9 Healthy Changes That Burn More Fat

1 Morning: Start With Coffee
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Glen Giffen
Good news! When you’re looking to boost your metabolism, you don’t have to cut out your morning cup of joe. In fact, the caffeine in coffee and green tea naturally stimulates your central nervous system; your daily cup of coffee can boost metabolism by five to eight percent. Just make sure you keep your habit to one cup a day.

Morning: Start With Coffee

2 Morning: Eat a Whole-Grain Breakfast
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lizzie Fuhr
Skipping breakfast is a big no-no when it comes to stoking your metabolism. Fueling up your body within an hour of rising will rev up your metabolism and help you burn energy effectively all day long. For a satisfying choice that supports your goals, opt for a whole-grain breakfast, since they’re loaded up with dietary fiber and complex carbs that help speed up your metabolism. Even trainer Bob Harper is a big believer in eating your carbs in the morning if you’re trying to lose weight! If you’re not a morning person (I feel your pain!), try out this recipe for easy overnight oats that requires just 30 seconds of prep the night before.

Morning: Eat a Whole-Grain Breakfast

3 Afternoon: Drink More Water
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lizzie Fuhr
You might think that sitting at your desk can only have negative effects on your metabolism, but as long as you’re guzzling good old H2O, you’re aiding your body’s fat-burning power. One University of Utah study showed that people who drank eight to 12 glasses of water a day burned more fat than those who only drank four. If you’re not used to sipping on water, add these fruity additions that bring some extra flavor and detoxifying powers to your glass.Afternoon: Drink More Water

4 Afternoon: Go For a HIIT Workout
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart
While nearly all forms of exercise will help boost your metabolism, if you want the most bang for your buck, go for a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) plan like Tabata, since it can burn a whopping 13.5 calories a minute — and double a person’s metabolic rate for 30 minutes afterward. With a mix of strength-training moves and intense cardio, you’ll be covering all your bases. Try this 10-minute video workout at home.

Afternoon: Go For a HIIT Workout5 Afternoon: Opt For a High-Protein Lunch
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Leta Shy
It’s no surprise that a clean diet helps your body work at its top potential, but protein can take things one step further. According to clinical and holistic dietitian Esther Blum, upping the amount of protein you’re eating is essential, since high-protein foods take more work to “digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them.” Boost your metabolism at lunchtime with a high-protein recipe like this baby kale chicken salad that offers 30 grams of protein per serving.Afternoon: Opt For a High-Protein Lunch

6 Afternoon: Go For a Midday Walk
Getting up and moving around not only can help you digest after a big meal, but it also may boost your fat burn. Studies have shown that sitting for an hour or more reduces the fat-burning enzymes in your body by as much as 90 percent. Keep your metabolism revved up by making sure you get up from your desk chair, and get into a habit of taking a walk before or after your lunch to up your fat-burning levels.

Afternoon: Go For a Midday Walk

7 Evening: Spice Up Your Dinner
If you choose wisely, even the spices you cook with can boost your metabolism. This spicy dressing in this sweet potato salad contains a nice helping of hot peppers that contain the compound capsaicin; this same compound that gives jalapeño peppers their kick has been connected with boosting metabolism and curbing cravings. If you’re not a huge fan of spice, you’ll be glad to know that tamer spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon also have been shown to help your body burn more fat.

Evening: Spice Up Your Dinner

8 Evening: Take Time to Wind Down
A busy, stressed-out mind does not support your body’s needs. In fact, stress can actually slow your metabolism down. According to Sports Club/LA trainer and lifestyle coach Julie Barrett, MS, RD, when our bodies are under stress, “our adrenal glands pump out excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, causing an imbalance in our bodies’ natural hormonal rhythms,” which reduces your ability to burn fat.

Make sure you’re spending a little bit of time every day to practice self-care. Whether it’s a long bath, a quiet meditation, or moving through some relaxing yoga poses, don’t think of these things as an extraneous luxury. Self-care is essential, and it is time well spent.

Evening: Take Time to Wind Down

9 Evening: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
If you’re not already getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, be sure to follow these tips for getting quality zzz’s, since multiple studies have linked weight gain to a lack of quality sleep.

Evening: Get a Good Night's Sleep





The Exercise and Eating Plan I Used to Drop More Than 200 Pounds


Before: 388
After: 173

The Lifestyle
Growing up, food was my friend. I had a bit of a rocky childhood. My parents divorced when I was little, my mom passed away when I was 10, and I lived with my dad and stepmom, who was extremely controlling. While I was living with them, my stepmom kept a close eye on the portions of my food, so I stayed at a fairly healthy weight.

