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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!
Good question, Matt. Quite frankly, for the athletes I work with it’s not an issue. Because they’re able to regain almost 100% of their strength, power, and endurance come fight night. So they have two advantages: 1) they’re at 100% in terms of performance capacity while their opponents, who probably cut weight in a less effective way, are likely only at 80%, 2) they’re also heavier (which grants strength leverage advantages). You can see there are a lot of variables here, though. And that’s why a scientific approach is warranted.

Luckily, that doesn’t mean you need to dedicate even more time exercising. In fact, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts can slash the time commitment while boosting results. HIIT workouts last about 20 minutes and combine bursts of super-intense exercise with slower recovery phases. This type of workout has been found to help people lose more fat once the workout is over, even though they burn less calories during the workout (since workouts are shorter) and also build muscle, rather than break it down the way conventional cardio does. (3)
About: Cary has a big personality, a personality that comes through every single post she writes. She’s trying to lose 100 pounds, and she has the same kinds of ups and downs we all do when we’re losing weight, one of the many things that makes her so appealing. Her blog is her “me-place” to cry, moan and spill painful thoughts. But it’s also a place where she shares her triumphs, happy moments and steps to uncover (little by little) herself.
When bulking up is not your goal, strive for endurance exercises that tone. Thighs are a peculiar body part. They are one of the only body parts that can be too big due too much fat or too much muscle. Seems like a lose/lose, doesn’t it? Any thigh thinning routine should include a healthy mix of cardio and lower body resistance moves. Ideally, you want to focus on exercises that burn body fat and don’t add bulk.
Interesting. I’m on my first weight loss journey ever in my life, so everything is brand new to me. But I lost 30 pounds in the first 3 months when going low carb. I mean it just MELTED! However the goal is 40 pounds (10 pounds to go). This last month, weight loss has stalled. What’s interesting is that it’s stalled at precisely the weight I was previously at in my 20’s. So it’s like some sort of “metabolic memory.” I was convinced that it was a plateau — I’ve never heard of a “stable period” or anything. So I guess I’ll keep trucking and see if it picks up again. It’s very stubborn, considering I’ve doubled my workout time since the slowdown.

These days I am definitely not a hard core eater like I was back then. I have determined that to stay sane and happy and thin-ish, I have to give myself realistic expectations. The empty pantry and laser focus was not something that I could personally keep up with forever and ever. I have also learned that controlling my stress and anxiety is crucial for me. I am such a stress eater that recognizing my weak point has helped me so much in maintaining my weight loss. I still try and shop the perimeter of the store, I do not keep treats or chips in the house if I can help it because I recognize the fact that I have zero will power and I try and move at least a little every day. I give myself a weight gain-loss range rather than a set weight that I need to maintain forever. That way if I get off track I don’t sink back into feeling like I have failed and just give up on staying thin. To be completely honest, I am not 120 lbs anymore. I have gained about 10lbs since 2013 but am hoping to get back down a little over the Summer. And one last SUPER honest confession, after getting down to my goal weight of 120 lbs, I did have a full abdominoplasty in August 2013. It was literally my only option given the amount of extra skin I had from the weight loss.

After losing 40 pounds, certified personal trainer Gina Harney was on the hunt for guides on weight maintenance. But at the time, her options were limited. So she started The Fitnessista, which is focused on fitness advice and healthy recipes that only sound indulgent (think: pecan pie oatmeal, pumpkin pie protein smoothie bowl, and chocolate protein donuts).
In my experience, most patients consider weight loss drugs or surgery only as a last resort.  “I want to lose weight naturally,” they say. Once we screen for (and treat) any contributing medical problems that could be causing weight gain (low thyroid function, polycystic ovarian syndrome, prediabetes, among others), or psychological issues (bulimia, binge-eating disorder, depression, anxiety), I encourage a diet-and-lifestyle approach for many reasons, among them my own personal experience.
Learning to portion your food correctly is one way to get automatic calorie control without having to count or track your intake. Once you know your macro and calorie needs, take the time to stack your plate accordingly. Using a food scale, you can weigh out portions for ultimate accuracy or use your hands to quickly and roughly estimate a serving size that works for your needs.

