This is the easiest way to feel empowered eating until you’re satisfied without piling on excess unwanted calories. You’ll also reap the benefits of antioxidants from these nutrient-rich foods. Non-starchy vegetables are also water dense, meaning that you’ll get the extra dose of hydration, which keeps your metabolism revving at full speed, and that much closer to losing those last five pounds.
Stress makes you feel crummy all around, and can also take a toll on your weight. The stress hormone cortisol has been shown to make you hungrier, drive cravings for junk food, and make your body cling to belly fat. One Ohio State University study also revealed that stress may cause your body to burn fewer calories. Here are five smart strategies for controlling stress-induced weight gain.
Positively stay away from fast food. In addition to cooking everything in trans fat, fast food burgers, fries, and shakes (or burritos, mac 'n' cheese, or sandwiches) are whoppers when it comes to salt and sugar. They are essentially empty carbs, with no real nutrients to them. If you're serious about shedding those pounds and getting your weight back on the right path, you'll stay away from fast food.
Pace around your office while talking on the phone or run into the bank to cash your check instead of using the drive-thru. When researchers at the Mayo Clinic fed a group of volunteers an extra 1,000 calories a day over the course of eight weeks, they found sedentary individuals gained eight times more weight than those who fidgeted a lot during the day.
Most low-carb diets advocate replacing carbs with protein and fat, which could have some negative long-term effects on your health. If you do try a low-carb diet, you can reduce your risks and limit your intake of saturated and trans fats by choosing lean meats, fish and vegetarian sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and eating plenty of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables.
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.
There’s a lot of science that shows your gut health can majorly affect your overall health. What does this mean for weight loss? Healthy gut equals a healthy bod, making sure that all systems are a "go" for getting rid of those last few pounds. The best way to do it? Eating as many fibrous veggies (microbes feast on the prebiotic fiber) and fermented foods as possible is key (think sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir), and consider taking a high-quality probiotic, since it can also benefit your digestive and immune systems.
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.
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%.
If you are sleeping so much that you forego exercise and normal daily activity in favor of staying in bed, then yes, you can gain fat. However, getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night (or however much you need to not feel tired -- everyone's needs are different) is part of being healthy overall. There is actually evidence that getting too little sleep can contribute to unwanted fat gain, because it increases levels of cortisol (your body's stress hormone) which can disrupt your metabolism. So, you should aim to get a good night's sleep always, and especially if you are trying to reduce fat.
Diet and exercise are important but if stress is throwing your hormones out of whack, you’ll still be out of luck in terms of weight loss. Prolonged excess stress not only causes an imbalance in your hormones which can lead to weight gain, it can also lead to emotional eating. Meditating, even for just five minutes a day, has been shown to reduce anxiety in really impressive ways.
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.
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.
Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar — up to four grams per tablespoon — and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat fast. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better; the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.