When you've got a lot of weight to lose, deciding where to begin can be super-overwhelming—but we've got a good place for you to start. We've talked to dozens of women who completely transformed their bodies—we're talking shedding 50-plus pounds—and pulled together a list of the eight simple changes they made that had the biggest impact on the scale. Their tried-and-true tips might be exactly what you need to get on the path to serious results. But don't just take our word for it: These women's results speak for themselves.
Wow, Penny. You sure have had more than your fair share of struggles! I am so impressed at how you have continued to persevere and do whatever you could to succeed, despite all of the setbacks. YOU are the inspiring one! You found a way to exercise that didn’t cause you pain, you are making the healthiest choices you can in your circumstances. I am so glad you shared your story with me!
About: One of the things you’ll notice first when you open up Lori’s blog is that she’s a very visual person — a style that reflects in her posts, which are chock full of photos sharing her fitness, food, travel and more. Lori started blogging about three years ago when she decided to lose 115 pounds. Now, she’s 105 pounds down and went from tipping the scales to doing a triathlon. Quite impressive, especially considering Lori has been overweight all her life. Follow her if you want to read about someone who’s the epitome of success, someone who continues to eat right, stay fit and maintain a huge weight loss.
About: Helen’s a sweet and simple kind of girl. She’s a runner in mid-life whose goal is to live healthy while mixing in a bit of adventure too. But what really makes her blog special is the number of delicious, healthy recipes she has developed along the way. They’re easy to follow and loaded with pics. And although Helen does sometimes take long breaks between posts, when she does do an update, they're among the most well-read on her blog.
I actually woke up this morning thinking that just as we plan our days, our social lives, our journeys so we need to really plan what we eat and – like a route map – and stick to it without deviation if we want to reach our goal. So that’s what I’m about to try. It is, however, all too easy, come the weekend, to be influenced by those around us who are not so bothered by their reflection in the mirror. But to be true to myself I am going to listen to my body and be strong in aiming for that end goal and not succumb to all those crisps with double gin and tonics(!), slices of toast with eggs for breakfast and snacks that I am given that I haven’t been in control of making. I’m going to ask if I am actually hungry or just bored or just being plain greedy. I will need to politely decline my husband’s pampering treats of cheese, pickle on brown bread – or offer to make a more healthy snack of my choice and making – crisp bread, crudités. Or perhaps I’ll simply half the snack and give my husband the other. I’ll listen to my body.
Only 11% of Americans correctly estimate their ideal daily calorie requirements, according to one survey. The rest of us tend to overestimate, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Let's say you assume that consuming 2,000 calories per day will allow you to reach your target weight, but it really takes 1,800: Those extra 200 are enough to keep an additional 20 pounds on your frame.
When you’re eating to deal with your emotions, like anxiety, stress or unhappiness, you’re likely not reaching for carrot sticks and blueberries, but carbohydrates, processed foods and even alcohol. Those calories eventually add up and, at the same time, you’re avoiding learning how to deal with difficult emotions and situations. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.
About: Alycia’s been following blogs for years, but to her, the biggest problem is that many of them don’t start until after the author loses weight and finds success. Alycia’s got a different way of doing things — she is blogging to show her real-time approach for shedding her unwanted pounds, exercising and eating right. She’s putting it all out there and hoping that she can succeed, plus inspire a few people along the way.
About: It may be tough to tell by looking at her photo (complete with a very toned tummy), but Hannah’s no stranger to gaining weight. She packed on about 50 pounds each time she became pregnant with her two kids until she eventually went from a size 4 to a size 12-14. The pregnancies also changed her body and made her unhappy with the way she looked. Ready for change, Hannah created a fitness and food plan for herself, stuck to it and noticed she slowly but surely lost weight and started to look more and more toned. Now she’s studying to be a personal trainer, and her blog is a place she shares all her fitness tips, nutrition ideas and motivation to help others lose weight too.
But while walking can definitely help burn belly fat, it's not quite that simple, Steven Goelzer, a certified personal trainer and metabolic specialist at Life Time Athletic in Laguna Nigel, CA, told POPSUGAR. "Burning fat depends way more on hormones than the type of workout you're doing," Goelzer said. "Low-intensity exercise (like walking) should burn a high percentage of fat, but the volume of training needed does not necessarily fit well in most people's schedules," he added, noting that a person's metabolism also helps determine how much walking they'd need to do to start to burn fat.
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.
The winter came and several work outs happened at Truman's Rec Center. I also committed to my first half marathon in April, so the start of the new year brought many morning runs. I kept experimenting with meals and trying new ways to cook foods I loved. Some weeks were great, and others were not. I kept my head up and reminded myself the hard work was worth it. It was worth it to take care of my body, to take care of my heart, and to take care of my mind.
