Our journey started years ago when life decided to throw us into emotional turmoil. As a couple, we desired and longed to have children. Our hopes were shattered when we found out the little girl that we had prayed for had a terminal disease that was not compatible with life. We lost our little girl on Thanksgiving Day. We both began to lose site of our physical health as we were in survival mode. Emotional eating took over. A couple of years after we lost our daughter, my father in law committed suicide which again sent our family into a spiral of unhealthy choices as we were trying to cope with tremendous loss. Our physical health was of no importance as we were trying to heal emotionally. We were consumed by many unhealthy habits that temporarily made us feel better. Fast forward a couple of more years, and I was diagnosed with an extremely rare tumor in my low back. After my first surgery, the tumor returned aggressively within 3 months and my treatment options were small. At this time we realized that our health is nothing to take for granted. We had 2 small children that needed healthy parents. After years of abusing our bodies with unhealthy foods and lack of exercise, we decided to get serious about our health. Shawn worked out and I struggled to find a program that would actually work. Shawn was not a "program" type of guy but I needed structure and something to follow. I had tried so many things and nothing seemed to work. I was struggling with chronic pain and I seemed to never be able to complete anything because my body wasn't allowing it. I found the FWTFL program on a blog and started researching. The premise made sense to me, but I still needed direction. Shawn bought the first round for my Mother's Day gift and I knew this was my last hope. I was amazed that within the first 3 weeks, the pain in my low back and hip was so much better. My body was allowing me to work hard and I was getting stronger. I think the progressive workouts combined with whole food nutrition was key. My body was responding well. I wanted to continue because I knew it would only get better! After the first 6 weeks, I was a changed person. Emotionally, I felt amazing....for the first time in years. I felt confident and I could see awesome physical changes. I signed up for the second round and this is where Shawn entered the picture. He was so impressed with the changes I saw in the first round that he wanted to give the Men's Group a shot. I think for us, we wanted the physical changes in our appearance but it became so much more. My body was actually healing from the chronic pain and THAT was the selling point for Shawn. Because I am still battling this tumor, I have MRI's every 4 months. My last scan showed that what I was feeling was real. I have been battling bursitis in both hips for years. My last scan show this was totally gone. That is a huge win. This program not only gives you results physically but it allows your body to be as healthy as it can possibly be! Shawn was impressed and decided it was time for him to take control of his health as well. Together, we endured the loss of our baby, the loss of a father and we have battled for my health. Together, we ate clean, never missed a workout and pushed each other to be the best, healthiest we could possibly be. Together, we will continue to make healthy choices and live a life that will push others to do the same. We are both thankful for the knowledge that Amanda shared with us. It has given us the ability to take control of our emotional and physical health. We are two grateful people that share a passion for life and we do not take our health or each other for granted! We appreciate this opportunity!

"Refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies," says Patton. "Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat." Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are full of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may therefore actually prevent belly fat, Patton says.
The degree to which exercise aids weight loss is open to debate, but the benefits go way beyond burning calories. Exercise can increase your metabolism and improve your outlook—and it’s something you can benefit from right now. Go for a walk, stretch, move around and you’ll have more energy and motivation to tackle the other steps in your weight-loss program.

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Fitness and lifestyle coach Marci Nevin (@marcinevin on Instagram) posted nine simple, easy-to-follow eating tips to lose fat without the tediousness of having to count calories. She said that while counting calories ensures more accuracy in knowing if you're reaching your calorie goal, calorie counting isn't for everyone. Here's how you can still shed body fat "without meticulously counting every calorie."
When trying to build and maintain muscle mass, adequate protein intake is a must. The best choices for protein are lean animal proteins. Protein that is not derived from an animal source is that it is considered an incomplete protein. This means that it lacks certain essential amino acids necessary to build muscle. Here are some of the best choices choices for protein:

