Women’s challenge with weight loss also comes down to nature. Nature wants to preserve a woman’s ability to bear children. When you’re in a calorie deficit, it can interfere with your fertility, so your body fights weight loss to prevent jeopardizing your reproductive capacity. So don’t cut more than 1,000 calories a day or eat fewer than 1,200 calories daily.
In Part 1 of this series, we covered everything but the hormones. But now it’s time for the million dollar estrogen question: do female hormones make it harder for women to lose weight? And if they do, what can you do about it? In this article, we’ll look at the pro- and anti-fat effects of estrogen (yes, there are both!), what this means for weight loss, and how diet can affect estrogen levels in various ways.
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
That’s because strength training helps you build muscle, which will replace body fat. In fact, strength training is one of the few activities you can do to spike the amount of calories you burn, even after you’re done with your workout. Bonus: When your metabolic rate becomes faster due to muscle growth, you’ll have a little more wiggle room in your diet if that’s something you struggle with, says Dr. Cheskin.
Numerous studies have supported this, such as a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, which concluded that aerobic exercise like brisk walking is essential for visceral fat reduction, and a past study published in Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine found that women who walked less than 7,500 steps a day had more belly fat than those who met or exceeded that goal.
Having support is very important with weight loss. If everyone can get on board, it will be easier to achieve your goals. Talk to your family (or friends, roommates, etc) before starting your diet and let them know your plan. Explain why you are making this decision and ways they can help you succeed. Even if they do not change with you, that's okay! Go forward with your plan! They may decide to join you once they see you succeed with weight loss.
Thanks for the article. Great read. I have been steadily losing and I am grateful for that. I have noticed however, days of being very tired and days of having great energy. My take was, I am going to listen to my body and rest when it wants to rest, as something is happening that I a not aware of. Your article re-inforced that for me. So Thanks again. I love this WOE, I have no cravings, I am not hungry, I feel great. My Hubby keeps saying, “what is going to happen when you go back to carbs” I keep explaining, when I reach maintenance I will slowly raise, good carbs, maybe some fruits, but I don’t ever plan to eat as I did before. Nothing tastes as good as this feels. Down 20lbs in 4 weeks, with a whole LOT more to go, and looking forward to it. oh and BTW the other thing my man says, is “I can’t believe how much energy you have and how easily you are moving” YAY!!
Cruciferous veggies are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, but unfortunately they’re also the ones most likely to cause your tummy to inflate. Thanks to raffinose, a compound that produces extra gas as it breaks down, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and the like can seriously increase your waistline. But don’t ditch them forever. Just save them for meals where you can wear loose pants. Here are other surprising foods that cause gas.
#5 – Read Labels! If you choose processed foods to eat, read your labels, not everything is bad for you, but some stuff is. I look at the calories, serving size, carbs, protein, fiber and sugar. If it’s low on protein and fiber, I don’t get it. If it’s high in fat and sodium I put it right back onto the shelf. Be a smart consumer and read those labels. If you can’t pronounce and ingrediant, it’s probably not good for you. Don’t buy something because the package says low fat or no sugar added, that doesn’t mean crap! Sugar Alcohol is still sugar!!! Not to mention if it’s low in fat, it’s high somewhere else, they need to add something to perserve and add flavor.
There is at least one area where women have the edge, weight-wise. When men deposit fat, it most often goes to their middles, while women's excess weight tends to settle below the belt and in the middle. And it turns out that the "pear-shaped" body has a health advantage over the "apple": Those who carry extra fat mostly around their middles are at higher risk of developing heart disease than those who are bottom-heavy.
When Johns Hopkins researchers compared the effects on the heart of losing weight through a low-carbohydrate diet versus a low-fat diet for six months—each containing the same amount of calories—those on a low-carb diet lost an average of 10 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet—28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds. An extra benefit of the low-carb diet is that it produced a higher quality of weight loss, Stewart says. With weight loss, fat is reduced, but there is also often a loss of lean tissue (muscle), which is not desirable. On both diets, there was a loss of about 2 to 3 pounds of good lean tissue along with the fat, which means that the fat loss percentage was much higher on the low-carb diet.
"Only doing abdominal-focused workouts, like crunches, won’t help you banish the bulge. Belly fat is simply where your body stores energy, so you need to take a whole-body approach to tackle it. HIIT training (high intensity interval training) is a great way to burn fat and get your heart rate up. Squats, burpees and treadmill sprints are all examples to try."
