At over 330 pounds and gaining, Erika was on a path of self-destruction that she knew she had to stop. Erika recognized herself as an emotional eater, and knew she had to come to terms with it if she wanted to make a change. Erika began to analyze herself, and had what she refers to as a “fitness moment,” where a trip to the gym and the subsequent number on the scale served her a huge reality check. Now, Erika has lost well over 100 pounds and keeps going, on a mission to become a personal trainer. Erika’s certainly not afraid to put it all out there. Her website is creative and engaging, with trendy sections you can visit such as, “Celeb watch,” “Exercises,” and even “Sex.”

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). 
About: Jessica started blogging in 2012, but it really slowed down in 2014 and 2015. Now, she’s back at it, with a blog about all things weight loss, fitness, healthy recipes and healthy living, sure. But it’s also much, much more than that. Jessica is the kind of woman you can relate to, who will inspire you (without even meaning to) and who gets that being a mom is tough — and that it’s even tougher to fit in exercise and healthy eating. But she also shows you that it absolutely can be done. And that’s what makes her so special.
About: Caitlin’s approach to healthy living is three-pronged: mind, spirit and body. She believes that finding true health means finding balance in all three, and her mission with her blog is to take people along the way as she figures that out. She’s a self-taught yogi with a passion for natural, balanced food and fitness — all things she shares exponentially in her blog to help others figure it out too.
About: Emma’s blogging personality is emphasized in her blog name. She’s a health and fitness junkie who uses her own life experiences to inspire others. For Emma, fitness is a release, and she wants it to be the same for her readers. Emma provides multiple recipes, weight loss tips and is an avid believer in “macro-counting,” eating the right kind of calories to maintain a healthy body weight.

A year ago you couldn't find a fitter man than Drew of Fit2Fat2Fit, but then the personal trainer decided to take on a new project in order to better understand what his overweight clients were going through. He gained 70 pounds over six months—going from "fit to fat"—and is now in the process of going from "fat to fit." Along the way he's learned a lot about the mental struggles of weight loss, as well as the physical: check out his post about feeling too self-conscious to dance with his wife.
Everyone is different. How quickly you burn calories when you are not physically active can be very different from other people based on your specific genes, biology, and past. While scientists know that there are 3,500 calories in one pound, simply eating 500 fewer calories every day for a week (or 3,500 fewer calories in a week) does not always end in losing exactly one pound.
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]
Josie Maurer is a mother of four and blogger for Yum Yucky. Yum Yucky is a place where Josie helps her audience achieve healthy-living goals with a sensible, stress-free approach that won’t leave you starved for your favorite foods. She has lost over 40 pounds throughout her weight loss journey and she shares motivation, workouts, healthy recipes, and natural health tips.
A year ago you couldn't find a fitter man than Drew of Fit2Fat2Fit, but then the personal trainer decided to take on a new project in order to better understand what his overweight clients were going through. He gained 70 pounds over six months—going from "fit to fat"—and is now in the process of going from "fat to fit." Along the way he's learned a lot about the mental struggles of weight loss, as well as the physical: check out his post about feeling too self-conscious to dance with his wife.

Oh, I am a young 76, 5’6” tall and this morning, weighed in at 135.6. my goal is 130. I know it will be a challenge as I am not that overweight. I am enrolled in FFL 7-week course and am really doing my best to follow the program. I have haven’t been to the gym for 3 months due to foot problems. Hopefully, an MRI on Friday will reveal the problem and I can resume my gym time. Sorry for this epistly, but wanted to explain all to you in hopes that you can share some home exercises for my stomach area.


