The beginning and the end of your fitness program are the two most difficult times, with the latter being by far the most frustrating. Losing those last few pounds, whether it’s off of your stomach, hips, thighs, shoulders, or triceps, can be brutally hard. Let’s take a brief look at why, and then we’ll go into some strategies you can employ that will guarantee you’re ready for summer.
While it likely took more than a week to gain unwanted fat, most people wish they could lose it quicker than it came on. “When it comes to losing weight, simply cutting back on your portion sizes could be the most underrated way to drop pounds. However, if you’re already eating less (and exercising more) and are still stuck, there are little tricks of the trade that can help jumpstart your efforts,” Ansel says.
“If there’s one thing that comes up over and over with the thousands of patients enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry, it’s weighing yourself every day on a scale,” says Rena Wing, Ph.D., founder of the registry, which tracks more than 4,500 men and women who have lost an average of 20lbs or more and kept it off for at least six years. “Don’t obsess over the number,” she says, “but at least keep track of the general range of what you weigh so you can catch small changes as they occur and take corrective measures immediately.”
A close contender for top place as one of the best fat-busting foods is asparagus, according to White. “Asparagus is a natural diuretic, and is also loaded with vitamins. Per one cup cooked it’s only 25 calories, but thanks to the fiber it will fill you up. You can grill it or steam it (steaming will probably be the cleanest way to prepare it), you can boil it or even microwave it. I’ve even seen people eat it raw. You can throw olive oil on it and saute it. There are a lot of different options here. You just want to stay away from the butter,” says White. Due to the diuretic properties of asparagus, you may see more immediate reductions in stomach bloating, reducing your pounch’s appearance while you work over time to really tighten it up.
2. Get Bitter about Food. Bitter greens like kale, arugula, mustard greens, collards and escarole are summer diet staples that aid in digestion and de-bloating. Bitter foods are also known to stimulate and support better digestion, as recently outlined in a study by the European Herbal and traditional Medicine Practitioners Association. These dark greens are low calorie (about 36 calories in a cup for greens), and are packed with vitamins and fiber that your body needs to stay lean. For instance, kale is high in iron (per calorie, it has more than beef!), vitamins A, C and K, is great for your liver and for lowering your cholesterol levels. Most bitter greens are also great anti-inflammatories, which can help fight bloating and get you down to your fighting weight.
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.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
A study of 76 undergraduate students found the more they watched television, the more often they ate and the more they ate overall. Sacrifice one program (there’s probably one you don’t really want to watch anyway) and go for a walk instead—in even just 15 minutes, you’ll reap these amazing benefits of walking. And during your favorite shows, get off the couch and try these exercises you can do while watching TV.
Push-up is a basic exercise that is done by simply raising and lowering the body with the support of the arms. Triceps pushups are done by placing your hands on the floor right below your shoulders, while holding your body straight. Now lower your chest by bending your elbows and pushing back into the initial position. If you feel this exercise difficult, you can make it easier by placing your knees on the floor. This exercise trains the muscles of chest, shoulders and arms.
Want to lose that belly fat? In your dreams! Seriously, though: a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to get rid of that extra fat around your waist for good. Among the 60,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, those who snoozed for fewer than five hours a night were at the greatest risk of becoming obese and gaining 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period when compared to those who slept for seven or more hours.
Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince at lunch, and a pauper for dinner. Ever hear the phrase? It has some truth behind it. Eat early on to jump-start your metabolism and give you enough energy to last comfortably until lunch, and then for dinner begin to wind down and eat the smallest meal of the day. Here are some examples of meals you could cook for yourself during the day, with one snack in between:
When it comes to melting fat it’s not all fiber and protein. A balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods like berries is extremely important if you want your body to function at its optimal level. “As far as fruit, I would recommend blueberries because they’re one of the highest foods in antioxidants. They’re great to throw into your protein shake for a healthy added sugar after your workouts to help speed up recovery. Per cup we’re looking at around 60 calories, so it’s very low-calorie and very versatile,” says White. Antioxidants not only fight free radicals, but, according to a study from the University of Michigan, rats who were fed blueberry powder with their meals wound up with less belly fat at the end of the 3-month study vs. rats who consumed no berries in their diet, suggesting that the antioxidant compounds help fight and diminish stubborn fat cells.