Hi. I weigh 220 and am 5’8’’. I’m obviously overweight but I’m not in terrible shape, I play sports twice a week and try to run one or two times a week also. I have a 5K coming up in 2 weeks and I plan to do an event on June 1 where I need to be 210 pounds. I don’t want to stop at 210, I want to be back under 200 again. I don’t think I eat terrible, I eat granola in the morning and lunch during the week and try not to go nuts at nighttime. My vice is beer on the weekends, I am not an alcoholic but I can easily put back a six-pack if I wanted to on a Friday or Saturday night when hanging out with friends. Other than the beer, I only drink water, green tea, and coffee – no sodas or sugary drinks.
It sounds like you are in healthy weight range. I think that you probably look great. The thin obsession is not always the healthy way. If someone doesn’t think that you look good at 122 pounds, then they have the problem. If you don’t think that that weight is small enough, then perhaps you may need to consult a counselor. All I am saying it that weight is not overweight for hardly anyone unless they are 4 foot 8 or under.
I am so proud of you!!! This is a really inspirational story. Losing the weight *is* possible. I went through a lot of weight issues (both on the too low and too high end) in high school and my first year of college. I feel like I’ve finally got to a decent place, but I really need to watch what I eat more and exercise!! My walks to and from class (20 min each way) are good but definitely not enough. I have a few JM movies I should pull out though..after reading what you said about her metabolism one it reminded me of how hard they are.
Meal prepping was super helpful to me. Packing lunches and making dinners that lasted more than one night were great strategies for my meals. I usually used Sunday as my day to prepare lunches for the week, and my dinners on Sunday and Wednesday. There are so many amazing meal ideas on Pinterest, and you can experiment with all of the meals you life. My Recipes for Success blog post lists a lot of my favorite food bloggers where I get several recipes. Overall, more mindfulness about when and what I was going to eat set me up to make positive choices.
About: Misty’s more than just a “fat girl,” as she puts it. So much more. Misty started blogging about her weight loss about four years ago after she experienced a pulmonary edema and several pulmonary embolisms following the birth of her fourth daughter — all caused by excessive fluids in her body and all nearly killing her. She also found out she has a blood disorder called Factor V Leiden, something she was born with. Since starting her original blog “I Am Not Just a Fat Girl,” Misty’s weight loss journey has had ups and downs, but ultimately she accepted her body and now blogs to inspire others who are looking to lose weight, too.
Brittany! Just catching up on your blog. What a beautiful post! Loved every word sweet friend. I couldn’t be more proud of you for sharing all of that. You are absolutely stunning, but what really shines is your honesty and kind heart. This was so inspiring and motivating for me because I need to loose a few pounds this summer and I get frustrated so easily! I’m a stress eater too. Can’t wait to hear some of your healthy meal/snack ideas! I hate to say I told you so about sharing this post.. but I told you so. 😉
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).
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.
Tina, that’s awesome. You said some things that rang true for me. At 53 years old, I was exercising plenty, but I love to eat! I was not good at portion control. personally I had to start intermittent fasting. I’ve lost ten lbs in the first few weeks, but have hit a plateau. What I am doing now is going more paleo, modified paleo. I also need to have more discipline in staying the course on exercising, which I love to do, but work often gets in the way. I came across a fitness /diet routine that is one of the most popular in the country , at the moment https://bit.ly/2LTeGBG, looks pretty good. Really it’s not rocket science, although we in the west make it hard. Eat whole foods in moderation, get enough rest, reduce stress, and exercise, not insanely, but regularly. Aerobics and some form of weight bearing exercise seems to be the best combination.
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.
The notion that abdominal obesity is the most dangerous kind isn't new. Back in the 1940s, the French physician Jean Vague observed that some obese patients had normal blood chemistry, while some moderately overweight patients showed serious abnormalities that predisposed them to heart disease or diabetes. Almost always, the latter patients carried their fat around their middles. And, almost always, they were men.
Of carbs and protein, that is. Carbs certainly aren’t the enemy; you can totally enjoy carbs and still lose weight. The trick is to choose something complex (like brown rice, quinoa, or whole grain bread) or something refined (like white rice, white pasta, and white bread), and pair it with a protein. So if you’re having crackers for a snack, make sure you also eat some almonds or a stick of string cheese. “I always incorporate a protein and carbohydrate at every meal,” Jim White, RD, ACSM Health, and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios told us. “It can curb your appetite and it slows down the glycemic index of some of your higher sugar foods.”
