A dietary quality index was developed that simply reflects the percentage of calories people derive from nutrient-rich, unprocessed plant foods on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher the score, the more body fat may be lost over time and the lower the risk may be of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. The standard American diet was found to rate 11 out of 100. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, 32 percent of our calories comes from animal foods, 57 percent from processed plant foods, and only 11 percent from whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. That means on a scale of one to ten, the American diet would rate about a one.
Nuts, the second food to watch, contain a fair amount of carbohydrate, and it’s very easy to unwittingly scarf down large quantities. Cashew nuts are among the worst carb-wise – you’ll find that they contain around 20% carbohydrate by weight. For someone following a strict keto diet with a 20 grams of carbs per day allowance, this means that consuming 100 grams (which happens in a flash!) will have filled their daily quota. Peanuts tend to be around 10-15% carbohydrate – not putting them in the clear either.
“I never imagined this would all come from me scribbling notes to myself on a website. I not only get to share my story with others and empower them to make it happen for themselves, but I also get to read and learn from the community, too. This has become a place where people can come, read, share, feel protected, and learn from one another. It’s a safe space for not just them, but for me, too. We all truly love what we’ve built here, and it shows in our collective hard work.”

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.

I saw a post on pinterest for your pumpkin spice drink and started clicking around! Congratulations on your weight loss! I have just started working out regularly for the first time (just about) in my whole life. But what I’ve been learning slowly, even before I began the physical regimen, is how important it is to eat real food. Thanks to people around me who love food and their families health enough to really get informed about it, I’ve been seeing just how misinformed we are and how duped we can be by clever marketing that claims to be “healthy”. When I learned where skim milk comes from and how it’s made (and, for instance that it’s used to fatten pigs up) and that real dairy fats (in moderation) are linked to weight loss but “fat-free” items quite the opposite, I was stunned! Then I thought, of course! People were eating the real things long before heart disease and obesity ravaged our culture. When you start to learn about real nutrition instead of what we’ve been sold by industries, it can be a really great weight loss tool. And, I have to say thank you for using things like coconut milk in some of your recipes! I have a dairy intolerance and it’s nice to know that for the pumpkin spice recipe, at least, I wouldn’t have to tweak it myself!!! I look forward to reading more and trying some of your creations!
About: Besides Nadia’s beautiful smile, it’s her philosophy on life that really drew us to her blog. Yes, Nadia is passionate about all things fitness and healthy eating, but she’s even more passionate about spreading the message that perfection is impossible and the key is to love yourself for who you are. That’s the kind of heart Nadia puts into each and every one of her posts as she strives to help people find their own version of happiness.
So as you're planning new weight-loss-related lifestyle changes, make a plan to address other stresses in your life first, such as financial problems or relationship conflicts. While these stresses may never go away completely, managing them better should improve your ability to focus on achieving a healthier lifestyle. Once you're ready to launch your weight-loss plan, set a start date and then — start.
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So often, we have the best of intentions but life gets in the way. That is, unless you plan for it! If you like working out right after work, join a gym or hit up a class that’s near your office. Do you prefer doing yoga stretches in the privacy of your home? Designate an area as a yoga-only zone with your mat and candles to strike a pose whenever the urge hits.

