You know what to do to lose weight: Eat a little less, move a little more, and figure out what works for your body. “No more chocolate,” you declare. “I’ll take up Cross Fit,” you promise. “I can live without chips for a while,” you vow. But then one day you’re tired. Or grumpy. Or that lethal combo: hangry. So you figure you deserve the raspberry truffle ball, dammit. And before you’ve polished off that leftover holiday candy, you’ve begun spiraling down a slippery slope that ends with ice cream on the couch at midnight.
All the science in the world won’t help you lose weight if your heart isn’t in the game. It’s not enough to know what to do—the secret is understanding how to make yourself do it. Experts have discovered that shifting your mind-set can give you an edge. “Dieting books focus almost exclusively on what and what not to eat, with the assumption that this is just a mechanical process,” says clinical psychologist Edward Abramson, professor emeritus of psychology at California State University in Chico and the author of Emotional Eating. “It’s like, ‘If you know you shouldn’t eat bacon, then you just shouldn’t eat bacon.’” That’s why people fail at diets: They forget to account for moments of boredom, weakness, or sadness, or for any other perfectly normal situation that could get in the way.

Lifestyle shifts like joining a gym and stocking the fridge with fresh produce are good, but to really move the needle on the scale, you need to delve deeper, says Holly Lofton, assistant professor of medicine and surgery and director of the medical weight-management program at NYU Lang one Medical Center. “Take a hard look at your past weight loss attempts,” she advises. “Think about what got in your way, then find solutions to those issues now.”

