Dancing is a Fun and Exciting Way to Lose Weight

Lose weight dancing!

Lose weight dancing! Doesn’t it sound fun? Dancing is beneficial for many more reasons than one. It’s not only a fast way to lose weight, but it’s fun and allows you to learn a new skill that will simply catapult your social quotient. Dancing as a form of exercise is also much less monotonous than boring gym routines.

Dance is not just a seductive movement of the body aimed to charm a room full of people, or merely an art form designed to express oneself. Dance is so much more; it’s a way of life, and a way of attaining perfection in the body and the soul.


Benefits of Dancing for Weight Loss

There are many ways in which dancing promotes weight loss. Here are a few of them:

  • A lot of people stop exercising because it becomes monotonous and boring. With dancing, that does not really happen and many people are able to stay on track and achieve their weight loss goals.
  • While we lose weight dancing, we also acquire a new skill that helps us to gain greater self-confidence and self-worth.
  • Some people may find traditional workouts like sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups strenuous and hard on the muscles. Dancing, on the other hand, is relaxing and helps burn a lot of calories.
  • Apart from losing weight, dancing also helps develop concentration, patience and relieves stress.

Types of Dance Workouts

These popular dance workouts can be done at home with videos or taken with a group of friends at a fitness class.

  • Fusion dance is for those who are not biased to any particular form of dance. This dance form takes the good parts of many other dance forms, along with their own innovative steps and makes your workout time worthwhile. Highly recommended for people who get bored quickly.
  • Piloxing is a blend of Pilates, boxing and dance. Ideal for those looking to burn calories fast, as well as build and tone muscles. Recommended for the sporty individual.
  • Ballet is an art and fitness routine fused together. Apart from sculpting a svelte figure, it increases flexibility like no other forms of exercise. It also helps in personality development by promoting gracefulness.
  • Zumba is a high energetic Latin inspired dance routine that includes cardio workouts in its routine.

The benefits of dancing for weight loss are endless. Most gyms nowadays offer variety of packages to help you lose weight dancing. Research the form of dance that you like and select a package accordingly, or you can simply tune into the home dance videos and dance your calories away.


Want To Lose Weight Faster? Try These Workouts

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Exercise is one of the most important factors for a healthy lifestyle. If you want to lose weight fast, then it’s essential that you choose the right workouts for the best results. Workouts are also needed to both tone muscle and keep the mind and body healthy.

The idea of ‘working out’ doesn’t have to incorporate a session at the gym. The term ‘workout’ means “a practice or exercise to improve one’s fitness,” or “a session of vigorous physical training.” So any kind of intensive activity can be classed as a workout.


Here are some excellent workouts to try if you want to lose weight faster.

  • Walking. This might sound like it is too simple for to be called a ‘workout’, but if you currently have a sedentary lifestyle, then walking can be ideal. Walking has been described as a low-intensity activity to lose weight. It should be possible to burn up to 360 calories in 45 minutes. This means that walking 45 minutes per day a person can lose around a pound a week.
  • Swimming. Swimming is a great way to lose extra pounds. Depending on the type of swimming, a person can burn between 450 and 700 calories an hour. This is a low impact workout as the body isn’t subject to the bumps and strains of lifting weights or running. It’s a good form of exercise for people with other health issues like obesity, arthritis, and asthma.
  • Kettlebells. What are they? Cast iron balls that have a single handle. The interesting aspect of using kettlebells in a workout is that, because the weight isn’t distributed evenly, the body has to work to counterbalance kettlebell’s weight. Kettlebell workouts can burn around 400 calories in about 20 minutes. In terms of cardiovascular benefits, a workout with a kettlebell can be the equivalent to running six miles.
  • Jumping/skipping rope. This shouldn’t be resigned to the school playground. A jumping rope workout can help you burn up to 800 calories in an hour. Just 10 minutes of this type of workout is the same as running a mile. There are more than just cardiovascular benefits to using a jumping rope. It’s also a great way to improve endurance, coordination, and agility. It’s more intensive that other workouts, but this means that you don’t have to do it as long.
  • Squats. Squats burn fat fast and build muscle. Squat exercises use most of the muscles in the body. Why is this important? The more muscle mass a person has, the better his metabolism, and therefore calories will be burned faster. Squat workouts can be used with or without weights, therefore perfect for either home exercising or at the gym.
  • Lunges. These can be performed at home and no equipment is needed. They are great exercises to tone your lower body, but more importantly they great for burning calories. It’s estimated that a person can burn around 275 calories in a 30-minute workout. There are various types of lunges, even ‘explosive lunges.’
  • Bicycling is another low-impact, high-rewards activity for losing weight. Depending on how fast a person cycles and the type of terrain, it is possible to burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour. Cycling can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. For example, you could cycle to work or use the bicycle for leisure time. If that’s not possible, then most gyms have cycles.
  • Running. This is the ‘classic’ workout for losing weight. Running is great for strengthening muscle, improving the cardiovascular system and is generally good for the whole body and mind. It only requires a good pair of running shoes and a music player to help you keep pace. Even better is to use high-intensity interval running. This involves short bursts of running at top speed, then a slowing the pace before the next burst.

