In Part 1 of this series, we covered everything but the hormones. But now it’s time for the million dollar estrogen question: do female hormones make it harder for women to lose weight? And if they do, what can you do about it? In this article, we’ll look at the pro- and anti-fat effects of estrogen (yes, there are both!), what this means for weight loss, and how diet can affect estrogen levels in various ways.
About: Courtney’s been overweight since second grade, and it’s taught her many valuable lessons (lessons she shares on her blog with nearly every update). Between 2010 and 2011, Courtney dropped an impressive 75 pounds, but then gained much of it back after giving birth to her son. Courtney’s been up and down in her weight loss journey, but with the start of her blog, she’s going to keep it off for good this time as she learns to be happy, healthy and finds financial freedom — taking us all along with her.
Lindsay, a registered dietitian and new mom, has a passion for nutrition and healthy living. She shares that passion on The Lean Green Bean. She provides healthy recipes, nutrition information, tips for new moms, and workout advice. Her focus is on balance: She’s all about helping you live a healthy lifestyle without feeling like you’re giving anything up. Visit the blog.
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To lose weight effectively, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Hence, a low-calorie diet with low-calorie food is recommended, which restricts your daily intake of calories to 1200-1500 calories. This can be achieved by limiting the consumption of fat foods to 35-50 grams per day, which will provide 20% to 30% of the daily calorie requirement.
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Numerous studies have supported this, such as a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, which concluded that aerobic exercise like brisk walking is essential for visceral fat reduction, and a past study published in Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine found that women who walked less than 7,500 steps a day had more belly fat than those who met or exceeded that goal.


Hormonal fluctuations may effect food cravings, energy levels and muscle building capabilities, but do not directly impact weight loss or fat burning as often assumed. However, some early studies suggest that more targeted dieting based on hormonal fluctuations may be an important tool for weight reduction in women. Women may benefit from eating more protein on the days leading up to menstruation, and slightly increasing carbs and calories during the first few days of menstruation, due to higher energy demands. 
Plain and simple, excess calories end up on your body as excess fat. Choosing nutritious, whole foods—and cutting back on unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and processed foods—is the first step to losing weight from anywhere on your body. A good tip to use when starting a weight loss journey is to fill half of your plate with veggies—and the remaining parts with lean protein (salmon, chicken) and some healthy carbs (quinoa, rice.) We’ve got tons of healthy recipes that make eating clean DELICIOUS and easy. Don’t think that eating the right foods has to be boring. Try our 28-Day Veggie Challenge to start filling up on nutritious, antioxidant-rich foods that help you lose weight and keep you healthy.
It's no surprise that Dr. Dean Ornish's program is such a powerful tool for weight loss, considering its easy adaptability as a lasting lifestyle. The diet is mostly plant-based, keeps sodium intake in moderation, and limits coffee to a cup a day (two cups decaf) — so if you're looking to lose weight while keeping your java flow, you may want to consider another plan.
There are endless ways to do interval training. One simple example: First, warm up for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, pick up your effort so you’re working hard (a nine on a scale of one to 10—you should be breathing hard, but not gasping) for 30 to 60 seconds. Go easy for one minute. Repeat for a total of 5 times, and the cool down for two to three minutes.
And some emotional eaters, in an effort to feel better, are prone to reach for foods that will ignite the reward center of the brain, which tend to be the sugary, fatty, salty, hyper-palatable foods that can lead to weight gain, says Pamela Peeke, author of the “The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction.”
About: Kristen is a 42-year-old woman who a few years back decided she was going to lose weight — and she was going to do so by running and blogging about it. She lost 50 pounds, and along the way discovered that far from hating running like she assumed she would, she actually loved it...and hiking, and yoga, and much, much more. Her blog posts are full of inspiration, simple tips and tricks for making healthier choices, healthy recipes, fitness and personal musings.
Andie is a healthy recipe developer and New York Times best-selling author. She shares some of her most delectable food ideas on her blog. She’ll tell you right up front: She believes in balancing health and happiness. And it was through that balance that she lost 135 pounds — a journey that can also be found in her memoir, “It Was Me All Along.” Visit the blog.
If you follow the slim-fast program by the book it will work. There is no way out since the major meals are composed of slim-fast products that guarantee the amount of calories you consume. Now, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach. First it is costly because you will have to order all those slim-fast products and second there is a chance that you will get bored quickly and quit. On the other hand it is a perfect solution for the working woman who does not have the time to cook or organize her meals in advance. If you want a quick solution that is healthy and can generate good results then the slim-fast solution is for you.
Simply take a good hard look at your diet, make a few modifications you can stick with and get your body moving. Not sure where you stand on diet? Write down everything you eat this week, then compare it to the list above and see where you could have made better choices. Don’t beat yourself up though, learning how to lose stomach fat fast is a process. Simply find areas to improve and work on them next week.

