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.)
Refined white breads are simple carbohydrates that your body processes as sugar, and can really hinder your weight-loss efforts. Whole grain bread, on the other hand, is chock-full of slimming fiber and can help you feel fuller, longer. Just be sure to read your labels. “If the ingredients at the top of the ingredient list read sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, white or wheat flour, these foods contain mostly simple carbs and should be limited,” Rebecca Lewis, RD, told us. “A food is only considered a whole grain if the first ingredient on the packaging says, ‘whole grain’ or ‘whole wheat.’”
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: The primary purpose of Amanda’s website may not be to share fitness tips (she’s a virtual personal trainer), but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some amazing ideas on how to exercise in her blog. Amanda’s proven methods are the perfect balance of active training and rewarding results. Here, you’ll find fitness tips, training plans, healthy recipes and tons of health & nutritional information.
134 pounds down during several major life upheavals may be what Erika of the Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss is known for, but what she is loved for is her sense of humor, tell-it-like-it-is style, and tenacity. Whether you're looking for exercise ideas or healthy recipes, she's there for you. She also covers more difficult subjects like sexual violence, body image, and racism. Her post What a Victim-Blaming World Looks Like to a Victim will really make you think.

Your weight loss regimen is great. I have cut out the carbohydrates that I was consuming a lot of such as pizza, potatoes, bread and the list goes on. I have also stopped drinking regular milk and the results are amazing. I do use a supplemental pill the African Mango to assist in my weight loss journey. I have already lost 9 pounds and loving the progress. I hope people really understand the benefits of this program and utilize it because it works – you just need to give your body the chance.
This was one of the biggest challenges for me. That said it is crazy how fast you can lose weight quickly if you simply cut out drinking unnecessary calories. Admittedly, I’ve historically enjoyed a beer or two over dinner at home – and even more than one or two if out with some friends. Although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a beer a night, or a glass of wine a night, I know the former is not great for losing weight.

About: The first thing you’ll notice when you check out Adam’s blog is that he’s funny — like really, really funny (hence the name of his blog). A self-proclaimed “boring guy” and “dork,” Adam’s blog started as a way to share his thoughts on being a traveling management consultant to a place for sharing running, humor, life and more — probably one of the most interesting changes we’ve run across. Adam’s been battling some knee problems off-and-on, but still makes it a priority to live healthy, exercise (like hiking) and share it all in his traditional good-humored, naturally-engaging way.
It takes a lot of guts to share a story like this, but I truly believe you will inspire so many people by doing so. You are beautiful, then and now. It is very hard to share our lives on a blog because so many people see this “picture perfect” life and think they can’t relate. To share our real life experiences, along with the beautiful rooms and decor give people a chance to truly relate that they too can have a beautiful space- and that they too can get off the couch and take their life into their hands and do what it takes to lose that 10 or 100 lbs. Like your friend said, you are an inspiration- and I am happy to follow along on your journey!
The scale is not necessarily your friend. You may want to lose fat – but the scale measures muscles, bone and internal organs as well. Gaining muscle is a good thing. Thus weight or BMI are imperfect ways to measure your progress. This is especially true if you’re just coming off a long period of semi-starvation (calorie counting), as your body may want to restore lost muscles etc. Starting weight training and gaining muscle can also hide your fat loss.

No matter what a magazine article says, spot improving is a myth! When your body burns fat, it takes it from all over your body, even if all you do are crunches. No amount of crunches will get rid of that gut if they are not backed up by proper aerobic exercise and diet! Washboard abs do not come from millions of sit-ups; they come from having low levels of body fat. So if that is your goal, make sure you do plenty of aerobic exercise in addition to your ab routine.