Cortisone as an oral drug is another common culprit (e.g. Prednisolone). Cortisone often causes weight gain in the long run, especially at higher doses (e.g. more than 5 mg Prednisolone per day). Unfortunately, cortisone is often an essential medication for those who are prescribed it, but the dose should be adjusted frequently so you don’t take more than you need. Asthma inhalers and other local cortisone treatments, like creams or nose sprays, hardly affect weight.
I want you to know you can find inspiration through healthy perspectives. It’s not about weighing 100 pounds and eating kale every day. You don’t have to run 10 miles every morning. It’s about finding balance and enjoying the journey. It’s about filling your world with a balance of all things – fitness, nutrition, faith, friendships, and all things. It’s about focusing on a healthy lifestyle that works for you.
Even though I was burning plenty of calories through exercise, I knew my eating habits were preventing me from losing weight. I wasn’t eating unhealthy foods – I stuck with salads, turkey sandwiches, and stir-fry dishes – I was just eating too much of everything. I started tracking my daily calories online. Counting calories really helped me understand my overblown portion sizes and just how many calories I was consuming.
It is possible to do more in less time — at least when it comes to your workouts. By incorporating interval training — that means bursts of high-intensity moves — you’ll give your metabolism a huge boost, says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., director of the Kinesiology Program at the University of Virginia and author of The Spark. If you usually jog at a consistent pace, try adding a 30-second to one-minute sprint every five minutes, or, if you’re on a treadmill, change up the incline for one-minute intervals.
Pace around your office while talking on the phone or run into the bank to cash your check instead of using the drive-thru. When researchers at the Mayo Clinic fed a group of volunteers an extra 1,000 calories a day over the course of eight weeks, they found sedentary individuals gained eight times more weight than those who fidgeted a lot during the day.
Nuts have a very high satiety power—meaning they make you feel fuller after eating than many other foods. And even though they’re high in calories, those calories appear to be processed differently in the body. University of Michigan researchers found that men who added 500 calories’ worth of peanuts a day to their diet gained no excess weight at all.
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!
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.
Christy Brissette, MS, RD is one of North America's top dietitians and a leading nutrition and food communications expert. She is the President of 80 Twenty Nutrition, a nutrition and food media company. Her mission is to end food confusion and dieting once and for all. Christy appears on national TV and is interviewed for international magazines, radio and websites. She empowers her clients to look and feel their best with the healing power of healthy, delicious food. She helps clients achieve results through cutting-edge, creative and fun meal plans and recipes. You can still enjoy your favourite foods and have the body of your dreams!
Do not try to starve yourself. Neglecting to consume sufficient numbers of calories on a regular basis can result in the opposite effects you're looking for and, if sustained, can be life-threatening. If you have attempted to lose weight by skipping multiple meals or drastically reducing your daily calorie intake, speak with a health professional about getting information on eating disorders.
If you want to lose weight, you’d better avoid special “low-carb” products that are full of carbs. This should be obvious, but creative marketers are doing all they can to fool you (and get your money). They will tell you that you can eat cookies, pasta, ice cream, bread and plenty of chocolate on a low-carb diet, as long as you buy their brand. They’re full of carbohydrates. Don’t be fooled.
I’m finding the same thing right now for my marathon training. I’ve been trying to hybrid a marathon training / weight loss program – but they don’t necessarily overlap. Don’t get me wrong – running a lot and eating well is bound to shed off some weight, but I’ll eventually move my diet and workout to align with my marathon goal over my weight loss efforts.
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.
Dairy products such as cream and cheeses. They work well in cooking as they satisfy. The problem is if you’re munching a lot of cheese in front of the TV in the evening… without being hungry. Be careful with that. Or lots of cream with dessert, when you’re actually already full and just keep eating because it tastes good. Or another common culprit: loads of heavy cream in the coffee, many times per day.
You don’t have to be the next Usain Bolt in the making to enjoy some serious belly-slimming results from hitting the track from time to time. Even a moderate-rate jog a few times a week can blast through that belly fat; in fact, a study conducted at Duke University Medical Center found that, over the course of an eight-month study, overweight adult study subjects who jogged 12 miles a week lost the most belly fat and burned 67 percent more calories than participants who did an equivalent amount of resistance exercise, or a combination of cardio and resistance work.
