Also, my perspective of what a meal was evolved. I grew up thinking every meal needed to be a plate with a meat, veggies or fruit, carbs, grains, and dessert; and that just isn't accurate at all. I learned that it is totally acceptable to make meals like a bowl with veggies and protein. Or breakfast could include a big bowl of oatmeal with almond butter, greek yogurt, granola, and fruit. I incorporated a ton of fresh produce and didn't let myself buy junk food from the store. It's not always about eating less of everything either, it's less of some foods but more of others. 
If you haven't been able to lose your belly fat on your own, we've asked experts to share the tips and advice they use with clients to help them lose belly fat for good. Vermont-based registered dietitian and nutritionist Maddie Kinzly, MS, LD, told POPSUGAR that while you can't choose where on your body you gain or lose fat (sorry, boobs!), some people are more predisposed to holding weight in their bellies.
It’s not just the calories in your cocktail that are causing you to gain weight, when you drink and get a little buzz on you are less likely to stick to the plan, you feel happy and euphoric and think “hey, what the heck one Oreo won’t hurt” and the next thing you know you have eaten the entire box. And how about when you have one too many drinks and are like “man, I’m trashed I need to get some bread in my tummy so I’m not hung over tomorrow” yep, drinking alcohol will lead to bad choices and not just in the “after school special” kind of way.
About: Dustin spent much of his life being “slightly overweight,” never obese, but enough so that he wasn’t super comfortable in his own skin. But one day he decided to start exercising — lifting weights, crossfit and similar workouts, and slowly but surely, his body began to see the results he’d hoped. His interest in food also grew. He always liked meats, but decided to expand into baking too. These days, he’s packing his blog with clever twists on recipes — always making sure they’re nutritious and delicious — as well as fitness routines and updates on his progress. He’s just the guy if you want to take it nice and easy to lose weight.
At the end of the summer (August) I weighed myself again and found out I had lost 10 pounds since January. I didn’t get down on myself when it felt like I had working so hard for little progress, but instead decided I was going to kick it hardcore into gear. It was at this point that my healthy habits were formed and I could continue in the direction of a healthy lifestyle. I could work harder in the hopes of seeing results. I realized at this point going forward it would be more of a mental battle than physical battle. The habits were formed, but I needed to continue believing in myself, staying encouraged, and thinking positive. I tried my best.
About: Shannon’s a fit girl, but her mission in life is to get even fitter — and motivate others to join her along the way. She’s also a full-time marketing executive, but her true passion is bringing together and inspiring them to reach their goals. You’ll find her posts are full of positivity, motivation, practical tips for exercising (without killing yourself) and even fun fashion bits. If the sun was shining through a blog, it would be shining through Shannon’s.
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.
Have you ever decided to skip a meal to cut back on your daily calorie count? Despite saving a few calories in the moment, this strategy almost always backfires. When you skip breakfast, or any meal, you'll begin to experience excessive hunger that can lead to craving unhealthy foods—and lots of them. You may also eat faster than you normally do after skipping a meal, causing you to miss the warning signs that you're full and resulting in overeating.

Shelley started her blog on the same day she decided to start what she believes will be her final diet. That day, she weighed 256 pounds—two years later she lost over 110 pounds and was her lowest weight in over 20 years, 146 pounds! Shelley uses her blog as a way to remember all of her successes, failures, plateaus and everything else in between. She’s found tremendous support through the blogging community throughout her weight loss journey and continues to share it all on her blog.
Becky struggled with her weight nearly her entire life—her weight hitting nearly 250 pounds at her highest. After years of trying to lose weight, she finally had a breakthrough when she decided to change her mindset about weight loss. Before it was all about finding a quick fix—now, her philosophy is about making one small change at a time. With her new mindset, Becky was able to lose over 100 pounds! She shares healthy, and not-so-healthy recipes on her blog, along with healthy living tips and motivation.
Christina Russell is a Celebrity Trainer, author, and the writer behind the healthy living blog, Body Rebooted. Christina lost over 60 pounds in just 5 months incorporating a gluten-free diet and fitness routine and created her blog as a place to share her gluten-free recipes along with the ins and outs of her weight loss journey. Her blog has since evolved into a full-blown healthy living website that provides resources for you to reach your goals.
In 2010, Kelly decided it was time to make a change. So she started blogging about losing weight. She credits the bulk of her weight loss in those early years to Jenny Craig. Today, she writes about how she manages to keep the weight off. No Thanks to Cake is full of healthy recipes that are sure to make your mouth water. There’s also plenty of inspiration for people starting out on their own weight loss journey.Visit the blog.
Whether you've got 5 or 50 pounds to lose, beginning your weight loss journey can be daunting. Instead of tackling it all at once, start by setting small goals for yourself that you know you can achieve. To lose 174 pounds, Annabelle Goetke did exactly that. "I decided to get more active, parking farther away in lots and taking the stairs whenever possible," she says. "I was tired and breathless at first, but I worked up to an hour of run-walk intervals on the treadmill six days a week."

While you can get tests to evaluate the cortisol level in your blood, only you can determine your own innate level of stress. Take some time to evaluate if you are living in a constant (or close to constant) state of stress. You might also notice increased anxiety levels, mood swings, trouble sleeping, fatigue (including feeling tired but unable to wind down) and high blood pressure.
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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