Sheryl’s story is a touching one. After spending 21 years in an abusive relationship and battling obesity her whole life, Sheryl decided it was time for a change. She started her blog back in April of 2012 at a weight of just over 300 pounds, and gave herself a deadline of 500 days to get her body (and emotions) to a place where she’s not only comfortable - but confident as well. A year later, she’s down almost 50 pounds - quite the feat when you consider that she suffers from many health issues - including chronic headaches and severe back and knee problems. Sheryl is still fighting every day to get where she wants to be, and she is sure to trust readers by putting herself out there in a completely honest and open fashion.
Most people are drawn to workout and nutrition apps like 8fit because they’ve decided it’s time to take action and change their lifestyle habits – they’re ready to start working out and eating healthier foods to achieve better physical shape. Often, the goal is how to get a flat stomach, as that part of the body tends to be one of the first to show signs of unwanted weight-gain due to sedentary living or sub-optimal food choices. Before we expand on how to lose belly fat, it’s important to know that there’s more to that belly bulge than meets the eye.
About: Helen’s a sweet and simple kind of girl. She’s a runner in mid-life whose goal is to live healthy while mixing in a bit of adventure too. But what really makes her blog special is the number of delicious, healthy recipes she has developed along the way. They’re easy to follow and loaded with pics. And although Helen does sometimes take long breaks between posts, when she does do an update, they're among the most well-read on her blog.
"When we’re lacking in sleep, our body’s hormones get thrown off balance which can impact our hunger levels the next day. We all have two hormones that affect our appetite: ghrelin and leptin. When we don’t get enough sleep, our ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) rise, and our leptin levels (the hormone that makes us feel full) drop. This means that when we’re awake, we tend to eat more but feel less satisfied. Try going to bed a little earlier than usual to avoid this imbalance and remember to remove any distractions that might prevent you from nodding off."
Ah, quinoa. This healthy, rich-tasting whole grain/seed has so many nutritional riches that it puts refined grains like white rice to shame. Tofu is the perfect sidekick because it’s both waistline-friendly (per bite, tofu tends to have about one-third the calories of meat and poultry) and heart-friendly (tofu has no artery-damaging saturated fat or cholesterol).
The internal and external obliques, which I like to call "nature's girdle," are located at the sides of the rectus abdominis. They are the muscles you use when you bend sideways at the spine or twist at the waist. They also contract to compress the abdomen, so you should work them just as hard as you work the rectus abdominis. Adding a twist to crunches works, as well as dumbbell side bends, but be careful not to use any jerky motions, especially if you've had back problems.
Raising a child on your own is no easy feat, but doing it while getting fit and making some major changes towards healthy living is not something to scoff at. It certainly doesn't stop Mindy, a single mom and a true inspiration to the weight loss blogging community. She is actively immersed in it, living every single day by her philosophy to get fit and have fun doing it, all while taking her thousands of fans along with her. Her blog recaps her numerous (and quite impressive) races, yummy healthy recipes, product reviews (that you can actually use) and much, much more. Definitely not one to miss.
Christina Russell is a Celebrity Trainer, author, and the writer behind the healthy living blog, Body Rebooted. Christina lost over 60 pounds in just 5 months incorporating a gluten-free diet and fitness routine and created her blog as a place to share her gluten-free recipes along with the ins and outs of her weight loss journey. Her blog has since evolved into a full-blown healthy living website that provides resources for you to reach your goals.
Add resistance training. A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that combining cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise with resistance training is more effective than cardiovascular training alone in getting rid of abdominal fat. You can do resistance training with free weights, exercise machines or resistance bands and it may also be useful to train from unstable positions due to increased muscle activity.
About: Their blog may be described as just “another” runner, but it’s anything but. The blog is chock full of tips, advice, nutrition information — and lots of personalized posts — from “mothers” who banded together to run, and realized just how much they loved it. The blog also works as a personal cheerleader, a way to connect with moms and women who started running (grumbling), tolerated it, started to like it (there are moments) and ultimately fell in love (addiction level).
