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!
I’m newer to your blog, and all of your pictures screamed to me “effortlessly thin chick”, so imagine my open-mouthed surprise with your post today. At risk of sounding weird, i love your blog and you even more for having been so transparent! Weight is something i’ve struggled with my whole life, and in the last 8 years, i’ve also been dealing with an underactive thyroid. Some of the blogs i read have such beautifully thin bloggers pitching things like s’mores, and i think to myself, yeah right. So thanks. Thanks for being so real and relatable! Honesty is the best policy, and you will have helped so many for just laying it all out there truthfully. For many, if not most, it’s a struggle. God bless you!
About: Going through a divorce can do nasty things to a person — it can cause weight gain, low self-esteem, job changes, you name it. It certainly was a downward spiral for Emma, who went through the ringer before meeting (and getting engaged) to her current fiancé — but along the way she learned how to find the joy in life and learn to love herself. Emma decided to start a blog as a way to bring her newfound positivity to others. Her outlook on healthy living and eating, fitness and weight loss is charged with positivity. She’s a glass-half-full kind of person, and reading her blog can make you one too.
Meditate. If stress is inhibiting your weight loss efforts, try yoga! Or learn to meditate. Research suggests yoga is positively associated with decreased stress, increased fat loss, and improved mood (36, 37, 38). The practice of yoga is centered around controlling your breath and being more conscious of how you react to the word around you, helping you channel your stress in a more positive way. 
About: Brian’s struggles with weight are some we can all relate to — the need to get healthy, fit, you name it. But what makes his blog particularly interesting is that his studio apartment doesn’t have a kitchen. That forces Brian to get creative, and all he has to work with is a mini-refrigerator and a Big Boss Rapid Oven. His blog is a way to stay accountable and share recipes that are about as creative as you can get.
Of course, you want to get to the bottom of why you’re not feeling so hot. One study found that practicing relaxation techniques helped obese women who were emotional eaters lose weight over the course of three months, along with helping them reduce depression and anxiety. (7) Engaging in other activities that can help you relax are a better option than emotional eating.
If you aren't getting enough protein, and not strength training regularly, extremely restrictive diets may cause you to start burning more lean muscle for energy instead of fat (23). Why does this matter? You are losing precious muscle mass - which is key for keeping your metabolism intact and improves your overall quality of life.  In addition, reduced lean muscle mass increases your overall body fat percentage, even though the number on the scale is decreasing.
And while the weight room can be intimidating for women, pumping iron is key to getting a toned and fit physique. Don’t worry, lifting heavy weights won’t make you bulky — you just don’t have the testosterone to build the size of a man. Lifting will improve your posture, make your arms, core and lower body more shapely and boost your metabolism by building muscle. Resistance training also helps you hold onto muscle that you naturally lose as you age.
You can turn to strength training after you have lost some weight from the thighs to make them well defined. Often, it happens that after losing weight, your thighs and legs lack proper shape. Resistance training is the best solution to this problem. A program of resistance training makes your thigh muscles harder, stronger, and more defined. It also prevents your thigh muscles from getting larger in size. Weights should be kept moderately light to prevent your thigh muscles from getting bigger. Those with highly responsive muscles (mesomorphs) should avoid such exercises as their thigh muscles are already well toned.
With fitness, just get active. Find an activity you enjoy, and stick with it. Progress will come with time. If you’re a student, try walking to class or taking laps around buildings for study breaks. If you work full time, take a lap every hour or two, use your lunch break to work out, and just find something that works. One of my favorite things was taking walks when I talked on the phone to people – that’s at least a 30-60 min time to get moving.

But I've seen some women beat themselves up over a few extra pounds, even though this does little more than destroy their self-worth. Berating yourself will not help motivate you to control your weight and improve your health. So the next time those negative thoughts creep into your head, recognize them for what they are and replace them with positive ones.
Execute a thigh-toning workout with equipment at the gym. Doing weight-training exercises will give your thighs a leaner, more defined appearance as you melt away the fat. Build a workout around tools such as dumbbells, barbells and machines. Target the quadriceps and hamstrings, which are the main muscles in the thighs, in these workouts. Perform exercises such as squats, lunges, step-ups, leg extensions and leg curls. Use the cable pulley machines to work your inner thighs or adductors and your outer thighs, your abductors. Aim for 10 to 12 reps, do four or five sets and work out two or three days a week.

