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: Alicia is no stranger to blogging. She’s had a few in the last decade, including “Girls Just Wanna Be Healthy,” where she shared her struggles and triumphs as she sought to drop from 190 to 159. But she just recently launched her new blog, where Alicia has morphed from someone who spent her entire life being embarrassed and ashamed of her body into a confident young woman ready to share herself — and maybe help a few others along the way.

"Your body needs a healthy balance of exercise and rest. Doing too much prevents the body from shifting excess fat. Exercising without rest can impact our levels of the steroid hormone cortisol and cause an increase of stubborn fat stored in the belly. Not allowing your body to recover can increase the risk of injury too, so make sure you factor in rest days to your plan."
In just over a week, we’ll be counting down till midnight and ringing in 2019. The start of the New Year motivates millions of Americans to lose weight, but why wait until the ball drops to get started? In this Holiday Weight Loss Survival Guide, we discuss how getting active can get you through New Year’s celebrations and help you with your resolutions.

Starchy veggies (like potatoes) and processed whole grains (like whole-wheat bread) are foods I’d normally recommend eating in moderation, since they provide plenty of nutrients, fiber, and healthy carbs. However, high-carb foods aren’t your best friend when you’re looking to drop water weight. Essentially, when your body stores excess carbs, it stores them with water. So replacing carb-heavy foods with non-starchy veggies that still provide filling fiber without as much water retention is the way to go. For a week before your event, you can swap out the starchy carbs for more non-starchy vegetables to lose some water weight. (These are 10 things experts wish you knew about water weight.)


