"I was able to lose the weight by paying closer attention to what I was eating and my activity level. I started using an app to track my meals and a step counter to help track my activity. My coworkers were supportive and would often join me for walks during breaks. Every step counts! I would still go out to lunch with them, but I would look for healthier options on the menu and track what I was eating. My boys were also supportive, and they joined me in activities after work. They loved that I started to have more energy to do things."
Really, it shouldn’t be so difficult to figure out which eating regimen will set fire to fat while maintaining muscle. Fortunately, the International Society of Sports Nutrition just released its position paper, which combs through all existing scientific studies to report how every diet will affect your body composition. Here, we’ve pulled five of the most six-pack-friendly diets and streamlined how they’re great, as well as why they might be right (or wrong) for you—according to the hard science.
Physical activity helps burn abdominal fat. “One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that you get a lot of bang for your buck on body composition,” Stewart says. Exercise seems to work off belly fat in particular because it reduces circulating levels of insulin—which would otherwise signal the body to hang on to fat—and causes the liver to use up fatty acids, especially those nearby visceral fat deposits, he says.
I wasn’t happy at my heaviest, but I wasn’t really motivated to do anything about it until a ski trip with friends in 2004 put things in perspective. The vacation was a blast, but I quickly lost my getaway glow when I saw photos from our trip. Looking at the physical proof, I was embarrassed by how much weight I had gained. Every photo was a “bad” photo of me. I was so depressed that I threw most of them away.
Monica Olivas is a holistic health coach, certified running coach, and writer for the blog Run Eat Repeat. She has been a passionate runner for almost 10 years and has completed over 50 half marathons and 30 full marathons. Running has helped her lose 20 pounds and uses her blog as a way to share healthy recipes, running tips, and motivation to help you do the same!
If you're specifically looking to target your belly, we have some bad news: you can't spot-target fat loss. That means you can do crunches or planks all day long, but you won't specifically burn belly fat. Instead, you can lose body fat overall, including from your belly. And by avoiding certain belly-bloating foods and with some strategic exercise, you will inevitably see results in your belly.
Although you do want to increase your walking over time, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be working your way up to a more intensive form of cardio like swimming or running. “Moving on to new exercises is not something someone should feel they have to do unless their goals change and a new exercise is needed to support those goals,” says Gagliardi. “Walking alone can be progressed by changing the distance, speed, terrain, and by adding intervals.”
As you exercise, calories are burned and your body fat percentage decreases. So, exercising not only helps you lose belly fat, it also sheds fat from other areas. Running and walking are two of the best fat-burning exercises. Plus, the only equipment you need is a good pair of shoes. Between the two, running burns more calories, but walking really isn’t too far behind.
A year ago you couldn't find a fitter man than Drew of Fit2Fat2Fit, but then the personal trainer decided to take on a new project in order to better understand what his overweight clients were going through. He gained 70 pounds over six months—going from "fit to fat"—and is now in the process of going from "fat to fit." Along the way he's learned a lot about the mental struggles of weight loss, as well as the physical: check out his post about feeling too self-conscious to dance with his wife.
The idea behind this completely free weight loss diet plan is quite simple... it's the ANTI-fad diet. It is the complete opposite of every borderline idiotic and completely unnecessary diet program in existence. It is based strictly on common sense and the simplest and healthiest way the human body was meant to lose weight. It is not based on fancy gimmicks and making sales. The Lose Weight Diet is free. There is nothing to buy or sign up for first. Every single piece of weight loss information you will need is here (free) for you to read, understand and put into effect.
