Are You Ready To Lose That Stubborn Belly Fat?
Waging war against body fat is as challenging for your mind as it is for your physique. Naturally, and in accordance with the principle of least effort that appears to be ingrained in the psychology of all human beings, you may be tempted to look for a quick way out.
If you are one of those people who is struggling to lose stubborn belly fat, or are perhaps wondering how to get rid of visceral fat, then look no further. Simply follow our 24 actionable fat loss tips and you too can achieve all your fat loss goals naturally!
However, before you begin to completely alter your diet, hit the gym like there is no tomorrow or reach for those weight-loss pills, you need to realise that the first rule of losing weight is knowing that there is no shortcut to losing weight. In your mind, fat loss must be a side effect of switching to a healthier lifestyle. Rather than being a goal in itself, weight loss should be viewed as building your health.
Growing out of destructive habits that you have gradually enforced year after year will be tough, and you’ll need to use a great deal of tricks along the way. But as you apply one tip or another, remember that the real aim is to become a healthier person. Fat loss will follow as a consequence.
24 Fat loss Tips That You Can Use Right Now:
Tip 1. Food before exercise kills fat burning
The thought of exercising on an empty stomach may seem quite daunting to some, however it is essential not to eat any food prior to a fat burning workout (low intensity cardio).
Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin, and insulin instantly “switches off” fat burning. Some proteins can also stimulate the release of insulin (gluconeogenesis). Dietary fats on the other hand are hardly insulinogenic at all; nonetheless, eating fat before a fasted cardio session will remove the need for the body to break down and burn (oxidise) stored body fat as energy. Furthermore, food in general is a preferential energy source over body fat.
As a rule of thumb, never eat before a fat burning workout, which ideally should be performed upon waking.
I must stress, lifting weights is totally different than performing a fat burning workout (low intensity cardio). Eating a meal prior to weight lifting is essential. For more information about what to eat prior to lifting weights check out the blog 6 of the best pre-workout meals you need to know.
Tip 2. High intensity cardio does not burn body fat
I’m sure that you’ve heard losing weight is a simple equation: burn more calories than you eat. And many people believe that the best way to achieve this is to hit the treadmill hard for an hour to burn as many calories as possible. In actual fact, calorie counting is inaccurate, and following this kind of advice will definitely not help you achieve your goal of burning excess adipose tissue.
Here’s the deal. Proteins and carbohydrates both have approximately 4 calories per gram, while fat has around 9-10 calories per gram. Because fat is so energy dense, it requires much more oxygen to burn (oxidise).
Why does this matter?
Because hammering out high intensity cardio for hours on end does not burn ANY body fat! When you pant you burn sugar because you can’t supply the oxygen quick enough. Only if you can speak in a normal voice while exercising are you in a fat burning zone.
Tip 3. Low intensity cardio burns body fat
1 hour spent on the treadmill, working in the fat burning zone will burn around 300 calories in total. Furthermore, around 150 of those calories are from actual body fat. It would take approximately 20 – 25 hours on a treadmill to burn 1 pound of body fat (3500 calories).
It is for this reason, and I can’t emphasise this enough, that I highly recommend supplementing with a thermogenic fat burner such as Thermo-XY, taken pre cardio to enhance the fat loss process.
The bottom line is
If you’re panting while you are working out you are short of oxygen. This means that you aren’t supplying enough oxygen to facilitate body fat to be burnt (oxidised) and used as energy. Ergo when you pant you switch to burning sugar.
Are you doing the treadmill for cardio training or fat loss?
You can’t do both at the same time!
Tip 4. Ditch the Sweat Suit (these are great for water loss only)
Contrary to popular belief, working out in a sweat suit does NOT burn body fat. Sweating excessively is a fantastic way to lose water weight and increase dehydration. Nevertheless this does not help the body to burn any body fat. Weight loss achieved through the use of a sweat suit will inevitably return as soon as those lost fluids are replaced. This technique appears to be a popular method that boxers use as an aid to make their fighting weight. Little do they realise, dehydration significantly impairs physical performance.
