This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Let’s go back to the beginning. I was always thin-ish. From my skinny teenage years to “just a healthy weight” college years, I was always thin-ish. Like I maybe topped 130lbs by the age of 21. Like most of you may know, Mark and I started dating at 14, got married at 20, started a business at 22 and then graduated college by 23. By the time we graduated college, we had somehow managed to build a legit company… APF, Inc. What literally began as Mark’s desire to be self-employed combined with his amazing gift of self-taught construction skills and my marketing “abilities”, quickly went from a backyard hobby to a full fledged stone countertop company. He spent his junior year of college fabricating granite in my Uncle’s backyard with a $2,500 saw loan from my uncle, a rope and a truck to maneuver the slabs along with a big humongous dream. This is going somewhere I promise ;-). He took Tuesday/Thursday classes and worked Monday, Wednesday and Fridays fabricating in the ole’ backyard. I was answering client e-mails and returning client calls between classes and at night while we worked at a local restaurant on the weekends. By our senior year, our company had grown just enough to afford for us to lease our own fabrication facility and that’s when life started to officially get CRAZY. It was amazing but it was absolutely INSANE. Once Mark graduated in December 2004, he was able to devote his full attention to the company and then I joined him when I graduated in May 2005. Upon my graduation in 2005, we had just moved to a much larger fabrication location, had approximately 11 additional employees and we were opening up a separate showroom location in downtown Monroe, GA. As exciting and wonderful as it all was, it was a stress that I cannot put into words. We had both worked so hard to grow the company yet didn’t quite realize what we were getting ourselves into. As two 23 year olds “self-thrust” into suddenly owning a company, we started to truly bring the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard” to reality. Well as much fun as it was at times, the stress was intense. From managing employees to handling customers and issues and bills and everything in between, I got to a point where I started taking anxiety medication. Biggest mistake EVER.

You snack on fruit, count calories, and get some form of exercise most days. So when you step on that scale and the needle stays put, you wonder what the heck you're doing wrong. Even with clean eating and  good fitness habits, you may be making a few small mistakes that can lead to a plateau and derail your results. Here's how to upgrade your already-healthy habits to finally reach your get-slim goal. (Snack AND lose weight with this box of Prevention-approved treats from Bestowed.)


I have been putting these ingredients in a Nutribullet bur a blender will also work. I started using this a few days ago every night before bed. I peel the cucumber and the lemon then slice those up into the Nutribullet. I then add the parsley, the grated fresh ginger and Aloe Vera juice with water. All these things including the Nutribullet came from Walmart. The Aloe Vera juice was in the pharmacy in the shelves below the Metamucil kind of stuff. I feel like it is helping me get detoxed and help my stomach flatten. But it will be an every night forever lifestyle chang for me. Good luck!!

Lindsay, a registered dietitian and new mom, has a passion for nutrition and healthy living. She shares that passion on The Lean Green Bean. She provides healthy recipes, nutrition information, tips for new moms, and workout advice. Her focus is on balance: She’s all about helping you live a healthy lifestyle without feeling like you’re giving anything up. Visit the blog.

If you thought losing weight would mean giving up all your indulgences, look no further than dark chocolate. Louisiana State University researchers found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate and boost our body’s production of gut-healthy polyphenolic compounds, including butyrate, a fatty acid that encourages the body to burn fat as fuel and turns off genes linked to inflammation. (Add fruit to the chocolate to boost fermentation and the release of the compounds.) Make sure you go with chocolate that has a cacao content of 70 percent or above—these have the highest concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols.
Because we know it's (sadly) not possible to self-select an area for fat to shed with a healthy diet and exercise, the main thing we can do to target certain parts of the body is muscle-toning exercises. Thigh muscles are some of the strongest in the body, however, so you might be wondering how to go about slimming down the fat on your thighs without bulking up the muscle too much. We asked celebrity PT and founder of The Dan Roberts Group, Dan Roberts, to share his expert opinion:
Good question, Craig. As I posted above, HS wrestlers (also, many other grappling sport athletes) aren’t given the full 24 hours to recover from depletion. Some 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.
Include some fat in your diet to get the nutritional benefits, but be mindful of how much fat you are adding to your meals. If cooking or dressing your own meals, keep oil and butter portions to 1 Tbsp or less per person, and don’t overdo it on high fat toppings and ingredients like cream, cheese, nuts, nut butters and seeds. If eating out, opt for grilled, baked or steamed options over fried, breaded, and heavy sauces.

