Losing weight is no small feat—it often requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, and with so much information out there, it can be tough to know what strategy might work for you. And to top it all off, all the weight loss myths that just will not die threaten to throw you off track. That's why it's helpful to know what has worked for real people—in their own words. Here, we've gathered advice from 28 women who have lost between 26 and 174 pounds—and kept that weight off for good.
Fathi, Y., Faghih, S., Zibaeenezhad, M. J., & Tabatabaei, S. H. (2016, February). Kefir drink leads to a similar weight loss, compared with milk, in a dairy-rich non-energy-restricted diet in overweight or obese premenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(1), 295–304. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-015-0846-9
Tempting as that post-workout shower may be, making time to hold a static stretch at the end of your workout can increase your muscle mass by as much as 13 per cent, according to US research. How? It has much the same effect on your muscles as resistance training, a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found. Both cause micro tears that prompt the manufacture of muscle fibres. Stretch yourself swole.
“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
About: Lisa hails from the United Kingdom — a long way from the U.S., but with a touching story of strength that is impossible to ignore. Lisa suffers from Chronic Fatigue, a debilitating condition that’s slowed her down significantly in life, and one that she’s also managed to fight back from. Lisa started her blog about a year ago as a way to lose weight in the hope that it would help improve her disease — her fight is definitely an inspirational one to follow.
Use a calorie-needs calculator like LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate app to figure out your daily calorie needs, then subtract calories to create your energy deficit. With an app like MyPlate, you can factor in your weight-loss goal, and it will tell you the exact number of calories (as well has how much fat, protein and carbohydrates) you need to reach that goal.
Katie never thought of herself as overweight, but after graduating college and weighing in at over 195 pounds, Katie realized she had no clue how to eat right and live a healthy life. She dedicated herself to change, lost over 50 pounds and continues to maintain a healthy lifestyle that focuses on how she feels, rather than the number on the scale. Katie’s blog is not just about weight loss, either. Readers who stop by will get to immerse themselves in her daily happenings, read great recipes and, of course, smile at her array of food and family photography. It’s a delight.
When it comes to food, there is evidence that men and women’s brains are wired differently. In a study published in the January 2009 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, even though women said they weren’t hungry when asked to smell, taste, and observe treats such as pizza, cinnamon buns and chocolate cake, brain scans showed activity in the regions that control the drive to eat (not the case for men).
You snack on fruit, count calories, and get some form of exercise most days. So when you step on that scale and the needle stays put, you wonder what the heck you're doing wrong. Even with clean eating and good fitness habits, you may be making a few small mistakes that can lead to a plateau and derail your results. Here's how to upgrade your already-healthy habits to finally reach your get-slim goal. (Snack AND lose weight with this box of Prevention-approved treats from Bestowed.)
What I explained above was how I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I’m continuing to lose week after week at an average of 4-5 pounds per week (I’m sure this will slow down once I get closer to my goal weight). The above method works like a charm and I feel is a great way to lose some extra weight. UPDATE: I’ve since lost over 40 pounds in 90 days and continue to get leaner and leaner.
Accountability is key, a fact that Gretchen knows all too well. That’s why she started her blog, and that’s what has helped her not only lose 60 pounds - but also to accept that her battle with weight and emotional eating is something she’ll have to fight for the rest of her life. The good news - Gretchen also knows that she can and will be able to take on that fight every single day with the support her friends, family and blog followers provide her. Gretchen is also the author of Terra, a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel.
This is amazing. Absolutely amazing! My daughter is 15 months old and I’m struggling with about 25 pounds of extra-ness. How do/did you find the motivation?! I literally need a swift kick in the butt. We don’t sleep much either, as you said. I’m not happy with the way I look, but the exhaustion, as you know, plays a huge role in the lack of motivation. I would love to chat!
Monica is a runner through and through. Her blog documents her many 5K’s, half-marathons and marathons, as well as her love of food. Monica applies “intuitive eating,” to help her with weight loss, and she lives by it. Her blog is chock full of race recaps (that will easily have you wishing you were running them with her), recipes, food outings, travels, tips and more.
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.
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Even if you do meet your goal, it's nearly impossible to keep off the weight over the long term: "The amount of restriction required [to maintain that number] will make you so hungry that you’ll eat everything in sight—it’s survival instinct," Dr. Seltzer says. And since calorie restriction gradually slows your metabolism, your body will be less prepared to burn the foods you binge on, he adds. That could mean gaining more pounds than you lost in the first place.
