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.)
As women age, weight creeps up too, with the average women gaining about one pound per year in their 40s and 50s, resulting in an added 10 to 15 pounds. The drop in estrogen levels during this time of perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) contributes to weight gain and can change the way you distribute fat. You may gain weight in your belly more readily than you did in younger years.
Visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat, is the layer of fat below the muscles of your abdomen. Due to its crucial location surrounding many of your vital organs, belly fat supplies a constant source of energy but also exposes the body to harmful toxins and hormones. When you have too many fat cells or your fat cells get too large, they can overproduce toxins that increase your risk for chronic inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is why belly fat can be more dangerous than subcutaneous fat—or the outer layer of fat that you can pinch with your fingers. That said, the reason you're having trouble buttoning your pants may not be visceral fat: what we're calling "belly fat" these days could be bloating or water retention rather than a fat buildup. Read on for steps you can take to beat the bulge.
Yes whey: the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high-protein shakes are a vital part of a weight loss plan, so don’t hold back – especially at breakfast. According to research from the University of Bath, eat 700 calories before 11am and you’ll have better blood sugar levels than those who skipped the most important meal of the day. It’s the best excuse you’ll have of sticking with a morning fry-up and avoiding a costly Starbucks lunch.
“Don’t bring home foods you don’t want to snack on. If others in the house like treats, buy ones you dislike to avoid temptation. And keep your healthier foods—including veggies and high-protein snacks—front and center in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. When it came to losing 100 pounds, this is one of the things that helped me the most.” —Jamie Gold, 56, certified kitchen designer and author of New Bathroom Idea Book
In what is perhaps the biggest buzzkill of all time, sex doesn’t quite count as cardio or burn a significant amount of calories: Women burn about 3.6 per minute. "It’s still a good idea," Dr. Seltzer says, citing the activity’s other benefits, like increasing the output of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which naturally reduce food cravings.
Glad you started to work out! It took me to my mid 30’s before I started to workout! Now I do it at least 5 times a week! You feel so much better about yourself and your doing something good!! I’m glad you have a family that supports your healthy eating! Sometimes it can be hard when they don’t!!! Keep up all the great work and keep educating yourself on a healthy lifestyle!
Are you like Old Faithful when it comes to your morning walk or evening jog? Know this: The more you do an activity, the more your body adapts to it, so you burn fewer calories. If you want to light a fire under your metabolism, consider cross-training. For example, if you normally walk, try biking instead. "Since you're not used to working all those different muscles, it's a more intense workout, which can translate into a greater metabolic after-burn because your body is working harder to recover and get oxygen to all your tissues," says Carol Espel, M.S., an exercise physiologist for Equinox Fitness Clubs in New York City.
Some scientists and journalists have concluded from this body of evidence that there exists a ‘metabolic advantage’ associated with ketogenic diets. In other words some believe that ketogenic diets cause a greater expenditure of energy (aka, calories) than non-ketogenic diets leading to the claim that ‘a calorie is not a calorie’ (Feinman 2003, Taubes 2007). However this flies in the face of a standard tenet of nutrition and dietetics that in order to lose weight, we always have to eat fewer calories than we burn – i.e., ‘a calorie IS a calorie.’
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.
Trying to lose weight? Having trouble? Women often find it harder than men to shed excess pounds. In part that's because women's bodies have a tendency to "hold on" to a certain amount of fat. But in some cases the problem can be traced directly to certain habits and lifestyle traps - including many that can easily be remedied. Here are 10 weight-loss traps to watch out for:
About: Michelle’s first pregnancy was one of the best times of her life, but it was also a time when she gained weight. After her little one was born, Michelle started up her blog as a way to chronicle her weight loss and all her activities being a first-time mom. She lost nearly 60 pounds in six months, and is great if you’re looking for someone to follow who tries out new diets, fitness routines, healthy recipes and more. Oh yeah, and her crafts are amazing.
A 2012 study also showed that people on a low-carb diet burned 300 more calories a day – while resting! According to one of the Harvard professors behind the study this advantage “would equal the number of calories typically burned in an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity”. Imagine that: an entire bonus hour of exercise every day, without actually exercising. A later, even larger and more carefully conducted study confirmed the effect, with different groups of people on low-carb diets burning an average of between 200 and almost 500 extra calories per day.
About: If the title alone doesn’t draw you in, we don’t know what will. Start with Mariana’s “About the Fluff” section, and by then you’re for sure hooked. Mariana is a Puerto Rican on a journey to get rid of everything that weighs her down, whether that’s extra pounds, distractions from living a healthy life, unhealthy relationships, stress, you name it. Her blog is a day-by-day, step-by-step process that blends humor with reality in a way you’re darn sure going to understand if you’ve ever struggled with weight.
