Amanda Brooks is an avid runner, Certified Personal Trainer, and the passionate and encouraging voice behind Run To The Finish, a weight loss blog turned healthy living blog. With over 20,000 miles logged to date, Amanda’s dedication to running has not only helped her lose 35 pounds but created an entirely new outlook on healthy living. Run To The Finish shares her personal weight loss journey, clean eating recipes, workout ideas, running tips, expert interviews, and motivation to inspire others to see running as a vehicle to “think beyond the clock” to start living a healthier life.
Stress skyrockets your levels of cortisol, often called “the belly fat” hormone because it signals to the body to store fat around your waist. Add the daily stressors of living our modern lifestyle and you can see how cortisol can be constantly coursing through your veins. This perma-stress mode isn’t good for a lot of healthy reasons, your tummy being just one of them, so it’s important to take time every day to de-stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, doing a hands-on hobby, or playing a musical instrument are all great time-tested methods. (Hint: Know what isn’t? Watching television. The boob tube actually increases your levels of cortisol!)

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.

Unsurprisingly, the results showed that nothing had happened to the weight of the women receiving calcium or the placebo. However, the group which took the multivitamin lost more weight – about 3 kg more – and improved their health markers. Among other things, their basal metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns calories when at rest) increased.
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!
Sarah Dussault is a mother, a Certified Personal Trainer, Holistic Health Coach, and full-time health and wellness blogger and YouTuber. Her mission is to help young women learn how to eat clean and get fit so they can feel confident about the way they look, without depriving themselves of a social life. She shares fitness videos, healthy recipes, mom stuff, and health and fitness for pregnancy all on her blog!
Stress may contribute to abdominal fat, according to several studies, including a recent one at the University of California, San Francisco. "When you're stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism down and encourage fat storage inside your abdomen," explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Clinic at the University of Utah. So what's a frazzled girl to do? "Find an activity that reduces stress for you, whether it's listening to soothing music or taking yoga, and do it daily," advises Talbott.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Shelley started her blog on the same day she decided to start what she believes will be her final diet. That day, she weighed 256 pounds—two years later she lost over 110 pounds and was her lowest weight in over 20 years, 146 pounds! Shelley uses her blog as a way to remember all of her successes, failures, plateaus and everything else in between. She’s found tremendous support through the blogging community throughout her weight loss journey and continues to share it all on her blog.

Break out the lemon wedges: Regular fish eaters tend to have lower levels of the hormone leptin — good because high levels of leptin have been linked to low metabolism and obesity, says Louis Aronne, M.D., an obesity specialist at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. Try to consume three to four servings of a fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel, each week.

About: The truth is we all love a good success story — they show us what other people, real people that went through the same things we did, were able to achieve. They also give us ideas on how we can kickstart our own weight loss journey and succeed. The Weigh We Were is a one-stop shop for all those stories, real stories from other people who lost weight, plus how they did it. It’s just the place to get ideas from similar people to see what might work and what won’t.
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!
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).

Unfortunately this reduces the debate to a very simplistic level.  Why?  Because we know that hunger, appetite, energy expenditure (i.e., metabolic rate), and even our propensity to be active are highly regulated by an increasing list of hormones and signaling molecules, not to mention our genetic inheritance (Bouchard 1994).  Moreover these various factors interact with each other – for example: exercise stimulates hunger, calorie restriction increases hunger and decreases spontaneous activity (Keys 1950), calorie restriction reduces metabolic rate, and exercise plus calorie restriction markedly reduces metabolic rate (Phinney 1988).
Harvie, M. N., Pegington, M., Mattson, M. P., Frystyk, J., Dillon, B., Evans, G., … Howell, A. (2011, May). The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: A randomized trial in young overweight women. International Journal of Obesity (London), 35(5), 714–727. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3017674/
While it’s often assumed that bread is off-limits when you’re trying to lose belly fat, the right bread may actually expedite the process. Switching to sprouted bread can help out carb-lovers eager to get their fix without going up a belt size, thanks to the inulin content of sprouted grains. The results of a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism reveal that found that pre-diabetic study subjects whose diets were supplemented with inulin shaved off more belly fat and total weight than those whose meal plans didn’t pack this healthy prebiotic fiber.
I don’t quite know how to put this, but my jaw was dropped throughout the entirety of this post. Your life story outside of having a husband is nearly identical to mine!! I was a cute kid, and then I was overweight throughout my childhood, I attempted dieting in the same way (mine was carrots though, not bell pepper strips), I played volleyball and then tennis, I lost weight in college, I hated running with a passion and then started running. I’m now 23, still quite overweight and attempting to lose it. I was kind of in a rut, upset because I have gained almost all the weight that I’ve lost back. But you have given me so much hope. Thank you so so much for posting your story. I’m still a little in shock at how similar our lives are. Thanks again.

