About: Shae is a Wichita native, and, as she puts it, she is “not skinny.” But she’s blogging about fitness and healthy eating anyway, with a few (ok, a lot) of complaints. Her blog features an impressive combination of her quirky, laugh-out-loud style and visually stimulating photos that tell the story or show the recipes as well as the writing itself does. Once you start reading, strap in. Because you’re not going to want to stop.

It takes more than just crunches! We start to gain weight in our midsection when our cortisol levels spike. Stress is one of the primary culprits for high levels of cortisol secretion. When this happens cortisol breaks downs lean muscle (the type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently) and also holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region. That stress can even get WORSE with bad dieting; studies show that the stress caused by dieting can increase cortisol levels, making no change in belly fat even with calorie restriction. So how do you shape up? Incorporate these 6 things below and you will be on your way to a flatter belly in no time flat!

About: Christie literally just got going (her first post was in March). But she didn’t waste any time putting it all out there. Her goal is to lose more than 100 pounds and beat a lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety. Her openness caught our attention immediately, and we can’t wait to follow along with her as she takes each and every step.
Lifestyle plays an even bigger role in belly fat — it's essential that you eat right and work to keep stress at bay, he explained. Of course, walking can help with both of these things, but together they're a factor in how much belly fat you're able to burn. "Too many things contribute to say just one thing will make losing belly fat easier," Goelzer said.
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.  
Thanks for sharing Brittany! I love your honesty and could not have used this post more today. I have been struggling with weight gain the last couple of years and keep falling into this loop hole of not eating clean. I work out 5 days a week, however my diet has not changed and so I have struggled. I will be definitely looking into this book as well to give me a new outlook and starting point. Kudos to you to maintaining a busy life of family, running a business and healthy lifestyle. I am inspired that if someone like you can make the change anyone can! Hugs

Ease into running. You might get discouraged if you attempt a jog without building up that type of strength—and this could put a damper on your motivation. "I started walking, and before long, I was running," says Cipriana Cuevas, who lost 60 pounds and eventually completed a half marathon. "Getting lighter made running easier, and, in turn, more fun."
If you don’t have an established exercise routine, simply walking is the best first step toward weight loss. “Walking is a pretty good entry point for people,” says Gagliardi. This is particularly true if you have been out of the gym for a while and want to ease back into a workout routine. One small study published in The Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry found that obese women who did a walking program for 50 to 70 minutes three days per week for 12 weeks significantly slashed their visceral fat compared to a sedentary control group.

Cut back on calories. The most important part of losing weight is not working out until you collapse — it's your diet. If you burn 500 to 750 more calories than what you eat every day, you will lose 1–2 pounds every week (any more than that is considered unsafe weight loss). There are tons of little changes you can make to cut calories from your diet, from replacing high-calorie dressings with vinaigrette and asking for all dressings/sauces served on the side, eating at the table instead of in front of the tv, skipping cheese and other fatty additions to your salads and meals, using smaller plates, leave off the whipped cream on your coffee drink, and on and on.[2]


