Rather than a long and low-intensity cardio workout, try the HIIT method of cardio: intense, fast-paced intervals that leave you completely exhausted after only a 20- to 30-minute session. This form of cardio training increases the afterburn effect, allowing your body to continue burning calories long after your workout is over. You can rotate between 30 seconds of your favorite exercises, with rest in between, as long as they work different muscle groups—such as squats, push-ups and kettlebell swings.
Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
The first couple of weeks of wanting to make a change were in a very busy season of life. The first two weeks of January were filled with healthy food and exercise, but as soon as classes started, the business really kicked in. There were weekly ministry activities, ultimate frisbee practice, classes, research projects, trying to hang out with friends before everyone moved across the country after graduation, etc. The busier my schedule was, the less important healthy eating and exercise became. It was only a few weeks and I fell of the bandwagon and was back to my old habits and feeling frustrated. I would tell myself “I’ll eat better tomorrow” or “I’ll work out tomorrow night” and then had such difficulty following through. I pushed it off and pushed it off.  I had some short streaks of eating well, but my lack of self-control would lead me to easily giving up. I made excuses for my unhealthy lifestyle like “I’ve always been overweight” or “I’ve never consistently worked out” because there were overweight people that loved themselves well too.
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.
Soon after the ski trip, I left my desk job to pursue graduate school and took a part-time job working at the front desk of an upscale health club. One of the perks was a free membership, which was the motivation I needed to take control of my weight. I started exercising at the health club most mornings, taking Body Pump and spinning classes on a regular basis. Finding workout buddies helped too. I made some new friends who were avid runners and I began training for and participating in road races with them.

I would love to try this diet out since I will be going to the beach with a large sum of people in exactly 13 days, but one problem, i do not eat meat or fish. I do however consume beans and vegetables and i’m at the gym for two hours a day monday- friday . But for the past few months, I’ve only lost five pounds. I use to weigh 133, now i weigh 128. By the time we get to the beach i want a smaller stomach and hopefully smaller thighs and my goal weight is 118.
In the summer of 2009, I was stressed out with life!  So after dinner, every night, no matter what I went for a short walk around the block, and within 1 month I lost 10lbs.  My body must of went into shock with actually moving around.  That was the push I needed.  I was so excited to lose the weight that I actually started to watch what I ate.  I didn’t calorie count, I started out with portion control.  By November I dropped another 10lbs.  I was sitting around 150lbs.  That’s when I took notice of calories in food.  I was shocked to find out how many calories there were in my favorite foods.  I thought ordering a salad from Baja Fresh was a good idea!  Nope!  Having reduced fat desserts from Starbucks was ok,nope.  So I started to track calories on a website, my Virtual Trainer.  I was sticking to around 1200 calories a day, because that is what the magazines would tell me.
Gina Harney started The Fitnessista after she’d already lost 40 pounds. At the time, she was in maintenance mode in Georgia where, as she explains it, “healthy options were pretty scarce.” The blog was her way of chronicling how she sought out those healthy choices and often created them for herself. Today, Gina works as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and weight loss specialist. She loves sharing tips with her readers as they embark on their own journeys toward health. Visit the blog.
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