Think cooking healthy meals is difficult and time-consuming? Think again. Annie Allen, a postsurgical nurse in Tampa Bay, Florida, let her freezer do half the work for her—and now she's down 52 pounds and runs about 10 races a year. "Frozen vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones, and in minutes you have half of your meal prepared," she says. These frozen meals are also surprisingly healthy if you don't have time to mix and match one of your own.
About: Annamarie’s weight loss story is nothing to sneeze at. She lost a staggering 180 pounds, and she did it all naturally, by eating right and exercising. These days, Annamarie’s in two modes: maintain her healthy weight and lifestyle...and share her personal tips and victories along the way. She’s the kind of blog you’ll want to follow if you want to tap into the day-by-day challenges (and empowerment) of a young woman who made it happen...and wants you to as well.

Between his hilarious poetry, inspiring post-it notes, and top ten lists that make Letterman sound unoriginal, reading Jack Sh*T, Gettin' Fit can feel more like your daily dose of comedy than weight-loss advice. Of course you get that too, you're just laughing so hard you don't realize how good it is for you. Check out his post When Harry Met Salad to see what I mean.


About: The Failed Dieter is a newly-launched website from Jessica, who formerly was the owner of Jessica’s World, a personal blog she used to chronicle her weight loss journey. Now, her blog has morphed into so much more — a place where Jessica gives tips and recipes for stopping yo-yo dieting, and choosing to live healthy. Jessica lost 50 pounds making small lifestyle changes and giving up bad habits. Now her mission is to help you do the same.
Be Yourself. Not surprisingly, pretending to be someone you’re not is exhausting. And research suggests that all the energy going towards acting a certain way is draining your self-discipline, making it harder for you to stick to your goals in other areas of your life (92). This is why some people all of a sudden snap when always trying to put on a happy face. Instead, let your hair down and be your own weird, true self whenever you get the chance. It will not only build your self-confidence but can also strengthen your willpower and help you to be happier and more successful in general.
Keeping a toothbrush handy can do more than polish up that smile (and counter the effects of all that belly-slimming garlic); brushing your teeth throughout the day can also help you ditch that belly fat fast. A study conducted a sample of over 14,000 participants found that brushing after every meal was linked to lower weight. That minty toothpaste flavor not only clashes with virtually every food, brushing may also trigger a Pavlovian response that tells your brain the kitchen’s closed.

Loaded with antioxidants and other essential nutrients, mushrooms are a great food to eat when trying to slim down. They are low in calories yet high in water, and an excellent source of vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D has been linked to abdominal obesity. The types of protein found in mushrooms have been shown to reduce hunger and promote fullness, which may help you avoid consuming extra calories later. Read - M-plan for weight loss: All you need to know about the mushroom diet to reduce belly fat fast


While many people turn to artificial sweeteners in a misguided attempt to whittle their waistlines, those fake sugars are likely to have the opposite effect. According to researchers at Yale, artificial sweeteners are actually linked with an increased risk of abdominal obesity and weight gain, possibly because they can trigger cravings for the real stuff and spike insulin levels in a similar fashion to real sugar.
As my body changed, people started to notice. The encouragement and positive talk from friends and family was helpful, except for when people would say things like, “wow you look so great now!” Now. It didn’t quite sit right to hear that some people thought I looked a lot better now, but that I didn’t look as great before. It was important to remind myself that I looked great no matter what. More important than what other people think about my looks, I needed to accept and love myself and my body, even if my body never changed. I didn’t set out on the weight loss journey to have other people change their minds about how I looked; I started the journey to create a healthy body, healthy mind, and overall wellness.
I’m just wondering, how can you say these are the best approaches when they’re fad diets? Slim fast may work for someone looking to lose a few pounds, but if you’re looking to lose 50-100+ lbs., no one is going to be able to survive on substituting a meal for a shake. A good “diet” should put a large focus on learning how to eat properly, which includes ALL food groups, and exercising regularly.
Sonia is a single mom of two in her 40s. She’s also a former drinking, chain-smoking food junkie. Then she made a New Year’s resolution that stuck. She wanted to lose 50 to 60 pounds and be active at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. She started running and hasn’t stopped since. The Healthy Foodie is full of healthy recipes that will help you on your own weight loss journey. Visit the blog.
Learning to portion your food correctly is one way to get automatic calorie control without having to count or track your intake. Once you know your macro and calorie needs, take the time to stack your plate accordingly. Using a food scale, you can weigh out portions for ultimate accuracy or use your hands to quickly and roughly estimate a serving size that works for your needs.
When I feel like I’m slipping, I start logging again. Nowadays, I use an online fitness app on my phone to more easily keep track of my daily food intake. Red wine and dark chocolate are always in stock in our house, and that’s OK. Exercise is important, too, but in my book, any and all physical activity counts. Two or three workouts a week help me maintain muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness. If I can’t get to the gym, I run. If I can’t run, I do something at home, like five minutes of in-place kickboxing moves, or dancing around the living room like a crazy person with my kids. I take the stairs wherever I am as often as possible. I use a carry basket at the grocery store, and switch from arm to arm while I shop: biceps curls! Hey, it all counts.
“After reaching my highest weight of 240 pounds in July 2014, I decided to make a life change. I was on Facebook and saw my sister was looking thinner and thinner in each picture. She introduced me to Take Shape For Life and it transformed my life! It combines the personalized support of a health coach to give you the resources and skills you need to live healthier for the long term. I was on the plan that consists of eating five healthy "fuelings" throughout the day, along with one healthy meal of lean protein and low carb vegetables. I continue to eat six small meals throughout the day. Additionally, I’ve found a new hobby and began working out. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would say to my husband before leaving the house, ‘I’m going to work out.’ Now I work out four times a week!”
Do it better: Short bursts of intense activity burn more calories—and up to 36% more fat, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Strolling around the mall or a park for an hour works off about 150 calories; pick up the pace 1 minute out of every 5 to burn over one-third more calories (try a similar method if you bike). Swimmers can switch from freestyle or breaststroke to a more challenging crawl every few laps, or just go a little faster. Give these quick calorie-burning interval workouts a try.

The female body is naturally slightly less insulin sensitive when progesterone levels are higher in the luteal phase (after ovulation, in the last two weeks of the cycle). This means it does not tolerate carbohydrate as well in these weeks. Women who are diabetic know this well. I’ve read many studies and heard from many women I know that their insulin injections have to increase in the second half of their cycle because their blood sugar levels are inordinately high.
About: Nicole’s just a regular ‘ole girl that occasionally likes to try new fitness and, as she puts it, only gets up to work out at 5 a.m. if she’s under duress. And it’s that attitude that makes her so gosh darn appealing. She’s not the in-your-face runner, the strict “paleo-diet-only” recipe blogger. She’s just an average girl doing average things — much like the rest of us. Plus, she’s pretty darn funny and not afraid to use self-deprecating humor. Love it.
Leah Campbell is a writer and editor living in Anchorage, Alaska. She’s a single mother by choice after a serendipitous series of events led to the adoption of her daughter. Leah is also the author of the book “Single Infertile Female” and has written extensively on the topics of infertility, adoption, and parenting. You can connect with Leah via Facebook, her website, and Twitter.

Whether you’re falling victim to chub rub, hate hearing the thunderous round of applause your legs give you when you run in shorts, or just don’t like going to battle with your jeans day after day, there are plenty of good reasons to make slimming down your lower half a top priority. They say thick thighs save lives, but strong, toned ones may be the key to a longer, more active life.
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