I lost my weight by only optimizing my diet. I changed what I ate dramatically and literally melted the weight off. I remember waking up on the fourth day after starting this in complete amazement by the fact that my fingers felt skinny. I’m not sure if it was the amount of salt I ate or what, but my fingers and hands have felt fat for the last year – this alone was enough to keep me going. For the sake of this overview, I will not go into any detail on supplements (as I have yet to learn much about them), and will only briefly touch on exercising. Instead, I’ll focus on optimizing diet for rapid weight loss.
In August of 2010, one of my members of Getting in Shape 2010 group recommended I joined Sparks People.  I thought what the heck, since my virtual trainer was giving me issues.  Well I set up my profile, entered how much exercise I do a week, and what my goal was and guess what?  It calculated how many calories I needed to lose 1.5 lbs a week.  Don’t forget I was eating only 1200 calories a day.  Sparks told me I needed to eat 1550 at the low end and 1700 on the high end.  I was so happy, I could eat!!!!  It was like a new world opened up for me.
You know that recording what you consume is a good way to keep your weight in check, but Brittany Hicks, who dropped 110 pounds in college, didn't only write down what she ate—she also wrote down why she was eating it. "I realized I'd been using food to cope with stress," she says. "Just noticing that helped me do it less." Make sure you're not making these food journal mistakes so you can reap the rewards of eating and jotting, too.
That sour cherry is pretty sweet when it comes to your health. The results of a study conducted at the University of Michigan found that rats given high-fat foods along with tart cherries ditched nine percent more body fat than those in a control group over just 12 weeks. Cherries are also a good source of antioxidant pigment resveratrol, which has been linked to reductions in belly fat, dementia risk, and lower rates of macular degeneration among the elderly.
Top Quote: "I’m sharing every lesson to getting there—not as a drill sergeant and definitely not as a guru—as a friend who gets it and never wants anyone else to struggle alone. I’ve learned more in the last ten years than I ever thought possible, and I’m laying it bare here, one post a time—every lesson I’ve learned on losing weight,real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression, how I’ve moved beyond binge eating, lifestyle bits that make me feel good inside and out, and all the healthy recipes I make regularly.”

●Put tempting foods out of sight, out of mind. We naturally gravitate toward foods that are easiest to reach. So put candy on a high shelf or inside another bag behind something else so you’ll be less likely to go get it, says Cynthia Sass, co-author of “The Flat Belly Diet!” Put smarter choices, such as fresh fruit or popcorn, in bowls where they’re visible and within arm’s reach. Keep a water bottle with you so you won’t have to rummage through the fridge or walk to a vending area to get a drink.

“You can’t just say, ‘I want to lose weight…someday.’ It’s that kind of loose talk, without a fence or guideline, that discourages you from getting started and prevents you from succeeding. The way I did it was by tying it to an upcoming event in my life. I never focused on a number and I didn’t set out to lose a certain number of pounds per week or overall. I merely found a target date a year away and I proclaimed to myself that I’d be in better shape by then. — Maria Menounos, author of  The Everygirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness, on how she lost 40 pounds
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.

About: Jade’s 6+ years of experience blogging means, at first glance, we would have passed right over her for this list. But it’s her recent debut into weight loss and healthy living blogging that caught our eye. Jade lives in Singapore, and just looking at Jade’s photos, it’s hard to imagine her as ever being overweight. But in 2012, she was unhappy with the way she looked, a feeling she’d had her whole life. Then the thought occurred to her that she had the power to change it. A total lifestyle overhaul and 44 pounds later, and Jade’s story is a success we can all admire.
Want to instantly burn more blubber in your workout? Research conducted at Brunel University found listening to your favourite tracks will increase your endurance by a massive 15 per cent. And if you really want to turn your weight loss up to 11, Social Psychological and Personality Science found that heavy bass increases your sense of personal power to help you get the most out of the gym.
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.
“If a client has come to me looking to lose 10 pounds, I would tell them to simply move. Move more, and more often. Walk or bike ride to class or work, even park further away from your location in the parking lot. Take the stairs or take a walk during lunch. You don’t have to spend hours every day in the gym sweating, but you do have to make a conscious effort to move more, and sit less. This works great because it doesn’t feel like work and you’re burning more and more calories throughout the day.” — Ajia Cherry, personal trainer and Founder at Functional Innovative Training

