Routinely squeaking by on five hours or less per night increases visceral fat levels, according to a 2010 Wake Forest University study. What’s more, after analyzing 28 different studies, UK researchers found that people who slept 5.5 hours or less per night ate an extra 385 calories the day after compared to those who snoozed for at least 7 to 12 hours. On top of that, they preferred to munch on fatty foods full of empty calories, like chips.


Also known as branch chain amino acids. BCAAs are three amino acids known as Leucine, Valine and Iso-Leucine. They help prevent muscle breakdown and can be bought as yummy flavoured powders to use in place as sports drinks. Drink them during your workout instead of water as they will help you tone up as you lose that belly and may even help in the formation of abdominal muscle.
“Stop focusing on calories and start focusing on the quality of the foods you eat. High-quality diet options are natural, whole, minimally processed foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds that offer a lot more nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. These foods help tame hunger naturally and nourish our cells at the deepest level so that we aren’t left with constant cravings. — Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California
Finally, don’t push yourself too hard in the gym, either. Jill explains her own pet peeve: “One of my biggest pet peeves is when an inexperienced personal trainer tries to make a Baby Boomer complete a workout that is so challenging that they are so sore the next day that they can barely brush their teeth or get up off the toilet. That is NOT necessary!”
Second, weight is a weird thing that can go up or down for a dozen different reasons, many of which have nothing to do with fat or muscle being lost or gained. This is part of why I recommend weighing yourself daily and only paying attention to the weekly average (full detail here), not adjusting your calories based on what you see after 1 week (I suggest waiting 2-3 weeks before making changes to confirm that changes actually need to be made), and tracking your progress using more than just your weight on the scale (body fat percentage, measurements, pictures, mirror).

Try a diet in which you consume 2200 calories (men) or 2000 calories (women) per day. This should cause a deficit sufficient for you to lose one or two pounds per week, depending on your activity level. Some women may require lower daily calorie intake, such as 1800 or 1500 a day. Start by limiting yourself to a 2000 calorie limit per day, and lower the limit if you do not see progress.
After reading all that, you may still think you have some major dietary changes to make. Before you freak out, start by taking inventory of exactly what you’re eating, including portion size. An app like MyFitnessPal can make logging easier, with its extensive database, barcode scanner, and “memory” of most-used foods (we’re creatures of habit, after all). If you’re not good at estimating how much you ate (and studies show that most people aren’t), measure your food until you’re better at eyeballing it. And don’t ignore the calories you drink (soda, juice, beer), which Jackson says are easy ones to cut down on right off the bat. Once you know where you’re starting, you can make changes—slowly. “Try adding one more serving of fruit and one more of veggies, and one less of meat each day,” suggest Hensrud. Gradually, the goal is to have the nutrient-dense foods you add crowd out the calorie-dense ones you should limit, so you can eat plenty of food and feel full but consume fewer overall calories.
“If you are looking to speed up weight loss, adding 30 minutes of cardio three times per week will certainly help burn calories and body fat,” says Amie Hoff, Certified Fitness Professional in New York City. Short on time? Hoff suggests a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. “The idea is to push your body hard for a short burst with a period of recovery. I like to have people start with a 10 to 15 second sprint (run, bike, jump rope, run stairs or anything that gets your heart rate up) and then back off for 30 seconds to recover. As you get stronger, you will increase the sprint time and decrease the recovery period. A 15 minute HIIT session can be equivalent to a regular 30 minute cardio workout.”
“Even though a smart diet is key, exercise can help boost your body’s metabolism to shed fat. Through health care providers often recommend brisk walking or jogging, these exercises may not help you see the results you want. Instead, try interval training. Here’s how: While performing your usual walking or jogging routine, intersperse faster paces periodically throughout your workout. In other words, you may be walking at your normal pace for 2 minutes and then begin a slow jog or fast walk for 1 minute. After the faster speed, return to your slower speed and continue this alternation for 20 minutes. Research shows this type of exercise can stimulate metabolism, melt fat and push your fitness status to the next level.” — Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS Owner and PT, Naples Personal Training, LLC
Stop treating your kitchen like an all-night diner and you’ll stop seeing those unwanted pounds piling onto your frame, too. The results of a study published in Cell Metabolism found that mice who only had access to food during an eight-hour period stayed slim over the course of the study, while those who ate the same number of calories over a 16-hour period gained significantly more weight, particularly around their middle. When you’re finished with dinner at night, shut the fridge and don’t look back until morning — your belly will thank you. When you do head back to the kitchen in the A.M., make sure the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen are there waiting for you.