However, if you’re already on medication and think it could be hampering weight loss efforts, speak with your doctor about your options. It may be possible to transition to a more natural option, like a natural form of birth control, coming up with a plan to transition off medication or simply trying an alternative that’s not known to cause weight gain.
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 🙂

When you've got a lot of weight to lose, deciding where to begin can be super-overwhelming—but we've got a good place for you to start. We've talked to dozens of women who completely transformed their bodies—we're talking shedding 50-plus pounds—and pulled together a list of the eight simple changes they made that had the biggest impact on the scale. Their tried-and-true tips might be exactly what you need to get on the path to serious results. But don't just take our word for it: These women's results speak for themselves.
“One of the keys to long-term and sustainable weight loss is to cut total calorie intake, and there’s no better way to do that than by eating just a little bit less of what you currently eat. Once you get into a habit of reducing portions—especially of sugary, fatty and other nutrient-poor foods—you can fine tune your diet to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods. But paring portions is still the best first step.” — Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of  Younger Next Week
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.
Thank you so much for this article on carb cycling & weight loss for women! I found it tremendously helpful for personal reasons but also because I work with so many women (as a personal trainer) who encounter significant frustration when it comes to weight loss, health & hormonal status (the interplay among them). Your article seems to speak to mostly women of reproductive age or to women who are still menstruating. I also work with many women age 50+ and wondered what recommendations, if any, might you have to offer regarding carbs/carb cycling for peri-/menopausal/post-menopausal women? Thank you so much, Stefani – the info & wisdom you share on your blog & via your podcast (which I love!) are invaluable to me. I also totally dig your book and recommend it to other women all the time! I so appreciate the work you’re doing!
If you watch TV often, you've probably seen a commercial pop up for Jenny Craig. When you do the diet, you receive a unique weight loss plan for your specific lifestyle and have a personal consultant to check in with at least once a week. And, the meals are delicious: There are more than 100 menu items to choose from for your meals, which are five a day plus one snack of your own.
Hi Amanda! I promise you, you are NOT hopeless. You can do this! One small change at a time. Every decision matters and those small things add up so quickly. Feel free to send me an email and we can talk more and I may be able to give you more specific guidance, but for now, just know that you can do this. If God can take a junk food-loving, couch potato like me and turn me into a veggie-loving runner, I promise He can transform your life (and your heart), too!
Jennifer, you have given absolutely wonderful advice here. You get it! The only thing I would tell you is that while milk chocolate is not good for you, dark chocolate is (65% cacao or higher). The principles you outline are basically what I’ve been following, so I know what you say is accurate. The other thing I’ve learned is that one can have alcoholic beverages in moderation and still lose weight. I am certain that if you stick with the principles you’ve outlined, you will keep your weight off. Congratulations on a job well done!

