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.
About: Yes, it’s true Julie is not exactly a “new” blogger (she’s been doing it since 2011). But when you look at her blog, it’s easy to see why we added her here — she’s got the same caliber as the big guns, and deserves even more recognition than she’s already had. Julie decided some time back that she was going to make better decisions when it came to her health, but progress with weight loss, as she puts it, has been “S-L-O-W.” Determined and just happier with the way she feels, Julie carried on until she reached her goal weight. Today, she hovers between 150 and 170 pounds, blogging about what she eats, what inspires her and how she hopes to inspire others, too.
Simply popping a few almonds in your mouth could help you shed pounds, and not just because almonds are better for you than, say, candy. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating 1.5 ounces of almonds a day reduced belly and leg fat. And another study of overweight adults found that people who ate ¼ cup of almonds for 6 months had a 62 percent greater reduction in weight and BMI.
And lastly have a light dinner, you are about to go to bed, you don’t need a big burger (seriously, have that at lunch instead!) you would benefit from a light, veggie heavy meal that will keep you full and satisfied, a goal of 300-400 calories is best at night. Plus your body processing all those good for your veggies at night will keep your metabolism up while you sleep and help reset your cravings for the next day. Eat good tonight and you’ll be more likely to eat healthier all day tomorrow.
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.
Mason, A. E., Epel, E. S., Aschbacher, K., Lustig, R. H., Acree, M., Kristeller, J., … Daubenmier, J. (2016, May 1). Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite , 100, 86–93. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799744/
It’s not about the fancy tricks or fast fixes. It’s not about losing 20 pounds in two weeks. It’s about the slow, day-by-day actions that turn into sustainable habits. It’s about learning how to develop sustainability and consistency. With nutrition, instead of thinking of foods in terms of yes/no lists and strict rules, it’s more about eating wholesome foods, cooking nourishing meals, and developing sustainable habits. I love cooking, exercising, and learning about living a balanced lifestyle. I am prioritizing lasting wellness.

On top of exercise, it’s nutrition. I believe they go hand in hand. In the beginning, improving nutrition was just as hard as improving fitness, except for sometimes now I think nutrition is more challenging. Exercising was just 1 - 1.5 hours a day of busting your butt, but nutrition was the remaining 22 hours, so there were way more opportunities to fall short or not eat as well as I could. However, because I think it is important to be optimistic, I will say that there were 22 hours a day to nourish my body with good and healthy foods. It just took me a long time to figure out the best way to do that (and just to clarify, I'm still figuring it out.)

The first couple of weeks of wanting to make a change were in a very busy season of life. The first two weeks of January were filled with healthy food and exercise, but as soon as classes started, the business really kicked in. There were weekly ministry activities, ultimate frisbee practice, classes, research projects, trying to hang out with friends before everyone moved across the country after graduation, etc. The busier my schedule was, the less important healthy eating and exercise became. It was only a few weeks and I fell of the bandwagon and was back to my old habits and feeling frustrated. I would tell myself “I’ll eat better tomorrow” or “I’ll work out tomorrow night” and then had such difficulty following through. I pushed it off and pushed it off.  I had some short streaks of eating well, but my lack of self-control would lead me to easily giving up. I made excuses for my unhealthy lifestyle like “I’ve always been overweight” or “I’ve never consistently worked out” because there were overweight people that loved themselves well too.

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…

At SkinnyFit, we believe that healthy is beautiful, just like you. And no matter what phase of your weight loss journey you’re in, we are here to help you look and feel positively radiant from the inside out. We believe that self-love, body positivity, and confidence creates a necessary foundation for a sustainable lifestyle change and that our dedication to providing premium, all-natural health, and wellness products will help you get there.