I didn’t realize just how many calories I was consuming, so tracking what I ate helped keep me aware of what I was putting in my mouth. I don’t count calories anymore, but I track macros (protein, carb, and fat grams) to keep my diet balanced and in check. Macros allows me to have my carrots and cake, too! If you’re interested in learning more or want to work together, check out my macro plan options!
Why does this popular plan work? For one thing, it pushes wildly healthy staples to the forefront (think: nuts, vegetables, fruit, olive oil). For another, it's simply delicious, thanks to it's focus on fresh, simply prepared dishes like grilled fish with lemon and whole wheat pita with hummus. Science agrees: One meta-review of 16 studies, found the eating M.O. helped those on it lose an average of 8.5 pounds.
The idea behind this completely free weight loss diet plan is quite simple... it's the ANTI-fad diet. It is the complete opposite of every borderline idiotic and completely unnecessary diet program in existence. It is based strictly on common sense and the simplest and healthiest way the human body was meant to lose weight. It is not based on fancy gimmicks and making sales. The Lose Weight Diet is free. There is nothing to buy or sign up for first. Every single piece of weight loss information you will need is here (free) for you to read, understand and put into effect.
Since insulin sensitivity is at its highest in the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, and carb intake is free to be at its highest, exercise can be more aerobic (long, moderate heart-rate-elevating cardio exercises). It is at this time that you can do your best high performance cardio training. Here you can challenge yourself with longer-term exercises that may be more “stressful” for your body, like long bike rides, tabata sprints, night-long dance sessions, and the like. It is at this time in your cycle that your body can handle the most aerobic stress.
Tina Haupert is a Boston-based Lifestyle Influencer and the creative mind behind Carrots ‘N’ Cake, a healthy living blog that serves to help everyday people achieve more balance through fitness, nutrition, and general best practices to improve one’s holistic personal wellness. Tina’s weight loss journey began in 2004 when she decided to get serious about her health and her body image. Two years and 23 pounds later, she reached her weight loss goal all while developing healthy lifestyle habits that she’s been able to maintain to this day.
A few years ago, I embarked on a personal weight loss journey. I had had two pregnancies back-to-back, and had gained considerable weight, to the point where my own body mass index was over 30 (obesity range). I was many months postpartum, and realized that the “baby weight” wasn’t going anywhere. As a matter of fact, I had gained even more weight since my daughter was born.
Take a look at your fluid intake and make sure you are accounting for any additional calories your adding to your day. Many beverages can be high in added sugar and low in nutrition, which adds empty calories and could throw off your macros balance. In addition, liquid calories tend to not activate your fullness cues the same way solid food does, and you may still feel hungry afterwards (67,68). Even further, sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices ins specific are associated with an increased risk of weight gain (69). 