To help, here are a few common pitfalls. See which ones ring familiar—and learn to sidestep them once and for all.
It’s no news flash that maintaining a healthy weight is good for you. Even a small loss can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. And a large, sustained weight loss can boost energy, mood, and self-confidence. The trick is closing the gap between the knowledge and the plan—especially when there are french fries between the two. To find your motivation, create a list of reasons why you want to lose the weight, says Robin Frutchey, a counselor and behavioral therapist for the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. The more specific, the better: “Rather than saying, ‘I want to be healthy,’ write down, ‘I want to lose weight so I don’t have a heart attack like Dad,’” she says. “It’s a bit more salient.” This can help motivate you now and a few pounds down the line, when you lose steam. “Refresh your memory about why this is so important to you,” says Frutchey. “Seeing the reasons on paper is helpful.”
Not a list maker? Create a visual cue. Post the “before” picture of yourself in a bathing suit or at a family gathering and look at it when you’re tempted to stay in for another Netflix marathon instead of heading to the gym, says Lofton. If your reason is more internal (“I want to have energy for my kids”) than external (“I want to fit into my old jeans again”), you can still find ways to make it visual—a photo of your children running and playing, say, or of the ride they want you to take them on at Six Flags.
If you ban doughnuts forever, eventually everything starts to look (and maybe even smell) like a doughnut. “That’s one of the problems with dieting,” says Abramson. “It frequently presents an all-or-nothing mentality.” But deprivation can set you up for a binge: The moment your resolve is weakened, you’ll reach for the entire box of doughnuts. So instead of never eating your favorite food again, Abramson suggests thinking of it as a dessert (yes, even if your trigger food is barbecue potato chips). Follow these rules for dessert: Eat it only after a meal, when you’re already pretty full. Eat a small portion, on a plate. Don’t sneak it. And enjoy it: “Eat it slowly,” says Abramson. “Prolong the pleasure.” Beyond the happiness that comes with keeping these treats in your life, having a sense of agency over what you eat can actually help you eat less. Knowing you could eat that cookie if you wanted to, you’re more likely to weigh the pros and cons—and maybe decide it’s not worth it. “When you don’t feel like somebody else is restricting you, you tend to make better decisions,” says Frutchey.
The average person makes about 200 food-related decisions a day, says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York, and author of Slim by Design. It’s not “Should I eat cereal for breakfast?” It’s “Cereal A or cereal B? How much should I pour? How much milk do I need?” “Because we’re unaware of many of these decisions, the environment can push us to eat more,” says Wansink. Faced with sugary cereal or bran flakes, you might choose the sugary cereal. Wansink’s radical idea: “Change your environment to help you mindlessly eat better.” One strategy is to straighten up your kitchen. His research found that people in cluttered surroundings (dirty dishes, mail piles) ate 44 percent more snacks than those in a clean environment. “That out-of-control environment primes you to say, ‘If the rest of the world is out of control, why try to control what I eat?’” he says. Clutter also raises stress levels, and that can lead to overeating. Another idea: Hide junk food. Research revealed that people who kept fruit on their counters weighed 13 pounds less than their snack-displaying peers.
We eat for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with being hungry. Weight loss comes easier when you understand your motivation. Start by spending a week or two writing down everything you eat and how you were feeling when you ate it, suggests Rachel Goldman, PhD, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. Her tip: Pay special attention to the evening hours, which she notes are particularly difficult for many of her clients. “People think they’ve been ‘good’ all day, so they allow themselves to indulge—which could lead to overindulging,” she says. “Or someone may have had a stressful day and come home to take comfort in food.” Then there’s the modern classic: eating mindlessly in front of the TV.
Next time you find yourself absentmindedly poking around the kitchen for a snack, stop and ask whether your body really needs food, suggests Goldman. If it happens often, she recommends tacking a sticky note that reads, “Why am I doing this?” or “Am I hungry?” to the cupboard door or the fridge to stop you in your tracks. Or ask yourself, “Am I so hungry that I’d eat steamed broccoli?” Emotional hunger is usually for something specific, such as a carbohydrate or a sweet. “When you’re physiologically hungry, you’ll eat anything,” says Goldman.
Maybe you’ve identified that you’re feeling, well, a feeling and not physical hunger. In that case, come up with a list of three to five substitute behaviors for eating (brainstorm them now, when you aren’t hankering for a cookie). Find alternatives that will remove you from the situation, distract you, and hopefully make you feel good or productive, says Goldman. Call a friend, take a walk, do a load of laundry, or work on a craft project with your kid.
Willpower is an unreliable tool. “It’s a finite resource,” says Abramson. And that means you run out of it as the day progresses. It’s easier to say yes to exercise or no to a hunk of cheese when you’re well rested than after you’ve turned down dozens of temptations all day (you got out of bed, you stopped a Gilmore Girlsbinge—the list goes on).
You don’t need willpower; you need a new thinking pattern that you can put on autopilot. Cognitive behavioral therapy suggests that we can train our brains to make better decisions. When it comes to weight loss, CBT explains that there’s a thought between “I’m tired” and “Give me all the pizza.” It’s the self-sabotaging rationale: “I’m too tired to cook” or “Everyone else is eating pizza. Why can’t I?” The key is to catch that thought and replace it, explains Deborah Beck Busis, a licensed clinical social worker and coauthor of The Diet Trap Solution. “In-the-moment decisions are hard,” she says. “Plan in advance.”
So right now—before you find yourself facing mushroom-and-pepperoni deliciousness—ask yourself what you were thinking the last time you ate something you later regretted. What would you like to tell yourself before it happens again? Maybe it’s “That extra slice will make you feel sick” or “You’re so close to your goals, and you don’t really like mushrooms—it’s not worth it.” Then write down your reasons on paper or in your phone and read them daily. It’s about building a skill, says Beck Busis, not about some magical “power” you either have or don’t.
You don’t have to cancel all social events to see progress on the scale; you just need to plan ahead. “Take the thinking out of the equation to make it easy for yourself when you’re in these situations,” says Goldman. Look at menus and decide what to order before you meet at the restaurant—since by then, you’ll be hungry and possibly influenced by what others are ordering. In his research at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Wansink found that placing your order first can help, too. You’ll be less likely to cave when your friend orders a bacon double cheeseburger. He also suggests limiting yourself to two “extras” (like a beverage, sides, or complimentary bread) over the course of the meal. This way, you’re not depriving yourself; you’re making choices.
You might assume that a gym session gives you a free eating pass for the rest of the day. In fact, one study published in the journal Appetite suggests that just thinking about exercising prompted participants to reach for more snacks. But here’s a reality check: The average 155-pound person will burn about 300 calories during a half hour of running—and a post-gym milkshake cancels that out fast. Weight loss, after all, is about creating a calorie deficit.
One way to rewire your brain out of expecting a post-sweat binge? Reframe your workout as a break. Cornell Food and Brand Lab research showed that when participants thought of an activity as a “scenicwalk” instead of an “exercise walk,” they ate half as many snacks afterward. “Call it a personal break, meditation time, or time away from the kids,” says Wansink. “Thinking of it as a positive indulgence makes you less likely to compensate by eating more later.”
A lot of factors go into weight—medication, hormones, genetics, and water retention, to name a few. At times, despite your best intentions, the scale might not budge (and it might even go up a pound or two). Don’t let it get you crazy—or make you quit trying. “I encourage my clients not to have purely weight-related goals,” says Frutchey. Instead, perhaps you want to feel confident in a sleeveless top or do all the “push yourself” variations in kickboxing class. Ultimately, “if you’re meeting your daily calorie and fitness goals, your weight will likely follow,” she says. Accept, too, that sometimes you might eat a cheeseburger. The experts agree: Stop beating yourself up about it. Think of it as just one of the 200 food decisions you’ve made today—then move on. Frutchey tells her clients to keep a list of their small victories, like choosing the apple over the chips. “People focus on the one thing they did wrong this week and forget the 80 things they did well,” says Frutchey. But it’s those 80 positive things that really make the difference over time.

