Do you even lift, bro? If you’re serious about getting rid of that belly fat fast, resistance training might just be the key. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that adding weight training to adult male test subjects’ workouts significantly reduced their risk of abdominal obesity over a multi-year study period, although doing the same amount of cardio had no such effect. Research from the University of Maryland even found that just 16 weeks of weight training boosted study participants’ metabolic rates by a whopping 7.7 percent, making it easier to ditch those extra inches around your middle.
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."
"Refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies," says Patton. "Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat." Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are full of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may therefore actually prevent belly fat, Patton says.
Whether or not you’re specifically aiming to cut carbs, most of us consume unhealthy amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, and sweetened breakfast cereals. Replacing refined carbs with their whole-grain counterparts and eliminating candy and desserts is only part of the solution, though. Sugar is hidden in foods as diverse as canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, and many reduced fat foods. Since your body gets all it needs from sugar naturally occurring in food, all this added sugar amounts to nothing but a lot of empty calories and unhealthy spikes in your blood glucose.
“It seems so simple, but 45 to 60 minutes of brisk walking every day can do wonders for your metabolism,” Sahmura Gonzalez, a master trainer at Crunch Fitness in New York City, recently told Prevention. “Plus, it ensures that you don’t over-train, which can lead to an over-production of cortisol—a stress hormone that’s been shown to contribute to belly fat.”
A little garlic in your meals could mean a lot less weight around your middle. The results of a Korean study found that mice given a high-fat diet supplemented with garlic lost significantly more weight and abdominal fat than those who just ate fatty foods. Even better, they also improved their liver health, making it easier to stay healthy and burn off that excess fat in the long term. For more flavorful ways to make your food more enjoyable, turn to the 20 Spicy Recipes That Fire Up Your Metabolism and watch those pounds melt away.
Attempting to reduce fat in just one part of your body at a time islikely to be disappointing. Fat reduction works like this: When you try to lose fat, thereduction occurs all throughout your body. Unlike muscle-building,it cannot be specifically targeted to one region. Also, thereduction in fat will not be quickly apparent because it will notbe 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 thefat. But if you want visible muscles, the fat has to be burned offfirst. For that, the main thing is to ditch the junk food and thesweetened drinks. Exercise alone might not be sufficient. Here's a program for the period in which you want to loseweight: Plenty of moderate aerobic exercise, no sweetened liquids at all,and no junk food at all. Preferably no sugar, and as little addedsalt and processed foods as possible. Eat 3 small-portionedmeals/day; do not skip breakfast; and avoid snacks. Limit yourcalories (better to consult a doctor or nutritionist concerning theamount), and weigh yourself 2-3 times/week. Ignore the sensation ofhunger. If you see your weight diminishing at a safe, reasonablerate (1-2 pounds/week), keep it up. Once you've reached your target weight, increase your calorieintake somewhat. And you can then have small amounts of sweetenedfoods or junk food on occasion (if at all), along with your regularfoods (not instead of them). But keep checking your weight 2-3times/week. Avoid crash diets, diet pills etc. Avoid fatty cuts of meat. Walkas 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 thanintense exercise, which can damage your joints. Good nutrition means eating what your body needs, while ingestingas few harmful things as possible. It has also been described asgetting 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'tbelieve that there's any universal diet that can be prescribed foreveryone. Avoid best-sellers with their perennial fad diets. Andthink twice before using any dietary supplements or weight-losspills. In general, one's starting point can be a menu of whole grains,whole-wheat bread, a good amount of vegetables, some fruits andnuts, fish, lean meats (in not-large amounts), and some dairy.However, this must be tweaked according to one's health, weight andother factors at the outset; and also adjusted over time, as onesees what works for him/her in particular.
I am 62, female, icky 217 pounds, 5 foot 6, on 130 mcg of levothyroxine for hypothyroid, and no other health issues. I have weighed between 117 and 125 all of my life until 10 years ago when the hypo began and was not recognized by me. I gained all of the weight as my thyroid slowed down. My doctor said I was close to a heart attack from metabolism slow-down. Wondered what was up! I run an internet business from a chair (ugh) but have always been someone who was physical. I play tennis several times a week for several hours each time. I do strength training every other day and have strong arms and legs. I walk and jog. I have been doing P90X three times a week for several months – alternating with strength training. I also stretch, do yoga. My heart is in excellent condition, per the doctor. And you can see muscles when I flex my arms. 🙂 But — aggggg — I now have a belly and want it gone, gone, gone.
There’s one thing to like about visceral fat: It yields fairly easily to aerobic exercise. Vaporizing calories via running, biking, swimming—anything that gets your heart rate up—is an effective way to whittle your middle. In fact, one 2011 study from Duke University Medical Center, published in the American Journal of Physiology, found the sweet spot: Jogging the equivalent of 12 miles a week was even more effective in reducing visceral fat than resistance training three times per week. However, both types of exercise were beneficial when it came to belly fat, the researchers say. (Don’t have time to hit the gym? Try these fun at-home cardio workouts if you’re in a pinch.)
These diets and methods might never come right out and admit that or say you just need to eat less calories (partly because it doesn’t fit with their gimmick, partly because people don’t want to hear that they have to [GASP!] count calories or [GASP!] eat less of them, and partly because it’s hard to make money off of something that is simple, obvious and free.)
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help to serve as a counter-balance for sodium. Foods that are rich in potassium include leafy greens, most "orange" foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon) bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower. Low-fat dairy, plus nuts, and seeds can also help give you a bloat-busting boost. They've also been linked to a whole host of additional health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and reducing risk of chronic disease overall.
Choose Liquid Calories Wisely. Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, but don't reduce hunger like solid foods do. Satisfy your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. Be careful of alcohol calories, which add up quickly. If you tend to drink a glass or two of wine or a cocktail on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver. /injects>