Oh, the joy of eating fat!
Ben and Jerry’s, the full flavor of a homemade brownie your co-worker brought in to share. Your favorite Mexican or pasta restaurant, they seem to give us that moment of assurance that all is ok.
Then again, we see people like George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on the cover of the supermarket tabloid and in the back of our mind we want to do something about our waistline.(1) All those foods that contain fat with carbs are not going to help your body. They not only don’t help your body but they can also lead to serious depression and anxiety.
How to Lose Body Fat
There are many diet plans and exercises that can help with how to lose body fat. At first, you may Google and find one or two things that you think will work but let’s look at what’s been proven to work.
Scientists say that to support life on any planet there needs to be water (2). Humans and other species need water and drinking more of it can aid your fat loss. Drink it before a meal and your chances of losing body fat increases.(3)
According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, middle-aged adults and older who drank a half-liter of water before a reduced-calorie meal found they lost more weight than those who didn’t drink water.
Other studies (1) have shown that those who drink from one to 1.5 liters of water per day found they lost weight significantly reduced their BMI and their waistline. Other studies have found that drinking more water helps decrease the production of cortisol, the hormone with high levels of stress. Try drinking some filtered water for a change, we recommend the turapur pitcher for this.
Fiber, fiber, fiber
Adding more fiber does more than just stimulate better bowel movements. It’s also an ideal way to lose body fat, not to mention having a cleaner colon.(2)
One study found that adults, who added more fiber to their diet, without changing anything else, were able to lose almost as much weight as those who followed a heart-healthy eating plan.
Where is fiber found? If you like beans, great! Eating one serving from a 15-ounce can of beans can give you anywhere for 5 to 8 grams of fiber. (5) But fiber is also found in lots of fruits and vegetables as well as foods like bran and oatmeal.
Plan your weekly or daily meals
It may seem like a boring task but planning your weekly or daily meals can affect weight loss. (5) According to the CDC, planning is a great place to start.
And while you’re at it, keep a daily food diary about what you eat on a daily basis. No one else is going to see it but you and who you share the diary with. Reviewing what you ate forces you to see where you succeeded and, well, where you may have strayed in your struggle to lose body fat.
Fix Your Own Food
We love our restaurants, don’t we? It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to come up with our favorite places to eat. Even though many places post on the menu the caloric and fat intake – or other vital info – you don’t know everything that goes into the food: the extra salt or other additives can cause you problems.
When you take time to make your meal, you know most of what’s going into your mouth. Also, the chore of preparing food can help burn a few extra calories as you (usually) need to stand and move to make the meal. And that’s not to mention the calories you expend as you take care of the dirty dishes.
What if you’re a person whose work requires travel and has to eat out most of the time? It may not be practical to fix your own food but who says you can’t use your expense account to stop off at a grocery and pick up some fruits, veggies and salad at the local grocery? It might even save your organization some money.
Breakfast Foods to Lose Fat
It turns out that several breakfast foods can help lower your body fat. Foods that contain a substance known as resistant starch signal your body to burn more fat, Banana flour from green bananas and bananas that are slightly green have the most resistant starch. Other breakfast foods containing this substance are rolled oats and oatmeal.
Foods that offer resistant starches, that you may or may not want for breakfast, include white beans, frozen peas, lentils, cold pasta, pearl barley and cold potatoes.
When to Eat
One more idea to consider is breaking your meals up over the course of a day. Eating, say, half or a third of your homemade lunch over two or three periods separated by several minutes or an hour can have a more positive impact on your weight than eating the entire meal in one sitting.
Get a Buddy in Fat Loss
Many of us tend to think of losing fat as something we do alone. You can, however, lose twice as much weight by getting a friend or spouse involved, according to Dr. Oz. Eating a healthy lunch or dinner together, exercising or discussing plans and progress can make the process go so much easier. Dr. Oz suggests discussing with your partner your motivations for losing weight as well as coming to some agreements about what to do as you lose weight – get rid of clothes that don’t fit, for example.
The trusted person or persons you work with don’t necessarily have to be in the same town as you. You just need to have someone you can discuss your goals, successes and failures with.
Find a Support Group
Just like finding a buddy, a support group can help you lose more than fat. From the group, you get not only social support but they can help by supplying you with some new ideas. Many support groups also celebrate successes. Find a group that you can mesh with easily.