But before we do, we need to acknowledge that these questions have sparked an intense debate among serious scientists and the lay public over the last 15 years, and in the process sparking the expenditure of tens or millions of dollars on research in which both sides of the debate strove to prove the other side wrong. While we will discuss some of this research, much of it involving short-term studies done under artificially controlled conditions, we will also try to anchor this discussion with a perspective drawn from research utilizing well-formulated ketogenic diets for meaningful durations in the real world.
Research shows this intensity combo also makes you faster. In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that when cyclists performed six weeks of 80/20-style training, they more than doubled their power and performance gains, such as lactate threshold, compared to when they spent more time in moderate training zones.
“I learned how to cook from scratch and experiment with flavors. The biggest change my husband Mark and I made was planning our meals for the week on Sundays. We also rely on food optimizing—using vegetables to bulk up our meals but still keep them low-calorie. It helped me lose 52 pounds and 8 dress sizes, while Mark lost 110 pounds.” —Amanda Gibbon, 46
Monica May is a Fitness Trainer, Nutritionist, Health Coach, and the writer and voice behind the Fit Girl’s Diary blog. She uses her blog as a way to motivate and support her readers through ongoing weight loss battles. Her passion and belief that a solid support system can make all the difference is what makes Fit Girl’s Diary of the most inspirational blogs for your journey. With healthy recipes, diet and workout programs, and endless support, Fit Girl’s Diary is there to help!
That sour cherry is pretty sweet when it comes to your health. The results of a study conducted at the University of Michigan found that rats given high-fat foods along with tart cherries ditched nine percent more body fat than those in a control group over just 12 weeks. Cherries are also a good source of antioxidant pigment resveratrol, which has been linked to reductions in belly fat, dementia risk, and lower rates of macular degeneration among the elderly.
I didn’t use a plan. I started with baby steps. I walked around the block everyday after dinner, and from there I started on portion control and then eating healthier. Right now, I try to work out 5 days a week with light walking on the weekends. It’s a lifestyle change. I have been able to pretty much stay the same weight after I lost weight. Eating is the key factor. What you see me post is what I eat. I try to have a variety of meals that are healthy and never boring. Check out my tip page, those are the rules I follow. Hey you lost 43lbs, meaning you can do it again. Really go slow, and start out with small steps. One month of walking around the block, then start measuring what you eat, then eat healthier. I don’t believe in giving up the foods I love I just eat smaller portions of it or have it as a treat once a week. For me bread is my favorite thing, so I have a hearty fat sandwich for dinner one night during the week, thats my treat! I wish you the best of luck, you know you can do it!!! I believe in you!!
Top Quote: “If I surrender, give up the fight to do it all alone, then I’ll probably remain on the outskirts of that tribe of origin permanently. Is that a tough thing to write? You bet. But here’s the gorgeous thing about life – you can make your own tribe. You can form your own crew, you can find other lovable, crazy-about-life people that will be there to support you and lift you up.”
I didn’t realize just how many calories I was consuming, so tracking what I ate helped keep me aware of what I was putting in my mouth. I don’t count calories anymore, but I track macros (protein, carb, and fat grams) to keep my diet balanced and in check. Macros allows me to have my carrots and cake, too! If you’re interested in learning more or want to work together, check out my macro plan options!
“I have one heck of a sweet tooth, and so I have to refuse to bring candy, cake, or sweets into the house, period,” say Lin Williams, who’s lost 105 pounds. Instead, if she wants a treat she has to want it bad enough to get up, get in the car, leave her home, and go to the store—a process that rarely feels worth it. And on the rare occasion she does indulge? “I get exactly what I want and enjoy every bite of it!” she says.
In proofreading this I decided to add a little side note. This is MY personal story and personal experience with anxiety medication. Maybe it just isn’t for me, maybe it just wasn’t the right one or maybe I just had a bad experience. Whatever the case may be, I completely understand that everyone has different situations and different stories. For me, anxiety was induced by our life situation and was something that I have been able to since manage on my own. But I completely understand and acknowledge that this might not be the case for everyone and I completely respect that.
About: Rachael’s got a unique combination of expertise. She’s an avid fitness lover, a health fanatic and a registered nurse. She also has to combat strange work hours to keep up her active lifestyle and exercise regimen, which is exactly why we picked her. When you’re among those who are trying to lose weight but have a hectic schedule, Rachael’s the blogger to turn to for advice. She knows how to fight obstacles like sleep deprivation, food cravings, boredom hunger and (of course) being “too busy” to get healthy.
Choose the turkey sandwich over pizza and you think you're set, but again, looks can be deceiving. A turkey sandwich that comes on focaccia with cheese and mayo can deliver 970 calories. Two slices of pepperoni pan pizza total 520 calories. Put your sandwich in a spinach wrap instead of regular bread? It's the same difference, says Tara Gidus, RD, a former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "My clients think they get more nutrients and save on calories with 'healthy bread,' but often that's not the case."
