Free Weight Loss Advice

Need to lose weight and don’t know where to start? Hit a plateau and need advice to get losing again? Ask Happy Dieter! Simply post your question below, and we will give you practical, helpful advice to get you on track. Cathy has over 5 years experience leading weight loss groups. In addition, she lost 20 pounds and has kept it off for 12+ years. So, get free weight loss advice from someone who has the experience and knowledge to help you with your weight loss goals


  1. Megan

    ok so Im alomost 29 years old mother of 3 and married. I weigh 230 pounds. Before I had kids 10 years ago I was 135 pounds. I could eat whatever I wanted and I was active in high school and after. I really want to lose weight and get back to 135-140 ounds atleast. and turn a flabby tummy to nice. I wanna look good and be healthy and keep up with my kids. I go to the gym n do weights and stuff minimum once a week. And walk maybe one mile on treadmill. I try to cut down portions I eat and sorry but I love pop but I drink water too. Id like to be at mygoal weight by this time next year. Help please

  2. Cathy Parkes Author

    Hi Dianne. If you have excessive gas and bloating after eating, you may want to talk to your doctor about what could be causing this… there are certain health conditions and/or medications that can cause this problem. You can also start experimenting by eliminating certain foods from your diet to see if your symptoms improve. For example, foods known to cause gas in many people include: dairy products, beans/legumes, onions, green peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, apples, prunes, pears, soda, oatmeal, and wheat-containing products. Not ALL of these food items will cause bloating in ALL people. You have to see what works for you… Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  3. Cathy Parkes Author

    Hi Nunya! I’m not sure what you mean by “doing 500 calories a day”. If you mean that you are reducing your daily caloric intake by 500 calories per day, then you can expect to lose 1 pound a week. This would mean you would lose approximately 8 pounds in 2 months, which is a good pace for weight loss. Cutting 500 calories out a day can happen by cutting down on your food intake (i.e. eating) or by exercise. Walking 30 minutes a day will take care of PART of that 500 calories, but the rest of will need to come from reducing your food intake. I always recommend eating high-nutrient, low calorie food such as whole grains, lean protein, and lots of fruits and veggies. By swapping out high-fat, high-calorie food with healthier options, you can easily trim several hundred calories from your diet each day. Combined with your walking program, you should be on track to lose weight and get healthier! Good luck, Nunya.

  4. Cathy Parkes Author

    Hi Megan! I understand your frustration regarding the challenges of losing weight as you get older. When we are younger, our metabolism is faster and we are more active… so it is easier to eat what you want and not gain weight. Unfortunately, when we get older, it gets harder to lose weight and maintain weight loss. But IT IS DOABLE! I appreciate your desire to keep up with your kids, and I think that is a good goal. I’m not sure what your height is, so I’m not sure if a target weight of 135-140 is right or not. Click on the link at the bottom of the website page “BMI calculator” to see if your goal is realistic. So, in terms of HOW you go about losing weight – it comes down to eating right and exercising. Unfortunately, going to the gym once a week is not going to get it. You really need to exercise 4-5 times a week and maintain a high activity level in general. If the gym isn’t your thing, that is OK! There are lots of other ways to exercise – walking/running, swimming, biking, skating, dancing, etc. The best thing you can do is pick an activity that you enjoy doing. Doing a variety of exercises is important too. Don’t just walk EVERY day. You want to alternate exercises and keep your muscles guessing and working hard. In terms of eating… I hate to say this, but the pop has got to go. It has ZERO nutritional benefit and is loaded with all sort of chemicals. Water is GREAT for you. Try squeezing a lime or lemon in it to give it some taste if you like… In terms of eating, you really want to focus on consuming whole grains, lean protein, and lots of fruits and veggies. If you are just starting off with your weight loss program, I would keep a food journal. This will highlight your “problem areas” and allow you to make changes that will make a big difference. If you write back and tell me what your height is, I can recommend a calorie range. Unless you are super short, I don’t usually recommend anyone go under 1200 calories a day. In fact, 1500 calories a day is usually effective for most people. Good luck, Megan!

  5. Non-singer

    I really enjoyed reading everything in your blog. You are very inspiring! I have had the same 20 pounds to lose my whole life and have tried all kinds of things. I am vegan and gluten free and journal on the Lose It! website. I find it hard like you have said to not have group support. I did go to the TOPS local meeting today as soon as I read your blog, but the singing really freaks me out and I didnt meet anyone who is vegan or under age 50 there. It would be nice to find a group with a mix of people and people who have been able to lose the weight to be inspired. (Not many at this meeting). Any other group you recommend? I also went on line to find a weigh 2 go meeting but none in the Portsmouth VA area. Also, do they sing in that group too? lol I will be implimenting a higher calorie diet as I have tried to stay close to 1200 calories and am always hungry, not losing weight, and end up eating more food when I get shaky and dizzy. Look forward to hearing from you.

  6. Cathy Parkes Author

    Hi Non-singer! I got a real kick out of your note, because I am also a non-singer… LOL! Some TOPS groups like to do that type of thing, and others don’t. Like you, it is definitely not my thing. If there are multiple TOPS chapters in your area, I would encourage you to visit another one because it might be a totally different vibe. I agree with you that the TOPS demographic is definitely older… with a median age around 70. I am definitely the youngest BY FAR in my current TOPS chapter, but over time, the ladies in my group have become like surrogate mothers/grandmothers to me. They are supportive and kind, and weighing in each week keeps me focused and accountable. So, I would try to not let the age thing keep you away, but I would try another chapter that doesn’t sing songs as much. My current chapter in San Diego just does one closing song, so I am able to handle that…:) In terms of other groups besides TOPS, it’s hard to give you a recommendation, because there aren’t a lot of good options. Weight Watchers is super expensive, and the meetings aren’t very personal. I’ve heard that Overeaters Anonymous can be helpful, but I haven’t personally been to a meeting. If you decide to give it a try, please write back and tell us how it went. Another option is that you can create your own group, if you have friends who are also trying to lose weight. That is how I originally started Weigh 2 Go in Austin, and it grew like crazy (because there is a huge need for weight loss support groups!). So, don’t give up on finding a support group, because it really can make a huge difference! And great job in recognizing that you were not eating enough… that shaky/dizzy feeling is sign of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and can be dangerous. Make sure to fuel your body with enough calories so that it can function properly. You will also feel a lot better and have more energy to exercise, which is going to help you lose weight. It was great to hear from you, non-singer. Good luck and PLEASE stay in touch.

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