Realistic Weight Loss

Image Before I even start, read this article:

This information is really good and really accurate. Keep it in mind as you read on.

Having been successful at weight loss in the past, and being an obsessive researcher, I thought I’d share with all you all New Years Resolutioners how to do this thing. Not through magic diet pills, detoxes or juice cleanse, just through old fashioned work.

I’m working on weight loss myself again. With my recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, came a lot of lack of motivation, fogginess in the brain, hard time remembering and sticking to things and lack of energy. I was put on a medication called Lithium, a natural substance that generally works very well at helping bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of this medication came in the form of TSH (Thyroid hormone) levels three times what they should have been, putting me in the unfortunate position of dealing with the effects of hypothyroid. These just added on to the effects of my bipolar disorder. In the end, it means I gained a bunch of weight and wanted to be a slug for the rest of my life.

Anyway, long story short, longer – I’m on thyroid medication now and on a different mood stabilizer and anti-depressant (Geodon and Wellbutrin, for those who care) and sugar makes me want to vomit(?!?). It seems to be a weird side effect of one of the meds, and I’m not complaining complaining a lot. My brain is finally starting to feel better. I can tell because I’m making something called Bouillabaisse for dinner this week, I’m writing a blog post, and I started writing my novel again. Yay for that!

I also learned this week that all forms of hormonal birth control turn me into a really aggressive person who wants to punch people. I don’t know why, since I’m pretty much a very passive person that hates yelling and violence and anger, but BC turns me into the Hulk, except for I’m not green and bulky. Sucky. My only other options, besides the old standby, are sterilization and Paragard, both of which cost way too much money. Thanks, Obama (sarcasm).

Ok, I swear, I’m done with the life story.

Before I start this, I must note that I am a cheap person. And this is why I use this as opposed to going to a crossfit box or whatever. I would love to do crossfit, but it is REALLY expensive.



is the number one thing. You need to make a plan, then commit that you’ll do the steps no matter what the results. It’s the habit that matters, the weight loss sometimes takes quite a while. Don’t plan to lose 30 lbs; plan to run for 30 minutes 3 times a week and lift weights and count your calories. Specific habit goals. Set a reminder on your phone. I know you have one that will let you set alarms. I use an app called “Life Reminders” which is ugly and makes awful alarm noises (which, I suppose I could change, but the awful noises make me move faster and also I am lazy), but which reminds me on a schedule that I need to take my meds, set up appointments, go to the gym, whatever.

Smart Workouts Where You Push Yourself

I’ve recently discovered a thing called HIIT which when I started doing it was the worst thing ever, it seemed like, but now I realize that it’s actually really awesome. Instead of plodding along at an 11 minute mile pace for time immeasurable, I warm up for 10 minutes, jog slowly for 90 seconds and then run as fast as I can for 30 seconds. Then I repeat until 20 minutes is up. Then I cool down. I’ve done HIIT twice and I’m already seeing that my jog speed and my fastest run speed are going up. And it is WAY more interesting than endurance running, though it is tough to get used to. HIIT can be done with the cardio activity of your choice, not just running. Jump rope, cycling, etc all work too.

Treadmills at the gym usually have an option to do speed training, which is what HIIT is. It will let you put in your jog speed (you can even walk instead of jog, it’s still ok) and then your run speed (as fast as you think you can run for fifteen seconds when you’re starting out) and you just press the button to toggle. There are some HIIT apps that will tell you when to press the button (or run faster/slower if you’re outside) and now that I think about it, I should get one so I don’t have to stare at the time display while I’m trying to watch Firefly on my phone. Hmm.

ImageHere’s an article, geared toward guys, but still good info, about how HIIT helps you burn more calories than endurance running EVEN WHEN YOU’RE DONE EXERCISING FOR THE DAY. This is something that really does “kickstart your metabolism” (unlike a juice cleanse… yuck.) It also builds muscle, where endurance running does not. And also, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn walking around. It’s fantastic.

