I was doing so well, getting into a routine again and eating well, and then HURRICANE MICHAEL. I had to eat fast food (no fresh fruit and vegs) for almost a month. I just got my Instant Pot, and was able to buy fresh veggies and fruit again…I didn’t realize how much I’d miss them!! I’ve always loved fresh fruit and veggies (except avocados, mushrooms, cauliflower and strawberries and blueberries). But, I also love potatoes, rice, bread, chips – anything salty.

Mindfulness matters. “If you slow down and stop just mindless eating, you often realize you don’t need to eat as much as you thought you did; you’re already full,” said Dr. Steinbaum.” Part of this is watching portion sizes, which have ballooned in restaurants over the past 40 years, leading adults to consume an average of 300 more calories per day now than they did in 1985. Did you know that one serving of bread is actually just one slice? Or one serving of pasta or rice is just half a cup? And a serving of cheese is only two ounces, or the size of a domino? You’re probably eating much more than you realized. “There have been multiple studies that see keeping a food journal is effective,” said Dr. Steinbaum. “When you start paying attention, you can really see what you’re doing.”
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.
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!
I do want to tell you that I think it is great that you are on a weight loss journey and that you joined Sparks People. I have been with them for 5 years and I love it! It keeps me motivated! Your doing a great job and it is wonderful that you are eating clean and healthy, just remember that in life there are some not so great for you foods, but you should never deprive yourself. Everything in moderation, just be conscience of what your putting in your body!
14 ways to lose weight without diet or exercise Strict diets can be challenging to follow, and people may not always have the time or ability to exercise. However, a variety of simple lifestyle changes can help people lose weight and improve their health. These include taking probiotics, getting enough sleep, and thoroughly chewing food. Learn more here. Read now
“Research continues to support the role of a high-protein diet and weight loss, however, we don’t want to reach those protein needs exclusively with animal proteins. Plant proteins found in beans not only help us feel full and stabilize blood sugar but beans are associated with longevity. Who cares about being skinny if you die young?” —Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
Jen grew up overweight and spent year after year jumping from one diet to the next and back again. Tired of being obese, Jen started her journey in August 2007 to not just diet, but actually change her lifestyle. She left the excuses behind, actually listened to what nutritionists said, began exercising and eating right - all while documenting it for the world to see online. Now, Jen has turned her success in health into success in business - turning her blog into a place where she not only shares her own daily ventures, but is host to other “prior fat girls” as they share their journey too.

Stress kills your health and is your biggest enemy when you’re trying to lose weight. Proven stress relievers are exercise (do it regularly — every day in some form), meditation (start with 5 slow, steady breaths through your nose and repeat), journaling, and happy hobbies (gardening, making art). You may need to invent your own brand of stress relief to find what works for you.