Thanks so much for sharing your story! I saw your Instagram post opening up this post for questions. My question is about your arms. How was the skin under your arm after losing the weight? Did you do any exercises to target that area? Your arms look great & it is giving me hope that if I can get some more weight off mine will continue to improve. Would love to know any secrets there!
Basically, the effect of exercise on our weight is vastly overrated. That’s why it’s only number 15 on this list. There are other things you need to take care of first. It’s not a good idea to eat bad food, drink sugar water (so-called “sports drinks”) or be on medications which force you to exercise for hours daily just to compensate. Metaphorically that’s like digging a hole, into which you put your ladder, on which you stand and paint the basement-level windows of your house.
Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar — up to four grams per tablespoon — and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat fast. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better; the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.
Exercise will help you increase your metabolism and is key to how lose weight fast, It tones your body, tightens up excess skin, increases your stamina, gives you more energy, and makes you happier and healthier. And for those reasons it is important to rapid weight loss, but it’s not everything! It will help you stay on plan and stay motivated, so find an exercise you love and do it.
About: Nicole’s just a regular ‘ole girl that occasionally likes to try new fitness and, as she puts it, only gets up to work out at 5 a.m. if she’s under duress. And it’s that attitude that makes her so gosh darn appealing. She’s not the in-your-face runner, the strict “paleo-diet-only” recipe blogger. She’s just an average girl doing average things — much like the rest of us. Plus, she’s pretty darn funny and not afraid to use self-deprecating humor. Love it.
Research demonstrates that eating later can actually lead to slower weight loss, while eating a larger meal at breakfast and smaller meals throughout the day can help you lose more weight! And while we’re not going to tell you to restrict yourself to no food after 6 p.m, it’s important to consider what time of day you struggle most with temptation.
With potatoes, leave the skin on (with baked or mashed potatoes) or if you peel them, make snacks of them. For example, drizzle olive oil, rosemary, salt, and garlic on the peels and bake at 400 F (205 C) for fifteen minutes for baked Parmesan garlic peels. Keeping the skin on potatoes when cooking them helps keep more vitamins/minerals in the flesh (just don't eat any parts of skin that are green).
Furthermore, when we studied 9 lean healthy young men and fed them first a ‘balanced diet’ for a week locked in a metabolic ward and then the exact same calories as a ketogenic diet for 4 weeks, they did not lose any body fat (only about 2 pounds of water) despite being consistently and strongly in nutritional ketosis. (Phinney 1983) And finally, the 10 low carb runners from our FASTER Study had been following a low carb or ketogenic lifestyle for at least 6 months (average blood ketones of 0.6 mmol/L); but while thin, none of them were continuing to lose significant weight (Volek 2016).
Mason, A. E., Epel, E. S., Aschbacher, K., Lustig, R. H., Acree, M., Kristeller, J., … Daubenmier, J. (2016, May 1). Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite , 100, 86–93. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799744/
If you’re eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, odds are you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to help boost weight-loss and lose weight fast. But it’s also a good idea to take vitamins that can supplement your diet; B vitamins (especially B2 and B12) can boost energy, vitamin D can regulate appetite and aid in weight loss, and magnesium can trigger lipolysis, a process where your body releases fat from where it’s stored.
For some, as little as one or two drinks can impact weight loss. Beyond just its contribution of calories, alcohol interferes with the digestion and utilization of other nutrients, including fat. If you’re hitting a weight plateau and drink alcohol, evaluate your alcohol intake. Consider the type and the volume of alcohol you’re consuming. The carbohydrates and calories can add up quickly, and not to mention, we sometimes tend to reach for food when drinking – whether hungry or not!
About: The primary purpose of Amanda’s website may not be to share fitness tips (she’s a virtual personal trainer), but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some amazing ideas on how to exercise in her blog. Amanda’s proven methods are the perfect balance of active training and rewarding results. Here, you’ll find fitness tips, training plans, healthy recipes and tons of health & nutritional information.
Arteries (are-te-rease): The blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood away from your heart for delivery to every part of your body. Arteries look like thin tubes or hoses. The walls are made of a tough outer layer, a middle layer of muscle and a smooth inner wall that helps blood flow easily. The muscle layer expands and contracts to help blood move.
Hi Adam, my name is lea. I’m 12 years old (7th grade) and i have been chubby since 2nd grade. I know that is difficult for a child to be on a diet but i am almost a teen and i think it’s time for me to start a little diet. The only problem is that i want to 8-10 ponds in 6 weeks! please help me, any suggestions. I have a batmitzvah coming up in december and i wanted it off by then. Please help!