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.
Start on your back, bend your knees up with shins parallel to the floor and extend your arms to the ceiling. Straighten your left leg and extend your right arm back to about 6 inches off of the floor, and then come back to the original position. Then, repeat the exercise on the opposite side. Just be sure to keep your abs engaged throughout this move to really work your muscles!
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:
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!!
My weight was pretty consistent throughout middle school, high school, and into college. As a middle schooler, there was so much going on in just trying to develop as a human that fitness, nutrition or creating a healthy lifestyle was never going to be a priority. I exercised by figure skating (I used to be a competitive figure skater!), track and field, and soccer (I played goalie for one year so honestly I shouldn’t even count that.) I also remember many sleepovers spent eating pizzas, candy, and soda. I specifically have one memory of me and a friend challenging each other to eat entire medium pizza from dominos by ourselves…and we both succeeded…so that’s where I was as a 7th grader. I remember feeling bigger than a lot of girls and embarrassed about my weight sometimes, but I had super great friends, kept busy with activities, and overall was supported and I think that is why my weight never got me down too much. Overall, I probably lived a generic middle school life.
“My motivation to lose weight stemmed from my worsening physical and mental health. Besides being down about my external appearance, my body was starting to rebel, and illnesses related to obesity were beginning to accrue. I shied away from social activities because I struggled with my self-confidence. I began the Take Shape For Life Program and was so happy to have found a program with structure and built-in support from the community—I never felt alone. My health coach motivated, guided and encouraged me, and made me believe that I could be successful. I am happier, more vibrant, more engaged in all aspects in life. I am more active with my family and am open to new experiences—ones that I felt were closed off to me prior. I am exercising at a more intense rate and feel like a rock star at Zumba! I am jogging. I am getting up off the sofa and running up and down stairs with no thought. I am playing sports with my kids. I am making healthier meals.”
Natural weight loss is about more than skipping the fad diets and diet pills, it's about learning the basics of weight reduction and what works best for your unique body. It's also about discovering how to get results safely. While some popular health trends have some merit, others may not be worth your time. And understanding how dieting works in general is one of the easiest way to filter through the noise.  
About: Alicia is no stranger to blogging. She’s had a few in the last decade, including “Girls Just Wanna Be Healthy,” where she shared her struggles and triumphs as she sought to drop from 190 to 159. But she just recently launched her new blog, where Alicia has morphed from someone who spent her entire life being embarrassed and ashamed of her body into a confident young woman ready to share herself — and maybe help a few others along the way.
So excited to say that I have started cooking healthier meals from scratch and I am eating less and less processed junk every day and my family is slowly but surely following. My husband is a junk food junky and while I love the fact that he ‘loves me just the way you are’, sometimes I wish he would say, ‘lose some weight tubby’. No, not really. That would break my heart! I just need more motivation!!

Monica Olivas is a holistic health coach, certified running coach, and writer for the blog Run Eat Repeat. She has been a passionate runner for almost 10 years and has completed over 50 half marathons and 30 full marathons. Running has helped her lose 20 pounds and uses her blog as a way to share healthy recipes, running tips, and motivation to help you do the same!