hey wow this is inspiring! im in my mid 20s and although have been slightly over weight here and there i usually stay within a BMI of 24-26. coming from a family that eats relatively healthy yet can eat what ever they want and still struggle to gain weight i am definitely the black sheep. i figured this was just my body since my parents have put me on diets since the age of 1 (doctors orders). This past February i decided to get fit for the summer after looking at a terrible photo of me on the beach and decided to count calories to see where i was going wrong. although i was eating my suggested calories a lot were bad (overdoing things with olive oil, cheese, salad dressing- all things i thought were good). so i recently decided to stick to a 80% clean plan, which is easy for me since i love my veggies. except cutting out oils and cheese made me realize i was slightly and mostly eating vegan 60-70% of the time. after losing 10 pounds i hit a plateau for a few months until i cut another 100 calories. as i am in health care i worry about enough nutrients, calcium, protein ect so i spoke to my doctor who told me to eat more! he sent me to both a dietitian and nutritionist who both told me not to worry as my BMI was now 22.8 and that calorie shouldn’t matter but i know theres something wrong. im not going to count calories for the rest of my life but i do believe it is important at beginning stages. im currently consuming 600 calories per day! i know its scary when i say it but its mostly raw veggies and im actually full but my energy level is still low so ive had to stop exercising as much. i now struggle to eat more without felling stuffed or bloated, did you have this issue too? was it hard to eat more and was it a gradual increasing of calories? and when you went from 900 to 1500+ did you gain weight initially with the added calories and then start losing or did you just start losing from where your current weight was?


About: Evette’s blog is all about getting personal. She’s deeply expressive in her writing and truly moves readers with her words while she maintains accountability on her weight loss journey. Evette started the blog as a way to share her path of discovery and redefining moments while she works to raise her young daughter into a beautiful, kind woman. And she takes readers along with her as she continues to blog about her goals, attainments, fears and much, much more — all in a personal and engaging manner.
Cassey Ho, award-winning fitness instructor and Pilates teacher, is the creator behind Blogilates. It’s now the No. 1 fitness channel on YouTube. Her blog is an extension of that channel, where Cassey’s aim is to motivate and inspire readers. She does this by sharing monthly workout calendars and posts about clean eating and getting fit in a way that’s actually enjoyable. Visit the blog.
"If your diet consists of lots of sports drinks, sugar-sweetened drinks like fizzy pop and flavoured waters, or sugary foods like chocolate and cakes, it will make losing weight harder. While whole fruits and vegetables are undoubtedly good for you, they can also sometimes cause weight gain if you eat too much, as they have high levels of natural sugars in them. Low-fat food options might have high amounts of added sugar in there too, so make sure to check the food label.

