It’s impossible to target belly fat specifically when you diet. But losing weight overall will help shrink your waistline; more importantly, it will help reduce the dangerous layer of visceral fat, a type of fat within the abdominal cavity that you can’t see but that heightens health risks, says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., director of Clinical and Research Physiology at Johns Hopkins.
That doesn't mean one type of eating has the edge, however. "I individualize eating plans to allow both men and women to enjoy their preferences for carbs or protein, providing they select the healthy versions," says Tallmadge, who is also a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Another difference Tallmadge sees in her practice is that women tend to be fairly knowledgeable about food and calories, while the men don't think much about nutrition.
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.
A common misconception amongst many female fitness enthusiasts is that steady-state cardio in the "fat burning zone" is ideal for weight loss. Spending two hours on the treadmill may seem like it'll get you bikini-worthy bod—more minutes, more calories, right? However, while steady-state cardio has many benefits, it isn't the most effective way to reduce body fat.
One of the most striking things about Grace’s story is that she overcame more than just obesity (an extremely difficult thing to overcome in and of itself). After years of hating herself, Grace turned to addiction to cope with her low self-image. She abused alcohol, drugs and food for years - and it wasn’t until drinking herself into a stupor and waking up extremely sick the next morning that Grace realized it was time to make a change. Over the next few years, she started exercising and eating right, overcame her addictions, and lost over 80 pounds. Now, Grace uses her blog as a platform to stay consistent. She is honest about her struggles and recognizes that she can’t be perfect, but doesn’t let that stop her from trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle every day.
Some people feel better supplementing the already active T3 (sometimes prepared from pig thyroid glands), as it can give a stronger effect than the T4 hormone, but its effect is often harder to control. Swedish healthcare rarely prescribes or offers such T3 treatment, as it often lacks advantages and may pose a risk when doses are high for an extended period of time.
Lisa Cain is a mother and writer for the healthy living blog Snack Girl. After learning from her doctor that she needed to gain control of her weight, Lisa was devoted to finding a new strategy and approach to weight loss that would help her make a long-term lifestyle change. Her blog is dedicated to creating healthy versions of her favorite snack foods and providing helpful tips for enjoying the process.
About: It may be tough to tell by looking at her photo (complete with a very toned tummy), but Hannah’s no stranger to gaining weight. She packed on about 50 pounds each time she became pregnant with her two kids until she eventually went from a size 4 to a size 12-14. The pregnancies also changed her body and made her unhappy with the way she looked. Ready for change, Hannah created a fitness and food plan for herself, stuck to it and noticed she slowly but surely lost weight and started to look more and more toned. Now she’s studying to be a personal trainer, and her blog is a place she shares all her fitness tips, nutrition ideas and motivation to help others lose weight too.
Andra takes a unique approach to her blog. She doesn’t just write posts to write them, she makes sure her readers have something extremely interesting to read. Andra credits her readers and her blog with taking her from an unhappy, unhealthy person to a vibrant, fit woman who lost over 90 pounds and continues to keep it off. Andra doesn’t believe in “magic bullets” to lose weight, but rather takes a common-sense approach that incorporates healthy eating, fitness, dealing with emotions and much, much more.
I am going to be 60 on Feb. 5th. I didn’t have a weight problem when I was young. I am 5’9″ and weigh 196 right now. I am build med. to large boned. I have lost some weight in the past, 15 to 20 lbs. But I go back to my normal eating always and feel so angry at myself. I eat when I am board or angry or stressed. I also have a fit husband and he is my food police, (not my idea). I have depression and really have a hard time in the winter. I have no energy to do anything. I have started to lose weight and do some excercise but always stop. I feel like a failure most of the time.
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.
"Feeling stressed can wreak havoc on our bodies. It can cause our body to produce the steroid hormone cortisol, which can make you crave sugary foods that provide instant energy and pleasure. Short-term bursts of cortisol are necessary to help us cope with immediate danger, but our body will also release this hormone if we’re feeling stressed or anxious. When our cortisol levels are high for a long amount of time, it can increase the amount of fat you hold in your belly."
Dinner: Dinners are all over the place. If you missed my blog post from a few weeks ago, I made a Recipes for Success post which included a lot of the meals I've been cooking recently. You can read the post for actual recipes, but basically my favorite thing to make is "bowls." I like having quinoa or brown rice with veggies, greens, and protein. You also don't need to be a cook to throw everything in a bowl. I just tried to make a lot of "lighter" means with protein and fresh foods.