The fad military diet consists of low-calorie, odd food pairings such as bun-less hot dogs with banana, carrots, and broccoli. “Any diet like the military diet that severely limits the amount of calories you consume or eliminates one or more entire food groups puts any individual at risk for nutrient deficiencies,” says Kyle. “This can be more harmful than holding onto those 10 extra lb you’re trying to lose.” (32)
About: Britni’s been blogging for years, but only in the past couple did she start on a journey to lose weight in a unique way — by working towards getting her personal training certification (and blogging, of course!). She’s a hardcore lover of food and fitness, and she’s also dedicated to making sure other young mothers like herself are given the tools they need to shed pounds and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The best diet for losing weight is Weight Watchers, according to the experts who rated the diets below for U.S. News. Volumetrics came in second, and the Flexitarian Diet, Jenny Craig and the vegan diet were third on this overall weight loss ranking list, which takes into account short-term and long-term weight loss scores. Some other diets performed as well or better in our rankings for enabling fast weight loss, but long-term weight loss is more important for your health.
That’s a good question. It’s somewhat tricky to answer this question concretely, because every BODY is different. However, often times it helps to consider a few things: how do you feel (physically); where are ‘medical numbers’ (cholesterol, blood sugars, blood pressure, etc.); and to what extent are you engaging in health-related behaviors such as eating in balance, moving the body regularly, and managing stress. Generally speaking, when those factors are present, a person is within their present-day healthy weight range. Conversely, when a person doesn’t feel good, their medical numbers aren’t in good ranges, and they aren’t consistently engaging in health related behaviors, weight may also be effected, though not necessarily for everyone. I hope that’s a helpful start.
About: Yes, it’s true Julie is not exactly a “new” blogger (she’s been doing it since 2011). But when you look at her blog, it’s easy to see why we added her here — she’s got the same caliber as the big guns, and deserves even more recognition than she’s already had. Julie decided some time back that she was going to make better decisions when it came to her health, but progress with weight loss, as she puts it, has been “S-L-O-W.” Determined and just happier with the way she feels, Julie carried on until she reached her goal weight. Today, she hovers between 150 and 170 pounds, blogging about what she eats, what inspires her and how she hopes to inspire others, too.
Ultimately, you need to pick a healthy eating plan you can stick to, Stewart says. The benefit of a low-carb approach is that it simply involves learning better food choices—no calorie-counting is necessary. In general, a low-carb way of eating shifts your intake away from problem foods—those high in carbs and sugar and without much fiber, like bread, bagels and sodas—and toward high-fiber or high-protein choices, like vegetables, beans and healthy meats.
Rather than a long and low-intensity cardio workout, try the HIIT method of cardio: intense, fast-paced intervals that leave you completely exhausted after only a 20- to 30-minute session. This form of cardio training increases the afterburn effect, allowing your body to continue burning calories long after your workout is over. You can rotate between 30 seconds of your favorite exercises, with rest in between, as long as they work different muscle groups—such as squats, push-ups and kettlebell swings.
Keeping a toothbrush handy can do more than polish up that smile (and counter the effects of all that belly-slimming garlic); brushing your teeth throughout the day can also help you ditch that belly fat fast. A study conducted a sample of over 14,000 participants found that brushing after every meal was linked to lower weight. That minty toothpaste flavor not only clashes with virtually every food, brushing may also trigger a Pavlovian response that tells your brain the kitchen’s closed.
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons (with the two often being related). Although humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos. This may be due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy.
Glad you started to work out! It took me to my mid 30’s before I started to workout! Now I do it at least 5 times a week! You feel so much better about yourself and your doing something good!! I’m glad you have a family that supports your healthy eating! Sometimes it can be hard when they don’t!!! Keep up all the great work and keep educating yourself on a healthy lifestyle!
Tina Haupert is a Boston-based Lifestyle Influencer and the creative mind behind Carrots ‘N’ Cake, a healthy living blog that serves to help everyday people achieve more balance through fitness, nutrition, and general best practices to improve one’s holistic personal wellness. Tina’s weight loss journey began in 2004 when she decided to get serious about her health and her body image. Two years and 23 pounds later, she reached her weight loss goal all while developing healthy lifestyle habits that she’s been able to maintain to this day.