About: If ever there were a husband-wife duo who had the chops to back up what they’re selling, it’s Hilda and Randy. And the good news? They’re not really “selling” you anything. They’re two people who care about their faith and want to use their own experiences getting healthy using a low-carb diet to help guide others to wholesome wellness, too. Randy lost more than 70 pounds and overcame Type II diabetes and hypertension, and Hilda is a survivor of the Guillan Barre Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Now, both of them are pastors who blog delicious, healthy recipes, plus insightful, impactful truths about finding health and wholesome lives. Pretty powerful stuff.
Jennifer, I am a little different than you. I have always been a big girl and right now, I am near 200 pounds. I am about 5’3 and I’ve always had trouble losing weight. I’m actually very athletic. I love to play sports and I’m good at them, but I hate running. I also splurge a lot. it’s a bad habit of mine to snack when I’m bored. I’m a recent college student and eating healthy is difficult, not to mention exercise. since I live on the fourth floor, I try to take the stairs only. I’m pretty good about that. I have a slow metabolism and I have no sense of calorie counting. I’m desperate for help, but I need to concentrate on my studies. what advice can you give me?
About: On March 1, 2014, a visit to the doctor’s office really brought things home for Bobby. At 6 feet tall, Bobby weighed in at 345 pounds. To be at a healthy weight, his doctor said he needed to weigh 177 pounds, 168 pounds less than the weight he was at. In essence, Bobby realized he was essentially carrying around another person. The moment was the catalyst he needed to change. Rather than set any unrealistic expectations, Bobby decided to set the small, attainable goal of losing 2 pounds a week. So began his blog. And, guess what? It worked. Two years later, Bobby weighs in at 214 pounds (he looks great, by the way), and continues to take those small baby steps that are helping him achieve a healthy body. Bravo.
Real talk: It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain. "Do what you like because it’s good for you," Dr. Seltzer says, noting the way exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.
"With all the different tips out there, it can be tricky to understand exactly which exercises work the best. HIIT is great for fat burning and will get your heart rate up, but I’d also recommend including strength (resistance) exercises too. Try lifting weights, using resistance bands or using the weight machines at the gym as these will increase your metabolism to help with weight loss, and increase your muscle strength. It’s important to mix-up your whole-body workouts so you don’t get bored."
About: If there’s anyone who feels the pain of bouncing up and down with weight loss, it’s Emily. In 2011, she started working to shed the pounds, and got down to 151 by 2012. Then she went back up again...to 181. 2013 rolls around, and enter: her blog. Emily set out to lose the weight for good. She’s already down to 148, and although she only blogs about two times a month, her quirky style definitely makes them worth reading.
Erika Nicole Kendall—or Evil Fitness Barbie, as she calls herself—went from a self-proclaimed couch potato to a NASM-certified trainer who specializes in weight loss, women's fitness, and nutrition. The “Emotional Eating” subsection of her blog, A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss, is worth checking out for its unfiltered look at postpartum depression and self-care.
I’m glad you found me! I never heard of Nutrition Blog Network. The last 10lbs are hard, but to be honest it’s even harder to keep it off. Personally I’m struggling with that now. If you working out I think 1200 calories isn’t enough calories. I would add a 100 more a day to see how you do with that. The body and weight is sucj a funny thing, you just have to try different things and see what works for you!! Great job on losing 45lbs! That is so awesome!! You should be so very proud of yourself. Stop by anytime and let me know how your progress is going!
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
About: Megan is a lifelong runner who exemplifies what’s it’s like to find happiness in fitness. Her blog is mainly a personal diary about her running, race trainings and occasional trim-ups, but it’s her integrity and honesty that makes you want to keep reading once you start. She’s a real person with real ups-and-downs, perfect for a person who is well on their way to their goal weight and a general healthy lifestyle, but sometimes takes a few steps back and struggles. Megan, like them, has downs, but her continuous determination is something you’re sure to admire.