Wow! I truly believe that I read this post today for a reason! I have been taking anxiety medication for the past 5 years and have gained almost 70 lbs in these 5 years. I’ve literally gone to doctor after doctor about my weight gain and no one could determine why I’ve gained so much weight. I’ve literally gone back and forth about quitting cold turkey and was so fearful about the withdrawl side effects. I feel like my weight gain is causing more anxiety than why I’m on the medicine to begin with. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story and motivating me. Thank you!!
To start off, aim to do ab work 3 or 4 times a week on non-consecutive days with at least 24 hours of rest in between sessions, says Gagliardi. During those sessions, you can start with simpler moves like crunches, bicycle crunches, and planks. Even though you may only be directly targeting your abs 3 or 4 times a week, you should still be activating your core (aka, tightening your ab muscles) in every workout you do, says Gagliardi.
“You can’t just say, ‘I want to lose weight…someday.’ It’s that kind of loose talk, without a fence or guideline, that discourages you from getting started and prevents you from succeeding. The way I did it was by tying it to an upcoming event in my life. I never focused on a number and I didn’t set out to lose a certain number of pounds per week or overall. I merely found a target date a year away and I proclaimed to myself that I’d be in better shape by then. — Maria Menounos, author of  The Everygirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness, on how she lost 40 pounds
The Mediterranean diet is a balanced diet and it is in accordance with the dietary guidelines. In fact most of the guidelines suggested are based on Mediterranean diet principles and the majority of the recommended foods are taken from the Mediterranean diet food pyramid. The endorsed distribution of fat, protein and carbohydrates for a healthy diet is:
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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.
“Use a VersaClimber or take a VersaClimber class. These machines are still not that common, but in my opinion they are far more effective for weight loss than other forms of cardio. They require you to use a large portion of your muscles and it’s functionally better for you than other forms of cardio like spinning. Everyone is talking about Rise Nation in LA at the moment as they are the first dedicated VersaClimbing studio. There’s no harder cardio workout I have tried. To lose fat you have to put in the work. — Dan Roberts, celebrity trainer and creator of Methodology X

When you’re eating to deal with your emotions, like anxiety, stress or unhappiness, you’re likely not reaching for carrot sticks and blueberries, but carbohydrates, processed foods and even alcohol. Those calories eventually add up and, at the same time, you’re avoiding learning how to deal with difficult emotions and situations. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.

Not all weight loss is intentional. If you are not dieting but notice that you are losing weight, it may be a sign that you are ill. According to Katie Clark MPH, RD, a registered dietitian, anyone who loses over 10 percent of her body weight in a period of 6 months and who is not intentionally dieting should visit a physician. Unexplained weight loss can be the result of digestive issues, hyperthyroidism, type 2 diabetes or cancer.
About: If we had to sum up Helen’s blog in two words, they would be “creative” and “hilarious.” Because that’s exactly what the blog is...a blend of Helen’s witty writing combined with her pursuit of all things new in the dieting, fitness and weight loss realm — be they inspirational or out in left-field … and everything in between. Helen, a once “healthy living” blogger who gave it up years ago and then recently returned to the world with a new theme — is obsessed with what’s “new,” and she’s the queen of trying it out and letting her readers know if it worked well, or if it didn’t work at all. And that whole “new” theme doesn’t just mean trends...she also loves helping people who are new to weight loss and healthy living succeed.
Consistent with the current study, improvement of metabolic factors after 4 weeks of VLCD was reported in a study by Erik et al. In this study, it was found that VLCD in the short-term intervention could cause a significant reduction in the levels of blood glucose, cholesterol, and TG in a fasting condition (27). The study of Laaksonen et al. showed that administration of VLCD diet for 5 weeks improved metabolic factors and decreased cutaneous water loss and increased subcutaneous fat water. This researcher suggested that WL and consequent improved insulin sensitivity could mediate an increase in abdominal subcutaneous fat hydration (31).
I am not a “medicine person” AT ALL. Still to this day, I avoid it like the plague. Yet I had been thrust, by our own doing, into this busy, crazy, stressful world so quickly that I didn’t know how to cope. And literally within months, I had gained 60lbs. And that 60 was on top of the weight I had already gained from just “playing” a little too hard. Not partying or drinking or anything, just indulging, traveling and being so busy that fast food was my best friend. By the end of 2006, I topped off around 200lbs. Yes, not the easiest thing to write on a public blog. So here’s the proof…
So excited to say that I have started cooking healthier meals from scratch and I am eating less and less processed junk every day and my family is slowly but surely following. My husband is a junk food junky and while I love the fact that he ‘loves me just the way you are’, sometimes I wish he would say, ‘lose some weight tubby’. No, not really. That would break my heart! I just need more motivation!!