“We try not to vilify any food, except sugar,” added Dr. Aronne. “Having it as a treat is what sugar is for; it’s not meant to be the main part of your meal.” Yet added sugars in the form of sweeteners and syrups to flavor processed foods sees the average adult eating 20 teaspoons of hidden added sugar every day, or an extra 320 calories, according to the USDA’s recent nationwide food consumption survey. And then there’s sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas, sports drinks, juices and flavored coffees and teas stirred with empty calories. “The typical glass of orange juice has three oranges in it; that’s the calories of three oranges. But it’s easy to drink a glass of orange juice and still eat a number of other things,” added Dr. Aronne. “You’re better off just eating a single orange and feeling full.”
"I use low-fat Greek yogurt in place of mayo in recipes, and it tastes great," says Krystal Sanders, who went from 185 pounds to 110 by coming up with healthy versions of her favorite restaurant foods. "It can also be used as a sour cream substitute." The possibilities are endless when it comes to this tasty staple, but you can start with these dessert recipes.
What happens if you fast for a day? What happens if you don't eat for a day? While most people will feel hungry and possibly tired, there is also a range of other effects. In this article, learn about how the body starts to burn fat for energy and whether fasting for 24 hours can be a good weight loss tool. We also investigate the possible risks. Read now
Jennifer, I am a little different than you. I have always been a big girl and right now, I am near 200 pounds. I am about 5’3 and I’ve always had trouble losing weight. I’m actually very athletic. I love to play sports and I’m good at them, but I hate running. I also splurge a lot. it’s a bad habit of mine to snack when I’m bored. I’m a recent college student and eating healthy is difficult, not to mention exercise. since I live on the fourth floor, I try to take the stairs only. I’m pretty good about that. I have a slow metabolism and I have no sense of calorie counting. I’m desperate for help, but I need to concentrate on my studies. what advice can you give me?
Additionally, Certified Health Coach John Vercelletto pushes back on the low-fat fad, popular with individuals past the age of 50. He says that our bodies need healthy dietary fat, like avocados, olive oil, and butter, but low-fat products often increase sugar—which, by now, most of us realize isn’t good for our health. Dr. Ayoob seconds this mindset, and simply suggests watching portion sizes when it comes to good fats like avocados or nuts.
Real talk: It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain. "Do what you like because it’s good for you," Dr. Seltzer says, noting the way exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.
Getting rid of your belly bulge is important for more than just vanity's sake. Excess abdominal fat—particularly visceral fat, the kind that surrounds your organs and puffs your stomach into a "beer gut"—is a predictor of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and some cancers. If diet and exercise haven't done much to reduce your pooch, then your hormones, your age, and other genetic factors may be the reason why. Read on for 11 possible reasons why your belly fat won't budge.
Make sure to program your cardio exercise in with your weight training the right way, though — a 2017 study found that performing cardio and weight training workouts on alternate days was far more effective for burning belly fat than stacking the workouts on top of each other in the same session. Put the two together, and watch that unhealthy midsection shrink.
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.
A daily run or Spin class is great for your heart, but cardio workouts alone won't do much for your waist. "You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training," says Sangeeta Kashyap, MD, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. Strength training increases muscle mass, which sets your body up to burn more fat. "Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle," says Kate Patton, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. Patton recommends 250 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week.
So what can we do with all this knowledge? Tempting as it is to get discouraged, we can actually find it encouraging. Biology is not destiny, after all. “Lifestyle choices are immensely powerful,” Peeke says. And on the heels of any tidal wave of new research is sure to come a trickle of weight-loss advice that can be more customized and more effective to help men and women with their weight-loss obstacles, no matter what they are.
About: Gina has the kind of success story that really touches a nerve. She started out at 298 pounds and went on to lose 168 of those pounds in 25 months. As someone who always struggled with her weight and achieved such a huge thing, she has an especially good grasp on how to help other people who have 100 or more pounds to lose achieve their goals. Her blog is a place she uses to motivate, inspire, energize and connect with others. And that’s exactly what it is.
If you need inspiration, look no further! Sean is a fabulous weight-loss blogger who has lost 200 pounds! His blog follows his journey toward "improved health and fitness, one sport, goal, and day at a time." Sean's goal is to lose 225 pounds through eating healthy foods and exercise. I love his approach to weight loss. Sean writes: "It’s taken me years to put this weight on so I guess I’ve always just known it was going to take time and motivation to get it off. I also wasn’t looking for a quick fix…instead I wanted to find a permanent and intelligent way to live and be healthy while still enjoying life along the way."
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.