I also put on almost all of the 60 lbs – but am afraid to get back on the scale. From all the reading of grief I have been doing, it seems that intense grief can alter metabolism, store fat, and change your hormonal balance. I am not on any anti depression meds, thankfully, but probably did a lot of comfort eating. I want to get off this fat wagon, cause it is very uncomfortable, and now I feel like I am being smothered in this fat body. I have already started – 2 days, and reading all I can about it. I am glad I found your website. Can you give me any starter pointers? I feel like my sweetheart is directing me from Heaven – he was so supportive and kind & loving, I want to be strong and honor his memory. He would have wanted me to be successful, he was so wonderful, and so missed. :,(
So at age 20 my weight started to climb, but I didn’t notice or care because I was having fun. At about age 24, I still didn’t workout at all and just partied and enjoyed my time with my friends. I had an asthma attack, and went to the Doctors and that is when he told me, if I keep going this route I would die! (Thanks Dr. Becker) Pretty abrupt, but it’s true. I was hitting near 200lbs and heading down the road of disaster. I don’t think I ever made it to 200lbs, but I came pretty close. (That’s me with the brown hair and bag in the picture, gross huh?)
Hi Adam. Your story is amazing & Ive been searching for a way to lose weight & look slim. I’m not obese or anything but I am overweight for my height. I’m 5’2″ & I way 137. I really want to be 125 or 120. Hopefully by the summer. But I’m also 16 & built. I’m active in sports & go to the gym regularly but my diet isn’t very healthy but I don’t know with my age if I should cut back on the foods you have suggested. What should I do?
Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds alot like my journey with weight. You are a brave young woman. We had the quinoa pizza bites and they were delicious. I have celiac disease and love coming across great gluten free recipes. My brother stopped by and tried one and he even liked it. That is a great compliment as he thinks every thing I make is “freaky hippy food”
"Order without looking at the menu. Almost every restaurant has the basics—veggies, grains, and protein. If you go in knowing what you want, I guarantee you'll be able to make a meal. If you're too uncomfortable to ask for what you need, tell a white lie: Say you're allergic. I know it's controversial to suggest this, but women in particular can really have trouble standing up for their own needs. So if you want the broccoli soup puréed without cream, tell the waiter you're lactose intolerant."
Carb crazy? Consider this: Refined carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes and rice, create a surge in insulin that in turn drives down your resting metabolic rate, explains Aronne. "It's important to keep carbohydrates in your diet, but really focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which have less of an effect on insulin levels," he explains. And when buying whole-grain breads and cereals, make sure the first ingredient listed is whole wheat, whole oat or cracked wheat.
Great article. I am having a hard time losing bodyfat. Im 33 5’10 190. Workout 3-4 days a week late at night like 1030-11 and go to bed like 145-2 am. Im pretty athletic and former personal trainer. I work til like 8pm during week. I drink black and green tea unsweet and water. For breakfast I either have a protein shake or 2 Kind bars ( all natural)
#1 – Eat enough food! Your body can’t function without it’s fuel! You need a MINIMUM of 1200 calories a day for woman, but I personally recommend at least 1500, but you should consult your doctor for a better amount. Just remember if you don’t eat enough, your body goes into starvation mode and will store everything as fat. Also if you eat to much, you’ll gain! Remember 1lbs is 3500 calories! Your body burns calories when we do nothing so dont’ think you’ll gain 3500 calories if you eat that in a week. Here’s more information about that. It’s to hard for me to explain. http://www.caloriesperhour.com/tutorial_BMR.php
Simply popping a few almonds in your mouth could help you shed pounds, and not just because almonds are better for you than, say, candy. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating 1.5 ounces of almonds a day reduced belly and leg fat. And another study of overweight adults found that people who ate ¼ cup of almonds for 6 months had a 62 percent greater reduction in weight and BMI.
Many people chew gum as a way to stifle cravings or prevent mindless eating but this tactic may have an unfortunate side effect: belly bloat. Everyone naturally swallows a small amount of air when they chew but it’s magnified for people who chew gum, which causes gas and bloating. In addition, some artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase your appetite for junk food, so gum could be increasing your waistline on two fronts.