When I went to live with my grandparents, there were no rules on what I could and couldn’t eat—and my weight just exploded. I would eat entire bags of chips, pizza, ice cream, and sandwiches loaded with cheese and mayo. I found myself eating as a coping mechanism to deal with all of the family drama and anything else that was going on in my life. Within four years, I went from weighing 180 pounds to about 320.

RELATED: 3 Ways to Stop Emotional Eating Before You Start

After high school, I went to college and continued with my unhealthy habits. Halfway through college, I decided to join a Christian-based leadership program that emphasized being physically, spiritually, and emotionally healthy. So each day, as part of the program, other students and I went on runs and worked out together three to four times a week. Before this point, I hadn’t exercised at all. After two years with of the program, I weighed right around 200 pounds.

After I finished the program, I ended up gaining all the weight back plus more because I wasn’t exercising and I was eating the yummy cafeteria food all the time. I decided to try a weight-loss program that sent me pre-portioned foods to eat, and it was effective. But I wasn’t trying to lose weight for myself—I was mostly doing it for my family and friends who were concerned about me. After about a year on the plan, I’d lost 80 pounds, but I gave it up. I didn’t like eating the same things all the time, and I missed using food as a coping mechanism. It wasn’t long after that that I gained it all back.

The Change
When I went to grad school after college, I weighed about 388 pounds. My family and friends were on my case to get healthy again, but I coudln’t commit to it. Then one day, I felt my heart racing very, very fast for no reason. I still don’t know if it was caused by a panic attack or my weight, but I had to go to the emergency room and have my heart stopped and restarted. It was so scary. I knew I had do something.

About six months after that incident, I found a Groupon for boxing classes at Title Boxing. I’ve always wanted to try boxing as a stress reliever and to work out some of my emotions, but I never had. So I went to the gym and did my first class, which was incredibly hard. But I signed up for a membership the same day. I was ready.

After signing up, I started taking group classes three to four times a week. I loved the support from the other people in my class. It was super motivating. A few weeks after I started working out, I had a session with a personal trainer who taught me a little about nutrition. We made a plan that focused on eating 40 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent carbs, all of which had to come from healthy sources, which meant I had to learn to cook.

I found that keeping a close eye on everything that I was eating was time consuming. I had to spend more time at the grocery store picking out healthy foods, and I had to measure everything that I put into my meals. I kept track of all of it with the MyFitnessPal app. Though it was tedious and took a few hours out of my weekend, the weight started to come off really quickly. Plus, as I got into a routine, I started to prep and cook my meals much faster.

RELATED: This is How to Become a Mindful Eater

The most frustrating part was hitting a plateau, and it happened to me a few times. When it did, I knew I had to change something up. So I went from taking kick boxing, boxing, and other workout classes three or four times a week to hitting the gym five or six times. Then, I added in weight-lifting into my routine.

Over the course of two years, I lost more than 200 pounds—and now weigh 178 pounds.

The Reward
I love that I’m able to work out as much as I do. For me, exercising has replaced binge eating as a form of stress relief. As a result, confidence has skyrocketed; I’m a much happier person now. Today, my size doesn’t hold me back from anything. Something as simple as going to the bathroom is easier because I don’t have to hope there is a handicapped stall for me to use. I’m also able to buy a plane ticket or ride a rollercoaster without worrying that I won’t be able to fit in the seat.

RELATED: The Exact Steps I Took to Lose 40 Pounds in 4 Months

Desiree’s Tips
Consistency is key. It was really hard to stick with my new exercise and eating habits, but forcing myself to keep doing things that were good for me helped me see the results I wanted.
Find a workout that you like. Another reason for my success is that I was exercising in a way that I couldn’t get enough of. I really fed off of the energy of others in my classes, and it made me look forward to exercising—instead of dreading it.
Make friends with people who have the same goals as you.Finding people at the gym who were also trying to live a healthy lifestyle made the biggest difference. It’s so nice to have a support system of people who are on the same track as you. You can share recipes or talk about issues that you share.

After Dropping 260 Pounds, This Guy Decided To Share Photos Of His Loose Skin To Inspire Others

This is John Burton, a 27-year-old astronomy Ph.D. from Manchester, England. He recently decided to share his weight loss story on Reddit. Burton dropped 260 pounds in three years.

