When I was younger, I’d managed to maintain my weight of 130 pounds by being active. I belonged to the dance team and played intramural sports, so it wasn’t difficult for me to motivate myself to exercise. After college, I started a desk job, and with that came long hours, pizza lunches, and plenty of happy hours. I continued to exercise almost every day, but it wasn’t enough and my weight climbed to 153 pounds, which was too much for my 5-foot-4-inch frame.
Over the summer, I began to figure out what "eating healthy" even meant. I spent the summer learning to balance meals with protein, veggies, fruits, and carbs. I learned what kinds of foods were good for me and ate less and less processed foods. Once the healthy foods were a regular part of my routine, I didn't have to think as much about making healthy and smart choices. My self-control was more focused on trying to avoid slipping into old habits.
Food labels can help you lose weight, if you know how to read them. Everyday Health says it's important to pay attention to serving size, calories (and calories from fat), fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins and minerals. Then, you can make smarter food choices like picking up a water-packed tuna rather than oil-packed, which can cut significant calories.
If you want to shrink your gut, get enough protein in your diet. In this case, about 25 percent of calories. Why? For starters, protein makes you feel full and helps you build muscle (which increases metabolism, thereby making it easier to lose weight). Just as important, high-protein diets have been shown to be the best way of attacking belly fat. In one study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, Danish researchers put 65 people on either a 12 percent protein diet or a 25 percent protein diet. The low-protein dieters lost an average of 11 pounds, which isn't bad. But the high-protein subjects lost an average of 20 pounds--including twice as much abdominal fat as the low-protein group.
Patty, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 pounds to lose or 100. You know when you need to make changes to get back to feeling better. I’m so glad you’re taking the action to make it happen! Diet-wise, definitely try to avoid sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs as much as possible (those are big contributors of belly fat!). Unfortunately, losing weight in one specific area isn’t something we really have control over, so it’s going to be tough to target your stomach. Sometimes it’s just genetics that decides where those extra pounds decide to cling. So, as far as exercise goes, the cardio you’ve been doing with your bike rides is great! And with strength training, try to target your big muscle groups to boost your metabolism to burn off that fat. This is a great article on burning stomach fat – https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-truth-how-to-burn-abdominal-fat.html . And I highly recommend HASfit workouts! https://hasfit.com/
Carbs aren’t evil -- but sugar might be. “The concept of carbohydrates has really gotten such a bad reputation, and we need to understand that there are complex carbohydrates and ancient grains that can really help us not only lose weight, but increase satiety so we stay full longer and want to eat less. It actually decreases the cholesterol and stabilizes the blood sugar, and all of these things are a really important part of a weight loss program,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, an American Heart Association volunteer medical expert. These “good” carbs include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans; the refined carbs (including refined grains and starches like white bread, white rice, pasta and mashed potatoes) should be consumed in limited amounts. “They are high in simple sugars, and that’s what adds weight,” said Dr. Steinbaum.
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.
About: Rachael’s got a unique combination of expertise. She’s an avid fitness lover, a health fanatic and a registered nurse. She also has to combat strange work hours to keep up her active lifestyle and exercise regimen, which is exactly why we picked her. When you’re among those who are trying to lose weight but have a hectic schedule, Rachael’s the blogger to turn to for advice. She knows how to fight obstacles like sleep deprivation, food cravings, boredom hunger and (of course) being “too busy” to get healthy.
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I loved reading your weight loss history. I’ve been struggling since my childhood with my weight and I still continue to struggle with it. I also used sparks people back in the day and have recently began counting my points. I’ve been able to drop 10 pounds but I’ve been stuck for the past month. It’s been a frustrating journey but I continue to stay focused. I like the tips that you have shared. I truly believe in moderation. I don’t like giving up a certain food item. Thanks again for your tips! If you have anymore please share 🙂
If you're dehydrated, it can be hard to tell if you're hungry or just thirsty. If you're craving a mid-day snack, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes before reassessing how hungry you really are. Water also helps food move through your digestive system, lessening feelings of bloating. It's a good idea to keep a water bottle with you throughout the day. Add in cucumber slices or fresh fruit to infuse flavor.
Hey, I read this guide from the top to bottom (thoroughly might I say) and I feel that this might be a little rigourous for me. I need to lose weight and I’m only 12. 5’5 and 180 pounds. I don’t want to run/walk the treadmill, when I have a very nice neighborhood to walk about, but my parents won’t let me. I occasionally do about 20 situps/20 pushups, I play basketball. I don’t think I can do bicep curls or whatever you called them, no offence. What do you recommend I do?
Both men and women are prone to an all-or-nothing approach to weight loss (for example, after a binge, figuring, “Well, I blew it. I might as well go all out!”). But Sass says she sees more women take extreme measures to get back on track, with tactics such as juice cleanses, skipping meals or extreme dieting — not the most sustainable methods. “Most but not all men tend to just try to get back on track with the original plan, or build in a little more exercise,” she says. That is, they take a more balanced approach to getting back on track, just trying to regroup and get back on the diet, or build in a little more exercise.
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.