Your phone, tablet, and television may be affecting your waist size in more ways that one. Obviously if you’re sitting on electronics then you’re not moving around and burning calories. But the effects go beyond just energy. Blue light from electronic screens can disrupt your circadian rhythms; so our addiction to electronics is reducing our sleep as people favor Netflix-bingeing to bed. Both of these effects have been linked to higher levels of belly fat. These 21 other terrible habits will make your belly fat worse.
When Tufts University researchers studied the waistlines and diets of 459 people, they found that even in men of similar age and activity level, those who ate white bread frequently weighed more than those who didn’t. “The calories from white bread and refined grains just seem to settle at the waistline more than calories from other foods,” says Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., the study author.
Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning Sparkpeople! Last week, I came across your website after visiting Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and reading a woman’s recipe about pumpkin pie oatmeal. She listed your Crockpot pumpkin oatmeal recipe as a recommended recipe. I’ve been having a hard time taking off ten pounds–I’m in my forties and I can’t eat like I used to! I joined Sparkpeople a week ago and have been really liking it. I don’t feel so isolated, and the tracking tools are really great (and it’s free, too!). Thanks for introducing me to Sparkpeople, Jennifer!
Tight deadlines, bills, your kids—whatever your source of stress, having too much of it may make it harder for you to drop unwanted pounds, especially from your middle. And it's not just because you tend to reach for high-fat, high-calorie fare when you're stressed, though that's part of it. It's also due to the stress hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of fat your body clings to and enlarge your fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more visceral fat.
I had the pleasure of meeting (and rooming with!) Beth at FitBloggin'. In person, she is just as sweet, down-to-earth, and motivated as she seems on her blog, which she launched to document her weight-loss progress online. Beth also shares what she’s learned along the way, including healthy recipes she creates at home. In two years, Beth has dropped 90 pounds, reached her goal weight, and run two half-marathons, among other road races.
Not only does strength training tone your body and help to prevent injuries, but it also increases your metabolism for days after the fact, meaning you'll burn more calories even after the workout is finished. To supplement her cardio training, Goetke started lifting weights. "It totally transformed my body," she says. The extra calorie burn will help the pounds melt right off of you.
About: No, Amanda’s blog title is not referring to those delicious chocolate treats— or dancing— or a dog after he gets in from the rain. “Shakes” is Amanda’s long-time nickname and, it just so happens, it also turned into the perfect way to describe her blog. Amanda is an outspoken advocate of having a positive body image and maintaining a common sense healthy lifestyle. She also posts her very real struggle with depression and overcoming her own demons when it comes to sense-of-self. It’s that authenticity that makes for a compelling read that will leave you wanting to check back in every single day. Plus, her top post features a visually stunning photo array of what a typical weekday looks for her.

Let me start by saying, HOW INSPIRING!! I am 54 years old, turning 55 in February. I just started your Instant Pot Class. I lost 100 pounds a couple years ago, but then I got hospitalized with pneumonia and pleurisy. The strong steroids sent my sugar through the roof and damaged my pancreas, so now I have diabetes. All the new medications I’m on caused me to gain back almost 50 pounds. I have rods from my neck to my tailbone and I now have fibromyalgia and neuropathy, which makes a lot of exercises, including walking for long periods or distances, quite painful. I have found Chair Zumba classes on You Tube, which I do M, W, F, and strength exercises that I do T, R, Sa. I rest on Sundays. I too, wear my Vivofit, and find it to be an inspiration.
In 2007, stay-at-home mom Lyn had enough of being a person who had been obese for over 10 years, living in a “fat prison.” She decided to lose weight the right way...and she did. ‘Like 100 pounds lost’ did it. In October 2010, Lynn kissed almost half her bodyweight goodbye, all while inspiring others to do the same. Now, with thousands of followers to keep her accountable, Lyn continues to share what she ate, what fitness routines she does and weight loss musings as she strives to maintain her weight. She’s had some ups and downs, but continues to battle every single day in her typical invigorating fashion.

Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you not only lose weight but weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying. This means that you won’t just be thinner but will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way.
Kudos to you, not only for your weight loss but also for your transparency and honesty! 🙂 I too am not someone gifted with a metabolism that allows me to eat whatever! 😉 I think that weight loss can be very similar to a testimony of faith and our walk with Jesus — so very personal and very different for everyone; it truly seems ever-changing thru the different seasons of life. Thank you for sharing your story! 🙂 xoxo
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!
As funny as it sounds, sleep deprivation may make you fat — and not just because you're susceptible to cases of the late-night munchies (although there's that too). There's tons of research that demonstrates getting less than the desired amount — about 7 hours — of sleep per night can slow down your metabolism. Plus, when you're awake for longer, you're naturally more likely to nosh. So don't skimp on your ZZZs, and you'll be rewarded with an extra edge when it comes to shedding pounds quickly.
About: Andie’s well-known for her New York Times bestselling memoir “It Was Me All Along” where she chronicles how she lost 135 pounds 10 years ago. But it’s her blog that drew us to her for this list, especially considering that she’s managed all this time to KEEP that weight off. Andie also wrote a cookbook, “Eating in the Middle,” featuring (mostly) healthy recipes. Plus, Andie’s blog is chock full of healthy recipes too (and the occasional indulgence), lessons she learned while losing weight and how she transformed her relationship with food and her body.
Always the chubby kid in school, Shelly’s weight struggles followed her well into adulthood. At age 35, she struggled with many obesity-related health issues, including high blood pressure and sleep apnea. After her father died of heart failure and sleep apnea and she heard about 9/11 victims who had to walk down 86 plus flights of stairs, Shelly decided it was time to make a change. She opted for weight loss surgery, started eating healthy and exercising daily. The result? A 158-pound weight loss. Shelly uses her blog as a platform to share her daily triumphs and struggles as she works to maintain her weight, share products she uses to stay healthy and eat right.
Fibrous foods are as close to a “miracle belly flattening pill” as we have. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, particularly those high in soluble fiber, have been proven to reduce fat around your midsection. In addition, these foods fill you up so you eat less, flattening your stomach over time. Try one of these 5 easy ways to turn off your fat genes and keep the weight off for good.
5. Start with one small change. "I realized that a lot of sugar and calories that I consumed came from drinks, so I challenged myself to drink only water—no sugary drinks!—for 30 days. After just one successful week, I decided to add another challenge: to cut back on the carbs I was eating. When I did eat bread, I switched to wheat bread and when I wanted rice, I used brown rice."
It might not build you like Popeye overnight, but add a bit of the green stuff on the side of your plate if you want to lose weight fast. It’s thanks to spinach’s ecdysteroids, natural compounds found in the veg, that increase the levels of protein adiponectin, which makes fat cells more sensitive to insulin, and breaks down fat. It’s really that easy.
When Tufts University researchers studied the waistlines and diets of 459 people, they found that even in men of similar age and activity level, those who ate white bread frequently weighed more than those who didn’t. “The calories from white bread and refined grains just seem to settle at the waistline more than calories from other foods,” says Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., the study author.
Amselem tells her clients to strive for a combination of aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, or dancing for 45 minutes each day with strength training exercises three times a week. She also likes yoga (for balance), stretching, and relaxation. Dr. Ayoob concurs and wishes more people would prioritize daily activity—like low-impact cardio workouts on the stair climber or elliptical machines—in order to send their bodies a message to keep moving. (Of course, be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.)
I also think its important to note that having portion control is not the same thing as being on a diet. I never considered myself to be on a "diet." I remember a few co-workers asking me what kind of diet I was on and I didn't know how to answer because I never thought of myself of dieting because I still ate all foods that I loved. It was more just eating all foods in moderation. I could still eat a good burger and sweet potato fries if I went out to dinner, drank wine on special occasions, ate dark chocolate and ice cream, etc. I never stopped eating the foods I enjoyed, I just ate them less. 