Try a diet in which you consume 2200 calories (men) or 2000 calories (women) per day. This should cause a deficit sufficient for you to lose one or two pounds per week, depending on your activity level. Some women may require lower daily calorie intake, such as 1800 or 1500 a day. Start by limiting yourself to a 2000 calorie limit per day, and lower the limit if you do not see progress.
While you can get tests to evaluate the cortisol level in your blood, only you can determine your own innate level of stress. Take some time to evaluate if you are living in a constant (or close to constant) state of stress. You might also notice increased anxiety levels, mood swings, trouble sleeping, fatigue (including feeling tired but unable to wind down) and high blood pressure.
"When we’re lacking in sleep, our body’s hormones get thrown off balance which can impact our hunger levels the next day. We all have two hormones that affect our appetite: ghrelin and leptin. When we don’t get enough sleep, our ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) rise, and our leptin levels (the hormone that makes us feel full) drop. This means that when we’re awake, we tend to eat more but feel less satisfied. Try going to bed a little earlier than usual to avoid this imbalance and remember to remove any distractions that might prevent you from nodding off."
I played tennis from my freshman through junior year of high school and, again, really enjoyed the sport, but abhorred the running.  Our coach was a middle-aged guy who could run circles around me.  The entire team would have finished their laps around the field, while I was still stumbling along next to the (also middle-aged) assistant coach, who I’m quite sure they sent in as an attempt to get me to run faster.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!. I started keto on 11/17/16. I have lost about 4 pounds since then. Of course the holidays were in there & although I didn’t fall off, I did go over macros a bit & set back during all three (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years). My DH started w/ me on 1/1/17 & has lost probably 15-20 pounds without effort although his blood pressure went up. I am perplexed at my lack of pound loss. I have been tracking macros & calories daily since 1/18/17. I have lost a couple of inches total between thighs, waist, & hips. I am having a terrible time finding anyone who has similar results. I feel great, feel like there is little inflammation in my body. I sure wish the scale would decline! I am open to advice. I have about 32 pounds to lose to be at my goal weight. I also have not been working out since the middle of January. Just being lazy there. I am afraid to start back up again as I know when I do, the scale goes up for a while. Seriously, I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for this article! I am going to continue w/ the WOE as it is the only one where I don’t feel such a huge carb craving.. This is a blessing!
Hi, I have hypothyroid syndrome and if I look at pizza I gain a pound. I have been able to keep my weight off by staying away from starches and carbs after breakfast, leaving me only 1/2 a whole wheat English muffin and 1 hard boiled egg (no salt or butter). I do eat natural unpasterized honey ont the 1/2 carb serving. I am strict about salt and stay away from it. I do not eat processed foods and I drink approx. 10 glasses of water a day. My frustration is that I am too comfortable and I am losing nothing. I got really sick last year a ton of weight fell off; now about 8 pounds have returned and I can’t budge them. I work out, I do weights, I cheat in two ways: every Friday night only, I allow myself a couple of glasses of white wine during my fav. program. On Sunday I cheat. But even then, I don’t sit down to plates of cake as I fantasize! What else should I do? I am leaving for vacation in 1 month and I want the 8 pounds gone! I feel I will starve if I cut anymore.
Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”  
Tamsyn Smith is a triathlete, running coach, fitness instructor, and author of the weight loss journey blog, Fat Girl To Ironman. Tamsyn is currently 60% of the way to reaching her 5-year personal challenge of, you guessed it, running in an Ironman distance triathlon! She began her fitness journey as an overweight couch potato and has since lost over 35 pounds and maintains a healthy and active lifestyle. Tamsyn documents her training on her blog and continues to train for her ultimate goal, Ironman success!
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.
HIIT elicits the same health benefits as steady-state cardio, but can lead to even greater improvements in body composition, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.[1-3] And you definitely burn more calories when you do it! Additionally, the release of hormones like epinephrine increases with high-intensity exercise, which can help your body use more fat for fuel.[1]
Love this post of your weight loss journey. Thank you for sharing. You are so real and honest and I love that about you and your blog. I too am struggling with my weight loss/gain since having my daughter in Jan 2009. I lost 80lbs back in 2000 but it has all come back on especially since having my daughter and not focusing on my well being and putting all my enegy into my daughter. This totally inspires me that I can get back on track. Congrats to you for your weight loss accomplishments. You look fabulous!
Those trans fats on your menu are hiding out in plain sight and sabotaging your lean belly plans every time you eat them. If a food product says it contains partially hydrogenated oils, you’re eating trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity with every bite. In fact, research conducted at Wake Forest University reveals that monkeys whose diets contained eight percent trans fat upped their body fat by 7.2 percent over a six-year study, while those who ate monounsaturated fat gained just a fraction of that amount. Instead of letting harmful trans fat take up space on your menu, fill up with the 20 Healthy Fats to Make You Thin.
You did a good job of evaluating the programs and explaining how they were chosen, but I think the government guidelines are just wrong. Having half of our calories come from carbs doesn’t seem right to me. The only diets I’ve had any luck with are low-carb. In fact, if I consume more than about 130g of carbs per day, my blood sugar goes into the pre-diabetes range.
“Once you decide on the method that you’re going use to lose weight, put the blinders on every well-meaning friend or family member who thinks it’s not a good idea. For me, it was raw juicing. Along with a healthy diet, it helped me lose 48 pounds and keep it off for over a year.” —Jennifer Devlin Waller, 48, founder and CEO of Celtic Complexion Luxury Artisan Skincare
As explained below, the folks who did the NuSI metabolic ward study committed 2 errors.  The first was a design flaw: the low fat diet was administered first to all 17 study subjects, and then they were given the ketogenic diet for the second month.  In a well-designed trial, the diet sequence would have been randomized.  The second flaw in the study was that these scientists underestimated their subjects daily energy needs by about 300 kcal/day – a 10% error.  The combination of these two flaws would predictably tilt the playing field against seeing a significant increase in energy expenditure during the ketogenic phase of this study.
If you haven't been able to lose your belly fat on your own, we've asked experts to share the tips and advice they use with clients to help them lose belly fat for good. Vermont-based registered dietitian and nutritionist Maddie Kinzly, MS, LD, told POPSUGAR that while you can't choose where on your body you gain or lose fat (sorry, boobs!), some people are more predisposed to holding weight in their bellies.
About: My Fat Friend Blog mixes two total opposites: Alex, the “fat friend” who is trying to lose weight and get fit. Sarah is the “not-fat friend,” the one who is really into fitness and healthy eating and who is on a mission to help Alex learn to love it the way she does. The blog is very, very new (just started in March), but so far, so good. The posts are entertaining, have fun photos and will have you laughing out loud.

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.


If you feel like you're making smart moves to lose weight but the scale isn't moving the way you want, your diet may contain some sneaky foods that can lead to bloating, water retention (ahem, salt!), and a higher calorie intake. Veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, fish, whole grains, and other smart choices loaded with fiber and protein will keep you fuller longer, all while working their nutrient-powered magic. When it comes to healthy eating and weight loss, these plant-based foods loved by registered dietitians have your back.
Chronic stress may increase levels of stress hormones such as cortisol in your body. This can cause increased hunger and result in weight gain. If you’re looking to lose weight, you should review possible ways to decrease or better handle excessive stress in your life. Although this often demands substantial changes, even altering small things – such as posture – may immediately affect your stress hormone levels, and perhaps your weight.
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.