Exercise: Kettle bell swing and squat thrust
If you want to lose body fat, according to trainer Alwyn Cosgrove, (3) two exercises can do the trick: the kettlebell (or dumbbell) swing and the squat thrust (burpees). The swing requires a weight but the squat thrust does not.
Here’s how to lose body fat: in your first set you’ll do 15 reps of the kettlebell followed immediately by 15 reps of the squat thrust. You may want to rest after this set but it’s important to continue to your next set. Then do 14 reps of the kettlebell followed by 14 reps of the squat thrust. You continue repeating these going down one rep on each set until you reach one rep of each. This is known as a countdown workout.
It may sound easy but it’s not. If starting at 15 reps is too much for you, start at 10 reps or even 5 reps and work your way up over time. This exercise has been shown to boost metabolism for some time after the workout.
Getting a good night’s sleep seems a bit incompatible with weight loss. After all, if you’re not up working off calories you can’t possibly be losing weight, right?
(5) One study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who stay up late tend to eat more high-carb snacks. Also, without sleep we tend to make more rash decisions about how to get through our days. One of those decisions may be that we need to eat something (unhealthy) to get our energy up.
Sleep also affects the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin tells your body when it’s time to eat. When you aren’t sleeping enough your body makes more of this hormone.
On the other hand, without enough sleep your body produces less leptin. Leptin inhibits hunger and when there is less of it you will want to eat more.
Talk with your doctor
You read it all the time: “Talk with your doctor before starting any exercise or diet program.” It’s a cliché but if you take the time and your co-pay to visit your doctor you may see fat burning as more of a health issue than just something you want to do to look better. And something about going to the doctor just makes us take the issue more seriously.
(7) Discuss your plan with the doc. Even if their body looks like they live an unhealthy life, they do know a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Also, talk with a weight loss counselor on a regular basis. Share with them your plan to lose the fat.
Get a Second Job Where You Move More
So many of us spend 8 hours or more in front of a computer and we sit most of the time. Unless we get up and move regularly we hardly expend any energy in our jobs. Combined with that, many people live paycheck to paycheck just to pay for the major things like a house, car and children.
Getting a second job where you move more can help with losing weight, not to mention helping with the bills. Moving grass, working in a warehouse or getting a cleaning job is just some examples where you work some muscles. Delivering pizzas is a popular second job where you’ll get some movement, too – just be sure that you don’t eat too much of the goods. (14)
Other second jobs to consider might be:
- Working as a cashier (standing up)
- Customer service at car rental companies
- Customer service rep at a gym
- Overnight stocking shelves at a grocery or other retail store
- Teaching a class in a classroom
- Referring in a kids’ soccer, football or basketball league
- Doing handyman work
Lowering Alcohol Intake
There’s a reason some people have that extra tummy fat. It turns out that alcohol puts a lot more weight on us than we may expect. Some say that alcohol intake and fat loss are direct opposites of each other. (8)
If you eat a meal with, say, a couple beers or glasses of wine, your body postpones the breakdown of food until it breaks down the alcohol. Eating pizza by itself makes your body work enough. Combine it with a drink and you are headed for the dreaded beer belly.
When we drink we also lose some inhibitions about food and, so, we may eat much more that we should. Also, remember that most alcohols contain high levels of calories and carbs. Bars and saloons that offer free snacks like pretzels or nuts do this to make you thirsty and order more drinks. (11) These places need to be avoided.
Alcohol also lowers levels of the hormone testosterone. By depleting this, you are taking away something essential to burning fat and losing weight.
Plan to Teach a Class on How to Lose Body Fat
Teach a Class? Are you crazy? Have you seen how much I have to lose?
When we watch shows like the Biggest Loser we see the trainers like Jennifer Widerstrom and Dolvett Quince with their firm, athletic bodies. (13) We want our bodies to look like theirs, right?
It turns out that teaching – any subject – is a great way to learn more about that subject. Think about it for a minute: when you are required to teach something you have to study the material over and over and then find a way to present it. The entire process means you will absorb a lot of information and then, using your discretion, you will present bits and pieces to others. When others know that you are in the process of losing body fat it makes them much more open to share with you their struggles.
How to Lose Body Fat: Bicycling
Biking, it turns out, can give you a full body workout. With all the time we spend sitting in our cars to and from work we can be missing a great opportunity to give our bodies a great workout. Also, riding your bike for longer periods (say an hour or more) tends to burn more fat than shorter rides. (10)
There are some keys to burning fat while riding your bike. First, keep your ride at about 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Second, postpone eating any meals, like breakfast, until after your ride. It turns out that eating the meal right after will do more for losing weight than eating before a heavy bike ride. Also, be sure to keep a water bottle handy as staying hydrated is important in the battle, too.