Tight deadlines, bills, your kids—whatever your source of stress, having too much of it may make it harder for you to drop unwanted pounds, especially from your middle. And it's not just because you tend to reach for high-fat, high-calorie fare when you're stressed, though that's part of it. It's also due to the stress hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of fat your body clings to and enlarge your fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more visceral fat.
Also, according to recent research, people who exercise in the morning are more successful at losing weight than those who worked out at night. In the study, researchers divided 48 women into two groups—one that did aerobic exercise in the morning for six weeks, and another who worked out in the evening—and asked them to record what they ate during the period. The results found that the early bird exercisers consumed less calories throughout the day and ultimately lost more weight than the night owls.
A little garlic in your meals could mean a lot less weight around your middle. The results of a Korean study found that mice given a high-fat diet supplemented with garlic lost significantly more weight and abdominal fat than those who just ate fatty foods. Even better, they also improved their liver health, making it easier to stay healthy and burn off that excess fat in the long term. For more flavorful ways to make your food more enjoyable, turn to the 20 Spicy Recipes That Fire Up Your Metabolism and watch those pounds melt away.
Do not try to lose weight too rapidly. Crash diets and diet pills that promise weight loss are usually bad for you and actually don't help keep the weight off in the long run. Resist the urge to take the "easy" way out and instead stick with a healthier lifestyle. This way you lose the weight and improve your health, helping you keep the weight off in a way that won't harm you in the long run.
"With all the different tips out there, it can be tricky to understand exactly which exercises work the best. HIIT is great for fat burning and will get your heart rate up, but I’d also recommend including strength (resistance) exercises too. Try lifting weights, using resistance bands or using the weight machines at the gym as these will increase your metabolism to help with weight loss, and increase your muscle strength. It’s important to mix-up your whole-body workouts so you don’t get bored."

14 ways to lose weight without diet or exercise Strict diets can be challenging to follow, and people may not always have the time or ability to exercise. However, a variety of simple lifestyle changes can help people lose weight and improve their health. These include taking probiotics, getting enough sleep, and thoroughly chewing food. Learn more here. Read now

“It seems so simple, but 45 to 60 minutes of brisk walking every day can do wonders for your metabolism,” Sahmura Gonzalez, a master trainer at Crunch Fitness in New York City, recently told Prevention. “Plus, it ensures that you don’t over-train, which can lead to an over-production of cortisol—a stress hormone that’s been shown to contribute to belly fat.”
Fitness and lifestyle coach Marci Nevin (@marcinevin on Instagram) posted nine simple, easy-to-follow eating tips to lose fat without the tediousness of having to count calories. She said that while counting calories ensures more accuracy in knowing if you're reaching your calorie goal, calorie counting isn't for everyone. Here's how you can still shed body fat "without meticulously counting every calorie."
The easiest way to cut calories? Eliminate excess dietary fat—meaning no butter, oils, or salad dressings (low-fat or fat-free dressings are OK); remove the skin from chicken; substitute egg whites for most of your whole eggs; avoid whole-milk dairy products; and ditch marbled red meats such as rib-eye for lean cuts such as flank. Keep some healthy fats in your diet, such as salmon, mixed nuts, peanut butter, and avocados.
In our eat-and-run, massive-portion-sized culture, maintaining a healthy weight can be tough—and losing weight, even tougher. If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight before, you may believe that diets don’t work for you. You’re probably right: some diets don’t work at all and none of them work for everyone—our bodies often respond differently to different foods. But while there’s no easy fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve lasting weight-loss success.
Some antidepressant medications can cause weight gain, especially the older tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as Tryptizol, Saroten, and Clomipramine; as well as newer drugs such as Remeron (Mirtazapine). Lithium (for manic-depressive disorder) often causes weight gain. The most common antidepressants known as SSRI’s (for example Citalopram and Sertraline) usually don’t impact weight significantly. More on depression

Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
2. Beta-alanine: This one doesn’t directly burn fat, but it does help you work out harder and longer, which in turn lets you melt that extra layer. The non-essential amino acid converts to carnosine, which is one of the strongest buffers against your muscles getting fatigued. Because carnosine keeps your muscles from calling it quits, studies have found beta-alanine can help your performance during HIIT, increase strength, and even help you gain more muscle to then reap all those metabolism boosts.
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