EU failing to listen. Again. All over EU there are anti EU and extreme right wing parties gaining strength because the EU is literally destroying living standards (per capita share of Global GDP HALVED in last 20 years, whilst it DOUBLED in the Global Community outside EU)EU answer? - ever more red tape, ever more Brussels control, rush to form United States of Europe from which NO country will EVER be allowed to escape.Is it me, or does this sound like an undemocratic dictatorship??


When you make purchases with a credit card, you only realize how much money you're spending in a conceptual sense—you don't actually see the cash coming out of your wallet. According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, that may lead you to buy more unhealthy, calorie-dense foods despite the extra cost (both money-wise and diet-wise). Researchers believe credit cards make it easier to make impulse buys.
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.

Health.com is part of the Meredith Health Group. All rights reserved. The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. All products and services featured are selected by our editors. Health.com may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy (Your California Rights)for more information. Ad Choices | EU Data Subject Requests


First off, short of liposuction there's no way to target where tolose weight. It's like trying to empty one corner of a pool. Secondly, while exercise helps, the real issue with losing weightis about controlling your intake. If you're overeating, it's nearimpossible to exercise hard enough to compensate. But if you're eating about right, all activities that get youequally sweaty and winded for about the same amount of time willburn about the same amount of calories. And calories burned meansfat burned. And some of that fat will be from your belly area.
A diet laden with sodium causes your body to retain water. You know that feeling after a sushi meal? Yes, bloating and sluggishness, but the puffy feeling that lasts into the next morning is water retention. The last few pounds of weight you’re trying your hardest to get rid of could be caused solely by fluid. Getting rid of it for good can make all of the difference in how good you feel when you throw on your favorite jeans in the morning.
We hear a lot that a little exercise is the key to weight loss – that taking the stairs instead of the elevator will make a difference, for instance. But in fact it’s much more efficient to cut calories, says Samuel Klein, MD at Washington University’s School of Medicine. “Decreasing food intake is much more effective than increasing physical activity to achieve weight loss. If you want to achieve a 300 kcal energy deficit you can run in the park for 3 miles or not eat 2 ounces of potato chips.” It’s as simple as that. Some studies have borne out this dichotomy, pitting exercise against diet and finding that participants tend to lose more weight by dieting alone than by exercise alone. Of course, both together would be even better.
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.
This advice isn’t intended to dissuade you from going for a six-pack. It’s just there to offer some perspective. You don’t need to lose those last few pounds; you want to lose those last few pounds. So don’t stress about it—because excess stress is the enemy of results. You’ll get there. Just be patient. Once you get there, enjoy your moment and then relax a little.
Water helps you feel full, so you eat less. “Consuming eight to 10 cups of plain water daily can boost weight loss because research shows that thirst can be confused with hunger,” says Misti Gueron, MS, RDN, nutritionist at the Khalili Center. “Many people reach for food because of cravings, low energy or boredom, and these habits can lead to unnecessary weight gain,” she added. In fact, it’s so powerful that one study found that people who drank two cups of water 30 minutes before meals for three months dropped nearly three more pounds than people who didn’t pre-hydrate before mealtime. To help achieve your weight loss goal, try drinking eight ounces of water when you first wake up, carrying a BPA-free water bottle or tracking your water intake on your phone.