Can Stress Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts?

Photo credit: Andrea Piscquadio from Pexels

We face more stress today than we ever have before, but can stress sabotage your weight loss efforts? Well, it depends. If you find you’re constantly under stress and struggling with weight issues, then it’s probably a good idea to take a look at the level of stress in your life. You can experience stress in relationships, at work, financial hardships, moving, sitting in a traffic jam, losing a loved one, and so much more. If stress becomes chronic, it can lead to a cascade of chemical responses in the body and bring weight loss to a screeching halt. Learning to recognize stress triggers and how stress affects the body can help you to reach your weight loss goals and keep the extra pounds off.

How is stress sabotaging your weight loss effort?

The Body’s Response to Stress

When stress is triggered, the body releases hormones that have different effects. The primary stress response hormones are epinephrine and cortisol. The stress response is commonly referred to as the fight for flight response.

Flight or fight response

During this phase of the stress response, people experience increased heart rate, increased respiration, and a slowing of the digestive tract company with a release of glucose and fats into the bloodstream. The body also releases cortisol during the stress.

What Does Cortisol Do?

When cortisol dumps fat and glucose in the bloodstream, it’s designed to help you have access to quick energy when outrunning a lion.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many lions in our current environment, only traffic jams and demanding bosses.

So now, instead of using up all of the energy that cortisol pumped into your bloodstream, you have extra nutrients, glucose and fat just sitting around.

Not only does cortisol have the ability to release nutrients into the bloodstream, it also stops the digestive process. What does that mean for weight loss?

Insulin & Cortisol 

  • Cortisol has a direct negative impact on insulin. Cortisol suppresses insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar. If your cortisol levels remain high due to chronic stress, it will lead to poor blood sugar regulation and many other health problems such as obesity, moods swings, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Cortisol also inhibits the muscle’s ability to take in amino acids, which can lead to fatigue because the muscles are not being properly fed.
  • Finally, cortisol partially shuts down the body’s immune system because when you’re running away from the bear, you don’t need to be fighting off the common cold. This means that chronically stressed people are more prone to illness.

So, what does this have to do with weight loss?

When the body responds to stress, all of the normal hormonal processes change. Instead of handling food, feeding muscles, fighting illness, and using fat, your body is doing the exact opposite…

Getting sick, losing muscle, storing food, and storing fat.

Increased hunger

The increased appetite that’s often associated with stress becomes more problematic when stress shuts down and alters the body’s ability to process food.

Fat becomes more easily stored and less used for energy. These changes happen in the body because of the excess glucose. When you are consuming more calories, and burning less of them, you’re going to store more fat.

Easy energy

Excess blood sugar happens during the stress response, and the body will always use glucose first. The process to convert glucose to energy is simple. Our bodies are nothing if not efficient. Stress provides a constant source of glucose. The rapid source of energy stops your body from using fat stores.

Your metabolism is lazy. It will always pick the power supply (glucose, amino acids, and triglycerides) that is easiest to process (glucose).

Positive ways to manage stress

Fortunately, the case for stress sabotaging weight loss is not hopeless. There are plenty of things that you can do to reduce your body’s response to stress.


Exercise helps lower the body’s response to stress, and it is a wonderful way to get the right hormones in surplus within the body. Without exercise, many people would live in a chronic stressed out state.


