Our focus for March 2019 will be eating more plant-based, whole foods. Lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined whole grain foods, seeds, beans, plant-based meat substitutes, etc. Do you have to go completely Vegan or completely cut out meat for this challenge? NO! It's up to you to decide just how meatless you want to go.  Join us! Goals for … [Read More...]

Make lunch at home and bring it to work. That way, you know of every single ingredient that's going into your meal. Not to mention it'll save you the cost of buying a lunch. Cleveland Clinic recommends making sure one half of your plate is filled with leafy greens, one quarter is lean meat, and the other quarter is whole grains like brown rice or barley.


Plan ahead. Studies suggest that having a pre-planned strategy could help double your chance of success (91). Think about how you will deal with temptations before they are in front of you. If you know there is a food related event coming up, make sure there are options on hand that fit your diet - check the menu in advance, pack a healthy option, or eat beforehand. Or if you are planning on indulging, still consider what you are going to have and set limits for yourself in advance.  
In summary, being in nutritional ketosis will accelerate the rate at which the body burns fat, and this is a fundamental key to the short- and long-term benefits of a ketogenic diet. If the extra fat that is burned is compensated by an increase in dietary fat, then no body fat loss will occur (but there still will be other benefits).  However, most people carrying excess fat tissue who achieve nutritional ketosis by eating natural low-carbohydrate foods initially feel more satiated, allowing them to eat less fat than they burn, which results in net fat loss. But eventually, even when one is in sustained nutritional ketosis, our natural instincts prompt us to increase fat intake to meet our daily energy needs resulting in a stable weight and body composition.
"Crash diets (dramatically cutting down how much you eat) might help you to lose a few pounds at first, but they’re hard to sustain and won’t help you keep the weight off. It might seem like a quick and easy option, but eating too few calories can actually do more harm than good. If your calorie intake dips too low, your body could go into starvation mode. This will slow down your metabolism, making it harder for your body to lose weight. Make sensible, healthy changes to your lifestyle that you can stick to and avoid the fad diets."
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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.
Insulin is released when there is excess glucose or sugar present in the blood, typically after consuming a meal containing carbohydrates. Insulin works to help store glucose in muscles and fat cells for reserved fuel stores that can be used as energy when food is not being eaten, as well as maintain normal blood sugarlevels for immediate energy/bodily functions. Fat is only stored when there is a calorie excess. Having a higher lean mass and controlling blood sugar efficiently will also help ensure more of the food you eat is utilized for energy and not stored as fat. 
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.
Alcohol can also affect your blood sugar control and how you metabolize your macros. When you drink heavily, you prioritize metabolizing the alcohol toxins in the drink over anything else you’ve consumed, which could cause you to store more body fat (71). To help control your calories and stay on track with your diet, consider decreasing your alcohol intake all together or only opt for low calorie cocktails in moderation. 
“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.
My body went through a slow weight gain throughout the years and because it was so slow, I didn’t really notice too much, or really, I noticed once it had already happened and the weight was there. I remember the times getting frustrated in dressing rooms, when older clothes didn’t fit, feeling terrible in my body, and the comparison of feeling like there were so many people around me that ate more unhealthy foods than me and exercised less that were somehow still so much smaller than I was. I thought that my body would stay the way it looked forever, no matter how hard I tried to change it. I wondered if I would ever accept how my body looked or be comfortable in it. For all of the years building up to this one, I was not quite hopeless, but always a little let-down in myself, specifically the choices I made, the way I felt, and the way I looked. I didn’t feel the best in my body and wanted peace.
About: The primary purpose of Amanda’s website may not be to share fitness tips (she’s a virtual personal trainer), but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some amazing ideas on how to exercise in her blog. Amanda’s proven methods are the perfect balance of active training and rewarding results. Here, you’ll find fitness tips, training plans, healthy recipes and tons of health & nutritional information.
Believe in Yourself. For years we’ve been told we only have a certain amount of willpower, but more recent studies are showing that may not be the case. The amount of willpower you have depends on your genetic make-up, how often you exercise it, and how much you believe in yourself. Telling yourself that you have an unlimited amount of self-discipline could be the key to mastering your goals (87,88). 

