As we approach Valentine’s Day, we are reminded of all the reasons we love LOVE. Companionship, trust, affection and emotional support are just some of the things we’ve come to expect from a happy couple. Not to burst your dreamy romantic bubble, but there is one very real downside to expect in a relationship, and that would be “relationship weight gain.”
Ideally, when you are gaining weight, leptin works to naturally decrease appetite and promote weight loss. However, in some cases of excess weight gain, you can become leptin resistant. In other words, your leptin signals are no longer working properly, and your body may constantly feel hungry. In addition, any weight loss achieved may trigger ghrelin to increase, which can increase your appetite further (103,104).

About: Kaylen may be young, but she’s knows her way around a kitchen. She has a passion for food and loves experimenting to find new ways to make recipes healthier. Her blog comes after many years of following other healthy living blogs and has a host of scrumptious, easy-to-follow recipes. Plus, she tosses in the occasional fitness routine, too. In short, it’s a true breath of fresh air.

Late-night munchies: We hate to be a Debbie Downer, so think of us as Debbie Downsizer: Pass up p.m. snacks. Your body may not burn nighttime nibbles as efficiently as it does those you eat during the day, a study of high-fat diets in the journal Obesity finds. Declare "last call" two hours before bed. "If you're really hungry, have a 150-calorie snack," says self contributing expert Janis Jibrin, R.D. If not, sip tea, cut the lights and bid farewell to the fridge until morning.


"Protein is great for fat loss. It helps build and preserve lean muscle tissue and can increase the amount of calories you burn. It’s also a great source of energy that helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to snack. Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, eggs, milk and chickpeas. And if you’re finding it difficult to avoid snacks that are high in carbohydrates, try substituting them for protein shakes or bars. Remember also to opt for the lean sources of protein because some sources can be high in saturated fat."
Thank you so much for this. I always do fine on any diet until 2 weeks before my period. I become very huNgry and want to eat eVerythig in sight and carbs are my friend during that time. All i want is carbs. Then once i get my period im fine for the next 2 weeks after that. im so sick of my period ruining my weightloss efforts so this article has been a godsend. However it seem that you are saying the opposite of what I have been thinking. I become so ravenous for carbs during the 2 weeks leading up to my period that i assumed while reading this article that i should be have more carbs d but it seems that you are saying I should have less. And the period i feel more in control, the 2 weeks after my period when i could literally adhere to any diet, thats when i should have more carbs?
If you are looking for a satisfying and delicious meat-free Bolognese sauce, you must add this Hearty Vegetable Bolognese sauce to your dinner menu this week! 🍝 This recipe gets its meaty texture from walnuts (inspired by @livingkitchen — a local #CLT-area fav!) and is a healthy and filling vegetarian dish we LOVE in our house!⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ INGREDIENTS ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 2 cups peeled, chopped carrots ⠀⠀ ½ cup chopped bell peppers⠀⠀ 8 ounces fresh mushrooms⠀⠀ 2 small yellow onions⠀⠀ ¼ cup kalamata olives⠀⠀ ¼ cup Cabernet Sauvignon ⠀⠀ 3 garlic cloves, peeled⠀⠀ 1 cup walnuts ⠀⠀ 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning ⠀⠀ 1 teaspoon sea salt ⠀⠀ 1 25-ounce jar marinara sauce⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ DIRECTIONS ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ In a food processor, shred the carrots, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, onions and garlic until they are shredded into very fine pieces.⠀⠀ Drizzle a large, deep nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat to a medium-high heat. Add the shredded vegetables and allow them to cook down, as the water sweats out and they reduce in volume for about 5 minutes. Add the wine, reduce the heat and allow to simmer longer (approximately 7-10 minutes), until almost all of the liquid is gone.⠀⠀ While the vegetables are cooking, place the walnuts, Italian seasonings and sea salt into the food processor and grind into a course meal, taking care not to over grind, as a paste will form.⠀⠀ Add the walnuts to the skillet and stir.⠀⠀ Add the marinara sauce and stir to combine. Simmer on medium-low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.⠀⠀ Serve on top of whole wheat spaghetti, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash or your favorite pasta and enjoy!⠀⠀
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.
While it’s often assumed that bread is off-limits when you’re trying to lose belly fat, the right bread may actually expedite the process. Switching to sprouted bread can help out carb-lovers eager to get their fix without going up a belt size, thanks to the inulin content of sprouted grains. The results of a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism reveal that found that pre-diabetic study subjects whose diets were supplemented with inulin shaved off more belly fat and total weight than those whose meal plans didn’t pack this healthy prebiotic fiber.
Some popular trends like the apple cider vinegar diet, green tea, coffee or cayenne pepper have been touted as special fat burning superfoods. The mechanisms behind a majority of these claims are not well understood, but typically involve optimizing absorption and digestion rates or increasing RMR temporarily through thermogenesis (100,101). And sometimes the positive effects are due to these foods decreasing appetite. 
Doctors recommend aiming to lose ½ to 2 pounds per week, but you'll often lose weight faster in the first few weeks after changing your diet and exercise. If you're wondering why so many diet plans promise faster results, it's because they're trying to sell you something! Extreme programs can lead to health problems, so don't try them without a doctor's supervision.
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.