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Make The Healthy Switch From Soda to Another Fizz

Whether you’re diabetic or want to decrease your sugar intake for other reasons, the American Diabetes Association recommends alternatives to soda such as water, unsweetened tea, coffee, and drink mixes. Here are some ideas to get the perfect mix of flavor and fizz from your drinks.

Mix seltzer/soda water with juices

Jeltzer: A jeltzer is amazingly simple to make. You only need to mix in one part of your desired 100-percent juice for every three parts of water. To have it taste more like soda, use seltzer or soda water instead of plain water. Experiment with thick juices such as grape and cranberry.

Fruit/herb infusions

Soda water infused with cucumber and citrus: Prepare a pitcher of soda water. Wash and slice one thick cucumber, and slice one large lemon or orange. Stir in the cucumber pieces and the citrus, and let the mixture settle overnight in the refrigerator. Experiment with other fruit combinations, and enjoy!
Cold herbal infusions: Fill a jar or pitcher with cold soda water or seltzer. Wrap 1 ounce of an herb such as lemon balm or marshmallow root in cheesecloth. Tie one end of the bundle. Dampen the herb just a bit, and put the bundle slightly below the water in the pitcher. Place the tied part of the bundle over the pitcher or jar top, and loosely turn the top or jar lid into place. Let the mixture infuse overnight.
Alternatively, put the herbs directly in a jar or pitcher, fill it with water, and tighten the cap. Let the mixture soak overnight.
Ginger ale: Add a spoonful of grated ginger to a glass of ice and seltzer water. Add a low-calorie sweetener, and you’re set.

Flavor concentrates and flavor enhancers

You can find flavor concentrates at any grocery store; popular brands include Crystal Light and MiO. Whatever flavoring product you’re considering, always remember to check the nutritional information for calories, carbs, sugar and sodium, in case you need to limit your intake of any of those ingredients. Prepare your glass of soda water or seltzer, squeeze in a few drops of flavoring, and enjoy!

Tips for making the switch from soda

Follow these tips as you make the switch from soda.
  • Always keep soda alternatives on hand. You might even want to invest in a soda carbonator machine.
  • Experiment: Try oranges, cucumbers, berries and other fruit, as well as vegetables, in your water, to see what tastes you prefer.
  • Restructure routines: Where you might have previously enjoyed an afternoon soda at your desk, try a soda alternative, or go for a 10-minute walk.
  • Don’t quit soda altogether. It may be easier for you to let yourself still enjoy soda a few times a week. Discuss this with your doctor to determine what is a safe amount.
To get a fizzy, soda-like experience without the negative side effects of actual soda, try a few of this healthy and tasty recipe. I invite you to tell me about your experiences with quitting soda in the comments.