In the summer of 2009, I was stressed out with life!  So after dinner, every night, no matter what I went for a short walk around the block, and within 1 month I lost 10lbs.  My body must of went into shock with actually moving around.  That was the push I needed.  I was so excited to lose the weight that I actually started to watch what I ate.  I didn’t calorie count, I started out with portion control.  By November I dropped another 10lbs.  I was sitting around 150lbs.  That’s when I took notice of calories in food.  I was shocked to find out how many calories there were in my favorite foods.  I thought ordering a salad from Baja Fresh was a good idea!  Nope!  Having reduced fat desserts from Starbucks was ok,nope.  So I started to track calories on a website, my Virtual Trainer.  I was sticking to around 1200 calories a day, because that is what the magazines would tell me.
Katie Foster is a mother and healthy lifestyle blogger for Running For Cookies. After struggling with being overweight her entire life, constant yo-yo dieting, and her weight reaching a high of 253 pounds, she decided to make a change for good when her weight prevented her from teaching her son how to ride a bike. Katie documents her 125-pound weight loss journey and her battle with mental health, along with healthy recipes, running advice, and motivation that helped her reach her goals and accept herself on her blog.
You know the kind, says Jillian: "Everyone's like: 'Give up carbs!' 'Give up fat!' 'Wait, no, now I'm taking pills!' None of them are manageable long-term—and they wreak havoc with your metabolism! Because you're either starving yourself or you're cutting out a major food group. Then you go back into weight-gain mode, but it's even worse, because your body has adjusted to all that crazy fad crap."

Another popular mainstream diet, Dr. Barry Sears's plan is considered to be one of the first in the recent wave of "anti-inflammatory" plans. It sets you up for success by calibrating your plate to be a third protein and two-thirds carbohydrates (not starchy ones like potatoes, think colorful vegetables instead) with a little bit of MUFAs, or monounsaturated fatty acids (the good-for-you kind ) in the mix.

Remember that in order to keep the pounds off and maintain your happy weight, you need to develop a healthy lifestyle. That means forming a routine and keeping up the habits so you can hang on to them for life. "I forced myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. four to five times a week to run," says Erin Bowman who has kept off 69 pounds. "My first few were horrible. But I stuck with it, eventually trading my run-walk intervals for steady 45-minute jogs," she says.
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
Plain and simple: We just don't feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink, for instance, won't make you feel full the way eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry will. So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages. If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you'll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you'll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.) Some other ways to skip sugar? Check 'em out here.

Dear Stefani, I am 65 years old and I would like to ask, what is your advice for post-menopausal women in regard to carbo-cycling? For the past 8 months I have practiced IF (fasting nearly daily, between 16 and 24 hours) combined with carbo-cycling (extremely low carbs for 3 or 4 days in a row followed by 1 day of carb reloading) to dramatically reduce my calorie intake while eating nutritious foods only. As a result, I have lost 70 pounds. Now that I am at a good weight and feeling well (I exercise daily), I would like to think I can use IF and carbo-cycling when necessary to avoid regaining weight. But I am concerned by the possibility that I may actually be undermining my body’s insulin sensitivity.


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!!
Do it better: Short bursts of intense activity burn more calories—and up to 36% more fat, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Strolling around the mall or a park for an hour works off about 150 calories; pick up the pace 1 minute out of every 5 to burn over one-third more calories (try a similar method if you bike). Swimmers can switch from freestyle or breaststroke to a more challenging crawl every few laps, or just go a little faster. Give these quick calorie-burning interval workouts a try.
Out-of-whack hormones have all kinds of uncomfortable side effects and belly bloat is one of them. There’s a reason that bloating is one of the primary complaints women have during menopause! While you can’t turn back the clock and reclaim the hormone profile of your 20’s, you can make sure you’re within the normal range—something your doctor can check for you. In the meantime, eating right and exercising are natural ways to balance your hormones.
Hey Adam, I am 16 years old and weigh 156lbs, since April of 2013, I’ve been on a strict vegetarian diet. This dramatic switch in diet lead me to lose 50lbs over the next 6 months and I feel great. I’ve followed many dieting rules that include cheat day and exersising but, I have hit a wall, everything I do (switching starchy grains for high fiber veggies, more water consumption, etc.) isn’t providing the results that I want. Instead, my weight fluctuates between 156lbs and 159lbs and my goal is to be about 150. I need some advice on how to lose the last 10-ish pounds. Can you help me?

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.


