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.
Swapping out unhealthy foods for nutritious ones gives you benefits beyond just losing weight. "I cleaned up my diet, swapping deli sandwiches with high-sodium meat and mayo for Tupperware containers or big butter-lettuce salads topped with carrots, walnuts, feta, and homemade dressing," says Jennifer Lasher, who lost 75 pounds. "I found that ditching processed foods left me with more energy, a clear head, and better skin, too."
Trying to lose weight? Having trouble? Women often find it harder than men to shed excess pounds. In part that's because women's bodies have a tendency to "hold on" to a certain amount of fat. But in some cases the problem can be traced directly to certain habits and lifestyle traps - including many that can easily be remedied. Here are 10 weight-loss traps to watch out for:
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.
So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume fewer calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect.
Want to blow away your belly without logging months of mind-numbing hours on the treadmill? High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will kickstart your metabolism like no other workout, burning more than twice the calories as a lighter and longer session, according to a study from Southern Illinois University. And the total amount of time you need to dedicate to HIIT: 20 minutes. It really is the least time exercising for the biggest results.
Heather Gannoe-Hart is an avid runner, adventure seeker, Exercise Physiologist, and writer for her blog Relentless Forward Commotion. For Heather, running started as an attempt to shed some pregnancy weight after having her first baby—eventually, it turned into a passion that kick-started a new outlook on life. Relentless Forward Commotion is a place where she shares her passion for fitness, the outdoors, and the newest adventure she encounters, whether its trail running, mud runs, obstacle courses, cycling, or hiking. Her fitness journey will inspire you to step outside your comfort zone, try something new, and see the world in an entirely new way.
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.
Both protocols of rapid WL and slow WL caused reduction in waist circumference, hip circumference, total body water, body fat mass, lean body mass, and resting metabolic rate (RMR). Further reduction in waist circumference, hip circumference, fat mass, and percentage of body fat was observed in slow WL and decreased total body water, lean body mass, fat free mass, and RMR was observed in rapid WL. Improvement in lipid and glycemic profiles was observed in both groups. Reduction of low-density lipoprotein and fasting blood sugar, improvement of insulin resistance, and sensitivity were more significant in rapid WL in comparison to slow WL.
The Google team looked at all their search data for 2016 to see what emerged as the top diet trends, and this buzzy acronym diet secured the top spot. Unlike most diets, it swaps counting calories for focusing on insulin levels — a measurement of your blood sugar that nutritionists love to zoom in on when evaluating a food's health merits — to ensure steady, lasting weight loss.
Some women have trouble losing weight because of a hormonal problem. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, pumps out hormones that control body metabolism. If the gland's output isn't high enough, a condition known as hypothyroidism, the pounds can pile on - and stay on. If you think thyroid trouble might underlie your weight-loss difficulties, a doctor can test your hormone levels via a simple blood test. If you have a deficiency, effective treatment is available.
What's more trustworthy than a diet built by experts from the Mayo Clinic? Created by doctors, nutritionists, and all-star chefs, the plan has a few phases: In the first, you should lose 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks. After that, you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week until you reach your goal weight. You're also given plenty of resources and advice to help you keep the weight off.
“Eat vegetables before or with meals. Whether you are hungry on your way home or right when you walk in the door, snacking on veggies can help you keep your portions in check once you sit down to a meal. I also recommend starting your dinner with a vegetable salad or vegetable soup to fill you up and prevent overeating. — Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, author of Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?
While it will help, it’s not going to eliminate your sleep deprivation. That apart, doing this will throw off your natural sleep-wake cycle so it could end up doing more harm than good. Not only can the right food aid sleep, it works the other way too — better sleep promotes weight loss. Lack of sleep, however, has been found to stimulate production of hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes us overeat.
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And at the gym, that difference just gets exacerbated. Women, worried about bulking up, tend to lift lighter weights and focus more on cardiovascular fitness, while men tend to gravitate toward the kind of heavy lifting that boosts muscle composition and metabolic rate, says Jim White, a Virginia Beach-based nutrition expert and certified personal trainer.
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.
Katie’s weight has been a challenge her entire life. But after having two boys, she reached an all-time high: 253 pounds. That was when she decided to make a change, but it didn’t happen right away. For the next three years, she dieted and bounced between losing and gaining 50 pounds. Her real weight loss journey began in 2009, when she used calorie counting and running to take off 125 pounds. Today, she writes about maintaining that loss, running, being a mother, and managing a bipolar diagnosis. Visit the blog.
