A few years ago, I embarked on a personal weight loss journey. I had had two pregnancies back-to-back, and had gained considerable weight, to the point where my own body mass index was over 30 (obesity range). I was many months postpartum, and realized that the “baby weight” wasn’t going anywhere. As a matter of fact, I had gained even more weight since my daughter was born.
I’ve been at this for a while and thanks to some excellent, well-reasoned sources (like Virta and its contributors, among others) I’ve learned a lot about my appetite/satiety, emotional triggers, carb tolerance, food intolerances, etc. and I just wanted to say that this was a great, well presented article. No matter where one is on their journey, we can all benefit from reminders and strategy reassessments. Thank you, it’s much appreciated!
Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn't require a refined sugar-packed snack. The key is retraining your taste buds to recognize naturally sweet foods, like fruit. "To curb my hankering for treats, I eat mangoes," says Tamyala Ezell, who lost 105 pounds by making over her eating habits and working out three times a week. "They have a natural sweetness that does the trick. Plus, they're low in calories and high in fiber." Another example? "I top berries, nectarines, and cherries with homemade whipped cream, nuts, and dark chocolate," says Goetke.
Thank you so much, Cindy! You should absolutely document your journey! It makes such a big difference to have people to cheer you on and especially for you to have those pictures to look back on your journey. You can do it, one small change at a time. If you decide to document your journey on a blog or social media, please share it with me. I’d love to cheer you on!
Play a sport. Joining a recreational or competitive league, or merely playing with friends, can make a huge difference in burning calories. We're more motivated to participate in sports for social and competitive reasons. This means we're much more likely to play for the entire game and burn more calories than we are to give up when the workout becomes hard.
‘Do it for a couple of minutes in bed and you’ll actually be able to wind down and fall asleep more easily. But it’s a skill, so it requires a commitment to practice it, as with anything. Think of it a bit like dating – the first time you do it it’s terrible, it’s uncomfortable, nobody knows what they’re doing, but the more dates you go on the better it gets.
It takes a lot of guts to share a story like this, but I truly believe you will inspire so many people by doing so. You are beautiful, then and now. It is very hard to share our lives on a blog because so many people see this “picture perfect” life and think they can’t relate. To share our real life experiences, along with the beautiful rooms and decor give people a chance to truly relate that they too can have a beautiful space- and that they too can get off the couch and take their life into their hands and do what it takes to lose that 10 or 100 lbs. Like your friend said, you are an inspiration- and I am happy to follow along on your journey!

If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Simple as that. Heart-pumping cardio is a great way to up your calorie burn, and many forms of cardiovascular exercise also focus on toning the legs simultaneously: think running, cycling, or jumping rope. If you’re only doing a few light cardio workouts per week, increase that number to burn more calories. The CDC recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of heart-pumping cardiovascular exercise per week. You should also be mixing up your workouts by incorporating High Intensity Interval Training, which helps burn fat fast and has you doing calorie-torching plyometrics, in addition to strength training, which will get into in a little bit for its metabolism-boosting benefits!
You might think passing on lunch will save calories and trim your middle, but you're actually trending toward the opposite. Going long periods of time without eating can send your body into starvation mode, meaning it starts storing everything you've already eaten as fat since it doesn't know when you're going to feed it again. And guess where that chub piles on first? Yup. Your midsection. Experts say having a small meal or snack every three hours will keep your body fueled and in prime calorie-torching mode all day.
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In terms of exercise, I kept working hard. Exercising was one of my priorities and so I fit it into my schedule every day, usually on my lunch break. I exercised 6 days of week, and the bulk of my exercise was focused on running with the occasional lifting or circuit (my amazing sister, Lindsay, a certified personal trainer, created lifting plans for me). It was important to me at this point in my journey to have a cardio-based plan and running seemed the most practical. I started running over the summer (it was a SLOW journey of gradually increasing the time and speed on the treadmill every day) so by the time it came around to fall I could actually go run on the roads and continue to improve my endurance. (Note: I am planning on writing a whole post about my relationship with running because it has grown into such an important part of my life. Running used to be extremely hard and I hated it but stuck with it because I knew it would be good for me, but now I love it and the way it makes me feel). 
Those trans fats on your menu are hiding out in plain sight and sabotaging your lean belly plans every time you eat them. If a food product says it contains partially hydrogenated oils, you’re eating trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity with every bite. In fact, research conducted at Wake Forest University reveals that monkeys whose diets contained eight percent trans fat upped their body fat by 7.2 percent over a six-year study, while those who ate monounsaturated fat gained just a fraction of that amount. Instead of letting harmful trans fat take up space on your menu, fill up with the 20 Healthy Fats to Make You Thin.
Jenn Mitchell is a mother and creator of Comeback Momma, a healthy living blog inspiring readers to live happier and healthier lives. After losing over 50 post-baby pounds and rebounding from postpartum depression twice, Jen became a successful blogger and Personal Trainer. When her anxiety and depression returned years later, she struggled to keep the weight off and rebounded 20 pounds. Now, she’s found a healthy balance and is on the right path toward health and happiness and is a true comeback momma! With the help of her blog contributor, Chrissy, a mother, dietician, and triathlete, the Comeback Momma blog is inspiring women to constantly strive to find the best within themselves.
This classic lunchbox sandwich condiment is teeming with flat-belly nutrients such as cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats and is a great source of plant-based protein. According to a recent study presented at the annual Society for Endocrinology conference, researchers found that when protein is digested and broken down into amino acids in your body, one of those amino acids—phenylalanine—triggers hormones that help reduce appetite and ultimately leads to fat burn and weight loss. Go for brands that have an ingredient list of just two items: nuts and a little salt, or look to our guide: Best and Worst Peanut Butters.

