Losing belly fat shouldn’t mean strict dieting or deprivation. “People often think that you have to eat certain foods or avoid certain foods [to lose weight] and in reality, it comes down to eating more of a balanced diet that is portion- and calorie-controlled,” says Zeratsky. “This allows your body to have enough energy to do what it wants to do while managing weight.”
When you start eating more fat and cut out all those senseless carbs (sugar, bread, and the like), you tend to stop experiencing the blood sugar swings that plague most people on the Standard American Diet. These fluctuations cause intense hunger that keeps you lurching from one carb-heavy meal to the next, never feeling satisfied—and never reaching the deep fat-burning state of ketosis. But that’s not big news to most of us.
You’re still relying on counting calories instead of letting true hunger guide you. What does true hunger feel like to you? Work on increasing or decreasing your fat to focus on the sensations of true hunger. Try to consume fat at different times of the day so that your hunger is controlled. Strengthening your self-awareness surrounding hunger can reduce the frequency of eating when you are not hungry.
Foods rich in the amino acid leucine can help build the lean muscle mass that’s needed to trim excess fat from your frame, according to Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD. It literally jumpstarts the process of developing muscle mass—and red meats are one of the best sources around. Go grass-fed to get the added benefits of omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acids—these two fatty acids help to decrease the inflammation in your body that causes fat storage.
Had enough of boring rice? Add some bulgur into your diet. Although this grain is traditionally used in tabbouleh—a staple dish of Mediterranean cooking made by combining bulgur with chopped parsley, garlic, diced tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon juice—you can also use it as a base of salad bowls or a side for a chicken dish. This cereal will help you burn fat thanks to boasting over eight grams of belly-filling fiber; A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that by simply increasing the amount of fiber you eat each day (to 30 grams) while keeping calories the same could help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve your body’s insulin response as effectively as more complicated diets that try to overhaul your entire diet.
You don’t have to be the next Usain Bolt in the making to enjoy some serious belly-slimming results from hitting the track from time to time. Even a moderate-rate jog a few times a week can blast through that belly fat; in fact, a study conducted at Duke University Medical Center found that, over the course of an eight-month study, overweight adult study subjects who jogged 12 miles a week lost the most belly fat and burned 67 percent more calories than participants who did an equivalent amount of resistance exercise, or a combination of cardio and resistance work.
About: For some people, the idea of sweating it out in a gym or running for miles along the road is this side of awful. And for them, there’s Graceful Fitness, an approach that incorporates dance, yoga and deep-breathing — but also acknowledges the body’s limits and celebrates rest time. Plus, Graceful Fitness author Faith also has a unique approach to food — blending eating for health with eating for fun. It’s pretty much the peaceful way to incorporate fitness and healthy eating into your weight loss regime, and it’s all done by a young woman whose blog shows you step-by-step how to get there.
Erika Nicole Kendall’s ongoing weight loss journey is beautifully chronicled on her blog, Black Girls Guide To Weight Loss, or BGG2WL, for short. Her weight loss transformation began unexpectedly after signing up for a gym membership from some persuading from her mother. But after losing over 170 pounds, Kendall became a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist and writes about food, fitness, body image, and beauty on her blog.
About: Misty’s more than just a “fat girl,” as she puts it. So much more. Misty started blogging about her weight loss about four years ago after she experienced a pulmonary edema and several pulmonary embolisms following the birth of her fourth daughter — all caused by excessive fluids in her body and all nearly killing her. She also found out she has a blood disorder called Factor V Leiden, something she was born with. Since starting her original blog “I Am Not Just a Fat Girl,” Misty’s weight loss journey has had ups and downs, but ultimately she accepted her body and now blogs to inspire others who are looking to lose weight, too.
One of the reasons your metabolism isn’t burning away fat as efficiently as you’d like? Look to your magnesium levels. This essential micronutrient is required for the body to produce and store energy, and also helps boost lipolysis (a process by which your body releases fat from its stores to use as energy)—yet 75 percent of Americans do not get their RDA of this important metabolism-boosting mineral. Just a half cup of pumpkin seeds provides nearly 100 percent of your daily magnesium needs.
Now extreme weight manipulation can go horribly, horribly wrong. Even a lot of UFC guys don’t know how to do it the smart way. Instead, they put their bodies in real harm by doing stupid things like taking a lot of diuretics, not drinking any water, skipping meals, wearing trash bags while exercising (sometimes in the sauna) and generally being idiotic.
If you get enough protein and fat, your total calorie intake should take care of itself. Because you feel full, you won't binge on a can of Pringles and blow your calorie count for the day. The remaining 45 percent of calories in our plan comes from carbohydrates — enough to give your palate a full range of tastes and your body a combination of fast- and slow-burning fuel.
Every time you complete 10 reps on the rowing machine, lift the handles straight up over your head—without bending your elbows—for two consecutive repetitions before returning to normal rowing form. This works your shoulders and back harder, as well as your legs, since they have to produce more power to give you the momentum to perform the move, says McGarr.
For those of you that cook your own meals, as you cook you just need to measure each item used, add up nutrients/calories for each ingredient and then log the dish cooked on your dashboard. It takes time, but only have to do it once per dish made. A lot of cookbooks also provide the nutrient information. A food scale (very inexpensive to purchase) is a must have!
I am not as much in favor of ‘forgiving’ as you mention. Let’s be honest about realizing that if you want good health, stop giving in to the miriad of food temptations. I am in my 70’s and hear all the time from my contemporaries that they think keeping to a good eating regime is only necessary if one has a ‘health problem’. The most valuable asset we all have the potential to possess is good health.
About: Going through a divorce can do nasty things to a person — it can cause weight gain, low self-esteem, job changes, you name it. It certainly was a downward spiral for Emma, who went through the ringer before meeting (and getting engaged) to her current fiancé — but along the way she learned how to find the joy in life and learn to love herself. Emma decided to start a blog as a way to bring her newfound positivity to others. Her outlook on healthy living and eating, fitness and weight loss is charged with positivity. She’s a glass-half-full kind of person, and reading her blog can make you one too.
Fruits make it to the top of this list. The emphasis on fruits continues through this guide. When berries are concerned, the deeper color means more antioxidants to break starch into simple sugars, ensuring lower blood sugar levels. This helps in body fat loss because insulin essentially puts sugar in adipose or fat cells. Raspberries contain ketones that are rich in fat burning capability. Blueberries lower cholesterol, improve insulin and blood sugar levels for the better, and are a top source of fiber, lower in calories to ensure fat burning foods work wonders. Berries also fend off infections and maintain excellent vision, maintaining bone density.
While toning your muscles is best achieved through exercise, ditching the fat that’s obscuring them starts in the kitchen. Luckily, one easy way to get the ball rolling on fat loss outside the gym is a habit you probably already have: drinking coffee. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that obese study subjects whose diet was supplemented with caffeinated coffee significantly increased their metabolic rate, and subjects of an average weight shed more pounds, too.