Eating sugary foods might be satisfying in the moment, but they can increase your cravings for more sugary foods in the future — and that only leads to trouble. "Many foods high in added sugar are also higher in calories and fill you up less than lower-calorie, still-sweet alternatives like fruit," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. But there are still ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without ODing on sugar. "When you're baking, cut out some of the sugar in recipes by adding in vanilla extract or cinnamon, blend unsweetened cocoa powder into a smoothie instead of honey, top your French toast with unsweetened frozen fruit instead of syrup, and nosh on a slab of watermelon instead of cookies."
Thanks for sharing Brittany! I love your honesty and could not have used this post more today. I have been struggling with weight gain the last couple of years and keep falling into this loop hole of not eating clean. I work out 5 days a week, however my diet has not changed and so I have struggled. I will be definitely looking into this book as well to give me a new outlook and starting point. Kudos to you to maintaining a busy life of family, running a business and healthy lifestyle. I am inspired that if someone like you can make the change anyone can! Hugs
Tina, that’s awesome. You said some things that rang true for me. At 53 years old, I was exercising plenty, but I love to eat! I was not good at portion control. personally I had to start intermittent fasting. I’ve lost ten lbs in the first few weeks, but have hit a plateau. What I am doing now is going more paleo, modified paleo. I also need to have more discipline in staying the course on exercising, which I love to do, but work often gets in the way. I came across a fitness /diet routine that is one of the most popular in the country , at the moment https://bit.ly/2LTeGBG, looks pretty good. Really it’s not rocket science, although we in the west make it hard. Eat whole foods in moderation, get enough rest, reduce stress, and exercise, not insanely, but regularly. Aerobics and some form of weight bearing exercise seems to be the best combination.
I started listening to my body. It was really easy for me to mindlessly eat food in front of me, even if I wasn’t hungry. I noticed my body also did this thing where it would feel like I was hungry ten minutes after I finished a meal, which I would then need to tell myself I actually wasn’t hungry yet. As your body changes, you will notice that your appetite might have changed and you don’t need to eat as much before feeling full.
Erika Nicole Kendall—or Evil Fitness Barbie, as she calls herself—went from a self-proclaimed couch potato to a NASM-certified trainer who specializes in weight loss, women's fitness, and nutrition. The “Emotional Eating” subsection of her blog, A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss, is worth checking out for its unfiltered look at postpartum depression and self-care.
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?
Women who ate low-fat dairy products, such as non-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese three to four times a day lost 70 percent more fat than low-dairy dieters, according to a study published in the journal Obesity Research. "Calcium serves as a switch that tells your body to burn excess fat faster," explains study author Michael Zemel, M.D., director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Sorry, but you won't reap the same benefits from calcium-fortified O.J. Research shows that you get the best results from dairy products themselves, not fortified foods. Aim for 1,200 mg, which includes about three servings of dairy a day.
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.
Hi Ashley! Lol! I love that we could be soul sisters! Both my sister and my brother-in-law are nurses and those nursing hours are just insane…and adding a toddler to the mix makes for a crazy schedule, I’m sure! So for stupid easy but healthy recipes, I highly recommend Once A Month Meals (https://onceamonthmeals.com/?ref=soveryblessed). They have Instant Pot plans and so many of them are just dump and go recipes (and lots of other easy, healthy non-IP meals, too). And honestly? For me, frozen vegetables are a lifesaver. If I’m putting energy into cooking a main dish, I don’t want to put much time into prepping sides too, so my freezer always has a ton of steamer bags of various veggies. Also, one pot/one pan/one skillet meals are awesome. I love throwing potatoes, baby carrots (no chopping necessary), and smoked turkey sausage onto a sheet pan with a little bit of oil and garlic & herb seasoning and roasting it all. The less I have to think, the better! I’m so glad my story could give you a little inspiration. If I can do it, you absolutely can too. Thanks so much for your comment!
