The theory behind carb cycling and weight loss is that it optimizes your body’s metabolic needs. So the theory goes, while in a low carb period, your body sharpens insulin sensitivity, produces glucagon to help you burn fat, and becomes metabolically streamlined. These are great things. Yet if you persist in being too low carb for too long your thyroid hormone levels will drop, and your insulin sensitivity may actually worsen. In short: you may gain weight.
Electrolytes play a major role in keeping us alive since they provide the electrical current that allows our muscles, particularly the heart, to contract at the right speed. When there is a sudden decrease of food intake, there is also a sudden decrease in the electrolytes that our bodies are used to getting, particularly potassium and magnesium. If the body can’t handle the deficit, this can lead to impaired cardiovascular function and irregularities such as heart arrhythmias.
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.
Part of slimming down involves a simple, sensible exercise and an easy-to-follow nutrition plan. This full week of meals will take the guesswork out of grocery shopping and prepping with nutritionist-approved breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas. If you have a higher activity level, check out these 1,300-, 1,400-, 1,500-, and 1,800-calorie meal plans as well.
If you're mostly sedentary (and let's face it—with 9-to-5 desk jobs being the norm, it's hard to avoid), you'll start to see noticeable results with just a slight increase in your activity level. Break up the hours in front of the computer by using your lunch break to move around. "I started walking for 45 minutes during my lunch break," says Melissa Leon, who ultimately dropped 53 pounds. "The area was super hilly, but feeling the burn in my butt and quads as I powered up those hills let me know I was making progress."
Stop treating your kitchen like an all-night diner and you’ll stop seeing those unwanted pounds piling onto your frame, too. The results of a study published in Cell Metabolism found that mice who only had access to food during an eight-hour period stayed slim over the course of the study, while those who ate the same number of calories over a 16-hour period gained significantly more weight, particularly around their middle. When you’re finished with dinner at night, shut the fridge and don’t look back until morning — your belly will thank you. When you do head back to the kitchen in the A.M., make sure the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen are there waiting for you.
“Don’t bring home foods you don’t want to snack on. If others in the house like treats, buy ones you dislike to avoid temptation. And keep your healthier foods—including veggies and high-protein snacks—front and center in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. When it came to losing 100 pounds, this is one of the things that helped me the most.” —Jamie Gold, 56, certified kitchen designer and author of New Bathroom Idea Book
"When you're stressed out or tired, it's very easy to forget when your hand goes into the cookie jar," says Marisa Sherry, RD, a registered dietitian in private practice in New York City. "Are you being honest with yourself about taking just one handful here and there? When you have a cup, are you really having one cup? Most drinking glasses hold about three cups. By the end of the day, it all adds up."
About: Chrissy Lilly started in 2015 as a health, fitness and weight loss blog. Today, it has morphed into a place where Chrissy shares her own personal struggles and emotions. But most importantly, it’s a place where you can go to find inspiration and read real stuff that you will relate to. Her blog posts are very real, she’s not afraid to get down and dirty with her posts. And that’s what makes her one of the best the business has to offer.
What can I eat on a no-carb diet? Many people reduce carbohydrate intake to help them lose weight. Carbohydrates are important macronutrients, but cutting them can help people to lose weight by making it possible to reduce calories and improve feelings of fullness. Alternatives to carbs can make it easier to stick to a low-carb diet. Learn more here. Read now
Are you like Old Faithful when it comes to your morning walk or evening jog? Know this: The more you do an activity, the more your body adapts to it, so you burn fewer calories. If you want to light a fire under your metabolism, consider cross-training. For example, if you normally walk, try biking instead. "Since you're not used to working all those different muscles, it's a more intense workout, which can translate into a greater metabolic after-burn because your body is working harder to recover and get oxygen to all your tissues," says Carol Espel, M.S., an exercise physiologist for Equinox Fitness Clubs in New York City.
Testing your limits brings about than just bragging rights. Lifting a heavier weight for fewer reps burns nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after your workout than lifting a lighter weight for more reps, according to research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Feel smug in the knowledge you’re still torching calories in that 10am meeting.
It’s time to focus on your lentil health. In one four-week Spanish study, researchers found that eating a calorie-restricted diet that includes four weekly servings of legumes aids weight loss more effectively than an equivalent diet that doesn’t include beans. Those who consumed the legume-rich diet also saw improvements in their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood-pressure. To reap the benefits at home, work lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans into your diet throughout the week.
About: One of the things you’ll notice first when you open up Lori’s blog is that she’s a very visual person — a style that reflects in her posts, which are chock full of photos sharing her fitness, food, travel and more. Lori started blogging about three years ago when she decided to lose 115 pounds. Now, she’s 105 pounds down and went from tipping the scales to doing a triathlon. Quite impressive, especially considering Lori has been overweight all her life. Follow her if you want to read about someone who’s the epitome of success, someone who continues to eat right, stay fit and maintain a huge weight loss.