“It was simply diet and exercise. That’s it,” Burton told BuzzFeed News. “Just making sure I ate healthy, lost weight slowly, and tried to become happy with myself.” There was a side effect of dropping all that weight, however.

Burton said he knew that excess skin might be a problem, but he figured dealing with some extra skin would be better than being morbidly obese.

He said sharing the photos was part of a process of chipping away at his self-image. “The best thing for me is when people say I’ve helped them. That makes it 110% worth it, no question,” he said.

He said he could have surgery to remove them, but he’s not sure if he wants that. He feels like the cost and the recovery might not be worth it if he still isn’t happy with the way he looks in the mirror.

“Now, I’m just trying to learn to like myself and how I look,” he said. “These aren’t things to be ashamed of, they’re battle scars.”

23 Incredible Tips To Make You Actually Want To Go To The Gym

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

1. Reduce the likelihood you’ll bail on your morning workout by sleeping in your workout clothes.

2. Become a pro in packing a gym bag efficiently.

Learn more here.

3. Turn any backpack into the perfect gym bag with attachable sneaker pouches.

Solepacks clip onto your backpack so you can carry an extra pair of shoes with you. Get them here.

4. Or just put your sneakers in shower caps and stick ‘em in your bag.

5. Learn how to do easy, super functional braids. Learn some quick and easy styling hacks to keep your hair out of your way while you work out.

Learn how to do easy, super functional braids. Learn some quick and easy styling hacks to keep your hair out of your way while you work out.

Jadabeauty / Via buzzfeed.com

Learn how to do easy, super functional braids here.

6. Save time by warming up on your way to the gym.

Walk briskly, run, or ride your bike to the gym and by the time you arrive, you’ll be warmed up and ready to move. Stop along the way to do lunges, dips, and squats to get your muscles warm.

7. Use yoga mats to muffle the sound of weights dropping.

Should you throw your barbell to the ground? No. Does a heavy bar sometimes leave your hands in a not-so-controlled manner during heavy lifts? Sure. Spare your gym’s floor and muffle the noise with mats.

8. Strip weight plates from barbells quickly and efficiently (without dropping a weight on your foot).

23 Incredible Tips To Make You Actually Want To Go To The Gym

Watch the full demo here.

9. Make your pre- or post-workout snack something delicious that you only have when you exercise.

10. Make a playlist that’s timed to your workout with strategically placed power songs.

If you know your lifting circuit takes 45 minutes and that you tend to flag after the first half and again at the every end, curate a playlist so that power songs come in just when you need the motivation most. Add some relaxing songs to the very end for your cooldown.

Naturally I recommend ending your workout with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’’.

11. Work out with someone who’s just a bit more fit and motivated than you.

Working out with a friend is always more fun than working out alone. In one smallstudy participants who worked out with a fitter partner had better, more intense workouts.

12. Better yet just make it a date w/ your s.o.

Better yet just make it a date w/ your s.o.

It’s sometimes tough to get motivated to work out but when is it tough to get motivated for QT w/ bae?

13. Get moisture-wicking underwear.

Underwear designed to keep your undercarriage as dry and comfortable as possible even when you’re working up a sweat could be the difference between an unpleasantly swampy workout that you want to end right away and a dryer, more pleasant one.

14. BYO quick-drying microfiber towel.

#GymTowelProblems as I see them:

– Your gym doesn’t have towel service.
– Your gym has towel service but the towels are small and/or scratchy.
– Your gym has towel service but you’ve noticed gym staff transporting dirty towels and “clean” ones in the same container.
– Your gym has towel service but doesn’t launder them with bleach.

These are all great reasons to bring your own towel, in particular a microfiber onethat absorbs water like a champ and dries super quickly after use. They also tend to be less fluffy and are therefore easier to pack.

15. Scented wipes + dry shampoo = skip the shower

Use scented wipes and dry shampoo to freshen up post-workout without spending time in the shower.

16. Instead of waiting for equipment you want to use, learn how to ask to “work in.”

Instead of waiting around for someone to get done with the equipment you need to use, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask if you can do your sets in between theirs (known as working in). Here’s how to do it:

• Wait for them to finish whatever set they’re on.
• While waiting, stand a few feet away / try not to hover in their personal workout space.
• When they finish their set politely ask “Do you mind if I work in?”
• Do your set.
• Put the equipment back to whatever setting it was on when you starting using it.
• Repeat, enjoying your newly time-efficient workout!

17. Better yet, learn common exercise swaps and never wait for a machine again.

Better yet, learn common exercise swaps and never wait for a machine again.

