Chronic migraines were what first inspired Amanda Tagge to start exercising. “I was hoping to find some relief from my headaches and working out did help but I realized that if I really wanted to feel better I needed to revamp my health habits overall and lose weight,” she says. The more she changed, the better her headaches got and she lost 70 pounds in the process which helped her feel even better. Focusing on all the ways her health was improving kept her going even when the scale wasn’t moving.
“That first day was so tough, I almost caved and reached for the vending machine at work but I remembered a quote I had on my Facebook page that said ‘The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it’ and that was enough to make me turn away from the machine,” she says.
“It’s no big surprise, but my go-to weight loss tip is to eat more vegetables. They are the most low-calorie food you can consume, and they’re filled with health-boosting, satiating nutrients. From smoothies and eggs to soups, main and side dishes, they can fit in anywhere and boost volume and nutrition. If you want to eat more while still losing weight, veggies are your answer. —Laura Burak, RD, CDN
About: No, Amanda’s blog title is not referring to those delicious chocolate treats— or dancing— or a dog after he gets in from the rain. “Shakes” is Amanda’s long-time nickname and, it just so happens, it also turned into the perfect way to describe her blog. Amanda is an outspoken advocate of having a positive body image and maintaining a common sense healthy lifestyle. She also posts her very real struggle with depression and overcoming her own demons when it comes to sense-of-self. It’s that authenticity that makes for a compelling read that will leave you wanting to check back in every single day. Plus, her top post features a visually stunning photo array of what a typical weekday looks for her.
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."
We’re almost up to speed, but still rewind a little bit back to the early years of college. In the fall of 2012 I started school at Truman State University in good old Kirksville, Missouri. If you’re in college or have been to college, you know that it’s the time to form independence and truly make decisions, on your own, for how you wish to live your life. For a lot of people this means starting over, turning over a new leaf, making new habits, developing a new lifestyle, etc. Honestly college is crazy and weird and I don’t want to ramble on it too much because this post is focused more on the fitness/nutrition journey I’ve experienced (though I now realize its all connected.)
"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."
We all want a toned, flat stomach. No surprise there. But since many women are still relying on crunches to get it, we want to make one thing clear: Crunching is not the most effective abs workout. "Crunches work only the muscles on the front and sides of your abdomen, but it's important to target all the muscles of the core to get more defined abs—including lower back, hips, and upper thighs," says Lou Schuler, co-author of The New Rules of Lifting for Abs. (Also try these 20 tricks for engaging your core and getting a sneaky abs workout.)
Fiber expands in your stomach and also takes time to digest, both of which help keep you feeling full for longer. Good sources include whole grains, veggies, and whole fruit (not juiced). Healthy fats like olive and nut oils—in moderation—improve flavor, give you energy, and help your body use certain nutrients. Alexandra Shipper added healthy fats, such as avocado, to protein sources like eggs and fish on her way to dropping 55 pounds.
Try out a circuit training program. If you are trying to lose weight quickly for a particular event and don’t care about keeping the weight off, you can try a condensed workout routine. Many women’s and health magazines as well as personal trainers offer similar condensed workout routines designed to maximize weight loss and visible physical slimming within only a few days of beginning the regimen.
About: It’s difficult enough trying to get yourself on track to living healthy, but add in a family, and it can seem like the odds of success are astronomical. Enter Katie. As the mother of six, she has a lot of experience and a laundry list of tips and tricks busy moms and families can work together to achieve wellness. She sticks to real food, natural remedies and natural living in an effort to combat all the chemicals and pollution that could potentially hurt your family — and she does a darn good job of it.
If HIIT workouts and strength training aren’t part of your exercise routine, it’s time to add them in. Instead of just running or walking on the treadmill do bursts of high intensity running or sprinting followed by a cool down. For example, you can sprint full force for 30 seconds, slow down and walk for two minutes, then rev it up and sprint again for 30 seconds. Continue this routine for 10 to 20 minutes. If your gym offers Tabata workouts, check those out, too.
