Carbohydrates come from anything that grows out of the ground, including fruits and vegetables - and carbohydrates contribute fiber to the diet. They are the body's quickest and most efficient source of fuel, and the only macro that is able to readily supply energy to the brain (ketones can also do this, but requires your body to go into a state of ketosis and metabolize fat into usable fuel). They are also important for muscle recovery, endurance and strength building. And they play a role helping regulate our energy, mood, and self-control. Lack of carbs can actually make you "hangry", tried and even create brain fog. And poor blood sugar control from too much added sugar and poor dietary choices can do the same thing.
Alexis Eggleton is the creator of one of our most inspirational blogs, Trading Cardio for Cosmos, where she shares positive and inspirational messages, lessons in emotional wellness, healthy recipes and also features weight loss success stories, including her own! She has lost more than 100 pounds with Weight Watchers and exercise, all without losing her sunny disposition! Alexis’ weight loss journey reminds us that you can be healthy without having to sacrifice your favorite foods, and you can do it all with a smile!
Research points to eating more fiber to help shed pounds (47). Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not absorbed and used for energy, so eating more high fiber foods can actually help decrease your total carb count. And your inability to absorb most sources of fiber is also why it is so beneficial for keeping your digestive system on track - more fiber tends to keep things moving along. Fiber also helps draw water into your gut which can help you feel fuller longer and promote better blood sugar control.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by your side. Make sure to focus on your posture—keep your chest up and spine straight. Then, take a large step forward with the left foot and sink into your lunge position until your left thigh and right shin are parallel to floor. Hold for three seconds and then lift up a bit for 30 seconds. Repeat: Lagree recommends doing three sets of 15 reps on each leg with short rests in between.
By rule of thumb, you can assume that fats that come from plant sources, like nuts, seeds, olives and avocados, are typically more beneficial to your health (58). Plant based fats are high in unsaturated oils thought to promote heart health. In addition, plants naturally contain phytochemicals, compounds that work to protect the plants from harm and have similar protective benefits for humans when they consume them. Depending on how plant based oils are produced, different processing techniques can help retain more of these phytochemicals. However, you can also get heart healthy fats from animal sources if you look for quality meat, dairy and seafood options.
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.
As explained below, the folks who did the NuSI metabolic ward study committed 2 errors. The first was a design flaw: the low fat diet was administered first to all 17 study subjects, and then they were given the ketogenic diet for the second month. In a well-designed trial, the diet sequence would have been randomized. The second flaw in the study was that these scientists underestimated their subjects daily energy needs by about 300 kcal/day – a 10% error. The combination of these two flaws would predictably tilt the playing field against seeing a significant increase in energy expenditure during the ketogenic phase of this study.
Drink water. Contrary to another popular misconception there is no specific amount of water you should ingest. Everyone has different needs based on genetics, activity level, the environment they live in etc. The key is to drink water until your pee looks like lemonade. If it looks like apple juice keep drinking. The reason this helps flatten your tummy is two fold: hydration can boost fat metabolism by up to 3% and drinking water flushes out excess bloat and water weight you might be holding on to.
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.
Furthermore, when we studied 9 lean healthy young men and fed them first a ‘balanced diet’ for a week locked in a metabolic ward and then the exact same calories as a ketogenic diet for 4 weeks, they did not lose any body fat (only about 2 pounds of water) despite being consistently and strongly in nutritional ketosis. (Phinney 1983) And finally, the 10 low carb runners from our FASTER Study had been following a low carb or ketogenic lifestyle for at least 6 months (average blood ketones of 0.6 mmol/L); but while thin, none of them were continuing to lose significant weight (Volek 2016).
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!
When you eat foods that are low- or no-fat, other ingredients are added in so that the food tastes like its full-fat counterpart. Those extra ingredients don’t add in the nutrients that have been stripped away, however, so you end up craving more because, despite the fact that you just ate, your body is still lacking in the vital nutrients it needs. You end up eating more calories than you would have if you’d just eaten the full-fat product.
27. Use tech and other tools to your advantage. "I started out just by cutting little things like soda out one by one so I wouldn't burn myself out mentally and give up. I then discovered counting calories on MyFitnessPal, which was [a huge help] for me in my weight loss. A few years in, I lost my way a little bit and found Renaissance Periodization diet templates, which helped me rebuild a healthy relationship with food."
Last but certainly not least we have the DASH Diet. The DASH diet is a balanced diet similar to the Mediterranean diet. It is the result of research carried out in 4 medical centers and sponsored by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The main purpose of this diet is to help you lower your high blood pressure through healthy eating practices and lifestyle changes. By eating healthy food and following an active lifestyle you also promote weight loss. It is a diet that can be really helpful especially for women over 40 and 50. The basic principle of the DASH diet for losing weight is the following: first you need to calculate how many calories you need per day and then you must adjust the calories you consume and the calories you burn so that you constantly create a calorie deficit or ensure that you are not creating a calorie surplus. In other words you need to consume fewer calories than what you burn.
"At the age of 21, while a senior at my four-year university, I found out I was pregnant and was so scared. Soon after, I also discovered I was going to be a single mother, and it was one of the toughest pills I ever had to swallow. Through the support of family and friends, I had a beautiful pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby boy named Liam in December 2013. I wanted to be the best parent I could be to him, especially since I was doing it alone, so I decided, after struggling with weight my whole life, to finally get healthy. I began by cleaning up the foods I was putting in my body and adopting an Atkins low-carb lifestyle by eating a moderate amount of healthy fats, high-fiber carbs and optimal proteins. I cut out all refined carbs such as white rice, pasta, bread and sweets. I ate lots of green, leafy veggies and fruits. I constantly gave myself a healthy variety of fun and tasty meals that never left me feeling deprived or restricted. I lost 40 pounds before I ever began working out! Once I got in the gym and began HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and strength training in addition to a healthy diet, I was able to lose the weight in just one year."