Individuals who pray regularly and/or meditate regularly are usually better able to handle what life hands them.

Meditation and prayer have a calming effect that is seen well after the actual prayer and meditation stop.

Deep Breathing

When traffic hits or your boss goes berserk, stop and take a few long, deep breaths. This interrupts the stress response by slowing your respirations. Not allowing your heart rate to accelerate.

People who exercise, meditate, pray, and practice deep breathing all have statistically lower body weights.

Can this be because of their ability to handle stress better?

How do you combat daily stress?

Key Ingredients of a Successful Weight Loss Plan

Most, if not all, individuals want to lose weight at one point or another in their lives. For many, it is done in a haphazard sort of way without much planning, thought, or time to expend.

However, losing weight involves much more than determination or desire. You need to take the time to implement a solid weight loss plan that can set you on a path to long-term positive lifestyle changes. Just as you would make a list for any typical household project, a list in the form of a straight forward, easy-to-follow weight loss plan is imperative, as well.

There are several key ingredients to a successful weight loss plan.

Goal Setting

Of course, common sense would dictate that the first ingredient is to set a goal. However, setting a goal is not as easy as picking a number. You should set realistic goals that will not leave you feeling as though you have failed. In general, you can diminish the concern that you place on those height and weight charts and go according to your healthy weight goal you intend to set.

A healthy weight goal is a good place to start, because it is a place where you will feel a little bit better about yourself, be healthier, and breathe a little easier. You can always continue to keep up with your weight loss goals. Setting smaller goals is better than setting your sights too high and then crashing even harder.

Get Informed

Before you run out and buy the latest exercise equipment, join a gym, and purchase a diet plan, you need to get informed by educating yourself in the field of exercise and nutrition. For some, cardiovascular exercise is what is necessary and for others, weight training might be more suitable. Although, the combination of the two will produce the best results. If you do join a gym, definitely take advantage of their personal trainers. A personal trainer can help you identify your weight-loss goals, find your trouble spots, and help you to personalize a weight-loss plan that is suitable to you and only you. If the gym is not for you, then try a workout video at home to save time, money and exercise when it’s convenient for you.

Get informed on the foods that will facilitate your weight loss efforts, as well as what metabolism-boosting supplements you might want to take, and what fluids are ideal for aiding in your weight-loss endeavor.

Make a Decision

With so many options from juicing to vegetarian eating plans, you need to find something that progresses slowly and then eases you into the next level of weight-loss. Make a decision based on your lifestyle. For example, if you have very limited time, an expansive weight-loss program may not be a good fit for you. Choose exercises and a location where you will feel you are most comfortable. For example, some may prefer to exercise in a gym, while others may prefer the privacy of their own home.

Once you have made choices that fit your lifestyle whether it is cycling, weight training or power walking, you are well on your way to reaching your weight-loss goals.

Fasting for Better Health

Photo credit: Derek Jensen [Public domain]

What is Fasting?

A simple definition of fasting: “The act of willingly abstaining from all food, and in some cases drink, for a pre-determined period of time.” The key word here is willingly. The other key word/phrase is pre-determined period of time. You will be deciding to not eat for a period of time.

The Benefits of Fasting

-Fasting has many benefits, a few of which include:

-You learn to master better lifelong eating habits.

-Doesn’t cost a penny. Fasting is free. You don’t need to buy supplements or services.

-Develops mindful eating. You become more aware of what, when, and why you are eating.

-Reduces your insulin resistance.

You gain control over mindless snacking. Once you experience that a 24-hour pause in your eating is tolerable, it becomes easier to avoid snacking needlessly when you’re not hungry.

How Long to Fast?

The 24-hour fast is the one most people use to the greatest benefit. There are longer fasts, such as three days and five days, but they should be monitored and guided by a health professional. The 24-hour fast can be done by anyone, though it needs to be noted that it should not be done more than once a week.

With a 24-hour fast, you never go a whole day without eating. The fasting begins as soon as you finish a meal. You decide when you will begin fasting, and when you put your fork down, look at the clock. You will be eating again in 24 hours. You can decide to begin right after breakfast or dinner. It is up to you.