Instead of waiting around for someone to get done with the leg press, learn how to do a proper squat instead. If there’s no space to deadlift a dumbbell, learn to deadlift a free weight.

Here’s a list with a bunch of exercises and how to swap them between machines, dumbbells, and barbells.

18. Keep dryer sheets in your gym bag because stench.

19. Master DIY sweat stain removal.

Master DIY sweat stain removal.

20. Clean those grody shower shoes with baking soda and warm water.

Add baking soda to warm water, soak your flip flops, then scrub with a toothbrush. If they still smell, make a paste of baking soda and saltwater and give ‘em another scrub.

21. Pre-packed, frozen fruit + Nutribullet = Instant pre-workout smoothie.

Freeze everything for your pre-workout smoothie in individual bags so you’re always ready to just put it all into a Nutribullet, which will blend smoothies right into a to-go cup you can throw in a gym bag.

22. Use liquid chalk to help your tired hands when using free weights or holding a bar.

Use liquid chalk to help your tired hands when using free weights or holding a bar.

Chalking up your hands helps you better grip barbells, dumbbells, pull-up bars, rock climbing walls and more. Many gyms don’t provide chalk so BYO and make it the liquid kind which is less messy, more portable, and usually only needs to be applied once per workout.

23. Do strength and cardio at the same time.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Save time by doing a workout that combines strength and cardio; check out more options here.

Happy gym-going!

23 Incredible Tips To Make You Actually Want To Go To The Gym

Wow. My weight loss transformation went vira

In a matter of a couple hours my weight loss transformation log has been viewed over 4000 times and the response was so overwhelming. Seeing people so inspired and sending me messages asking me all kinds of questions is a really, really good feeling. I think for the first time in my lifting and weight loss career I’m finally starting to make it.


Seriously whole life changed from lifting, and from this site and the misc. Really got serious when I joined this site. Career, women, everything got so much better. So thankful I escaped my redneck small town and have gotten this far. Still have a ways to go of course, I’m not on that thick solid and tight status yet but I’m getting closer everyday

Kentucky Cop Helps Woman in Weight-Loss Fight Finish 10K Race

A woman who lost more than 200 pounds and then was photographed being helped to the finish line of a 10K race said the Louisville, Kentucky, policeman who helped her was an answer to a prayer.

Asia Ford, 35, of Louisville, only wanted to beat her personal record from last year in her second 10K race over the weekend. Ford, a customer service representative for Time Warner Cable, said she decided about two years ago to turn her life around after she and her former husband experienced health issues.

Her husband had lost a hand and a leg, in part because of diabetes, and a doctor told her that she needed a knee replacement.

“Everything that was happening was exactly what the doctor said,” Ford said.

The mother of three turned to a friend who’s a fitness enthusiast and joined a boot camp called Aspirations. She lost 217 pounds over the span of just over two years.

PHOTO: Police Officer Aubrey Gregory walks with Asia Ford as she participates in the Rodes City Run 10K in Louisville, Ky. on March 21, 2015.

PHOTO: Police Officer Aubrey Gregory walks with Asia Ford as she participates in the Rodes City Run 10K in Louisville, Ky. on March 21, 2015.

After mile four in Saturday’s Rodes City Run 10K race, Ford said she started to feel “dizzy and sick.”

“I told my son, ‘If anything happens, I want you to call 911,'” she told ABC News. “EMS was on the side of me. The EMS driver got out and was trying to take me to the EMS. He said, ‘You’re going to finish this race, aren’t you?'”

She said she was just getting over pneumonia and finishing her antibiotics.

“During mile five, I started crying because I knew my body was experiencing a shutdown,” she said. “I had one mile in front of me and said to my son, ‘It’s time to quit.’ I asked, ‘God, please let me take a few more steps.’ Right when I said that, God brought this man.”

That man was Louisville Metropolitan Police Lt. Aubrey Gregory. He helped Ford reach a personal record of two hours and seven minutes, which is three minutes shorter than her time last year.

“He said, ‘I want you to look straight ahead of you. We have nothing but a mile ahead of you,'” Ford said.

Today, Ford and Gregory will be honored by the Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

Abby Lee Miller Weight Loss Shocking? As Star Reveals How She Dropped 4 Sizes Without Diet Or Exercise

Abby Lee Miller After Photo Weight Loss

Photo: Getty Images
Abby Lee Miller showed off her weight loss at the Kids Choice Awards in March. Since then, Dance Mom fans have wondered about the secret to her before and after photos. Now Abby Lee is finally revealing how she dropped four dress sizes – without diet or exercise!

