Losing weight is no small feat—it often requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, and with so much information out there, it can be tough to know what strategy might work for you. And to top it all off, all the weight loss myths that just will not die threaten to throw you off track. That's why it's helpful to know what has worked for real people—in their own words. Here, we've gathered advice from 28 women who have lost between 26 and 174 pounds—and kept that weight off for good.
When you want something sweet, all those fat-free, sugar-free options seem like a smart choice for weight loss. But researchers at Cornell University found that overweight people who choose low-fat versions of snack foods rather than the regular kinds consume, on average, twice as many calories. "The terms 'fat-free' or 'sugar-free' can create a green light effect, triggering people to eat more," says dietitian Cynthia Sass, RD. But many fat-free foods have about the same number of calories (or more) as their full-fat counterparts. 

Hi Rory, as someone has mentioned, you can try healthier substitutions. But there really exist issues such as food addictions, and these may be best addressed with a psychiatrist, therapist or a specially trained nutritionist who can help you work through it. I don’t know your case, but for others, overeating or overeating certain foods is self-medication, as it can trigger similar neurochemical responses to certain drugs.


Monica Olivas is a holistic health coach and certified running coach. And as the blog name implies, she loves to run and eat! Running helped her shed 20 pounds, and she’s since competed in 50 half-marathons and 30 marathons. Run Eat Repeat has giveaways for runners, tips for improving distance, and all kinds of healthy, delicious recipe ideas to fuel your next run. Visit the blog.
About: Bonnie’s been sharing her life — and family of 7 — with readers for years. But the reason she found her way onto our list is because of what she started Jan. 2 — a full-on commitment to cut out the junk food, soda and other unhealthy habits and lose weight. More than three months later, and she’s more than succeeded. Her daily struggle is the kind of thing anyone who’s stopped and started and stopped and then started again can attest to. But what really makes it special is that this time, she not stopping.

Since insulin sensitivity is at its lowest in the final two weeks of the cycle, and carb intake is also at its lowest, exercise should be more anaerobic (this means hard and fast, really getting your heart pumping). It should be focused more on high-intensity interval training, with short bursts of high intensity work, either from brief sprint exercises or from weight lifting. This is an excellent way to sharpen insulin sensitivity while simultaneously burning fat, increasing muscle mass, and spending calories. It also helps the body stay healthy and as stress-free as possible during this time in which the body is gearing up to menstruate and the least capable of handling stress.


Tina, that’s awesome. You said some things that rang true for me. At 53 years old, I was exercising plenty, but I love to eat! I was not good at portion control. personally I had to start intermittent fasting. I’ve lost ten lbs in the first few weeks, but have hit a plateau. What I am doing now is going more paleo, modified paleo. I also need to have more discipline in staying the course on exercising, which I love to do, but work often gets in the way. I came across a fitness /diet routine that is one of the most popular in the country , at the moment https://bit.ly/2LTeGBG, looks pretty good. Really it’s not rocket science, although we in the west make it hard. Eat whole foods in moderation, get enough rest, reduce stress, and exercise, not insanely, but regularly. Aerobics and some form of weight bearing exercise seems to be the best combination.
About: Brand new to the blogging world, Ayla’s story is a familiar one. She started out her journey at about 200 pounds and tried tons of different things to lose weight — pills, dieting, the gym, you name it — none of which seemed to work. Finally, Ayla gave it one last go using Insanity workouts and overhauling her diet, and, what do you know, it worked. Ayla lost 63 pounds, and now dedicates her time and energy to sharing tips and tricks that worked for her with others. Her blog has easy-to-follow, quick-hit guides and ideas for losing weight quickly and effectively.
Whether white or sweet, potatoes are a nutrient-dense food that makes a good addition to any weight loss diet. They are low in calories but contain significant amounts of potassium, which can help beat bloat and counterbalance sodium. Potatoes also contain moderate amounts of protein and filling-fibre, hence, they can be beneficial for weight loss - as long as they’re not fried or served the french-fry way. Read - 5-day Potato Diet for weight loss: 6 simple tips to lose belly fat with the Potato Hack

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.


Successfully flattening your stomach is a matter of burning body fat and building muscle. The best way to burn body fat is through cardio exercises such as running, walking, elliptical training, and bicycling. With these exercises, burning stomach fat, shedding love handles, and building a six pack is completely do-able. So send your body the memo: flat abs are in style and it’s time to get yours!
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.
While it’s often assumed that bread is off-limits when you’re trying to lose belly fat, the right bread may actually expedite the process. Switching to sprouted bread can help out carb-lovers eager to get their fix without going up a belt size, thanks to the inulin content of sprouted grains. The results of a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism reveal that found that pre-diabetic study subjects whose diets were supplemented with inulin shaved off more belly fat and total weight than those whose meal plans didn’t pack this healthy prebiotic fiber.