If you’re already enjoying and eating foods high in fat along with protein, you might want to consider going on the keto diet. It’s been proven to be more effective at weight loss than a low-fat diet, and you’ll likely have an easy time transitioning to it. (9) Among my weight loss tips, going keto is the diet that produces the quickest results alongside significant health changes.
Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
Speaking of intervals, high-intensity interval training (otherwise known as HIIT) has been shown to be incredibly effective for weight loss. Because the workouts are so intense, you don't need to put in an hour — or even 30 minutes — at the gym. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, seven minutes is all you need to get in the best shape of your life.
When you want something sweet, all those fat-free, sugar-free options seem like a smart choice for weight loss. But researchers at Cornell University found that overweight people who choose low-fat versions of snack foods rather than the regular kinds consume, on average, twice as many calories. "The terms 'fat-free' or 'sugar-free' can create a green light effect, triggering people to eat more," says dietitian Cynthia Sass, RD. But many fat-free foods have about the same number of calories (or more) as their full-fat counterparts.
Personally, I find the cheat day important because it gives you something to look forward to. This diet is a huge change from most Westerners’ lifestyles. With the diet comes a lot of cravings, especially in the beginning. I would make a little note of anything that I was craving and made sure I went out and bought it Saturday morning. For example, this is what my first cheat day looked like:
As you exercise, calories are burned and your body fat percentage decreases. So, exercising not only helps you lose belly fat, it also sheds fat from other areas. Running and walking are two of the best fat-burning exercises. Plus, the only equipment you need is a good pair of shoes. Between the two, running burns more calories, but walking really isn’t too far behind.
I want to say congratulations to you!!! It’s hard getting up at 5am to workout and you do it! That is fantastic!! Love that you changed your lifestyle, as you know I did the same thing. I feel so much better about myself and I imagine you do too! Thank you again for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s comments like yours that keeps me staying healthy!!
Blood vessels (veh-suls): The system of flexible tubes—arteries, capillaries and veins—that carries blood through the body. Oxygen and nutrients are delivered by arteries to tiny, thin-walled capillaries that feed them to cells and pick up waste material, including carbon dioxide. Capillaries pass the waste to veins, which take the blood back to the heart and lungs, where carbon dioxide is let out through your breath as you exhale.
Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate how honest you are! I read a lot of stories and the answer is something like “I cut out soda and started walking” and they don’t talk about the really hard work, food choices, portion control, maintenance, etc. I’m also a person who can’t just eat anything & over the course of my marriage have gained a lot of weight – there’s something about weirdly trying to “keep up” with my much taller/larger husband who has a completely different metabolism! We are about to move & I finally feel really motivated to make changes in my lifestyle. I also appreciate that you are honest about your skin removal – so many people aren’t!!
About: Let’s start with Katie by rewinding three years to January 2013 when she hopped on the scale and realized she weighed 247 pounds. That was the moment that “something just clicked” for Katie. Fast forward back to the present, Katie lost 100 pounds, dropped six pants sizes and along the way found a fierce determination to pursue (and stick with) her fitness goals. Katie found her purpose, and she uses her blog to fulfill that purpose: helping others who struggle with obesity, weight loss and food addiction.
At over 330 pounds and gaining, Erika was on a path of self-destruction that she knew she had to stop. Erika recognized herself as an emotional eater, and knew she had to come to terms with it if she wanted to make a change. Erika began to analyze herself, and had what she refers to as a “fitness moment,” where a trip to the gym and the subsequent number on the scale served her a huge reality check. Now, Erika has lost well over 100 pounds and keeps going, on a mission to become a personal trainer. Erika’s certainly not afraid to put it all out there. Her website is creative and engaging, with trendy sections you can visit such as, “Celeb watch,” “Exercises,” and even “Sex.”
I found your blog through the Nutrition Blog Network and I feel like I’m reading the story of my own life. I have recently lost 45lbs but am KILLING myself over those last 10 lbs just like you were. I literally have felt like it was hopeless and that there is no way those pounds are coming off. I am also limited to 1200 calories a day but am going to try raising my daily calorie intake to see if that helps! Your story gave me so much hope that I can beat these last 10 lbs and your weight loss tips were fantastic!
In July of 2010, Mary tipped the scales at 345 pounds. She’d had enough, and decided that it was time to embark on the road to health and happiness by losing 210 pounds. Before getting pregnant, Mary was well on her way, weighing in at 188 pounds just two years later. Along the way, she’s been given numerous awards for her creative and unique style of writing, as well as her amazing weight loss accomplishments.