Another frontrunner on the U.S. News and World Report 2016 list (it came in at number two in the weight loss category), the HMR Weight Management program is used in over 200 medical facilities around the U.S. Dieters embark on two phases, the first centered around HMR's products (meals, shakes, snacks) and the second transitioning towards a sustainable plan emphasizing fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
But here’s a problem that many people experience. They have been told that increasing blood ketones will speed their weight loss. However, rather than cutting back on carbs and avoiding extra protein to boost ketone levels, they are led to believe that they can get the same effects by adding extra MCT oil, coconut oil, or exogenous BOHB to push up blood ketone levels. As noted above, this does not enhance their body’s ability to burn fat. It just gives them a type of fat that has to be burned (some of it as ketones) in place of body fat. No wonder they are usually disappointed when their weight loss stalls well above the goal they want to reach.
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.
Hi Ashley, I have lost weight using a very similar diet to the low carb one mentioned here. However, my diet was even more strict i.e. I was not allowed to eat some veggies such as carrot, beetroot, more than a tomato a day etc and never had any legumes/beans because they were too high in carbohydrates for this diet. I am relatively small already but found the only way to loose any of the extra weight was to be extremely low carb. I have heard some researchers say it is because of the pill that this happens i.e. the pill will stop you loosing weight unless you go extremely low carb so maybe try sticking to only very low carb veggies.
In terms of exercise, I kept working hard. Exercising was one of my priorities and so I fit it into my schedule every day, usually on my lunch break. I exercised 6 days of week, and the bulk of my exercise was focused on running with the occasional lifting or circuit (my amazing sister, Lindsay, a certified personal trainer, created lifting plans for me). It was important to me at this point in my journey to have a cardio-based plan and running seemed the most practical. I started running over the summer (it was a SLOW journey of gradually increasing the time and speed on the treadmill every day) so by the time it came around to fall I could actually go run on the roads and continue to improve my endurance. (Note: I am planning on writing a whole post about my relationship with running because it has grown into such an important part of my life. Running used to be extremely hard and I hated it but stuck with it because I knew it would be good for me, but now I love it and the way it makes me feel).
You’re eating out of habit, stress, or emotions. It’s all too easy to grab food for reasons other than hunger–out of habit or by the clock, when stressed, when overcome with emotion (strong or subtle), or when we want to avoid something (including our emotions). The procrastination of going to the refrigerator rather than answering a work email or leaning into our emotions can take a bit of practice to break. Practice mindful eating (being aware and present when you are eating) to ensure you’re not eating out of habit, boredom, or emotions rather than hunger.
As you exercise, calories are burned and your body fat percentage decreases. So, exercising not only helps you lose belly fat, it also sheds fat from other areas. Running and walking are two of the best fat-burning exercises. Plus, the only equipment you need is a good pair of shoes. Between the two, running burns more calories, but walking really isn’t too far behind.
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?
Thyroid hormone is essential for fat loss. Unfortunately on a low carbohydrate diet thyroid hormone production can slow down. This is crucial to bear in mind for women especially because women’s metabolism and thyroid activity are much more sensitive than men’s. It is important in the “low carb” times of the cycle to still not be very low carb. Stay above 50 grams of carbohydrate a day, at very minimum (and higher if physically active).
Wow! I truly believe that I read this post today for a reason! I have been taking anxiety medication for the past 5 years and have gained almost 70 lbs in these 5 years. I’ve literally gone to doctor after doctor about my weight gain and no one could determine why I’ve gained so much weight. I’ve literally gone back and forth about quitting cold turkey and was so fearful about the withdrawl side effects. I feel like my weight gain is causing more anxiety than why I’m on the medicine to begin with. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story and motivating me. Thank you!!
The above diet does work. In fact we’re coming out with an eBook in a few days that will layout exactly what to eat for a 2-week time period, including complete grocery shopping list and daily meals. The thing about this particular diet is that you need to be pretty strict with managing blood sugar levels in order to see the type of results in the 4-5 pounds per week range.
Yogurt – Yogurt is an excellent fat burner because it’s full of probiotics to help stimulate the digestive system. Also, the high protein content of yogurt requires more energy to be processed, which means your body has to burn more calories to process the food. In fact, all calcium-rich dairy foods can help you lose belly fat by increasing the breakdown of fat in cells. Dairy products are far more effective than calcium supplements.
Coming back to this question of ketones and weight loss, when someone with some extra body fat begins a ketogenic lifestyle, perhaps it is the increased ability to burn these stores, coupled with the reduction in appetite and cravings, that facilitates initial weight loss. In this scenario, keto-adaptation facilitates weight loss, but only as long as the reduced hunger and cravings allow one to comfortably eat fewer calories per day than one burns.
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!
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.