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.
Too little sleep or too much sleep can throw your stress and regulatory hormones out of whack, and may lead to weight gain. A single night of sleep deprivation can increase levels of ghrelin (a hormone that promotes hunger), making you more likely to overeat the next day. Reduced sleep may also lead to fatigue during the day (duh) and less physical activity, which may be another reason why people who regularly don't get enough sleep tend to gain weight.
Chronic stress may increase levels of stress hormones such as cortisol in your body. This can cause increased hunger and result in weight gain. If you’re looking to lose weight, you should review possible ways to decrease or better handle excessive stress in your life. Although this often demands substantial changes, even altering small things – such as posture – may immediately affect your stress hormone levels, and perhaps your weight.
I had the pleasure of meeting (and rooming with!) Beth at FitBloggin'. In person, she is just as sweet, down-to-earth, and motivated as she seems on her blog, which she launched to document her weight-loss progress online. Beth also shares what she’s learned along the way, including healthy recipes she creates at home. In two years, Beth has dropped 90 pounds, reached her goal weight, and run two half-marathons, among other road races.
Consult your physician and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program or using any supplement or meal replacement product, especially if you have any unique medical conditions or needs. The contents on our website are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to diagnose any medical condition, replace the advice of a healthcare professional, or provide any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Your weight loss story couldn’t have come at a better time. Congrats to you sweetie! It definitely isn’t an easy journey. My husband has started juicing, after watching a documentary over the weekend. I’m not a stress eater; however I do love my red wine. My recent weight gain started after I lost my mom to Pancreatic cancer in February 2015. I can’t get motivated to do much of anything. I have always weighed under 130 lb., but now I weigh 145 lb. Ugh! I have been on anti-depression medication ever since my daughter was born in 2003. I struggled with the baby blues big time. Now, at age 51, I know how important it is to be healthy and keep muscle. Again, good job!
Hi, I have hypothyroid syndrome and if I look at pizza I gain a pound. I have been able to keep my weight off by staying away from starches and carbs after breakfast, leaving me only 1/2 a whole wheat English muffin and 1 hard boiled egg (no salt or butter). I do eat natural unpasterized honey ont the 1/2 carb serving. I am strict about salt and stay away from it. I do not eat processed foods and I drink approx. 10 glasses of water a day. My frustration is that I am too comfortable and I am losing nothing. I got really sick last year a ton of weight fell off; now about 8 pounds have returned and I can’t budge them. I work out, I do weights, I cheat in two ways: every Friday night only, I allow myself a couple of glasses of white wine during my fav. program. On Sunday I cheat. But even then, I don’t sit down to plates of cake as I fantasize! What else should I do? I am leaving for vacation in 1 month and I want the 8 pounds gone! I feel I will starve if I cut anymore.
4. Core exercises – pick up a decently weighted kettlebell (maybe 25-30 lbs depending on your size and strength) and spend even 15 minutes a day doing a quick routine with them. Something like a kettlebell swing, pushups, and mason twists (this is a very common workout for me now). I do 4-6 sets of 25/15/20 of the above. It’s a great little workout and really doesn’t take any longer than 15-20 minutes.
Stephen Colbert may be on to something. UCLA Center for Human Nutrition researchers divided study participants into two groups, each of which were fed a nearly identical low-cal diet for 12-weeks. The only difference between the groups was what they were given to eat as an afternoon snack. One group ate 220-calories of pretzels while the other group munched on 240-calories worth of pistachios. Just four weeks into the study, the pistachio group had reduced their BMI by a point, while the pretzel-eating group stayed the same, and their cholesterol and triglyceride levels showed improvements as well.
Hello I have suffered from hypothalmuc ammenorhrea since my early teens and I never had a natural period. Unexplained condition where my pituary and hypothalamus did not communicate. I was not underweight. I was put on birth control to prevent bone loss since I do not produce estrogen. I had a child through IVf 2 years ago and I am back on birth control. Marvelon and combo estrogen and progesterone. I am able to follow this plan? I am at a plateau with my weight loss since starting the pill
Almost a year and a half later, in the summer of 2006, I finally reached my goal weight of 130 pounds. My weight loss didn’t happen overnight – in fact, it took a pretty long time – but that was because I wasn’t “dieting.” Through trial and error and figuring out what worked best for me, I made lifestyle changes, which have stuck with me to today. For example, I almost always have oatmeal with nut butter and some fruit for breakfast. It helps set a healthy tone for my whole day, plus it keeps me full until lunchtime.

Another question I get often is “if I am exercising how many extra calories can I have per day?” and my answer is (sorry, you’re not going to like this) “None! Unless you are training for a marathon or the like you don’t need more calories.” Too often we erase all our hard work by justifying eating more calories, and if you do your research you’ll find that the “calories burned” ticker on your exercise equipment is not accurate. Exercising is not an excuse to eat more, exercising will help tone your body, give you a healthy heart and burn off a few calories… what’s the point in burning them off if you’re just gonna add them back?!