  • 1 large cucumber washed and sliced thick
  • 1 large orange or lemon sliced
  • 1 pitcher of water


  1. Fill a pitcher with water. Stir in sliced citrus and cucumbers. Allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator to infuse. Enjoy and refill as often as you’d like.

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Drinking Soda…So You Want to Stop?

The reasons to stop drinking soda are abundant. Whether you want to cut down on empty calories and added sugars, consume less artificial sweeteners, wean off of caffeine, or even save money, ditching soda is a great place to start.
I actually used to be a big soda drinker–the diet type in particular. Something about it being calorie-free gave me permission to drink it with reckless abandon–so I did. At one point, I consumed more soda than water throughout the course of the day.
Back in 2014 I decided I wanted to rid myself of a dependence on artificial sweeteners, so naturally I started with soda. Over the course of about a year I went from drinking 2-3 sodas per day to 2 to 3 per month. I still very much enjoy a cola with my cheeseburger and french fries, but now that I drink it so much less frequently, I have no problem treating myself to the real deal.
As a former soda-drinker myself, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks I found helpful along the way for those of you who also want to get off the sweet stuff:
1. Be okay with scaling back slowly. If you drink 3+ sodas a day, switching to tap water cold turkey will most likely make every sip feel like a punishment… not to mention induce some serious caffeine withdrawal headaches. I bet you can rather painlessly replace 3 sodas per week with tap or sparkling water, though. Heck, maybe even 1 per day! Whatever the number, make it reasonable. Soda has not, and will not kill you over the next few weeks or months while you gradually get off of it. Over time, you’ll miss those first few sodas less and less and eventually you’ll be ready to cut out one or two more.
2. Get on a soda schedule. Keeping #1 in mind, jot down a schedule for weaning your soda consumption. By writing a plan, you’re thinking through and committing to a reasonable approach to drinking less. For example, if you normally drink 3 sodas per day, cut down to 2 per day for an entire month, and then 1 per day the month after. From there, you can gradually cut down even further. Allow yourself 5 per week for the 3rd month, 4 per week for the 4th month, and so on.
3. Explore tasty alternatives. Once you start cutting out soda, you’re going to want to replace it with other fluids so you don’t get dehydrated. When I first started cutting down on soda, I really missed the carbonation + flavor combo. Bored with tap water, I began exploring the wonders of sparkling water. Most of the time the carbonation alone did the trick–but when I craved a sweeter beverage, I found just a splash of juice worked wonders. 1-2 ounces of cranberry, orange or any other 100% fruit juice blend can make all the difference. Another favorite soda alternative is flavored water. Adding some cucumber slices, berries, citrus fruit or fresh mint to a pitcher of water gives it a refreshing essence of flavor.
4. Have alternatives handy. Once you find a few suitable soda alternatives, make sure they’re within reach when you get thirsty. If you just love the tingle of carbonation on your tongue,  keep your cabinets stocked with club soda, or invest in a Soda Stream or one of these more classic soda carbonators and make it yourself at home. If you like flavored water, slice up a bunch of oranges, cucumbers or rinse off some berries at the beginning of the week and make a fresh pitcher every morning. Fill up a water bottle before heading out to run those afternoon errands. If you’re prepared, when thirst strikes you’ll have one less excuse to grab for a soda. Oh, and if you’re prone to caffeine headaches, have an an anti-inflammatory on hand, or a bag of green or black tea to help ease those withdrawal pains.
5. Adopt a no soda policy. When I first decided I wanted to stop drinking soda, the first thing I did to start scaling back was adopt a “No Soda at Home” policy. It was highly effective. Seriously, if it’s not in your house you can’t drink it! This one change helped kickstart my journey to cut back. Here are some other “No Soda” policy ideas:
No Soda…
  • At work
  • On campus
  • On road trips
  • Before 5pm
  • At restaurants
  • At the movies
  • As mixers in alcoholic drinks
Try choosing one to start, and then adopt more as you feel ready.
6. Break the routine…by substituting a new one. For me, soda drinking, much like my morning cup of coffee, was a ritual. I found my daily walk to the soda machine was just as much an excuse to escape the office and chat with a co-worker as it was about getting a cold drink. Luckily I was able to convince my colleague to trade the soda for a few flights of stairs and a pit stop at the water fountain after. Think about when you habitually grab a soda and then figure out how you can change the scenario and make a healthier beverage choice. After just a few weeks your old, bad habit will likely be replaced with your healthier routine.
7. Make yourself accountable. If you’re the type of person who is motivated by accountability, telling your family, co-workers and friends that you’re giving up soda really works. When I decided to cut out soda, I told all of my girlfriends. It kept me honest when we were together, but I also found their support made a big difference. They still check up on me to this day to make sure I haven’t fallen back into my old soda habit! When you start cutting out soda, keep yourself accountable by telling people around you, and reap the benefits of having their support along the way.
8. Redefine the word “stop”. After reading the 2nd paragraph you might look at the title and think, “She still drinks soda though…” Why yes, on occasion I do! But I no longer consider myself a “soda drinker.” There’s a big difference! Just because you want to “stop drinking soda” doesn’t mean you can never enjoy one again. Maybe for you “stop” means getting down to 1 per week, say when you’re out to a nice dinner or as a lunchtime treat on Fridays. The best way to approach a long-lasting behavior change is by making it sustainable and avoiding those feelings of deprivation. If allowing yourself a soda on occasion makes you happy, by all means! In the end, it’s about making healthy habits the default and enjoying treats along the way.

