Within the athlete world, carbohydrates are more embraced. Macro timing and balance has been a popular tool for optimizing performance and results and this approach can be applied to the average eater. Understanding how carbs work and adjusting your intake of high quality options to support your daily needs through carb cycling may be an alternative approach to just eliminating carbs all together.
That first summer of all in was the summer of forming healthy habits and making lifestyle changes. They say (who is they? the internet? scientists?) it takes 30 days of doing something every day to form a habit. While that might be true for most people, it wasn’t for me because it took me the entire summer to form my habits. My nutrition habits were focused on eating nutritious foods and figuring out what those were. Specifically, I wanted to eat nutritious foods that fueled my body, figure out the right amount of foods I needed, eat less processed foods, and monitor sweets. My exercise habits were focused on incorporating activity into each day. Specifically, I wanted to start running, lifting, and be active every day.
Ideally, when you are gaining weight, leptin works to naturally decrease appetite and promote weight loss. However, in some cases of excess weight gain, you can become leptin resistant. In other words, your leptin signals are no longer working properly, and your body may constantly feel hungry. In addition, any weight loss achieved may trigger ghrelin to increase, which can increase your appetite further (103,104).
*NuSI stands for ‘Nutrition Science Initiative.’ It was a not-for-profit organization that sponsored research attempting to objectively answer some basic questions about low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets. In this particular study, they paid for a very meticulous study at 4 different top-notch academic sites comparing energy expenditure, first on a high carb and then a ketogenic diet in a total of 17 individuals. In order to have the best chance of changing the negative mainstream bias against nutritional ketosis, NuSI chose some of the most steadfast ‘ketone skeptics’ in academia to run this study.
This is a medical clinic providing weight loss surgeries. But their blog also has a lot of helpful information about losing weight and maintaining that weight loss without surgery. You can find posts about the types of conditions that contribute to weight gain, posts about personal weight loss journeys, and yes, tips and advice for those who might be considering surgery. Visit the blog.
The theory behind carb cycling and weight loss is that it optimizes your body’s metabolic needs. So the theory goes, while in a low carb period, your body sharpens insulin sensitivity, produces glucagon to help you burn fat, and becomes metabolically streamlined. These are great things. Yet if you persist in being too low carb for too long your thyroid hormone levels will drop, and your insulin sensitivity may actually worsen. In short: you may gain weight.
And now add to this the ketosis piece that makes solving this puzzle even more complex. Is a calorie still a calorie if cutting carbohydrate to the point of inducing nutritional ketosis reduces appetite, allowing the same level of satiety with a reduced energy intake? (Boden 2005) Does the keto-adapted individual feel the same need to reduce spontaneous physical activity while losing weight? What might a barely measurable increase in energy expenditure in a short-term study translate to over a longer duration? Theoretically, just a one hundred Calorie per day deficit translates to 10 pounds of body fat lost over a year.
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Roni starting blogging in 2005 as a way to stay accountable on her personal weight-loss journey. Six years later, she still blogs, but her mission is to inspire others and share her ideas to live a lighter, healthier life. Roni does this through openly and honestly chronicling her weight loss, health, and fitness goals. Roni also founded FitBloggin’, a conference to bring new and seasoned health and wellness, fitness, and weight-loss bloggers together for knowledge, personal growth, and networking. It's clear that Roni is committed to living a healthy lifestyle and sharing her passion with others. I'm so glad to know her professionally and personally.
I’ve been at this for a while and thanks to some excellent, well-reasoned sources (like Virta and its contributors, among others) I’ve learned a lot about my appetite/satiety, emotional triggers, carb tolerance, food intolerances, etc. and I just wanted to say that this was a great, well presented article. No matter where one is on their journey, we can all benefit from reminders and strategy reassessments. Thank you, it’s much appreciated!
If you're mostly sedentary (and let's face it—with 9-to-5 desk jobs being the norm, it's hard to avoid), you'll start to see noticeable results with just a slight increase in your activity level. Break up the hours in front of the computer by using your lunch break to move around. "I started walking for 45 minutes during my lunch break," says Melissa Leon, who ultimately dropped 53 pounds. "The area was super hilly, but feeling the burn in my butt and quads as I powered up those hills let me know I was making progress."