About: On March 1, 2014, a visit to the doctor’s office really brought things home for Bobby. At 6 feet tall, Bobby weighed in at 345 pounds. To be at a healthy weight, his doctor said he needed to weigh 177 pounds, 168 pounds less than the weight he was at. In essence, Bobby realized he was essentially carrying around another person. The moment was the catalyst he needed to change. Rather than set any unrealistic expectations, Bobby decided to set the small, attainable goal of losing 2 pounds a week. So began his blog. And, guess what? It worked. Two years later, Bobby weighs in at 214 pounds (he looks great, by the way), and continues to take those small baby steps that are helping him achieve a healthy body. Bravo.
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.
People who get enough sleep tend to weigh less than those who don't. Additionally, researchers found that well-rested dieters lost more fat than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle. "Whenever I don't sleep enough, I'm ravenous the next day," says Weil. To keep her hunger in check and help her maintain her slim figure, she tries to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
To encourage ketone production, the amount of insulin in your bloodstream must be low. The lower your insulin, the higher your ketone production. And when you have a well-controlled, sufficiently large amount of ketones in your blood, it’s basically proof that your insulin is very low – and therefore, that you’re enjoying the maximum effect of your low-carbohydrate diet. That’s what’s called optimal ketosis.
Hi! I have to say 600 calories is terrible! You are going to starve your body. On average without exercise, your body burns at least 1400 calories, if you are eating only 600 calories you are not fueling your body with proper nutrition. When this happens your body goes into starvation mode and you end up gaining weight to, worse yet, end up sickly. Don’t do that to yourself, please! When I added more calories into my diet, I gradually added more, like a 200 a week. I gave myself an extra snack. I don’t recall if I gained weight at the beginning, but I do know I lost weight when I ate more. Don’t be afraid to eat!! What I would do if I were you is add more protein into your diet, like eggs, greek yogurt, lean chicken. You also need a little fat like avocado, olive oil or peanut butter. I personally found the hardest thing about dieting is not being able to stick to it. I dieted for 2 years lost weight, but then life happened. I eat healthy but what I started back when I was dieting I was eating low calorie, now I eat what normal people eat and I gained some weight back. But I realized what I was doing to my body back then, I wasn’t able to do that for the rest of my life. My advice is to eat healthy, eat what is in your calorie range and exercise for 30 minutes a day, even if it is just a walk. Doing this is a set-up for permanent weight lose and you will be healthy. I learned over the years that a healthy body on the inside, shows on the outside and even if you gain a little weight you are better off.
As shown in Table 2, WL is statically the same in both groups (-5.47 ±1.46 and -5.12 ± 1.12 for slow and rapid WL, respectively, P > 0.05). The results of body composition, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate are given in Table 2. A significant reduction in anthropometric indices and RMR were detected in both groups. Significant differences in blood pressure and heart rate were seen in the 2 groups. Waist circumference and hip circumference in slow WL group had a significant reduction compared to the rapid WL group.
Cortisone as an oral drug is another common culprit (e.g. Prednisolone). Cortisone often causes weight gain in the long run, especially at higher doses (e.g. more than 5 mg Prednisolone per day). Unfortunately, cortisone is often an essential medication for those who are prescribed it, but the dose should be adjusted frequently so you don’t take more than you need. Asthma inhalers and other local cortisone treatments, like creams or nose sprays, hardly affect weight.
Keto. Flexitarian. Paleo. Whole 30. Vegan. There are as many diets in existence as there are dangerous weight loss myths. So which eating style should you choose when you’re on a get-fit-quick and have just 10 days? Turns out, numerous studies have found it essentially doesn’t matter which plan you follow for rapid weight loss, be it low-carb or low-fat, as long as you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning. The key is that it’s sustainable: a strategy that you can keep up for the week and a half—and beyond.
Fennel, peppermint, and ginger have all been shown in research studies to have calming effects on the belly. They work by enhancing digestive enzymes so your food gets moved through your system faster. And faster-moving food means a flatter tummy. In addition, peppermint reduces cramping and gas, ginger helps with nausea and inflammation, and fennel is a diuretic to help you stop retaining water.
Yasmine Farazian, a professor at an art and design college, can thank Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., author of The One One One Diet, for the easy rule of thumb that helped her shed 50 pounds: At each meal, she made sure to eat one carbohydrate, one protein, and one fat. Finally, Yasmine had the template for making a healthy, well-balanced meal that she needed. "I would have the bun, beef patty, and avocado," she says. "And if I wanted fries, I'd ask for lettuce instead of the bread."