About: Kelsey’s blog is packed with easy-to-follow healthy recipes and fitness routines (and they’re not just your run-of-the-mill workouts, either). They’re formulated or endorsed from Kelsey herself — a 50 pound weight loss success story. Kelsey had been pretty fit and thin her whole life, but shortly after leaving college, countless nights of eating out and drinking led to her packing on an extra 50 pounds. Unhappy, Kelsey decided to make a change. What’s especially inspirational about her story is that she did so slowly. She made small changes, slowly started eating cleaner and eventually lost all the weight. Now, five years later, she’s still fit and sharing her story on her blog and in her books, fitness routines and recipes with readers. She even hosts weight loss challenges (with cash prizes) to really cheer people on and give them incentive to keep going.
Andie Mitchell is a writer, healthy recipe developer, and New York Times bestselling author of “It Was Me All Along”, a memoir documenting her 135-pound weight loss journey. Andie’s blog is a truly inspiring compilation of life lessons, mindset, healthy habits, recipes, and real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression and anxiety, and how to navigate the struggles of a weight loss transformation.
hey wow this is inspiring! im in my mid 20s and although have been slightly over weight here and there i usually stay within a BMI of 24-26. coming from a family that eats relatively healthy yet can eat what ever they want and still struggle to gain weight i am definitely the black sheep. i figured this was just my body since my parents have put me on diets since the age of 1 (doctors orders). This past February i decided to get fit for the summer after looking at a terrible photo of me on the beach and decided to count calories to see where i was going wrong. although i was eating my suggested calories a lot were bad (overdoing things with olive oil, cheese, salad dressing- all things i thought were good). so i recently decided to stick to a 80% clean plan, which is easy for me since i love my veggies. except cutting out oils and cheese made me realize i was slightly and mostly eating vegan 60-70% of the time. after losing 10 pounds i hit a plateau for a few months until i cut another 100 calories. as i am in health care i worry about enough nutrients, calcium, protein ect so i spoke to my doctor who told me to eat more! he sent me to both a dietitian and nutritionist who both told me not to worry as my BMI was now 22.8 and that calorie shouldn’t matter but i know theres something wrong. im not going to count calories for the rest of my life but i do believe it is important at beginning stages. im currently consuming 600 calories per day! i know its scary when i say it but its mostly raw veggies and im actually full but my energy level is still low so ive had to stop exercising as much. i now struggle to eat more without felling stuffed or bloated, did you have this issue too? was it hard to eat more and was it a gradual increasing of calories? and when you went from 900 to 1500+ did you gain weight initially with the added calories and then start losing or did you just start losing from where your current weight was?
I’m 5′ 2″ or so, and about 102 pounds. I’m 19. Not that long ago, I was only 94 or so, and I eat very healthy (lean protein, fruits, vegetables). My one “no-no” is Starbucks in the morning, but I’ve always done that, even when I was thin. I want to drop the 8 pounds I gained ASAP. I used to be very tone, and I feel like all that has gone away. What do I need to do. Please help.
These days I am definitely not a hard core eater like I was back then. I have determined that to stay sane and happy and thin-ish, I have to give myself realistic expectations. The empty pantry and laser focus was not something that I could personally keep up with forever and ever. I have also learned that controlling my stress and anxiety is crucial for me. I am such a stress eater that recognizing my weak point has helped me so much in maintaining my weight loss. I still try and shop the perimeter of the store, I do not keep treats or chips in the house if I can help it because I recognize the fact that I have zero will power and I try and move at least a little every day. I give myself a weight gain-loss range rather than a set weight that I need to maintain forever. That way if I get off track I don’t sink back into feeling like I have failed and just give up on staying thin. To be completely honest, I am not 120 lbs anymore. I have gained about 10lbs since 2013 but am hoping to get back down a little over the Summer. And one last SUPER honest confession, after getting down to my goal weight of 120 lbs, I did have a full abdominoplasty in August 2013. It was literally my only option given the amount of extra skin I had from the weight loss.

It was (and still is) important for me to have a game plan for the day. Usually I prepared the night before for all my meals for the next day. I would pack my lunch, think about my breakfast, or talk to Alan about what we would make for dinner the next day. If I was going out for a meal, I would think about healthy choices I could make. If I was going to have to work late, I would pack a healthy snack to hold me over. I found that it was really helpful for me to set myself up for success ahead of time. 
“To lose weight you should primarily eat whole foods, but don’t eliminate your favorites. Consistently eating nutrient-dense food on a day-to-day basis will improve the chances of upregulating metabolism and of eliminating nutritional deficiencies. That may mean tracking what you eat in some way at first, but it doesn’t mean ruling out entire food groups or foods you love. Consistent quality nutrition while learning to enjoy treats in moderation will set you up for long-term sustainable success. — Victoria Viola, PN Certified Nutrition Coach, NSCA CPT, Co-Founder, Excelerate Wellness, LLC
About: Kristina is a plus-size model with a mission: help women learn to love their bodies while working to exercise, eat right and live healthfully. But most importantly, Kristina’s blog is about exploring body confidence and “healthy curves.” Her blog is the perfect balance of encouraging healthy living and loving yourself at the same time. Plus, Kristina’s great about taking it outside herself. Every month, she features the “Curvy Girl of the Month” where she profiles other successful women.
So I am not going to lie. This is absolutely a post that I never in one million and one years thought I would share on my blog. What started as an interior design blog quickly became a “follow our journey” blog and now I just chat about anything and everything that I love or am going through or just feel like sharing. I’ll blame it on the fact that I get bored easily or maybe that there are only so many room reveals one can do each month. Whatever the case may be, I still never ever planned on sharing THIS. I mean who searches through bins and bins of old photo albums to hunt down the worst images taken of themselves in their entire life? Well that would be me. And then on my blogger girl’s trip several weeks ago, someone spotted the image on my driver’s license (yes it is forever old but who wants to wait in the DMV line to simply change their photo?!?) and so the weight loss conversation ensued. The story of how I once weighed about 100lbs more than I do today…
Spanx are maybe no one’s idea of a good time, but sometimes you just need a little extra (firm) help to flatten your tummy to wear your favorite dress or for a special evening out. And there’s nothing wrong with turning to technology to help you get there. Body shaping undergarments have come a long way in the past few years with more breathable fabrics and styles for both men and women.
The credibility of your articles has really just changed dramatically for me. None of the aforementioned “diet plans” listed in this article have any type of longevity or sustenance to them, which means they’ll last you a week or two at the most. Which then brings me to your article about fat loss vs water weight vs muscle loss. High protein, low carbohydrate diets are NOTORIOUS for causing a nice muscle burn over a fat burn.
It is possible to do more in less time — at least when it comes to your workouts. By incorporating interval training — that means bursts of high-intensity moves — you’ll give your metabolism a huge boost, says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., director of the Kinesiology Program at the University of Virginia and author of The Spark. If you usually jog at a consistent pace, try adding a 30-second to one-minute sprint every five minutes, or, if you’re on a treadmill, change up the incline for one-minute intervals.