In fact, anything that is white or can be white. So no pastas, no rice, no breads, no oatmeal, no potatoes, etc. However, I still ate a ton of carbohydrates. I just ate better high-fiber carbs such as black beans, kidney beans, and lentils. The latter I didn’t really enjoy, so most of my meals were made up of beans. The picture to the left is an example of what I would eat for supper. This night I had a spread of black beans, cooked frozen veggies, and sliced ham. I basically substituted the ham for any other meat – chicken, beef, or pork mostly – and alternated between black and kidney beans. Note – if you find your food getting bland, try using mustard and pepper. For lunch, I’ll often take 1/2-1 can of tuna, 1-2 cups of frozen veggies, and a big scoop of bean, cook in the microwave, add a couple squeezes of mustard and pepper and shake.
Thank you for sharing your story and your advice! Very good advice! I don’t think you look gross above…I think you look happy. Never call yourself gross…its not a healthy thought. YOU are beautiful…your size doesn’t define you. I am soo proud of you though…taking such an interest in your health and habits and helping others, AND loosing weight and feeling better all around. What a beautiful thing!
Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn't require a refined sugar-packed snack. The key is retraining your taste buds to recognize naturally sweet foods, like fruit. "To curb my hankering for treats, I eat mangoes," says Tamyala Ezell, who lost 105 pounds by making over her eating habits and working out three times a week. "They have a natural sweetness that does the trick. Plus, they're low in calories and high in fiber." Another example? "I top berries, nectarines, and cherries with homemade whipped cream, nuts, and dark chocolate," says Goetke.
Top Quote: “While this is my playful attempt of sharing my experience with you, I have to be completely honest when I say that it’s been hard. I can live with giving up on all the gadgets, gizmos, systems and plans that barely saw the light of day, but it’s really hard to accept that I gave up on myself. While I know I have a long arduous journey ahead of me, I hope that I will inspire others to keep me company along the way.”
Well as of today, I have been exactly two weeks with not counting calories. I am taking a new approach to things, I am listening to my stomach!  Yes listening to my stomach!  It was hard the first week, and I did cheat a little, but I managed not to gain weight, kept up on exercise and ate mostly healthy.  I feel free!  It’s nice not to have to calculate every meal, every bite!  I know if I eat a piece of cake I won’t gain 10lbs over night!  Moderation is the key!  I now have the all around perfect healthy life style.  You’ll just have to stay tuned to my blog to make sure I stay on the right path!
What’s one poor decision that David sees people over the age of 50 making all the time? Skipping meals, most likely because of a decreased metabolism. “As we age, our hormones change,” she says. “Estrogen and testosterone gradually decrease over time, which leads to fat accumulation due to the body not processing sugar, as well. We also lose more muscle mass as we age, causing our resting metabolic rate to decrease. However, skipping meals can cause you to be deficient in important key nutrients needed as we age, such as overall calories and protein. Eating regularly throughout the day and getting enough calories/protein will help with higher energy levels and maintain muscle mass, which means a higher metabolism.”
"With all the different tips out there, it can be tricky to understand exactly which exercises work the best. HIIT is great for fat burning and will get your heart rate up, but I’d also recommend including strength (resistance) exercises too. Try lifting weights, using resistance bands or using the weight machines at the gym as these will increase your metabolism to help with weight loss, and increase your muscle strength. It’s important to mix-up your whole-body workouts so you don’t get bored."
When you drink liquid carbs, like the sugar in soda, your body doesn't register them the same way as, say, a piece of bread, according to a review of studies published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. That means, even though you're taking in calories, your fullness cues aren't likely to signal that you're satisfied once you finish off a can. And that can lead to consuming more overall.
Abby takes her voyage into healthy living on with a very realist attitude. She is extremely healthy, a runner who has competed in many races and went from barely being able to walk a mile to running anywhere from 6-12 miles a day. She also gives herself room to enjoy the less healthy aspects of life, such as cream cheese frosting, but doesn’t let herself get carried away. Her blog shares fun recipes, product reviews, race recaps and anything else related to her efforts to stay fit and have fun doing it.
The prevalence of obesity is increasing and according to the latest statistics of the world health organization, 13% of adults worldwide are obese and 39% are overweight (1). Obesity increases the risk of metabolic diseases, cancer, and cataract (2, 3). Statistics have shown that obesity and its consequences have high costs for communities (4). There is a positive association between body mass index (BMI) and direct and indirect (due to premature deaths) health care costs. Indirect costs of obesity (54% to 59%) have been reported more than the direct costs (5). In the last century, due to the increasing prevalence of obesity and its hidden costs, control and treatment of obesity requires more attention.
Your parents weren’t kidding about how important veggies are for a healthy body. What they probably didn’t tell you, however, was that snacking on veggies is also one of the easiest ways to shed unwanted belly fat, too. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, opting for non-starchy veggies, like cauliflower, broccoli, and cucumber, as snacks helped overweight kids shed 17 percent of their visceral fat while improving their insulin sensitivity over a five-year period. Think snacking on veggies will leave you hungry? The 20 Most Filling Fruits and Veggies will have your belly satisfied in no time.
I still remember the day that I visited my OBGYN in December 2006 and asked if it was “safe” to continue my medication while I tried to get pregnant. Without hesitation, she said “absolutely!”. Yet for some reason, I will call it God, I literally just woke up one day. In January 2007, I looked in the mirror and was like “holy crap”. Who is this person and what have I been thinking?!? That day I decided to quit cold turkey. Unfortunately the medication was so strong that I had intense withdrawal for several days. Everything on Earth told me to keep taking it but something inside of me told me to stop. And then March of that same year, I got pregnant! Having only lost maybe 10lbs that I had gained, I started gaining AGAIN with my pregnancy. Addison was born December 2007 and after several months of no sleep, no energy and zero motivation I decided that today was the day. I was literally OVER IT. I honestly cannot even remember how I heard of this book, but I bought it and I read it cover to cover (this is the newest version)…