Harder et al. reported that rapid WL could significantly decrease weight, triglycerides, total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, fasting blood glucose (FBS), hemoglobin A1c, and fasting serum insulin (FINS) (16). Also, Wahlroos et al. reported that a significant decrease in waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), subcutaneous abdominal fat volume, and insulin resistance occurred after rapid WL (17).
Thanks Jen! When you get down to the last 10 – 15lbs., it’s so much harder to get it off. Sometimes I think when you can’t lose weight and your doing all the right things,it maybe because it’s your bodies way of tell you it’s at it’s happy weight. I just keep plugging away and see what happens. As a long as your exercising and eating right that all that counts because your doing something good for your body!
What a great article. Are you sure you weren’t writing about me? (LOL) But your 12 tips are fantastic. One of the biggest challenges I found was not starting a weight loss program, but sticking with it! Oh just this once I can have that donut or slice of cake, etc. One piece isn’t going to hurt right? Your article was not only very, very, helpful and informative, but also inspiring. Thank you for pointing out that you CAN achieve your goals! Thanks for a really great post, I enjoyed reading it!
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!
Jen just signed up for her first triathlon. That’s 3 miles of running, 10 miles of biking and 1/2 mile of swimming. All at once. Not bad for a woman who started out 50 pounds heavier. When you visit her blog, be sure to check our her “My Story” tab. Her essay explaining how she and running became “BFF’s” (despite the fact that she started out 50 pounds heavier and went through more hardship in a few years time than most people endure in 10) will have you laughing out loud and also deeply move you. She’s on a journey to fit and she’s taking everyone with her.
OMG, I can totally relate to everything you said. I have already lost 16 kg (about 35 pounds) with home exercising. You are so pretty, congratulations. An inspiration to all of us. I just fell in love with healthy eating and exercising, so much that I enter the hall of unhealthy foods in the market and don’t want to buy any of them. Surprising. I still have a long way to go, but will do it!
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.
i am 39 years old and have a good 35 lbs to lose. like you i ate whatever i wanted as a teen and stayed very thin (and i did literally no exercise) but then i hit 21 or so and realized i needed to cut back on calories and jog as weight slowly came on. then at 28-30 i got back to my teenage weight of 114 by jogging and watching carbs, i got married at 34 and since then pounds have just crept on for both my hubby and myself… i have tried everything :/
“Your body begins to work differently. This study proves that small amounts of nourishment throughout the day are better than the same amount of food concentrated in three big sittings. If we feed the body at regular intervals we send a signal to the body that it doesn’t have to store calories. Conversely, when we skip meals we send just the opposite signal for the body to store calories, creating a negative effect on the metabolism.” — Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, co-founder and Medical Director at Take Shape For Life
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.
It's easy to overdo it when you're eating something delicious — and that's why it's good to focus on foods that will force you to slow down. "Slowing down can help you check in with your hunger levels. For that reason, I love snacking on 100-calorie packs of in-shell pistachios," Gorin says. "Shelling the pistachios helps you slow down your snacking, and the shells leave a visual cue to remind you of how much you've eaten. Because you're more in tune with what's gone into your mouth, you may be less likely to have extra servings." In one preliminary study, people snacking on in-shell pistachios ate 41% less calories than those who ate the shelled version.
Thank you so much, Cindy! You should absolutely document your journey! It makes such a big difference to have people to cheer you on and especially for you to have those pictures to look back on your journey. You can do it, one small change at a time. If you decide to document your journey on a blog or social media, please share it with me. I’d love to cheer you on!
If you’re logging just a few hours of sleep a night, you may actually find yourself gaining weight. Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center found that subjects who slept just four hours had a harder time processing carbs. "When you're exhausted, your body lacks the energy to do its normal day-to-day functions, which includes burning calories efficiently," says Talbott.
Listen up: Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash an energy bar or a piece of fruit in your car or tote, keep snacks in your office desk drawer, and make a point of getting up to grab a nosh — anything that will keep you from going hungry! Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day. (Think: You've skipped breakfast and lunch, so you're ready to takedown a whole turkey by dinner!) Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don't wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a "snack alarm" on your phone if needed.
However, if you’re already on medication and think it could be hampering weight loss efforts, speak with your doctor about your options. It may be possible to transition to a more natural option, like a natural form of birth control, coming up with a plan to transition off medication or simply trying an alternative that’s not known to cause weight gain.