One of the problems with many of the easy diets listed is that they include a lot of processed foods. Frozen products and microwavable meals are generally not as nutritious as a home-cooked meal. And if you get used to eating foods like brownies and chocolate shakes when you're slimming down you may continue to crave those foods after the diet is over. And of course, if you consume non-diet versions of those foods, the pounds will come back.
Get all that? Basically, the differences between groups were minimal. Yes, the low-fat group dropped their daily fat intake and the low-carb group dropped their daily carb intake. But both groups ended up taking in 500 to 600 calories less per day than they had before, and both lost the same average amount of weight (12 pounds) over the course of a year. Those genetic and physical makeups didn’t result in any differences either. The only measure that was different was that the LDL (low density lipoprotein) was significantly lower in the low-fat group, and the HDL (high density lipoprotein) was significantly higher in the low-carb group.
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
Frozen meals are super-convenient. They’re cheap, easy to throw in your bag as you’re running out the door, and take just three minutes to cook. While your 300-calorie Lean Cuisine may seem like a waist-friendly option, it’s not. Most frozen meals are loaded with sodium—as much as you should eat over a full day, not just in one meal—and lots of other synthetic additives. Sodium packs on water weight, as the body needs to maintain a balance in the body, and when you’re thirsty, you could reach for a sugary beverage, which adds hundreds of more calories. Salt also makes food taste better, prompting you to shovel more of it in your mouth. Another problem with frozen meals is they frequently lack sufficient fiber to keep you full, so you’re likely to find yourself sneaking back into the kitchen shortly after you’ve eaten. If you must eat a frozen meal, consider adding a serving or two of frozen vegetables to boost the fiber and fullness quotient and dilute the sodium.
Dr Tumpati is a board certified physician with significant practice experience in managing sleep disorders, internal medicine, aesthetic and obesity medicine. As one of the few physicians that have the privilege of a fellowship training in Obesity Medicine, Dr Tumpati is very passionate about educating the public and physicians about how some of the nutritional concepts were misunderstood. As the founder of W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep and MedSpa centers, Dr Tumpati is the medical director for the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania locations and commutes weekly between the locations.
No, getting your ohm on won’t burn as many calories as a hilly run or a Barry’s Bootcamp class, but it can help blunt the secretion of cortisol, a belly-widening stress hormone. In one study, women who did 35 minutes of daily yoga for 12 weeks had less cortisol in their systems during stressful situations than women in the control group. The benefits of this are twofold: Not only can this help ward off the accumulation of belly fat, according to one Yale study, yoga can also help develop mindfulness, a skill that could help you avoid mindless eating. Never done yoga before? Many gyms host beginner classes, and there are also boutique studios that offer smaller, more personalized sessions. After you’ve got a solid foundation, you could even practice at home with the help of Prevention’s Flat Belly Yoga DVD.
* W8MD medical weight loss centers of America is designed to provide general information on our insurance physician weight loss program locations, and general weight loss information. W8MD medical weight loss website or any of our affiliated weight loss blogs is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Also note insurance coverage may vary based on your plan, deductibles, co-insurance etc. and our participation in your plan. Contact your insurance carrier for your coverage details.
The meals shown here are "templates" that you can vary any number of ways to please your tastebuds and avoid eating the same old thing every day. Follow them and you'll get between 2,400 and 2,800 calories per day. That should provide plenty of calories for all but the most severely obese, while allowing most guys to lose fat around their middles at a steady pace. (Don't worry about hitting the numbers on the nose every time. If you exceed your fat quota during lunch, for instance, just cut back a little during dinner.)
This veggie has a lot going for it, but one of its biggest perks is its fiber content. You get 7 grams of fiber in a medium cooked artichoke, making it one of the top fiber-rich veggies—that's more than one-quarter of what a woman requires every day. Getting more of these fiber-eating opportunities when you can is important: the more fiber you eat, the less likely you are to pack on belly fat over time, reports research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Other fiber-rich veggies include Brussels sprouts and legumes, like lentils and split peas.
Stop treating your kitchen like an all-night diner and you’ll stop seeing those unwanted pounds piling onto your frame, too. The results of a study published in Cell Metabolism found that mice who only had access to food during an eight-hour period stayed slim over the course of the study, while those who ate the same number of calories over a 16-hour period gained significantly more weight, particularly around their middle. When you’re finished with dinner at night, shut the fridge and don’t look back until morning — your belly will thank you. When you do head back to the kitchen in the A.M., make sure the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen are there waiting for you.
Think cooking healthy meals is difficult and time-consuming? Think again. Annie Allen, a postsurgical nurse in Tampa Bay, Florida, let her freezer do half the work for her—and now she's down 52 pounds and runs about 10 races a year. "Frozen vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones, and in minutes you have half of your meal prepared," she says. These frozen meals are also surprisingly healthy if you don't have time to mix and match one of your own.
While many people think that cardiovascular workouts are the best possible way to burn belly fat, combining your workout styles is actually a better way to quickly lose belly fat. When you do weight training in between cardio exercising, that high-intensity exercise can cause your metabolism to shoot up, burning more fat more quickly. Alternating workout styles and physical demands on your body can keep your metabolism “on its toes”, operating at a high level, even burning fat when you’re not working out!
Yes, you read that right. Simply walking can go a long way toward helping you shed belly fat, says Sahmura Gonzalez, a master trainer at Crunch in New York City. "It seems so simple, but 45-60 min of brisk walking every day can do wonders for your metabolism," says Gonzalez. "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." In fact, if your walking workout helps you unwind after a stressful day or work through emotions that might otherwise rile you up and stress you out, there's a chance it'll help you lower cortisol levels, which in turn can keep belly fat in check, says Gonzalez. And brisk walking is an effective way to drop pounds—including the belly fat that's hiding your abdominal muscles. "One hour of rapid walking a day can lead to 1 pound of fat loss a week," says Gonzalez. "That is significant!" (Discover how you can lose up to six times more weight with Prevention's walking plan.)
Wanting a smaller waist and flatter belly isn't all about looking good in your jeans. People sporting large amounts of visceral fat (the type of internal fat that dangerously hugs organs) are more likely to have a higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, especially true if a woman's waist circumference exceeds 35 inches. There is no true magic bullet when it comes to belly fat. But research shows filling your plate with foods that fight abdominal fat—as part of an overall healthy diet—can help. Here's what to dig into to help beat belly fat.
That sour cherry is pretty sweet when it comes to your health. The results of a study conducted at the University of Michigan found that rats given high-fat foods along with tart cherries ditched nine percent more body fat than those in a control group over just 12 weeks. Cherries are also a good source of antioxidant pigment resveratrol, which has been linked to reductions in belly fat, dementia risk, and lower rates of macular degeneration among the elderly.
Switch to Lighter Alternatives. Whenever you can, use the low-fat versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other products. "You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice," says Magee. More smart substitutions: Use salsa or hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.