Many of us were brought up with the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And for good reason: It revs your metabolism after a nightlong fast, nourishes your body with essential macros, boosts your energy levels, and helps you shed weight. But if you start your day with a plate full of the wrong foods, you may actually be doing your body a disservice.
To encourage ketone production, the amount of insulin in your bloodstream must be low. The lower your insulin, the higher your ketone production. And when you have a well-controlled, sufficiently large amount of ketones in your blood, it’s basically proof that your insulin is very low – and therefore, that you’re enjoying the maximum effect of your low-carbohydrate diet. That’s what’s called optimal ketosis.
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.
Because non-surgical fat reduction treatments vary widely in mechanism, they may be performed by a medical aesthetician, registered nurse, or cosmetic surgeon. In general, completely non-invasive treatments (such as CoolSculpting or SculpSure) can be safely performed by a licensed, trained aesthetician working under physician supervision. Injectable fat reduction treatments, such as Kybella, require an advanced knowledge of anatomy and should be performed only by a qualified cosmetic surgeon or provider with equivalent training and experience.
Make sure that everything you're eating is whole — as in nothing processed or packaged. Since salt is a preservative, these are the foods that are highest in sodium — something to keep in mind when planning your meals. Plan on making sure that all items you choose are fresh. That means filling up on fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
For those obsessed with lightweighting, it’s much cheaper to start a new diet or empty the crap out of your trunk than it is to order anything from BMW’s M Performance Parts catalog. But if you’d prefer to lighten both your M2 and your wallet, BMW can help you shed up to 132 pounds and more than $14,000 with the items showcased on the M Performance Parts concept.
Sleep takes all that hard work you’re doing in the kitchen and the gym, and fast tracks those results. A good night’s sleep helps your body recover from activity and also regulates hormones responsible for hunger cues. “Sleep is essential [for fat loss and overall health]. It’s recommended that adults get 7-8 hours per night. There are a lot of studies on [sleep and fat loss], showing that good sleep can help us eat better and help us to lose weight,” says White. The two specific hormones sleep has an influence over are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin works to keep your energy steady and appetite low. Alternatively, ghrelin increases feelings of hunger. When you fail to get adequate sleep, ghrelin is increased and leptin is decreased, which messes with your hunger signals and can cause you to eat more. By getting your 7-8 hours a night you’ll avoid any wacky cravings and emotional eating, which will make your fat-loss goals that much easier to achieve.
“A study by David Jenkins, MD, PhD—the University of Toronto pioneer in low-glycemic eating — demonstrates that eating small portions at frequent intervals is good for your health in a number of remarkable ways. Within the study, they found that people who ate every three hours reduced their blood cholesterol by over 15% and their blood insulin by almost 28%. That’s key, because in addition to regulating your blood sugar level, insulin plays a pivotal role in fat metabolism, inflammation and the progression to metabolic syndrome. When your body produces less insulin, you’re much less likely to convert dietary calories into body fat.
Doing crunches until the cows come home? Stop it! When you're down to your final inches of belly fat, the dreaded crunch won't be the exercise that finally reveals your six-pack. "You can't spot reduce," Jill says. Instead, she suggests doing functional exercises that use the muscles in your core—abdominals, back, pelvic, obliques—as well as other body parts. "These exercises use more muscles, so there is a higher rate of calorie burn while you are doing them," she says. Planks are her favorite functional exercise—they activate not just your core muscles but also your arm, leg, and butt muscles.
To achieve rapid weight loss, you’ll have to alter your diet. Fat loss has always been about calories in vs. calories out. For ultimate fat loss in five days, planning ahead is best. Slowly start dropping carbs from your diet a few weeks prior to your five-day “cut” until you’re eating fewer than 50g a day. Then, the real weight loss will happen during those days where you’re at less than 50g of carbs.