The website has a nice program for beginners, intermediate, etc too. It’s geared toward men, but don’t let that put you off if you’re a woman. You’re not going to turn into a creepily muscular woman if you do HIIT. You will never produce enough testosterone to look like a man just because you ran too much or lifted too heavy.
If you choose to endurance run, which is fine, just make sure that every day you are pushing yourself and increasing your speed or distance, whatever suits your fancy. Otherwise your body stops burning as many calories as it was when you first started running and the fat burn stops.

This will help you lose more fat than running in the supposed “fat burn heart rate zone”. That does indeed use fat as fuel, but in higher intensities, your body burns the carbs you’ve eaten instead as fuel, then later moves on to the fat. You will lose more fat by burning more calories through the same amount of HIIT, than by running in the “Fat Burn Zone”. See this article for more info.


The “fat-burning zone” lies between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. When you exercise at this low intensity, your body draws energy from fat. As your heart rate goes up, more energy comes from carbs. So it seems logical that to lose fat you should keep your heart rate low, says Jason Karp, Ph.D., owner of But that’s not the case.

“Running at higher intensities causes you to burn a lower percentage of fat calories in favor of carbs,” says Karp, “but you use more total calories.” And that’s the key to slimming down. Plus, since you torch more total calories, the absolute amount of fat burned actually increases, too. So it pays to pick up the pace.

Of course, lower intensity exercise still has its place. Long, slow runs build aerobic fitness and endurance. But to kickstart a pokey metabolism, you need intensity. Karp suggests interval training (condensed runs that mix in intense efforts with recovery) because studies have found these workouts burn more calories during and after exercise (see “Torch Calories” below for Karp’s interval workout). “It also cuts down on boredom,” he says, “which makes it more likely you’ll stick with your program.”


Weight Lifting

ImageIncorporate weight lifting into your routine. It strengthens and builds your muscles, which help you burn more fat and helps you look toned. Lift as much or as little as you want, you’ll never look like a manly woman by lifting weights. You have to take testosterone supplements to look like those people. It also strengthens your bones, which is good for when you are old and whatnot.

This website is my favorite for weight lifting info. You can read through all the information if you want to learn how weight lifting affects men and women and what benefits it has, or you can just look at this page that I’ve linked to for a good beginning routine. This is the routine I use and I like it a lot. He has intermediate and harder ones set up as well. You will want to look on Youtube to see how to properly lift and start with low weight while you’re learning proper form.

Eating Right

ImageI have a huge amount of disdain for “diets”. They are generally fads that will, in ten years when we look back, be silly. Yes, even you, Paleo. People latch onto diets, juice cleanses, detoxes, etc because they are in vogue, not because there’s actual science behind them. I know, high protein diets are fashionable right now, but low-fat ones were fashionable ten years ago and now most science tells us that was stupid. And we all know what happened with the cabbage soup and grapefruit diets… (My mom made us do the grapefruit diet eating as a kid because it was “healthy” and I will never forget the horrificness of it)

This page again:


Most get-thin-fast plans revolve around the idea that restricting your intake of one particular nutrient, usually carbs or fat, is the best way to lose weight. But the results of a 2009 New England Journal of Medicine study suggest otherwise. For two years, participants followed one of four calorie-restricted diets with varying amounts of carbs, protein, and fat. After 24 months, all participants lost about the same amount of weight (just nine pounds). “This study proves that calories are the most important factor for weight loss,” says Tara Gidus, R.D., a Florida-based sports dietitian and marathoner. “To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn—regardless of what percentage of carbs, protein, or fat you’re eating.” Gimmicky diets just distract us from this simple truth. Here’s how runners can learn to reduce their total caloric intake to kick start weight loss—and still have energy to run their best.

To estimate the number of calories you use during daily living and exercise, go to Plug in your sex, age, weight, height, lifestyle (meaning, you’re deskbound, or you’re always moving at work), and exercise regularity.

