Even though I was burning plenty of calories through exercise, I knew my eating habits were preventing me from losing weight. I wasn’t eating unhealthy foods – I stuck with salads, turkey sandwiches, and stir-fry dishes – I was just eating too much of everything. I started tracking my daily calories online. Counting calories really helped me understand my overblown portion sizes and just how many calories I was consuming.
About: Ruzele’s had weight issues her whole life, but it wasn’t until after her mother passed away in 2011 that the pounds really started to pile on. She ballooned up to 335 pounds and had a rock-bottom moment that led her to where she is today: 50 pounds lighter and on a mission to lose 130 more. Ruzele’s blog posts are short and sweet, but always delightful and full of musings, emotions, progress reports and the occasional vlog (which work oh-so-perfectly). Ruzele’s one to follow if you’re looking for someone who’s accountable and gets to the point, but still leaves you rooting her on day-in and day-out.
About: Three years ago, Christina suffered a miscarriage, became depressed, gained weight and developed a horrible body-image problem. But that wasn’t who Christina was deep down. So, she switched her diet to gluten-free and started up a website dedicated to sharing healthy, good-tasting recipes that others could use to help them lose weight and live healthy. A certified nutritionist and yoga instructor, Christina’s blog has everything you need for practical tips to lose weight and hundreds of scrumptious, healthy recipes to help you along in your journey.
About: Dustin spent much of his life being “slightly overweight,” never obese, but enough so that he wasn’t super comfortable in his own skin. But one day he decided to start exercising — lifting weights, crossfit and similar workouts, and slowly but surely, his body began to see the results he’d hoped. His interest in food also grew. He always liked meats, but decided to expand into baking too. These days, he’s packing his blog with clever twists on recipes — always making sure they’re nutritious and delicious — as well as fitness routines and updates on his progress. He’s just the guy if you want to take it nice and easy to lose weight.
So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume fewer calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect.
Mason, A. E., Epel, E. S., Aschbacher, K., Lustig, R. H., Acree, M., Kristeller, J., … Daubenmier, J. (2016, May 1). Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite , 100, 86–93. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799744/
This popular diet program is fairly restrictive — and for the first 30 days, dieters must cut out grains, legumes, most dairy, added sugar, and alcohol without any slip-ups, according to the Whole30 website. (29) The aim is to “reset” your body and to adopt dietary habits resulting in weight loss. Cutting out added sugar and alcohol has merit, but all the restrictions prove challenging and could lead to nutrient deficiencies and disordered eating.
TOPS also recommends that you get a diet recommendation from your doctor or follow the USDA's MyPlate tool, which focuses on filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables and the other half with lean meats and whole grains. TOPS is low-cost, nutritionally sound, provides plenty of support and is very affordable. However, it's not as structured as some other commercial weight loss programs, so those who prefer a diet that offers more specific meal guidelines may find it more difficult to follow.
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help to serve as a counter-balance for sodium. Foods that are rich in potassium include leafy greens, most "orange" foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon) bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower. Low-fat dairy, plus nuts, and seeds can also help give you a bloat-busting boost. They've also been linked to a whole host of additional health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and reducing risk of chronic disease overall.
And my motivation is people! I have a friend that goes to almost all of my gym classes with me, so I look forward to going just so I can see her! I found running buddies who go to races with me, so running a 5k is actually fun(ish) and it’s more of a social experience than physical torture. And my Fitbit helps me to be more conscious of my movement on a daily basis. I don’t know why, but those silly little flashing lights make me want to get my 10,000 steps in everyday!
If your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend consuming half your body weight in grams of protein a day (at the very least). For those seeking to burn fat and build muscle, aim to consume 0.7 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, you should be getting 75 to 150 grams of protein a day (depending on your goals). Checkout this list of these top protein foods.
About: Megan is a lifelong runner who exemplifies what’s it’s like to find happiness in fitness. Her blog is mainly a personal diary about her running, race trainings and occasional trim-ups, but it’s her integrity and honesty that makes you want to keep reading once you start. She’s a real person with real ups-and-downs, perfect for a person who is well on their way to their goal weight and a general healthy lifestyle, but sometimes takes a few steps back and struggles. Megan, like them, has downs, but her continuous determination is something you’re sure to admire.