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. 

I must remember to measure myself to see if I’ve lost any inches – perhaps I’ll start with centimetres as that might be more realistic and have a better feel good factor! The desire to shed pounds is different for everyone. It’s a case of finding and attaining a happy medium and feeling good about yourself. Too thin isn’t always good but neither is obesity.
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!
I am having trouble calculating my correct macros..some sites have given me lower protein amounts but about the same or close to my daily carb and fat allowance…my current weight is 287lbs 5′ 8″ lite exercise (i’m a nurse); although I have just started with a beginners exercise program with 2-3 days of cardio so I am now able to get exercising in. I started Feb 20th, 2018 and lost 13 lbs so far (I know water weight but I will take it anyway) Please help
Thank you so much, Cindy! You should absolutely document your journey! It makes such a big difference to have people to cheer you on and especially for you to have those pictures to look back on your journey. You can do it, one small change at a time. If you decide to document your journey on a blog or social media, please share it with me. I’d love to cheer you on!

What should you eat after working out? Exercise is beneficial for overall health. To get the most effective exercise, it is necessary to have good nutrition. There is a range of things to eat right after a workout that will help in specific fitness goals. It is also essential to eat to recover energy levels. Learn more about what to eat after a workout. Read now
About: The best word to describe Chanden's blog is sassy. She’s not afraid to write a little rough around the edges (if you know what we mean), and she’s got a fun personality which comes through her posts as she works to get fit and change her eating habits. She does that by creating healthy recipes and offering cooking tips that she used to drop 70 pounds since she started her blog in March 2015. She also shares her own personal journey and thoughts, and her recipes are in a league of their own.
Have you ever noticed that a couple hours after a big greasy (yet delicious) meal you feel hungry again? That’s because you have not turned off your hunger receptors, and as soon as your body starts to process that food your brain will start up again with “we need nourishment”… because you guessed it, that carton of kung-pow did not give you nourishment, just a full belly. Next time go for more veggies, you’ll stay fuller longer and thus eat fewer calories.
On top of exercise, it’s nutrition. I believe they go hand in hand. In the beginning, improving nutrition was just as hard as improving fitness, except for sometimes now I think nutrition is more challenging. Exercising was just 1 - 1.5 hours a day of busting your butt, but nutrition was the remaining 22 hours, so there were way more opportunities to fall short or not eat as well as I could. However, because I think it is important to be optimistic, I will say that there were 22 hours a day to nourish my body with good and healthy foods. It just took me a long time to figure out the best way to do that (and just to clarify, I'm still figuring it out.)
A recent increase in exercise using kettle bells has also increased my weight and I have heard about this before so wasn’t concerned but I am still increasing weight so thought I’d better look at what I’m eating as well. (By the way kettle bells are amazing for your core). Looking at Adam’s lists, I was horrified to see cereal had so much sugar – even the bran and fruit kind and with milk this doesn’t appear to be the good start to the day I had thought. So it’s fruit tomorrow!
About: Three years ago, Christina suffered a miscarriage, became depressed, gained weight and developed a horrible body-image problem. But that wasn’t who Christina was deep down. So, she switched her diet to gluten-free and started up a website dedicated to sharing healthy, good-tasting recipes that others could use to help them lose weight and live healthy. A certified nutritionist and yoga instructor, Christina’s blog has everything you need for practical tips to lose weight and hundreds of scrumptious, healthy recipes to help you along in your journey.
We don’t recommend thinking about macros in terms of percentages, especially if you’re focused on weight loss. We recommend keeping your carb intake under 30 grams/day, eating the protein requirement we outline in our protein post, and eating fat to satiety. There’s more info on our rationale around macros in this post by Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek: https://blog.virtahealth.com/how-much-protein-on-keto/

Amanda Brooks is an avid runner, Certified Personal Trainer, and the passionate and encouraging voice behind Run To The Finish, a weight loss blog turned healthy living blog. With over 20,000 miles logged to date, Amanda’s dedication to running has not only helped her lose 35 pounds but created an entirely new outlook on healthy living. Run To The Finish shares her personal weight loss journey, clean eating recipes, workout ideas, running tips, expert interviews, and motivation to inspire others to see running as a vehicle to “think beyond the clock” to start living a healthier life.
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