When you've got a lot of weight to lose, deciding where to begin can be super-overwhelming—but we've got a good place for you to start. We've talked to dozens of women who completely transformed their bodies—we're talking shedding 50-plus pounds—and pulled together a list of the eight simple changes they made that had the biggest impact on the scale. Their tried-and-true tips might be exactly what you need to get on the path to serious results. But don't just take our word for it: These women's results speak for themselves.
Eat more protein. Protein is required by the body to repair damaged cells and plays a vital role in growth and development.[3] But it can also play a role in weight loss. Diets high in protein tend to make people feel fuller, and when paired with a reduction in carbohydrate intake these diets can help with weight loss.[4] However, it's important to remember that not all sources of protein are good for you: red meat and full-fat dairy products, though high in protein, can also increase the risk of heart disease.[5] Good sources of protein include:[6]
Jessica Osborne, fitness trainer and former Radio City Rockette works with clients to help them sculpt the long, lean legs of a dancer. But she says that it is impossible to spot reduce or lose weight from one area such as the thighs. Instead, she recommends "cardio-amped" workouts that burn calories for fat loss all over the body. She also includes strength training to shape the quadriceps (front of the thigh) and hamstrings (back of the thigh).
When your body doesn't get enough sleep, it produces a hormone called ghrelin and lowers levels of another hormone called leptin.[16] Leptin tells your brain when you are full, and ghrelin stimulates your appetite. In other words, when you don't get enough sleep, your body has a bigger appetite and your brain doesn't send as many signals to your body that it's full.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) a healthy diet consists of limited saturated and trans fatty acids, free sugars, and salt, with adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains (2). And observational data from large cohorts found that higher adherence to the WHO dietary guidelines are associated with increased life expectancy (3).
“My goal was to look like the women I admired in the fitness magazines. After attending a local fitness competition with a friend, I was able to find a trainer who educated me on the importance of eating healthier and exercising and how the two together were the key to obtaining an amazing physique. I changed my diet dramatically. I ate five small meals a day and began doing cardio five to six days a week, and the transformation was astonishing. I wanted to compete at the same local fitness competition I visited before beginning my journey, and I placed third in the Open Bikini going against women that were half my age! Competing was not only an amazing experience, but a huge confidence booster. I have gone on to accomplish so many amazing things in four-and-a-half years, including placing in competitions, being on the cover of a fitness magazine and becoming a contributing writer for several fitness magazines. This has shown me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to and that age truly is just a number! Today I feel and look better than I did at 25.”
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story…I would have never guessed you had dealt with such a thing. I”m in the process of losing over 75 lbs gained due to anxiety medicine. I too just woke up and had an epiphany that the medicine had turned me into someone I was not and I had to get off of it especially before having children. It’s definitely been a struggle, but I’ve seen the commercials on tv too and do not want to chance affecting my future children in any way and I want to be a better version of myself. For me personally, exercise, eating better, and therapy have worked to reduce my anxiety and panic attacks enough to stay off medicine.
Jen Tallman never thought she would have the courage to pursue a career in fashion due to her size...until she dropped 110 pounds by reducing her caloric intake and picking up running. Now she works at Chanel. How does she resist the temptation to deviate from her newfound healthy habits when eating out with friends? She checks out the menu beforehand so she always knows her healthy options. Just make sure you know how to spot what's actually healthy—restaurants can have a knack for trying to make you think things are healthier than they are.
Getting healthier and losing weight is among the most popular new year’s resolutions for good reason, but sticking with it is easier said than done. If one of your goals in 2019 is weight loss, you’re in luck. There are many ways to get motivated to start losing weight and build success that can last a lifetime. Let’s make this year the best yet, by sticking to our weight loss resolutions with help from these tips:

Tracking your food intake is the single most important factor in losing weight - period. It is also the easiest way to calculate your calorie intake, hold yourself accountable and give yourself daily confirmation that you are sticking to your diet. And if you’re not on a diet currently, it’s the best way to see where you may want to consider making some changes.


Use the meal as a reward for a week’s worth of hard work, or the completion of a project you’ve been dreading. “It’s OK for people to blow one meal a week without feeling guilty,” says James W. Anderson, M.D., director of the Metabolic Research Group at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “If you follow a healthy diet 95% of the time, you can relax and enjoy yourself the other 5% of the time without gaining weight.”
Or skip your favorite early-morning show—whatever it takes to grab a few more minutes of sleep each day. When researchers at the University of Chicago studied men who were sleep-deprived, they found that after just a few days, their bodies had a much harder time processing glucose in the blood—a problem common in overweight diabetics. When the individuals returned to a more normal seven to eight hours of sleep a night, however, their metabolisms returned to normal.

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."


Over time, most people who sustain a ketogenic lifestyle stop losing weight and find a new stable weight (Hallberg 2018).  This is achieved when their natural instincts of hunger and satiety lead to an increase in dietary fat intake to balance out one’s daily expenditure.  But as long as dietary protein is kept moderate and carbs low, this dietary fat is used in place of body fat to produce ketones, so clearly nutritional ketosis can be maintained without any further weight loss.  We have named this a ‘eucaloric ketogenic diet’ (Phinney 1983).
About: Jade’s 6+ years of experience blogging means, at first glance, we would have passed right over her for this list. But it’s her recent debut into weight loss and healthy living blogging that caught our eye. Jade lives in Singapore, and just looking at Jade’s photos, it’s hard to imagine her as ever being overweight. But in 2012, she was unhappy with the way she looked, a feeling she’d had her whole life. Then the thought occurred to her that she had the power to change it. A total lifestyle overhaul and 44 pounds later, and Jade’s story is a success we can all admire.
And now add to this the ketosis piece that makes solving this puzzle even more complex.  Is a calorie still a calorie if cutting carbohydrate to the point of inducing nutritional ketosis reduces appetite, allowing the same level of satiety with a reduced energy intake? (Boden 2005)  Does the keto-adapted individual feel the same need to reduce spontaneous physical activity while losing weight?  What might a barely measurable increase in energy expenditure in a short-term study translate to over a longer duration?  Theoretically, just a one hundred Calorie per day deficit translates to 10 pounds of body fat lost over a year.
About: Blogs full of heart-felt writing and deep emotions are great, but it never hurts to toss in one with a laugh-out-loud humor to it as well. Enter Running off the Reese's blogger Cely. If her blog mantra “Because no one should have to choose between their pants and chocolate” doesn’t pull you in, her creative use of gifs and humorous style of writing will. Cely was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 18 — a diagnosis she certainly didn’t let hold her back. She runs races (usually half-marathons or less), shares her experiences, has a long list of book reviews...and talks a bit about life in general in between. And it’s awesome.

If you’ve got weight to lose and you want it gone fast, try swapping out your usual proteins in favor of fish. Not only is fish lower in calories than an equivalent amount of beef or chicken, a study published in Obesity reveals study subjects who added omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, to their diets shed more weight and had an easier time keeping it off than those who skipped them.
For women specifically, remember that women’s bodies are designed to sustain a pregnancy, survive giving birth, and then nourish another human being through breastfeeding. While pregnancy and breastfeeding require as many as 500 extra calories per day, it’s no wonder that a woman’s body tends to store fat where it is difficult to lose. These biological activities require a huge output of energy from a woman’s body. To prepare for these enormous events, a woman’s body stores excess calories as fat around the thighs and hips.
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