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Research shows your body also unleashes human growth hormone, which helps you burn fat and maintain muscle, after just 10 to 30 seconds of high-intensity exercise. High-intensity exercise also appears to help curb your appetite and trigger hormones that regulate feelings of hunger and fullness better than lower-intensity exercise, so you’re less likely to overeat.
The researchers explain that people who cook their own meals may simply have other good-for-you habits, like exercising more. However, they also concluded that home cooks ate more fruits and vegetables (along with a wider variety of foods), have healthier methods of prepping their food, and splurge less on foods high in calories and sugar. No clue where to start? Check out these 25 high-protein chicken recipes for weight loss.
Fibrous foods are as close to a “miracle belly flattening pill” as we have. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, particularly those high in soluble fiber, have been proven to reduce fat around your midsection. In addition, these foods fill you up so you eat less, flattening your stomach over time. Try one of these 5 easy ways to turn off your fat genes and keep the weight off for good.
If you’re only getting a minimal amount of sleep each night, that leaves more time for you to snack and make otherwise unhealthy decisions that could affect your weight loss. Although it will vary from person to person on how much sleep you actually need to be most effective (and therefore make progress toward your weight loss goals), the ideal number is typically 7 or 8 hours, says Dr. Cheskin. (Struggling to get that shut-eye? This doctor-approved breathing exercise will help you fall asleep fast.)

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.


A little garlic in your meals could mean a lot less weight around your middle. The results of a Korean study found that mice given a high-fat diet supplemented with garlic lost significantly more weight and abdominal fat than those who just ate fatty foods. Even better, they also improved their liver health, making it easier to stay healthy and burn off that excess fat in the long term. For more flavorful ways to make your food more enjoyable, turn to the 20 Spicy Recipes That Fire Up Your Metabolism and watch those pounds melt away.
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!!

Like protein, fiber slows the rate at which your body plows through carb calories so you feel full for longer and maintain steadier blood sugar levels, one reason why research consistently links fiber intake to weight loss. That means fibrous whole grain bread tends to be a better choice than white bread and also explains why fruits, which contain fiber and valuable vitamins in addition to sugar, beat straight-up candy every time.
I loved reading your weight loss history. I’ve been struggling since my childhood with my weight and I still continue to struggle with it. I also used sparks people back in the day and have recently began counting my points. I’ve been able to drop 10 pounds but I’ve been stuck for the past month. It’s been a frustrating journey but I continue to stay focused. I like the tips that you have shared. I truly believe in moderation. I don’t like giving up a certain food item. Thanks again for your tips! If you have anymore please share 🙂
Keeping a toothbrush handy can do more than polish up that smile (and counter the effects of all that belly-slimming garlic); brushing your teeth throughout the day can also help you ditch that belly fat fast. A study conducted a sample of over 14,000 participants found that brushing after every meal was linked to lower weight. That minty toothpaste flavor not only clashes with virtually every food, brushing may also trigger a Pavlovian response that tells your brain the kitchen’s closed.
The title of Brooke’s site really says it all: Brooke is not on a diet. But that doesn’t mean that she’s not getting healthy and losing weight, she’s just not doing it through any fad dieting, weight loss supplements or any other quick-fit schemes. Rather, Brooke lost an astounding 170 pounds by exercising and eating healthy, more filling meals. Along the way, she met, fell in love with and married “Mr. B.” Her blog takes an extremely common-sense approach to dieting. On a regular basis she eats right (and shares all about it), but doesn’t shy away from the occasional indulgence either. Brooke’s blog is all about divulging healthy living tips, reviews, recipes and the day-to-day happiness she find in life.
If you want to lose weight you should start by avoiding sugar and starch (like bread, pasta and potatoes). This is an old idea: For 150 years or more there have been a huge number of weight-loss diets based on eating fewer carbs. What’s new is that dozens of modern scientific studies have proven that, yes, low carb is the most effective way to lose weight.
Before I really get into the content of this post, I should note that throughout my weight loss journey, I have learned a lot about nutrition, fitness, mental wellness, and body image. There are some things that I will mention that worked really well for me that might not work as well for other people. What started out as a journey to weight loss has evolved into a journey of an overall healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Sometimes, you might need an external motivator—like a race or a competition—to keep you on track. After a slow start to her slimdown, Maribel Contreras decided to sign up for a 12-week body transformation contest at her gym. She swapped out her fast-food trips for healthy homemade meals and revved up her workouts, which ultimately helped her win the competition. She now maintains a 77-pounds-lighter frame. 
5. Start with one small change. "I realized that a lot of sugar and calories that I consumed came from drinks, so I challenged myself to drink only water—no sugary drinks!—for 30 days. After just one successful week, I decided to add another challenge: to cut back on the carbs I was eating. When I did eat bread, I switched to wheat bread and when I wanted rice, I used brown rice."
Faya Nilsson is a Personal Trainer and blogger for Fitness On Toast. Her blog was an honest place to share healthy and unusual recipes with her clients, to offer nutritional tips, to communicate informative workout ideas, and to curate ‘fitness fashion’ looks. Her blog has since transformed and been tailored to include anyone interested in fitness, along with travel and inspiration for those looking to stay healthy and fit while seeing the world.
To prep his patients for success, Dr. Seltzer tells them to plan around a large evening meal by eating a lighter breakfast and lunch—NBD since most people who eat a meal before bed tend to wake up feeling relatively full, he says. Research suggests balanced bedtime meals may also promote steady next-day blood sugar levels, which also helps with appetite regulation.
No, we’re not telling you that you need a tummy tuck (although that would flatten your belly, we suppose). Rather, there are several common health conditions that can make your belly bulge and until you fix the anatomical issues underneath, nothing else can flatten it out. For instance, many women have a diastisis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, after pregnancy. In about 25 percent of these women, the muscles never quite come back together, leading to a permanent protrusion. Similarly, a hernia (congenital or from an injury) can also cause your belly to stick out. Both conditions can be resolved surgically.
This could be because the body increases insulin secretion in anticipation that sugar will appear in the blood. When this doesn’t happen, blood sugar drops and hunger increases. Whether this chain of events regularly takes place is somewhat unclear. Something odd happened when I tested Pepsi Max though, and there are well-designed studies showing increased insulin when using artificial sweeteners.
When you hit the age of 40, you start to notice significant changes in the way your body looks and feels. Of course, some changes—like grey hair and wrinkles —are cosmetic changes that don't necessarily affect your medical health. But other changes, like an increase in weight or in the areas of your body where you hold weight, can have an impact on your longevity.
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If you’re thinking about starting a low-carb diet and interested to see how it can work for someone else, then look no further than Anne’s blog. If you look back at Anne’s “before” photos from 2009, you will hardly recognize the fit, healthy woman staring back at you from more recent photos. Anne’s blog has it all - from lab results, to comparisons of the anatomies of healthy versus overweight people, even low-carb recipes and foods. She believes in what she is doing, and she wants to help others do the same.


