Thank you so much for this article on carb cycling & weight loss for women! I found it tremendously helpful for personal reasons but also because I work with so many women (as a personal trainer) who encounter significant frustration when it comes to weight loss, health & hormonal status (the interplay among them). Your article seems to speak to mostly women of reproductive age or to women who are still menstruating. I also work with many women age 50+ and wondered what recommendations, if any, might you have to offer regarding carbs/carb cycling for peri-/menopausal/post-menopausal women? Thank you so much, Stefani – the info & wisdom you share on your blog & via your podcast (which I love!) are invaluable to me. I also totally dig your book and recommend it to other women all the time! I so appreciate the work you’re doing!
Each slice of grapefruit you add to your salad acts like a match to spark your body’s fat-burning ability. A study published in the journal Metabolism found that those who ate grapefruit for six weeks lost a full inch off their waistlines. What’s behind the belt-tightening effect? The fruit is rich in phytochemicals, bioactive compounds that recent research shows stimulate the production of a hormone called adiponectin, which is involved in the breakdown of body fat. Japanese research suggests the smell of the juicy fruit can “turn on” calorie-burning brown fat cells, promoting the breakdown of body fat while reducing appetite.
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.
Once your body runs out of glycogen stores, it is forced to break down protein and fat for energy, pending how much oxygen is available. And it typically takes about 12 hours for this to occur. In theory one would assume working out fasted in the morning - after more than 12 hours without intake - would promote more fat burning. But the science does not support this (112,113). In addition, working out fasted may effect your energy and strength, making your workout a little less intense than if you have fueled prior. These factors could effect your ability to build lean mass and perform. 
Excellent question! I suppose you could look at it like this: you are less insulin sensitive in the luteal phase, so in order to prevent fat gain it is “more important” to burn sugar and fat at this time – so if weight loss is your goal, and if you do good, hard anaerobic workouts, then this will sharpen your insulin sensitivity as much as possible and help keep you lean via that mechanism. If, on the other hand, weight loss is not your goal but fitness and strength are, then you may wish to do aerobic work at this time (with higher blood sugar you can accomplish greater aerobic feats), and save the anaerobic work for the rest of your cycle. Does that make sense? At least, that is what I am guessing is happening here.
You can determine your active energy expenditure by estimating how much physical activity you currently get each week and how much you move around in general. Do you stand or walk a lot? Are you super fidgety? All of these factors are import to consider when you estimate how active you are. Based on your self assessment, use the chart below to find the right activity factor for you:

Hydrate while cutting out excessive sweets from your liquid diet. Stick with water. Water is healthy, plentiful, cheap, and actually tastes good. Water flushes out harmful toxins, carries nutrients to cells, and provides a moist environment for bodily tissues that need it. Doctors recommend drinking 64 ounces of fluid per day, or about 1.9 liters (0.5 US gal).[3]


