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.
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.)
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.
So when does a period of weight stability (which is expected) after weight loss become a weight loss plateau? Weight loss plateaus are often a normal, yet frustrating, part of the weight loss process. If you’re stuck in a true weight loss plateau while following a low carb or ketogenic nutritional approach, it might be due to one or more of the reasons outlined below. But first, ask yourself if you’re truly in a weight loss plateau or is this part of a weight stability period, which most people should expect at some point during their weight loss journey. While our differences are a wonderful thing, when it comes to figuring out a stall in your weight loss it can also be a source of frustration as well.
Ultimately, Paleo is a good diet for hormonal imbalance without any fancy protocols or special tweaks. Paleo is naturally high in protein and fiber, and low to moderate in carbohydrates: just what the evidence suggests is beneficial. If hormonal issues are still stalling weight loss even after you’ve been on Paleo for a while, it’s a sign that something more serious is going wrong – and probably time to go see a doctor about it.
Say cheese! Adding some extra calcium to your diet could be the key to getting that flat stomach you’ve been dreaming about. Over just 12 months, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville found that obese female study subjects who upped their calcium intake shed 11 pounds of body fat without other major dietary modifications. To keep your calcium choices healthy, try mixing it up between dairy sources, calcium-rich leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
I’m newer to your blog, and all of your pictures screamed to me “effortlessly thin chick”, so imagine my open-mouthed surprise with your post today. At risk of sounding weird, i love your blog and you even more for having been so transparent! Weight is something i’ve struggled with my whole life, and in the last 8 years, i’ve also been dealing with an underactive thyroid. Some of the blogs i read have such beautifully thin bloggers pitching things like s’mores, and i think to myself, yeah right. So thanks. Thanks for being so real and relatable! Honesty is the best policy, and you will have helped so many for just laying it all out there truthfully. For many, if not most, it’s a struggle. God bless you!
Skip the cream and sugar in your cup of joe, and opt for it black to help you lose weight fast. Black coffee has zero calories, and it can help you burn calories faster. According to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf.
Get enough calcium. Adults typically need around 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day to help maintain muscle and nerve function, and it's necessary for healthy bones and teeth. But calcium may also help prevent the body from storing visceral fat in the abdomen. Though studies have not shown a drastic change in weight due to increased calcium intake, researchers suggest that it may have a small effect in some people. Calcium requires vitamin D to be absorbed into the body; therefore, be sure to get enough vitamin D as well. Sources of calcium include:
Processed foods are one of the biggest sources of salt in Americans’ diets—and the scary part is you probably don’t even realize it. Because of the way these addictive foods are formulated, salt is hidden in everything from soups to pasta sauces to even sweet things like boxed cakes. Swap out processed foods in favor of fresh fare and your tummy will thank you. Not only will you lose the salt-bloat but you’ll also lose the extra empty calories and lose weight. Learn about these 50 more ways you can lose weight without a lick of exercise.
We just got a FREE treadmill though, and my goal is to walk at least 15 minutes a day (to start, I have a heart condition) and work my way up from there. And keep eating well. I don’t have a certain weight or size I want to get down to. That is just detrimental for me. I am changing my lifestyle. I want to get fit and healthy for the rest of my life and whatever size and weight that gets me to is just fine with me!
Rather than training hungry, drink a protein shake before you go. One scoop, or about 20 grams, is sufficient. Whey is a great choice because it's easy on the stomach, quickly absorbed, and has an enormous list of additional benefits. Numerous studies have shown that ingesting more high-quality protein leads to both increases in muscle mass and decreases in fat mass.
I can’t tell you how much I needed this today, Brittany. I know each of us has a story, and a unique scenario of why changes have happened to our bodies…but I’m sure yours could strike a cord with many others who can relate to the stress, pain, and struggle of unwanted weight gain. I greatly appreciate your raw honesty (and bravery!) on sharing your story and how your account of weight loss can inspire us all. I, too, was the skinny kid, even underweight most of my life, and even after childbirth, would quickly lose the weight (plus more!) after giving birth. I’ve never taken anxiety medications, but have experienced that stress alone, and the cortisol changes that the stress brings on in our bodies, is enough of a catalyst to cause weight gain. I never really had to worry about weight gain (lucky genes I guess)…but then my Mom died, four years ago this month, and my life was turned upside down. I’m an only child, and my Mom was everything to me…my number one supporter, my confidante, my cheerleader, my best friend, my gift of unconditional love. We talked every day, we shared everything, we knew without a doubt, that we could count on each other for everything. My Mom taught me everything I know about life, except how to live without her. Needless to say, the stress of losing my best friend, has taken a toll on me, and I have gained a significant amount of weight over these rough four years. So, thank you for sharing…and thank you for the inspiration!! I adore you, friend, and I thank you for putting your story out there to motivate me, and others, to take the steps that I need to do to get back to my healthy weight. You look fabulous, Brittany, and I’m so proud of you!! Keeping shining, my friend!!
Ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate [BOHB] and acetoacetate [AcAc]) are produced by the liver when both serum insulin and liver glycogen levels are low (McGarry 1973). They can be made from fat stored in the liver, from fat released from body adipose reserves and delivered via the bloodstream; or they can be made from dietary fat entering the bloodstream after digestion and absorption as chylomicrons. In other words, once fat is in the body as adipose reserves or absorbed dietary fat, liver ketone production is a function of blood insulin and liver glycogen content. There is no special relationship between mobilization of body fat stores (i.e., weight loss) and blood ketone levels.
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).
Alice Williams created Honestly Fitness with the intention of giving an honest opinion, backed up by factual evidence, about anything and everything concerning fitness, health, and everything in between. Her passion for sharing the reality of the health and fitness world makes her one of our most inspirational blogs. She discusses important and controversial topics, healthy recipes, and provides honest reviews and feedback of all the latest trends in fitness.
Everyone’s body is different when it comes to digesting some gas-forming foods, but there are a few you should be wary of: It’s best to avoid beans and cruciferous veggies (think cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli) for a couple of days if you want to look slimmer. Choose lean proteins like chicken and fish or, if you’re vegetarian, go for small amounts of nuts and seeds for protein. Pair with non-gassy vegetables like asparagus, spinach, and cucumber to help prevent bloat.
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?
“That first day was so tough, I almost caved and reached for the vending machine at work but I remembered a quote I had on my Facebook page that said ‘The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it’ and that was enough to make me turn away from the machine,” she says.
It's no surprise that Dr. Dean Ornish's program is such a powerful tool for weight loss, considering its easy adaptability as a lasting lifestyle. The diet is mostly plant-based, keeps sodium intake in moderation, and limits coffee to a cup a day (two cups decaf) — so if you're looking to lose weight while keeping your java flow, you may want to consider another plan.
A new German study found that when you drink 17 ounces of water (about two glasses) within a certain time frame, your metabolic rate shoots up by about 30 percent. Using these results, they estimate that by increasing your current water intake by 1.5 liters a day, a person would burn an extra 17,400 calories a year, resulting in about a five-pound weight loss.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can't digest, and it helps regulate the body's use of sugar as it slowly passes through your digestive system. Increasing your daily fiber intake can result in greater satisfaction after meals, less blood-sugar spiking and crashing, and subsequent reductions in the amount of calories eaten for the rest of the day. When trying to trim belly fat, aim to get at least 25 grams of fiber in your diet each day. Foods that are rich in fiber include pulses, like lentils and beans; apples and pears, with the skin; nuts and seeds; and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Try this recipe for Tabbouleh with Chickpeas for a fiber-packed side dish or a one-dish dinner!
Fast forward to the present. In terms of weight loss, I have kept off those 50 pounds, but it took me over a year to find a comfortable weight. More important, I am not as focused on losing weight but on building lean muscle and getting toned. My energy levels, positivity, confidence, and purpose are more important than size and weight. In terms of nutrition, I prioritize eating wholesome foods and nourishing meals; and I am learning more about the ratios and best foods to fuel my body for my lifestyle. For exercise, I still consider myself a runner though and through, but I have struggled with some injuries. I tend to go super hard at the things I love, so I have gone in and out of working my body too hard. That being said, I have been mixing up my workouts with running (I have a destination half marathon planned for March!) and more lifting (thank you to Lindsay for all of the lifting plans!) and yoga (Yoga with Adriene is amazing.) I have also had an epiphany on self-care, but that’s for a different post. I am working towards real-deal peace and happiness. I’m getting fit, healthy, happy, indulge when I want, have confidence in what I’m doing and the choices I make daily, know my way around a kitchen, and listen to my body.
Most people who want to lose weight have more than 12 pounds to lose. That’s why even the best weight loss drug in the world can only be an optional complement to other treatment. That’s why this piece of advice is number 18 out of 18. It may be a helpful addition for some people, but the advice higher on the list is what can make the biggest difference, by far.
I was doing so well, getting into a routine again and eating well, and then HURRICANE MICHAEL. I had to eat fast food (no fresh fruit and vegs) for almost a month. I just got my Instant Pot, and was able to buy fresh veggies and fruit again…I didn’t realize how much I’d miss them!! I’ve always loved fresh fruit and veggies (except avocados, mushrooms, cauliflower and strawberries and blueberries). But, I also love potatoes, rice, bread, chips – anything salty.
