“Going public with my weight loss goals helped me lose 91 pounds. I joined the 61 Day Health Challenge, a program sponsored by my employer, the Detroit Medical Center. Suddenly, I was accountable to all of my colleagues, not just myself. And the amount of support I was shown was enough motivation to propel me into a new world of healthy eating and healthy living.” —Mo Minard, 43, MSN, RN, EMT-P, Director of Emergency Services for Detroit Medical Center
Spinning, whether it's on an actual bike or a stationary one, is one of the best ways to burn calories and build endurance. If you don't like running, spinning is a low-impact alternative that'll crank up your heart rate. But there's more to pushing the pedal than speed. By practicing good form and engaging your core as well as your thighs and glutes, spinning can be a full-body workout, too. Whether you're doing a heavy climb in first position or sprinting in second, your core is the key to spinning efficiently and quickly. And as you drive your foot down with each stroke, it's all about squeezing your inner thighs.
The available evidence shows that moderate carb restriction is effective in treating any female hormonal problems that might be driving weight gain. In this study of women with PCOS, for example, 30% of calories from carbs worked better than 55% of calories. On the other hand, an extremely low-carb diet is not necessarily the answer either: especially for women, extreme carb restriction can cause problems of its own, including hormonal dysfunction, amenorrhea (loss of normal periods), and infertility. Sweet potatoes are not the enemy! You can eat 1-2 starchy tubers (potatoes or sweet potatoes) every day and still be well under 30% of calories from carbs.
Finally, don’t cut all of the fat out of your diet. “Healthy fats are integral to bone and heart health, and they’re loaded with antioxidants that may help lower the risk of cancer,” says Bonci. Healthy fats include monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, and they should make up between 20 and 35 percent of your daily diet. “A tablespoon of olive oil, a quarter cup of nuts, or two tablespoons of nut butter each have about half of what you need for the day,” says Bonci. Best bets: tuna, salmon, sardines, avocados, peanuts, and olive or canola oils.
If you dislike cooking, abhor making food choices, or simply want low-calorie options shipped to your door, Nutrisystem might slot into your life. But it can get expensive, and food selection and flavor are hit-or-miss. Mostly miss. “It’s enough substance to call it a meal, but the texture of every ingredient was lacking,” our tester reported without enthusiasm.
Cortisone as an oral drug is another common culprit (e.g. Prednisolone). Cortisone often causes weight gain in the long run, especially at higher doses (e.g. more than 5 mg Prednisolone per day). Unfortunately, cortisone is often an essential medication for those who are prescribed it, but the dose should be adjusted frequently so you don’t take more than you need. Asthma inhalers and other local cortisone treatments, like creams or nose sprays, hardly affect weight.
Body fat calculator to determine you body fat percentage and keep track of your weight loss. If your body fat percentage is high, then you may have higher levels of belly fat and it worth talking it through with your doctor. Ideally you should get you body fat percentage measured professionally, e.g. at a fitness center/ gym or during a health check-up. Some universities also offer body fat analysis.
Including sufficient protein in your diet is essential in staying lean. Not only does it help you feel fuller at meals, but it can also bump up your metabolism a bit and help your muscles grow (and then more muscle tissue revs your metabolism even further). People who regularly ate what are defined as "quality protein sources," or foods that supply about 10 grams of essential amino acids (like eggs, beef and milk) at each meal had a smaller amount of fat around their waists, reported research in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism. However, it's all too common to eat most of your protein at dinner. The problem with that is that your muscles can only use so much protein to rebuild at a time, so for the best fat-burning results, aim to divvy up these high-quality sources throughout the day, and exercise regularly too.
If you are serious about your desire to lose belly fat, you need to stop indulging in junk food. That includes any type of fast-foods or convenience foods you buy. These foods are high in calories, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, salt and sugar and low on vitamins and minerals. They do not help you lose belly fat, but impede your efforts. It is incredibly difficult to reduce your calorie intake and eat high-calorie foods. Why? Because these foods are high in calories, but they are not as filling as they should be considering their high calorie content. Therefore, after eating junk food, you are hungry faster and end up overeating.
MyFitnessPal: An app widely recommended by trainers and fitness enthusiasts, MyFitnessPal is great for tracking macros. Goal macros: 50% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein. It further breaks these general guidelines into specific gram amounts that make it easy to see how some macros add up quick (carbs) and others don’t (protein — hitting 64 grams takes conscious effort!).
Packaged meal programs: Many diet plans rely on meal-replacement bars, shakes, or other snack type foods. Still others rely on frozen entrees as a major part of your diet. Ask yourself if you are okay with a bulk of your diet relying on prepackaged snacks, shakes, or frozen meals, or if you prefer the flexibility of cooking your own meals or eating out frequently.
“We try not to vilify any food, except sugar,” added Dr. Aronne. “Having it as a treat is what sugar is for; it’s not meant to be the main part of your meal.” Yet added sugars in the form of sweeteners and syrups to flavor processed foods sees the average adult eating 20 teaspoons of hidden added sugar every day, or an extra 320 calories, according to the USDA’s recent nationwide food consumption survey. And then there’s sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas, sports drinks, juices and flavored coffees and teas stirred with empty calories. “The typical glass of orange juice has three oranges in it; that’s the calories of three oranges. But it’s easy to drink a glass of orange juice and still eat a number of other things,” added Dr. Aronne. “You’re better off just eating a single orange and feeling full.”
One review found that people who sleep between 3.5 and 5.5 hours a night consume nearly 385 more calories the next day when compared to those who sleep between 7 and 10 hours. (6) Sleep is critical for our bodies to repair and function properly. When you consistently don’t get enough sleep, not only are you more likely to gain weight, but you’re also at a higher risk for chronic diseases, anxiety, irritability and more.