“Eat vegetables before or with meals. Whether you are hungry on your way home or right when you walk in the door, snacking on veggies can help you keep your portions in check once you sit down to a meal. I also recommend starting your dinner with a vegetable salad or vegetable soup to fill you up and prevent overeating. — Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, author of  Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?
In a health setting, the word visceral means in or near your vital organs (your viscera). These are the organs deep in your gut, like your stomach and your intestines. Visceral muscles are found in the walls of your visceral organs. Visceral fat surrounds those organs. Since your vital organs are located in your midsection, visceral fat accumulates in the area around your belly.
“I tell all of my celebrity and professional-athlete clients to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is overly focused on food, water and exercise, all of which are extremely imperative to weight loss and optimal health. However, without proper sleep, all of these the other factors are null and void. When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts.” — Jay Cardiello, celebrity fitness and nutrition expert
It's all in the timing—when you eat and how slowly you kick the habit. "You're hardwired to crave sugary foods because they have readily available calories," says Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., author of The Diet Fix. "When you're really hungry, you crave highly caloric food. It's a physiological response as well as a psychological one." So avoid a cupcake binge by eating to minimize hunger: Plan three well-balanced meals and two snacks a day that include plenty of protein, which has a higher satiating power than fat or carbs. Now make another plan to gradually cut the sweet stuff. If you abruptly slash your sugar intake by half, your palate will freak out, says Dr. Freedhoff. Set a goal to cut your consumption by 10 percent a week; in five weeks, you'll hit that 50 percent milestone. First, target those liquid sugars: You can swap in a diet soda for regular at first, but try to eventually switch to just water or tea. Next, look at the added sugars in your diet and start replacing them with lower-sugar alternatives. Craving an afternoon candy bar? Try a protein bar instead. If you're salivating over ice cream, try Greek yogurt with fresh fruit or a frozen banana. "A lot of times, it's less about the food itself than it is the habit of eating and the reward that comes along with it," says Men's Health nutrition advisor Mike Roussell, PhD. "You can keep the habit but cut out the sugar."

If you eat your dinner restaurant style on your plate rather than family style, helping yourself from bowls and platters on the table, you’ll lose weight. Most of us tend to eat an average of 150 percent more calories in the evening than in the morning. You’ll avoid that now because when your plate is empty, you’re finished; there’s no reaching for seconds. Check out these other sneaky ways to get your family to eat better.

Eat a variety of veggies every week. Each day, you should eat about 2 1⁄2 to 3  c (590 to 710 mL) of vegetables. Go for all the veggie groups, which include leafy greens, starchy vegetables, legumes, and red and orange vegetables. You don’t have to eat vegetables from each group every day, but you should consume a minimum amount of each group weekly.[9]

5. Deep breaths. It may sound trite, but breathing deeply not only helps you calm down, but it can help your weight loss efforts as well. Deep, calming breaths can actually “trick” your body into de-stressing. While most people take breaths with their chest, you should be taking long, deep breaths with your abdomen. Taking a moment to focus and breathe deep into your abdomen can do wonders for your stress level.


The reason we’re suggesting 45 minutes instead of the typical 30 as one of the ways to lose weight is that a Duke University study found that while 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. Burning an additional 300 calories a day with three miles of brisk walking (45 minutes should do it) could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating. If you need motivation, try these secrets of women who work out every day.
Water helps you feel full, so you eat less. “Consuming eight to 10 cups of plain water daily can boost weight loss because research shows that thirst can be confused with hunger,” says Misti Gueron, MS, RDN, nutritionist at the Khalili Center. “Many people reach for food because of cravings, low energy or boredom, and these habits can lead to unnecessary weight gain,” she added. In fact, it’s so powerful that one study found that people who drank two cups of water 30 minutes before meals for three months dropped nearly three more pounds than people who didn’t pre-hydrate before mealtime. To help achieve your weight loss goal, try drinking eight ounces of water when you first wake up, carrying a BPA-free water bottle or tracking your water intake on your phone.

It can actually help you cut back on calories. That's because capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body's release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories. What's more, eating hot peppers may help slow you down. You're less likely to wolfed down that plate of spicy spaghetti —— and therefore stay more mindful of when you're full. Some great adds: Ginger, turmeric, black pepper, oregano, and jalapenos.