If figuring out what to put into your body is too overwhelming, start with how much you're serving yourself. The easiest way to do this? Swap out your plates for smaller ones, like mother of two Jeanenne Darden did. With the help of this trick, she managed to lose an amazing 22 percent of her body weight, going from 187 pounds to 146 pounds. "I ate normally," she says. "I just ate less of everything." Pro tip: This trick is even easier with some cute portion-control dishware.
Go to a sauna. Saunas may result in a loss of a pint of sweat in just a quarter of an hour. To prevent dehydration, limit sauna time to 15 or 20 minutes per day. Again, this, like most very-quick-fix treatments that cause various kinds of excretion, is just a way to drop water weight, making you slim down for a day or so. This is not a permanent weight loss method. You should hydrate by drinking a few glasses of water after spending time in a sauna to reduce the risk of dehydration.
Mason, A. E., Epel, E. S., Aschbacher, K., Lustig, R. H., Acree, M., Kristeller, J., … Daubenmier, J. (2016, May 1). Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite , 100, 86–93. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799744/
About: Hannah resides in London and she’s positively adorable, clever and fun to follow as she blogs her way to resisting temptation and staying fit and healthy. Hannah’s also been there, done that. Two years ago she lost 50 pounds through a complete lifestyle overhaul. Now, she’s in maintenance mode, but one of the things that’s unique about Hannah is that she still loves to eat out and socialize, and she knows how to do it in a way that doesn’t result in weight gain. And yes, she shares that in her posts.
As my body changed, people started to notice. The encouragement and positive talk from friends and family was helpful, except for when people would say things like, “wow you look so great now!” Now. It didn’t quite sit right to hear that some people thought I looked a lot better now, but that I didn’t look as great before. It was important to remind myself that I looked great no matter what. More important than what other people think about my looks, I needed to accept and love myself and my body, even if my body never changed. I didn’t set out on the weight loss journey to have other people change their minds about how I looked; I started the journey to create a healthy body, healthy mind, and overall wellness.
About: Andie’s well-known for her New York Times bestselling memoir “It Was Me All Along” where she chronicles how she lost 135 pounds 10 years ago. But it’s her blog that drew us to her for this list, especially considering that she’s managed all this time to KEEP that weight off. Andie also wrote a cookbook, “Eating in the Middle,” featuring (mostly) healthy recipes. Plus, Andie’s blog is chock full of healthy recipes too (and the occasional indulgence), lessons she learned while losing weight and how she transformed her relationship with food and her body.
In Part 1 of this series, we covered everything but the hormones. But now it’s time for the million dollar estrogen question: do female hormones make it harder for women to lose weight? And if they do, what can you do about it? In this article, we’ll look at the pro- and anti-fat effects of estrogen (yes, there are both!), what this means for weight loss, and how diet can affect estrogen levels in various ways.
Think about it: If you have a big plate, it may be easy to pile on the food until the plate is full, leaving you with portions that are way too large. "Since I regularly ate balanced meals, I knew it was my portions that had to be fixed," says Erika Cataldi. "I began using toddler plates; I could load them up and still feel like I was getting a lot." That optical illusion help Cataldi drop 70 pounds.
Since insulin sensitivity is at its lowest in the final two weeks of the cycle, and carb intake is also at its lowest, exercise should be more anaerobic (this means hard and fast, really getting your heart pumping). It should be focused more on high-intensity interval training, with short bursts of high intensity work, either from brief sprint exercises or from weight lifting. This is an excellent way to sharpen insulin sensitivity while simultaneously burning fat, increasing muscle mass, and spending calories. It also helps the body stay healthy and as stress-free as possible during this time in which the body is gearing up to menstruate and the least capable of handling stress.
Sleeping for more than five hours a night might seem like a luxury for some, but it can have a serious impact on your overall health. Not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of shut-eye a night puts you at risk for fatigue the next day, which means you’re more likely to crave and snack on high-calorie comfort food. Try to go to bed sooner so you can get a little more sleep, which will help you eat less. And to blast fat even faster, don’t miss these essential ways to boost your metabolism.
Thank you for this advice! This is a great blog post. I have been struggling with personal issues that has affected my weight for 10 years and have found reaching out online to seek the advice of others has helped me through the good and bad time. I have always had issues and have started to follow the advice of Dr. Robi Ludwig. I saw her on a tv show once and I really appreciated her take on current psychological issues. I have been following her twitter for updates and advice https://twitter.com/drrobiludwig?lang=en due to following her advice I was able to sort through the personal issues and get on track with my weight loss.