Weight Watchers – the diet your nan used to follow – is no more. In 2018, the company had a re-brand, with the new WW branding signalling a move away from diet culture and into the wellness-sphere – hint: WW now stands for ‘Wellness that Works’. ‘We are not classed as a diet,’ a member of the press office team tells WH. ‘It is a lifestyle change – a healthy living programme that encompasses food, activity and mindset.’
That’s because women tend to store more temporary fat in their bellies. “The fat stores are gained and lost,” says Lawrence Cheskin, MD, chair of the department of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. “By and large, belly fat comes off easier in the sense that it comes off first. That’s where a good amount of the fat is lost from.”
About: Normally, we’d skip right on over a blog that doesn’t identify the author’s name, but the woman authoring “Frantic at Forty” gave us pause. Why? Because her story is one that so many can relate to — a woman about to enter midlife trying to make sense of things and lose weight. The author started the blog just before she turned 40 as a way to stay accountable while she started out to give herself the only gift she wanted — thin. She’s lost plenty of weight, and, even more importantly, found some happiness in the process. We just hope that turning 40 doesn’t mean an end to her blogging.
This incredible woman, Mary Mack, started on her own journey about nine years ago, when she lost about 45 pounds. This is when she decided that a change was in order, s she started training and just a couple of years later, she became a certified trainer. What she truly does is she enables other people to make some lifestyle changes, including fitness, nutrition and well-being, because she does it from the heart. She also loves cooking, gardening, and spending quality time with her husband and her son. But what is so interesting about this blogger is that she openly admits having a problem. The biggest obstacle that she had to overcome so far was definitely herself. The struggle of embracing her sobriety, losing weight and eating clean, as well as building herself up from the bottom is all documented on this blog. A true inspiration.
“There are many diet plans on the market today that promote good health,” says Emily Kyle, RDN, who is in private practice in Rochester, New York. “The key is finding one that does not cause you stress or agony.” Ask yourself questions such as: Would the diet guidelines make you happy? Anxious? Stressed? Are you able to follow them long term? “Factors such as enjoyment, flexibility, and longevity should be strongly considered,” adds Kyle.
When Stephen put his first before-photo out there for the world to see, he really encompassed everything it means to be vulnerable and to trust a community for support. He weighed in at a staggering 632 pounds, a point where many people would just give up. But not Stephen. Instead, Stephen has made his wellness journey a lifestyle. Through eating right and a discovered love for running, he has lost almost 300 pounds (and counting!). His blog is truly touching, and he truly embodies the saying, “It’s never too late.”
3. Be realistic about which habits need to go. "When I was heavy, I'd eat French fries every single day, plus carbs at almost every meal—like a sandwich for lunch or bread with pasta for dinner. A diet so heavy in fried food and carbs just isn't conducive to weight loss. To lose the weight, I went from three large meals a day to six small meals, mostly made of fresh vegetable salads with lean meats and nuts. And no more bread!"
Top Quote: "I’m sharing every lesson to getting there—not as a drill sergeant and definitely not as a guru—as a friend who gets it and never wants anyone else to struggle alone. I’ve learned more in the last ten years than I ever thought possible, and I’m laying it bare here, one post a time—every lesson I’ve learned on losing weight,real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression, how I’ve moved beyond binge eating, lifestyle bits that make me feel good inside and out, and all the healthy recipes I make regularly.”
In a way, moderate-intensity physical activity is that "magic pill" a lot of people are looking for, because the health benefits go beyond keeping your waistline trim: Not only can it reduce your risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart attacks, but studies have shown that physical activity can significantly improve the moods of patients with major depressive disorders.
