As far as the measurement, yeah, those scales are garbage – but since it spits the data out, I figure I might as well right it down. I did a caliper test when I started and it gave me pretty similar results, but who knows. I am taking photos every week for my main source of tracking. I can see the progress there – and can definitely tell I have a lot of cutting yet to do! I’ll keep on pushing, I don’t know if I can hit 10%, but I will try for 12%.
A body of research out of Pennsylvania State University finds that eating water-rich foods such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers during meals reduces your overall calorie consumption. Other water-rich foods include soups and salads. You won’t get the same benefits by just drinking your water, though (but you will get other benefits of staying hydrated). Because the body processes hunger and thirst through different mechanisms, it simply doesn’t register a sense of fullness with water (or soda, tea, coffee, or juice). Learn how to tell if you need to eat more vegetables.
Apples, bananas, strawberries—they're all good for your body and your waistline. But to take this snack from good to great, pair it with a bit of protein to make it more satisfying. An apple and cup of skim milk is one easy option that provides 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber for 200 calories. Half an avocado filled with 2 ounces of cottage cheese is another 200-calorie fruit-and-dairy combo that fills you up with 9 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.
But don’t lose hope just yet. You can still incorporate strategies that help you lose total body fat, which will benefit your belly. At the end of the day, nothing sheds belly fat like diet, exercise, and everyday changes to your lifestyle. The slimmer stomach of your dreams is always within reach, but it takes time and dedication. Commit to these habits, and you’ll start dropping pounds before you know it.
The trick to keeping your appetite in check is avoiding foods that make you lose control. That's tough to do when you're surrounded by mouthwatering choices everywhere you go, but Stice says that a technique called mindful resistance can help. "If you're tempted to have a scone with your coffee at Starbucks, instead of thinking about how delicious it will taste, tell yourself you'll get health benefits such as a smaller waist or a healthier heart from not having it," he says. "Doing this actually changes your brain by strengthening the area that helps you resist things and weakening the region that makes you think of treats as a reward."
Attempting to reduce fat in just one part of your body at a time is likely to be disappointing. Fat reduction works like this: When you try to lose fat, the reduction occurs all throughout your body. Unlike muscle-building, it cannot be specifically targeted to one region. Also, the reduction in fat will not be quickly apparent because it will not be focused on only one spot on your body. So it's helpful to have a "slowly but surely" attitude. Note that exercises mostly serve to tone the muscle underneath the fat. But if you want to slim down, the fat has to be burned off. For that, the main thing is to ditch the junk food and the sweetened drinks. Exercise alone might not be sufficient. Here's a program for the period in which you want to lose weight: Plenty of moderate aerobic exercise, no sweetened liquids at all, and no junk food at all. Preferably no sugar, and as little added salt and processed foods as possible. Eat 3 not-large meals/day; do not skip breakfast; and avoid snacks. Limit your calories (better to consult a doctor or nutritionist concerning the amount), and weigh yourself 2-3 times/week. Ignore the sensation of hunger. If you see your weight diminishing at a safe, reasonable rate (1-2 pounds/week), keep it up. Once you've reached your target weight, increase your calorie intake somewhat. And you can then have small amounts of sweetened foods or junk food on occasion (if at all), along with your regular foods (not instead of them). But keep checking your weight 2-3 times/week. Avoid crash diets, diet pills etc. Avoid fatty cuts of meat. Walk as much as possible. Bicycling and swimming are good too. More guidelines: Don't concentrate on specific foods so much as on a balanced, healthy diet plus exercise. Plenty of moderate exercise rather than intense exercise, which can damage your joints. Good nutrition means eating what your body needs, while ingesting as few harmful things as possible. It has also been described as getting enough of each of the major food categories (grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, etc.; plus plenty of water). This will vary somewhat from one person to another; and I don't believe that there's any universal diet that can be prescribed for everyone. Avoid best-sellers with their perennial fad diets. And think twice before using any dietary supplements or weight-loss pills. In general, one's starting point can be a menu of whole grains, whole-wheat bread, a good amount of vegetables, some fruits and nuts, fish, lean meats (in not-large amounts), and some dairy. However, this must be tweaked according to one's health, weight and other factors at the outset; and also adjusted over time, as one sees what works for him/her in particular.