No food is allowed during the fasting period. This means no low-calorie or no-calorie food, too. If you decide that you simply must eat something, end the fast and start again on another day.

Liquids are allowed and encouraged during a fast. There are recommended liquids that allow your body to stay in the fasted state and those are:

  • Water: filtered or sparkling, but no flavoring.
  • Water with lemon or lime
  • Black coffee
  • Tea with no sugar or sweetener and no milk
  • Tea with lemon

You do not need any special drinks, supplements, cleanses or detoxifiers. Keep it simple.

After 24 hours have passed, you can break the fast and eat a meal.

Set Yourself Up for Success

  1. Plan ahead to remove temptation so that you are in control of your schedule and what you drink during your fast.
  2. Set your intentions. Some people think of fasting as deprivation, but those who gain the most from fasting think of it as a cleansing.
  3. Prepare to feel hungry and have a strategy to handle it. You can embrace hunger as a sign that your body is releasing stored fat and using it for energy. You can imagine the fatty parts of your body being depleted.



Weight Loss for Women: You Can Break These 5 Rules and Still Lose Weight

Many women find it difficult and frustrating to lose weight, and it doesn’t help that there is so much conflicting information on the internet, TV advertisements, books and magazines. Sifting through all the information out there can be so overwhelming at times, but it doesn’t have to be. By sticking to basic weight loss strategies, you will be able to take it one step at a time, one pound at a time, and eventually reach your ideal weight in a relatively short amount of time. However, to make this happen, you need to start with an easy-to-follow, realistic fitness and nutrition plan. If you need help with this, you can always seek the expertise of a nutritionist or a personal trainer.

Again, sticking to a basic weight loss plan is your best bet and the least complicated. The basic weight loss strategy involves clean eating and burning more calories than you consume. How can you replicate this process in the easiest way? You can use free app tools like My Fitness Pal or Lose It. Both will show you how to track your calories, your fitness, and find your “sweet spot” with intake, so you can learn to lose weight the healthy way.

To help you lose weight while still enjoying the foods you love, there are rules you can break and still lose weight.

Rule #1: Don’t eat late at night

This is one rule you can break pretty easily and still come out on top.  Remember, it is a simple formula: calories in and calories out. As long as you stick to your calorie limits, those calories can be consumed any time of the day or night as long as you don’t go over. However, you should try to consume most of your calories earlier in the day when you’re more active.

Rule #2: Be a member of the clean plate club!

Yes, your mother preached to you about the starving children in Africa who would gladly eat what you left on your plate. But, if you can’t finish all the food on your plate, it doesn’t mean that it will go to waste. Simply save what is left for later, or save it for another meal during the week. Forcing yourself to eat when you’re not hungry will only create bad eating habits and unwanted weight gain.

Rule #3: Eat at the same time every day

This might work if we stuck to the standard 3 meals per day, but many experts suggest that to stabilize our blood sugar and eliminate insulin spikes, we should divide our intake into 6 smaller meals per day. You can set a schedule if you like, but it is not vital to your weight loss if you don’t. Most people don’t always stick to the standard and occasionally skip meals or eat later, and that is OK because occasional fasting helps your system use up extra calories and lowers your insulin levels.

Rule #4: Restrict all carbohydrates

The low-carb movement introduced us to limiting or cutting out all carbohydrates to induce a state of ketosis where your body burns fat for fuel. While this may work temporarily, it is very hard to stick to this way of eating for very long. You eventually become bored and end up craving the foods you are missing. An alternative for this would be to consume high-water content, nutrient-dense complex carbs like celery, asparagus, cucumbers, kale, spinach, and zucchini, and low-sugar, fiber-rich fruits like apples, melons, pomegranate, and mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries). You can find recipe substitutions for your favorite meals that lower the carb counts without eliminating it completely.

Rule # 5: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

While breakfast can help to boost your metabolism and jump-start your day, it’s good to occasionally shake up your routine. Skipping breakfast on occasion can facilitate fat burning and allow your body to heal. Just don’t fast too often, as it can cause your metabolism to slow and stall your weight loss progress. If you get in the habit of skipping meals or not consuming enough calories, your body will go into starvation mode and begin storing calories as fat for later.  

