Just like electrolyte balance needs to be maintained, the amount of sodium in our body also needs to be regulated to keep our blood pressure at just the right spot: Too high and it can increase our risk for heart disease, too low and we can feel faint since oxygen isn’t getting to our cells quickly enough. So while there is talk about low-sodium diets, which are necessary for some, having too little sodium isn’t good either. During a crash diet, sodium levels in the body can plummet, which can make you tired, light-headed, and even cause fainting spells.
As a result, about four in 10 Americans are obese -- that’s a whopping 93.3 million adults -- which increases their risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and early mortality, and cost the country $147 billion in medical costs in 2008, according to the CDC. Nearly 80% of American adults are also not getting enough aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity, which is linked to about $117 billion in annual health care costs and 10% of premature mortality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If you’ve got weight to lose and you want it gone fast, try swapping out your usual proteins in favor of fish. Not only is fish lower in calories than an equivalent amount of beef or chicken, a study published in Obesity reveals study subjects who added omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, to their diets shed more weight and had an easier time keeping it off than those who skipped them.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
I lost my weight by only optimizing my diet. I changed what I ate dramatically and literally melted the weight off. I remember waking up on the fourth day after starting this in complete amazement by the fact that my fingers felt skinny. I’m not sure if it was the amount of salt I ate or what, but my fingers and hands have felt fat for the last year – this alone was enough to keep me going. For the sake of this overview, I will not go into any detail on supplements (as I have yet to learn much about them), and will only briefly touch on exercising. Instead, I’ll focus on optimizing diet for rapid weight loss.
Toning your abs when trying to lose belly fat is crucial as well. To make a traditional plank routine more challenging, add in side planks. Roll onto your left forearm and stack your right foot on top of your left. Hold this position for 60 seconds, then switch sides. Having only two points of contact rather than four works your core harder and challenges your obliques as well.
Also some research shows that the human body is primed to consume most of its calories during daylight hours. But the lifestyle is problematic for many: Because family meals and dinners with friends often are scheduled for after sunset, "people who try to stop eating after 7pm can’t do it every day for the rest of their lives," says Dr. Seltzer, who supports an alternative strategy: Eating a hearty meal at your regular dinnertime.
About: The truth is we all love a good success story — they show us what other people, real people that went through the same things we did, were able to achieve. They also give us ideas on how we can kickstart our own weight loss journey and succeed. The Weigh We Were is a one-stop shop for all those stories, real stories from other people who lost weight, plus how they did it. It’s just the place to get ideas from similar people to see what might work and what won’t.
Do it better: The best way to know if you're eating too much is to write it down. "Even if you note it on a napkin and then throw it away, that's okay. Just the act of writing makes you more aware," says Taub-Dix. Portion control cues help too: A baseball-size serving for chopped veggies and fruits; a golf ball for nuts and shredded cheese; a fist for rice and pasta; and a deck of cards for lean meats.
Gym memberships can be expensive, and some days you just can't make it into the gym. Or maybe, you might not feel comfortable in a gym quite yet. At the start of her weight loss journey, Suheily Rodriguez says he was too embarrassed to go to a gym. "So I built a home one," she says, "where I exercised an hour a day, six days a week." She credits this to her 96-pound weight loss.
About: One of the things you’ll notice first when you open up Lori’s blog is that she’s a very visual person — a style that reflects in her posts, which are chock full of photos sharing her fitness, food, travel and more. Lori started blogging about three years ago when she decided to lose 115 pounds. Now, she’s 105 pounds down and went from tipping the scales to doing a triathlon. Quite impressive, especially considering Lori has been overweight all her life. Follow her if you want to read about someone who’s the epitome of success, someone who continues to eat right, stay fit and maintain a huge weight loss.
Women’s challenge with weight loss also comes down to nature. Nature wants to preserve a woman’s ability to bear children. When you’re in a calorie deficit, it can interfere with your fertility, so your body fights weight loss to prevent jeopardizing your reproductive capacity. So don’t cut more than 1,000 calories a day or eat fewer than 1,200 calories daily.