A lifelong habit of learning and engaging in mentally challenging activities seems to keep the brain in shape. Intellectual enrichment and learning stimulate the brain to make more connections, increasing the density of nerve-to-nerve connections. That means the "educated brain" may possess a deeper well of connections and be able to withstand more damage to the brain from a small stroke without causing loss of memory or thinking skills.
About: Jackie, a 26-year-old English professor, is not exactly new to blogging. She’s been doing it since 2013. But recently, she moved her posts from Tumblr to their own website — and with an 80-pound weight loss, why not? Jackie’s the kind of writer who draws you in not just with her words, but with her use of photos and links, too. She’s snarky and quick-witted, and her posts are a blast to read. Factor in the continuing journey to shed pounds and reach her goal weight of 132, and the blog is really something special.

In 2011 I had enough of being fat, I hated that I was always the fattest person in the room. I started reading every blog, book and website about losing weight and found some information and a cookbook that highlighted clean eating. I started cooking 3 meals a day and enjoyed the ritual of cooking and taking better care of myself, but most of all I enjoyed the food.
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.

Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
While any diet that reduces your intake of fat, sugar, and carbohydrates will help you lose weight, a weight-loss plan can offer you much more and give you a much better chance of long-term success. As weight-loss plans have been developed by dietitians, fitness coaches and nutritionists, they are designed to help you lose weight safely and progressively, while altering your attitude to food and encouraging you to adopt healthier habits.
Listen up: Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash an energy bar or a piece of fruit in your car or tote, keep snacks in your office desk drawer, and make a point of getting up to grab a nosh — anything that will keep you from going hungry! Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day. (Think: You've skipped breakfast and lunch, so you're ready to takedown a whole turkey by dinner!) Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don't wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a "snack alarm" on your phone if needed.
Strength Training is very important part of your workouts.  Try for 15 – 30 minutes of strength training.  Don’t be afraid of strength training.  You burn more calories all together.  You’ll tone your muscles and you get stronger.  I like that my arms are strong, that way I can carry more bags at the mall.  🙂  I like to do circuit training which is full body workouts. I only do them 3 times a week, every other day.  Never do strength training on back to back days, unless you work one muscle group at a time. Such as Monday Upper Body, Tuesday Lower Body, Wednesday Core, Thursday Upper Body, Friday Lower Body, you get the picture.
Eat smaller portions to help you cut back on calories. You don’t need to give up your favorite foods to lose weight. Similarly, choosing healthier dishes doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Instead, portion out your meals using measuring cups or special spoons that measure out servings. Alternatively, make things easy by eating off smaller plates or bowls, which trick your eye into thinking your servings or bigger.[5]

Running watches are the easiest way to track your progress, remain motivated and keep weight off. Depending how fancy you go, you can track pretty much any metric that works for you, certainly way beyond whether you’ve achieved your 10,000 steps. Whether it’s weight, BMI, resting heart rate, calories burned or activity level, the best running watch will track it all.
Studies show that eating breakfast plays a part in successful weight loss — almost 80 percent of people who successfully keep weight off chow down on this meal, according to a study published in Obesity Research. "Your metabolism slows as you sleep, and the process of digesting food revs it up again," explains Heller. Aim for a 300- to 400-calorie breakfast, such as a high-fiber cereal (another metabolism booster) with skim milk and fruit.

Hi Karen! I love Sparkpeople! I have been using there tracking tools for 4 years now and love it! It really helps you keep on track. I get ya about weight! I know I can’t eat like I used to too! It’s hard, but well worth the effort! Thank you for your kind words and don’t worry you lose those last ten pounds! I’m working on 10 pounds myself! Just think positive, be true to yourself and know you can do it!!!
Wow, Penny. You sure have had more than your fair share of struggles! I am so impressed at how you have continued to persevere and do whatever you could to succeed, despite all of the setbacks. YOU are the inspiring one! You found a way to exercise that didn’t cause you pain, you are making the healthiest choices you can in your circumstances. I am so glad you shared your story with me!
Biz is a healthy recipe developer and creator of the blog, My Bizzy Kitchen. For years, she struggled to maintain a healthy weight after working a desk job for close to ten years. When the time came to get serious about her health, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and has since been learning to navigate her weight loss while being an insulin dependent diabetic. She shares her weight loss journey and her healthy, diabetes-friendly recipes, as well as a healthy dose of humor, on her blog.

The South Beach Diet started as a book that was originally published in 2003, The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss (Est. $9). The book is still considered to be the best way to get information on the basic diet, but there are also many follow up books and cookbooks to supplement the original, as well as South Beach compliant recipes available around the Internet. The official South Beach Diet website is mostly fee-based.


Another way to trim carbs and calories and lose weight fast is by making your sandwich open-faced. Opting for one slice of bread instead of two will save you 70-90 calories, and leaves you more room to pile it high with healthy toppings like lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and avocado. Still hungry? Pair your sandwich with a side of baby carrots or bell pepper strips. The water and fiber in the veggies will fill you up and help with your weight-loss efforts.
If you’re eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, odds are you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to help boost weight-loss and lose weight fast. But it’s also a good idea to take vitamins that can supplement your diet; B vitamins (especially B2 and B12) can boost energy, vitamin D can regulate appetite and aid in weight loss, and magnesium can trigger lipolysis, a process where your body releases fat from where it’s stored.
I am very excited to share with you how you can stick to your weight loss goals and enjoy your vacation too! For those of you who have vacations planned between now and the end of the year, this is your chance to grab a notepad and start creating your own vacation plan today! You want to enjoy your time off and not come home disappointed and 5 digits further away from your goal.
Gina Harney started The Fitnessista after she’d already lost 40 pounds. At the time, she was in maintenance mode in Georgia where, as she explains it, “healthy options were pretty scarce.” The blog was her way of chronicling how she sought out those healthy choices and often created them for herself. Today, Gina works as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and weight loss specialist. She loves sharing tips with her readers as they embark on their own journeys toward health. Visit the blog.
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