About: Jenn’s story is one we can all relate to. She’s struggled with her weight all her life, and has spent many times going up and down with winning over her food addiction — and succumbing to it. Her posts represent the deepest emotions we battle when it comes to food, and it’s her willingness to open up that really touches readers. She’s been blogging for a long time, and her constant battle is one that more people definitely should follow.
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.
Of course, you want to get to the bottom of why you’re not feeling so hot. One study found that practicing relaxation techniques helped obese women who were emotional eaters lose weight over the course of three months, along with helping them reduce depression and anxiety. (7) Engaging in other activities that can help you relax are a better option than emotional eating.
Fighting belly fat is 80% healthy diet. Reduce calories by filling yourself up with protein, vegetables, whole grains, and replacing bad habit snacks with good ones. For example, if you have a sugar craving, replace your calorie laden latte with a Muscle Milk lite, one of my favorites, because it has zero sugar and a ton of protein that will satiate while also torching my sugar craving! Another great trick is a sprinkle of cinnamon in your morning coffee or oatmeal- the spice has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar. It also slows the rate at which food exits the stomach, which helps you feel fuller longer.

I am so proud of you!!! This is a really inspirational story. Losing the weight *is* possible. I went through a lot of weight issues (both on the too low and too high end) in high school and my first year of college. I feel like I’ve finally got to a decent place, but I really need to watch what I eat more and exercise!! My walks to and from class (20 min each way) are good but definitely not enough. I have a few JM movies I should pull out though..after reading what you said about her metabolism one it reminded me of how hard they are.
Watching that extra junk around your trunk turn your body into a full-blown Buddha belly puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and early death. Luckily, losing the weight doesn’t have to take forever; with these 22 belly fat-fighting tips, you can shave two inches off your waistline in as little as two weeks. Think your age will stand in the way of your weight loss? The 20 Ways to Lose Your Belly When You’re Older will help folks of any age get on track to their best body ever.
About: Yes, it’s true Julie is not exactly a “new” blogger (she’s been doing it since 2011). But when you look at her blog, it’s easy to see why we added her here — she’s got the same caliber as the big guns, and deserves even more recognition than she’s already had. Julie decided some time back that she was going to make better decisions when it came to her health, but progress with weight loss, as she puts it, has been “S-L-O-W.” Determined and just happier with the way she feels, Julie carried on until she reached her goal weight. Today, she hovers between 150 and 170 pounds, blogging about what she eats, what inspires her and how she hopes to inspire others, too.
Get In Shape For Women is a small group, high intensity interval training (HIIT), personal training program with a purpose of empowering women through body transformation. At Get In Shape For Women there are no intimidating crowds or waiting for equipment, all GISFW workouts are delivered by appointment in a private, upscale boutique fitness studio. A highly skilled personal trainer works with up to 4 women at a time, for 30 or 60 minute sessions delivering our unique 4 component system that is scientifically proven to work:

Believe in Yourself. For years we’ve been told we only have a certain amount of willpower, but more recent studies are showing that may not be the case. The amount of willpower you have depends on your genetic make-up, how often you exercise it, and how much you believe in yourself. Telling yourself that you have an unlimited amount of self-discipline could be the key to mastering your goals (87,88). 


Whether it’s turning off fat genes, helping to build muscle that robs energy from adipose cells, revving your metabolism and ability to burn fat, or helping you feel fuller longer so you consume fewer calories, these foods have been proven to show an increased rate of fat loss. So stop these bad habits that give you belly fat, and instead, incorporate these healthy fat burning foods into your diet to whittle your waist and bring your midriff back in line.