Processed, packaged foods are often loaded with more salt, sugar, and refined carbs than you’d put in the foods you cook for yourself. When you’re looking to drop weight fast, avoid foods that come in packages and stick to whole, unprocessed foods. (Here are the four most harmful ingredients in processed food.) Build your plates with non-starchy veggies, unprocessed whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, and season with spices, not salt.
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.
About: When you read Ayah’s blog, it’s almost like you can hear her accent. And that’s what drew us to her blog — the idea that no matter how different cultures might be, we all struggle with the same things. As Ayah puts it, she’s a person just like anyone else, a person who’s fought to lose weight, gone up and down multiple times and these days just tries to maintain her fitness while sharing her journey (and tons of great recipes) along the way.
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.
As noted above, our bike racer study (Phinney 1983) involved 9 lean men locked up while eating a precisely controlled ketogenic diet for 4 weeks. In addition to daily weights, three methods were used to determine changes in body composition. As a group, these subjects lost 1 kg of body weight in the first week of the ketogenic diet, all of which was attributable to reduced muscle glycogen stores (which were directly measured). After that, their weights were stable for the next 3 weeks. Unfortunately in this study we did not have the opportunity to measure metabolic rate, but based on our body composition data, anything over a 3% increase in energy expenditure associated with the ketogenic diet would have shown up as non-water associated weight loss (by implication, a loss of body fat). Clearly these 9 men did not demonstrate an obvious increase in body fat loss in the first 4 weeks of keto-adaptation.
Top Quote: “While this is my playful attempt of sharing my experience with you, I have to be completely honest when I say that it’s been hard. I can live with giving up on all the gadgets, gizmos, systems and plans that barely saw the light of day, but it’s really hard to accept that I gave up on myself. While I know I have a long arduous journey ahead of me, I hope that I will inspire others to keep me company along the way.”
Spending more time in the kitchen can help you shed belly fat, as long as you’re cooking with the right foods, according to one 2017 study. After analyzing data from more than 11,000 men and women, UK researchers found that people who ate more than five homemade meals per week were 28 percent less likely to have a high body mass index, and 24 percent less likely to carry too much body fat than those whole only downed three meals at home.
The Mediterranean diet is a balanced diet and it is in accordance with the dietary guidelines. In fact most of the guidelines suggested are based on Mediterranean diet principles and the majority of the recommended foods are taken from the Mediterranean diet food pyramid. The endorsed distribution of fat, protein and carbohydrates for a healthy diet is:
About Blog Healthful&Inspired’s mission is to provide inspiration for individuals who have the important goal of losing weight by means of helpful and inspirational articles, meaningful infographics and photographics that trigger an aspiration for success, real life weight loss success stories, weight loss products that work to help boost the process, and more to people who are looking for ways to become lighter and slimmer than they were yesterday.
Jennifer, you have given absolutely wonderful advice here. You get it! The only thing I would tell you is that while milk chocolate is not good for you, dark chocolate is (65% cacao or higher). The principles you outline are basically what I’ve been following, so I know what you say is accurate. The other thing I’ve learned is that one can have alcoholic beverages in moderation and still lose weight. I am certain that if you stick with the principles you’ve outlined, you will keep your weight off. Congratulations on a job well done!
Thank you for sharing your story and your advice! Very good advice! I don’t think you look gross above…I think you look happy. Never call yourself gross…its not a healthy thought. YOU are beautiful…your size doesn’t define you. I am soo proud of you though…taking such an interest in your health and habits and helping others, AND loosing weight and feeling better all around. What a beautiful thing!
There are hundreds of healthy living apps that can help you lose weight. Find one that aligns with your goal, whether it's to get stronger, get faster, get off the couch, or eat healthy. Cyr found that using MyFitnessPal helped her get a better grip on what she was eating every day. "Once I started logging my meals, I realized I was scarfing 1,700 calories a day," she says.
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.
I am 40 years old, I weigh about 146 and I am 5’5″. I haven’t been down to 130 in a couple of years, but I have always felt more comfortable and more confident in my own skin at that weight. I wouldn’t mind to get down to 128, but how? My weight fluctuates all the time, literally, I feel like I can gain 2 lbs in a day…I dont know when your ebook will be out, but I would love to lose this weight once and for all and keep it off. As I have gotten older, it is definitely harder to lose weight and keep it off. mI do get exercise, about 20-30 mins 3-4 x a week. Can you help?? Any advice?? Thank you in advance!!
The theory behind carb cycling and weight loss is that it optimizes your body’s metabolic needs. So the theory goes, while in a low carb period, your body sharpens insulin sensitivity, produces glucagon to help you burn fat, and becomes metabolically streamlined. These are great things. Yet if you persist in being too low carb for too long your thyroid hormone levels will drop, and your insulin sensitivity may actually worsen. In short: you may gain weight.