Abby Lee Miller’s before and after photos have shocked fans! The Dance Moms star showed off her stunning weight loss in the new issue of People magazine. And surprisingly, she claims she didn’t need diet or exercise to drop four sizes.

Abby Lee didn’t rely on risky surgery either. In fact, she admitted her weight-loss journey began by accident. She was diagnosed with diabetes around the same time her mother was hospitalized with colon cancer.

“When you’re in and out of the hospital, that hospital food just makes you sick,” Abby Lee said. “I think it was a little bit mental with me.”

Abby Lee Miller Before Photo Abby Lee Miller, seen here in 2013, was a size 24 at her heaviest.

As she sat by her dying mother’s bedside, friends and family tried to comfort Abby Lee with outside food. But the reality star still had no desire to eat it. “Normally I would have taken that Danish and wolfed it down in three bites, but because of the smells of the hospice, it just was not appetizing.”

Abby Lee Miller’s mother died in February 2014, and the star returned to the Dance Moms set a short time later. At that, too, helped Abby Lee with her stunning weight loss. “It was hot as hell [in the studio], so nobody was eating a lot,” she added.

Abby Lee Miller Before Photo Abby Lee Miller looked a bit slimmer at the 2014 Teen Choice Awards.

But Abby Lee Miller’s weight loss really began when she started taking medicine for her diabetes. But while filming in Australia last summer, she had to get a refill. And she quickly learned that the Australian version of the drug was different from the one she was taking.

“I had to get a prescription refilled — lo and behold, there’s something different about that prescription in Australia,” Abby Lee added while discussing her before and after photos. “I would take this medicine and within an hour, I was vomiting like I was in fourth grade and had the flu or like I had food poisoning. It was awful. After I would throw up, I couldn’t even look at food for the rest of the day. So that is how I lost the weight.”

As a result, Abby Lee Miller dropped from a size 24 to a size 16. But she fears that she has already started to gain back some of the weight she lost. So she knows she may have to change her diet and exercise habits to maintain her before and after photos.“I need to start working out,” she concluded. “I’m not slim by any means – I have a long, long way to go.”

What do you think of Abby Lee Miller‘s weight loss? Let us know your take in the comments section below!

Teen Fights Illness And Inspires Us All Through Her Yoga Practice


This story of strength in the face of life’s obstacles has us in tears. Briana Donis was just getting ready to head off to college last year when she learned she had a life-threatening disease. Diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare condition where the body’s bone marrow stops producing enough blood cells, Donis immediately underwent treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation and lots of various medicines, as well as two bone marrow transplant surgeries – the first of which failed, and the second currently under observation.

The illness, which affects about 900 people in the US per year, came by surprise and changed her life. Donis first noticed unusual bruising on her leg which set off alarms that something wasn’t right.

“It didn’t hit me until I saw what I couldn’t do. What I was no longer able to do, be a normal kid, or go to the university I wanted to,” Donis said in an interview with ABC 13.

It’s been an incredibly tough year for the 19-year-old, who still manages to maintain an amazingly strong and poised point of view.

One year after her diagnosis, to the day, Donis shared a photo of herself, of her old self, saying: ”This girl in this photo was the old Bri exactly one year ago, March 14th 2014, my diagnosis date. That girl is dead. She died that day and has turned into someone brand new and I’m here to officially put her to rest. She started this journey for me and I thank her for it and for leading me into the woman that I am today, but she no longer lives within me. She’s a stranger to me, so is my past.”

Besides being an awesomely strong and wise human being, part of what helped her get through it all, to let go and step into her new self, was her yoga practice.

For the past year, Donis has been doing yoga in the Texas Children’s Hospital, where she spends most of her time while undergoing treatment. Her immune system is so weak from the chemo that she has to wear a special mask to breathe through, her body is fatigued from the illness, and yet she’s been able to keep up her yoga and share photos of her practice almost every day on instagram. It’s not just about the physical poses, though.

“I like yoga because it challenges the inner me and the physical me,” she told BuzzFeed in March. “I started it because it was a challenge that I knew if I put my mind to it, I could do it. It wasn’t the kind of exercise I was used to. It was more personal. It was my own journey and not just a physical one.”

Now, instagram selfies have been under debate, but believe us when we tell you, dammit, we couldn’t be more proud of the insta yoga community for rallying around Donis and becoming an amazing support system of love and positive encouragement.