We’re almost up to speed, but still rewind a little bit back to the early years of college. In the fall of 2012 I started school at Truman State University in good old Kirksville, Missouri. If you’re in college or have been to college, you know that it’s the time to form independence and truly make decisions, on your own, for how you wish to live your life. For a lot of people this means starting over, turning over a new leaf, making new habits, developing a new lifestyle, etc. Honestly college is crazy and weird and I don’t want to ramble on it too much because this post is focused more on the fitness/nutrition journey I’ve experienced (though I now realize its all connected.)


Strength-training exercises like pushups, situps, pullups and weightlifting burn fat and tone muscle simultaneously. The CDC recommends completing at least two muscle-strengthening sessions per week. You should do one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise. Additionally, chores like digging and hoeing in the garden or yard qualify as strength-training exercises.
Currently there’s no evidence that consuming coconut oil can lower the risk of heart disease. And while there is some research suggesting MCTs are more satiating and may promote more fat loss compared to long chain fatty acids, more research is needed to provide any conclusive evidence that coconut oil is beneficial to weight loss (59,60,61). In reality, it is not one single food that will make or break your diet, and any food, including coconut oil can be included in a healthy weight loss diet when calories are controlled and good nutrition is emphasized overall. 
When you’re eating to deal with your emotions, like anxiety, stress or unhappiness, you’re likely not reaching for carrot sticks and blueberries, but carbohydrates, processed foods and even alcohol. Those calories eventually add up and, at the same time, you’re avoiding learning how to deal with difficult emotions and situations. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.
The winter came and several work outs happened at Truman's Rec Center. I also committed to my first half marathon in April, so the start of the new year brought many morning runs. I kept experimenting with meals and trying new ways to cook foods I loved. Some weeks were great, and others were not. I kept my head up and reminded myself the hard work was worth it. It was worth it to take care of my body, to take care of my heart, and to take care of my mind.

An aerobic exercise routine can help you lose inner-thigh fat by burning away fat calories. The CDC recommends a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or 150 minutes or moderate aerobic exercise each week for adults. Brisk walking, taking the stairs and raking leaves are some examples of moderate aerobic exercise. Vigorous aerobic activities include exercises like swimming, running and jumping rope. To start losing fat, you'll likely need to exceed the minimum recommendations.
Jen Tallman never thought she would have the courage to pursue a career in fashion due to her size...until she dropped 110 pounds by reducing her caloric intake and picking up running. Now she works at Chanel. How does she resist the temptation to deviate from her newfound healthy habits when eating out with friends? She checks out the menu beforehand so she always knows her healthy options. Just make sure you know how to spot what's actually healthy—restaurants can have a knack for trying to make you think things are healthier than they are.
About: Bailey is a grad student studying to get her degree to become a registered dietitian. As she goes, she’s working to establish herself as a go-to source for people online to learn how to create SMART goals, learn about food traps, get fitness tips and more – and it’s totally working. Bailey intermixes her professional posts with a bit of her own musings, making for a very personalized experience that combines getting to know the author with getting to know yourself, and how to achieve your goals.
“I have one heck of a sweet tooth, and so I have to refuse to bring candy, cake, or sweets into the house, period,” say Lin Williams, who’s lost 105 pounds. Instead, if she wants a treat she has to want it bad enough to get up, get in the car, leave her home, and go to the store—a process that rarely feels worth it. And on the rare occasion she does indulge? “I get exactly what I want and enjoy every bite of it!” she says.
If you enjoy the occasional cocktail, have no fear! We’re not telling you that you need to cut it out completely. Studies have shown that the occasional drink has little to no effect on belly fat. You run into issues, however, when you consume alcohol in abundance. Not only is there a direct correlation between alcohol and truncal obesity, but consuming alcohol puts you at risk of making unhealthy choices (as far as your diet is concerned). If you’re going to have a drink or two, leave the snacks in the pantry.