Rounding out the top three for best weight loss programs on the U.S. News and World Report 2016 rankings, the Biggest Loser meal plan uses a pyramid system with fruits and veggies setting the foundation. Simple tenets back the plan: for example, being mindful of portion control, keeping a food diary, and exercising regularly. So, yes, work will be involved, but the plan is sustainable in the long-term and a likely way to shed pounds.
Taking control of your diet and the foods your are eating, is one of the best ways to make sure you are successful. Having a plan and food on hand will prevent you from making poor, hunger based decisions when they arise, and can cut down on the amount you are eating out - saving you money in the long run. And with research continuing to suggest that meal planning is associated with better nutrition and more weight loss, it is definitely something worth considering if you are trying to get in shape (83,84,85).
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.
One of the biggest mistakes women make when trying to figure out how to lose belly fat: too many crunches, too little cardio. No matter how toned your abs are, your belly won't look flat until you get rid of the layer of fat on top of them, says Jessica Smith, a certified personal trainer and star of fitness DVDs. For that, you need to rev your calorie burn. Interval training, in which you alternate high-intensity bursts of activity with easier bouts, has been shown to zap more belly fat than steady-paced moderate workouts.
Bad breath is but a small price to pay for reaching your body goals, right? According to a recent Japanese study, when rats were put on a high-fat diet, the animals that were also given a garlic compound gained less weight than their peers. Experts attribute the fat-fighting benefits to a powerful compound in garlic called allicin. (It also happens to be the same compound that gives garlic its pungent taste and smell.)
I would work out to On Demand/Exercise TV for months and months, and you know what, nothing happened.  My weight was hanging out at about 145 pounds.  I was frustrated  but I never gave up.   I was counting calories and exercising.  I felt great!  My asthma went away,after having it since I was a child, I sleep better, I have more energy and I had self-esteem!  But I still had a goal to meet, but wasn’t getting there.  I heard that losing those last 10lbs are the hardest!  It’s true!  Wondering why no weight loss?  What was I doing wrong?  I was on what you call a plateau for 8 months, yes 8 months!  Ridiculous!!!  
When it comes to food, there is evidence that men and women’s brains are wired differently. In a study published in the January 2009 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, even though women said they weren’t hungry when asked to smell, taste, and observe treats such as pizza, cinnamon buns and chocolate cake, brain scans showed activity in the regions that control the drive to eat (not the case for men).
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.
Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning Sparkpeople! Last week, I came across your website after visiting Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and reading a woman’s recipe about pumpkin pie oatmeal. She listed your Crockpot pumpkin oatmeal recipe as a recommended recipe. I’ve been having a hard time taking off ten pounds–I’m in my forties and I can’t eat like I used to! I joined Sparkpeople a week ago and have been really liking it. I don’t feel so isolated, and the tracking tools are really great (and it’s free, too!). Thanks for introducing me to Sparkpeople, Jennifer!
Consider reducing the volume of added fat to test the effect on your weight. Just be sure to notice any changes in hunger as you experiment. If you find yourself hungry, you’ve reduced your fat intake a bit too much. If your hunger remains unchanged, you’ve either found just the right amount or you can experiment with further reducing your fat intake.
Thank you. It’s easy to click through your blog looking at your gorgeous home, your perfect children and your beautiful skinny self. This is a wonderful reminder that we are all human! I have also lost 100 pounds and still have a way to go…. it was refreshing to be reminded not to take for granted that you know what struggles someone else has faced.
“I learned how to cook from scratch and experiment with flavors. The biggest change my husband Mark and I made was planning our meals for the week on Sundays. We also rely on food optimizing—using vegetables to bulk up our meals but still keep them low-calorie. It helped me lose 52 pounds and 8 dress sizes, while Mark lost 110 pounds.” —Amanda Gibbon, 46
You don’t have to go low-carb to ditch those extra pounds around your waist in a short period of time. In fact, opting for more whole grains might just get you there faster. Researchers at Tufts University have linked eating three or more daily servings of whole grains to as much as a 10 percent reduction in visceral body fat, the kind that ups your risk for chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Well done Jennifer. Inspirational. I also know from personal experience how hard it is to lose weight. It takes discipline to push through no matter what you’re feeling. For me it was getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning (Mon – Fri) to exercise but when I saw some photos of me while my wife and I were on holiday, that was all the motivation , that I need.. very fantastic
Berries are packed with polyphenol antioxidants that will help burn fat—and prevent it from forming—as well as boost your workout benefits by improving blood flow to your muscles. According to a Texas Woman’s University study, mice that ate three daily servings of berries had 73 percent fewer fat cells. Pop some of the blue guys into your next smoothie and boost the fat-burning potential: blueberries are a potent source of resveratrol, an antioxidant which an International Journal of Obesity study showed could convert excess harmful white fat in mice into calorie-burning beige fat, which correlated with a 40 percent decreased risk for obesity. And when it comes to the sugar content in fruit, berries rank favorably on the list but are still a powerful way to curb cravings for sweets.
About: Amy started her weight loss journey after she ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon at her heaviest weight ever — and realized it was time to make a change. Fast forward a couple years, she's lost 65 pounds, motivated especially by her father, who she calls her “biggest cheerleader.” Then her father passed away, and things went downhill a bit. Amy gained 40 pounds back and in 2014 started a weight loss blog to embark on the ultimate quest: signing up for races (her most recent was the Star Wars Half Marathon) and letting readers know that she feels their pain — and, most importantly, that they can get through it and make the changes and run races, just like she is.
I do agree with you 100% that the best way to lose weight is to learn how to eat healthy without excluding any food group from your meals and in essence to follow a balanced diet, but not all people have the patience and willingness to do that. From the hundreds of commercial diets in the market today we consider these 5 to be among the healthiest and most effective for people who want to go for a commercial solutions. Having said that, for those who want to avoid commercial programs they can start by reading: http://www.weightlosshelpandtips.net/2011/04/healthy-weight-loss/
And at the gym, that difference just gets exacerbated. Women, worried about bulking up, tend to lift lighter weights and focus more on cardiovascular fitness, while men tend to gravitate toward the kind of heavy lifting that boosts muscle composition and metabolic rate, says Jim White, a Virginia Beach-based nutrition expert and certified personal trainer.

