Trying to lose weight? Having trouble? Women often find it harder than men to shed excess pounds. In part that's because women's bodies have a tendency to "hold on" to a certain amount of fat. But in some cases the problem can be traced directly to certain habits and lifestyle traps - including many that can easily be remedied. Here are 10 weight-loss traps to watch out for:
The menstrual cycle itself doesn’t seem to affect weight gain or loss. But having a period may affect your weight in other ways. Many women get premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS can cause you to crave and eat more sweet or salty foods than normal.4 Those extra calories can lead to weight gain. And salt makes the body hold on to more water, which raises body weight (but not fat).
About: Blogs full of heart-felt writing and deep emotions are great, but it never hurts to toss in one with a laugh-out-loud humor to it as well. Enter Running off the Reese's blogger Cely. If her blog mantra “Because no one should have to choose between their pants and chocolate” doesn’t pull you in, her creative use of gifs and humorous style of writing will. Cely was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 18 — a diagnosis she certainly didn’t let hold her back. She runs races (usually half-marathons or less), shares her experiences, has a long list of book reviews...and talks a bit about life in general in between. And it’s awesome.
After the summer of hell on the treadmill, I started running outside and built my endurance. I bought myself a pair of good running shoes and used the MapMyRun app to track where I was going and how far I went. Some days of running were great and I could go for three miles and feel awesome the entire run, but then other days were so bad. I remember there were times I was in the middle of a run and wanted so bad to give up and I would have to walk for a little bit to give myself a break before running again. I remember sometimes I would get so discouraged that I would cry and call Alan to see if he could pick me up because I gave up on myself in the middle of a run. Again, I had to learn to give myself grace on the days when I didn’t do as well as I wanted because I knew that in terms of big-picture, I was slowly making progress. I trained my body to relate exercise as a way of relaxation.
We know that shedding unwanted pounds used to mean giving up your favorite foods, logging hours at the gym, and being hungry (and hangry) all the time. Fortunately, dropping a dress size (or two) doesn’t have to be that complicated or torturous. Sure, losing any significant amount of weight requires lifestyle changes and some hard work, but it all boils down to simple choices.
Want to blow away your belly without logging months of mind-numbing hours on the treadmill? High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will kickstart your metabolism like no other workout, burning more than twice the calories as a lighter and longer session, according to a study from Southern Illinois University. And the total amount of time you need to dedicate to HIIT: 20 minutes. It really is the least time exercising for the biggest results.
Lisa Cain is a mother and writer for the healthy living blog Snack Girl. After learning from her doctor that she needed to gain control of her weight, Lisa was devoted to finding a new strategy and approach to weight loss that would help her make a long-term lifestyle change. Her blog is dedicated to creating healthy versions of her favorite snack foods and providing helpful tips for enjoying the process.
About: Misty’s more than just a “fat girl,” as she puts it. So much more. Misty started blogging about her weight loss about four years ago after she experienced a pulmonary edema and several pulmonary embolisms following the birth of her fourth daughter — all caused by excessive fluids in her body and all nearly killing her. She also found out she has a blood disorder called Factor V Leiden, something she was born with. Since starting her original blog “I Am Not Just a Fat Girl,” Misty’s weight loss journey has had ups and downs, but ultimately she accepted her body and now blogs to inspire others who are looking to lose weight, too.
In December 2011, Lori started her blog to document her weight loss journey. Within a few days, her blog had seen hundreds of views. That encouraged Lori to keep going, and years later she still continues to give readers daily doses of recipes, thoughts on being healthy, exercises and more. Her post on “Emotional Eating” is a definite must-read; it takes you deep into the inner thought processes of a person who uses food to not only celebrate, but to overcome sadness, loneliness and any other emotion in life - as well as tips on how to overcome it.
Diet is a major part of the equation, but you can also lower your belly fat with a strategic workout plan. Since you can’t reduce fat in one area, you’ll have to focus on a full-body burn. The good news? That means you’ll be trim and lean all over, not just your mid-section. To torch fat, holistic nutritionist and certified personal trainer Ashley Walter recommends weight training and fasted exercise.
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!
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!
Rounding out the top three for best weight loss programs on the U.S. News and World Report 2016 rankings, the Biggest Loser meal plan uses a pyramid system with fruits and veggies setting the foundation. Simple tenets back the plan: for example, being mindful of portion control, keeping a food diary, and exercising regularly. So, yes, work will be involved, but the plan is sustainable in the long-term and a likely way to shed pounds.
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.
Nathalia is extremely consistent in what she shares - you can count on her to divulge all of the best workouts, what she does (and doesn’t) eat, why diets don’t work, even personal posts like how she overcame compulsive eating. Her transformation photos are truly remarkable, and she does it all by eating clean (but allowing herself two realistic “cheat meals” each week”) and exercising as often as possible. You can also check out the fashion section of her blog to view fun accessories, leggings and tops (also for purchase).