Choosing fiber-rich foods is a great way to fill yourself up and stay full for several hours. When we consume foods rich in fiber, it takes quite a while for our body to break down the food. Plus, when you eat whole grains, your blood sugar doesn’t spike the way it does when you eat refined products. Not only are the constant blood sugar surges that happen after eating refined carbohydrates bad for your thighs, they are linked to increased weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and a host of other health problems (4).
Ultimately, Paleo is a good diet for hormonal imbalance without any fancy protocols or special tweaks. Paleo is naturally high in protein and fiber, and low to moderate in carbohydrates: just what the evidence suggests is beneficial. If hormonal issues are still stalling weight loss even after you’ve been on Paleo for a while, it’s a sign that something more serious is going wrong – and probably time to go see a doctor about it.
You did a good job of evaluating the programs and explaining how they were chosen, but I think the government guidelines are just wrong. Having half of our calories come from carbs doesn’t seem right to me. The only diets I’ve had any luck with are low-carb. In fact, if I consume more than about 130g of carbs per day, my blood sugar goes into the pre-diabetes range.
Jen Mellor is a full-time mom and blogger for the inspiring weight loss blog, Just Average Jen. Jen has lost over 140 pounds through healthy eating and shares with us her tips for weight loss, healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipes, and the trials and tribulations of her life and journey to keeping the weight off, all while staying happy and healthy. Her weight loss journey is not only inspiring but has shown us that she is, in fact, anything but average!
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. 
Swapping out unhealthy foods for nutritious ones gives you benefits beyond just losing weight. "I cleaned up my diet, swapping deli sandwiches with high-sodium meat and mayo for Tupperware containers or big butter-lettuce salads topped with carrots, walnuts, feta, and homemade dressing," says Jennifer Lasher, who lost 75 pounds. "I found that ditching processed foods left me with more energy, a clear head, and better skin, too."
Could I ask a question (or two?!)? I’m just starting to design a blog that’s around weight loss and fitness (it is specific and not as vague as I’ve made it sound!). When I see even genuine blogs you always see the person when they’ve reached physical perfection (which is great) but what do you do if you’re blogging at the beginning of that journey? I don’t know what image to put on my home page at this point – I kinda am more happy the starting point being on a My Journey page but I’m a bit lost as to what to put on the home page or having running through the blog as a consistent image (until I reach my goals)? What do you think? Also, is there a best format/way to construct the chronological record of your journey – what’s the best blog-site architecture for this type of routinely updated journey??
Good question, this depends on the athlete and if they compete 100% natural or not. Most bodybuilders will consume high volumes of water the week before the competition and taper just as was done in this example above while eliminating sodium intake as much as possible. Some bodybuilders will use diuretics at the same time or natural products a few days before to increase water excretion.

The available evidence shows that moderate carb restriction is effective in treating any female hormonal problems that might be driving weight gain. In this study of women with PCOS, for example, 30% of calories from carbs worked better than 55% of calories. On the other hand, an extremely low-carb diet is not necessarily the answer either: especially for women, extreme carb restriction can cause problems of its own, including hormonal dysfunction, amenorrhea (loss of normal periods), and infertility. Sweet potatoes are not the enemy! You can eat 1-2 starchy tubers (potatoes or sweet potatoes) every day and still be well under 30% of calories from carbs.
Women are also thought to burn fat and store fat more efficiently than men. Translation, women are more efficient at using fat for energy during exercise and all day long, but they tend to store more body fat than men due to the hormone oestrogen (115). In fact, even though women tend to eat less than men, they have on average 6 to 11% more body fat. But this doesn't mean women are more likely to be overweight than men, it just begins to explain why biologically they tend to carry more weight int he form of fat. 
Ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate [BOHB] and acetoacetate [AcAc]) are produced by the liver when both serum insulin and liver glycogen levels are low (McGarry 1973).  They can be made from fat stored in the liver, from fat released from body adipose reserves and delivered via the bloodstream; or they can be made from dietary fat entering the bloodstream after digestion and absorption as chylomicrons.  In other words, once fat is in the body as adipose reserves or absorbed dietary fat, liver ketone production is a function of blood insulin and liver glycogen content.  There is no special relationship between mobilization of body fat stores (i.e., weight loss) and blood ketone levels.
Here’s a shocker: When a group of U.K. researchers told 30 women to avoid chocolate, then packed them into a room filled with the stuff; the women were much more likely to sneak a bite than individuals who hadn’t been given the order. Blame the allure of the forbidden: The more you tell yourself you can’t eat something you love, the more you’re going to want it.
On the nutrition facts label that is found on the back of most food packaging, you can find how much sugar is in that particular food item. Once you find sugar on the label, however, you will see that it is listed in “grams” of sugar. If you can’t picture grams of sugar, convert it to teaspoons with this simple math: To get teaspoons of sugar, divide the grams of sugar by 4.
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