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.

While you can get tests to evaluate the cortisol level in your blood, only you can determine your own innate level of stress. Take some time to evaluate if you are living in a constant (or close to constant) state of stress. You might also notice increased anxiety levels, mood swings, trouble sleeping, fatigue (including feeling tired but unable to wind down) and high blood pressure.
About: It may be tough to tell by looking at her photo (complete with a very toned tummy), but Hannah’s no stranger to gaining weight. She packed on about 50 pounds each time she became pregnant with her two kids until she eventually went from a size 4 to a size 12-14. The pregnancies also changed her body and made her unhappy with the way she looked. Ready for change, Hannah created a fitness and food plan for herself, stuck to it and noticed she slowly but surely lost weight and started to look more and more toned. Now she’s studying to be a personal trainer, and her blog is a place she shares all her fitness tips, nutrition ideas and motivation to help others lose weight too.

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.
While many professionals tout light bouts of resistance training for women, the truth is that light weight will only allow the body to adapt to so much. While it may seem counterintuitive, using heavier weights can have a more favorable outcome for weight loss.[7] Not only does heavy resistance training create a greater calorie expenditure for up to 24 hours post-workout, but it can also help you add muscle mass, which helps you burn more calories at rest!
Some women have trouble losing weight because of a hormonal problem. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, pumps out hormones that control body metabolism. If the gland's output isn't high enough, a condition known as hypothyroidism, the pounds can pile on - and stay on. If you think thyroid trouble might underlie your weight-loss difficulties, a doctor can test your hormone levels via a simple blood test. If you have a deficiency, effective treatment is available.
Perform cardiovascular exercise to melt away thigh pounds. Choose a form that involves the thighs, such as running, indoor cycling, elliptical training, stair-climbing or versa climbing. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 60 to 90 minutes of exercise performed five days a week to effectively lose weight. Spend a majority of this time doing intervals -- simply bounce back and forth from a fast to slow intensity. This will burn a high amount of calories and keep your metabolism elevated once you are done.
About: Aurora is a college student full of curiosity, including a nearly insatiable appetite to learn all she can about fitness and nutrition. She fell in love with exercising early on, while playing for a softball team growing up. That fueled a passion for nutrition as well, and eventually a blog dedicated to both as a way to inspire others to live healthy and lose weight. Aurora, who works in a veterinary’s office, also has a deep love for animals (which is always a bonus in our book). And yes, she includes many photos of cute puppies in her blog.
Although your diet steers your weight loss progress, not getting enough sleep can be a giant roadblock. When you don’t get enough sleep each night, you’re more likely to eat more calorie-dense meals the next day, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While we know sleep is an important part of any weight loss routine, many of us don’t realize eating certain foods before putting our heads on the pillow may actually enhance our ability to fall and stay asleep. Among the best foods to eat before sleep is cottage cheese. This snack is rich in casein protein—a slow releasing milk protein that will keep a rumbling tummy at bay through the night—and also contains the sleep-promoting amino acid tryptophan.
It’s no surprise that cardio is a crucial component to thinning your thighs. Cardio exercise is the key to losing extra fat that could be settling around your thighs. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. However, for weight loss, consider the AHA recommendation of 300 minutes per week.
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