Tip 5. Build muscle to burn fat
Lifting weights does not actually burn fat; nevertheless muscle is the furnace where body fat is incinerated. If you don’t have enough muscle mass then you cannot effectively burn excess body fat.
This is an overwhelming problem in people who suffer from obesity and have become so heavy that they can no longer walk. Their muscles literally aren’t strong enough to lift their bodies, rendering them immobile. Unfortunately in these scenarios where the ratio of body fat to muscle is so high, it is likely that they may never be able to lose all of their excess weight simply because they do not have the muscle capacity to burn the body fat.
Lifting weights is a must to stimulate an increase in muscle. It is for this reason that I would suggest performing 3 weight lifting sessions per week.
An increase in muscle mass will quickly increase fat burning capacity.
Tip 6. Sleep is great for fat loss
Studies have linked poor sleeping patterns with an 89% increased risk of obesity in adults, as well as with an aggravation of cravings throughout the day. As it turns out, sleep might be as important as dieting and exercise in terms of fat loss, so do not underestimate the importance of a regular, healthy sleeping schedule.
Melatonin is a master hormone that regulates sleep, circadian rhythm, and in turn over 100 physiological processes that are set to run while sleeping, including burning fat. Sleep is a great window of opportunity for fat loss. It is therefore no surprise that working at night will almost double the chance of being overweight; you can’t simply override circadian rhythm.
It’s also important to note that some electromagnetic frequencies significantly interfere with melatonin production. For example, the frequency of mobile phone back-lights is of a high frequency of light that interrupts melatonin production. When it gets dark the melatonin system kicks in, and if continually interrupted you will age faster and not burn body fat sufficiently. (More about sleep: Are You Getting A Good Night’s Sleep?)
If you want to maximise fat loss, try to ensure a solid 8 hours sleep per night and don’t use electronic devices such as mobile phones or tablet computers after 9 pm.
Tip 7. Supplements that quickly help lose fat
Outside of a good thermogenic fat burner, there are two other supplements that I recommend using on a daily basis to increase fat loss: Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D.
It is a well established scientific fact that Omega 3 fatty acids increase fat and weight loss. Studies have actually linked obesity to low levels of omega 3 fatty acids. One study in particular showed that prior supplementation with long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids promotes weight loss in obese adults. (This was a double-blinded randomised controlled trial.)
Vitamin D also promotes fat loss and helps regulate a balance between skeletal muscle tissue and body fat.
For maximum fat loss try supplementing with 5000 mg of purified fish oil and at least 1000 IU of vitamin D daily.
Tip 8. If you are addicted, weight loss is almost impossible
A 2014 study showed that there is such a thing as food addiction, a psychological condition that manifests through overpowering cravings and the inability to keep one’s eating in check. Meanwhile, binge eating has also been classified as an eating disorder and, therefore, as a condition that requires psychological intervention. If you experience episodes where you suddenly realise you have lost control of your eating, a few therapy sessions are likely to make a world of difference. For those addicted to food, fat loss is nearly impossible to achieve.
Tip 9. You have to be smart about it
Fat loss requires willpower and willpower is much like a muscle. If you strain it too much, it ultimately fails. In other words, you need to see weight loss as a series of changes that will last in time, rather than as bursts of willpower that might deliver some immediate results, but that will eventually lead to a yo-yo effect. A few rules are in order:
- If you have to force yourself to do it, you’re likely doing it wrong.
- Weight loss is not just about willpower. It is largely about discipline, or the ability to engage all of your psychological components (even those that resist change) and make them work together towards the completion of a goal.
- You’ll also need to be self-aware, painfully honest with yourself and, above all else, flexible
Tip 10. Make it difficult to cheat
Self-monitoring has been consistently linked to effective weight loss throughout different studies. To take advantage of this, keep a food diary and write down everything you eat. Feel free to add pictures of it as well. When you feel tempted to tell yourself that you were stricter with your menu than you really were, this diary will help you to stay honest and, as a result, to make real changes.