In this study, women were put in one of two groups. Group 1 ate a “normal” diet with 15% of calories from protein. Group 2 ate a high-protein (30%) diet, with a special emphasis on low-glycemic-index foods. Both groups lost weight, but the Group 2 also had impressive hormonal improvements, specifically a decrease in androgens (male sex hormones) and markers of inflammation, and an improvement in insulin sensitivity. It’s complicated because there were two interventions at once (the protein and the glycemic index), but this seems to suggest that getting enough protein is important for hormonal healing.
The funny thing to me is that what was described in the article was not at all foreign to me and I was thinking “what’s new” when I was reading it, but if you’ve never done it before, it’s really really unpleasant. We’d always fly in the night before the weigh ins and the day of, I’d often wake up at 5am and cut for 12 hours straight. The hardest part is to have the discipline to not check your weight too frequently because it gets extremely hard to get your sweat going when you’re dehydrated, especially in the absence of a sauna. My mom also noticed that I’d go running in a foot of fresh snow at 3am when I’d have an early flight and at that point she decided she didn’t have to worry about my determination.
ANYWAY, as far as the beginning of college goes, I thought a lot about nutrition and fitness and really wanted them to be incorporated into my life. For exercise, I joined the women’s ultimate frisbee team.  I honestly joined because the team was a built in community of really amazing people who were great friends but even better accountability partners that kept me coming to practice and pushing myself while I was there. We had practice for 2 hours about 3 times a week, and I never exercised outside of those times. On the topic of nutrition, I never thought I ate that bad. However, college dining halls can wreck your body. Unlimited buffets with more unhealthy than healthy options was not in my favor. Of course I ate salads, chicken/fish, and veggies on a regular basis, but I also ate my fair share of french fries, frozen yogurt, cookies, and whatever desserts were available. So many weekly activities and meetings had free food, and late night study snacks were a regular occurrence.
Alright, so by now you’ve changed your diet, ramped up your workouts, and are ready to tone your slimmer thighs. Here’s a quick anatomy lesson to explain why certain exercises are more effective at toning your thigh muscles than others: Your thigh muscles run diagonally, not vertically like your quadriceps. When you want to work muscles that run diagonally, you have to perform exercises that incorporate different angles, moving in different directions.
"With all the different tips out there, it can be tricky to understand exactly which exercises work the best. HIIT is great for fat burning and will get your heart rate up, but I’d also recommend including strength (resistance) exercises too. Try lifting weights, using resistance bands or using the weight machines at the gym as these will increase your metabolism to help with weight loss, and increase your muscle strength. It’s important to mix-up your whole-body workouts so you don’t get bored."
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As you mention, HS wrestlers (also, many other grappling sport athletes), boxers, etc. aren’t given the full 24 hours to recover from depletion. Many of these sports have mat-side weigh-ins. Others are just given a few hours after weigh-in to replenish. For these sports, athletes are best served focusing on year-round nutrition strategies, ones that help them stay at a weight very close to the weight they’d like to compete at.
the perfect post for me to read today as I try to get back on track starting this week. I have a goal in mind but I’m not good with strict,regimented routines. I do better with smart/sensible/common sense choices – ie dont eat processed foods, portion control, stay away from fried/sugary foods etc. So glad I read this post, perfect motivation for a monday morning!
Some studies point to 0.45 to 0.55 grams/pound body weight as the minimum intake (72,73,74,75,76). And when looking at weight loss in specific, some studies argue that even higher protein intake at 0.6 to 0.72 grams/pound, and meals providing at least 25 to 30g of protein, are associated with decreases in appetite and better weight management overall (77). Furthermore, studies looking at athletes who are cutting calories, suggest that intakes as high as 1 to 1.4 g/pound to minimize their loss of lean mass (78,79,80,81).
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.
Most people I have met knows someone who is heavy, but disabled in some way that makes it difficult or impossible to work out, or someone trying to lose weight after an injury. I encourage them to move their bodies as much as they can, if it means lifting weights while on the couch, or just working a little harder in physical therapy you can do something to move more.
Top your salad with this lean protein and soon enough all your friends will be asking you to tuna-round so they can compliment your new slimmed down look. As a primo source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), canned light tuna is one of the best and most affordable sources of lean protein for fat loss, especially from your belly! One study in PLOS One showed that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation from fish oil was connected to a lower waist-hip ratio as well as lower levels of abdominal fat.
This creates satisfaction and satiates the cravings for fast food, ensuring that you are full longer with fiber and high protein. It improves the metabolism to burn more calories across the day. Buy peanut butter from peanuts alone. Look for unprocessed freshly ground butter loaded with niacin that keeps the digestive system at optimal levels and prevents belly fat.
Your body needs energy to survive, but you also need good nutrition to live well, and longer. The overall balance and nutrition of your diet, can affect the type of weight you lose, gain or maintain. If your macro balance (amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat) is out of whack, you could be storing more fat or losing muscle mass, which can hinder your overall efforts.
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.)
About: Jackie’s a makeup artist by trade, but has been struggling with her weight since she was 17. As she puts it, she’s tried almost every diet out there, but nothing seems to work for good. But when she started her blog in June 2015, she decided to start, and stick with, losing weight for good. Readers have been with her every step of the way as she shares recipes and meals, beauty tips and honest, down-pat product reviews.
I am unclear as to the meaning of the numbers on the protein chart. I have PCOS and hypothyroidism and am on meds for both. 2 weeks ago I began the Keto lifestyle and in the first 11 days lost 3.8 pounds. I’ve kept my carbs at 5% or under 25 grams, my fat at 75% , and my protein at 20%. I’m also exercising (strength and cardio) 5 times a week. I am NOT overeating, if anything sometimes I feel I’m not eating enough. I am discouraged today as I got on the scale to find a .2 of a pound weight gain in 3 days. I know this seems insignificant but to someone with my conditions to see the scale consistently going down and now go up, even a little, is awful. Any advice?
But as far as I understand the resting energy expenditure will not fall under nutritional ketosis (adjusting for body composition), even though you are naturally satiated to have a lower energy intake, because the body will oxidize body fat, thus limiting the requirement of dietary fat? Is that the metabolic advantage? Or is it the fact that you might have a higher energy expenditure even under eucaloric conditions in comparison to, say low-fat diets?

