Stress skyrockets your levels of cortisol, often called “the belly fat” hormone because it signals to the body to store fat around your waist. Add the daily stressors of living our modern lifestyle and you can see how cortisol can be constantly coursing through your veins. This perma-stress mode isn’t good for a lot of healthy reasons, your tummy being just one of them, so it’s important to take time every day to de-stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, doing a hands-on hobby, or playing a musical instrument are all great time-tested methods. (Hint: Know what isn’t? Watching television. The boob tube actually increases your levels of cortisol!)


Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack. Adding a source of lean or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer so you're less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats. Experts also recommend eating small, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar levels steady and to avoid overindulging.

Several low carb diets are gaining prominence these days. But they can prove to be unhealthy as they often eliminate whole food groups, thus depriving you of the nutrients from those food groups. These diets are often high in saturated unhealthy fats that can cause high cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. Some other diets eliminate dairy foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese. These food items are a good source of calcium which is vital for healthy bones and their proper growth. So think hard before you decide to get on a diet.

Becky struggled with her weight nearly her entire life—her weight hitting nearly 250 pounds at her highest. After years of trying to lose weight, she finally had a breakthrough when she decided to change her mindset about weight loss. Before it was all about finding a quick fix—now, her philosophy is about making one small change at a time. With her new mindset, Becky was able to lose over 100 pounds! She shares healthy, and not-so-healthy recipes on her blog, along with healthy living tips and motivation.

About: Amy started her weight loss journey after she ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon at her heaviest weight ever — and realized it was time to make a change. Fast forward a couple years, she's lost 65 pounds, motivated especially by her father, who she calls her “biggest cheerleader.” Then her father passed away, and things went downhill a bit. Amy gained 40 pounds back and in 2014 started a weight loss blog to embark on the ultimate quest: signing up for races (her most recent was the Star Wars Half Marathon) and letting readers know that she feels their pain — and, most importantly, that they can get through it and make the changes and run races, just like she is.
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.

Stress may contribute to abdominal fat, according to several studies, including a recent one at the University of California, San Francisco. "When you're stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism down and encourage fat storage inside your abdomen," explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Clinic at the University of Utah. So what's a frazzled girl to do? "Find an activity that reduces stress for you, whether it's listening to soothing music or taking yoga, and do it daily," advises Talbott.


This snack-busting tip comes from Tricia Minnick, who lost a whopping 128 pounds by cutting soda and processed carbs from her diet, filling half her plate with veggies at every meal, and brushing her teeth after eating. "It'll help stop night snacking," she says. "Fresh breath makes you less tempted to eat more." Wise up on other ways to stop mindless snacking with these tips.

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."
Your body needs a certain amount of essential vitamins and minerals to function properly. What happens when you don’t get enough of them? What happens when you eat too little food, or when the food you eat isn’t sufficiently nutritious? Perhaps our bodies catch on and reply by increasing hunger levels. After all – if we eat more, we increase the chances of consuming enough of whatever nutrient we are lacking.

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.

About: Courtney’s been overweight since second grade, and it’s taught her many valuable lessons (lessons she shares on her blog with nearly every update). Between 2010 and 2011, Courtney dropped an impressive 75 pounds, but then gained much of it back after giving birth to her son. Courtney’s been up and down in her weight loss journey, but with the start of her blog, she’s going to keep it off for good this time as she learns to be happy, healthy and finds financial freedom — taking us all along with her.
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!
Cassey Ho, award-winning fitness instructor and Pilates teacher, is the creator behind Blogilates. It’s now the No. 1 fitness channel on YouTube. Her blog is an extension of that channel, where Cassey’s aim is to motivate and inspire readers. She does this by sharing monthly workout calendars and posts about clean eating and getting fit in a way that’s actually enjoyable. Visit the blog.
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