While the easiest and fastest way to promote healthy weight loss is a combination of exercise and healthy eating, it is entirely possible to lose weight without working out. In fact, fitness is great for burning calories and physical health, but not always great for weight loss in specific. Some studies suggest that increased activity may not be the best solution, because it can be harder to consistently cut large amount of calories through activity, and often times increasing output can increase appetite (12,13). Remember, physical activity, or TEA and NEAT, only accounts for a portion (10 to 30%) of your total daily burn.
Amanda is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in Chicago who graduated with a bachelor's in Nutrition from Northern Illinois University. She completed her dietetic internship at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, IL. Amanda has a strong background in clinical nutrition, nutrition education, and experience working with specialized populations like children, acute care, intensive care, outpatients, and eating disorders. Amanda works with athletes and weight loss clients in the Los Angeles and southwestern Arizona area as a virtual Dietitian. Amanda prides herself in connecting with her audience while providing evidenced-based information and practical nutrition therapy for a complex population.
At the end of the summer (August) I weighed myself again and found out I had lost 10 pounds since January. I didn’t get down on myself when it felt like I had working so hard for little progress, but instead decided I was going to kick it hardcore into gear. It was at this point that my healthy habits were formed and I could continue in the direction of a healthy lifestyle. I could work harder in the hopes of seeing results. I realized at this point going forward it would be more of a mental battle than physical battle. The habits were formed, but I needed to continue believing in myself, staying encouraged, and thinking positive. I tried my best.
In 2011 I had enough of being fat, I hated that I was always the fattest person in the room. I started reading every blog, book and website about losing weight and found some information and a cookbook that highlighted clean eating. I started cooking 3 meals a day and enjoyed the ritual of cooking and taking better care of myself, but most of all I enjoyed the food.
“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.
Tip #8 Look for patterns. Take note of other triggers and behaviors linked to your eating. Do you eat something every time you walk into the kitchen? Is 3 p.m. your candy-witching hour? Does a deadline cause you to reach for donuts? By spotting patterns around when, where, and why you eat certain foods, you can develop strategies to prevent them from recurring, and start working towards a healthier you.
It is important to note that after any type of weight loss you will likely have a lower resting metabolism. This is partially due to having a lower body mass, requiring less calories to maintain. And sometimes due to adaptive thermogenesis, meaning you will need to eat less calories per day to maintain your weight compared to a similar individual at the exact same weight who has never been on a diet (28). But the effects of adaptive thermogenesis are typically short lived, and for most the difference could be as little as a 5% decrease in BMR. However, after crash dieting, your BMR could drop 10 to 15%, which could have a significant impact on your TDEE and weight maintenance efforts (29,30,31). 
I saw a post on pinterest for your pumpkin spice drink and started clicking around! Congratulations on your weight loss! I have just started working out regularly for the first time (just about) in my whole life. But what I’ve been learning slowly, even before I began the physical regimen, is how important it is to eat real food. Thanks to people around me who love food and their families health enough to really get informed about it, I’ve been seeing just how misinformed we are and how duped we can be by clever marketing that claims to be “healthy”. When I learned where skim milk comes from and how it’s made (and, for instance that it’s used to fatten pigs up) and that real dairy fats (in moderation) are linked to weight loss but “fat-free” items quite the opposite, I was stunned! Then I thought, of course! People were eating the real things long before heart disease and obesity ravaged our culture. When you start to learn about real nutrition instead of what we’ve been sold by industries, it can be a really great weight loss tool. And, I have to say thank you for using things like coconut milk in some of your recipes! I have a dairy intolerance and it’s nice to know that for the pumpkin spice recipe, at least, I wouldn’t have to tweak it myself!!! I look forward to reading more and trying some of your creations!
Oh, I am a young 76, 5’6” tall and this morning, weighed in at 135.6. my goal is 130. I know it will be a challenge as I am not that overweight. I am enrolled in FFL 7-week course and am really doing my best to follow the program. I have haven’t been to the gym for 3 months due to foot problems. Hopefully, an MRI on Friday will reveal the problem and I can resume my gym time. Sorry for this epistly, but wanted to explain all to you in hopes that you can share some home exercises for my stomach area.
3. Artificial preservatives. Namely Sodium Nitrite. Sodium Nitrite has been linked to colon cancer and lung disease. It's probably just fine if eating in small amounts. But if you're eating 2 or 3 bags of jerky each day, then you're subjecting yourself to danger. To counter this, look for preservative-free jerky. There's plenty of it out there, here's a link.

When it comes to hormones, both men and women are effected by estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, in varying amounts and forms. The key difference is that hormones in men tend to remain fairly stable, with some progesterone and testosterone slowly declining with age (115,116). Whereas, women have monthly hormonal fluctuations through menstruation cycles (118). 