Nina has a flair for the dramatic. She doesn’t just like to monotonously go through what she ate or her weekly workouts, but rather writes with an edgy style that sets her apart from so many others. Another up-and-comer, she started her blog last November with an opening weight of just over 215 pounds. Now, she weighs in at 201. As a former athlete, Nina has never been a small woman. Growing up, she was often referred to as “Haus,” because of her uncanny strength and size for a woman - a nickname Nina sometimes struggled to accept. But Nina is quite unique and beautiful - and following along with her as she embraces that beauty, gets fit and accepts herself is something you won’t want to miss.
Exercise will help you increase your metabolism and is key to how lose weight fast, It tones your body, tightens up excess skin, increases your stamina, gives you more energy, and makes you happier and healthier. And for those reasons it is important to rapid weight loss, but it’s not everything! It will help you stay on plan and stay motivated, so find an exercise you love and do it.
About: Gina has the kind of success story that really touches a nerve. She started out at 298 pounds and went on to lose 168 of those pounds in 25 months. As someone who always struggled with her weight and achieved such a huge thing, she has an especially good grasp on how to help other people who have 100 or more pounds to lose achieve their goals. Her blog is a place she uses to motivate, inspire, energize and connect with others. And that’s exactly what it is.
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)…
About: Michelle’s first pregnancy was one of the best times of her life, but it was also a time when she gained weight. After her little one was born, Michelle started up her blog as a way to chronicle her weight loss and all her activities being a first-time mom. She lost nearly 60 pounds in six months, and is great if you’re looking for someone to follow who tries out new diets, fitness routines, healthy recipes and more. Oh yeah, and her crafts are amazing.
This double-blind clinical trial study was conducted on 42 obese and overweight individuals (25 < BMI < 35). Participants were selected from those, who referred to a nutrition clinic (Ahvaz, Iran). Participants were screened based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria were lack of physical activity, no smoking, no alcohol drinking, no usage of herbal supplements and vitamins, and lack of weight changes in the last 6 months. Exclusion criteria included pregnancy, breastfeeding, use of drugs that effect metabolism, lipid and glycemic profile, eating disorder, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, thyroid, digestive, respiratory diseases, and cancer. Participants consuming more than 300 mg of caffeine daily (described as caffeine users) were excluded from the study (20). The level of physical activity was assessed weekly by phone. The subjects, who had moderate or various physical activities, were excluded from the study.
Jennifer Drummond is health food blogger for Peanut Butter & Peppers where she shares healthy, and sometimes not-so-healthy, recipes that help you maintain your weight loss by taking everyday foods and making them healthier without sacrificing the flavor. Jennifer has lost 30 pounds through proper nutrition education and shares her healthy lifestyle tips on her blog.
Learning to feel happier in her own skin is really why Shauna started blogging in the first place. Now, the Scotland-dwelling Australian blogger combines her passion to write with exercise, mindful eating and food journaling. She stays healthy and shares her journey with others. She even wrote a book on it, The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl, a funny and heartwarming memoir of life, love and lard. Her website, “Up & Running,” is a place where women can take e-courses to help them learn how to run.
Additionally, many women have to face one lifestyle change before getting to another, such as overhauling eating habits before taking on exercise. For example, Michelle DeGennaro got a handle on her diet and soon after found that she was more inclined to exercise. "Feeling lighter on my feet was thrilling, and it gave me the confidence to start walking every day," she says. And as Blanca Valdez noticed, "Eating right made my energy soar, which I channeled into exercise." She has kept off 78 pounds.
Certain carbohydrates have a tendency to be poorly absorbed in your intestines and then rapidly fermented, leading to gas and bloating. Common culprits include refined carbohydrates and simple sugars—like those found in processed foods with added sugars. Excess sodium can also cause bloating due to increased water retention. Opt for freshly prepared foods and reduce processed, packaged foods to cut back on belly bloaters. In the morning, swap your sugar-laden bowl of cereal for this Green Smoothie, made with fresh fruits and vegetables to get your day started the right way.
I read about your weight loss and plan and its giving me hope to change. I recently am undergoing a lot of change internally and externally (adjusting to living alone , and a demanding new job) so I want a new me by the end of this month too – physically. I will try this new way of eating for 2 weeks, and keep a log of my progress and what I am eating along with the strength training. Question- I didnt see much in the way of cardio, did you do any in the first 2 weeks? thanks. Maria
Dieting to lose weight, it would appear, is about empowering yourself, being honest with yourself and listening to your body. I’m not a believer in dieting as such but in finding a way of eating for life that is a sensible ‘diet’. There’s a difference. My present lifestyle shows I need adjustments to what I did before. So I have to ask myself if I am really hungry or just bored and if that’s why I am looking longingly in the fridge. I need to tell myself to have a drink water and get back to what I was working on, reading, etc. (Not easy when working from home).