If you’re eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, odds are you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to help boost weight-loss and lose weight fast. But it’s also a good idea to take vitamins that can supplement your diet; B vitamins (especially B2 and B12) can boost energy, vitamin D can regulate appetite and aid in weight loss, and magnesium can trigger lipolysis, a process where your body releases fat from where it’s stored.
Love this post of your weight loss journey. Thank you for sharing. You are so real and honest and I love that about you and your blog. I too am struggling with my weight loss/gain since having my daughter in Jan 2009. I lost 80lbs back in 2000 but it has all come back on especially since having my daughter and not focusing on my well being and putting all my enegy into my daughter. This totally inspires me that I can get back on track. Congrats to you for your weight loss accomplishments. You look fabulous!
I started Day 1 on New Year's Day. Today is Day 2. It worked! I dropped 1.5 lbs!! On Day 1 I followed closely to the plan except that I ate a lot less than allowed. I'm a short person, and 1 apple, 1 orange and 1/4 pomegranate were all I needed for the day. I also drank 6 cups of water (my day was short; I got up at 2p). I did not have any hunger pangs nor was I tempted by other foods.

Grains get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, but that's because refined grains (read: processed foods!) are linked to wider waists. 100% whole grains are bloat-busting superstars, however, as they're packed with minerals and de-puff by counter-balancing salt. Stick to brown rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, millet, farro, sorghum, and amaranth for the biggest benefits.
If you are on the birth control pill, it depends on which one. Some pills are just progesterone. if that’s the case then your insulin sensitivity may be a BIT hampered. If you have a progesterone/estrogen combination pill then its a bit less easy to tell how you may be experiencing hormone fluctuations and which is more dominant in you. If they are well balanced then I wouldn’t worry too much about taking care of them and would consider cycling the ‘normal’ way
About: Their blog may be described as just “another” runner, but it’s anything but. The blog is chock full of tips, advice, nutrition information — and lots of personalized posts — from “mothers” who banded together to run, and realized just how much they loved it. The blog also works as a personal cheerleader, a way to connect with moms and women who started running (grumbling), tolerated it, started to like it (there are moments) and ultimately fell in love (addiction level).
It can actually help you cut back on calories. That's because capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body's release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories. What's more, eating hot peppers may help slow you down. You're less likely to wolfed down that plate of spicy spaghetti —— and therefore stay more mindful of when you're full. Some great adds: Ginger, turmeric, black pepper, oregano, and jalapenos.
IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is the most common gastrointestinal disorder. IBS symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, and bloating—So. Much. Bloating. While the causes aren’t all known, it’s thought to be linked to lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, hormones, and stress. Sufferers often find that making changes in these areas eliminates or reduces their IBS (and their stomach circumference!). Here’s how these 10 myths about fat can keep you from losing weight.
“Once you decide on the method that you’re going use to lose weight, put the blinders on every well-meaning friend or family member who thinks it’s not a good idea. For me, it was raw juicing. Along with a healthy diet, it helped me lose 48 pounds and keep it off for over a year.” —Jennifer Devlin Waller, 48, founder and CEO of Celtic Complexion Luxury Artisan Skincare
Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning Sparkpeople! Last week, I came across your website after visiting Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and reading a woman’s recipe about pumpkin pie oatmeal. She listed your Crockpot pumpkin oatmeal recipe as a recommended recipe. I’ve been having a hard time taking off ten pounds–I’m in my forties and I can’t eat like I used to! I joined Sparkpeople a week ago and have been really liking it. I don’t feel so isolated, and the tracking tools are really great (and it’s free, too!). Thanks for introducing me to Sparkpeople, Jennifer!
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.

