Based on my experience in nutrition counseling, most of us tend to snack on foods that aren’t nutrient-dense, but are high in calories. For example, skipping sugary beverages is often the easiest way to lose weight faster. You don’t feel full from drinks — even the ones that do contain calories — so swapping those out for sparkling water or unsweetened tea and coffee is the best place to start. Other major culprits often come in refined grains like cereals, chips, crackers, and cookies.
Mason, A. E., Epel, E. S., Aschbacher, K., Lustig, R. H., Acree, M., Kristeller, J., … Daubenmier, J. (2016, May 1). Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite , 100, 86–93. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799744/
Carbohydrates are converted into sugar when they enter your bloodstream. Since your body doesn’t usually need all the energy that the sugar produces, it converts most of the energy into fat. The plummet in blood sugar levels that always follows a spike causes you to feel hungry for more sugar. If this cycle is continually repeated, you won’t be able to lose weight fast; in fact, you might gain weight.
Okay, you get the point: belly fat = bad. How do you lose it? You have to think beyond crunches and planks and adopt a well-rounded approach. “It’s got to be more losing fat as a whole,” agrees Chris Gagliardi, a certified personal trainer at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Without further ado, here are the best ways to lose belly fat once and for all.
Integrate fish into your diet with a tilapia and rice pilaf dish. Heat up one teaspoon olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season a three-ounce tilapia fillet with some salt and pepper. Place it in the pan for about two to three minutes per side. When the fish is done, it should flake easily with a fork. Prepare ½ cup rice pilaf (prepared from a box or made from scratch) and ½ cup steamed snap peas. Serve the tilapia with the rice pilaf and the snap peas. Finish the meal with a baked apple, topped with a pinch of cinnamon and one teaspoon honey, served with ⅓ cup low-fat vanilla ice cream.
I am fasting for Ramadan. Can I do this diet? Yes, but you will have to spread your meals out. Drink cold water at 4 a.m. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and eat a big meal with the foods on that day's menu. Then at 7 p.m. when you can break your fast, drink another glass of cold water and wait 15 to 20 minutes. Eat another meal. Repeat through the evening, eating small meals until bedtime.
Gabel, K., Hoddy, K. K., Haggerty, N., Song, J., Kroeger, C. M., Trepanowski, J. F., … Varady, K. A. (2018, June 15). Effects of 8-hour time restricted feeding on body weight and metabolic disease risk factors in obese adults: A pilot study. Nutrition and Healthy Aging, 4(4), 345–353. Retrieved from https://content.iospress.com/articles/nutrition-and-healthy-aging/nha170036
We just don't feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink just isn't as satisfying as eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry. So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages. If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you'll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you'll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.)
It’s important to do full-body strength training if you want to lose belly fat—especially if you’re trying to keep it off for the long haul. “Strength training should be a part of just about everybody’s exercise plan,” says Dr. Cheskin. That’s because strength training helps you build muscle, which will replace body fat. And because muscle is metabolically active, you'll continue to burn calories after working out, thereby, reducing overall body fat. Bonus: When your metabolic rate becomes faster due to muscle growth, you’ll have a little more wiggle room in your diet if that’s something you struggle with, says Dr. Cheskin.
Create a seven-day meal plan. This meal plan should include three main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), scheduled at the same time of day, as well as two small snacks (between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner), also schedule at the same time of day. This will ensure you eat at a consistent time for all seven days and do not skip or miss a meal. Eating about 1,400 calories a day, combined with daily exercise, can lead to healthy weight loss.
Ultimately, long-term weight loss requires some short-term behavior change and healthier habit formation. That's why we created our Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem, which exists to help turn smart food choices into healthier eating habits. All GHNA foods and drinks make it easier to find — and eat — good-for-you foods without additional time, effort, and cost. We target the lifestyle-related factors that make healthier eating hard, and find simple but creative solutions that actually work! Look for the emblem on labels wherever you shop for food.