Steady-state cardio (referred to as simply “cardio” on the weight loss plan below) means you’ll be exercising (e.g. power walking, jogging, running, cycling) at about the same level of intensity for the duration of the workout. Steady-state cardio workouts tend to be longer. Cardiovascular interval training (IT) and high intensity interval training (HIIT), on the other hand, are a shorter workout, but alternate between higher levels of intensity and recovery intervals.  Interval training is a proven technique to massively boost metabolism and torch body fat. HIIT (short bursts of all out exercise e.g. sprinting) is a more intense form of interval training, so beginners should start with regular interval training.

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
You don’t need to bust out the measuring cups to properly portion out your food: A serving size of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards or the size of the palm of your hand. Your entire fist should be the size of a serving of veggies (although the more, the better!). A serving of fat, such as butter or coconut oil, should be the size of your thumb. Your carb serving should be no bigger than what can fit in your cupped hand. For other ways to eyeball your proper serving sizes, check out what portion sizes actually look like.
Make sure that everything you're eating is whole — as in nothing processed or packaged. Since salt is a preservative, these are the foods that are highest in sodium — something to keep in mind when planning your meals. Plan on making sure that all items you choose are fresh. That means filling up on fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
I wish I could tell you the habits formed without a problem, but it was HARD. I had to figure out what worked best for me. I learned that packing my lunch the night before work was super helpful. I also learned that nights were hard for me. There were days I ate super well all day long but then felt like I ruined it when I ate a bunch of candy or dessert. I would also indulge over the weekends, late at night, or when going out to dinner. I was also not in shape so working out was hard. I felt super weak and was tired after work so it was extra difficult motivating myself to get to the gym only to find out and remind myself I was not good at running or lifting. It took me a while to learn that exercising over my lunch break was a good fit for me – it gave me a break from work and I had enough energy to push myself. There were a lot of days of missing the mark, when I would be too tired to work out or days when I didn’t think about what I was consuming and ate whatever was in front of me (not the nutritious kinds of food). There were many days when I felt like I was making any progress whatsoever. The biggest and most important thing I started to learn in this summer was to give myself grace. I hard to learn to forgive myself and move on when I fell short of the mark I set for myself. I had to learn to keep my head up and remind myself that the tiny baby steps would lead to progress.
Stress skyrockets your levels of cortisol, often called “the belly fat” hormone because it signals to the body to store fat around your waist. Add the daily stressors of living our modern lifestyle and you can see how cortisol can be constantly coursing through your veins. This perma-stress mode isn’t good for a lot of healthy reasons, your tummy being just one of them, so it’s important to take time every day to de-stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, doing a hands-on hobby, or playing a musical instrument are all great time-tested methods. (Hint: Know what isn’t? Watching television. The boob tube actually increases your levels of cortisol!)

No significant changes were observed in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in any of these 2 diets, although a non-significant reduction in average blood pressure at the end of the study was observed in both groups. It seems that the effects of weight-loss diets on the decrease of blood pressure was more concrete in people with hypertension (27). Consistent with the current study, several studies did not support the impact of WL on blood pressure in people, who had normal blood pressure (16, 28).

The other part of this plan is resistance exercise. This is important because it’s the part that focuses on building muscle. During weight loss, not all the weight lost is fat, some of it is muscle. Resistance training will ensure that you avoid the loss of muscle that usually occurs and will actually help you build muscle. You’ll be doing 3 resistance workouts per week:


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.
Consistent with the current study, improvement of metabolic factors after 4 weeks of VLCD was reported in a study by Erik et al. In this study, it was found that VLCD in the short-term intervention could cause a significant reduction in the levels of blood glucose, cholesterol, and TG in a fasting condition (27). The study of Laaksonen et al. showed that administration of VLCD diet for 5 weeks improved metabolic factors and decreased cutaneous water loss and increased subcutaneous fat water. This researcher suggested that WL and consequent improved insulin sensitivity could mediate an increase in abdominal subcutaneous fat hydration (31).
“Whether you have ten pounds to lose or 100, the first thing you should do is create an environment for success.” That requires removing all temptation from your kitchen and reorganizing your pantry for weight loss. “Collect all of the processed, sugary and fatty foods from your house, and bring them to a local food bank for donation. Then restock your kitchen with healthy groceries—real, natural, whole foods—like fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds and lean proteins like turkey, chicken, fish and eggs.” — Chris Powell, the trainer who has helped hundreds of overweight people lose up to half their body weight on ABC’s reality series  Extreme Weight Loss

Almost a year and a half later, in the summer of 2006, I finally reached my goal weight of 130 pounds. My weight loss didn’t happen overnight – in fact, it took a pretty long time – but that was because I wasn’t “dieting.” Through trial and error and figuring out what worked best for me, I made lifestyle changes, which have stuck with me to today. For example, I almost always have oatmeal with nut butter and some fruit for breakfast. It helps set a healthy tone for my whole day, plus it keeps me full until lunchtime.
“As a now 55-year-old, I do hit the gym a little differently than the 25-year-olds,” laughs Ferreri. “When I was younger, I was much more flexible, had more lean muscle mass, and my heart and lung health was typically stronger. I could walk into the gym and start to throw the weights around, or get on the treadmill, crank it up, and immediately start to run at an 8.0 pace.” Now, he does things a little differently. He takes approximately 20 minutes to warm up and stretch prior to starting his weight training routine to try to eliminate or reduce injury.

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.
We’re almost up to speed, but still rewind a little bit back to the early years of college. In the fall of 2012 I started school at Truman State University in good old Kirksville, Missouri. If you’re in college or have been to college, you know that it’s the time to form independence and truly make decisions, on your own, for how you wish to live your life. For a lot of people this means starting over, turning over a new leaf, making new habits, developing a new lifestyle, etc. Honestly college is crazy and weird and I don’t want to ramble on it too much because this post is focused more on the fitness/nutrition journey I’ve experienced (though I now realize its all connected.)

Klein, S., Burke, L.E., Bray, G.A., Blair, S., Allison, D.B., Pi-Sunyer, X., et al. (2004). Clinical Implications of Obesity With Specific Focus on Cardiovascular Disease: A Statement for Professionals From the American Heart Association Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism: Endorsed by the American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation; 110(18): 2952-2967.
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