There are many diet programs out there for women looking to lose weight. Your main goal, however, should be to follow a healthy eating plan that you can stick with for the long-term. Don’t fall for the short-term, quick fix fad diets, which many people find too restricting and ultimately end up derailing their weight loss efforts. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorite treats. Life is too short for that, so go ahead and enjoy that piece of chocolate or glass of wine. You’re much more likely to lose weight and keep it off using this approach. Just keep it in moderation and watch the portions!

If you watch television or read things on the internet, you will no doubt understand that there are many myths associated with weight loss. Big diet industry names have capitalized on that to make money from our misunderstanding of the issue. If you follow the tips outlined above, you will lose weight in the easiest way possible and without spending a ton of money. You will be lighter, healthier, and happier in your new lifestyle.

Weight Loss Plateaus: Main Causes and Top 12 Solutions

What is a weight loss plateau?

You have started a weight loss plan and have been following it for some time and you could not be more pleased with the results. You look better, feel better, and even have more confidence in yourself. All those things have made you that much more determined to reach your weight loss goals.

There is only one problem and it’s a big one; even though you’re eating and physical activity routines have not changed, you have suddenly stopped losing any weight at all. It can be a very frustrating experience to say the least. A weight loss plateau is a time period in which your body stops losing weight despite your diet and exercise efforts.  

Does that mean that your results have been hindered and you should quit your efforts? Of course not!   

Possible causes for weight loss plateaus

It is important to understand why you may have hit a weight loss plateau in the first place. Prior to finding some solutions for your weight loss plateau, here are some vital facts on weight loss plateaus that you need to know:

Weight loss plateaus are extremely common. If you don’t notice a weight loss plateau as you get to your ideal weight, you should feel extremely lucky. Weight loss plateaus are expected as you continue to lose weight. Your body is resistant to being changed. Many people who get to their ideal weight have had as many as 2-3 weight loss plateaus during that period of time. If changing your body were that simple, everyone would have a normal weight.

The more weight you lose, the harder it is to lose weight. It all comes down to mathematics. If you weigh a lot, losing a pound or so of fat is just a small percentage of your body weight. As you approach your ideal weight, a pound lost is a lesser percentage of your total body weight.

As you diet and exercise to lose weight, your body initially gets a nice boost in metabolism in order to start compensating for the loss of calorie intake. Over time, this compensation will slow down because you have lost fat and possibly lost some muscle too, as this can happen when you diet and do not perform some type of weight training exercise. A slower metabolism means less weight loss.

Losing weight becomes more difficult the closer you get to your ideal goal. Not only does your body work harder to keep your fat stores the thinner you become, the pace of weight loss is slower. The fact is that the ability to lose more fat goes down, as you get closer to your body weight. The most common weight loss plateaus occur at around 20-22 percent body fat, decreasing to around 12 percent body fat, as you get closer to your goal.

Mindless Cheating. Is it possible that you are allowing yourself to cheat a little bit on your diet now that you are bubbling over in confidence in your ability to lose weight and not even noticing that you are cheating more than you think?

Top 12 Solutions to Weight Loss Plateaus 

  • Push past the plateau by challenging the body.

Try getting on the treadmill every day for about thirty minutes and do some intense brisk walking. With time, your body gets too used to the same routine and you become less efficient at sticking with your goals. Try varying your physical activity so you can push the envelope to get past your weight loss plateau.

In your treadmill session, for example, try pushing up the incline or speed up for a little while to get your muscles really going. Keep at this higher intensity for a couple of minutes and then go back to what you are comfortable with, this type of High Intensity Interval Training is highly effective in keeping the body guessing, challenged and burning fat.

Make sure you include strength training, such as weight lifting, in your routine. Having more muscle on you will help you burn more calories so you’ll start losing weight again. The truth is that the body always strives to adapt, and once it does, it no longer needs to work so you must demand it to do so to go to the next level.

  • Step away.

If you keep weighing yourself and obsessing over the stuck scale, this will cause you stress and stress plays a key role in weight gain. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which is a major culprit in storing fat. So stop weighing yourself. Stay on track with your program, relax, and just let it go. If you continue to do what you need to, eventually you will start to see results again.

  • Take a closer look at your weight loss habits.