I rarely have to snack at all. My breakfast is quite large and will always tied me over until lunch. I then try to eat my lunch very slowly (over an hour or so) throughout the day while working, etc. so that it will last to supper. The days I do a resistance workout, I’ll have a high protein smoothie after (which is usually in the afternoon) so that keeps me until supper.
About Blog The SkinnyJane Weight Loss Challenges and their weight loss products were created for women by a women's weight loss professional who has 15 years experience helping women lose weight and is owner/manager of a women's only weight loss facility. SkinnyJane includes the details and materials of the weight loss plan that has been carefully developed over 15 years of helping women lose weight.
About: Jess doesn’t blog as often as she used to, but every once in awhile she’ll pop in to share her latest life experiences, and, when she does, it’s sure to touch you deeply. Jess started blogging in 2013 to document her training for her first marathon, but quickly found that running ran in her veins. She uses it as a way to cope with life’s hardships and adventures — and takes her readers along a relatable journey as she does.
“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
Hi! Great article. I know what you mean about how seeing fast results can get you so excited that it motivates you to do more – eat better, become more active, etc. I lost 5 pounds on a program and I didn’t exercise at all but I got so much energy and desire to have more results that it is changing the way I think and live. I look up great healthy recipes, exercise tips all kinds of healthy minded things. Also I totally agree about the cheat days. No matter what program we are on we need to feel ok when we have a cheat day. If we punish ourselves because we enjoyed a little extra one day then we end up in worse shape. (well that was my experience) Now I know it’s ok if I have a little extra every so often because I know the next day I’m excited to get back to following my plan.
About: Amy’s blog is about motherhood. It’s about marriage. It’s about being classy. And it’s about leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s the “healthy lifestyle” part that drew us in. That part of her blog has tips to kickstart weight loss, healthy recipes and motivational posts — but it also has things on more hard-hitting topics like fat-talk and body-shaming (and how Amy overcame it). Amy’s blog is a one-stop shop for everything relationships, fashion, healthy living, wellness and more.
Dietary medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) cannot be stored by the body, so they need to be burned immediately upon absorption from the small bowel, as a buildup of MCFAs in the bloodstream is dangerous.  So if one’s intake of MCT/MCFA at any point in time is greater than one’s peak fat oxidation capacity, the liver has to step in and reduce the toxic excess of MCFAs to ketones, which are more readily used and far less dangerous.  While this rise in ketones induced by MCT oil consumption can trigger some of the epigenetic benefits associated with nutritional ketosis, it does not induce the accelerated ability to burn fat associated with keto-adaptation.  And this has implications for our quest to understand the relationship between ketones and weight loss.
Basic Principles Simply put, we lose weight if we consume less energy than we use. Energy comes from the food and drink that we eat and is measured in calories (Cals, cals or kcals). Energy is burnt constantly by our bodies, the amount of energy burnt doing a particular activity varies by its intensity. Assuming that your weight is currently stable, your energy-in and energy-out are equal. To lose weight, this equation needs to be unbalanced, so energy-out is greater than energy-in. Naturally, we can achieve this in two ways. We can burn more energy, by doing exercise, or we can consume less energy, by eating fewer calories (note, this need not mean less food by weight or volume). For most people losing weight is roughly a 80:20 diet:exercise split, simply because it's a lot easier to deny yourself a ~300kcal slice of cake than walking 2-3 miles to burn it off. You can lose weight without any exercise whatsoever if you wish, but exercise in itself is very good for you either way. Be Realistic Besides the very basics, you have to be realistic and accept that, if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to change a few things. Possibly the most important realization is that you need to make a lifestyle change. The majority of people need to change their diet, as opposed to go on a diet; reverting to old habits will see you reverting to old body-weights, too.
And while the weight room can be intimidating for women, pumping iron is key to getting a toned and fit physique. Don’t worry, lifting heavy weights won’t make you bulky — you just don’t have the testosterone to build the size of a man. Lifting will improve your posture, make your arms, core and lower body more shapely and boost your metabolism by building muscle. Resistance training also helps you hold onto muscle that you naturally lose as you age.
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