Vegetables are the gold standard of healthy food choices when it comes to dieting because they are the most nutrient dense food group on the planet. Choosing more nutrient dense foods can help you get more quality nutrition into your diet for less calories. And vegetables give you the most bang per bite, which can make cutting calories a breeze and your overall diet more beneficial. Research suggests that eating more veggies can help control appetite, improve mood, and even give you a natural sexy glow (48,49)!


Grains get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, but that's because refined grains (read: processed foods!) are linked to wider waists. 100% whole grains are bloat-busting superstars, however, as they're packed with minerals and de-puff by counter-balancing salt. Stick to brown rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, millet, farro, sorghum, and amaranth for the biggest benefits.
While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, it also burns belly fat. Apple contains pectin found in apple skins that bind to the water and prevent absorption of fat by cells. Apples are enriched in fiber and take longer to digest, keeping you full longer. Additionally, the apples are rich in antioxidants that prevent metabolic syndrome. So, you can keep hypertension, pre diabetic states and cholesterol at bay.

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.

In terms of exercise, I kept working hard. Exercising was one of my priorities and so I fit it into my schedule every day, usually on my lunch break. I exercised 6 days of week, and the bulk of my exercise was focused on running with the occasional lifting or circuit (my amazing sister, Lindsay, a certified personal trainer, created lifting plans for me). It was important to me at this point in my journey to have a cardio-based plan and running seemed the most practical. I started running over the summer (it was a SLOW journey of gradually increasing the time and speed on the treadmill every day) so by the time it came around to fall I could actually go run on the roads and continue to improve my endurance. (Note: I am planning on writing a whole post about my relationship with running because it has grown into such an important part of my life. Running used to be extremely hard and I hated it but stuck with it because I knew it would be good for me, but now I love it and the way it makes me feel). 


In almost every human study of overweight patients lasting 3 months or longer comparing a ketogenic diet to a low fat diet in an outpatient (aka ‘real world’) setting, the weight loss with the low carb diet is somewhat or significantly greater (Sachner-Bernstein 2015).  And despite claims by skeptics that “most of that weight loss is water,” in fact most of the weight lost on a well-formulated ketogenic diet lasting a few weeks or longer comes from body fat.  Add to this the common anecdotes of individuals who “went low carb” and lost a lot of weight seemingly effortlessly, and one could start believing that there is something about ketones or nutritional ketosis that mandates body fat loss.

