When you want something sweet, all those fat-free, sugar-free options seem like a smart choice for weight loss. But researchers at Cornell University found that overweight people who choose low-fat versions of snack foods rather than the regular kinds consume, on average, twice as many calories. "The terms 'fat-free' or 'sugar-free' can create a green light effect, triggering people to eat more," says dietitian Cynthia Sass, RD. But many fat-free foods have about the same number of calories (or more) as their full-fat counterparts.
Exercises targeting the belly are not enough to help you lose belly fat. You cannot target fat loss; you cannot lose fat from one specific area by thinking about it. It’s like saying you don’t want to drive to where you’re going you want to teleport there. It’s not going to happen. Sit-ups, crunches and core work are not going to miraculously blast belly fat. If it did, a lot less people, would have a belly. Exercises like crunches do not target belly fat, they target belly muscle (i.e. abs). They will make your muscles bigger, but that helps little if they are hiding beneath a layer of fat. However, once you’ve lost the belly fat, those exercises will pay off. But, the first step is to lose belly fat.
Remember that these are all perfectly understandable evolutionary design features. Higher estrogen levels during puberty drive fat gain as an energy reserve in case you get pregnant. During early pregnancy, they go into overdrive to “stock up” for the approaching challenge. Your body still hasn’t caught up to the 21st century; it still thinks its job is to keep you (a) alive, and (b) fertile in an environment of extreme food scarcity and a constant threat of famine. So storing extra fat at every opportunity makes perfect sense: back in the day, it could have meant the difference between life and death (or a healthy baby and a miscarriage).
Yes, fat, even so-called “good” fats, can pack on the pounds. As The New York Times health columnist Jane Brody recently wrote, “Americans seem to think that if a food is considered a healthier alternative [olive oil, for example, instead of lard], it’s O.K. to swallow as much of it as one might like. People forget, or never knew, that a tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil has about the same number of calories as a tablespoon of lard [about 125], and even more calories than a tablespoon of butter or margarine.”
Control Your Environments. Another simple strategy to help cut calories is to control your environment -- everything from stocking your kitchen with lots of healthy options to choosing the right restaurants. That means avoiding the temptation by staying away from all-you-can-eat restaurants. And when it comes to parties, "eat a healthy snack before so you won't be starving, and be selective when you fill your plate at the buffet," suggests Ward. Before going back for more food, wait at least 15 minutes and have a big glass of water.