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.


“Once you decide on the method that you’re going use to lose weight, put the blinders on every well-meaning friend or family member who thinks it’s not a good idea. For me, it was raw juicing. Along with a healthy diet, it helped me lose 48 pounds and keep it off for over a year.” —Jennifer Devlin Waller, 48, founder and CEO of Celtic Complexion Luxury Artisan Skincare
Spice up your favorite foods with a few dashes of hot cayenne pepper sauce. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, an appetite suppressant; a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate capsaicin consumed 200 fewer calories at the next meal. Not only will this help you cut back on calories and boost weight loss, but researchers have also found that capsaicin can help you lose belly fat and lose weight fast.
The final possible culprit behind stubborn weight issues may be the stress hormone, cortisol. Too much cortisol will increase hunger levels, bringing along subsequent weight gain. The most common cause of elevated cortisol is chronic stress and lack of sleep (see tip #10), or cortisone medication (tip #9). It’s a good idea to try your best to do something about this.
About: If we had to sum up Helen’s blog in two words, they would be “creative” and “hilarious.” Because that’s exactly what the blog is...a blend of Helen’s witty writing combined with her pursuit of all things new in the dieting, fitness and weight loss realm — be they inspirational or out in left-field … and everything in between. Helen, a once “healthy living” blogger who gave it up years ago and then recently returned to the world with a new theme — is obsessed with what’s “new,” and she’s the queen of trying it out and letting her readers know if it worked well, or if it didn’t work at all. And that whole “new” theme doesn’t just mean trends...she also loves helping people who are new to weight loss and healthy living succeed.

Plus, a 2015 study from the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that for those who have a hard time following a strict diet, simplifying the weight loss approach by just increasing fiber intake can still lead to weight loss. Women should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day (based on a 2,000-calorie) diet, according to the most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Not sure where to start? Check out our step-by-step guide to increasing your fiber intake.
Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning Sparkpeople! Last week, I came across your website after visiting Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and reading a woman’s recipe about pumpkin pie oatmeal. She listed your Crockpot pumpkin oatmeal recipe as a recommended recipe. I’ve been having a hard time taking off ten pounds–I’m in my forties and I can’t eat like I used to! I joined Sparkpeople a week ago and have been really liking it. I don’t feel so isolated, and the tracking tools are really great (and it’s free, too!). Thanks for introducing me to Sparkpeople, Jennifer!
About: The thing that’s most appealing about Alexis’ blog is its tagline: “One girl’s adventure in moderation.” It’s a testament to Alexis’s general approach to life — she knows she won’t succeed unless she balances weight loss and being healthy with living life to its fullest. Alexis’ writing style is quirky and fun. It touches serious subjects, but with a light style that will have you feeling inspired and amused by the end of each post.
In January of 2010, I was home from work, and I was flipping through the On Demand channels and I saw a circuit training workout “Boost Your Metabolism” from Jillian Micheals.  I hadn’t a clue who she was, but I did the workout and I thought I was going to die!  I couldn’t walk for 3 days and I was sore as hell.  That’s when I knew I was out of shape and needed to up my exercise, because walking wasn’t enough anymore.  At that time I also started my Getting in Shape 2010 group on Facebook.  I needed a place to share healthy living, get support because I wasn’t getting that at home and to learn from others.
To start off, aim to do ab work 3 or 4 times a week on non-consecutive days with at least 24 hours of rest in between sessions, says Gagliardi. During those sessions, you can start with simpler moves like crunches, bicycle crunches, and planks. Even though you may only be directly targeting your abs 3 or 4 times a week, you should still be activating your core (aka, tightening your ab muscles) in every workout you do, says Gagliardi.
Do the Mediterranean diet. Any diet will work at first if you consume fewer calories than you burn. This does not mean that the diet is necessarily sustainable or healthy, but you will lose weight in the short term. A plan like the Mediterranean diet may be able to help you sustain weight loss. It is based on the traditional ingredients and cooking styles of people living near the Mediterranean sea. Research has shown that people adhering to this diet have reduced risk of heart disease - plus it helps you shed pounds and look lean and trim.[15] Focus on eating the following foods (and eliminate bread, dairy, and processed foods):
A lot of the lost weight you experience on crash diets is actually the loss of water weight. You're not only losing the fat that you want to lose, it also means your body isn’t getting the water that it needs. Dehydration doesn’t just cause discomfort from fatigue, headaches, and constipation; if prolonged, it can lead to more-serious issues, like the formation of kidney stones or even impaired kidney function.
If you are serious about losing weight and changing your lifestyle and willing to put in a little bit of effort to make amazing changes, then I do think you should check out the fat loss factor program. Like I mentioned, it does cost a bit of money, and I was extremely hesitant to buy a program off the internet, but I’m really glad I did. It is cheaper than what we used to spend ordering pizza every few days.
Wow! I truly believe that I read this post today for a reason! I have been taking anxiety medication for the past 5 years and have gained almost 70 lbs in these 5 years. I’ve literally gone to doctor after doctor about my weight gain and no one could determine why I’ve gained so much weight. I’ve literally gone back and forth about quitting cold turkey and was so fearful about the withdrawl side effects. I feel like my weight gain is causing more anxiety than why I’m on the medicine to begin with. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story and motivating me. Thank you!!