I’m just wondering, how can you say these are the best approaches when they’re fad diets? Slim fast may work for someone looking to lose a few pounds, but if you’re looking to lose 50-100+ lbs., no one is going to be able to survive on substituting a meal for a shake. A good “diet” should put a large focus on learning how to eat properly, which includes ALL food groups, and exercising regularly.


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While calorie needs can vary drastically from one person to the next, most dieters should strive to keep their intake above 1200 calories per day for women and 1500 calories per day for men. This amount will ensure adequate energy for bodily functions like brain, heart, lungs, etc. Eating less than these amounts or cutting more than 25% of your current calorie intake may cause your calorie output to slow.
Take my unedited photos below for example. After having my son, it took me a while to get back into the groove of things. My diet was ok and my workouts were not very consistent. Needless to say, but the time my fitness shoot came around, I was anything BUT ready for it physically. After seeing the unedits, I decided to kick my ass into shape and by the next shoot (right photo), I had leaned up and gained muscle-while slimming down. You can see the tone moreso in my legs and that the cellulite and fat had decreased as well.
About: Sometimes, it’s okay to take a helping hand when it comes to weight loss. That’s exactly what the author of Banded Carolina Girl did. In 2012, she had lap band surgery and dropped from a size 30 to a size 12 and saw her BMI drop from 62 to 32. Two years later, she started a blog to talk about “the good, the bad and everything in between.” On her blog, you’ll find quick-hit posts offering inspiration and encouragement to not just lose weight, but also to learn how to love and accept yourself.
Try storytelling and sharing personal insights. This is where you get to describe genuine stories that are taking place in your life (related to weight loss, obviously). People love stories, and it’s the ultimate way to prove that you are real. If people can relate to what you’re saying, they will surely pay attention. Make every post you publish personal to some degree.
The South Beach Diet was developed by clinical cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston and puts some signature spin on a classic low-glycemic index diet. Developed for patients with heart health in mind, the diet seeks to eliminate spikes in blood sugar levels by removing most carbohydrates from your diet (refined flours, pasta, etc.). Once the body has eliminated spikes in blood sugar, complex carbohydrates are slowly reintroduced into your diet and you stay in this phase until you reach your target weight. By the end of the diet, you’re allowed to eat all foods in moderation—even sweets! Though this third phase of the diet recommends some precautions, they aren’t very intrusive on your everyday life.

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.

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!!
Find a support group near your home. I suggest going to your local parish and asking there. I will pray for you and be confident that you will find the help you need: “ask for help and I will come to You”. Lord Jesus, help our brother Obed Mathew that has a problem and is needing your help. Let him find the persons that can help him and let him find your love in them. Amen!
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!
Coming back to this question of ketones and weight loss, when someone with some extra body fat begins a ketogenic lifestyle, perhaps it is the increased ability to burn these stores, coupled with the reduction in appetite and cravings, that facilitates initial weight loss.  In this scenario, keto-adaptation facilitates weight loss, but only as long as the reduced hunger and cravings allow one to comfortably eat fewer calories per day than one burns.
Thank you for your response. I do agree the Mediterranean diet & Dash are healthy & sound, but I also think it’s important for people to change their habits, vs. “going on a diet” — whether you eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day, with a small amount of healthy fat, plenty of protein and good, whole grains, OR you eat McDonald’s value meals four times a day, they are both considered someone’s “diet.”
As you exercise, calories are burned and your body fat percentage decreases. So, exercising not only helps you lose belly fat, it also sheds fat from other areas. Running and walking are two of the best fat-burning exercises. Plus, the only equipment you need is a good pair of shoes. Between the two, running burns more calories, but walking really isn’t too far behind.