A 2014 Harvard study found that men who did twenty minutes of daily weight training had less of an increase in age-related abdominal fat compared with men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic activities, and other studies have shown similar levels of success when guys hit the gym to cut down on fat. The implication: Guys can cut belly fat most efficiently with weight training.
“Eat a properly combined breakfast with protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats,” says Miriam Amselem, a Florida-based 52-year-old holistic nutritionist and yoga teacher. “Breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day and helps with metabolism. An example of a healthy breakfast is one cup of 0 percent fat yogurt with half a cup of blueberries and a dash of honey or an egg white omelet with half a small avocado and a slice of multigrain bread.”
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.
About: Shannon’s a fit girl, but her mission in life is to get even fitter — and motivate others to join her along the way. She’s also a full-time marketing executive, but her true passion is bringing together and inspiring them to reach their goals. You’ll find her posts are full of positivity, motivation, practical tips for exercising (without killing yourself) and even fun fashion bits. If the sun was shining through a blog, it would be shining through Shannon’s.
I wish I could tell you the habits formed without a problem, but it was HARD. I had to figure out what worked best for me. I learned that packing my lunch the night before work was super helpful. I also learned that nights were hard for me. There were days I ate super well all day long but then felt like I ruined it when I ate a bunch of candy or dessert. I would also indulge over the weekends, late at night, or when going out to dinner. I was also not in shape so working out was hard. I felt super weak and was tired after work so it was extra difficult motivating myself to get to the gym only to find out and remind myself I was not good at running or lifting. It took me a while to learn that exercising over my lunch break was a good fit for me – it gave me a break from work and I had enough energy to push myself. There were a lot of days of missing the mark, when I would be too tired to work out or days when I didn’t think about what I was consuming and ate whatever was in front of me (not the nutritious kinds of food). There were many days when I felt like I was making any progress whatsoever. The biggest and most important thing I started to learn in this summer was to give myself grace. I hard to learn to forgive myself and move on when I fell short of the mark I set for myself. I had to learn to keep my head up and remind myself that the tiny baby steps would lead to progress.
“One of the biggest complaints of those over [the age of] 50 is lack of sleep,” notes Amselem. “Sleep is key to healthy weight since two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are released during sleep and they play a major role in appetite regulation. Lack of sleep disrupts the process and causes metabolic dysfunction in which the body confuses fatigue [with] hunger—not a good thing! My recommendation is to get seven to eight hours of sleep and, if needed, take a low dosage of melatonin for help.”
Additionally, many women have to face one lifestyle change before getting to another, such as overhauling eating habits before taking on exercise. For example, Michelle DeGennaro got a handle on her diet and soon after found that she was more inclined to exercise. "Feeling lighter on my feet was thrilling, and it gave me the confidence to start walking every day," she says. And as Blanca Valdez noticed, "Eating right made my energy soar, which I channeled into exercise." She has kept off 78 pounds.
About: Jade’s 6+ years of experience blogging means, at first glance, we would have passed right over her for this list. But it’s her recent debut into weight loss and healthy living blogging that caught our eye. Jade lives in Singapore, and just looking at Jade’s photos, it’s hard to imagine her as ever being overweight. But in 2012, she was unhappy with the way she looked, a feeling she’d had her whole life. Then the thought occurred to her that she had the power to change it. A total lifestyle overhaul and 44 pounds later, and Jade’s story is a success we can all admire.
Julie’s blog is more than just impressive - it’s downright awesome. Really awesome. Why? Julie’s creative, and her mission to go from 314 pounds to 180 is just the beginning. She also seeks to love herself and find confidence - all while writing in her typical make-you-smile, make-your-day fashion. Julie has already lost over 50 pounds, and the fact that she sets rewards for herself (such as 5 inch Christian Louboutins when she loses 100) keeps her going. Readers will root for her as she works to get there.
About: Normally, we’d skip right on over a blog that doesn’t identify the author’s name, but the woman authoring “Frantic at Forty” gave us pause. Why? Because her story is one that so many can relate to — a woman about to enter midlife trying to make sense of things and lose weight. The author started the blog just before she turned 40 as a way to stay accountable while she started out to give herself the only gift she wanted — thin. She’s lost plenty of weight, and, even more importantly, found some happiness in the process. We just hope that turning 40 doesn’t mean an end to her blogging.
If you’re looking for a writer to follow who’s still in the midst of their own weight loss journey (and willing to admit might always be), Amy is your girl. She blogs about the ups, downs, and challenges on her path to weight loss on Not Afraid of Stripes. She doesn’t hesitate to share her insecurities or efforts to improve her own body image. Visit the blog.