While you can get tests to evaluate the cortisol level in your blood, only you can determine your own innate level of stress. Take some time to evaluate if you are living in a constant (or close to constant) state of stress. You might also notice increased anxiety levels, mood swings, trouble sleeping, fatigue (including feeling tired but unable to wind down) and high blood pressure.
On this site you will find a huge database of the nutritional values of just about any food you can think of. It also has a database of the calories burned in exercises as well as normal daily activities. There are tools to help you figure out your caloric needs for a day (these are generalized so they will be a good starting point for you. Mine are very different than the standard but I started with these numbers and adjusted up or down as needed to achieve weight loss at the speed I felt was healthy)
I have been heavy my entire life, at my largest I was 275 lbs and a size 20. I hated how I looked and how I felt. I have tried every diet out there, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Atkins, sugar free, fat free, calorie counting, you name it I’ve tried it. I read all the weight loss blogs. Sometimes I would lose a little weight, but inevitably something happened, I gave up and gained it back plus more.
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.
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.
Gym memberships can be expensive, and some days you just can't make it into the gym. Or maybe, you might not feel comfortable in a gym quite yet. At the start of her weight loss journey, Suheily Rodriguez says he was too embarrassed to go to a gym. "So I built a home one," she says, "where I exercised an hour a day, six days a week." She credits this to her 96-pound weight loss.
Also, while your menstrual cycle may not affect weight gain or loss, losing or gaining weight can affect your menstrual cycle. Women who lose too much weight or lose weight too quickly may stop having a period, or have irregular periods. Women who have obesity may also have irregular periods. A regular period is a sign of good health. Reaching a healthy weight can help women who have irregular periods to have cycles that are more regular. Learn more in our Menstrual Cycle section.