Here’s a great example: For the same number of calories that are in a handful of peanuts (about two ounces), you can eat 2½ pounds of strawberries (about five of those green boxes that strawberries come in.) Eating “big” foods like strawberries, salads, and other fruits and vegetables can prevent hunger from taking over and taking you places you don’t want to go
"If your diet consists of lots of sports drinks, sugar-sweetened drinks like fizzy pop and flavoured waters, or sugary foods like chocolate and cakes, it will make losing weight harder. While whole fruits and vegetables are undoubtedly good for you, they can also sometimes cause weight gain if you eat too much, as they have high levels of natural sugars in them. Low-fat food options might have high amounts of added sugar in there too, so make sure to check the food label.
Anyway, I explained that the reason I encouraged her to write about her journey is because there are other girls that are in her very shoes — where she was six months ago — that are too intimidated, hopeless or afraid to make the same start. Whether it’s with weight loss, a fitness plan — anything. You remember the feeling of something you were once afraid to begin?
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Mindy’s story is truly one of revolution. She went from being an overweight, extremely unhappy young woman who lived on mostly processed junk food, to a confident, healthy vegetarian runner who learns about herself every day as she continues to strive towards her goal of losing 100 pounds. Mindy does not write simply to document her weight loss progress - she writes for others, using her own experiences to touch others and give them real insight into not only what change can look like, but how getting there is far from impossible.
If you’re eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels, and yet you’re still wondering how to lose belly fat, then you may want to consider getting quality shut-eye. A good night’s sleep will help you increase the chances of attaining a flat stomach, as research indicates that the less you sleep, the less your fat cells tend to respond to the hormone insulin. So hit the hay early and sneak in some extra Z’s if you want to see some significant changes to your waistline.
Obviously, it’s still possible to lose weight on any diet – just eat fewer calories than you burn, right? The problem with this simplistic advice is that it ignores the elephant in the room: Hunger. Most people don’t like to “just eat less”, i.e. being hungry forever. That’s dieting for masochists. Sooner or later, a normal person will give up and eat, hence the prevalence of “yo-yo dieting”.
It’s not just the dynamic website graphics that will catch your eye when you visit Krystle’s blog. Her photos are sure to draw you as they are evidence of a truly stunning transformation. Krystle dropped almost 100 pounds, and her current photos make it difficult to ever imagine her as overweight, let alone obese. Krystle takes others on a journey through her many workout choices (she likes to switch it up often!) and incorporates some healthy (and some not-so-healthy) food into her diet, showing others that it doesn’t take total deprivation and constant 2-hour workouts to lose weight and change your life.
Pros: The most consistently beneficial of all diets here, study after study shows that upping your protein intake can help significantly reduce body fat and build lean muscle. For example: Guys who ran sprint intervals, did resistance training, and ate a diet of 2.4g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day (roughly 1g per lb of bodyweight) gained 1.2kg of lean muscle and lost almost 5kg of fat in just four weeks, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. If you cut calories but eat high protein, the macro can help prevent your metabolism from plummeting and help keep hunger at bay, since protein is so satiating. The study analysis also confirmed that eating a ton of protein stuff doesn’t cause you to gain weight or harm any internal systems, despite myths.
Way back in 1979, award winning Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, conducted a seminal research study that revealed measurable changes in the physiology of an elder population who put themselves in a living situation that reflected 1959, 20 years earlier. The key to the study was to have the participants think of themselves as they were 20 years earlier. They were instructed to immerse themselves into the past and to return as completely as possible in their minds to those earlier times. It living quarters were set up as if it was 1959.
What the diet advocate says: 'The key components of a Mediterranean diet are lots of vegetables, olive oil, oily fish and nuts, with no calorie restrictions. Combine that with cutting down on sugar, which was traditionally a rarity in the region, and you’ve got the base of the Mediterranean diet right. And if you get the base right you can eat a little of whatever else you like,' says Consultant Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra.
Carrots ‘n’ Cake is written by a food and fitness blogger who also happens to be a mom. The blog provides meal plans, advice for those looking to get fit while dealing with chronic illnesses, and relatable posts about maintaining health while balancing motherhood. You can also find some great recipes, like these blender chocolate chip cookies. Visit the blog.