Stephen Colbert may be on to something. UCLA Center for Human Nutrition researchers divided study participants into two groups, each of which were fed a nearly identical low-cal diet for 12-weeks. The only difference between the groups was what they were given to eat as an afternoon snack. One group ate 220-calories of pretzels while the other group munched on 240-calories worth of pistachios. Just four weeks into the study, the pistachio group had reduced their BMI by a point, while the pretzel-eating group stayed the same, and their cholesterol and triglyceride levels showed improvements as well.
Fast forward to January of my senior year of college (the beginning of 2016). One day I decided to weigh myself – I never weighed myself throughout high school and college, mostly because I was scared of disappoint but also because I didn’t have access to a scale and didn’t want to buy one. I stepped on the scale, and I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I felt embarrassed, shameful, and defeated. I knew I needed to finally commit to making a change. I wanted to commit to healthy eating and exercise because I thought weight loss would kickstart my journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Always the chubby kid in school, Shelly’s weight struggles followed her well into adulthood. At age 35, she struggled with many obesity-related health issues, including high blood pressure and sleep apnea. After her father died of heart failure and sleep apnea and she heard about 9/11 victims who had to walk down 86 plus flights of stairs, Shelly decided it was time to make a change. She opted for weight loss surgery, started eating healthy and exercising daily. The result? A 158-pound weight loss. Shelly uses her blog as a platform to share her daily triumphs and struggles as she works to maintain her weight, share products she uses to stay healthy and eat right.

Stress skyrockets your levels of cortisol, often called “the belly fat” hormone because it signals to the body to store fat around your waist. Add the daily stressors of living our modern lifestyle and you can see how cortisol can be constantly coursing through your veins. This perma-stress mode isn’t good for a lot of healthy reasons, your tummy being just one of them, so it’s important to take time every day to de-stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, doing a hands-on hobby, or playing a musical instrument are all great time-tested methods. (Hint: Know what isn’t? Watching television. The boob tube actually increases your levels of cortisol!)
So here’s where I have to say that I AM NOT a dieting or fitness professional. Even having to write that is humorous. I am absolutely NEITHER of those. And that is one huge reason that I was so reluctant to share my story. Yet as my sweet friends told me over our trip last month, my blog is to inspire and to them, my weight loss story could be inspiring. So once again, I am not a professional so please DO NOT take anything I say as advise. This is just my story and if it motivates one single person to change their lifestyle, I would be absolutely thrilled to have shared these glorious images 😉

Sometimes, you might need an external motivator—like a race or a competition—to keep you on track. After a slow start to her slimdown, Maribel Contreras decided to sign up for a 12-week body transformation contest at her gym. She swapped out her fast-food trips for healthy homemade meals and revved up her workouts, which ultimately helped her win the competition. She now maintains a 77-pounds-lighter frame. 

Your phone, tablet, and television may be affecting your waist size in more ways that one. Obviously if you’re sitting on electronics then you’re not moving around and burning calories. But the effects go beyond just energy. Blue light from electronic screens can disrupt your circadian rhythms; so our addiction to electronics is reducing our sleep as people favor Netflix-bingeing to bed. Both of these effects have been linked to higher levels of belly fat. These 21 other terrible habits will make your belly fat worse.

Strength Training is very important part of your workouts.  Try for 15 – 30 minutes of strength training.  Don’t be afraid of strength training.  You burn more calories all together.  You’ll tone your muscles and you get stronger.  I like that my arms are strong, that way I can carry more bags at the mall.  🙂  I like to do circuit training which is full body workouts. I only do them 3 times a week, every other day.  Never do strength training on back to back days, unless you work one muscle group at a time. Such as Monday Upper Body, Tuesday Lower Body, Wednesday Core, Thursday Upper Body, Friday Lower Body, you get the picture.

Everyone is different. How quickly you burn calories when you are not physically active can be very different from other people based on your specific genes, biology, and past. While scientists know that there are 3,500 calories in one pound, simply eating 500 fewer calories every day for a week (or 3,500 fewer calories in a week) does not always end in losing exactly one pound.

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