I try my very hardest not to compare myself to others. Everyone is going to have a different journey. It’s hard when I can look at people that seem like they can eat whatever they want and not have to work hard to look great. I get that. But my journey is about the progress I an making and discovering my best self. I found a community to celebrate accomplishments together, which was a game changer. It is helpful, fun, and encouraging having buddies to journey with.
“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.
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.
Brittany! Just catching up on your blog. What a beautiful post! Loved every word sweet friend. I couldn’t be more proud of you for sharing all of that. You are absolutely stunning, but what really shines is your honesty and kind heart. This was so inspiring and motivating for me because I need to loose a few pounds this summer and I get frustrated so easily! I’m a stress eater too. Can’t wait to hear some of your healthy meal/snack ideas! I hate to say I told you so about sharing this post.. but I told you so. 😉

This basically screws up your health and immune system in the long run to be sure. Hope the UFC organizers change the rules so that they have a weigh in just prior to the fight. This will stop all this weight loss manipulations mania and will ensure fairness in the system, so that desperate fighters willing to risk their long term health don’t get an edge over the normal guys who want to have a longer healthier life after all these fights are done.
Thanks so much for sharing your story! I saw your Instagram post opening up this post for questions. My question is about your arms. How was the skin under your arm after losing the weight? Did you do any exercises to target that area? Your arms look great & it is giving me hope that if I can get some more weight off mine will continue to improve. Would love to know any secrets there!
About: Meg’s blog is a primary example of the two sides of online blogging: the challenges of knowing what to share (and how much of it to share), mixed with the benefits (the inspiration and encouragement bloggers get from their readers). Meg used to blog in private, but eventually morphed into a public blogger, where she shares not just her progress losing weight, but also recipes she’s tried, fitness that worked (and didn’t work) for her, stories, rants and so much more. Plus, her cat is really cute.
Hi Steve, I know you wrote this way back in 2008 so I don't even know if you check this blog anymore for comments, but I wanted to see if you still do your "beef jerky diet" and if so, I wanted to recommend you try Trader Joe's Buffalo Jerky. I personally find beef jerky to be a bit dry and tough but this buffalo jerky is moist and also is both hot and sweet at the same time. It's so delicious and is even leaner than beef jerky, "weighing in" at just 210 calories for the whole 3.5 ounce packet. I have the opposite problem of most folks: I am an underweight ectomorph female and so I eat the jerky to Add some extra protein and good calories to my diet. Anyway, I enjoyed your post and just wanted to say Hi and recommend the buffalo jerky. It's so Good!
Hi Rory, as someone has mentioned, you can try healthier substitutions. But there really exist issues such as food addictions, and these may be best addressed with a psychiatrist, therapist or a specially trained nutritionist who can help you work through it. I don’t know your case, but for others, overeating or overeating certain foods is self-medication, as it can trigger similar neurochemical responses to certain drugs.
Stick to your plan for at least 21 days. Give yourself time to be consistent and see results. Success doesn't happen overnight. In fact, new research suggests it may even take up to 66 days to form a habit (40). Allow yourself at least three weeks to stick to a goal and then reevaluate whether you need to be pushing it harder, scaling back, or keep on going. And make sure you save any cheats until after you've mastered this window.  
As my middle 30’s were here, I ate better, more home cooked meals, but again didn’t do any exercise.  I was tracking calories, but I wasn’t eating enough.  I didn’t know how many calories I needed in a day, I just thought I wasn’t suppose to eat.  At work the other day, I was cleaning my desk drawer out and came across papers that had my calorie intake for the day on it and it said I was eating 800, 900 and 1000 calories on a high day!  I was shocked, well no wonder I wasn’t losing any weight, I wasn’t eating enough.  You can’t go from eating way over 2000 calories a day to practically nothing.  But back then I didn’t care, I did that for a few months and gave up.  The scale didn’t move, so I figured again, this is the weight my body is comfortable with. (image of my calorie count from January 2009)
Research suggests that people with stronger legs are less likely to fall as they age, potentially reducing their risk of fracture and immobility, so there’s no time like the present to start shedding that extra body fat, toning those muscles, and building a strong foundation for a healthy future. Incorporate the 10 ways to lose thigh and leg fat into your routine now and you’ll be feeling stronger and more confident in no time.
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