10 Steps to Beating Belly Fat
Belly fat always ranks high on the list of weight loss targets for men and women of all ages. Many times, it seems to stubbornly refuse your best efforts at banishing it. Even if you have failed in your belly fat battle in the past, the following 10 tips will have you furnacing the flab, losing the love handles and discovering that beach body, six pack abs look that is hiding just beneath your belly fat right now.
1 – Fiber fuels belly fat burning. A high fiber diet regulates a healthy digestive system. This means you process fat instead of storing it. Eat nuts, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and fruits, aiming for 25 grams (g) of fiber per day for women, 38 for men.
2 – Drink lots of water. A properly hydrated body keeps all of your internal systems working efficiently. This means a lower chance of you storing fat, a healthy metabolism that burns fat and calories properly, and very little belly fat that results from an unhealthy digestive system. Most health professionals and fitness experts agree 6 to 8 glasses of water a day is sufficient for proper hydration.
3 – Sleep 6 to 8 hours each and every night. When you start the day tired you fill your coffee with sugar. You grab sweet, sugary, energy-boosting snacks and drinks throughout the day. That sugar gets stored as fat. Studies have shown that there is no “catching up” when you miss sleep either. So make sure you get plenty of rest nightly.
4 – Increase your protein levels at meals. Getting 20 to 25 g of protein each meal is a good idea to keep belly fat at bay. Shoot for 10 to 20 g of protein per snack as well. Those are good numbers for women, and men may want to add 5 or 10 g of protein to those recommendations. Constant protein doses throughout the day keep your blood sugar balanced and insulin levels low, meaning that your body handles appetite control and fat loss properly.
5 – Just say no to stress. Sometimes you cannot control the stress you encounter. In many cases however, you create your own stress. The cortisol which is released as a stress response can cause you to overeat, and even decreases your ability to lose fat in your belly and elsewhere on your body.
6 – Remember this weekly exercise rule – 3 to 5 times for 20 minutes. That is all you need to burn calories and fat, crank up your metabolism and begin building lean muscle mass. Muscle burns fat and calories quicker than fat does. Don’t worry, you do not need to develop a muscled bodybuilder physique to benefit from this belly fat busting tip. Just make sure that strength and aerobic training at a moderate to intense level become a part of your weekly exercise regimen.
7 – Cut back on the salt. Limiting your sodium intake delivers a lot of health benefits. It can cut down on your risk of contracting heart disease, strokes and cancer. It also causes you to bloat, and is often in extremely high concentrations in processed, fatty food. Try not to eat more than 500 mg of sodium per meal, aiming for no more than 1,600 to 2,200 mg of sodium daily.
8 – Don’t believe the sugar-free weight loss fallacy. Sugar-free foods and drinks typically contain artificial sweeteners that are not processed properly by your body. These chemical fats go straight to your belly, and can lead to a long list of cardiovascular and digestive problems. Avoid the misleading phrases sugar-free and fat-free, especially in highly processed foods (any food with a wrapper).
9 – Eat more often. Seriously, the old “3 big meals a day” nutrition guidelines are a fat booster. You burn more belly fat, and fat all over your body, when your metabolism is cranked up. This happens every time you eat. Accompany 3 main meals with sensible portions with 2 or 3 snacks every day. Just do not overeat. Make sure that those 5 or 6 daily meals/snacks hit your target caloric intake, and your metabolism will be crunching calories and burning fat all day long.
10 – Cut back on the beer and alcohol. The term “beer belly” is not really accurate. It makes you think that drinking beer causes belly fat. That is just not the case. A glass of wine, an alcoholic beverage or a couple of beers 2 or 3 times a week will not promote weight gain. The problem is when several alcoholic drinks or beers are consumed in one sitting. Just like any other calories, beer calories add up quickly if you are not careful. A single beer has between 130 and 180 calories, so you can enjoy one now and then, but don’t overdo it.
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