If you are looking for a satisfying and delicious meat-free Bolognese sauce, you must add this Hearty Vegetable Bolognese sauce to your dinner menu this week! 🍝 This recipe gets its meaty texture from walnuts (inspired by @livingkitchen — a local #CLT-area fav!) and is a healthy and filling vegetarian dish we LOVE in our house!⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ INGREDIENTS ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 2 cups peeled, chopped carrots ⠀⠀ ½ cup chopped bell peppers⠀⠀ 8 ounces fresh mushrooms⠀⠀ 2 small yellow onions⠀⠀ ¼ cup kalamata olives⠀⠀ ¼ cup Cabernet Sauvignon ⠀⠀ 3 garlic cloves, peeled⠀⠀ 1 cup walnuts ⠀⠀ 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning ⠀⠀ 1 teaspoon sea salt ⠀⠀ 1 25-ounce jar marinara sauce⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ DIRECTIONS ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ In a food processor, shred the carrots, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, onions and garlic until they are shredded into very fine pieces.⠀⠀ Drizzle a large, deep nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat to a medium-high heat. Add the shredded vegetables and allow them to cook down, as the water sweats out and they reduce in volume for about 5 minutes. Add the wine, reduce the heat and allow to simmer longer (approximately 7-10 minutes), until almost all of the liquid is gone.⠀⠀ While the vegetables are cooking, place the walnuts, Italian seasonings and sea salt into the food processor and grind into a course meal, taking care not to over grind, as a paste will form.⠀⠀ Add the walnuts to the skillet and stir.⠀⠀ Add the marinara sauce and stir to combine. Simmer on medium-low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.⠀⠀ Serve on top of whole wheat spaghetti, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash or your favorite pasta and enjoy!⠀⠀
A new German study found that when you drink 17 ounces of water (about two glasses) within a certain time frame, your metabolic rate shoots up by about 30 percent. Using these results, they estimate that by increasing your current water intake by 1.5 liters a day, a person would burn an extra 17,400 calories a year, resulting in about a five-pound weight loss.
21. Keep it simple. "I take a minimalist approach to nutrition: My diet consists of lean protein (chicken breast, egg whites, ground turkey), complex carbs (quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal), healthy fats (coconut oil, almonds, avocados), and leafy green veggies. I eat as clean as I can—locally-grown vegetables, organic when possible, and minimally-processed everything."
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