When you’re eating to deal with your emotions, like anxiety, stress or unhappiness, you’re likely not reaching for carrot sticks and blueberries, but carbohydrates, processed foods and even alcohol. Those calories eventually add up and, at the same time, you’re avoiding learning how to deal with difficult emotions and situations. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.

Wow, Penny. You sure have had more than your fair share of struggles! I am so impressed at how you have continued to persevere and do whatever you could to succeed, despite all of the setbacks. YOU are the inspiring one! You found a way to exercise that didn’t cause you pain, you are making the healthiest choices you can in your circumstances. I am so glad you shared your story with me!

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Starting a weight-loss journey can be tough, especially if you're giving up a lot of things you love. Shannon Hagen’s secret to staying positive while losing weight? “I never think of it as giving things up, that makes me feel deprived,” she says. “Instead I focus on adding in one small healthy change at a time, until it becomes a habit.” For instance, instead of being bummed over not having your usual bowl of ice cream before bed, try a new healthy dessert recipe to add to your file.
Tip #6 Pay attention to portion sizes. If you’re totally new to calorie counting, pull out your measuring cups and spoons, and invest in a kitchen scale. You only need to measure a few times before you’ll get the gist of how much you should be eating. Plus, check out Fitbit’s visual guide to portion sizes! When you have a rough idea of what 3 ounces of steak looks like (a deck of cards), or a cup of pasta (a tennis ball), entering your servings will be quicker, easier, and more accurate.

"Protein is great for fat loss. It helps build and preserve lean muscle tissue and can increase the amount of calories you burn. It’s also a great source of energy that helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to snack. Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, eggs, milk and chickpeas. And if you’re finding it difficult to avoid snacks that are high in carbohydrates, try substituting them for protein shakes or bars. Remember also to opt for the lean sources of protein because some sources can be high in saturated fat."
In short: it’s complicated! Clearly, it’s not as simple as “estrogen makes you fat” or “estrogen prevents weight loss.” And like most things in life, there’s a happy medium. There’s a healthy range of estrogen that brings nothing but benefits, but too little or too much estrogen can cause problems. Think Goldilocks: it’s not about demonizing estrogen (or anything else); it’s about finding the balance.
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.

What should you eat after working out? Exercise is beneficial for overall health. To get the most effective exercise, it is necessary to have good nutrition. There is a range of things to eat right after a workout that will help in specific fitness goals. It is also essential to eat to recover energy levels. Learn more about what to eat after a workout. Read now


Your welcome! You should really follow what Sparks tells you how much to eat, for me its about 1500 – 1700 calories a day. Thats what helped me to lose weight, I wouldn’t of been able to do it without Sparks. Not eating hinders your weight lose efforts. It’s amazing that eating helps you lose weight. Shocking I know! If you don’t eat, your body goes into starvation mode and instead of burning calories it holds onto them. Enjoy food! I do as you can see. I eat healthy 80% of the time and eat not so healthy 20% of the time. If I eat bad, it’s a small portion, so I don’t go crazy not getting the foods I love, other wise this won’t work for me. This is my lifestyle now and I stopped counting calories, and I am still maintaining. I just need to exercise more, since I started this blog, I’ll admit I’ve slacked, but I do keep my weekly weigh ins. I’m glad you stopped by my site. You made me realize that I need to get back on track, because it’s easy to fall back into old habits!! Keep in contact! If you need any support, you can count on me!!
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."
Also, while your menstrual cycle may not affect weight gain or loss, losing or gaining weight can affect your menstrual cycle. Women who lose too much weight or lose weight too quickly may stop having a period, or have irregular periods. Women who have obesity may also have irregular periods. A regular period is a sign of good health. Reaching a healthy weight can help women who have irregular periods to have cycles that are more regular. Learn more in our Menstrual Cycle section.

You’re eating out of habit, stress, or emotions. It’s all too easy to grab food for reasons other than hunger–out of habit or by the clock, when stressed, when overcome with emotion (strong or subtle), or when we want to avoid something (including our emotions). The procrastination of going to the refrigerator rather than answering a work email or leaning into our emotions can take a bit of practice to break. Practice mindful eating (being aware and present when you are eating) to ensure you’re not eating out of habit, boredom, or emotions rather than hunger.


While calcium is generally thought to be primarily beneficial for bone health, it’s also crucial for building strong muscles. Calcium is essential for encouraging muscle contraction, which promotes muscle growth. Fortunately, for those who need to shed fat on their legs, calcium-rich foods can also help them feel the burn; research published by the American Diabetes Association reveals that increasing calcium intake promoted fat loss among overweight diabetic study subjects on a calorie-restricted diet.
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