If you’re constantly sleeping less than seven or eight hours a night, your health — and waistline — will suffer. In fact, in a 2013 study, researchers found that sleep-deprived subjects were much more likely to choose larger portions of snacks than those who slept at least eight hours at night. The lack of sleep also affected their food choices. (8)

Stress may contribute to abdominal fat, according to several studies, including a recent one at the University of California, San Francisco. "When you're stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism down and encourage fat storage inside your abdomen," explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Clinic at the University of Utah. So what's a frazzled girl to do? "Find an activity that reduces stress for you, whether it's listening to soothing music or taking yoga, and do it daily," advises Talbott.
For even more impressive effects on body composition: aim for exercise forms which elicit a positive hormonal response. This means lifting really heavy things (strength training), or interval training. Such exercise increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone (primarily in men) as well as growth hormone. Not only do greater levels of these hormones increase your muscle mass, but they also decrease your visceral fat (belly fat) in the long term.
Lindsay, a registered dietitian and new mom, has a passion for nutrition and healthy living. She shares that passion on The Lean Green Bean. She provides healthy recipes, nutrition information, tips for new moms, and workout advice. Her focus is on balance: She’s all about helping you live a healthy lifestyle without feeling like you’re giving anything up. Visit the blog.
Another popular mainstream diet, Dr. Barry Sears's plan is considered to be one of the first in the recent wave of "anti-inflammatory" plans. It sets you up for success by calibrating your plate to be a third protein and two-thirds carbohydrates (not starchy ones like potatoes, think colorful vegetables instead) with a little bit of MUFAs, or monounsaturated fatty acids (the good-for-you kind ) in the mix.
Regardless of which camp you're in, if you do decide to try out a low carb diet, the Atkins Diet is the gold standard. Atkins has been proven effective for both short- and long-term weight loss, and studies show it is just as effective in lowering cholesterol levels over the long term as low fat diets for many people. As with any diet program, it may not be effective for everyone. While Atkins does initially restrict carbs to very low levels, the plan adds in more carbohydrates as you lose weight. It's also easy to follow, say users, and it's restaurant friendly -- hold the bread and order an extra vegetable instead of a potato.
Kendall’s movement is catching on. After becoming certified in Women’s Fitness, Weight Loss, and Fitness Nutrition by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, she’s been called on to speak at countless conferences to help connect people to what she calls their “Come to Fitness” moment. Recently making an appearance at the Black Girls Run! Sweat With Your Sole Conference in 2013, Kendall held multiple massive Q&A sessions where she took rapid-fire questions and shared resources and tips with people to help them get the answers they need.
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!
Annamarie Rivera’s weight loss transformation has been 10 years in the making. In early 2010, Annamarie weighed 400 pounds and wore a size 28 in pants. Today, she is over 230 pounds smaller and has an entirely new outlook on life. Her blog, Weight Loss With Annamarie, shares her incredible weight loss journey along with the joys and struggles that come along with it. Whether you’re just beginning your weight loss journey or trying to lose those last few pounds, Annamarie’s inspirational blog will help you persevere through the ups and downs.
Congrats on your transformation! You should feel very proud of yourself to have come so far and to have gotten to the point where you can listen to your stomach. Surprisingly, that simple communication with our body is something that so many of us have trained ourselves to not pay any attention to. After suffering with an eating disorder for about 15 years, I got to the point where I didn’t even know what it felt like to be hungry anymore! I had to really work to “hear” that signal. And you’re right, counting calories can be an obsession that can take over your life and your thoughts, so I think it’s awesome that you have cut back from that and are just listening to your wants and needs and not freaking out over a piece of cake.
About: Simon and Becky are lifelong health enthusiasts. They care about making wholesome choices, and they care even more about helping you do the same. Rather than get super personal, Simon and Becky’s blog is dedicated to bringing readers the latest news, information, tips and advice for achieving a healthy lifestyle. You’ll find all the info you need, from diets, to celebrity tips, to beauty, to fitness and more.
Yet the new study found that after one year of focusing on food quality, not calories, the two groups lost substantial amounts of weight. On average, the members of the low-carb group lost just over 13 pounds, while those in the low-fat group lost about 11.7 pounds. Both groups also saw improvements in other health markers, like reductions in their waist sizes, body fat, and blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
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.
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