If you have lost weight and then hit a plateau, you may not understand why because you have not changed your eating or your physical routine at all. Or have you?

Sometimes you need to take a closer look at your habits that helped you lose weight and look for subtle changes in them. It could be something as simple as adding sweetened beverages back into your diet again or allowing yourself to eat larger portions of food than you were eating before. Maybe you have skipped more workouts than you thought lately?

Identifying any and all subtle ways in which you may have slipped in your weight loss plan and correcting them could be the key to helping you begin to drop those unwanted pounds again.

  • Don’t underestimate the calorie content of any food you eat.

This is a common error that can lead to a weight loss plateau. Make sure to identify the correct calorie count of everything you eat, and make sure to be sure the actual portions for those counts. If you are eating too many calories, this may be because of emotional triggers. Try tracking your feelings with the time of day and write down your feelings in order to discover those emotions and problem times that can cause you to eat too much.

Recognize what triggers you to eat and look for healthier foods to satisfy your appetite. At least find foods that help you deal with your emotions that don’t cause you to gain weight. Keep track of your progress and reward yourself with something you really like to do in order to pay yourself back for all the hard work you’ve put in.

  • The scale is not your only progress assessment tool.

Do you lift weights or perform any type of muscle building exercises? Did you know that muscle weighs more than fat? This is the reason that gym people and personal trainers rarely rely on the scale, but instead use a fat caliper to measure their body fat percentage. This is what concerns them much more than weight because a 250-pound man that is all muscle, could be 50 pounds overweight according to the governmental health guidelines, but if all that “excess” weight is muscle, and not fat then in reality is he is very healthy.

Use a tape measure to measure your waist, chest, and other parts of the body. Check how your clothes feel, are they loose? Use a fat caliper instead of just using the scale. All of these options will provide you with a much more realistic picture of the results of your efforts.

  • Watch portions.

Remain consistent with portion control to avoid accidently eating more calories than you need. This is why it is extremely important to consistently measure, and weigh your portions in the same ways that you usually do.

  • Eat lots of protein.

Studies show that eating a low carb, high protein diet can help control your hunger. High protein foods work by keeping the hormone ghrelin in check, which is a hormone secreted by the stomach that cause hunger. Carbs promote hunger, while protein satisfies it and keeps you full longer. Consuming high protein foods will decrease the level of ghrelin significantly, helping to keep hunger pangs under control.

  • Eat more vegetables.

Fill up on vegetables because they are chock-full of nutrients and low in calories. Try starting a meal with a bowl of broth or a vegetable salad rather than going straight to the main meal. Have plenty of vegetables on hand and ready to eat, to avoid the roadblock of washing and prep time. When you fill up on nutrient-dense and low-calorie vegetables, you are less likely to binge on highly processed foods.

  • Get cravings under control.

It’s true that when you diet you may get some pretty powerful hunger urges, but you can satisfy your hunger in a way that will not interfere with your weight loss. A lot of that has to do with eating certain foods.

One of the best ways to stabilize hunger and avoid out of control cravings is to limit your intake of unhealthy carbs; instead, focus on eating carbs low on the glycemic index, which means not eating anything white and avoiding starches and sugar.

Sticking to berries for a sweet tooth is a low carb option and eating more non-starchy vegetables instead of rice or pasta can go a long way to stabilizing your hunger, and keeping out of control cravings at bay.

  • Don’t starve yourself.

The opposite problem to increasing calories is not getting in enough calories to sustain your weight. If you chronically deprive your body of food, it will slow its metabolism down and you’ll have trouble losing weight. Starvation sends the body into survival mode, which means it will store anything and everything you do eat as fat for later use. Each meal you consume should be nutrient rich and include a healthy fat, a healthy carb, and a protein.

  • Get moving.

This sounds obvious, but many forget about physical activity and how little things really matter to get beyond a weight loss plateau. Stay consistent and exercise every day to boost metabolism, and this does not just mean going to the gym or performing structured workouts.

Try walking briskly instead of just strolling around the room. Get outdoors where you have more room to move around. As previously mentioned, many times people hit weight loss plateaus because their metabolism starts to slow again as they lose weight. Well, there is no better way to jumpstart weight loss again than by increasing the time you spend working out, being generally active or increasing the effort you put into your workouts. This is especially important for those who have a sedentary job.