Before I really get into the content of this post, I should note that throughout my weight loss journey, I have learned a lot about nutrition, fitness, mental wellness, and body image. There are some things that I will mention that worked really well for me that might not work as well for other people. What started out as a journey to weight loss has evolved into a journey of an overall healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar — up to four grams per tablespoon — and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat fast. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better; the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.
About: Healthier key lime pie. Lower-calorie chocolate caramel snickers bars. Lower carb chocolate-filled cookies. If you have a sweet tooth but are trying to lose weight, Kaylie’s blog is for you. Kaylie is a registered dietitian who has a sweet tooth of her own. So, naturally, she figured out recipe swaps for making desserts with lower calories while maintaining all the sweet deliciousness. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.
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.
The Google team looked at all their search data for 2016 to see what emerged as the top diet trends, and this buzzy acronym diet secured the top spot. Unlike most diets, it swaps counting calories for focusing on insulin levels — a measurement of your blood sugar that nutritionists love to zoom in on when evaluating a food's health merits — to ensure steady, lasting weight loss.
Make time for exercise. Exercising might actually make you gain a few pounds of muscle when you first start, but it's an essential component of any long-term, sustainable weight loss plan. Regardless of how busy you are, it is essential that you make time to exercise each day if you actually want to lose weight and keep it off. Even little things like walking instead of driving to the store can affect how quickly you lose weight.[1]
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.
I actually woke up this morning thinking that just as we plan our days, our social lives, our journeys so we need to really plan what we eat and – like a route map – and stick to it without deviation if we want to reach our goal. So that’s what I’m about to try. It is, however, all too easy, come the weekend, to be influenced by those around us who are not so bothered by their reflection in the mirror. But to be true to myself I am going to listen to my body and be strong in aiming for that end goal and not succumb to all those crisps with double gin and tonics(!), slices of toast with eggs for breakfast and snacks that I am given that I haven’t been in control of making. I’m going to ask if I am actually hungry or just bored or just being plain greedy. I will need to politely decline my husband’s pampering treats of cheese, pickle on brown bread – or offer to make a more healthy snack of my choice and making – crisp bread, crudités. Or perhaps I’ll simply half the snack and give my husband the other. I’ll listen to my body.

It’s rare for me to be able to contribute something relevant here, but I actually have been losing weight for the last year or so and I do have something closely related to a blog about it. The thing is, It’s been extremely inactive because I have no idea what to write about. The process of weight loss can be hard for a lot of people, but it’s not complex in any way. I guess my blog can be an example of how to not really do it? Any tips?
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.
HIIT elicits the same health benefits as steady-state cardio, but can lead to even greater improvements in body composition, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.[1-3] And you definitely burn more calories when you do it! Additionally, the release of hormones like epinephrine increases with high-intensity exercise, which can help your body use more fat for fuel.[1]
Dairy products contain varying amounts of lactose (milk sugar), which slows down weight loss. What’s more, part of the protein in milk generates a significant insulin response, which can have the same effect. Consequently, cutting back on dairy products may accelerate weight loss. This applies especially to dairy products typically lacking in fat, such as regular milk and various yogurts, but be careful with full-fat dairy such as cream and cheese all the same. And don’t forget whey protein powder, which is pure milk protein.
In proofreading this I decided to add a little side note. This is MY personal story and personal experience with anxiety medication. Maybe it just isn’t for me, maybe it just wasn’t the right one or maybe I just had a bad experience. Whatever the case may be, I completely understand that everyone has different situations and different stories. For me, anxiety was induced by our life situation and was something that I have been able to since manage on my own. But I completely understand and acknowledge that this might not be the case for everyone and I completely respect that.
Stress may contribute to abdominal fat, according to several studies, including a recent one at the University of California, San Francisco. "When you're stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism down and encourage fat storage inside your abdomen," explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Clinic at the University of Utah. So what's a frazzled girl to do? "Find an activity that reduces stress for you, whether it's listening to soothing music or taking yoga, and do it daily," advises Talbott.
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.
Full Plate Living is a nonprofit dedicated to a simple mission: Encourage, educate, support, and inspire anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. They don’t advocate for starving yourself, spending your life at the gym, or giving up the foods you love. They’re also not about fad diets or weight loss supplements. Instead, they offer practical, straightforward steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Visit the blog.
There’s a phenomenon I’ve see happen again and again. A husband and wife realize they’ve been enjoying their after-dinner snacks a bit too much and are seeing the numbers on the scale rise. They decide to embark on a healthy diet to shed those excess pounds and, ideally, lose weight fast. Two months later, the husband’s shed serious pounds and is looking trim, while the wife struggles to get the scale to budge, even after a diet full of kale salads and grilled chicken breast.
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