“To lose weight you should primarily eat whole foods, but don’t eliminate your favorites. Consistently eating nutrient-dense food on a day-to-day basis will improve the chances of upregulating metabolism and of eliminating nutritional deficiencies. That may mean tracking what you eat in some way at first, but it doesn’t mean ruling out entire food groups or foods you love. Consistent quality nutrition while learning to enjoy treats in moderation will set you up for long-term sustainable success. — Victoria Viola, PN Certified Nutrition Coach, NSCA CPT, Co-Founder, Excelerate Wellness, LLC
Congrats on your transformation! You should feel very proud of yourself to have come so far and to have gotten to the point where you can listen to your stomach. Surprisingly, that simple communication with our body is something that so many of us have trained ourselves to not pay any attention to. After suffering with an eating disorder for about 15 years, I got to the point where I didn’t even know what it felt like to be hungry anymore! I had to really work to “hear” that signal. And you’re right, counting calories can be an obsession that can take over your life and your thoughts, so I think it’s awesome that you have cut back from that and are just listening to your wants and needs and not freaking out over a piece of cake.
About: Amy started her weight loss journey after she ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon at her heaviest weight ever — and realized it was time to make a change. Fast forward a couple years, she's lost 65 pounds, motivated especially by her father, who she calls her “biggest cheerleader.” Then her father passed away, and things went downhill a bit. Amy gained 40 pounds back and in 2014 started a weight loss blog to embark on the ultimate quest: signing up for races (her most recent was the Star Wars Half Marathon) and letting readers know that she feels their pain — and, most importantly, that they can get through it and make the changes and run races, just like she is.
Visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat, is the layer of fat below the muscles of your abdomen. Due to its crucial location surrounding many of your vital organs, belly fat supplies a constant source of energy but also exposes the body to harmful toxins and hormones. When you have too many fat cells or your fat cells get too large, they can overproduce toxins that increase your risk for chronic inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is why belly fat can be more dangerous than subcutaneous fat—or the outer layer of fat that you can pinch with your fingers. That said, the reason you're having trouble buttoning your pants may not be visceral fat: what we're calling "belly fat" these days could be bloating or water retention rather than a fat buildup. Read on for steps you can take to beat the bulge.
I believe that this cheat day is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, the science behind it suggests that if you go for too long on a limited-calorie diet (which this isn’t, however I noticed that it took me much, much less food to fill me up when I ate well, so you tend to naturally eat less on this diet) that your metabolism will shift to a lower gear in order to compromise for the lower intake of calories. By cheating one day and spiking the number of calories you consume, it will keep your metabolism from doing this – and allow you to maintain your high metabolic rate throughout the week.

Monica May is a Fitness Trainer, Nutritionist, Health Coach, and the writer and voice behind the Fit Girl’s Diary blog. She uses her blog as a way to motivate and support her readers through ongoing weight loss battles. Her passion and belief that a solid support system can make all the difference is what makes Fit Girl’s Diary of the most inspirational blogs for your journey. With healthy recipes, diet and workout programs, and endless support, Fit Girl’s Diary is there to help!
"Feeling stressed can wreak havoc on our bodies. It can cause our body to produce the steroid hormone cortisol, which can make you crave sugary foods that provide instant energy and pleasure. Short-term bursts of cortisol are necessary to help us cope with immediate danger, but our body will also release this hormone if we’re feeling stressed or anxious. When our cortisol levels are high for a long amount of time, it can increase the amount of fat you hold in your belly."
Full Plate Living is a nonprofit dedicated to a simple mission: Encourage, educate, support, and inspire anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. They don’t advocate for starving yourself, spending your life at the gym, or giving up the foods you love. They’re also not about fad diets or weight loss supplements. Instead, they offer practical, straightforward steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Visit the blog.
Nicole Morrissey is Registered Dietitian (RD) and author of Prevention RD. By day, Nicole is a coordinator and manager of an outpatient diabetes education department. By night, she is a home cook, blogger, cookbook author, wife, and mommy to two little girls. After being overweight nearly her entire life, she decided to make a change and lost 75 pounds in a year’s time. 15 years later, Nicole’s weight loss journey continues as she strives for a more balanced life, that includes good-for her foods, and her favorite things like craft beer and all things carbs! Her weight loss blog is an inspirational guide to a practical, straightforward, and maintainable approach to a healthy lifestyle.
"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.
About: Alycia’s been following blogs for years, but to her, the biggest problem is that many of them don’t start until after the author loses weight and finds success. Alycia’s got a different way of doing things — she is blogging to show her real-time approach for shedding her unwanted pounds, exercising and eating right. She’s putting it all out there and hoping that she can succeed, plus inspire a few people along the way.

If you watch TV often, you've probably seen a commercial pop up for Jenny Craig. When you do the diet, you receive a unique weight loss plan for your specific lifestyle and have a personal consultant to check in with at least once a week. And, the meals are delicious: There are more than 100 menu items to choose from for your meals, which are five a day plus one snack of your own.

