my end goal weight. I had always had this dream to finally hit the big “100” in weight loss. By 2013 I had begun to take some classes at the gym and count calories a little more but I in NO WAY did anything extreme. And I honestly believe that is the key to weight loss and to keeping it off. It was NO quick journey to that final number but by July 2013, I hit 120 lbs and had officially lost 100 lbs…
I’ve always been one of those “all or nothing” kind of people. That combined with zero will power led to me taking every single item out of our pantry and refrigerator and giving it ALL away. I remember having boxes and boxes of food in our butler’s pantry. Following his “ingredient guidelines”, I loaded our house with only food in line with his program. I didn’t need to lose like ten pounds. I needed to lose one hundred. It wasn’t going to be one of those “let’s ease into this” kind of diet. I needed a complete overhaul.
Calorie counting is going to be hard at first, but you can do it!! You know what you should and shouldn’t eat and the main thing is to listen to your body, when your hungry eat, when your not stop. I know it’s easier said then done!!! I’ll be honest, I’m on the calorie counting yo-yo! I stop counting, then I start back up. I’m off the counting right now, hopefully I can do it this time!!! Stop back and let me know how you are doing!!
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.
If you're specifically looking to target your belly, we have some bad news: you can't spot-target fat loss. That means you can do crunches or planks all day long, but you won't specifically burn belly fat. Instead, you can lose body fat overall, including from your belly. And by avoiding certain belly-bloating foods and with some strategic exercise, you will inevitably see results in your belly.
Thank you so much, Kate! I’m not over the cravings for junk food! I try not to keep very much snack food in the house, because between-meal snacking is really my downfall, but I also don’t deprive myself. I always have Nutty Bars in my fridge, because I just love ’em. I also keep almonds, honey wheat pretzels, and hummus on hand for my salty cravings, I just really watch myself on the portion sizes. The other huge change in my eating was cutting out fast food. Those calories add up fast and I’ve found that I really don’t miss it. I prefer to splurge on an occasional nicer meal out than on more frequent fast food visits.
Attend a weight loss camp. Sometimes sticking with an exercise routine and diet plan is too challenging. Old habits and daily routines will steer you back to your old foods and activities at every turn. To combat this, many people enroll in residential weight loss programs that remove them from their daily lives. Sometimes called fitness retreats, these programs come in dozens of different styles, and are available for youth, adults and seniors.[12] You should always make sure before attending, that your weight loss camp of choice is equipped to safely handle your age and health specific needs.[13]
I found your blog through the Nutrition Blog Network and I feel like I’m reading the story of my own life. I have recently lost 45lbs but am KILLING myself over those last 10 lbs just like you were. I literally have felt like it was hopeless and that there is no way those pounds are coming off. I am also limited to 1200 calories a day but am going to try raising my daily calorie intake to see if that helps! Your story gave me so much hope that I can beat these last 10 lbs and your weight loss tips were fantastic!
A year ago you couldn't find a fitter man than Drew of Fit2Fat2Fit, but then the personal trainer decided to take on a new project in order to better understand what his overweight clients were going through. He gained 70 pounds over six months—going from "fit to fat"—and is now in the process of going from "fat to fit." Along the way he's learned a lot about the mental struggles of weight loss, as well as the physical: check out his post about feeling too self-conscious to dance with his wife.
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.
I loved reading your weight loss history. I’ve been struggling since my childhood with my weight and I still continue to struggle with it. I also used sparks people back in the day and have recently began counting my points. I’ve been able to drop 10 pounds but I’ve been stuck for the past month. It’s been a frustrating journey but I continue to stay focused. I like the tips that you have shared. I truly believe in moderation. I don’t like giving up a certain food item. Thanks again for your tips! If you have anymore please share 🙂
If you’re looking for a writer to follow who’s still in the midst of their own weight loss journey (and willing to admit might always be), Amy is your girl. She blogs about the ups, downs, and challenges on her path to weight loss on Not Afraid of Stripes. She doesn’t hesitate to share her insecurities or efforts to improve her own body image. Visit the blog. 
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