One of the biggest differentiating factors of Weight Watchers is their famous claim that you can eat whatever you want. A points-based system allows members to select which indulgences they want to spend their calories on, and that’s also one of the secrets to its success. When people feel that they aren’t being restricted, psychologically, it is easier for them to follow a diet plan. This is part of what you’ll get from a Weight Watchers membership:
Monica Olivas is a holistic health coach, certified running coach, and writer for the blog Run Eat Repeat. She has been a passionate runner for almost 10 years and has completed over 50 half marathons and 30 full marathons. Running has helped her lose 20 pounds and uses her blog as a way to share healthy recipes, running tips, and motivation to help you do the same!
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“The alkaline diet often has a focus on eating lots of fresh produce and unprocessed foods, which could be a good thing,” says Hultin. “However, keep in mind that this is not an evidence-based therapeutic diet. When people take it too far — for instance, drinking baking soda — or become too restrictive or obsessive over food choices, it can definitely turn negative.”
The plan promotes long-lasting, sustainable changes, and undoubtedly a bounty of research backs this up. In fact, one December 2013 study in the American Journal of Medicine shows that people following Weight Watchers were close to nine times more likely to lose 10 percent of their body weight, compared to people following a self-help diet plan. (20)
I laid on the floor, crying, and said “so this is being an adult.” Then I belly laughed. ⠀ My feelings were all over the place, stress was present but it wasn’t unbearable, I had a lot of work, but not too much that I was drowning, Cooper was gone, but I knew he was okay and happy with his dad—I was seemingly okay, but I didn’t feel okay. ⠀ So I did what I do when I feel off, I reach into my toolbox and grab the tool that makes the most sense in that moment. First, it was calling a friend. She allowed me to cry. Knowing that I didn’t want advice, I just needed someone to receive my vulnerability without judgement. ⠀ I laid on the floor because I liked the way the pressure of my body felt on the ground. I cried, well, I sobbed. I was in pain and my body hurt. She listened, and then said something that made me laugh. Within moments I was in the depths of pain, then belly laughing. “So this is being an adult”, I said. But looking back now, it has nothing to do with being an adult, but being a human. Allowing ourselves to feel the full range of human emotions without fucking judging them. ⠀ Self care can feel like a bunch of bullshit and fantasy land ideas. So how can you filter the BS and get through your hard as hell moments? 👉🏽Don’t focus on being 100% better. Try just 1%. Because 1% is a whole hell of a lot better than nothing. By the way, this crying ordeal was last night—we all have bad days and moments and adulting is hard AF sometimes. As I was about to hang up the phone, I said “I feel 3% better”. Not 1, or 2, I felt a confident 3% better. That, was progress. ⠀ Maybe you need to draw your feelings, cry them out, dance them out, call a friend and just speak, yell, masterbate, breathe, watch a show, mediate—whatever you need to do, remind yourself that 1️⃣ you’re so human. You’re imperfect and it’s okay to have off days. 2️⃣ self care is all about trial and error. Adjust and pivot with each present moment. 3️⃣ 1% better IS better. Reframe what progress looks like to you 💓 ⠀
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.
Love this blog! I’ve followed fitness and food blogs for awhile but I have yet to come across a Black Woman chronicle her transformation as well as you have done with yours. Kudos to you! You’re an inspiration and I’m elated that you’ve decided to share your story with the world. Weight loss isn’t easy… we all have to take it one day at a time but with support from one another we can change the alarming statistics of obesity within the African American community. I wish you continued success in all of your endeavors Erika! Keep up the fantastic work 🙂
I’m not a big milk chocolate fan, and I do love dark chocolate the best. I made different kind of chocolates and things for my family. My family and I eat so different, that I try to incorporates everyone’s taste buds. 🙂 Your right, moderation of anything and you can still lose weight. That took me a long time to learn that. It’s nice to know you can eat more than carrots and celery! Thank you so much Susan for the kind words!
If you’re looking for a writer to follow who’s still in the midst of their own weight loss journey (and willing to admit might always be), Amy is your girl. She blogs about the ups, downs, and challenges on her path to weight loss on Not Afraid of Stripes. She doesn’t hesitate to share her insecurities or efforts to improve her own body image. Visit the blog.