"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."
It's no surprise that Dr. Dean Ornish's program is such a powerful tool for weight loss, considering its easy adaptability as a lasting lifestyle. The diet is mostly plant-based, keeps sodium intake in moderation, and limits coffee to a cup a day (two cups decaf) — so if you're looking to lose weight while keeping your java flow, you may want to consider another plan.
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.
The answer for me is simple, “Do the right thing despite any issues and stresses.” Despite anything negative in society and despite any direct impact on any person, one can do one’s best to simply choose to do the right thing. It’s not easy; it’s a bear at first. But wellness practices beget wellness. Most of us are victims of something, including our own brains, personalities, and proclivities. We have to work on awareness every day and do the right thing.
I know what you're thinking. If what I'm saying is true, why haven't you heard of it before? Simple... because it's never been sold to you. It's never even had a name! It's just how the human body was naturally designed to lose weight, and it's hard to sell a weight loss diet based on that alone. Not to mention, it's pretty hard to sell something that is free.
About: Michelle’s first pregnancy was one of the best times of her life, but it was also a time when she gained weight. After her little one was born, Michelle started up her blog as a way to chronicle her weight loss and all her activities being a first-time mom. She lost nearly 60 pounds in six months, and is great if you’re looking for someone to follow who tries out new diets, fitness routines, healthy recipes and more. Oh yeah, and her crafts are amazing.
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.
Slimming Studios offers an array of enhanced weight loss products and services at centers across North Texas, and through trusted medical partners. Slimming Studios provides medical & noninvasive weight loss procedures, dietary supplements, weight control snacks, diet & workout plans, and weight loss counseling. Its purpose is to offer clients the very best in enhanced weight loss so they don’t have to wait to lose weight.
Great question, Cain. The cumulative stress of training for a competition and then cutting 10-20 pounds certainly does compromise the immune system. (So does competition itself, for a few hours after the event). Then, when you stuff hundreds of people in an arena or auditorium, all sharing their bacteria and viruses with those compromised immune systems…so getting a cold is the very common. All big athletic events are like this: marathons, tournaments, etc.

Want to lose that belly fat? In your dreams! Seriously, though: a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to get rid of that extra fat around your waist for good. Among the 60,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, those who snoozed for fewer than five hours a night were at the greatest risk of becoming obese and gaining 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period when compared to those who slept for seven or more hours.


Instead of satisfying your sweet tooth with some refined sugar, turn to berries and enjoy a slimmer waistline in no time. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, and research from the University of Michigan reveals that rats given a berry-rich diet shaved off a significant proportion of their belly fat when compared to a control group. Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are also loaded with resveratrol, an antioxidant pigment that has been linked to reductions in belly fat and a reduced risk of dementia, to boot.
Roni starting blogging in 2005 as a way to stay accountable on her personal weight-loss journey. Six years later, she still blogs, but her mission is to inspire others and share her ideas to live a lighter, healthier life. Roni does this through openly and honestly chronicling her weight loss, health, and fitness goals. Roni also founded FitBloggin’, a conference to bring new and seasoned health and wellness, fitness, and weight-loss bloggers together for knowledge, personal growth, and networking. It's clear that Roni is committed to living a healthy lifestyle and sharing her passion with others. I'm so glad to know her professionally and personally.

It is true that muscle is more metabolic than fat, but exactly how much more? One study suggests that the metabolic rate of muscle is about 4.5 to 7.0 calories a pound per day (97, 98). Compared to fat that supposedly burns only 1 to 3 calories a pound per day. This would mean an extra 5 pounds of muscle would equal an increase of 22 to 35 calories per day - which sounds small but could add up quickly over time.


While there is research to show foods can create a minor uptick in metabolism after eating them, the effects are fairly minimal and short lived. Keep in mind that thermogenesis only represents a small portion of BMR (10%), and even with a large upswing, the effects don't stick for more than a few hours - resulting in only tiny increases in calorie burn over 24 hours. 


While you may find natural varicose vein remedies online, consider seeing a vein specialist to discuss treatment options, especially if your varicose veins are severe. Also, research shows that some exercises like calf raises can help improve the appearance of varicose veins (2). Getting more physical activity can also help, since activity promotes better leg circulation.
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