About: Christine’s blog is something really special — and not just because she put herself out there while she works to lose weight, but because she’s overcome a lot to get where she is today. A brain stem surgery survivor, Christine’s blog started in 2012 as a way to stay motivated on her path to an emotional recovery. Recently, it’s morphed into a weight loss blog where Christine is focused on losing weight all naturally and making it a lifestyle change. As she puts it, “I am changing my life for the better, forever – not just my body.”
You can get results by following this program provided that you do it correctly and by the book. What many women like about this diet is the fact that is has a clear start and end points. You know from advance that you will enter a diet for 68 days. After that period you evaluate your results and decide the way forward. We did research into various forums and read the experiences of people who followed this diet and most of them did manage to lose weight and most importantly they manage to keep the weight off. Those that failed to do so did not follow the complete set of instructions but they tried a hybrid diet which at the end made them fail.
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.
Some of you are probably scratching your heads thinking “why is exercise at the bottom?” well it’s because it is not nearly as important as what you put in your mouth! Exercise is great for burning off a few calories (emphasis on a few), for toning up your body and overall health, but no matter how hard you work out, if you don’t have the diet aspect down you won’t be losing the weight as fast as you want… or at all. But it is still an important part of how to lose weight fast, and here’s why:
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/
Stop drinking sugary liquids. Sip on water, tea, black coffee or seltzer instead of soft drinks, juice energy drinks, flavored coffees, and martinis. Cutting calories with substitutions can be a lot easier than you might think. For example, a tall latte in the morning may pack 500 calories. Since a pound of body fat (lost or gained) is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, replacing that rich beverage with black coffee can help you lose a pound per week.
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.
While you could lose weight and body fat by dieting alone, adding exercise will result in a better body composition after you're finished losing weight. It also appears that weight lost through exercise may be more likely to come from your belly fat than weight lost through diet alone, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Also known as Branch Chain Amino Acids. BCAAs are three amino acids known as Leucine, Valine and Iso-Leucine. They help prevent muscle breakdown and can be bought as yummy flavoured powders to use in place as sports drinks. Drink them during your fat burning workout instead of water as they will help you tone up as you lose that belly and may even help in the formation of abdominal muscles.
Perhaps you might be consuming too much fat because you’re trying to raise your ketones, but pump the brakes! In addition to potentially contributing too many calories, sources of fat like coconut oil (including concentrated supplements) contain medium chain triglycerides (MCT). These cannot be stored in body fat, meaning that whatever is consumed has to be promptly burned for energy. So you’re adding these sources on top of your dietary fat consumption for satiety, this type of fat takes priority. Often times people fall into the trap of adding supplements of coconut oil or straight up MCT oil and it ends up adding extra calories. Yes, it may raise your ketones a bit, but the overall cost may impact your 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.
After 30 days on the diet, you’ll slowly add in one of the restricted foods — one at a time and for a few days only — to see how your body reacts. At this point, you can continue just avoiding the ingredients you suspect you’re sensitive to, or go to an allergy specialist to receive confirmation and see if there’s anything else you might be allergic to.
About: The mantra “everything in moderation is pretty much exactly what Bertha is all about. Her blog provides creative ways to tweak your favorite recipes to make them healthier and with lower calories. What does that mean? You can still chow down on the things you love, but do it in a better way that gets you closer to reaching weight loss goals.
My body went through a slow weight gain throughout the years and because it was so slow, I didn’t really notice too much, or really, I noticed once it had already happened and the weight was there. I remember the times getting frustrated in dressing rooms, when older clothes didn’t fit, feeling terrible in my body, and the comparison of feeling like there were so many people around me that ate more unhealthy foods than me and exercised less that were somehow still so much smaller than I was. I thought that my body would stay the way it looked forever, no matter how hard I tried to change it. I wondered if I would ever accept how my body looked or be comfortable in it. For all of the years building up to this one, I was not quite hopeless, but always a little let-down in myself, specifically the choices I made, the way I felt, and the way I looked. I didn’t feel the best in my body and wanted peace.
Nutritional ketosis induced by carbohydrate restriction is often associated with major weight loss, which raises some important questions. Do ketones cause weight loss? Do ketones promote a metabolic condition whereby fat melts away to a greater extent than a non-ketogenic diet of equal energy content? Alternatively, can a person maintain or even gain weight while in nutritional ketosis? To explore the answers to these questions, we need to venture into the complex inter-relationships between keto-adaptation, appetite, energy balance and weight loss.
Shelley started her blog on the same day she decided to start what she believes will be her final diet. That day, she weighed 256 pounds—two years later she lost over 110 pounds and was her lowest weight in over 20 years, 146 pounds! Shelley uses her blog as a way to remember all of her successes, failures, plateaus and everything else in between. She’s found tremendous support through the blogging community throughout her weight loss journey and continues to share it all on her blog.