And maybe a new mattress, because it’s not just the amount of time you spend sleeping that keeps you lean, it’s also the quality of your sleep. Fat cells in your body produce a hormone called leptin that helps the body keep track of how much potential energy (i.e. fat) it has stored. But leptin is only produced during certain stages of sleep. Miss out on those stages because you’re not resting soundly enough, and you’ll disturb levels of the hormone, leaving your body with no real idea of its energy reserves. Consequently, you’ll end up storing calories rather than burning them.
You’re still relying on counting calories instead of letting true hunger guide you. What does true hunger feel like to you? Work on increasing or decreasing your fat to focus on the sensations of true hunger. Try to consume fat at different times of the day so that your hunger is controlled. Strengthening your self-awareness surrounding hunger can reduce the frequency of eating when you are not hungry.
Heather Gannoe-Hart is an avid runner, adventure seeker, Exercise Physiologist, and writer for her blog Relentless Forward Commotion. For Heather, running started as an attempt to shed some pregnancy weight after having her first baby—eventually, it turned into a passion that kick-started a new outlook on life. Relentless Forward Commotion is a place where she shares her passion for fitness, the outdoors, and the newest adventure she encounters, whether its trail running, mud runs, obstacle courses, cycling, or hiking. Her fitness journey will inspire you to step outside your comfort zone, try something new, and see the world in an entirely new way.
Truthfully, as Nate says in the Bigger Smaller Bigger book, training style is less important than nutrition for gaining muscle mass. There are dozens of ways to train to stimulate muscle mass, all of them effective. As long as you activate as many motor units as possible, use a proper progression (doing more/doing better each time), and recove adequately, the rest is just personal preference. Once that’s all taken care of, it’s about food amounts and types. All of which we detail in BSB, if you want to revisit it.
We’re almost up to speed, but still rewind a little bit back to the early years of college. In the fall of 2012 I started school at Truman State University in good old Kirksville, Missouri. If you’re in college or have been to college, you know that it’s the time to form independence and truly make decisions, on your own, for how you wish to live your life. For a lot of people this means starting over, turning over a new leaf, making new habits, developing a new lifestyle, etc. Honestly college is crazy and weird and I don’t want to ramble on it too much because this post is focused more on the fitness/nutrition journey I’ve experienced (though I now realize its all connected.)
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.
Thanks Jen! When you get down to the last 10 – 15lbs., it’s so much harder to get it off. Sometimes I think when you can’t lose weight and your doing all the right things,it maybe because it’s your bodies way of tell you it’s at it’s happy weight. I just keep plugging away and see what happens. As a long as your exercising and eating right that all that counts because your doing something good for your body!
About: Rachel, Valeri and Dori are three lifelong, childhood friends who share a very strong common bond: They all were fat, and they’re all now fit. But they’re also very unique — each has her own approach to weight loss and fitness, approaches that come together for one heck of a diverse blog. No matter what your level of fitness is or how much weight you need to lose, you’ll find a style from one of these ladies that resonates. Inspirational, logical and practical, Rachel, Valeri and Dori truly put together a masterpiece.
Also, my perspective of what a meal was evolved. I grew up thinking every meal needed to be a plate with a meat, veggies or fruit, carbs, grains, and dessert; and that just isn't accurate at all. I learned that it is totally acceptable to make meals like a bowl with veggies and protein. Or breakfast could include a big bowl of oatmeal with almond butter, greek yogurt, granola, and fruit. I incorporated a ton of fresh produce and didn't let myself buy junk food from the store. It's not always about eating less of everything either, it's less of some foods but more of others. 

While it may seem like moderate intensity, commonly referred to as your "fat burning zone", is the optimal level of intensity for fat burn, total calorie burn skyrockets at high intensity and you may actually end up burning more fat overall. Some research even suggests short duration workouts at high intensity can burn as many calories as a much longer moderate training (7,8,9,10). Part of this is due to the after burn effects from increased metabolism that continues well after high intensity training.
About: The first thing you’ll notice when you check out Adam’s blog is that he’s funny — like really, really funny (hence the name of his blog). A self-proclaimed “boring guy” and “dork,” Adam’s blog started as a way to share his thoughts on being a traveling management consultant to a place for sharing running, humor, life and more — probably one of the most interesting changes we’ve run across. Adam’s been battling some knee problems off-and-on, but still makes it a priority to live healthy, exercise (like hiking) and share it all in his traditional good-humored, naturally-engaging way.
Low carb diet plans, like paleo and keto diet, cut out the majority of high carbohydrate foods and processed foods, which can eliminate a lot of food options - most notably high sugar and high calorie foods like cookies, cakes, donuts, candy and many convenient snack choices. Even though it is entirely possible to gain weight on these diets, strictly adhering to the diet standards and concentrating on choosing healthier options, like the whole foods and fresh produce they emphasize, will help you cut a significant amount of unnecessary calories. Especially if you had a terrible looking diet to begin with. 

