1. Don’t starve yourself: Cortisol—that stress hormone that causes your body to store more fat—is elevated from circumstances of high stress, including extreme dieting, Seedman says. “If you start dropping calories excessively, your body goes into starvation mode and it becomes stressed. You’re in caloric deprivation, but that elevated cortisol causes you to gain body fat in your stomach—it’s a vicious cycle,” he adds.

Then May comes around and Amanda and Brandon introduce the FWTFL Men’s Group. Yeah! I talked to my husband and he immediately agreed to sign up. My husband is a fireman and had just finished two months of non-stop studying for a promotional exam. He didn’t gain weight during that time period, but he lost muscle tone. I knew this program would be perfect for him to get back into shape. It has been so much fun to have my partner and best friend workout with me.


When we decided Nick should join the FWTFL through the first Men’s program, we thought it would just be a way to help support each other through the process, especially to provide additional accountability to avoid stress eating. Prior to the FWTFL, every time our son would have his quarterly brain MRIs, a follow up appointment, or a scary fall at daycare- we would immediately begin stress eating. The awful food choices started a cycle in which we would stress eat, feel gross because of the fatty processed foods, then go to bed, sleep awful, wake up and do it all over again. Our days were full of processed foods, large portions, and increasing displeasure in the way our bodies looked, especially at such young ages (26 & 30). After I had successfully completed 3 weeks of the women’s FWTFL with Amanda, Nick was ready to join the Men’s version so we BOTH looked better, and more importantly FELT better. During our FWTFL cycles, we faced our son’s one year “cancer-versary” along with his scan and follow up appointment. For the first time in the last year, we felt in control. Not just of our food, but of our lives, as we were always REACTING to bad news, bad days, etc. and now we were able to take control of our choices and especially our bodies. Yes, we have seen victories on the scale, and in the form of inches lost. BUT our non scale victories have been SIGNIFICANTLY more amazing and impressive. We have more energy to play with our three kids, we are in better moods, and are happier throughout the day, we don’t get “hangry” like we used to, and most importantly for us, we don’t eat out of stress. We eat to fuel our bodies appropriately for the right reasons. We are also saving money as a NSV, as we were eating out 3-4 days PER WEEK, and now we are cooking more than ever at home- and I. ATE. SALAD! I used to hate the idea of anything green, and last week I bought and ATE salad on my own. Nick is no longer drinking Energy Drinks (he used to drink 1-2/day for the last 10 years) and hasn’t had A SINGLE DRINK since starting the FWTFL, and doesn’t NEED the energy. I am no longer drinking soda, which I can easily say was an addiction, as I needed the caffeine in order to stay awake because my body was SO out of whack.

Switch to Lighter Alternatives. Whenever you can, use the low-fat versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other products. "You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice," says Magee. More smart substitutions: Use salsa or hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.


2. Eat smaller meals more frequently: “Insulin is probably the single most important factor that contributes to fat storage,” Seedman explains. This hormone is activated when you eat and responsible for shuttling nutrients into cells, either fat or muscle. A quick biology lesson: Every time you eat a meal, your blood glucose spikes, and when this goes up, so do your insulin levels. More calories at once means a larger spike in both. When these levels are sky high, it signals to your body to put nutrients into fat cells instead of muscle, causing an accumulation of fat, Seedman explains. The same thing happens when your insulin stays elevated for a prolonged period of time, which is why it’s important to let yourself become hungry before eating again, he adds. Aim for five to six meals throughout the day.

You may be confused about exactly how hard to work during cardio. You may even think that high-intensity exercise is the only way to go. After all, you can burn more calories and, even better, you don't have to spend as much time doing it. But having some variety can help you stimulate all of your different energy systems, protect you from overuse injuries, and help you enjoy your workouts more. You can use a sample cardio workout schedule to set up a cardio program that includes a variety of different workouts at different intensities.
"Only doing abdominal-focused workouts, like crunches, won’t help you banish the bulge. Belly fat is simply where your body stores energy, so you need to take a whole-body approach to tackle it. HIIT training (high intensity interval training) is a great way to burn fat and get your heart rate up. Squats, burpees and treadmill sprints are all examples to try."
I'm more toned and I can pull my skin away from my muscle (whereas before it was fat). I love that I DO workout hard, but it's not the kind of hard that I used to do, where you work out until you want to throw up, or can't sit down for 2 days because you're so sore. I couldn't do that in this stage of life so this program really works for me. I was able to jog (and I HATE running) the other day, because I had the energy and the muscle strength to support that kind of movement. The only negative thing about this program is that I have to buy a ton of new clothes!! :-)
The major problem with this excess fat is that the fat cells, called adipocytes, do not function normally. They store energy at an abnormally high rate and release energy at an abnormally slow rate. What’s more, these extra and enlarged fat cells produce abnormal amounts of different hormones. These hormones increase inflammation, slow down metabolism, and contribute to disease. This complicated pathological process of excess fat and dysfunction is called adiposopathy, and it makes the treatment of obesity very difficult.
Make sure to program your cardio exercise in with your weight training the right way, though — a 2017 study found that performing cardio and weight training workouts on alternate days was far more effective for burning belly fat than stacking the workouts on top of each other in the same session. Put the two together, and watch that unhealthy midsection shrink.
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.
People often cut out dairy when dieting, but cow’s milk has a lot of the nutrients that are essential to fat burning, including vitamin D and calcium. It’s also a great source of protein, which you need to build lean muscle, which is why experts say milk is a better post-workout drink than other beverages. Some research suggests that chugging moo juice after exercise results in more muscle gain and fat loss than drinking energy drinks. Find out more calcium-rich foods that are natural fat-burners.

Going for a jog before a night out is a great way to crush calories, but if you strength train, you’ll continue to fry fat post-workout. To maximize the afterburn, do “weight-bearing exercises involving the most muscle mass,” such as mountain climbers, push-ups, and lunges, advises Len Kravitz, PhD, program coordinator of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

The prevailing formula for a long time on how much fat you’re going to burn was calories in minus calories out, based on your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and exercise efforts, explains strength and performance specialist Joel Seedman, Ph.D., owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta. But with all the different biochemical reactions in the body, hormonal response, and endocrine function, there are an infinite number of factors that can affect how your body is storing and breaking down calories.
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