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Unfortunately, despite the expertise of these highly regarded scientists, they systematically mis-calculated the energy needs of the study subjects.  As a result, instead of everyone getting an accurately-dosed energy balancing diet, they were under-fed by about 300 Calories per day.  Because all of the subjects got the high carb diet for the first month and the ketogenic diet for the second month, the natural effect of restricting energy intake by 10% would have been a small but significant reduction in resting energy expenditure that would have occurred progressively over the 2-month study duration.  In other words, by significantly underfeeding the study subjects and always administering the ketogenic diet in the second month, the deck was stacked against the ketogenic diet.  Taking this into account, the 2-4% rise in daily energy expenditure in the second month would probably have been double this amount had the study been properly designed.  Whatever the true effect, these numbers are fairly small as noted above; but this is a study in which the odds were tipped in favor of the status quo through clever experimental design, and in which the conclusions were not justified by the data.  
About: Yes, it’s true Julie is not exactly a “new” blogger (she’s been doing it since 2011). But when you look at her blog, it’s easy to see why we added her here — she’s got the same caliber as the big guns, and deserves even more recognition than she’s already had. Julie decided some time back that she was going to make better decisions when it came to her health, but progress with weight loss, as she puts it, has been “S-L-O-W.” Determined and just happier with the way she feels, Julie carried on until she reached her goal weight. Today, she hovers between 150 and 170 pounds, blogging about what she eats, what inspires her and how she hopes to inspire others, too.
Keep busy. Cutting calories can have you constantly thinking about food. And the fear of temptation can make you want to cut yourself off from social engagements. But studies suggest keeping your mind active, especially while dieting, can strengthen your willpower (89). And stress can affect your mental capacity to hold strong (90). Try to enjoy your days as much as possible and find activities that allow you to be creative, think strategically, or release stress.

The popular "flat belly diets"embrace much of the wisdom found in eating a Mediterranean diet, which helps everything from brain health to hearth health. The basic premise for both diets is eat foods rich in monosaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that may help reduce your belly fat storage. MUFA-rich foods include olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocodos, and fish. Eating yogurt regularly has also been found to be helpful in reducing belly fat.
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It has to be something emotionally compelling like, “I want to be fit and energized to chase my kids around without feeling out of breath”, “I want to feel good in this dress/suit I bought for my best friend’s wedding,” or “I want to live longer than my parents.” And please don’t fall victim to the meme, “Do it for those who said you couldn’t.” Who cares about those people! Unsubscribe to them just like an email – goodbye!
Some popular trends like the apple cider vinegar diet, green tea, coffee or cayenne pepper have been touted as special fat burning superfoods. The mechanisms behind a majority of these claims are not well understood, but typically involve optimizing absorption and digestion rates or increasing RMR temporarily through thermogenesis (100,101). And sometimes the positive effects are due to these foods decreasing appetite. 
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: The mantra “everything in moderation is pretty much exactly what Bertha is all about. Her blog provides creative ways to tweak your favorite recipes to make them healthier and with lower calories. What does that mean? You can still chow down on the things you love, but do it in a better way that gets you closer to reaching weight loss goals.

Muscle is more dense than fat, which can make you look leaner overall. Once you reach your desired weight, you may not feel as fit and toned as you would if you lost more fat and maintained your lean mass throughout the process. In order to decrease your body fat and get toned, you would have to gain muscle mass, essentially gain weight back, and try to lean out by burning fat. It is pretty counter-intuitive to lose weight from losing muscle weight just to try and gain back more muscle weight in the end. 


However, movement is still important. Large studies from around the world have associated sedentary behavior with a variety of poor health outcomes, including increased mortality (14,15,16,17,18). And prolonged sitting has also been associated with an increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (19,20). If you physically aren't able to work out, low impact activity like walking, swimming, or light house work can still be of great benefit to your calorie burn and overall health.  
I am with you if you are thinking—“I don’t have the time for games!” But, believe me, playing any sport at least thrice a week will help you in many ways. It can be playing fetch with your dog or playing soccer with your toddler as well! The adrenaline and the good hormones will help you lose weight and keep your hunger pangs at bay. Your mind will stop worrying all the time, you will also get a sound sleep at night, and hence, you will be active all day at work.
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.
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