If you're mostly sedentary (and let's face it—with 9-to-5 desk jobs being the norm, it's hard to avoid), you'll start to see noticeable results with just a slight increase in your activity level. Break up the hours in front of the computer by using your lunch break to move around. "I started walking for 45 minutes during my lunch break," says Melissa Leon, who ultimately dropped 53 pounds. "The area was super hilly, but feeling the burn in my butt and quads as I powered up those hills let me know I was making progress."
Sugary soda, packed with empty calories, is obviously a diet disaster, but even the no-calorie version can expand your waistline. A 2012 study published in the journal Obesity found that regular soda was associated with increased waist size and abdominal fat, but diet soda was associated with increased waist size, BMI, and total percentage of fat. One theory why this happens is the artificial sweeteners in diet soda don't produce the responses your body expects when you eat something sweet. So, the sweet taste of a diet soda triggers a message to your body to expect an influx of energy, which won't arrive since there are no calories in diet drinks. This interferes with your body's hunger signals and causes you to crave (and consume) additional calories to make up for the lack of calories in diet soda. (Not to mention, diet soda has also been linked to stroke and dementia.)
The other benefit to using portion control for weight loss is that it naturally encourages healthy eating habits. If you choose to consume empty calories—foods high in saturated fats and added sugar—you won't be able to eat very much. A single portion size of chocolate, for example, is just one ounce. But if you choose to satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit, you can gobble a half to a full cup of sweetness and the fiber in fruit will help you to stay full and satisfied so you're less tempted to eat again soon after snacking.
Here’s a shocker: When a group of U.K. researchers told 30 women to avoid chocolate, then packed them into a room filled with the stuff; the women were much more likely to sneak a bite than individuals who hadn’t been given the order. Blame the allure of the forbidden: The more you tell yourself you can’t eat something you love, the more you’re going to want it.
No, we’re not telling you that you need a tummy tuck (although that would flatten your belly, we suppose). Rather, there are several common health conditions that can make your belly bulge and until you fix the anatomical issues underneath, nothing else can flatten it out. For instance, many women have a diastisis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, after pregnancy. In about 25 percent of these women, the muscles never quite come back together, leading to a permanent protrusion. Similarly, a hernia (congenital or from an injury) can also cause your belly to stick out. Both conditions can be resolved surgically.
Thank you for your response. I do agree the Mediterranean diet & Dash are healthy & sound, but I also think it’s important for people to change their habits, vs. “going on a diet” — whether you eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day, with a small amount of healthy fat, plenty of protein and good, whole grains, OR you eat McDonald’s value meals four times a day, they are both considered someone’s “diet.”
It's a very effective technique that can help you reprogram your body's reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life. Getting enough sleep will also help reduce your cortisol levels, and can have a significant bearing on metabolic disorders such as obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes, allowing such problems to improve. As noted in the featured article:
Sometimes, to whip your body into shape, you have to get a little nutty. While nuts are high in fat, it’s that very fat that makes them such powerful weapons in the war against a ballooning belly. In fact, research from Reina Sofia University Hospital reveals that study participants who consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those in nuts, over a 28-day period gained less belly fat than their saturated fat-consuming counterparts while improving their insulin sensitivity.
There’s probably a biological basis to stress eating, researchers say. Chronic stress causes your body to secrete excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol, and too much cortisol triggers cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods. What’s most troubling, though, is that stress eating doesn’t just pack on pounds; it packs on pounds in the worst place, your middle (cortisol stimulates fat production deep in the abdomen).
Using a layered approach is another great way to build a good veggie habit. For example, start with a food you already enjoy — say, pasta — and layer some veggies into your bowl. This can help you explore a new food with one you already love eating, and from there, you can try new ways to savor it. Take spinach, for instance. After trying it with pasta, you may want fold it into an omelet or another favorite food, or explore it on its own with different cooking techniques (sautéed or steamed) or different flavor additions (garlic or golden raisins). The possibilities are limitless!
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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.
It’s called a “beer belly” for a reason. Boozy bubbles are a major cause of belly bloat, as anyone who’s ever looked in the mirror after a few too many drinks can attest. But it’s not just the carbonation that is the culprit. Alcohol can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your stomach, leading to gas, not to mention all the empty calories that are going straight to your waistline. Instead, skip the alcohol altogether or limit yourself to one serving per day.
When you make your meals, forgo refined grains -- such as white bread and pasta -- for whole grains and fresh, green vegetables. These foods contain fiber, which promotes gut health and these foods also take longer to digest -- so that you won't feel as ravenous when reducing portion sizes. Emphasize lean proteins, such as skinless poultry, eggs, trimmed steak and fish, at every meal. Keep fried foods, sugar, processed snacks, alcohol and full-fat dairy to a minimum. Do include moderate portions of monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, too; this fat should account for 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include olive oil, fatty fish and nuts.
There are endless ways to do interval training. One simple example: First, warm up for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, pick up your effort so you’re working hard (a nine on a scale of one to 10—you should be breathing hard, but not gasping) for 30 to 60 seconds. Go easy for one minute. Repeat for a total of 5 times, and the cool down for two to three minutes.
Battle ropes are an excellent no-fuss way to get a full-body strength training and cardio workout. Working at a high intensity, battle ropes will increase your heart rate in seconds. To use them properly: Hold one end of the rope with each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Bend your knees slightly and keep your chest up as you alternate whipping your arms to send waves down to the rope anchor.
Cayenne pepper: Hot peppers will increase your heart rate, make you sweat, and boost your metabolic rate at the same time. They are also one the best foods to reduce inflammation in your body. Capsaicin, found in cayenne pepper, can increase calories burned after consumption. A study in the British Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when subjects consumed capsaicin for weight maintenance, fat oxidation (the breakdown of fat) was increased. Capsaicin may also stimulate the production of AMPK, leading to further breakdown of fat. Try adding cayenne pepper to recipes like chicken tenders for an extra fat-burning effect or try a detox drink with cayenne pepper.
Given that all participants in the study were overweight and “healthy”, what was not studied, and could have been very useful, was what was the impact of the two diets on participants’ blood sugars (HbA1c), insulin levels, and on some measure of inflammation. It is possible that there could have been little difference in weight loss between the two diets but big differences in the impact on risk factors related to diabetes.
●Halt bad eating habits. Before you cave to the crave, hit the pause button, recommends Pamela Peeke, author of the bestseller “The Hunger Fix: The Three Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction.” Ask yourself: “Am I hungry? Angry? Anxious? Lonely? Tired?” Get in touch with your emotions and ask, “Am I’m emotional right now? Am I about to knee-jerk into overeating?”
Caloric intake: Some people need more calories because of metabolic issues or high activity levels, and low-calorie plans might be insufficient. While it is true that less calories usually means more weight loss, and it’s normal to feel hungry some of the time while dieting, some diet plans are too strict and leave you feeling uncomfortably hungry most of the time. Consider if a diet plan will keep you satisfied.
Eat Breakfast Every Day. One habit that's common to many people who have lost weight and kept it off is eating breakfast every day. "Many people think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, but they usually end up eating more throughout the day, says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. "Studies show people who eat breakfast have lower BMIs than breakfast-skippers and perform better, whether at school or in the boardroom." Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy for a quick and nutritious start to your day.