About: Kelsey’s blog is packed with easy-to-follow healthy recipes and fitness routines (and they’re not just your run-of-the-mill workouts, either). They’re formulated or endorsed from Kelsey herself — a 50 pound weight loss success story. Kelsey had been pretty fit and thin her whole life, but shortly after leaving college, countless nights of eating out and drinking led to her packing on an extra 50 pounds. Unhappy, Kelsey decided to make a change. What’s especially inspirational about her story is that she did so slowly. She made small changes, slowly started eating cleaner and eventually lost all the weight. Now, five years later, she’s still fit and sharing her story on her blog and in her books, fitness routines and recipes with readers. She even hosts weight loss challenges (with cash prizes) to really cheer people on and give them incentive to keep going.
About: Sometimes, it’s okay to take a helping hand when it comes to weight loss. That’s exactly what the author of Banded Carolina Girl did. In 2012, she had lap band surgery and dropped from a size 30 to a size 12 and saw her BMI drop from 62 to 32. Two years later, she started a blog to talk about “the good, the bad and everything in between.” On her blog, you’ll find quick-hit posts offering inspiration and encouragement to not just lose weight, but also to learn how to love and accept yourself.
Losing weight in general can affect your hunger, fullness hormones causing you to feel more hungry. And exercising can increase this even further. While going a little hungry can be helpful for weight reduction, being extremely hungry can be downright painful. If you can get past the constant hunger pains, you may also find that crash dieting is making you obsessed with food. Your body is so hungry that food becomes all you think about (22).
It’s hard to keep track of how much we eat. But a lot of research shows that when we keep track of intake, we eat less. This is called self-monitoring, and why writing down what I ate and weighed helped me.4,5,6 There are so many ways to do this nowadays: from the old-school paper-and-pencil method, to apps like MyFitnessPal, or the Weight Watchers points system.7
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.
Drink water before meals and all day long. Water is calorie free and will help fill your stomach and keep you hydrated. In fact, hunger can often be a sign of early dehydration, since your body is using up glycogen stores more quickly, and drinking water could help calm your appetite if this is the case (33). Water also plays multiple roles in the body including supporting digestion, nutrient absorption, and aiding in bodily functions.
Try not to think that you can't eat certain foods because you're "too overweight." According to the National Eating Disorder Association, dieting, drive for thinness, and body dissatisfaction can become internalized at a young age and lead to an eating disorder. Change your mindset to celebrate the healthy foods you're eating because they're helping your body stay healthy and energized.
A common misconception amongst many female fitness enthusiasts is that steady-state cardio in the "fat burning zone" is ideal for weight loss. Spending two hours on the treadmill may seem like it'll get you bikini-worthy bod—more minutes, more calories, right? However, while steady-state cardio has many benefits, it isn't the most effective way to reduce body fat.
“The way that I lost my baby weight is doing P90x, Insanity and PiYo at the YMCA—they all have a great system of cardio and plyometrics. The reps are low and the intensity level is high, so when I finish one rep I feel so accomplished to do the rest. I would keep telling myself to do one more. It also helps to have a great instructor; my instructor would literally do the work with you. That’s what makes me want to do more. I am now at a level that I can keep up with our group instructor, which is amazing. I haven’t felt this alive in a long time. I’m a vegetarian, and we love our carbs, so that was a bit hard, especially after doing cardio. You feel like you’re starving. I cut the carbs—no bread and pasta—and just added more vegetables and cold pressed juices to get extra vitamins in my body. I snack when I’m hungry on cashews and peanuts, and hydrate with water as much as I can.”
HIIT elicits the same health benefits as steady-state cardio, but can lead to even greater improvements in body composition, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.[1-3] And you definitely burn more calories when you do it! Additionally, the release of hormones like epinephrine increases with high-intensity exercise, which can help your body use more fat for fuel.
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.