In terms of exercise, I kept working hard. Exercising was one of my priorities and so I fit it into my schedule every day, usually on my lunch break. I exercised 6 days of week, and the bulk of my exercise was focused on running with the occasional lifting or circuit (my amazing sister, Lindsay, a certified personal trainer, created lifting plans for me). It was important to me at this point in my journey to have a cardio-based plan and running seemed the most practical. I started running over the summer (it was a SLOW journey of gradually increasing the time and speed on the treadmill every day) so by the time it came around to fall I could actually go run on the roads and continue to improve my endurance. (Note: I am planning on writing a whole post about my relationship with running because it has grown into such an important part of my life. Running used to be extremely hard and I hated it but stuck with it because I knew it would be good for me, but now I love it and the way it makes me feel). 
Annamarie Rivera’s weight loss transformation has been 10 years in the making. In early 2010, Annamarie weighed 400 pounds and wore a size 28 in pants. Today, she is over 230 pounds smaller and has an entirely new outlook on life. Her blog, Weight Loss With Annamarie, shares her incredible weight loss journey along with the joys and struggles that come along with it. Whether you’re just beginning your weight loss journey or trying to lose those last few pounds, Annamarie’s inspirational blog will help you persevere through the ups and downs.

When you start eating more fat and cut out all those senseless carbs (sugar, bread, and the like), you tend to stop experiencing the blood sugar swings that plague most people on the Standard American Diet. These fluctuations cause intense hunger that keeps you lurching from one carb-heavy meal to the next, never feeling satisfied—and never reaching the deep fat-burning state of ketosis. But that’s not big news to most of us.


As noted above, our bike racer study (Phinney 1983) involved 9 lean men locked up while eating a precisely controlled ketogenic diet for 4 weeks.  In addition to daily weights, three methods were used to determine changes in body composition.  As a group, these subjects lost 1 kg of body weight in the first week of the ketogenic diet, all of which was attributable to reduced muscle glycogen stores (which were directly measured).  After that, their weights were stable for the next 3 weeks.  Unfortunately in this study we did not have the opportunity to measure metabolic rate, but based on our body composition data, anything over a 3% increase in energy expenditure associated with the ketogenic diet would have shown up as non-water associated weight loss (by implication, a loss of body fat).   Clearly these 9 men did not demonstrate an obvious increase in body fat loss in the first 4 weeks of keto-adaptation.

Stick to your plan for at least 21 days. Give yourself time to be consistent and see results. Success doesn't happen overnight. In fact, new research suggests it may even take up to 66 days to form a habit (40). Allow yourself at least three weeks to stick to a goal and then reevaluate whether you need to be pushing it harder, scaling back, or keep on going. And make sure you save any cheats until after you've mastered this window.  

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!
Very informative. I’m just now starting out on my weight loss journey, and have started a weight loss blog of my own. My entire family are overweight and it is a struggle dealing with them as I try to change my habits. Even harder because being around them in an environment where eating bad is easy to get away with makes me fall back. I am finding each time I go back home I end up binging.

Jennifer, I am a little different than you. I have always been a big girl and right now, I am near 200 pounds. I am about 5’3 and I’ve always had trouble losing weight. I’m actually very athletic. I love to play sports and I’m good at them, but I hate running. I also splurge a lot. it’s a bad habit of mine to snack when I’m bored. I’m a recent college student and eating healthy is difficult, not to mention exercise. since I live on the fourth floor, I try to take the stairs only. I’m pretty good about that. I have a slow metabolism and I have no sense of calorie counting. I’m desperate for help, but I need to concentrate on my studies. what advice can you give me?
I gather that by consuming copious amounts of water, you decrease the concentration of sodium in the cells and plasma, which decreases anti-dieuretic hormone activity, which enhances pissing (correct me if I’m wrong). Is osmolality the regulated variable here??? If so, would it not fall to within normal ranges after the excess water is pissed out, thereby reducing diuresis? If there is further pissing, there must be some residual effect of ADH, or perhaps some other explanation? Any idea of how much water is actually lost through this residual process?
Thank you so much, Kate! I’m not over the cravings for junk food! I try not to keep very much snack food in the house, because between-meal snacking is really my downfall, but I also don’t deprive myself. I always have Nutty Bars in my fridge, because I just love ’em. I also keep almonds, honey wheat pretzels, and hummus on hand for my salty cravings, I just really watch myself on the portion sizes. The other huge change in my eating was cutting out fast food. Those calories add up fast and I’ve found that I really don’t miss it. I prefer to splurge on an occasional nicer meal out than on more frequent fast food visits.
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.
Lotion up, buttercup! Exfoliate and hydrate the skin all over your body, including your legs. Establish a daily or weekly skin care routine and stick to it. Doing so can make your skin more even. Choose luscious skin care products for hydrating and exfoliating. Check out some coconut oil-based products and see if they work well for you. If you have stretch marks from weight gain, growth or pregnancy, make sure you treat those as well. Click here for a list of stretch mark creams.
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