“The progress is what keeps me engaged,” she explained to Buzzfeed. “Keeping up with challenges and a yoga community in instagram holds me accountable and pushes me to keep trying everyday. There’s never any failure, only success in a journey with yoga.”

The strength that Donis has shown is truly an inspiration and we are humbled by her tenacious spirit.

Here are just a few of her posts and poses:


Not quite the perfect pose…but my Dharma Yoga Wheel came at quite the perfect time! I don’t believe in coincidences anymore! Thank you soooooooo much @yogivaruna @leela_om ❤️ God bless you guys and what you do and what you did for me!! I’ll have a real pose with my wheel soon enough! #brianavsaplasticanemia #yogaeverydamnday #myGodisbigger #transplantday #thatsmytransplantinthemiddlebtwhaha

Day 2 and Day 3: Parsvakonasana B & Prasarita Padottanasana A. #detoxyobody Okay so I know this is late butttt I still did it In the twisted side angle pose, my legs were trembling…not use to that. But I take the trembling as a good sign a sign that something is building or being used!! I can’t wait to see how I do that pose in one week from now. I bet with ease! The second picture, I did exactly as @kinoyoga and @beachyogagirl but for now, this is how wide and forward I could fold I wanna praise God for this. I could have been one of the ones that lost their way, but nope He’s given me a new beginning. ❤️ #thankful #baldisbeautiful #whyilooksodarkdoe #ihaventbeeninthesunforoveramonthsowhyigotthistan #bethematch #brionellen @aloyoga

briana-donis-happybabyDay 24: Ananda Balasana | Happy Baby Pose #LetsGETFlexyIn2015 Yoga Challenge | Fought against the doctors to do my pose today, had two other doctors come in and tell me not to, had my nurse tell me I couldn’t, then had my nurse tell my doctor when she found out I already did haha @kinoyoga @beachyogagirl @aloyoga #brianavsaplasticanemia #yogaeverydamnday

Day 8: Eka Pada Sirasana| One Foot Behind the Head #LetsGETFlexyIn2015 Yoga Challenge | Not exactly behind my head, but I’m so happy with my progress and where I am. To me, the journey is the absolute best part! So rewarding ❤️ @kinoyoga @beachyogagirl @aloyoga

“So whatever it is, your sickness, your problem, your insecurity, you are bigger than that. And you get to control your happiness despite your situation,” says Donis.


Lost Weight and Self-Hate, Gained Self-Esteem and Self-Love


We learn even more about the inspiring story of yoga newbie Richard Widmark.

At age 38, Richard Widmark weighs close to 700 pounds. He’s already lost weight practicing yoga, but that’s not really all that matters. Because, through yoga, Richard Widmark has also felt encouraged to think more positively about himself, to make healthier choices and to take steps to improve his life.

raw-experience-yoga-every-bodyWe met Richard when we came across his photo (seen right) shared around on facebook. His accompanying words about working to overcome years of self-hate and his astonishment at how his teacher saw the worth in his pose when he, at first glance, only felt disgust, was something that really struck home with us. Widmark then wrote, ”Years of hating myself won’t go away over night, but with the help of supportive friends I’ll get there. Yoga is for EVERY BODY.” Yeah, man. This, we thought, is what matters.

In a recent interview with Richmond CBS affiliate WTVR, Widmark explained that he’s had a history of eating as a method of self-comfort and has been dealing with the consequences both physically and emotionally for years.

“As the years went by, I started losing friends, which made me have a lot more time to myself,” said Widmark. “Then, my friends are getting married having kids and here’s me — a big failure at life.”

At one point he was at such a low that he attempted suicide, he said.

However, his life began to turn around when he decided to make healthier choices and started documenting his raw food diet adventures through his The Raw Xperience blog and YouTube channel. This led Widmark to yoga because he happened to know someone who taught at a local studio, and he preferred being encouraged instead of being disciplined or, rather, shouted at in a boot camp-style fitness class likely found at a gym.

So far, his yoga practice has helped him lose about 20 pounds in a couple of months, but just being healthy is what’s most important to him, he says. He’s lost weight and self-hate, but he’s gained self-esteem.

“I feel amazing for doing it. And I hope that everybody does yoga,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group of his supporters are helping to raise money for him to travel to see mega motivational speaker Tony Robbins. The GoFundMe page explains:

Our friend Richard hasn’t had the easiest life (to say the least), but for the last couple of years he’s been trying to better his health taking it one day at a time. There have been many ups and downs and despite the wonderful person that he is, it’s often been a lack of self-love that has made him give up on himself over and over again. After years of struggling, he recently decided to overcome one of his biggest fears and attended a Yoga class.