Mindfulness is the practice of being more aware and acting with intention. When applied to eating, being more mindful can help you make better decisions, feel less stressed about your diet and promote a more positive outlook in general. It really is just paying attention to what you are putting into your mouth and making a conscious effort to eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full and avoid food situations that lead to guilt and emotional eating. 


I found your blog through one of your SparkPeople comments. For the past few weeks, I’ve been limiting my caloric intake and eating about 900 calories a day, like you had done in the past. I’m also really limiting my carbs and exercising for an hour a day. But then I read your bio and I see that you eat wonderful things like pancakes for breakfast, so now I’m inspired to allow myself to eat good foods! You have a great story and delicious looking recipes, thanks for sharing!
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.
For some, as little as one or two drinks can impact weight loss. Beyond just its contribution of calories, alcohol interferes with the digestion and utilization of other nutrients, including fat. If you’re hitting a weight plateau and drink alcohol, evaluate your alcohol intake. Consider the type and the volume of alcohol you’re consuming. The carbohydrates and calories can add up quickly, and not to mention, we sometimes tend to reach for food when drinking – whether hungry or not!

Before we get into how to lose thigh fat, let’s take a moment to discuss why spot-reducing fat doesn’t work. If you’ve ever wondered how to lose leg fat or how to get rid of thigh fat, listen up. Plain and simple, you can’t spot-reduce body fat because you store fat cells all over your body—where your fat cells happen to be concentrated is often a genetic predisposition. If your thighs are covered in a little extra fat, you need to lose weight all over and THEN tone that specific area. You can’t spot-reduce, but you can spot-tone. Does that make sense?

Your weight will vary day to day—as much as several pounds—due to normal fluctuations in body water. So looking at your weight from one day to the next, or even one week to the next, does not accurately reflect weight loss. Dietary influences are just some of what can impact the number on the scale, whether a true weight change or just normal day-to-day fluctuations. Medications, hormones, exercise, and body composition changes additionally influence weight. Before further investigation, it’s important to evaluate whether what you’re experiencing is a true plateau or is the day to day fluctuations constantly fluctuating around a lower number, meaning you are losing weight, just possibly slower than you’d like.

"Protein is great for fat loss. It helps build and preserve lean muscle tissue and can increase the amount of calories you burn. It’s also a great source of energy that helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to snack. Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, eggs, milk and chickpeas. And if you’re finding it difficult to avoid snacks that are high in carbohydrates, try substituting them for protein shakes or bars. Remember also to opt for the lean sources of protein because some sources can be high in saturated fat."

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."

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.


Overall, great article! Especially the emphasis on self acceptance, which is often lost in weight loss plans playing on false notions “transformation” and “finding the new you,” while subliminally encouraging body-shaming along the way. I do have a question about the very last sentence of the article though. You specify that these things work “for average adults who do not have contributing medical or psychological issues,” but what about those who do have such issues?

Are you jealous of the celebrities with toned legs, the elusive thigh gap and no cellulite in sight? What about those girls at the gym who wear spandex shorts every day of the year? How can you get those sexy, sleek legs to flaunt? While some people are just born with great legs, there are plenty of things you can do to improve the look of your legs. With some hard work and determination, thinner thighs can be yours.
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