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How to Read a Nutrition Label

Managing your diabetes depends on finding the right amounts and types of food, and balancing that with activity. Learning to read food labels may seem overwhelming at first, but this handy guide will teach you what you need to know about the basic parts of a food label and what they mean to you as a diabetic.

The parts of a nutrition label

Packaged foods are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have a label stating nutrition facts. These labels can help you make healthy decisions when it comes to managing your diabetes. Each label has five parts:
  1. Serving size: Tells you how much a serving is and how many servings there are in the container.
  2. Calories: Lets you know the total calories per serving and how many of those calories come from fat.
  3. Fat, carbohydrates and protein: These are listed in grams per serving and give you an estimate of how much of your daily intake is met by that serving.
  4. Nutrients: Lists fiber, vitamins, and minerals in the food.
  5. Footnote: Provides further information about how the food fits into your dietary needs based on a total number of calories, usually 2,000 and 2,500.

How to use the nutrition information

Serving sizes are very important to managing your blood sugar levels. Standard measurements can help you keep control of what you’re eating. Instead of pouring a “bowl” of cereal, check the serving size listed. One cup or ¾ cup may be less than a bowlful, so by measuring your portions, you know what you’ll actually be eating.Calories are just one part of your diet. But if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, calories can be an important consideration. The calories listed are for each serving, so remember to multiply this amount times the number of servings you eat if you eat a larger portion than that listed.

Fat, carbs, and protein may be the most helpful part of the food label if you’re dealing with diabetes. You may begin to see that a listed serving size has more carbs or fat than your doctor recommends as a serving. For example, one cup of cereal may have 30 carbs and your target is 15 carbs. This tells you that you need to cut the portion to one-half cup to reach your target.
The nutrients part of the label helps you learn about other ways the food can help (or hurt) your body. For example, if you’re watching your salt intake, knowing the sodium level in each serving will help you keep your salt low. Other nutrients like calcium, iron and vitamins A and C also help you keep track of your diet.

What to do next

By learning how to read the information on a nutrition label you can take better control of your diet and your blood sugar levels. Check serving sizes, numbers of carbs, fat and protein, and other nutrients to keep your blood sugar in the optimal range.

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Keep a Food Journal

If knowledge is power, then self-knowledge is the greatest power of all; it’s also elusive. Does it ever seem that you’re endlessly dieting and then regaining lost weight? Or maybe your efforts at dieting stall out after initial loss of water weight. Your problem may not be one of willpower; you may simply be forgetting everything you eat during your busy day, or seriously underestimating portion sizes.