To be honest, I ate to my heart's content on NY's eve right up to midnight. It was my final "give in to food temptation" before the old year ended. As a result of overeating and drinking caffeinated drinks, I was up from the stroke of midnight on NY's day until 5 a.m. During that span, I read numerous articles on lifestyle changes and short term diet challenges. All that reading led me to this site, for which I'm so thankful.
Since insulin sensitivity is at its highest in the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, and carb intake is free to be at its highest, exercise can be more aerobic (long, moderate heart-rate-elevating cardio exercises). It is at this time that you can do your best high performance cardio training. Here you can challenge yourself with longer-term exercises that may be more “stressful” for your body, like long bike rides, tabata sprints, night-long dance sessions, and the like. It is at this time in your cycle that your body can handle the most aerobic stress.
Starving yourself is certainly not a good idea. But if you're otherwise healthy, a brief period of extreme calorie restriction isn't likely to hurt you. You should tell your doctor what you're doing, and be sure to include protein in your diet (70 to 100 grams per day). Take a multivitamin, and eat potassium-rich foods (tomatoes, oranges, and bananas).
I learned (and am still learning) to GIVE MYSELF GRACE. This is something I will probably work on my entire life. It’s humbling to know that even when I work so hard, I will fall short and miss the mark because I am human. With that in mind, I must forgive myself and love myself. It's important to keep my head up and remind myself that the tiny baby steps lead to progress.
Yasmine Farazian, a professor at an art and design college, can thank Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., author of The One One One Diet, for the easy rule of thumb that helped her shed 50 pounds: At each meal, she made sure to eat one carbohydrate, one protein, and one fat. Finally, Yasmine had the template for making a healthy, well-balanced meal that she needed. "I would have the bun, beef patty, and avocado," she says. "And if I wanted fries, I'd ask for lettuce instead of the bread."
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AKA the top nutrition authority in America) released a revised paper this year saying that both vegetarian and vegan diets are best for people's health as well as the environment. If you're not ready to make a complete shift to meatless and cheese-less, consider "part-time" vegan and vegetarian plans, where you eat mostly plant-based at breakfast and lunch or on weekdays, and then eat fish, meat, dairy, and eggs only during designated times.

Running watches are the easiest way to track your progress, remain motivated and keep weight off. Depending how fancy you go, you can track pretty much any metric that works for you, certainly way beyond whether you’ve achieved your 10,000 steps. Whether it’s weight, BMI, resting heart rate, calories burned or activity level, the best running watch will track it all.
About: Lisa hails from the United Kingdom — a long way from the U.S., but with a touching story of strength that is impossible to ignore. Lisa suffers from Chronic Fatigue, a debilitating condition that’s slowed her down significantly in life, and one that she’s also managed to fight back from. Lisa started her blog about a year ago as a way to lose weight in the hope that it would help improve her disease — her fight is definitely an inspirational one to follow.

Insulin (in-suh-lin): A hormone made by the cells in your pancreas. Insulin helps your body store the glucose (sugar) from your meals. If you have diabetes and your pancreas is unable to make enough of this hormone, you may be prescribed medicines to help your liver make more or make your muscles more sensitive to the available insulin. If these medicines are not enough, you may be prescribed insulin shots.


Don’t let the kids from school bug you, don’t give them that powers, they are just ignorant and yes, also stupid. Try not to get depressed either, talk to your parents or even someone who you can trust so that they can also help you deal with this. Some kid are just really mean, but you will get over it, remember that because you are soooooo totally worth it! 🙂


But I've seen some women beat themselves up over a few extra pounds, even though this does little more than destroy their self-worth. Berating yourself will not help motivate you to control your weight and improve your health. So the next time those negative thoughts creep into your head, recognize them for what they are and replace them with positive ones.
Hi Karen! I love Sparkpeople! I have been using there tracking tools for 4 years now and love it! It really helps you keep on track. I get ya about weight! I know I can’t eat like I used to too! It’s hard, but well worth the effort! Thank you for your kind words and don’t worry you lose those last ten pounds! I’m working on 10 pounds myself! Just think positive, be true to yourself and know you can do it!!!
About: Kristen is a country girl living in Oklahoma who recently started blogging about figuring out the whole “healthy living” thing with her husband and two dogs. Kristen loves life and is full of positivity, which is exactly why she started blogging about making healthier choices — so that she can continue to live life to the fullest. Her blog features posts of encouragement and practical tips, as well as her own personal ups and downs with making choices that create the total wellness package.
Women usually need fewer calories than men, especially as they age. That's because women naturally have less muscle, more body fat, and are usually smaller than men. On average, adult women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day. As you age, you need to take in fewer calories to maintain the same weight. You can also keep your weight healthy by increasing how much physical activity you get.
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