About: Laura is a health coach whose passion to help others overcome addiction and gain a satisfying life comes from her own history: For years she battled addiction (to food, cigarettes and many other things) and was taught to believe that as a woman, she was less valuable than a man. Trapped in her own mind and truly miserable, Laura one day realized that the key to overcoming her addictions was to make deliberate choices for every single thing she did — a mindset that taught her just how valuable she is. Now, she’s an extraordinarily strong-willed champion of women’s health who shares her knowledge and expertise with others. A true inspiration on so many levels.
Remember that these are all perfectly understandable evolutionary design features. Higher estrogen levels during puberty drive fat gain as an energy reserve in case you get pregnant. During early pregnancy, they go into overdrive to “stock up” for the approaching challenge. Your body still hasn’t caught up to the 21st century; it still thinks its job is to keep you (a) alive, and (b) fertile in an environment of extreme food scarcity and a constant threat of famine. So storing extra fat at every opportunity makes perfect sense: back in the day, it could have meant the difference between life and death (or a healthy baby and a miscarriage).
Another key approach: forgive your failures. Studies show that people who “mess up” their diet plan and then “give up” end up gaining, while people who forgive themselves and move on continue to lose. It’s called self-acceptance.8,9 Look, we’re human. Birthdays, office parties, weddings, random movie nights: they happen, and we celebrate by having the amazing chocolate cake, or Betsy’s famous buffalo chicken dip, waaaay too much champagne, or buttered popcorn. Expect this, enjoy, and then move on.
Fighting belly fat is 80% healthy diet. Reduce calories by filling yourself up with protein, vegetables, whole grains, and replacing bad habit snacks with good ones. For example, if you have a sugar craving, replace your calorie laden latte with a Muscle Milk lite, one of my favorites, because it has zero sugar and a ton of protein that will satiate while also torching my sugar craving! Another great trick is a sprinkle of cinnamon in your morning coffee or oatmeal- the spice has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar. It also slows the rate at which food exits the stomach, which helps you feel fuller longer.
So at age 20 my weight started to climb, but I didn’t notice or care because I was having fun. At about age 24, I still didn’t workout at all and just partied and enjoyed my time with my friends. I had an asthma attack, and went to the Doctors and that is when he told me, if I keep going this route I would die! (Thanks Dr. Becker) Pretty abrupt, but it’s true. I was hitting near 200lbs and heading down the road of disaster. I don’t think I ever made it to 200lbs, but I came pretty close. (That’s me with the brown hair and bag in the picture, gross huh?)
ANYWAY, as far as the beginning of college goes, I thought a lot about nutrition and fitness and really wanted them to be incorporated into my life. For exercise, I joined the women’s ultimate frisbee team. I honestly joined because the team was a built in community of really amazing people who were great friends but even better accountability partners that kept me coming to practice and pushing myself while I was there. We had practice for 2 hours about 3 times a week, and I never exercised outside of those times. On the topic of nutrition, I never thought I ate that bad. However, college dining halls can wreck your body. Unlimited buffets with more unhealthy than healthy options was not in my favor. Of course I ate salads, chicken/fish, and veggies on a regular basis, but I also ate my fair share of french fries, frozen yogurt, cookies, and whatever desserts were available. So many weekly activities and meetings had free food, and late night study snacks were a regular occurrence.
Oh and Sara and I actually connected thanks to Pinterest! She had seen one of my posts on Pinterest and when she saw my website and read my weight loss journey, she saw that we had a lot in common. We emailed a bit, then talked on the phone, and we clicked instantly. It was, without a doubt, a God-led meeting and we have both been so blessed by every part of our friendship and business partnership!
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.
Hi Abby! I think it’s wonderful that you want to get and stay healthy! Good for you! I wish I had some miracle advice and I do want to clarify that I’m not a doctor so this advice is purely coming from my own experience, but I’m probably just going to be repeating what everybody else already says! Eat healthy. Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Try to limit the junk food, but also don’t make it off-limits for yourself, because that may just make you want to eat it more! Stay active. Try to find things you like doing, so that you enjoy and look forward to exercise, whether that’s a sport or running or yoga or going on long walks. And do things to work on your self-confidence. A lot of people believe that you gain confidence after you reach your goal of losing weight, but I found that it was when I started having a better self-esteem that I lost the most weight! Good luck, Abby! Keep me updated!
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.
I am mid 40s and already going through perimenopause phase sinc last year. Seems like I gained suddenly body fat even exercise with HIIT, cardio and weight lifting. I eat clean, no sugar, no flour and processed food. I assume it is to do with my hormone change. I have light period and shorter now these days. Still experiencing mood swings, breast tenderness, bloating and weight gain, hungry for sweets and salty before period. I try to find any articles about carb cycling for women who go through perimenopause phase but can’t find them.
Are you jealous of the celebrities with toned legs, the elusive thigh gap and no cellulite in sight? What about those girls at the gym who wear spandex shorts every day of the year? How can you get those sexy, sleek legs to flaunt? While some people are just born with great legs, there are plenty of things you can do to improve the look of your legs. With some hard work and determination, thinner thighs can be yours.