My food journal — a personal journey

When I found I needed to lose some fat, I was frustrated. I had always prided myself on knowing food and exercise better than most, and I had been lean, in fact shredded, not so many years before. But the mirror does not lie — it merely reveals uncomfortable truths.
My food choices were generally very good. I was eating natural foods, though not always organic, and staying away from processed, sugar-laden foods. However, I wasn’t really paying attention to serving sizes. I was being sloppy mentally, eating “automatically,” and it showed in my body. I decided to record my food intake each day for one month.
Since quality and quantity both matter, I purchased digital diet scales and a new set of measuring spoons. I also bought a set of inexpensive calipers to track trends in body fat. For a month, I precisely quantified my foods, measuring everything, and calculating calories and “macros.” Before I began to use my food journal as a fat loss tool, I needed a few pieces of useful information:
  • I needed a good estimate of the calories needed to maintain my weight based on my activity level, size, age, and gender. I consulted an online calorie counter[1], eventually settling on an average of the estimates I found there.
  • I needed to know how fat I was, starting out, based on some easily measured value, so I took (with the assistance of a skilled trainer) skinfold thicknesses at four locations[2] with my calipers.
  • Next, I ate as I normally had been but measured my food for one week and counted calories. At the end of the week, I retook my skinfold readings.
When I compared my estimated maintenance calories with actual consumption for the trial week, I discovered the cause of my problem: I had been habitually eating about 500 calories too many daily. My skinfolds had also grown slightly in just a single week.

How can I use a food journal to accomplish my goals?

If you need to lose fat, do as I did. Accurately assess how many calories you require each day to maintain weight using the online calculator. Then subtract 300-500 from that number. Next, choose a food journal app or keep a pen and paper food record. Get the scales and measuring devices you’ll need to accurately quantify your servings, purchase inexpensive calipers, and get started. For the next month:
  • Carefully weigh and measure all of your food, keeping a running total in your food journal of calories consumed during the day. Think of this as your declining-balance account. If you can lose weight on 2,300 daily calories and you’ve already eaten 1,300, you can eat only 1,000 calories more the rest of the day.
  • Resist the urge to weigh yourself; instead, track changes in skinfold thickness. The numbers will gradually get smaller, week-by-week.
  • In your food journal, remember to record grams of carbs, fats, and protein. Use online sources[3] to get the calorie breakdown of fats, protein, and carbs for each food.
  • If one month is not enough, continue until you reach your fat loss goal.
You may find you are eating too many carbs; if so, eat fewer carbs. Maybe you’re eating less protein than you need; eat what you need instead. Are you getting the recommended 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories? Use a fiber tracker[4]. How many ounces of water do you drink per day? How’s that omega-6:omega-3 dietary fats ratio? Are you getting enough magnesium? Zinc?
You can use your food journal for many purposes, to reveal exactly what you want to know! Suppose you have learned that you have prediabetes. You’ll want to manage more than calories alone. What if you used your data to calculate glycemic load of meals, and daily totals?[5] You will have all the data in front of you, to study and then use to eat more mindfully. If you also recorded HbA1c results, the test that measures how well you have controlled blood glucose for the previous three months, and daily glucose testing results, along with time of meals and tests, you could use the information to better self-manage your disease.


Eventually, by carefully observing the sizes of servings and learning more about the foods you eat, you may be able to stop using the food journal altogether. It will have served its purpose.


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How Many Calories Should I Eat?

One-size-fits-all calorie recommendations do not work. They must be customized to each individual.

To accurately determine your daily calorie amount above, enter your current weight, age, height, and gender into the calculator. Do your best estimate of how much exercise you will be doing.The results will show how many calories you may eat in order to maintain or lose weight. You don’t need to adjust this depending on your exercise rate – that is factored into the equation. The maintenance value is the same as what some people call Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
*As you lose weight you will need to recalculate based on your new weight.
Calories for Fat Loss science tells us that 1 pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, so a daily calorie deficit of 500 should result in 1 pound per week fat loss.
In reality things don’t quite work that efficiently!
Generally, a person’s energy expenditure becomes less as they get lighter – meaning that you will inevitably plateau. The amount of food intake that once resulted in weight loss, will now only maintain.


Always try to aim for the “Fat Loss” daily calorie level.
The “Extreme Fat Loss” level is effectively a rock bottom calorie level. Do not attempt to immediately drop your calories to this level hoping for the quick fix. This may ultimately backfire.
The Extreme Fat Loss level shows the lowest calorie amount
that can be considered
. It should be seen as the exception rather than the rule.
It truly is better to burn the fat than to starve it.