Tip 11. A gradual transition of lifestyle change
To lose weight too quickly, you’ll likely have to uproot habits that are deeply ingrained into your mind and behaviour. At first, you will likely fail. Then, you will fail some more. After that, you might experience some success, only to follow it up with another letdown. If you set out on this bumpy road with an “all or nothing” mentality, you’ll quit before you even get started. Failure is part-and-parcel of the process, but so long as it does not lead you to quit, it is almost irrelevant. It will only hurt less once you accept it as such.
Tip 12. Focus when you eat
A paper published in 2013 showed that eating while distracted (by the TV, by others, while driving or while working) decreased satisfaction and increased food intake. When you eat, pay attention to your food and nothing else. You will become satiated faster and you will have fewer cravings in the following hours.
Tip 13. Take your time eating
Your body cannot immediately estimate whether it has had enough food, and it is just as slow to signal this fact to you when it does reach fullness. To avoid eating more than you need to, eat slowly and chew each bite up to 20 times (in the case of dense foods). This also aids in digestibility and nutrient absorption. Don’t forget to focus on the appearance, the smell, the taste and the texture of the food.
Tip 14. Don’t drink calories
Alcohol, juice and soda are stealth calories. They tend to fly under the radar while you focus on reducing your intake of solid calories. In terms of fat loss, however, they are even worse than the latter. When the body ingests solid calories, it compensates by limiting further intake. This is not the case with liquid calories which pass by undetected, but count towards fat levels nonetheless.
Sugar sweetened beverages are also a key player in spiking insulin levels, and as highlighted earlier, insulin instantly kills fat loss. Furthermore, steer clear of “low-sugar” and “zero-carb” advertised drinks. These are usually loaded with artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame K and saccharin. While these sweetened drinks may be low or sugar free, acesulfame K comes with its own plethora of unwanted side effects and has also been shown to amplify insulin response in the presence of glucose. (G2 (Gatorade) Health WARNING!)
Although the evidence does not appear to be 100% conclusive on artificial sweeteners spiking insulin, as an added precaution – stay away from these.
Tip 15. Drink water instead
At the opposite pole, water can boost your metabolism by up to 30% over the period of approximately one hour, which is likely why drinking water before meals has been shown to help dieters lose more weight. It’s also noteworthy that drinking water might help you eat less during meals and have fewer cravings in-between. (More about water: Are you drinking clean water?)
Tip 16. Play mind tricks
All is fair in love and war, and this is a war against body fat. There are a few tricks you could use to fool your body into eating less. These include:
- Using smaller plates, for obvious reasons.
- Surrounding yourself with the colour blue when you eat, as it has been shown to decrease appetite. The colour green is believed to have a similar effect, while orange, yellow and red tend to increase the appetite.
- Avoid dim lighting during meals. It has been shown to increase the time it takes for the body to become full, something that restaurants are counting on most of the time.
- Play soothing, mellow music in the background, as this is likely to help you eat slower and focus more on your food.
Tip 17. Coconut oil over all others (increases fat loss)
Coconut oil is special in that it contains a particular type of fat, referred to as medium chain triglycerides or MCT. The latter have been demonstrated to boost metabolism and to increase energy expenditure throughout the day. For this reason you should replace your current cooking oil with coconut oil – replace being the key word here.
Tip 18. Out of sight and out of reach
If you’re serious about fat loss, then one of the first steps you should take is to purge your fridge, your house and your workplace of all the foods you intend to quit eating. Replace them with fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks and make sure that these healthier options are always in reach when you feel like nibbling. You’ll think twice before eating something unhealthy if you have to go to the store to buy it first.
Tip 19. Sugar out…
Added sugar is pretty much everywhere and you are likely eating far too much of it. Not only is this stopping you from losing weight, it is effectively increasing your chance of becoming obese or developing a myriad of other illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease. In terms of diet tips, this is one of the most important – become accustomed to reading labels and avoid added sugar as if it’s the kryptonite to your Superman.