If muscling up is key to shedding timber, you might as well do so efficiently. Rehash your recovery period by introducing short rest intervals within your sets. Switching your 120-second rest between sets to a 60-second intra-set break brings greater strength gains and increased power output, according to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Processed foods are one of the biggest sources of salt in Americans’ diets—and the scary part is you probably don’t even realize it. Because of the way these addictive foods are formulated, salt is hidden in everything from soups to pasta sauces to even sweet things like boxed cakes. Swap out processed foods in favor of fresh fare and your tummy will thank you. Not only will you lose the salt-bloat but you’ll also lose the extra empty calories and lose weight. Learn about these 50 more ways you can lose weight without a lick of exercise.
About: Caitlin’s approach to healthy living is three-pronged: mind, spirit and body. She believes that finding true health means finding balance in all three, and her mission with her blog is to take people along the way as she figures that out. She’s a self-taught yogi with a passion for natural, balanced food and fitness — all things she shares exponentially in her blog to help others figure it out too.
I saw a post on pinterest for your pumpkin spice drink and started clicking around! Congratulations on your weight loss! I have just started working out regularly for the first time (just about) in my whole life. But what I’ve been learning slowly, even before I began the physical regimen, is how important it is to eat real food. Thanks to people around me who love food and their families health enough to really get informed about it, I’ve been seeing just how misinformed we are and how duped we can be by clever marketing that claims to be “healthy”. When I learned where skim milk comes from and how it’s made (and, for instance that it’s used to fatten pigs up) and that real dairy fats (in moderation) are linked to weight loss but “fat-free” items quite the opposite, I was stunned! Then I thought, of course! People were eating the real things long before heart disease and obesity ravaged our culture. When you start to learn about real nutrition instead of what we’ve been sold by industries, it can be a really great weight loss tool. And, I have to say thank you for using things like coconut milk in some of your recipes! I have a dairy intolerance and it’s nice to know that for the pumpkin spice recipe, at least, I wouldn’t have to tweak it myself!!! I look forward to reading more and trying some of your creations!
Fruits like berries, cherries, apples, and oranges are high in quercetin, a natural compound that reduces inflammation in the belly. And if you put a bowl of the good stuff right where you can see it in your kitchen, you’re more likely to reach for it when you want a snack. These are the 10 reasons why apple cider vinegar is brilliant for slimming down.
Blogging allows me to reflect and also keeps me accountable. For example, I make sure to post my meal plan and weigh in every week because I know readers are looking for it. Honestly, there are many times I feel like blogging has saved me. I don’t mean to sound dramatic but I think we all get to a point as adults where we feel like we are just surviving the hamster wheel of life. Our light starts to burn out. Well, blogging gave me, and continues to give me, purpose. I absolutely love receiving emails or messages from readers telling me that I’ve made a difference in their life. That keeps me going!
I’ve been so inspired by you, and reading this I might FINALLY be able to nip my calorie counting obsession in the bud. I’ve been counting my calories for every meal since about April of this year, and i have become, like you explained, obsessed. And i know it’s a problem, and i shouldn’t focus on that, but everytime i eat i just think of how many calories it is, and what I’ll have left over for my next meals. Reading your story really inspired me and starting today i’m going to start trying to NOT COUNT. I deleted the counting app off of my phone, and im giving it a go!
Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn't require a refined sugar-packed snack. The key is retraining your taste buds to recognize naturally sweet foods, like fruit. "To curb my hankering for treats, I eat mangoes," says Tamyala Ezell, who lost 105 pounds by making over her eating habits and working out three times a week. "They have a natural sweetness that does the trick. Plus, they're low in calories and high in fiber." Another example? "I top berries, nectarines, and cherries with homemade whipped cream, nuts, and dark chocolate," says Goetke.

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.
But the information that researchers are unearthing about the differences in the way that men and women lose weight inspires hope that the next generation of weight-loss advice will be more tailored and effective than the generic tips that have gotten Americans no closer to sliding into their dream jeans. (More than a quarter of Americans are obese, according to a May Gallup poll, a number that has been ticking upward for years). Although experts have long insisted that losing weight is simply a matter of burning more calories than you consume, they now say that it’s much more complicated than that.
Andie Mitchell is a writer, healthy recipe developer, and New York Times bestselling author of “It Was Me All Along”, a memoir documenting her 135-pound weight loss journey. Andie’s blog is a truly inspiring compilation of life lessons, mindset, healthy habits, recipes, and real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression and anxiety, and how to navigate the struggles of a weight loss transformation.
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.

21. Keep it simple. "I take a minimalist approach to nutrition: My diet consists of lean protein (chicken breast, egg whites, ground turkey), complex carbs (quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal), healthy fats (coconut oil, almonds, avocados), and leafy green veggies. I eat as clean as I can—locally-grown vegetables, organic when possible, and minimally-processed everything."
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