The Weight Loss Plateau

Why use the 7-day Calorie Cycle (Zig-Zag)?
Over time our bodies adapt to a lowered calorie level.
Our body becomes more efficient at using energy (lowered metabolism), and therefore burns less fat.

This is why most of us reach a weight loss plateau.

At this point, the only option is to boost metabolism:
  • increased cardio,
  • weight training,
  • ‘cheat’ meals (i.e. occasional high-calorie meals),
  • cycling (or zig-zagging) calories,
  • even manipulating macro-nutrient ratios can all help to do this (don’t forget adequate sleep and hydration).
You often find that the nearer you get to your goal weight (or body fat percentage) – the harder things get!
Continually dropping calories only serves to lower metabolism even further – the moment you return to ‘normal’ eating – the weight comes back on. The 7 Day zig-zag provides a suggestion for daily calories that will keep your body guessing – and increase your chances of continual weight loss.

Minimum Daily Calorie intake

It is difficult to set absolute bottom calorie levels, because everyone has different body composition and activity levels.
Health authorities do set some baselines – these are 1200 calories per day for women, and 1800 calories per day for men.
These absolute rules don’t make sense – are you are sedentary person with little muscle mass? Or someone who is tall, muscular, and exercises a lot? Absolute levels don’t work – but do give us a starting point.

When reducing calories:

Doing so may invoke the bodies starvation response, which can lead to the Yo-yo dieting effect.
Try to gradually lower calories. A sudden drop (such as 500 calories or more) can cause your metabolism to slow.
Learn to eat slowly – research shows that faster eaters are heavier people1.

What happens when calories are too low?

  1. Muscle mass is broken down for energy (catabolism).
  2. Metabolic rate will begin to drop (typically) after 3 days of very low calories – this is related to, and compounded by the loss of muscle mass.
  3. With very low calories you risk sluggishness, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, and often irritability.
You are completely set-up for a regain in fat if you suddenly return to your previous eating patterns.

Exercise Level

As your exercise level was already factored into the equation, there is NO NEED to subtract calories burned by exercise.
It is very hard to generalize exertion from exercise.
For the sake of simplicity we define exercise here as 20 minutes of elevated heart rate.
So, 3 times/week is 20 minutes of elevated heart rate 3 times per week. For you this could mean a brisk walk, for others it could be a slow jog.
Intense exercise can be defined as an hour of elevated heart rate (however intense workouts such as a series of body weight exercises (or heavy weights) with little or no breaks are considered intense even when only a shorter duration).
Have a play with our calories burned tool to see how different exercises compare. I encourage you to include exercise in your lifestyle change: it helps to maintain muscle when under calorie deficit, and it’s great for your heart and mental state.
Macro Counting
Macro Counting is a popular way of calorie-based weight loss because it is very personalized and unrestricted. It teaches dieters how to calculate their calorie needs (just like our calculator does above) as well as how many grams of carbs, fat, and protein (macros) they should be eating each day for weight loss.
No foods are off limits as long as they fit your daily macro amount.
Lose Fat AND Build Muscle?
Most people lose muscle mass when restricting calories. It takes great effort to maintain muscle tone – and it is even more tricky actually building muscle while losing fat.

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Best 5 Weight-Loss Apps for Your Smartphone

If you own a smartphone, you probably use it to simplify many aspects of your life. Why not use apps to help you lose weight, too? Health and fitness apps offer awesome tools that are simple to use. Get started with these five powerful apps to support your weight-loss efforts.

1. ipiit

Known as The Food Ambassador, ipiit helps you stick to your diet by providing guidance about the ingredients in different foods. Maybe you want to try a gluten-free lifestyle or need to eliminate added sugars from your diet. Whatever your preferences, you can plug them i

nto ipiit and get the information you need. This unique program:

  • Provides support for individuals who follow special diets or have celiac disease or food allergies.
  • Allows you to input specific food needs.
  • Scans bar codes to quickly retrieve product information.
  • Tells you whether foods fit within your diet parameters.