"Sleep is a cornerstone of weight management because of the impact it has on your hormones that control how you burn fat, how you store fat, and how you're maintaining muscle. The better your hormone balance, the better your weight management. I work my butt off to get eight hours a night, but right now I'm at six—the show is murdering me! Even if I go to bed early my son wakes up."
Including your significant other in your workouts can help to keep you on track, even if your goals aren't necessarily the same. "My hubby and I make exercise outings 'our' time," says Twyla Grimes, who knocked off 26 pounds by combining an hour on the stairmill or treadmill with strength training. "We'll go to the gym for an hour and lift weights together. Having him there keeps me accountable."
Very low levels of thyroid hormone usually indicate an autoimmune reaction to the thyroid gland itself. This means you’ll have to take thyroid hormone supplements orally, usually the stable form T4 (Levaxin), which your doctor can prescribe for you. Your body will transform this into the active T3 hormone when necessary. The supplement dose should be adjusted so that you reach normal hormone levels (TSH, T3, T4) and sufficiently alleviate symptoms – though a few people feel best when keeping TSH slightly below normal.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
Gina Harney started The Fitnessista after she’d already lost 40 pounds. At the time, she was in maintenance mode in Georgia where, as she explains it, “healthy options were pretty scarce.” The blog was her way of chronicling how she sought out those healthy choices and often created them for herself. Today, Gina works as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and weight loss specialist. She loves sharing tips with her readers as they embark on their own journeys toward health. Visit the blog.
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