There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, however, you should eat plenty of whole-grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff. Eating whole grains is not only one of many great ways to lose weight; it can also make you smarter.
Weight loss isn’t a linear event over time. When you cut calories, you may drop weight for the first few weeks, for example, and then something changes. You eat the same number of calories but you lose less weight or no weight at all. That’s because when you lose weight you’re losing water and lean tissue as well as fat, your metabolism slows, and your body changes in other ways. So, in order to continue dropping weight each week, you need to continue cutting calories.
The beginning of a weight-loss program is pretty straightforward. If you eat less and exercise more, you tend to drop pounds at a fairly consistent clip. Your body considers its fat stores to be emergency fuel sources. It doesn’t know you’re under-eating and working hard by choice. It thinks you’re in an emergency situation and responses accordingly.
Synephrine is a substance found in a variety of citrus foods such as mandarin and clementines. Recent research suggests that it’s safe for the heart, and may increase resting metabolic rate. Capsicum, a plant known for its spicy seeds and fruits, is generally used for pain relief. However, this 2011 Chemical Senses review suggests that intentional consumption may benefit weight loss. Caffeine and garcinia cambogia act as appetite suppressants, which keep portions small and junk food cravings at bay.
Try this interval-training trick on the elliptical trainer: Ride for 30 seconds as fast as you can, then immediately reverse your direction and ride for 30 additional seconds just as fast in the opposite direction. Rest 60 seconds, and repeat. The force of stopping your momentum, as well as going from a dead stop to full speed twice in the same interval, will give your fat-burning efforts a massive boost, says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S.
“The American Heart Association recommends that men eat less than 36 grams of added sugar and that women consume less than 24 grams. However, for optimal weight loss, I tell my male clients to consume less than 20 grams of sugar per day and I tell the women to consume less than 15 grams.The easiest way to cut back on the sweet stuff is by consuming less sugary drinks and dressings. Cut the sugar, lose the fat, regain your health and life.” — Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS
“This seemingly-innocent food is almost always loaded with added sugar. In fact, most companies use synonyms or alternative words for plain old ‘sugar’ to disguise it. ” Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities tells us in 37 Worst Breakfast Habits for Your Waistline. For example, if you pour milk into a cup of Kashi Indigo Morning Organic Corn Cereal instead of ¾ cup of Kashi Organic Promise Cranberry, Spelt and Flax Granola, you’ll save 160 calories! Do that every day, and you could lose 10 pounds in just about 7 months.
If you can't or don't have time to exercise, being diligent about your diet can help you burn fat without intense workouts. Your body stores extra calories as fat, so controlling your calorie intake is the key to reducing fat. Keep in mind you still need to consume enough calories and nutrients to provide your body with the fuel it needs. Avoid sugary beverages and junk foods, control your portion sizes, and maintain a balanced diet. It might take some diligence, but keeping a close eye on what you eat can put you on the path toward better health.
Fantastic! The more often you eat (smaller portions and healthy foods), the more you do rev up your metabolism. Not enough can be said about movement. I started at a new school (a huge building) a few years ago and had to run the stairs to make sure I made it to classes on time. I started to lose weight and couldn't stop. Water, water, water--absolutely necessary to fill you up, help you lose weight, and keep your skin plumped and glowing!
Good post and you shed light on some “hidden meaning” points (eat low carb diet suddenly you stop eating excess bread). However, I have a question/statement. If I were to eat a calorie deficient diet, but one mainly of raw broccoli and miscellaneous other foods. Explain to me how it “doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you are calorie deficient” if the large amounts of goitrogenic acids in raw broccoli inhibit my ability to convert thyroxine into T3 therefore actually gain fat? And, explain to me someone with a very “stressful” life whom produces high amounts of cortisol eats calorie restrictive loses muscle and not fat?