Hi, I am in a female my early 20’s and put on 14 pounds from june last year. I am on a diet similar to this its called the Candida diet, (no bread, no pasta, no potatoes, no milk product, no sugar) I have been on it almost a week I don’t see much of a difference in my weight. My calorie intake is different every day sometimes as low as 700 calories a day (hard to find high calorie foods that are acceptable on the diet, beans are not allowed) I have been eating avocados and nuts to compensate. I do minimal exercise usually a 40 minute walk a day. When you said your metabolism will slow when given less calories, it that the reason I’m not loosing weight?
Hi! Great article. I know what you mean about how seeing fast results can get you so excited that it motivates you to do more – eat better, become more active, etc. I lost 5 pounds on a program and I didn’t exercise at all but I got so much energy and desire to have more results that it is changing the way I think and live. I look up great healthy recipes, exercise tips all kinds of healthy minded things. Also I totally agree about the cheat days. No matter what program we are on we need to feel ok when we have a cheat day. If we punish ourselves because we enjoyed a little extra one day then we end up in worse shape. (well that was my experience) Now I know it’s ok if I have a little extra every so often because I know the next day I’m excited to get back to following my plan.
Thank you so much for this article on carb cycling & weight loss for women! I found it tremendously helpful for personal reasons but also because I work with so many women (as a personal trainer) who encounter significant frustration when it comes to weight loss, health & hormonal status (the interplay among them). Your article seems to speak to mostly women of reproductive age or to women who are still menstruating. I also work with many women age 50+ and wondered what recommendations, if any, might you have to offer regarding carbs/carb cycling for peri-/menopausal/post-menopausal women? Thank you so much, Stefani – the info & wisdom you share on your blog & via your podcast (which I love!) are invaluable to me. I also totally dig your book and recommend it to other women all the time! I so appreciate the work you’re doing!
After the summer of hell on the treadmill, I started running outside and built my endurance. I bought myself a pair of good running shoes and used the MapMyRun app to track where I was going and how far I went. Some days of running were great and I could go for three miles and feel awesome the entire run, but then other days were so bad. I remember there were times I was in the middle of a run and wanted so bad to give up and I would have to walk for a little bit to give myself a break before running again. I remember sometimes I would get so discouraged that I would cry and call Alan to see if he could pick me up because I gave up on myself in the middle of a run. Again, I had to learn to give myself grace on the days when I didn’t do as well as I wanted because I knew that in terms of big-picture, I was slowly making progress. I trained my body to relate exercise as a way of relaxation.
As my body changed, people started to notice. The encouragement and positive talk from friends and family was helpful, except for when people would say things like, “wow you look so great now!” Now. It didn’t quite sit right to hear that some people thought I looked a lot better now, but that I didn’t look as great before. It was important to remind myself that I looked great no matter what. More important than what other people think about my looks, I needed to accept and love myself and my body, even if my body never changed. I didn’t set out on the weight loss journey to have other people change their minds about how I looked; I started the journey to create a healthy body, healthy mind, and overall wellness.
About: Laura is a health coach whose passion to help others overcome addiction and gain a satisfying life comes from her own history: For years she battled addiction (to food, cigarettes and many other things) and was taught to believe that as a woman, she was less valuable than a man. Trapped in her own mind and truly miserable, Laura one day realized that the key to overcoming her addictions was to make deliberate choices for every single thing she did — a mindset that taught her just how valuable she is. Now, she’s an extraordinarily strong-willed champion of women’s health who shares her knowledge and expertise with others. A true inspiration on so many levels.
Fibrous foods are as close to a “miracle belly flattening pill” as we have. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, particularly those high in soluble fiber, have been proven to reduce fat around your midsection. In addition, these foods fill you up so you eat less, flattening your stomach over time. Try one of these 5 easy ways to turn off your fat genes and keep the weight off for good.
One of the easiest ways to burn some extra calories is to get up from your chair at work; standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting, according to a British study. If you are lucky enough to have a standing desk, make sure you utilize it. If not, you can easily make your own by stacking books or boxes on your desk and standing up to work. At the very least, make sure you’re taking a break every hour to stand up and stretch, and possibly go for a walk around the office. Every bit of movement counts!
Let’s step back and think about this issue from a cultural/historical perspective. If Native American nomads (e.g., the Osage, Kiowa, Lakota, Blackfeet, Shoshone), the Inuit in the Arctic, or the Maasai in Africa ate moderate protein and virtually no carbs, they would remain in nutritional ketosis year around, and yet they manifestly did not keep losing weight until they wasted away.
Emily Ho is a fashion-lover, social media strategist, writer, and lifestyle blogger for Authentically Emmie. In 2009, Emmie’s blog began as a weight loss blog, but over the years has evolved into something so much more. After losing over 110 pounds, she shifted her focus from losing weight and seeking validation from the scale to living a healthy lifestyle with the body she has, and not hating it. Her now healthy living blog is a platform to discuss life, plus-size fashion, body positivity, and more!