“Even though a smart diet is key, exercise can help boost your body’s metabolism to shed fat. Through health care providers often recommend brisk walking or jogging, these exercises may not help you see the results you want. Instead, try interval training. Here’s how: While performing your usual walking or jogging routine, intersperse faster paces periodically throughout your workout. In other words, you may be walking at your normal pace for 2 minutes and then begin a slow jog or fast walk for 1 minute. After the faster speed, return to your slower speed and continue this alternation for 20 minutes. Research shows this type of exercise can stimulate metabolism, melt fat and push your fitness status to the next level.” — Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS Owner and PT, Naples Personal Training, LLC
Listen up: Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash an energy bar or a piece of fruit in your car or tote, keep snacks in your office desk drawer, and make a point of getting up to grab a nosh — anything that will keep you from going hungry! Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day. (Think: You've skipped breakfast and lunch, so you're ready to takedown a whole turkey by dinner!) Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don't wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a "snack alarm" on your phone if needed.
It’s time to focus on your lentil health. In one four-week Spanish study, researchers found that eating a calorie-restricted diet that includes four weekly servings of legumes aids weight loss more effectively than an equivalent diet that doesn’t include beans. Those who consumed the legume-rich diet also saw improvements in their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood-pressure. To reap the benefits at home, work lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans into your diet throughout the week.
And at the gym, that difference just gets exacerbated. Women, worried about bulking up, tend to lift lighter weights and focus more on cardiovascular fitness, while men tend to gravitate toward the kind of heavy lifting that boosts muscle composition and metabolic rate, says Jim White, a Virginia Beach-based nutrition expert and certified personal trainer.
If you’ve been eating fast food for years, get real about your approach: You’re probably not going to stick to an organic, gluten-free, paleo overhaul for very long. "You want to change as little as possible to create calorie deficit," says Dr. Seltzer, who insists the best way to support sustainable weight loss is to incorporate small changes into existing habits. So instead of giving up your daily BLT bagels in favor of an egg-white wrap, try ordering your sandwich on a lighter English muffin. Or say you eat a snack bar every afternoon: Swap your 300-calorie bar for a 150-calorie alternative. "Your brain will feel the same way about it, so you won’t feel deprived," he says.
A 2014 Harvard study found that men who did twenty minutes of daily weight training had less of an increase in age-related abdominal fat compared with men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic activities, and other studies have shown similar levels of success when guys hit the gym to cut down on fat. The implication: Guys can cut belly fat most efficiently with weight training.
Accountability is key, a fact that Gretchen knows all too well. That’s why she started her blog, and that’s what has helped her not only lose 60 pounds - but also to accept that her battle with weight and emotional eating is something she’ll have to fight for the rest of her life. The good news - Gretchen also knows that she can and will be able to take on that fight every single day with the support her friends, family and blog followers provide her. Gretchen is also the author of Terra, a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel.
If in doubt, start at a lower level. You can always skip ahead if you feel it is too easy or switch to a more difficult plan. The great thing is that all of the plans burn calories and all of the plans require commitment. As long as you give it your best at every workout (and watch your calorie intake!), you will make progress, will burn calories, will drop the pounds and will get stronger.
I’m currently at 202 lbs and 5′ 4″ and need to lose at least 60 lbs. I usually work out 2 – 3 days a week but only do cardio (walking, the elliptical, & biking) for 1 hr 45 mins. . .I haven’t used any free weights or nautical equipment but I feel as if I have reached a plateau. Can you please help me to get motivated & back on the right path. I see you have really done well and I want to get healthy, into a smaller size, and improve my self-esteem. I am really at my wit’s end! Can you help me with a diet plan or suggest a exercise program?
“Use a VersaClimber or take a VersaClimber class. These machines are still not that common, but in my opinion they are far more effective for weight loss than other forms of cardio. They require you to use a large portion of your muscles and it’s functionally better for you than other forms of cardio like spinning. Everyone is talking about Rise Nation in LA at the moment as they are the first dedicated VersaClimbing studio. There’s no harder cardio workout I have tried. To lose fat you have to put in the work. — Dan Roberts, celebrity trainer and creator of Methodology X
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.
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.
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!
Secondly, you mention that it’s been “almost a week” and that you don’t see much difference. Losing weight shouldn’t be a short term approach. Is it possible to lose weight really quickly? Of course – I did it myself, but if you are weighing yourself everyday multiple times a day you’re going to drive yourself crazy. Be consistent – we weigh in Saturday mornings. Same time every week.
About: Christie literally just got going (her first post was in March). But she didn’t waste any time putting it all out there. Her goal is to lose more than 100 pounds and beat a lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety. Her openness caught our attention immediately, and we can’t wait to follow along with her as she takes each and every step.