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.
If you drink regular, go to 2%. If you already drink 2%, go down another notch to 1% or skim milk. Each step downward cuts the calories by about 20 percent. Once you train your taste buds to enjoy skim milk, you’ll have cut the calories in the whole milk by about half and trimmed the fat by more than 95 percent. One disclaimer: There are times when fat-free dairy isn’t the best option.
Though exercise can help correct a metabolism that’s been out of whack for a long time, the grisly reality is that it may not ever go back to what it was before you gained weight. So if you’ve been overweight or obese and you lose weight, maintaining that loss means you’re probably going to have to work harder than other people, maybe for good. “The sad thing,” says Hill, “is that once you’ve been obese or not moving for some time, it takes a little more exercise to maintain. It doesn’t come back to normal.” It’s not a pretty reality to face, but coming to grips with it is important, he says, so that you won’t get frustrated when you discover that you have to do more work over the long term than your friend who was never overweight.
Excess and added sugars hide in all forms under the wrapping of most packaged foods. This one sneaky ingredient can be what’s holding you back from feeling amazing after zipping up that little black dress. Do your own sugar detox. Read your labels and avoid all added sugar (yes, even your jarred pasta sauce, yogurt and ketchup are culprits of sneaking in the sweet stuff). Eat as many whole, real, unprocessed foods as possible and you’ll automatically be reducing your added sugar intake.
2. Get moving. It’s difficult to lose weight by just cutting calories. Research shows that reducing calorie intake through diet and exercise is the most effective way to shed unwanted pounds and keep them off. It’s ideal to develop a regular exercise routine of three to four times a week (Our Start Walking plan can help you get into the habit of regular exercise with four days of walking and stick with it.)
A different way of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as not one of consuming too many calories, but rather the way the body accumulates fat after consuming carbohydrates—in particular the role of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the food enter your bloodstream as glucose. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body always burns off this glucose before it burns off fat from a meal.
Many people believe that by doing crunches or sit-ups, they will reduce their belly fat. This is a myth. Sure, you can enlarge your stomach muscles by doing sit-ups, and make it look like you have less belly fat, which isn't a bad thing, but you will still possess the belly fat you had way before you began doing 100 sit-ups every day. In order to successfully lose belly fat, you have to exercise. Exercise burns calories and fat. Mix in a brisk walk after dinner, join an aerobics class or join a gym, and with regular exercise you can trim fat off your entire body, including your stomach. Nutrition is important. In the pursuit of a flatter stomach, many people diet or starve themselves. Little do they know that by starving themselves, they are slowing their metabolism and forcing their body's to go into starvation mode. Basically, their body's think they're dying, and so they store as much energy in fat as is possible, in order to be used at a later date. This means that they are actually gaining more fat when they do eat, than they would if they ate regularly. Starving yourself also leads the way to binge eating and eating disorders, two things you definitely don't want to get. Instead, follow a healthy diet plan, that lets you eat several small portions of food on a daily basis. Vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lots of water, are a good place to start.. It is nearly impossible to healthily lose all of one's belly fat in a week. However, one can remove it over a month. This can be achieved by skipping desserts, fatty meals, eating small meals frequently (about 6) throughout the day (healthy of course, not fast food or fried foods, baked foods are better) and exercising daily for half an hour. Using this method, one can get rid of belly fat in 2-3 weeks, depending on how vigorous the exercise, and how much belly fat you have.
"If your diet consists of lots of sports drinks, sugar-sweetened drinks like fizzy pop and flavoured waters, or sugary foods like chocolate and cakes, it will make losing weight harder. While whole fruits and vegetables are undoubtedly good for you, they can also sometimes cause weight gain if you eat too much, as they have high levels of natural sugars in them. Low-fat food options might have high amounts of added sugar in there too, so make sure to check the food label.

“Stop focusing on calories and start focusing on the quality of the foods you eat. High-quality diet options are natural, whole, minimally processed foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds that offer a lot more nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. These foods help tame hunger naturally and nourish our cells at the deepest level so that we aren’t left with constant cravings. — Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California


“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
Healthy weight loss is usually 1 to 2 pounds per week; losing 10 pounds in one week is risky, should not be done often, and should only be attempted with the approval of your doctor. To lose 10 pounds in one week, you'll need to burn between 3,500 and 5,000 calories more than you consume each day by restricting your diet to small portions of nutritious yet low-calorie foods, and significantly increasing your aerobic exercise with interval training, sports, and other vigorous activities. This goal is both risky and difficult to achieve, but it can be done.

I need to drop a lot of weight and after reading your article felt that I could ditch the stupid crap I have on my bookshelf. Unfortunately, I have a tremendous burden of laziness these days and was wondering if you have any witty, blunt or military-like motivation you can share with me. I need to move my fat a–, but have lost all desire to take this seriously.

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?
Nuts. It’s very easy to eat until the nuts are gone, regardless of how full you are. A tip: According to science, salted nuts are harder to stop eating than unsalted nuts. Salted nuts tempt you to more overeating. Good to know. Another tip: Avoid bringing the entire bag to the couch, preferably choose a small bowl instead. I often eat all the nuts in front of me, whether I’m hungry or not.

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the major causes of occurrence of belly fat. If you don’t indulge in any physical activity, and spend most of the time sitting, watching T.V., reading, etc., it is known as a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of regular exercise, or not exercising at all can lead to fat storage around the belly area. In other words, being a couch potato will make you fat.
×