Let’s go back to the beginning. I was always thin-ish. From my skinny teenage years to “just a healthy weight” college years, I was always thin-ish. Like I maybe topped 130lbs by the age of 21. Like most of you may know, Mark and I started dating at 14, got married at 20, started a business at 22 and then graduated college by 23. By the time we graduated college, we had somehow managed to build a legit company… APF, Inc. What literally began as Mark’s desire to be self-employed combined with his amazing gift of self-taught construction skills and my marketing “abilities”, quickly went from a backyard hobby to a full fledged stone countertop company. He spent his junior year of college fabricating granite in my Uncle’s backyard with a $2,500 saw loan from my uncle, a rope and a truck to maneuver the slabs along with a big humongous dream. This is going somewhere I promise ;-). He took Tuesday/Thursday classes and worked Monday, Wednesday and Fridays fabricating in the ole’ backyard. I was answering client e-mails and returning client calls between classes and at night while we worked at a local restaurant on the weekends. By our senior year, our company had grown just enough to afford for us to lease our own fabrication facility and that’s when life started to officially get CRAZY. It was amazing but it was absolutely INSANE. Once Mark graduated in December 2004, he was able to devote his full attention to the company and then I joined him when I graduated in May 2005. Upon my graduation in 2005, we had just moved to a much larger fabrication location, had approximately 11 additional employees and we were opening up a separate showroom location in downtown Monroe, GA. As exciting and wonderful as it all was, it was a stress that I cannot put into words. We had both worked so hard to grow the company yet didn’t quite realize what we were getting ourselves into. As two 23 year olds “self-thrust” into suddenly owning a company, we started to truly bring the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard” to reality. Well as much fun as it was at times, the stress was intense. From managing employees to handling customers and issues and bills and everything in between, I got to a point where I started taking anxiety medication. Biggest mistake EVER.
I kept my blood sugar from spiking by following a fat loss program built for me. It was quite similar to the slow carb diet. The methods I used were from the advice I found from a variety of locations, surrounding foods and how diet alone can make for some amazing weight loss. You can get the program we used for this right here: women click here – and – men click here.
Fast forward to January of my senior year of college (the beginning of 2016). One day I decided to weigh myself – I never weighed myself throughout high school and college, mostly because I was scared of disappoint but also because I didn’t have access to a scale and didn’t want to buy one. I stepped on the scale, and I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I felt embarrassed, shameful, and defeated. I knew I needed to finally commit to making a change. I wanted to commit to healthy eating and exercise because I thought weight loss would kickstart my journey to a healthier lifestyle.
#3 – Eat breakfast! As Mom always said it’s the most important meal of the day and it is. Your body needs fuel to speed up your metabolism and to get you going. I like to eat yogurt with fruit and granola, or oatmeal with Greek Yogurt, and sometimes eggs and pancakes. I like to eat about 300 calories for breakfast. Having full hearty meals, with protein, a pinch of fat and carbs will keep me filled for 3 or 4 hours.
Since insulin sensitivity is at its highest in the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, and carb intake is free to be at its highest, exercise can be more aerobic (long, moderate heart-rate-elevating cardio exercises). It is at this time that you can do your best high performance cardio training. Here you can challenge yourself with longer-term exercises that may be more “stressful” for your body, like long bike rides, tabata sprints, night-long dance sessions, and the like. It is at this time in your cycle that your body can handle the most aerobic stress.
Hi my name is heaven I am 16 years old I have really bad confidence I have everything to lose I hate life most times but I would like to see if this works I need a list of things I should eat I’m 184 pounds and I would like to lose it my goal is 140 or at 130 please reply you would make me the happiest person even though it shouldn’t even matter if you make me happy or not you don’t know me but I would appreciate it please HELP ME! Thank you 🙂
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.
Hi Gary! Thank you for the nice comment, Sorry it took so long for me to reply. I understand about seeing pictures of yourself and it’s wonderful that it motivated you. For a lot of people it doesn’t. It didn’t for me for years. Until one day, I was digging in my drawer and I found a picture of me and I couldn’t believe my eyes! My family said it wasn’t me, well it was me! I recognize my shoes and handbag anywhere! I keep that picture on my fridge, and when the urge to eat hits, I look at it, breath and ask myself,am I really hungry?
Replace the negative voice in your head that's telling you to quit with a motivational saying that will inspire you to keep going even when it gets tough. "I powered through workouts telling myself, 'I can do hard things!'" says Megen Karlinsey, who kept off 150 pounds. Her mantra helped her accomplish a triathlon, which she signed up for to blast a weight loss plateau.
I think the most important changes though is the removal of the “white carbohydrates” and the sugary drinks. These and other highly processed and pre-packaged foods that have become our western culture staple is really what’s contributed to obesity and so many other health issues. Just getting that out of your diet and replacing it with natural, low-GI, high-fiber foods will melt the fat off quicker than you can imagine.
Alexis Eggleton is the creator of one of our most inspirational blogs, Trading Cardio for Cosmos, where she shares positive and inspirational messages, lessons in emotional wellness, healthy recipes and also features weight loss success stories, including her own! She has lost more than 100 pounds with Weight Watchers and exercise, all without losing her sunny disposition! Alexis’ weight loss journey reminds us that you can be healthy without having to sacrifice your favorite foods, and you can do it all with a smile!