2. Noom Coach

Noom Coach is a powerful app that offers all-around support during your weight-loss journey. Noom Coach allows you to:
  • Plan workouts and meals.
  • Track your progress.
  • Learn what’s working and isn’t working.
  • Make changes to your diet and fitness routine to help you better meet your goals.

3. MyFitnessPal

Many folks who use calorie counting as a weight-loss strategy swear by this lightweight calorie-tracking tool. MyFitnessPal includes:
  • A database of more than 5 million foods.
  • Simple entry of foods and portions.
  • Tracking for daily meals and snacks.
  • A recipe counter to help you calculate calories and servings for homemade meals.
  • Syncing across the web and mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows devices.

4. The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App

Designed to help users get the most out of every minute, this app from J&J is incredibly popular. It includes:
  • A high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program.
  • 72 exercises and 22 workouts customizable to your specific needs.
  • Videos and animations that help you get your form right.
  • A smart-workout feature that keeps track of your progress and recommends when you should up your intensity.
  • Support for social sharing.

5. Fooducate

Dedicated to helping you eat better, Fooducate combines weight-loss tools with a dynamic community. This easy-to-use app offers:
  • A food database and built-in barcode scanner to locate products.
  • A health tracker that grades how well you eat.
  • A workout-tracking tool.
  • Healthy recipes.
  • A daily diet and fitness tip.
  • Motivation from an online community of other Fooducate users.
It’s never a bad time to begin your weight-loss journey. If you’re not sure where to start, download the apps that sound most interesting and give them a try. You’re sure to find a few that inspire you to take the first step toward living a healthy lifestyle!

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Avoid Weight Loss Plateaus 5 Ways

Long-term, sustainable weight loss often comes with prolonged periods where you lose nothing. You watch everything you eat and hit the gym regularly, but your weight stays the same. The scale just won’t move — a plateau. When this happens, it can be demotivating and intensely frustrating. After all, if you’re doing everything right, why won’t the weight go away? The simple answer is that your body adjusts to changes. When you’re losing weight, sometimes it adjusts a little too well. You’ve cut back the calories, and your body responds by slowing your metabolism.
Jump past the plateau by changing up your routine. Here are a few quick tips to get back on a losing trend.
1. Mix up your exercise routine
If you do the same exercises every time you go to the gym, they get easier. This means you burn fewer calories at each workout. To get the maximum benefit from every minute you spend at the gym or on the track, try changing up your routine. If you usually lift a lot of weight for fewer reps, do the opposite for a week. If you run for half an hour every day, try doing some interval training. Changing your exercise routine ups the difficulty and helps burn more calories.
2. Increase your calorie intake
It might sound counter-intuitive, but if you went from eating more than 2,000 calories a day to just over 1,200 calories, your body might be confused. Starvation mode slows your metabolism and causes your body to hang onto every calorie. Try adding calories to your daily allowance or do up and down days. For example, on a day when you don’t hit the gym, you eat around 1,500 to 1,800 calories. On a day when you do, add an extra 300 to 400 calories.
3. Check your macronutrients
Sometimes, it’s not the raw calories impeding your weight loss; it’s the source of those calories. High carbohydrate diets can cause some people to have trouble shedding pounds. Look at the amount of fat, carbs and protein you consume; cutting back on the carbs and upping the protein can often give your weight loss a big boost.
4. Wait it out
Most plateaus only last about three weeks. If you stick with the program and eat fewer calories than you burn each day, the weight will eventually come off. The trick is to be honest about what you eat and track your diet consistently. If you get back to the basics of watching everything you eat, you can likely reveal where you might be going wrong.
5. Check in with your doctor
If none of the above solutions work, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Get the all-clear from your doctor before you try anything drastic with a weight loss routine. It could be a medical condition that’s preventing you from shedding weight. Be sure to get tested for:
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Insulin resistance
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Other metabolic disorders
Proper medical treatment and specialized lifestyle remedies for these conditions can help you get back on track with your weight loss.

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JenniferLynn’s Weight Loss Journey

I’m sharing my process and journey as I lost 154 lbs. and how I maintain it.




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