Before I really get into the content of this post, I should note that throughout my weight loss journey, I have learned a lot about nutrition, fitness, mental wellness, and body image. There are some things that I will mention that worked really well for me that might not work as well for other people. What started out as a journey to weight loss has evolved into a journey of an overall healthy and balanced lifestyle.
What you put on your plate is important, but healthy eating is also about being mindful of how much you consume. For example, your husband has pancakes with butter and syrup for breakfast, your son grabs a doughnut, and you opt for a cup of oatmeal with a handful of walnuts, a sliced banana, and a large glass of organic blueberry juice. You may win on nutrients, but when it comes to calories, you're dead last: That healthy-sounding meal adds up to almost 700 calories, more than a third of your allotment for the day.
About: Aurora is a college student full of curiosity, including a nearly insatiable appetite to learn all she can about fitness and nutrition. She fell in love with exercising early on, while playing for a softball team growing up. That fueled a passion for nutrition as well, and eventually a blog dedicated to both as a way to inspire others to live healthy and lose weight. Aurora, who works in a veterinary’s office, also has a deep love for animals (which is always a bonus in our book). And yes, she includes many photos of cute puppies in her blog.
Many people chew gum as a way to stifle cravings or prevent mindless eating but this tactic may have an unfortunate side effect: belly bloat. Everyone naturally swallows a small amount of air when they chew but it’s magnified for people who chew gum, which causes gas and bloating. In addition, some artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase your appetite for junk food, so gum could be increasing your waistline on two fronts.
VLCDs are doctor-supervised diets lasting several weeks. The meals are nutritionally balanced, but expensive -- people can end up spending thousands of dollars over time. VLCDs safely produce a loss of 15% to 25% of body weight in 12 weeks. That's for those who finish the program: 25% to half of people don't complete the program. Weight returns when the diet is stopped and happens rapidly; some experts say its best to take a more sustainable approach to weight loss comparable to that of regular diets.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Your TV is making you fat. It prevents you from being active, gives you the munchies, and makes you distracted while you’re eating. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate in front of the TV consumed 10 percent more than they normally would. Eating while distracted disrupts your satiety signals, so shutting off all your electronics while munching will help you stick to your portions, and feel full.
Belly fat is is different from fat elsewhere in your body. The extra weight some people carry around their waists, arms, and love handles isn’t the same — that’s subcutaneous fat, which sits beneath the skin and is relatively harmless, according to Harvard Medical School. The stuff in your belly, visceral fat, lodges deeper down, around your abdominal organs. It's metabolically active tissue that actually functions like a separate organ, releasing substances into the rest of your body that, in excess, can increase your risk of disease.
14. Jazet IM, Schaart G, Gastaldelli A, Ferrannini E, Hesselink MK, Schrauwen P, et al. Loss of 50% of excess weight using a very low energy diet improves insulin-stimulated glucose disposal and skeletal muscle insulin signalling in obese insulin-treated type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetologia. 2008;51(2):309–19. doi: 10.1007/s00125-007-0862-2. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
Ultimately, you need to pick a healthy eating plan you can stick to, Stewart says. The benefit of a low-carb approach is that it simply involves learning better food choices—no calorie-counting is necessary. In general, a low-carb way of eating shifts your intake away from problem foods—those high in carbs and sugar and without much fiber, like bread, bagels and sodas—and toward high-fiber or high-protein choices, like vegetables, beans and healthy meats.
"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."
As a registered dietitian who counsels private clients (and who has experienced my own weight-loss journey), I understand that desire. But unlike gradual weight loss, rapid weight loss can be dangerous and ultimately counterproductive when it comes to shedding unwanted fat. But how? What’s the difference between losing 15 pounds in two weeks versus two months? A lot.
Red wine can actually be good for your health, thanks to the antioxidant resveratrol, which studies have shown is good for your health and could help you lose weight. But any more than one glass, and you’re opening yourself up to extra sugar, empty calories, and a boozy buzz, which may inhibit your ability to make healthy food choices. If you’re out to happy hour, stop at one glass and opt for club soda (which is calorie free) or water with lemon instead.
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.
I’ve been doing carb free for the last two weeks with one cheat meal per week. I did this same “diet” in high school and lost 48 pounds in 2 months (all while attending keg parties on the weekend, those were the days!) I’m not suceeding (thus far) as much as I had back then, despite being more regimented. Could this be because it’s a decade and a child later? I’ve heard your metabolism can change after childbirth. After reading through your postings I think some of my issue might be the amount of fruit I’m eating.. i:e Bananas in the morning and an afternoon snack of apples and peanut butter. Maybe I’m snacking too much on cheese? Oh I’m just so frustrated. I’m hoping after this week, now that I’m over being sick and can integrate cardio that the fat burn will pick up, but for now I’m super discouraged.
Focused strength workouts 1-2 times a week- First, focus on building muscle with straightforward strength workouts. This can be a total body workout twice a week or split routines for upper and lower body. And 'straightforward' workouts doesn't mean you have to do boring exercises. There are great kettlebell exercises that can increase your strength just as well as regular dumbbells and don't forget you can also use resistance bands as well. Just make sure you're lifting enough weight.
I also started doing home exercise programs and found them to be highly effective. No more money and hours wasted at the gym. But now for maintenance, I only do high-intensity interval exercises with basic equipment (dumbbells, kettlebells, bodyweight) at home. Only 20-30 minutes for 3-4 days a week will keep your metabolism high and continue to burn fat throughout the day.
However, do understand that it may seem harder to gain muscle as you age, says Dr. David Greuner of NYC Surgical Associates, due to hormone changes, age-related illness, and even social factors like a busy schedule. In his opinion, cardio will burn off fat, but to build sturdy muscles, choose heavy weights with a small number of reps or lighter weights with more reps. Also, remember diet and exercise go hand-in-hand for overall health and strength, especially as the years tick by.
About: Meg’s blog is a primary example of the two sides of online blogging: the challenges of knowing what to share (and how much of it to share), mixed with the benefits (the inspiration and encouragement bloggers get from their readers). Meg used to blog in private, but eventually morphed into a public blogger, where she shares not just her progress losing weight, but also recipes she’s tried, fitness that worked (and didn’t work) for her, stories, rants and so much more. Plus, her cat is really cute.
Thank you for sharing your story and your advice! Very good advice! I don’t think you look gross above…I think you look happy. Never call yourself gross…its not a healthy thought. YOU are beautiful…your size doesn’t define you. I am soo proud of you though…taking such an interest in your health and habits and helping others, AND loosing weight and feeling better all around. What a beautiful thing!
I must remember to measure myself to see if I’ve lost any inches – perhaps I’ll start with centimetres as that might be more realistic and have a better feel good factor! The desire to shed pounds is different for everyone. It’s a case of finding and attaining a happy medium and feeling good about yourself. Too thin isn’t always good but neither is obesity.
Women usually need fewer calories than men, especially as they age. That's because women naturally have less muscle, more body fat, and are usually smaller than men. On average, adult women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day. As you age, you need to take in fewer calories to maintain the same weight. You can also keep your weight healthy by increasing how much physical activity you get.