Try upping your fiber intake—it may work just as well as following a strict diet. In an American Heart Association study, one group was instructed to follow a diet with strict nutrient goals and limits on calories, sugar, and saturated fat, while the other group was given one goal: consume 30 grams of fiber a day. At the end of the 3-month study, both groups lost weight and improved their heart health, showing that losing weight may be as easy as filling up on more fiber.
Nuts have a very high satiety power—meaning they make you feel fuller after eating than many other foods. And even though they’re high in calories, those calories appear to be processed differently in the body. University of Michigan researchers found that men who added 500 calories’ worth of peanuts a day to their diet gained no excess weight at all.
Dairy products such as cream and cheeses. They work well in cooking as it satisfies. The problem is if you’re munching a lot of cheese in front of the TV in the evening… without being hungry. Be careful with that. Or lots of cream with dessert, when you’re actually already full and just keep eating because it tastes good. Or another common culprit: loads of heavy cream in the coffee, many times per day.
Belly fat is part of body fat therefore, you cannot lose belly fat without losing body fat. If your quest for washboard abs has you crunching like crazy, listen up: "There's no single exercise move-or magic pill, for that matter-that instantly zaps belly fat," says Sari Greaves, R.D., a New York City nutritionist. "You have to lose overall body fat to trim your midsection."
Or skip your favorite early-morning show—whatever it takes to grab a few more minutes of sleep each day. When researchers at the University of Chicago studied men who were sleep-deprived, they found that after just a few days, their bodies had a much harder time processing glucose in the blood—a problem common in overweight diabetics. When the individuals returned to a more normal seven to eight hours of sleep a night, however, their metabolisms returned to normal.
Studies have found that overweight people who ate a moderate-fat diet containing almonds lost more weight than a control group that didn’t eat nuts. Snacking once or twice a day is one of the ways to lose weight that helps stave off hunger and keeps your metabolism stoked. You can also pack up baby carrots or your own trail mix with the healthiest nuts you can eat, plus raisins, seeds, and dried fruit. If trail mix isn’t calling your name, try these healthy snacks for every craving.
But the source of calories obviously matters for other reasons. One, says Katz, is that "the quality of calories is a major determinant of the quantity we ingest under real world conditions." First of all, no one overeats veggies, so on a practical level, that’s a non-issue. “But where the calories come from does matter in that they influence satiety,” he adds, and this is partly psychology and partly biology. In fact, the food industry has carved out a whole new area of food science to study the “bliss point,” in which foods are created to increase the amount it takes to feel satiated and full. On one hand, says Katz, “we have the 'bliss point' science to tell us that the food industry can process foods to increase the calories it takes to reach satisfaction. We have the reciprocal body of work, including the Harvard study of the ONQI, showing that 'more nutritious' means, among other things, the opportunity to fill up on fewer calories.”
You might feel silly, but it works. When Alan R. Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, tried this with 3,000 volunteers, he found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost—an average of 30 pounds each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it. Use these other tricks to become a more mindful eater.
A diet that’s low in fat and carbohydrates can improve artery function, according to a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins researchers. After six months, those on the low-carb diet had lost more weight, and at a faster pace. But in both groups, when weight was lost—and especially when belly fat shrank—the arteries were able to expand better, allowing blood to travel more freely. The study shows that you don’t have to cut out all dietary fat to shrink belly fat. For heart health, simply losing weight and exercising seems to be key.
Watching that extra junk around your trunk turn your body into a full-blown Buddha belly puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and early death. Luckily, losing the weight doesn’t have to take forever; with these 22 belly fat-fighting tips, you can shave two inches off your waistline in as little as two weeks. Think your age will stand in the way of your weight loss? The 20 Ways to Lose Your Belly When You’re Older will help folks of any age get on track to their best body ever.