Choose to go walk around a museum as opposed to going to a movie and sitting down. You can also go for a swim instead of chatting on the computer or take your dog for a walk instead of reading a book.

Your body will have no choice but to start using up its stored fat in order to supply itself with the energy it needs. The bottom line is that anything extra that you do physically each day can be a catalyst to help get you over a weight loss plateau.

  • Drink More Water.

Water is essential in weight loss because as the body loses weight it generates water as part of fat metabolism, so you need more water to reach a healthy water balance. Moreover, as fat cells shrink they release toxins, which must be removed by internal processes that involve the digestive system and liver.

Drinking plenty of water promotes this process and dehydration stalls it, and may interfere with hormones causing to increase fat stores. Drinking plenty of water also helps to regulate the appetite and promotes satiety.


Final Thoughts

Don’t give up on your diet or weight loss goals just because you hit a weight loss plateau. This is a very common thing.

You found a way to get the will power once to start losing weight. If you stay focused and determined and take some of the advice given here, you will find a way to get over your weight loss plateau, too. So, stay on track and keep going!





3 Hormones That Can Make or Break Your Weight Loss Efforts


Photo Credit: Public Domain

Do you find yourself eating less, exercising more, and not losing a pound or an inch? If so, hormones may be to blame. Hormones are chemical messengers that are responsible for triggering or regulating bodily functions. When hormones are out of balance, negative effects within the body can result, including weight gain. Cortisol, insulin, and serotonin are just a few of the hormones that can and do play a significant role in making or breaking your weight loss efforts.


Insulin can play a vital role in making or breaking your weight loss efforts. No matter how many calories you remove from your diet and no matter how many exercises you incorporate into your daily routine, if insulin is not stable, you may feel the need to eat more. In fact, according to Dr. Mercola, on his web site Mercola.com, explained that insulin is the central part of the weight loss equation and the reason 200 million Americans are overweight is because they have impaired insulin receptor sensitivity. An overabundance of insulin can prevent your fat-burning hormone, lipase, from releasing fat into your bloodstream to be used as fuel. So, instead of using fat for fuel, your body will use carbohydrates and amino acids from your muscles. The key to weight loss success, according to Mercola.com, is to have LOW levels of insulin so your body can produce large amounts of hormone-sensitive lipase and burn fat all day so you can look thin and slim. People with high insulin levels should also avoid overeating, especially refined carbohydrates and processed foods, and get regular exercise.


Serotonin is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain, which plays a vital role in whether or not your dieting efforts will succeed. Serotonin can also affect your appetite, mood, sexual arousal, perception of pain and body temperature. Consuming high carbohydrate foods will increase serotonin levels in the brain, whereas low serotonin levels will cause your body to crave carbohydrates. Furthermore, researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Research Center (BIDRC) found that decreased serotonin is linked to increased appetite. Therefore, weight loss can occur when you increase your serotonin levels either through diet, supplementation or both. SAM-e and 5-HTP are supplements that may be of assistance in weight loss, and it has also been used for depression. Consult with your doctor before taking these supplements, especially if you are already taking medication for depression.


Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, which is responsible for the flight or fight syndrome. This hormone plays a key role in metabolism, helping to determine the best source of energy – protein, carbohydrate, fat – for your body to use.  Chronic or long-term stress can increase cortisol levels and cause metabolic and hormonal imbalances that lead to weight gain. Too much cortisol not only increases your appetite and craving for unhealthy foods, but also lowers testosterone levels in women and men. Lower testosterone can mean the loss of lean muscle, causing your body to burn calories less efficiently. Remember that muscle burns more calories than body fat. To keep your cortisol levels in check and lose weight, you need to incorporate stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi; and get regular exercise such as cycling, hiking or walking; and get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. In fact, according to Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., author of the book called “The Cortisol Connection,” says that getting just two nights of restful, sound sleep can be more effective at reducing cortisol than a lifetime of stress-management classes. And, lastly, taking certain supplements, such as DHEA, may also be helpful for lowering cortisol levels in men and women, according to a University of Pittsburgh study published in the “Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology” in February 2003.

