Thank you so much, Kate! I’m not over the cravings for junk food! I try not to keep very much snack food in the house, because between-meal snacking is really my downfall, but I also don’t deprive myself. I always have Nutty Bars in my fridge, because I just love ’em. I also keep almonds, honey wheat pretzels, and hummus on hand for my salty cravings, I just really watch myself on the portion sizes. The other huge change in my eating was cutting out fast food. Those calories add up fast and I’ve found that I really don’t miss it. I prefer to splurge on an occasional nicer meal out than on more frequent fast food visits.
If you enjoy the occasional cocktail, have no fear! We’re not telling you that you need to cut it out completely. Studies have shown that the occasional drink has little to no effect on belly fat. You run into issues, however, when you consume alcohol in abundance. Not only is there a direct correlation between alcohol and truncal obesity, but consuming alcohol puts you at risk of making unhealthy choices (as far as your diet is concerned). If you’re going to have a drink or two, leave the snacks in the pantry.
It takes more than just crunches! We start to gain weight in our midsection when our cortisol levels spike. Stress is one of the primary culprits for high levels of cortisol secretion. When this happens cortisol breaks downs lean muscle (the type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently) and also holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region. That stress can even get WORSE with bad dieting; studies show that the stress caused by dieting can increase cortisol levels, making no change in belly fat even with calorie restriction. So how do you shape up? Incorporate these 6 things below and you will be on your way to a flatter belly in no time flat!
I started listening to my body. It was really easy for me to mindlessly eat food in front of me, even if I wasn’t hungry. I noticed my body also did this thing where it would feel like I was hungry ten minutes after I finished a meal, which I would then need to tell myself I actually wasn’t hungry yet. As your body changes, you will notice that your appetite might have changed and you don’t need to eat as much before feeling full.
From January through May, it looked very similar to previous months and years. With my little spurts of doing okay and thinking about my choices more, I maybe lost a few pounds in the semester, but nothing that made me look or feel different. It was when I graduated college in May of 2016 that I recommitted to a healthy lifestyle, specifically nutrition and fitness. I was all in.
Instead of satisfying your sweet tooth with some refined sugar, turn to berries and enjoy a slimmer waistline in no time. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, and research from the University of Michigan reveals that rats given a berry-rich diet shaved off a significant proportion of their belly fat when compared to a control group. Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are also loaded with resveratrol, an antioxidant pigment that has been linked to reductions in belly fat and a reduced risk of dementia, to boot.
Invest in single-serving containers. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that a serving size on a food label may be more or less than the amount of food you should eat, depending on your age, height, sex, and weight. Once you're done cooking, place the excess servings in the containers to eat for lunch or dinner tomorrow. That way, you won't polish off everything in one sitting.
Adult women require anywhere from six to eight hours of sleep every night. If you're staying up late on the regs and aren't meeting that minimum, you'll throw off your natural rhythm, which can cause your body to freak out and start overproducing hormones (including cortisol). By getting the right amount of sleep every night, your body and metabolism will stay regulated — keeping you and your tummy on point.
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You could be gaining muscle mass. If you are feeling more slim and stronger, or your clothes are fitting better, but the number on the scale won't budge/is increasing, you might be putting on lean mass. This is a good thing! Muscle takes up less space than fat, helping you look lean, even at a higher weight. It is also more metabolic, helping you stay in shape more easily. You can double check this, by measuring your body fat percentage or taking physical measurements using measuring tape. Keep in mind, there are many different ways to measure the success of your diet. The scale is just one of them.
Research continues to suggests that adequate and even higher protein intakes may support more weight loss. But the amount you actually need is still widely debated. US Dietary Guidelines recommend 0.36 to 0.45 grams per pound of body weight. But some argue this amount is based around getting minimum adequate needs for the general population and does not take into account differences in body composition and fitness needs.
Starting a weight-loss journey can be tough, especially if you're giving up a lot of things you love. Shannon Hagen’s secret to staying positive while losing weight? “I never think of it as giving things up, that makes me feel deprived,” she says. “Instead I focus on adding in one small healthy change at a time, until it becomes a habit.” For instance, instead of being bummed over not having your usual bowl of ice cream before bed, try a new healthy dessert recipe to add to your file.
So at age 20 my weight started to climb, but I didn’t notice or care because I was having fun. At about age 24, I still didn’t workout at all and just partied and enjoyed my time with my friends. I had an asthma attack, and went to the Doctors and that is when he told me, if I keep going this route I would die! (Thanks Dr. Becker) Pretty abrupt, but it’s true. I was hitting near 200lbs and heading down the road of disaster. I don’t think I ever made it to 200lbs, but I came pretty close. (That’s me with the brown hair and bag in the picture, gross huh?)
You did a good job of evaluating the programs and explaining how they were chosen, but I think the government guidelines are just wrong. Having half of our calories come from carbs doesn’t seem right to me. The only diets I’ve had any luck with are low-carb. In fact, if I consume more than about 130g of carbs per day, my blood sugar goes into the pre-diabetes range.
‘Do it for a couple of minutes in bed and you’ll actually be able to wind down and fall asleep more easily. But it’s a skill, so it requires a commitment to practice it, as with anything. Think of it a bit like dating – the first time you do it it’s terrible, it’s uncomfortable, nobody knows what they’re doing, but the more dates you go on the better it gets.
About: Brian’s struggles with weight are some we can all relate to — the need to get healthy, fit, you name it. But what makes his blog particularly interesting is that his studio apartment doesn’t have a kitchen. That forces Brian to get creative, and all he has to work with is a mini-refrigerator and a Big Boss Rapid Oven. His blog is a way to stay accountable and share recipes that are about as creative as you can get.
For women specifically, remember that women’s bodies are designed to sustain a pregnancy, survive giving birth, and then nourish another human being through breastfeeding. While pregnancy and breastfeeding require as many as 500 extra calories per day, it’s no wonder that a woman’s body tends to store fat where it is difficult to lose. These biological activities require a huge output of energy from a woman’s body. To prepare for these enormous events, a woman’s body stores excess calories as fat around the thighs and hips.