Fathi, Y., Faghih, S., Zibaeenezhad, M. J., & Tabatabaei, S. H. (2016, February). Kefir drink leads to a similar weight loss, compared with milk, in a dairy-rich non-energy-restricted diet in overweight or obese premenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(1), 295–304. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-015-0846-9
The trick here is not only to avoid all obvious sources of carbohydrate (sweets, bread, spaghetti, rice, potatoes), but also to be careful with your protein intake. If you eat large amounts of meat, eggs and the like, the excess protein will be converted into glucose in your body. Large amounts of protein can also raise your insulin levels somewhat. This compromises optimal ketosis.
About: Mindy doesn’t just blog about weight loss, it’s actually her job to help people lose weight. She’s a busy, Washington, D.C.-based one-on-one weight loss coach, and (luckily for us), spends some of her spare time blogging about it too. Her blog is great in that it clearly comes from an experienced professional, but it’s also fun to read and features Mindy’s quirky personal touch, just what the doctor ordered for people as they work to drop those extra pounds.
As funny as it sounds, sleep deprivation may make you fat — and not just because you're susceptible to cases of the late-night munchies (although there's that too). There's tons of research that demonstrates getting less than the desired amount — about 7 hours — of sleep per night can slow down your metabolism. Plus, when you're awake for longer, you're naturally more likely to nosh. So don't skimp on your ZZZs, and you'll be rewarded with an extra edge when it comes to shedding pounds quickly.
One of the most creative things about Roz’s blog is her “Food Bucket List,” which outlines some very, very far-fetched foods Roz wants to try as she traverses her “get-fit-before-50” path. They include delicacies like frog legs, sea urchins, even bear meat. She also has a “New Word Wednesday” tab, where she shares some (often hilarious) new words and definitions, such as “vivers” (meaning “food” or “eatables”) and our personal favorite, “mulligrubs” (meaning “low spirits") - plus many more you’ve likely never heard. Roz is all about divulging new, innovative insights, recipes and photos pertaining to healthy living and her mission to be fit and healthy before turning 50.
Visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat, is the layer of fat below the muscles of your abdomen. Due to its crucial location surrounding many of your vital organs, belly fat supplies a constant source of energy but also exposes the body to harmful toxins and hormones. When you have too many fat cells or your fat cells get too large, they can overproduce toxins that increase your risk for chronic inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is why belly fat can be more dangerous than subcutaneous fat—or the outer layer of fat that you can pinch with your fingers. That said, the reason you're having trouble buttoning your pants may not be visceral fat: what we're calling "belly fat" these days could be bloating or water retention rather than a fat buildup. Read on for steps you can take to beat the bulge.
Mary started her blog as a way to regain faith in herself. For Mary, weight is a constant battle, losing and gaining and losing some more, Mary intends to make this her last time seeing the numbers on the scale climb. Mary is quite creative with her blog. She even has a section devoted to the rewards she gets when she loses weight, such as a charm bracelet and a manicure (a lesson we could all learn from), as well as a bucket list that includes things like publishing a children’s book and running a 5K. Mary’s blog is one of self-discovery, from questioning why she is a people-pleaser to rejoicing in her own accomplishment - a blog you’ll want to check out for tips on how to do your own inner-reflection.
Rather than a long and low-intensity cardio workout, try the HIIT method of cardio: intense, fast-paced intervals that leave you completely exhausted after only a 20- to 30-minute session. This form of cardio training increases the afterburn effect, allowing your body to continue burning calories long after your workout is over. You can rotate between 30 seconds of your favorite exercises, with rest in between, as long as they work different muscle groups—such as squats, push-ups and kettlebell swings.

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?


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?

If you’ve got weight to lose and you want it gone fast, try swapping out your usual proteins in favor of fish. Not only is fish lower in calories than an equivalent amount of beef or chicken, a study published in Obesity reveals study subjects who added omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, to their diets shed more weight and had an easier time keeping it off than those who skipped them.
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.
About: Sanji started her blog in 2009 as a personal journey to discover what adventures life would bring her, including religion, dating, traveling and more. Fast forward 7 years later, and Sanji is married and has a child. Recently, she morphed her blog into a place to share about her weight loss journey and efforts to live healthy. Add in her long-time writing experience and willingness to get vulnerable, and you’re sure to find it’s a journey you can relate to and find inspiration.
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!
Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
Say cheese! Adding some extra calcium to your diet could be the key to getting that flat stomach you’ve been dreaming about. Over just 12 months, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville found that obese female study subjects who upped their calcium intake shed 11 pounds of body fat without other major dietary modifications. To keep your calcium choices healthy, try mixing it up between dairy sources, calcium-rich leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
Have you ever noticed that a couple hours after a big greasy (yet delicious) meal you feel hungry again? That’s because you have not turned off your hunger receptors, and as soon as your body starts to process that food your brain will start up again with “we need nourishment”… because you guessed it, that carton of kung-pow did not give you nourishment, just a full belly. Next time go for more veggies, you’ll stay fuller longer and thus eat fewer calories.
About: For some people, the idea of sweating it out in a gym or running for miles along the road is this side of awful. And for them, there’s Graceful Fitness, an approach that incorporates dance, yoga and deep-breathing — but also acknowledges the body’s limits and celebrates rest time. Plus, Graceful Fitness author Faith also has a unique approach to food — blending eating for health with eating for fun. It’s pretty much the peaceful way to incorporate fitness and healthy eating into your weight loss regime, and it’s all done by a young woman whose blog shows you step-by-step how to get there.

Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate how honest you are! I read a lot of stories and the answer is something like “I cut out soda and started walking” and they don’t talk about the really hard work, food choices, portion control, maintenance, etc. I’m also a person who can’t just eat anything & over the course of my marriage have gained a lot of weight – there’s something about weirdly trying to “keep up” with my much taller/larger husband who has a completely different metabolism! We are about to move & I finally feel really motivated to make changes in my lifestyle. I also appreciate that you are honest about your skin removal – so many people aren’t!!
If you do buy snacks and other convenience products like salad dressings, read the ingredients list and nutrition facts. Buy brands that are organic and free of pesticides and dyes. Skip the flavored version of foods like yogurt and add your own fresh fruit and honey to it. And when possible, make your own foods. Spend a few hours meal prepping on the weekends to make staples you can eat throughout the week, like sauce, dressings and healthy on-the-go snacks.
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