You know that your cardio sessions are crucial when it comes to burning the layer of fat sitting on top of your abdominal muscles. But it's still important to work those abs even as you're trying to shed fat, says New York City-based personal trainer Adam Sanford, founder of Adam Sanford Fitness. His favorite move to do that? Holding plank on a BOSU ball. "It's more challenging than a normal plank where your hands are on the floor, because the BOSU tests your balance," says Sanford. "When your body tries to find control as your balance is challenged, your abs, obliques, and deep transverse abdominal muscles are activated." Strengthening these core muscles also helps increase your metabolism, ultimately helping you to burn more calories and fat.
“For some people, it’s knowing, ‘Typically I eat a whole sandwich,’” says Gagliardi. “‘Now, I’m going to make the decision to eat half a sandwich at lunch and save the other half for my dinner and essentially cut my calories in half. And they feel good about that. They’re not having to do math.” To get started, check out these 25 simple ways to cut 500 calories a day.
As my body changed, people started to notice. The encouragement and positive talk from friends and family was helpful, except for when people would say things like, “wow you look so great now!” Now. It didn’t quite sit right to hear that some people thought I looked a lot better now, but that I didn’t look as great before. It was important to remind myself that I looked great no matter what. More important than what other people think about my looks, I needed to accept and love myself and my body, even if my body never changed. I didn’t set out on the weight loss journey to have other people change their minds about how I looked; I started the journey to create a healthy body, healthy mind, and overall wellness.
Nicole Morrissey is a registered dietitian who works specifically with diabetes and weight management. What sets her apart from many other dietitians is that she’s struggled with her own weight since a young age. She was 14 when she went to her first Weight Watchers meeting, and the years that followed brought many ups and downs. Today, she accepts that she “may forever be a work in progress,” so she focuses on balance. That means healthy, good-for-her foods, and doing the active things she loves, like running and hockey. Visit the blog.
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]
If you don’t move, your muscles shrivel into a weakened state called atrophy. You not only lose function, which is bad enough, you GAIN fat and you GAIN an easy and natural ability to gain MORE fat because your fat-burning muscle is no longer able to do its job effectively. Your metabolism has slowed. Muscles need motion to survive and thrive! So get your muscles in motion and get fat-burning. And when you do, there’s a bonus: you’re MORE MOTIVATED at mealtime! You WANT to stick to your healthy-eating plan because you’re doing the work to sustain it, and your body knows it! The best part? You don’t need to kill yourself in a gym…you just need to be active. And walking is the most natural, easiest, safest, most enjoyable, most sharable, most EFFECTIVE over the long term because of those other reasons…way to build muscle and burn fat in conjunction with healthy eating. It’s “lifestyle change” that leads to lasting health, and walking is for life! Don’t diet alone!”

Hannah Howlett is a YouTuber and healthy lifestyle blogger for High Carb Hannah, formerly known as Raw Till Whenever. Her philosophy for achieving lasting weight loss without all the dieting gimmicks, restrictions, and rules is to eat a whole food, plant-based diet in whatever way works best for you. By changing her mindset about eating, no longer revolving her life around what she ate, and never forcing herself to eat, she lost 55 pounds and continues to inspire and encourage others to do the same. Her blog is a compilation of healthy recipes, cookbooks, and meal guides to help you achieve a life and body that you love.
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).
Schedule a workout with a friend—you'll be less likely to skip out on it knowing that she is expecting you to show up. Or, use your workouts as "dates" where you can catch up with friends. "Every Wednesday, I take a Zumba class with the friends I met at Weight Watchers," says Michele August, who lost 117 pounds. "It's our weekly girls' night. We catch up, bond, and even enjoy a fun workout that burns a bunch of calories!" 
Standing up, hold a medicine ball in both hands. Reaching the ball up overhead, extend your body as you reach your arms overhead. Then, slam the ball down as hard as you can, hinging over and sitting your butt back as you slam, following through with your arms. As you hinge over, bend your knees. Place your hands on the ground and jump back into a high plank position, keep your body in a straight line. Jump feet back in towards the hands so that you are squatting. Pick up the ball and reach overhead, extending your body and standing tall. Repeat.
The sprawl is basically a burpee on steroids — a full body exercise that works as many muscles as possible and burns calories while shaping and toning upper and lower bodies — especially your abs! “It takes the traditional burpee to the next level by having you touch your chest to the ground, then pushup to plank as you continue the move,” explains Braganza.
I have a fight next Saturday June 15th. Im currently 178 this morning, I need to weigh 170 Saturday at 5pm and expect to fight around 8pm. I know I shouldnt cut a lot of water but dont want to train extremely hard this week as im trying to recover as it is. I plan to do my regular training Monday and Tuesday and take off the rest of the week to rest. I started at 192 pounds and have lost them in the last few weeks naturally but have seemed to hit a plateau. What protocol would you suggest I use doc.

While toning your muscles is best achieved through exercise, ditching the fat that’s obscuring them starts in the kitchen. Luckily, one easy way to get the ball rolling on fat loss outside the gym is a habit you probably already have: drinking coffee. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that obese study subjects whose diet was supplemented with caffeinated coffee significantly increased their metabolic rate, and subjects of an average weight shed more pounds, too.
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