Tony Robbins or not, we adore the outpouring of support and care that people clearly have for this man – the YD facebook page has never been so full of love! – and we wish him all the best on his journey. Thank you, sir, for helping to share the message that yoga is and can be for every body. Practice on.


Inspiring Weight Loss Success Stories

These healthy weight loss success stories (complete with before-and-after photos) will motivate you to eat right, break a sweat, and get the body you’ve always wanted


  • Drididi Byrd

    BEFORE: 193 AFTER: 138


    Drididi Byrd, now 35, used to play basketball, dance, and lift weights. But around age 20, she let fitness fall by the wayside. She picked up new habits: eating whatever was around and downing sugary juices and sports drinks. “I just didn’t care what I put into my body,” says Drididi, now a middle-school language-arts and drama teacher. Her weight crept up steadily, and in 2006, she was shocked when she stepped onto the scale. At 5′ 4″, she was 193 pounds.

    The Change: That spring, Drididi and her BFF were meeting their boyfriends—good-looking guys—at the basketball courts when her friend dropped this bomb: “I bet people wonder why these guys are with girls like us.” It broke Drididi’s heart. “I didn’t feel good about myself at all,” she says. She also knew she could be at risk for diabetes—her brother had already been diagnosed—and decided it was time she made an appointment with a nutritionist.

    The Lifestyle: After learning that she was consuming 1,200 calories a day through drinks alone, plus overeating at meals, Drididi armed herself with a calorie guide, aiming for a total of less than 1,500 a day. She drank only water and started eating breakfast every morning—something she’d never done before—reaching for yogurt, oatmeal, or a protein shake. For at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week, she used the stair climber at the gym or did basketball drills on the court. By winter 2007, she was down to 160 pounds and had to exchange a size-14 bridesmaid’s dress for a size 10. “That’s when I realized, Wow, this is actually working,” says Drididi. But she didn’t settle. After a few sessions with a trainer to perfect her form, she added moves like squats, lunges, and rows to every workout. By fall 2010, she reached 138 pounds.

    The Reward: Now, Drididi loves to rock sexy bras and sky-high heels that used to pinch her toes (yep, even her feet are slimmer). She rallies her family to get on board, too, by playing Wii games together rather than going out to eat. “I love being that motivation,” she says. “And I love the confidence I’ve learned.”

    Drididi’s Tips

    Eat grapefruit. “Half of one every day works wonders for cutting my appetite. It’s delicious!”

    Lift right. “Learn how to use strength equipment correctly, because good form

    Team up. “When I need a challenge, I work out with my boyfriend, because I know he’ll push me past my comfort zone.”

    • Christina Taylor
      BEFORE: 380 lbs
      AFTER: 200 lbs
      “FACEBOOK HELPED ME SLIM DOWN”As a high schooler in Barrie, Ontario, Christina Taylor, now 25, didn’t eat your standard bagged lunch. When she wasn’t hitting the drive-through with friends, she was chowing down on pizza from the restaurant her mother owned. “She would send the delivery guy to my school,” says Christina. By the time she was 15 and stood 5’7″, Christina weighed 380 pounds.The Change: In 2003, Christina joined her high school choir on a trip to Italy. But a week in, she was forced to spend the day in bed while her classmates explored Rome. “I was too heavy and tired to move,” she recalls. Humiliated but determined, Christina resolved that she would never again let her weight limit what she could do.The Lifestyle: Back home, Christina started doing her mom’s old aerobics videos a few times a week and soon joined a gym to use the weight machines. She kissed the drive-through good-bye and dropped 50 pounds in the next seven months. Over six years, Christina whittled off 130 more pounds a little at a time by avoiding fast food and keeping up her gym habit. Her progress halted in 2009, when she met her future husband. They ate out often and she gained back 60 pounds she couldn’t seem to shake.

      In 2011, Christina set up a Facebook page to get back on track and keep herself accountable. She posted photos of her progress and found an outpouring of support from the online community. “People I didn’t even know started following along,” she says. She lost the weight she had regained to reach an active and happy 200 pounds.

      The Reward: Last year, Christina launched her own weight-loss coaching business, and her Facebook page (facebook.com/healthychanges) now has more than 750 followers. Although she’s still working to drop 40 more pounds and one day enter a bodybuilding competition, she has already seen remarkable changes. “I’m taken seriously now,” says Christina. “I used to rely on being the funny, fat friend, but now people look up to me, and that’s an honor.”