Trim 10 to 15 percent off of that calorie total—but don’t cut more than 500 calories per day. “This is conservative compared to most diets, but it’s realistic if you want to sustain training,” says Gidus. Record what you eat, and tally your calorie intake with the huge database at

A recent study reported that subjects who cut calories or cut calories and exercised lost the same amount of weight. But the diet-and-exercise group improved their aerobic capacity, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, and blood pressure—without having to go into starvation mode.

Gidus says a healthy weight-loss goal for overweight runners is one to two pounds a week. “Trying to drop more than this can eat away at muscle, leave you fatigued when you run, and slow your metabolism, making weight loss more challenging,” she says.


Cut calories. That’s IT. It’s a simple as that. Eat fewer calories than you are burning and your body will use fat as fuel. I use MyFitnessPal on my phone to keep track of my percentages and vitamins and calories. There are other good apps though, or pencil and paper if you don’t want to be fancy. Get a food scale to really help you learn how to measure calories in a portion.

And carbs are not your enemy. There’s a reason why the top athletes out there (Michael Phelps… boy, he’s sure a fatty) eat lots of pancakes on race day. Carbs are fuel for your muscles. It’s the calories that matter for weight loss.

If you want to cut calories by drinking juice or taking detox pills, I guess you can, just realize that juice/pills do not “detox” your body or “kickstart weight loss” (please, find me an actual scientific study that says it does. And no, an article on Natural News doesn’t count as a scientific study.), it deprives your body of important nutrients and makes you feel sick and makes you lose water weight, which they call detoxing, but is not. It’s a placebo. And no, that weight you lost was not sustainable. It’s also really bad for your insulin levels. Sugar from any source without fiber and fat to temper it will cause your insulin to spike.

Here’s a great op-ed on the whole detox thing:

Now, this does mean you can conceivably lose weight by eating only a half a box of Oreos every day and nothing else. (I have done this.) But you won’t feel good.

Feeling good is a different thing entirely from weight loss and what you eat doesn’t help you lose weight, it’s really really how much you eat. IF you want to feel good AND lose weight, then follow this plan:

ImageYou generally want to try to cut out sugar entirely if you can, or to a reasonable amount every day (this is my biggest hurdle. It’s easier for me to cut sugar out and get it out of the house than to limit it, honestly. Sugar is really really a useless empty thing that just makes you gain weight and makes you feel happy temporarily. And it’s SO ADDICTIVE). Then, according to reliable sources (including, but not limited to, the government’s and any real nutritionist’s health guidelines as well as , eat 50-55% of your calories in healthy carbs, homemade whole grains, beans, VEGETABLES, FRUIT, etc. (Unrelatedly, did you know apples have natural fluoride in them and keep your teeth healthy and the fiber cleans your teeth off? This interests me, so I thought I’d share. Apples are nature’s toothbrushes.)

25-30% of calories in fats. Nuts, extra virgin olive oil, some saturated fats like butter, egg yolks, whatever, as long as it’s within your calorie goal. No trans fats.

15 to 25% of calories in protein. Protein is good for you, but too much is not good for you. Keep it in range. Some people have good results with higher amounts of protein, but really, you don’t need to eat a whole ton of meat to be healthy. I’m a mostly non-tofu-eating vegetarian and am able to lose weight and build muscle just fine (you should try leg wrestling me some time. Also, I can lift a lot more than most of the women also lifting at the gym). I eat about 15% protein through occasional eggs and dairy, mostly beans and quinoa and stuff like that, without even trying. My levels of iron, b-12, etc, etc (‘cept my thryroid) are fine, even when I’m not on supplements.

If you are a meat eater, try venturing into the scary land of making bone broth (bone marrow is really good for you and if you don’t think about it too much, it tastes good) and eating occasional organ meats, which are also very good for you. Of course, eating fish (best for you) and chicken is good, and red meat is fine too. It doesn’t really matter because you shouldn’t be eating a lot of meat every day so it doesn’t make that much difference what type of meat you eat. I mean, really, cut down on your meat consumption. Especially if it’s fast food meat. Yuck.

And those are really my points, here. I hope this helps someone out there. 🙂 Good luck to you! Stick to your goals no matter what! You can do this!



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