“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.”
In other words? "Drinking makes you more likely to eat sh*t," Dr. Seltzer says, referring to drunk foods. At the same time, he stops short of asking patients to quit alcohol cold-turkey to lose weight. Plus, research suggests you don’t have to, as long as your intake is moderate—i.e., less than about a drink a day. "If you drink a glass of wine every night and notice you eat more afterward, eat less early to account for this," he says. "Or, if you’re drinking four glasses of wine a week, drink three instead so you’ll won’t feel such a big difference."
Too little sleep or too much sleep can throw your stress and regulatory hormones out of whack, and may lead to weight gain. A single night of sleep deprivation can increase levels of ghrelin (a hormone that promotes hunger), making you more likely to overeat the next day. Reduced sleep may also lead to fatigue during the day (duh) and less physical activity, which may be another reason why people who regularly don't get enough sleep tend to gain weight.
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.
That’s a big deal considering time and opportunity are some of the biggest hurdles people face when trying to make fitness a priority. “Everyone is dealing with full schedules and competing priorities, so it’s often difficult to add something new to your routine without trading something else out,” O’Connor says. You’ll still need to shift some things around to make running a serious part of your life, but being able to run right out your front door, free of charge, eliminates some very real roadblocks. (For proof, see: 20 Incredible Stories of Weight Loss Through Running)
Suspect you have a sluggish metabolism? You might have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, which afflicts about 25 percent of American women — many of whom don't know they have the condition, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. "The thyroid gland controls your body's metabolism, so one of the first signs that it may be off is an inability to lose weight," explains Pamela Peeke, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fight Fat After Forty. Your doctor can determine if you're suffering from hypothyroidism by running a blood test. If you do have an underactive thyroid, you'll be treated with a synthetic thyroid supplement, which you will need to take for the rest of your life (it will return your metabolism to normal, so it should be easier to drop unwanted pounds).
Chloe Madeley is a Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer with an Active IQ nutrition qualification. She has been an active personal trainer since 2013, helping both men and women achieve their body transformation goals in London gyms, parks and even online. She is the author of the popular health and fitness blog FitnessFondue.com and has two best-selling apps (15 Minute Fat Loss and Weights 4 Women) and is the best-selling author of The 4-Week Body Blitz and The Fat-Loss Blitz.
REALITY: Fat doesn’t make you fat—consuming too many calories does. Foods that contain fat are part of a healthy diet, help maintain your lean body mass, and assist with metabolic function. Healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, can be found in extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, almonds, avocados, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, flaxseeds, and more. If you want to lose fat, you need to eat fewer calories and/or burn more calories.
The only down side to HIIT is that it cannot be performed too many times per week without having an overtraining effect. Since HIIT has many of the same effects of a weight training session it can strain the central nervous system. For this reason you will want to keep HIIT to two 10-20 minute sessions per week. These two sessions should be performed on your non weight training days and should be treated just like your weight training sessions as far as nutrition is concerned.
I started my first round in March, just a few weeks into recovery, and the results I have seen are incredible. My doctor could not believe how well I healed and how fast I was able to bounce back. Amanda's program truly made that possible. I feel so much better about myself. I have so much more confidence. I'm not nearly as stressed, and I have more energy. Before I started doing Amanda's program, I was obsessive about the scale. I would get on the scale several times a day. I would work out because I thought I was gaining weight. That first day when I took my measurements and then got rid of my scale 14 weeks ago, I had a burden lifted off of me. It has been absolutely liberating. Realizing that there is more to me than a number on the scale and seeing my results in a different light has been one of the biggest successes of this program. I have had so many non-scale victories.