After losing 40 pounds, certified personal trainer Gina Harney was on the hunt for guides on weight maintenance. But at the time, her options were limited. So she started The Fitnessista, which is focused on fitness advice and healthy recipes that only sound indulgent (think: pecan pie oatmeal, pumpkin pie protein smoothie bowl, and chocolate protein donuts).
Unfortunately this reduces the debate to a very simplistic level. Why? Because we know that hunger, appetite, energy expenditure (i.e., metabolic rate), and even our propensity to be active are highly regulated by an increasing list of hormones and signaling molecules, not to mention our genetic inheritance (Bouchard 1994). Moreover these various factors interact with each other – for example: exercise stimulates hunger, calorie restriction increases hunger and decreases spontaneous activity (Keys 1950), calorie restriction reduces metabolic rate, and exercise plus calorie restriction markedly reduces metabolic rate (Phinney 1988).
“The secret to dropping the baby weight while working full-time was eating real food—no shakes or supplements, preparing meals in advance, and going slow. I balanced all of my meals to have a mix of protein, fat and carbs. As for meal prep, that was critical! After my kids went to bed, I would roast some veggies and meat in the oven with olive oil and seasoning like garlic, rosemary, oregano and bake for 425 degrees at 25 minutes. Then I would prep egg muffins, flourless banana muffins or snacks like roasted chickpeas. The whole prep would take from 30 to 60 minutes. I did this meal prep every two to three days instead of all day on Sunday. That allowed for greater variety and fresher ingredients, plus I could grab and go during the crazy busy morning rush for my meals the next day at work. Also, I incorporated both HIIT and strength training to get the most bang for my 5:30 a.m. workouts on weekdays, using my home equipment of dumbbells, resistance bands, a core ball and kettlebell. You don't need to sacrifice time with your family or from your career to lose weight. I'm proof of that.”
Cassey Ho, award-winning fitness instructor and Pilates teacher, is the creator behind Blogilates. It’s now the No. 1 fitness channel on YouTube. Her blog is an extension of that channel, where Cassey’s aim is to motivate and inspire readers. She does this by sharing monthly workout calendars and posts about clean eating and getting fit in a way that’s actually enjoyable. Visit the blog.
About: If there’s anyone who feels the pain of bouncing up and down with weight loss, it’s Emily. In 2011, she started working to shed the pounds, and got down to 151 by 2012. Then she went back up again...to 181. 2013 rolls around, and enter: her blog. Emily set out to lose the weight for good. She’s already down to 148, and although she only blogs about two times a month, her quirky style definitely makes them worth reading.
About: She had us with her name, but diving a little deeper, Shawn’s creativity really sinks the hooks in. Her “about” section is written like a sad (and playful) fairytale, but it’s her very real struggle that also touches a nerve. Shawn’s always been a hard worker, but her pursuit of education and a career took a toll on her body — causing weight gain and a deep depression. Shawn started Shrederella as a way to take back her life and chronicle the journey, and she’s done one heck of a job. Follow her for an authentic person with real struggles that you will surely relate to — plus a host of delicious, healthy recipes and fitness tricks.
Apart from this, around 180 to 270 grams of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, should be consumed, which will fulfill 45% to 65% of the calorie need for the day. Low-fat proteins like poultry, meat, and fish should also be eaten. It is recommended to eat 50% to 95% of low-fat proteins. This will provide for 15% to 25% of calorie intake for the day.
While you’re on your cardio kick, incorporate more inclines to really target your thighs. If you walk on a treadmill, ramp up the incline manually. If you walk or jog outside, find a trail with some hills. You’ll immediately start to feel the burn in your inner thighs and glutes; that’s because walking or jogging on an incline targets the thighs and buns more than walking on a flat surface.
The above exceptions may work for some overweight people. But both in my practice as a psychologist and from personal experience I can attest to the fact that such exceptions can be disastrous. There is increasing evidence of an addictive component to overeating, especially when it comes to sugar and refined grains such as those in pasta and bread products. For many people, suggesting that an occasional indulgence is OK is tantamount to telling an alcoholic s/he can have an occasional beer. Its much easier not to start than to stop. After a few months of eliminating sugar and flour from one’s diet, those “occasional treats” will seem unhealthy and the high likelihood that eating them will trigger a cascade of further unwanted cravings will serve as ample deterrent to indulging in them. I have stayed off those “treats” for over 8 years, eating ample amounts of fruits, nuts, raw and cooked veggies, beans, fish, chicken and small amounts of cheese, oatmeal and brown rice and I have never enjoyed food as much as I do now
Plus, a 2015 study from the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that for those who have a hard time following a strict diet, simplifying the weight loss approach by just increasing fiber intake can still lead to weight loss. Women should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day (based on a 2,000-calorie) diet, according to the most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Not sure where to start? Check out our step-by-step guide to increasing your fiber intake.