      Christina’s Tips

    • Be prepared. “I pack a lunch or healthy snacks when I go out so I have good alternatives when I run into temptation.”
    • Lift big. “My favorite exercise is the incline squat. I just reached 500 pounds. When I lift heavy weights, I feel empowered.”
    • Keep good company. “My old friends didn’t help me do what was best for me. Now I have friends who support me and know who I really am.”
    Amanda Green
    BEFORE: 165 lbs
    AFTER: 120 lbs
    Amanda Green, a 35-year-old mom from Arlington, Texas, didn’t have trouble losing her baby weight—the first time. But after her younger son was born in 2008, she says, “I just let it all go, didn’t work out, and ate what I wanted.” It didn’t help that her husband, a police officer, started working the night shift, leaving her alone with two young kids and a pantry full of junk food during prime snacking hour. “I was lonely and stressed,” she says, “so I’d turn to a bag of chips for comfort.” Amanda, 5’3″, hit a high of 165 pounds in the winter of 2009.The Change: Amanda hid from mirrors, cameras, and other reminders of the 45 extra pounds she’d piled on—until a Christmas family photo showed up online and gave her a reality check. “I didn’t even recognize myself,” she says. “I was shocked by how swollen and stuffed I looked. I had been in total denial until that point.”

    The Lifestyle: That January, Amanda tossed all the packaged desserts and salty snacks. “I just had to get that stuff out of my system,” she says. “And before I ate, I would ask myself if I was really hungry or just tired or upset.” She also began to pay attention to portion control, even for healthy foods like almonds, which she used to believe were impossible to overeat. Once Amanda dusted off some cardio DVDs and started sweating for an hour a day, the scale dropped 15 pounds in two months. By April, her body caught up to her new routine and Amanda hit a plateau at 135 pounds, so she started running outdoors and lifting free weights three times a week. By fall 2010, she had shed the final 15 pounds.

    The Reward: Discovering how much she loves exercise and the energy it gives her has been life-transforming for Amanda, who no longer looks for relief at the bottom of a bag of chips. “I realized how much better I feel when I listen to what my body needs,” she says. And her new, confident attitude means less time spent worrying about her wardrobe: “Now I can leave the house wearing anything and know that I look pretty good in it!”

    Amanda’s Tips

  • Do your homework. “I collected inspirational articles from magazines and the Internet, and treated my weight loss like a project.”
  • Get your z’s. “I used to stay up too late, then feel sluggish and overeat the next day. When you get enough sleep, you feel better and eat better.”
  • Find a mantra. “One of my favorites is ‘Shut up and sweat!’ To me, it means no excuses.”

    • Courtney Stearns
      BEFORE: 182 lbs
      AFTER: 130 lbs
      Like many teenagers, Courtney Stearns didn’t give much thought to her diet and health regimen. But when she was diagnosed at age 17 with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance that can trigger weight gain, her so-so habits (like too many sugary snacks) began to catch up with her. At 19, PCOS symptoms forced Courtney into the doctor’s office multiple times a week. “Every time I stepped on the scale, I’d gained two or three pounds,” says the now 26-year-old from Claremont, New Hampshire, who works as a corporate assistant. In just two months, Courtney 5’6″, had put on 50 pounds. 

      The Change: For the next three years, a depressed Courtney struggled to find a fix that would erase the weight. “I was trying to exercise, but nothing was fun,” she says. Then her new neighbor, a professional boxer, brought her along to his gym and something clicked. “It looked awesome,” she says. “I had to try.” She approached a coach on the spot and asked to start training. 

      The Lifestyle: Courtney dove into daily workouts. She jumped rope, punched bags, and learned how to fight. She fueled up with veggies and lean protein, and gave up ice cream after learning to satisfy her sweet tooth with fruits like pineapple. Courtney knew she was on the right track when her scale showed a 10-pound dip in the first month of her new routine. By her first boxing tournament in February 2010, she had dropped 30 more pounds. When Courtney finally hit 130 pounds that May, she needed a new wardrobe. “I’d thrown out all of my skinny clothes,” she says. 

      The Reward: Her closet isn’t the only thing that was overhauled: Boxing also gave Courtney a major self-esteem boost. “I used to be afraid of talking in front of people,” she says, “but now I’m confident.” And although her PCOS is permanent, she feels healthy and has tons of energy. “I know I can face anything,” she says. “Just like in the ring, you can always go one more round. You just have to dig for it.