About: Kristina is a plus-size model with a mission: help women learn to love their bodies while working to exercise, eat right and live healthfully. But most importantly, Kristina’s blog is about exploring body confidence and “healthy curves.” Her blog is the perfect balance of encouraging healthy living and loving yourself at the same time. Plus, Kristina’s great about taking it outside herself. Every month, she features the “Curvy Girl of the Month” where she profiles other successful women.
“The weight starting coming off,” she says. “I remember I lost 9 lbs. my first week. After I had lost 100 lbs., I started trying more adventurous exercise. I became fascinated by fitness and seeing what new things I could accomplish with my body. I do things that I never dreamed were possible like running races, lifting heavy weights, and completing a sprint triathlon.”
About: Kelsey’s blog is packed with easy-to-follow healthy recipes and fitness routines (and they’re not just your run-of-the-mill workouts, either). They’re formulated or endorsed from Kelsey herself — a 50 pound weight loss success story. Kelsey had been pretty fit and thin her whole life, but shortly after leaving college, countless nights of eating out and drinking led to her packing on an extra 50 pounds. Unhappy, Kelsey decided to make a change. What’s especially inspirational about her story is that she did so slowly. She made small changes, slowly started eating cleaner and eventually lost all the weight. Now, five years later, she’s still fit and sharing her story on her blog and in her books, fitness routines and recipes with readers. She even hosts weight loss challenges (with cash prizes) to really cheer people on and give them incentive to keep going.
FitnessMagazine.com is a free membership website which provides a great range of exercise information, videos, recipes, and general advice for staying healthy and losing weight. There’s plenty to explore, with much of the content focused on specific areas of mental and physical fitness. You can also find information for particular dietary requirements, plus explore recipes which apply to specific diet plans. We were really...
Red wine can actually be good for your health, thanks to the antioxidant resveratrol, which studies have shown is good for your health and could help you lose weight. But any more than one glass, and you’re opening yourself up to extra sugar, empty calories, and a boozy buzz, which may inhibit your ability to make healthy food choices. If you’re out to happy hour, stop at one glass and opt for club soda (which is calorie free) or water with lemon instead.
It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.
“Intermittent fasting can be really challenging if you have an ever-changing schedule,” adds Hultin. “If you're traveling and crossing time zones, it could be very difficult to follow. It might be best for people with more stability in their lives.” Intermittent fasting isn’t safe for people with type 2 diabetes, children, pregnant or lactating women, or anyone with a history of an eating disorder.
About: Going through a divorce can do nasty things to a person — it can cause weight gain, low self-esteem, job changes, you name it. It certainly was a downward spiral for Emma, who went through the ringer before meeting (and getting engaged) to her current fiancé — but along the way she learned how to find the joy in life and learn to love herself. Emma decided to start a blog as a way to bring her newfound positivity to others. Her outlook on healthy living and eating, fitness and weight loss is charged with positivity. She’s a glass-half-full kind of person, and reading her blog can make you one too.
Sure, you certainly need to drink plenty of water to help expedite the process of ridding your body of excess sodium, you can (and should!) also consume high-water content foods. Reach for cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries — all of which contain diuretic properties that will also help you stay full due to their higher fiber content.
About: Inspiring. That’s the first word that comes to mind when describing Gabby’s blog. Gabby used to tip the scales at 262 pounds and started a blog to chronicle her journey. Today, she weighs in at 140 pounds...in other words, half of her old self. But just because she dropped the pounds doesn’t mean she stopped being there for her readers. Thousands of articles and a whole lot of experience later, Gabby continues to share her weight loss wisdom and tons of healthy recipes with fans in an easy-to-follow — and often hilarious — way.
About: Annamarie’s weight loss story is nothing to sneeze at. She lost a staggering 180 pounds, and she did it all naturally, by eating right and exercising. These days, Annamarie’s in two modes: maintain her healthy weight and lifestyle...and share her personal tips and victories along the way. She’s the kind of blog you’ll want to follow if you want to tap into the day-by-day challenges (and empowerment) of a young woman who made it happen...and wants you to as well.

Nuts. It’s very easy to eat until the nuts are gone, regardless of how full you are. A tip: According to science, salted nuts are harder to stop eating than unsalted nuts. Salted nuts tempt you to more overeating. Good to know. Another tip: Avoid bringing the entire bag to the couch, preferably choose a small bowl instead. I often eat all the nuts in front of me, whether I’m hungry or not.
Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they're eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long-haul. Start tracking on an app like MyFitnessPal when the pounds start sneaking up on you. It'll help you stay accountable for what you've eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it's written out in front of you.

The Mayo Clinic Diet provides practical and realistic ideas for including more physical activity and exercise throughout your day — as well as finding a plan that works for you. The diet recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every day and even more exercise for further health benefits and weight loss. The diet also emphasizes moving more throughout the day, such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator.

Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
Thank you so much for your sweet words! I definitely understand that feeling where you just don’t know that you can do it, especially when you have bigger things going on in your life. I am so thankful you have a job! I’m not sure if you are able to, but not having a vehicle may be the perfect way to lose weight while doing practical things – walking to work, the grocery store, friends’ houses, etc. I know sometimes that’s not possible, but you CAN do it! Let me know if you need more specific suggestions and we can talk through some possibilities that may fit your life. Good for you, fighting through the struggles of life. In Him, we are overcomers, and you are living that out daily!
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.
Green tea isn't known only for its cancer-fighting benefits: It may help boost your metabolism, too. People who took green-tea extract three times a day saw their metabolic rate increase by about 4 percent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (Translation: You could burn an extra 60 calories a day, which equals about six pounds a year!) It may be because green tea contains catechins, which increase levels of the metabolism-speeding brain chemical norepinephrine, says Joy Bauer, a New York City nutritionist and author of Cooking with Joy.
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, NY the B71 trolley bus line maneuvered a turn onto Sackett from Smith Street.  Often the two trolley poles and ropes which connected the bus to its’ power source above would disengage on the turn and the bus driver would have to get out and put the poles back on the track.  It seemed like a genuine pain in the butt, yet it was part of the driver’s day.  He didn’t make it mean he did anything wrong or curse the wires, he just got out of the bus and fixed put it back on track and got on his way. (In those days all the drivers were men!)
Andie Mitchell is a writer, healthy recipe developer, and New York Times bestselling author of “It Was Me All Along”, a memoir documenting her 135-pound weight loss journey. Andie’s blog is a truly inspiring compilation of life lessons, mindset, healthy habits, recipes, and real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression and anxiety, and how to navigate the struggles of a weight loss transformation.
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