The trouble nowadays is that most folks have become functionally hypoglycemic, that is, they have trained their bodies to be artificially spiked with sugar and insulin. It has become the “norm” to regularly consume snacks of sugary tea, biscuits and other such treats, in between meals. This results in the body continuously feeding off of what is in the gut, versus living off its structure (body fat). The key here is to feed the body effectively so that the body doesn’t crave.
Tip 20. …Fiber in (increases satiety AND lowers blood glucose)
Some studies show that fiber, and especially viscous fiber, can help your body reach satiety faster than other foods, and this makes it easier to control your food intake and, ultimately, your weight.
To up your intake of fiber, say hello to your new best friends – fruits and veggies. You will hate them at first and you will find them terribly dull, but this is only the result of your diet so far, which has taken your taste buds in a different direction. The longer you stick to eating all kinds of fruits and vegetables, the friendlier they will become to your palate.
Tip 21. Increase protein to increase fat loss
Every working unit in the human body is a protein. Everything else, essential fats, minerals, vitamins etc. are co factors to these proteins. Therefore, not only is protein of primary importance, adding protein to your diet is perhaps the easiest and most delicious way to lose fat. It has been demonstrated that protein can boost your metabolism and energy expenditure, increase satiety and decrease food cravings and snacking. In other words, not only will it help you lose weight, but the more you eat it, the less you will miss your usual comfort foods.
For most people, protein is synonymous with steak, beef, chicken, pork, fish and others. Don’t think that eating more protein necessarily means eating more meat, however. There are plenty of other healthier options out there, such as oats, almonds, quinoa, broccoli, lentils, Brussels sprouts or peanuts.
Tip 22. Eat only (real) whole foods…
We have become so accustomed to all kinds of processed foods that switching to single-ingredient, whole foods now appears to be a colossal effort.
However, the benefits of a whole food diet, as opposed to the damaging effects of processed foods, simply cannot be overstated. Most importantly, it would be very difficult to gain weight around such a diet – you would not have to try to stay lean.
Tip 23. …and take it step-by-step for maximum fat loss
Remember that you have to go about this in a smart way. If you attempt to completely change out every unhealthy, processed or sugary item in your diet during the course of one week, the willpower required will be overwhelming and you will exponentially increase your chances to quit. Yes, the benefits of making these changes are great, but if the changes don’t last, then your effort is in vain.
Take every change one step at a time. Every week or even every month, replace another food item. Move on to the next only when you feel comfortable with the changes you’ve made so far.
Tip 24. Brush your teeth
After you eat dinner, brush your teeth instead of having desert. Although there are no studies that can demonstrate the effectiveness of this trick, you will likely think twice before eating something after you’ve brushed and you’ll be less likely to snack during the night. Plus, it’s a great habit for your dental health! (More about healthy teeth: Natural Solutions For Your Teeth and Gums Proven To Work!)
Take home message
For most people, fat loss is a desperate struggle between health risks, unsuccessful diets, guilt and the inability to effect lasting behavioural changes. This does not have to be the case.
Of course, achieving the body you’ve always dreamed of is not an easy feat, but your perspective on the journey ahead matters. Outlook is everything. Look at it as if it is a dreadful, Sisyphean task and you will likely drop it before you even begin. See it as an opportunity to transform not just the appearance of your body, but also its fitness and health, and you might just get that extra jolt of motivation that you need to fight another day.
Thanks for reading everyone, I hope you found this article useful. Please leave your comments below – I would love to hear from you all.
Shared with permission from Natural fat loss tips: 24 hacks that actually work (FAST)
- On food addiction: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25338274
- A definition of and a guide to willpower: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx
- On the difficulty to maintain an optimal weight after dieting, due to a slower metabolism: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673773/
- On resistance training and muscle mass: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18356845
- On cardio exercises and visceral fat reduction: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17637702
- High intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2011/868305/
- On multitasking and food intake: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/97/4/728.abstract
- Sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/199317
- On water and metabolism: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671205
- Coconut oil and energy expenditure: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8654328
- Sugar and obesity: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/79/4/537.short
- Fiber and satiety: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23885994
- Protein and energy expenditure: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19640952
- Sleep and obesity: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2398753/