I’ve learned a ton about health and fitness – specifically weight loss and motivation – over the past several months. So much so that I’ve recently become a personal trainer so that I could help others reach their health and fitness goals as well. I’m super excited about this new found passion and can’t wait to start helping more people. If you have any questions about this program or any other exercise program please don’t hesitate to ask – I’m here to help.
Well done Jennifer. Inspirational. I also know from personal experience how hard it is to lose weight. It takes discipline to push through no matter what you’re feeling. For me it was getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning (Mon – Fri) to exercise but when I saw some photos of me while my wife and I were on holiday, that was all the motivation I needed to become laser focused to change. I followed a lifestyle challenge which pretty much is what you describe above. It does seem counter intuitive to eat more doesn’t it. Of course it’s what you eat more of that you need to watch 🙂
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.

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.

– My biggest “trouble spot” is the SPARE TIRE/BELLY I have acquired around my waist & upper “back fat.” I used to be incredibly disciplined about doing core exercises when I was (much) younger, as daily physical therapy for my scoliosis – But, I have allowed everything else to take priority (like kids, family, job, other “duties”). I feel selfish and guilty spending time just working out – helping myself. Any suggestions on (quick) CORE exercises/weight management?
"When we’re lacking in sleep, our body’s hormones get thrown off balance which can impact our hunger levels the next day. We all have two hormones that affect our appetite: ghrelin and leptin. When we don’t get enough sleep, our ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) rise, and our leptin levels (the hormone that makes us feel full) drop. This means that when we’re awake, we tend to eat more but feel less satisfied. Try going to bed a little earlier than usual to avoid this imbalance and remember to remove any distractions that might prevent you from nodding off."

Consistent with the current study, recent findings indicate that slow weight loss, as recommended by current guidelines, worldwide, is not a priority over rapid weight loss. Purcell et al. in a clinical trial studied the effect of weight loss rate and weight management. Their results showed that in the long-term, with rapid weight loss (450 to 800 Kcal/day) than gradual weight loss (500 kcal less than the daily requirement), the weight loss is faster and more stable. The researchers suggested that the limited carbohydrate intake of very-low-calorie diets might promote greater satiety and less food intake by inducing ketosis. Losing weight quickly may also motivate participants to persist with their diet and achieve better results (29).
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A year ago you couldn't find a fitter man than Drew of Fit2Fat2Fit, but then the personal trainer decided to take on a new project in order to better understand what his overweight clients were going through. He gained 70 pounds over six months—going from "fit to fat"—and is now in the process of going from "fat to fit." Along the way he's learned a lot about the mental struggles of weight loss, as well as the physical: check out his post about feeling too self-conscious to dance with his wife.

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.


I am trying to lose AT LEAST 10 pounds in the next 2 weeks. I have been trying to lose 20 pounds for 3 months now and have only lost about 5 pounds. Whenever I lose weight I always end up gaining it right back. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t want to look good (even though that would be a bonus) but I just want to be happy with myself… I am 18, 122.4 pounds, and 5’1″. I eat healthy, I bike, run, or do step aerobics for 45-60 6 times a week for the past 3 months, and lost only 5 pounds… Help! Please!!
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story…I would have never guessed you had dealt with such a thing. I”m in the process of losing over 75 lbs gained due to anxiety medicine. I too just woke up and had an epiphany that the medicine had turned me into someone I was not and I had to get off of it especially before having children. It’s definitely been a struggle, but I’ve seen the commercials on tv too and do not want to chance affecting my future children in any way and I want to be a better version of myself. For me personally, exercise, eating better, and therapy have worked to reduce my anxiety and panic attacks enough to stay off medicine.
This could be because the body increases insulin secretion in anticipation that sugar will appear in the blood. When this doesn’t happen, blood sugar drops and hunger increases. Whether this chain of events regularly takes place is somewhat unclear. Something odd happened when I tested Pepsi Max though, and there are well-designed studies showing increased insulin when using artificial sweeteners.

The vast selection of food choices available in med diet makes it a perfect choice for women. Med diet gives more emphasis to fruits and vegetables, olive oil, legumes, fish, whole grains and less emphasis to red meat, processed food and other fatty and non- natural products. Since our goal is weight loss we should take into account that to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than what you need. The Mediterranean diet does a good job in this aspect as well since the average calories in each meal are around 1500 (of course this depends on the foods selected but as a rule of thumb the average is around this number) . The recommended daily intake for women between 20-25 years is 2000 calories, for women between 26-50 years is 1800 calories and for women over 50 is 1600 calories. So, a daily intake of around 1500 calories will create a calorie deficit that will gradually lead to weight loss in a natural way.
And my motivation is people! I have a friend that goes to almost all of my gym classes with me, so I look forward to going just so I can see her! I found running buddies who go to races with me, so running a 5k is actually fun(ish) and it’s more of a social experience than physical torture. And my Fitbit helps me to be more conscious of my movement on a daily basis. I don’t know why, but those silly little flashing lights make me want to get my 10,000 steps in everyday!
While you may be tempted to eat as few calories as possible to lose weight more quickly, as mentioned above, it’s important that you don’t cut more than 1,000 calories from your daily diet or eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day — even if that means your energy deficit is smaller than 1,000 calories. Eat too little and you’ll slow down your metabolism and put yourself on track to regain the weight — often with a few extra pounds.
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