About: Mindy doesn’t just blog about weight loss, it’s actually her job to help people lose weight. She’s a busy, Washington, D.C.-based one-on-one weight loss coach, and (luckily for us), spends some of her spare time blogging about it too. Her blog is great in that it clearly comes from an experienced professional, but it’s also fun to read and features Mindy’s quirky personal touch, just what the doctor ordered for people as they work to drop those extra pounds.
“Eating directly out of a box or bag (almost always leads to overeating. Serve your food on a plate or in a bowl to keep portion sizes in check and to get used to what one serving looks like. Also, when we take the time to sit down during meals versus standing or driving, we tend to feel more satisfied with our meal. In fact, research shows that you will eat up to 30% more food at the next meal if you ate standing up! Serve yourself, sit down, and enjoy!” — Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert
Don’t feel bad! Losing weight is hard! At least you have a Husband who is the food police! Mine tries forcing me to eat his fatty stuff and I have to restrain myself and say no, which is hard. The key is taking it step by step. I feel your pain! I tend to eat when I’m bored too and I am trying to break that habit! Just remember you are a strong woman and you can do it!!!! Start small! Go for a 10 minute walk, even march in place during commercials when watching tv, next thing you know you are getting in some exercise and maybe you can march for a whole show? Also, cut up some healthy veggies and grab those when you need to eat! Just think to yourself, you are doing this for you and you are worth it!!!
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.
All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you're including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, beans, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
There are hundreds of healthy living apps that can help you lose weight. Find one that aligns with your goal, whether it's to get stronger, get faster, get off the couch, or eat healthy. Cyr found that using MyFitnessPal helped her get a better grip on what she was eating every day. "Once I started logging my meals, I realized I was scarfing 1,700 calories a day," she says.
“I lost 85 pounds between the ages of 39 1/2 and 41, and have kept it off for more than a decade. Part of how I did it was by saying ‘no’ to what I call No-Longer-Nourishing Commitments. I was working too many hours, which left me with little time or energy for working out or making healthy food. By saying no to some projects, I was able to devote more attention to preparing better food and moving my body. It also gave me more nourishing time with friends and family, which made junk food become less of a go-to comfort.” —Deb Thompson, 53, certified Integral Master Coach
About: Holly’s story starts and ends with food. Years ago, Holly spent every waking minute obsessing over every calorie, every bite and trying every yo-yo diet she could think of to shed pounds. But then one day she woke up and realized she would never find happiness living that way. She began focusing on finding a love of healthy food and cooking, a love she now shares on her blog and sees as her true purpose in life. There, you’ll find everything you need to learn to enjoy food again without all the guilt.
A 2012 study also showed that people on a low-carb diet burned 300 more calories a day – while resting! According to one of the Harvard professors behind the study this advantage “would equal the number of calories typically burned in an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity”. Imagine that: an entire bonus hour of exercise every day, without actually exercising. A later, even larger and more carefully conducted study confirmed the effect, with different groups of people on low-carb diets burning an average of between 200 and almost 500 extra calories per day.
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.
Hi Karen! I love Sparkpeople! I have been using there tracking tools for 4 years now and love it! It really helps you keep on track. I get ya about weight! I know I can’t eat like I used to too! It’s hard, but well worth the effort! Thank you for your kind words and don’t worry you lose those last ten pounds! I’m working on 10 pounds myself! Just think positive, be true to yourself and know you can do it!!!
Some of you are probably scratching your heads thinking “why is exercise at the bottom?” well it’s because it is not nearly as important as what you put in your mouth! Exercise is great for burning off a few calories (emphasis on a few), for toning up your body and overall health, but no matter how hard you work out, if you don’t have the diet aspect down you won’t be losing the weight as fast as you want… or at all. But it is still an important part of how to lose weight fast, and here’s why:
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.
About: If the title alone doesn’t draw you in, we don’t know what will. Start with Mariana’s “About the Fluff” section, and by then you’re for sure hooked. Mariana is a Puerto Rican on a journey to get rid of everything that weighs her down, whether that’s extra pounds, distractions from living a healthy life, unhealthy relationships, stress, you name it. Her blog is a day-by-day, step-by-step process that blends humor with reality in a way you’re darn sure going to understand if you’ve ever struggled with weight.
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."