Of course, you will want to use as many precautions as possible when biking to or from work. Wear a helmet and add some flashing caution lights to your bike if you plan to ride with automobile traffic. Do a 5-minute check to make sure that your bike is in good working order before a ride. Also, if you ride your bike to work, consider riding before or after the main rush hours. Car drivers especially are in a hurry going to or from work.
Aerobic activity can be a big aid to losing fat. Running, biking and dancing will burn calories and fat while you are performing the activity. In one study, aerobics has been shown to positively affect hormones ghrelin and peptide YY. Both hormones play a role in your appetite. (12)
Of course, drink water during your activity to stay hydrated. As we discussed in the section about water, this is essential for losing fat and managing your weight.
If there is one activity that will help with losing body fat it is weight training. Aerobic activities, such as running, burn fat and calories while you are performing the exercise. With weights, however, the breakdown and buildup of the muscle increases your metabolic rate and burns fat long after you have finished with the workout.
Weightlifting has been shown to decrease levels of the ghrelin, the hormone that tells the brain that it is time to eat. When there are high levels of the hormone, a person tends to eat more.
To be effective with weights, there are several things to keep in mind:
- Lifting weights should be done on non-consecutive days for the same muscle groups.
- When starting, choose a weight that allows you to do only 12-15 repetitions in a set.
- Later after you’ve been doing this for a while, choose a weight that allows you to do only 6-8 repetitions in a set.
- Keep your rest time between sets to a minute or less.
- Continue to challenge yourself with heavier weights.
At first glance, it might seem that yoga could not help in losing body fat. After all, yoga seems like an activity where very few calories may be burned.
According to the American Journal of Managed Care, however, obese women who participated in restorative yoga lost more subcutaneous fat, fat just under the skin, than ones who performed stretching exercises. Further, the study showed that they continued to lose more weight in a maintenance period.
This form of yoga focuses more on relaxation and stress reduction than on flowing body movements that many people associate with yoga. Poses can last as long as 7 minutes and deep breathing is emphasized. Restorative yoga plays a role in suppressing production of cortisol, the hormone that gets released under times of stress.
Lose the Television (or just get rid of Pay TV)
The TV habit can cost you lot. Television shows, along with the commercials, has as its purpose to stimulate and entertain. At the same time, however, your body becomes more sedentary. To top this off, many people tend to eat higher-carb foods while watching it.
Also remember those food commercials: they are so sophisticated in getting you to buy things that will cause you to gain weight. Removing television from your life can be a step in the right direction. You can still get your news from other sources, too.
How to Lose Body Fat: A Blog
You may consider starting your own blog or contribute to someone else’s blog about your fat loss journey. Talking about what inspires you to lose weight may help others who are struggling to lose it, too. Just remember to post regularly something to keep others coming back. And your blog just might turn out to be a money-maker!
Sign Up For and Run/Walk a 5K or 10k Road Race
Having something to train for will focus your mind weekly to accomplish the goal. Even if you’re not successful in finishing the race, the preparation it takes to get there will still get your motivation going, not to mention your body. Remember that it’s not a marathon or even a half-marathon.
In most medium to large metropolitan areas there are several races to choose from in any given period of the year. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is held annually in most major cities. Veterans and beginners alike enjoy getting a new t-shirt or medal for just showing up. One note of caution: be careful of the food that is offered during or after the race. Some may not be conducive to burning fat.
If you don’t think you can race or feel ready for it, try volunteering. You can hand out water at a station or food to people at the end. Some runners will need to be helped across the finish area and, so; it will give you an idea of what it will be like.
Watch Out for Fad Diets and Quick Fixes
Everyone wants to lose fat quickly. Some choose to go with their own program of cutting out all carbs or they latch onto the newest crazy diet. (10) Losing fat over the long term is not going to be easy and maintaining the new weight will still be tricky. You will need to find a solution that will work for you alongside the pressures that already exist in your life. Choose wisely and make a program that you can stick with. (9)
Limit the Junk Food
Make a plan to eat something that is unhealthy about once or twice a week. If you count calories or carbs, add this into your weekly plan. If you try to eliminate this altogether it may wind up becoming too much of a burden on your journey.