In this study, women were put in one of two groups. Group 1 ate a “normal” diet with 15% of calories from protein. Group 2 ate a high-protein (30%) diet, with a special emphasis on low-glycemic-index foods. Both groups lost weight, but the Group 2 also had impressive hormonal improvements, specifically a decrease in androgens (male sex hormones) and markers of inflammation, and an improvement in insulin sensitivity. It’s complicated because there were two interventions at once (the protein and the glycemic index), but this seems to suggest that getting enough protein is important for hormonal healing.
If you are looking to kick start a new weight loss routine or conquer a diet plateau, try Dr. Oz's new two-week rapid weight-loss plan. By loading up on healthy food, like low-glycemic vegetables and small portions of protein, you can help curb your cravings and give your body a healthy start to the year. Plus, all of the meals can be automated and prepped, so you can drop pounds without spending a ton of time in the kitchen doing prep work. Read on to find out all the details!
Growing up, I never thought too much about weight, exercise, or nutrition. Thinking back to my body’s past, I was on the heavier side most of my life. I was never extremely overweight, but never skinny. I remember the occasional times of filling my mind with negative thoughts related to body image, but I never considered it to be a serious problem. I remember the times of being frustrated in a fitting room or embarrassed looking at a picture of me with several of my skinny friends. I remember really wanting to look different and form healthy habits, but in the end, I never had enough motivation to make a change.
Some women have trouble losing weight because of a hormonal problem. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, pumps out hormones that control body metabolism. If the gland's output isn't high enough, a condition known as hypothyroidism, the pounds can pile on - and stay on. If you think thyroid trouble might underlie your weight-loss difficulties, a doctor can test your hormone levels via a simple blood test. If you have a deficiency, effective treatment is available.
“If weight loss is the goal, I recommend learning how to properly deadlift. Deadlifting recruits more muscle fiber at once than any other exercise. More muscle working equates to more blood flow, an increased heart rate, more metabolic demand and output. It’s compound, multi-joint and more bang for your buck, not to mention you’ll develop an excellent posterior from them.” — Victoria Viola, PN Certified Nutrition Coach, NSCA CPT, Co-Founder, Excelerate Wellness, LLC
Those trans fats on your menu are hiding out in plain sight and sabotaging your lean belly plans every time you eat them. If a food product says it contains partially hydrogenated oils, you’re eating trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity with every bite. In fact, research conducted at Wake Forest University reveals that monkeys whose diets contained eight percent trans fat upped their body fat by 7.2 percent over a six-year study, while those who ate monounsaturated fat gained just a fraction of that amount. Instead of letting harmful trans fat take up space on your menu, fill up with the 20 Healthy Fats to Make You Thin.
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.
Food labels can help you lose weight, if you know how to read them. Everyday Health says it's important to pay attention to serving size, calories (and calories from fat), fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins and minerals. Then, you can make smarter food choices like picking up a water-packed tuna rather than oil-packed, which can cut significant calories.
That’s all good – but on the other hand, estrogen also has a very tangled and complicated relationship with adipose tissue (body fat). Fat cells aren’t just inert blobs of energy storage sitting around on your hips. Actually, fat tissue is a very active part of the hormonal system, and one of its biggest jobs is to produce estrogen. Fat tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen – estrogen comes from other places as well (most obviously the ovaries), but fat is certainly an important part of the process.
You did a good job of evaluating the programs and explaining how they were chosen, but I think the government guidelines are just wrong. Having half of our calories come from carbs doesn’t seem right to me. The only diets I’ve had any luck with are low-carb. In fact, if I consume more than about 130g of carbs per day, my blood sugar goes into the pre-diabetes range.
As women age, weight creeps up too, with the average women gaining about one pound per year in their 40s and 50s, resulting in an added 10 to 15 pounds. The drop in estrogen levels during this time of perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) contributes to weight gain and can change the way you distribute fat. You may gain weight in your belly more readily than you did in younger years.