I do want to tell you that I think it is great that you are on a weight loss journey and that you joined Sparks People. I have been with them for 5 years and I love it! It keeps me motivated! Your doing a great job and it is wonderful that you are eating clean and healthy, just remember that in life there are some not so great for you foods, but you should never deprive yourself. Everything in moderation, just be conscience of what your putting in your body!
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.
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.
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.
About: Jenny always knew that she wanted to be a motivational speaker one day — she just wasn’t sure about what. Then one day it hit her, people are the most inspired by people who understand what they’re going through. For Jenny, that had always been her compulsive overeating, body image and food addictions. Four years ago, she decided to change. She transformed her way of thinking and her blog was born, complete with recipes, tips and posts that are truly inspirational from a woman that gets what you’re going through.
Incorporate fats like butter or olive oil for satiety. Adding fat to your protein-containing foods will provide more satiety than protein alone. If you struggle adding fats to keep your protein consumption moderate, consider if you fear adding fat. Getting over the fear of fat can take time, considering what we’ve been told for the last few decades.
If you aren't getting enough protein, and not strength training regularly, extremely restrictive diets may cause you to start burning more lean muscle for energy instead of fat (23). Why does this matter? You are losing precious muscle mass - which is key for keeping your metabolism intact and improves your overall quality of life. In addition, reduced lean muscle mass increases your overall body fat percentage, even though the number on the scale is decreasing.
If you watch TV often, you've probably seen a commercial pop up for Jenny Craig. When you do the diet, you receive a unique weight loss plan for your specific lifestyle and have a personal consultant to check in with at least once a week. And, the meals are delicious: There are more than 100 menu items to choose from for your meals, which are five a day plus one snack of your own.
About: Laura is a health coach whose passion to help others overcome addiction and gain a satisfying life comes from her own history: For years she battled addiction (to food, cigarettes and many other things) and was taught to believe that as a woman, she was less valuable than a man. Trapped in her own mind and truly miserable, Laura one day realized that the key to overcoming her addictions was to make deliberate choices for every single thing she did — a mindset that taught her just how valuable she is. Now, she’s an extraordinarily strong-willed champion of women’s health who shares her knowledge and expertise with others. A true inspiration on so many levels.
Clean eating and lifestyle approaches, like Whole 30, the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet, are also a way to eliminate calories by cutting out processed foods and convenience options. When you are eating more home cooked meals and choosing fresh foods to snack on, you are removing a lot of quick energy sources from your day - like vending machine options, fast foods and restaurant take-out. And if you're not overeating, this can help you drop pounds.
At the end of the summer (August) I weighed myself again and found out I had lost 10 pounds since January. I didn’t get down on myself when it felt like I had working so hard for little progress, but instead decided I was going to kick it hardcore into gear. It was at this point that my healthy habits were formed and I could continue in the direction of a healthy lifestyle. I could work harder in the hopes of seeing results. I realized at this point going forward it would be more of a mental battle than physical battle. The habits were formed, but I needed to continue believing in myself, staying encouraged, and thinking positive. I tried my best.
You know that recording what you consume is a good way to keep your weight in check, but Brittany Hicks, who dropped 110 pounds in college, didn't only write down what she ate—she also wrote down why she was eating it. "I realized I'd been using food to cope with stress," she says. "Just noticing that helped me do it less." Make sure you're not making these food journal mistakes so you can reap the rewards of eating and jotting, too.
When you want to lose leg fat, it pays to be the hare, not the tortoise. Fast, intense exercises, like sprints, are one of the most effective ways to shed fat quickly. Research published in the Journal of Diabetes Research reveals that shorter periods of intense exercise, like sprinting, are just as effective at reducing body fat as longer periods spent exercising at moderate intensity, so go ahead and add some quick sprints to your routine. Pair those sprints with the fat-burning foods and you’ll be looking leaner before you know it.