About: Sara, a new mom, is all about living a happy, healthy and fun life. She’s struggled with her weight for years, and, as she puts it, can’t wait for the day when weight no longer gets in her way. Sara’s biggest appeal is that she’s all about using good ole fashioned weight loss techniques — eating healthy and exercising. And that philosophy permeates through her blog, inspiring readers and engaging fans along the way.
3. Supplment your nutrients. I recommend drinking 2-4 cans of vegetable juice (low sodium V8 is what I drink), specifically for the potassium. If you don't like the taste of vegetable juice, find other foods to boost your potassium, like bananas, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes. Choose high potassium foods that are low in fat. Use the USDA Nutrient Database to learn which foods are high and low in potassium. You can't rely on dietary supplement pills to boost your potassium, because no one makes a potassium supplement with more than 2% of the RDA. But do take a supplement pill for all the other vitamins and minerals.
So when does a period of weight stability (which is expected) after weight loss become a weight loss plateau? Weight loss plateaus are often a normal, yet frustrating, part of the weight loss process. If you’re stuck in a true weight loss plateau while following a low carb or ketogenic nutritional approach, it might be due to one or more of the reasons outlined below. But first, ask yourself if you’re truly in a weight loss plateau or is this part of a weight stability period, which most people should expect at some point during their weight loss journey. While our differences are a wonderful thing, when it comes to figuring out a stall in your weight loss it can also be a source of frustration as well.
The thing is, your body isn't a calculator. And while it needs a daily dose of energy to keep surviving, it also needs proper nutrition to function properly. It is nearly impossible to get all the nutrients your body needs on a very low calorie diet, even if you're eating only healthy food. Minor deficiencies can create serious complications. Very low calorie diets have been linked to heart problems, dehydration, mental confusion, and decreased immune function (24). And starving yourself over longer periods of time can lead to heart attacks, impaired liver and kidney function, seizures and death (25,26,27).

The slim-fast diet is something like an ‘out of the box’ weight loss solution in the sense that it comes with ready made products (snack bars, shakes, meal bars) that can be used to replace 2 of your main meals (breakfast-lunch) and snacks. This gives you the opportunity to consume up to 500 calories in a meal of your choice for dinner. It is based on a 1200 calorie diet and is best suited for people who need to lose more than 20 pounds.
I found your blog through the Nutrition Blog Network and I feel like I’m reading the story of my own life. I have recently lost 45lbs but am KILLING myself over those last 10 lbs just like you were. I literally have felt like it was hopeless and that there is no way those pounds are coming off. I am also limited to 1200 calories a day but am going to try raising my daily calorie intake to see if that helps! Your story gave me so much hope that I can beat these last 10 lbs and your weight loss tips were fantastic!
It’s pretty common for men to pack some extra poundage around their midsection. In fact, the average man is about 24lbs heavier today than men in 1960, according to stats from The State of Obesity—and the figures are rising. We’ve seen slimmer days, but don’t think this is a grim sentence, dooming you to eternal chubbiness. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways for you to burn belly fat—fast.
Most women will need to eat and drink fewer calories and get the right amount of healthy foods to lose weight. Increasing exercise or physical activity may help with weight loss, but choosing healthy foods (lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits) is what works best for many people to achieve a healthy weight.1 Combining healthy eating with increased physical activity is best. Talk to your doctor or nurse before starting any weight-loss program. He or she can work with you to find the best way for you to lose weight.
About: Elizabeth’s list of credentials for writing the kind of blog that helps you stay healthy is a long one — she graduated with dual degrees in food & nutrition and mass communication & journalism, and has now dedicated herself to developing healthy recipes and tips for achieving a wholesome, balanced lifestyle. She also shares her own musings — and her stunning photography — to add a personal touch that connects with readers in a meaningful way.
Use a calorie-needs calculator like LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate app to figure out your daily calorie needs, then subtract calories to create your energy deficit. With an app like MyPlate, you can factor in your weight-loss goal, and it will tell you the exact number of calories (as well has how much fat, protein and carbohydrates) you need to reach that goal.
When I was younger, I’d managed to maintain my weight of 130 pounds by being active. I belonged to the dance team and played intramural sports, so it wasn’t difficult for me to motivate myself to exercise. After college, I started a desk job, and with that came long hours, pizza lunches, and plenty of happy hours. I continued to exercise almost every day, but it wasn’t enough and my weight climbed to 153 pounds, which was too much for my 5-foot-4-inch frame.
When you exercise on the rowing machine, try this interval workout: Row for 60 seconds, note the distance on the machine, then rest 60 seconds. Repeat, only this time, row for 55 seconds and try to match or better your distance from the first time. Rest 55 seconds, then repeat, reducing the time to 50 seconds. Continue until you can’t beat your original distance.

Drink a cup of tea or a glass of water 30 minutes before you eat a meal. This will trick your body into believing it's more full than it actually is, meaning that your cravings will be lower and you'll be inclined to eat less during a meal. If you drink water or other liquid right before you eat, this could lead to indigestion, so wait a while after drinking before eating.
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