Well, there is plenty of research suggesting low-carb diets may be more beneficial than low fat, but there are also large, high-quality studies implying no difference between the two. The truth is, we don't know for sure. But what we can takeaway from the science is that everyone is a little different when it comes to dietary approaches and what works well for some may not work for all. We are in need of more individual approaches to dieting and more research looking at what variables we should be guided by.
About: If there’s anyone who feels the pain of bouncing up and down with weight loss, it’s Emily. In 2011, she started working to shed the pounds, and got down to 151 by 2012. Then she went back up again...to 181. 2013 rolls around, and enter: her blog. Emily set out to lose the weight for good. She’s already down to 148, and although she only blogs about two times a month, her quirky style definitely makes them worth reading.
About: Kaylen may be young, but she’s knows her way around a kitchen. She has a passion for food and loves experimenting to find new ways to make recipes healthier. Her blog comes after many years of following other healthy living blogs and has a host of scrumptious, easy-to-follow recipes. Plus, she tosses in the occasional fitness routine, too. In short, it’s a true breath of fresh air.
“I lost weight by hula hooping while my son played at playgrounds. It took me about seven months. I used a weighted hula hoop about 30 minutes a day, at least four days a week. Hula hooping is a full body workout, and my son loved watching the hoop go round and round, especially when he was younger. Once I started hula hooping, I started feeling better about myself and made better food choices. I'd pack my lunch—salads with turkey or chicken—with fruits and vegetables instead of heading out for fast food every day. One of the biggest changes was to always have an easy-to-carry fruit on hand in my purse for what I call a ‘hunger emergency.' If a meeting ran long or if I got stuck at the office after hours and found myself really hungry, I'd have an apple or banana instead of hitting up the vending machine for a candy bar. Always being prepared with a healthy snack and never letting myself get desperately hungry has really helped. This has prevented me from stopping at the drive-thru on my way home from work. I've also made sure to also always have a water bottle in my purse. I used to drink soda and fruit juice all day, not realizing how easy it is to drink my daily allotment of calories. I've since purchased a wearable fitness tracker and made sure to find ways to hit the recommended 10,000 steps a day, such as walking my son in his stroller to local parks and libraries instead of driving, and parking as far away as possible from where I was going.”
While there is some evidence for the use of carnitine as a fat-burner, it isn't easy to increase your body's carnitine levels by eating foods containing this substance or taking carnitine supplements. An article published in the Journal of Physiology in 2011 found that taking carnitine supplements along with eating plenty of carbohydrates for six months may potentially increase fat burning, but this is not true for taking these supplements for a shorter time. So this supplement isn't a practical way to lose weight overall, and definitely isn't a quick way to lose belly fat, as it takes at least six months to even start working.
Well, we’re not going to encourage you to obsess about a thigh gap, but your thighs do an important job and for that reason, it’s great to have them toned and strong. When you’re told to “Lift with your legs!” your thighs bear the brunt of the effort. When you scoop up a child or climb stairs, even when you’re just walking, your thighs are hard at work.
You know that recording what you consume is a good way to keep your weight in check, but Brittany Hicks, who dropped 110 pounds in college, didn't only write down what she ate—she also wrote down why she was eating it. "I realized I'd been using food to cope with stress," she says. "Just noticing that helped me do it less." Make sure you're not making these food journal mistakes so you can reap the rewards of eating and jotting, too.
Experts typically recommend reducing your daily intake by about 300-500 calories per day below "maintenance level," or the amount you need to stay at your current weight. This decrease in calories converts to about 1/2 pound to a pound of weight loss per week. Although you may feel like you can "do more," slow, steady progress is much healthier—and easier to keep up.
Portion size matters and it’s easy to fall into the habit of overeating and underestimating protein portions. An extra egg for breakfast, an additional ounce of nuts as a snack, or perhaps one more ounce of cheese on your salad–it all adds up. Too much dietary protein can drive down ketone production (Marliss 1978) when consumed in excess of our body’s needs. Read more about this in our deep dive on protein.
Your body is connected from head to toe. With that being said, make sure your musculature in the areas around your thighs are toned as well. For example, your abdominal muscles work to pull up your quadriceps in order to relieve the pressure on the knees. Your gluteal muscles help with stabilization of the hip joint and work together with the quadriceps to engage in numerous power movements.