So, as you can see, it is important to watch calories and include exercise; however, it is equally important to be aware of your hormonal balances, as well.


4 Kickboxing Workout Benefits for Weight Loss and Fitness

Kickboxing for Weight Loss

If you are looking for a tough workout that will get you in shape fast, then you definitely need to check out kickboxing.

The combination of bobbing, weaving, kicking and punching will get you in the best shape of your life in no time at all.

A person weighing 155 pounds can burn up to 400 calories during a 30-minute kickboxing workout. That’s a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

Here are a few great kickboxing workout benefits.

Benefit #1 – Burns More Calories in Less Time

As stated before, the average person can burn as much as 400 calories during a 30-minute kickboxing workout.

That means you can burn as much as 800 in an hour.

Kickboxing is a very high energy workout, which will get your heart pumping and your muscles burning. If you want to take it up a notch, consider adding jump rope in the mix.

Jumping rope can boost your calorie burn up to 900 or more in an hour workout. If you have stubborn belly fat, kickboxing will whip it into shape.

Benefit #2 – Total-Body Toning

Say bye-bye to those flabby arms and jiggly thighs. A kickboxing for weight loss workout will engage every muscle in your body. Some you never even knew you had.

Because of this, you will notice your body starting to tone up after only a few weeks. To burn even more calories, consider using a kickboxing pad during your workouts.

Benefit #3 – You Will Learn Self-Defense Moves

While most people just look at kickboxing as an intense, fat-loss workout, it’s also a great opportunity to learn life-saving self-defense moves.

When you are kicking, jabbing, bobbing and weaving, you are actually learning self-defense without even realizing it.

Some instructors will make it a point to let you know why you would use certain moves. This helps you better understand how you would defend yourself with that particular move.

Benefit #4 – Relieves Stress

The best way to relieve stress after a long day at work is through intense physical activity. Kickboxing would fall into that category. You will be kicking and punching as hard as you can. The result will be less frustration and a better night’s sleep. When you are kicking and punching the pads, you can imagine it being anyone who has made your day more difficult than it already was.

Maybe it’s your boss, a coworker or a friend. The idea is to get it all out on the pads. Let go of all the stress and tension of the day.

You will also be releasing the feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which will give you an extra boost in your mood.

Final Thoughts

Overall, kickboxing is an ideal exercise to get in shape and feel better about yourself and your body. Just make sure you take the time to learn how to do the moves the right way. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at risk for serious injury.


3 Morning Rituals That Give Your Metabolism a Boost

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The path to health is filled with all sorts of detours. This is particularly true when weight and energy are concerned. A lot of people want to do things like be able to play tennis, go for a hike, and so forth, but many don’t have the energy to do so. Much of this is due to having a poorly functioning or inefficient metabolism, but what can a person do about their metabolism? This article will be sharing a few methods to help improve your metabolism.

Eat Some Breakfast

There used to be a saying that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It turns out that this is partially true, because eating in the morning kickstarts your metabolism. Studies have shown that just eating a bit of breakfast can help to improve your metabolic function by about 10%. This, of course, also means that it should be something healthy. When you do this, your body knows it’s time to start the day and it begins the process of preparing to remove waste from the previous day. Something simple with carbs and protein can wake up your mind and make you ready to face the day’s challenges.

Morning Exercise

One of the best things that a person can do for themselves is to take on some kind of exercise routine in the morning. This doesn’t mean that it has to be an intense, pulse pounding exercise, just that you do a small amount of movement enough to get your heart rate up. Morning stretches can be a great example of that. If you stretch your limbs and engage the muscles in your core each morning, you’re far less likely to sustain injury from minor twists, turns, and reaches that you do during your work day. Or, maybe you would prefer a quick morning walk around your neighborhood. The activity you choose should be enjoyable and help you to get fired up and ready to tackle your day.

B Vitamins

When your body has the right nutrients, it will function on a more efficient level. B vitamins can help to stimulate your metabolism. They do this by giving your body the ability to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy that you will need throughout the day. This is why it’s great to have some eggs with whole grain toast in the morning. Taking just a little bit extra can help you to convert that food into energy, so you can be productive and burn calories from morning until night.

Give these simple rituals a try to see if it makes a difference with your metabolism and weight loss efforts.