Tired of looking at your embarrassing belly fat in the mirror?
Are you confused, frustrated and down-right “ANGRY” about your body?
Believe it or not, belly fat is not just unattractive: having fat hanging around your waist is bad for your health – worse than carrying weight around your thighs and hips. Belly fat or abdominal fat is the most frustrating, because for some people, especially women, no matter how hard they try, it doesn’t shed off and doesn’t respond to exercises or diets. Abdominal fat isn’t just the spare tire around your mid-section. In fact, it is far worse than you think.
Unlike those fats found on your arms, thighs and face, belly fat is more than what you see poking out when you’re sitting down. The fat extends deep inside you – in your stomach, you heart and covers your veins and arteries. Most of it hides deep in your abdomen.
Losing any weight is hard, but losing the fat around your waist is proven to be next to impossible
Fretting over your weight can even make things worse, distracting you from what is amazing and true about you.
Each year, millions of people resolve to take control of their health, lose weight and exercise; and millions of people fail because they do it the wrong way.
Do you want to learn how to trim down your weight and size the right way?
Here are the five biggest mistakes busy women make that keep themselves battling belly fat madness and some effective ways to avoid these mistakes!
Mistake #1: Dieting
Are you dieting and still not losing weight? It seems like there are new fad weight loss diets almost every day, promising to help you lose weight, achieve a shapelier body and be healthier. Experts say that 95% of all diets are clinical failures in the long run.
What exactly is DIETING?
Dieting is a strict and often one-size-fits-all eating regimen that you follow for a little while and then stop following and return to your old ways and regain all the weight you lost, and maybe even put more on. Diets come in various types: low-calorie, low-fat, low-carb, protein-rich and many others.
Why should you stop dieting and never try it again?
Every person has different nutritional needs, but if the diet says ‘avoid dairy,’ it speaks for everybody, regardless of whether or not it is right for the individual.
A lot of fat loss diet plans tend to reduce, or even eliminate, foods that are high in nutritional value. Regardless if it is low-calorie, low-fat or low-carb, a diet restricting nutritious foods can lead to cravings of non-nutritional food sources.
Also, the body has an ideal state of balance, so taking too little or too much of a certain food group will lead to craving the opposite. For instance, eating too much protein (e.g. meat) can lead to cravings of alcohol or sugar.
Determining the right diet regimen is based on many factors, which include your age, genetic heritage, activity level and personal preferences. So rather than trying to fit into a formulaic eating plan, try to be true to yourself. Learn to practice eating a healthy balanced diet that is based on your unique needs.
How to eat the healthy way?
The key for any healthy diet is always moderation, which means eating only as much food as your body needs. You must feel satisfied at the end of your meal, but not overstuffed. It’s all about balance. Whatever kind of diet you have, a balance of protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals is very essential to sustain a healthy body.
The goal of a healthy diet is to develop one that is sustainable, one that you can maintain for the rest of your life, and not only just a matter of weeks or months. To be more specific, it means eating less of the unhealthy stuff and choosing healthy foods. However, it does not mean eliminating the foods that you love. For instance, you can eat bacon for breakfast in moderation, but make sure to follow it with healthy lunch and dinner.
When you avoid certain food groups, it is a normal response to want those foods more and then feel guilty once you give in to the temptation. If you are drawn towards unhealthy foods, start by not eating them as often. If you have an unhealthy diet, eating fries and a burger once a week probably won’t have a harmful effect on your health. Reduce the intake of unhealthy foods gradually, reducing portion sizes until you find yourself craving them less.
Mistake #2: Eating Lots of Low Fat Foods, Particularly the Processed Kinds
FACT: Being overweight is not a calorie problem.
One of the biggest beliefs in almost all diet plans right now is that the way to losing weight (including the stubborn belly fats) is to eat fewer calories than you burn off.
This is the main theory for the ‘low-fat diet’ programs that emerged and became so popular. In theory, it makes sense, but not in actual practice. Based on several studies, it can be beneficial for both fat loss and cholesterol level to include certain high-quality fats in your regular diet instead of avoiding them.
So, what is dietary fat?
Oils and fats are mainly composed of molecular chains called fatty acids. Providing 9 calories per gram of fat, they are high-energy foods, which is the reason many diet authorities think that fats can make you fat. But they don’t when you know how to choose properly and when and how to use them.
There are three types of dietary fat – saturated fat, trans fat and monounsaturated fat.
- Saturated fat – commonly found in animal products such as whole milk, fatty meats, butter, cheese and cream. Some tropical plants and vegetable oils like palm kernel, palm, and coconut contain saturated fat.Saturated fat isn’t as harmful as you think. Coconut oil, for instance, is healthy and is the ideal oil for cooking because it is less likely to be damaged when heated. One misconception about saturated fat is that it will increase your chances of getting heart attack. NOT TRUE!Healthy saturated fats sourced from high-quality animal and vegetable sources provide a pure, concentrated source of energy. They act as transporters for essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D,E and K.But keep in mind that not all saturated fats are the same. While there are several types of saturated fats, the most common are lauric acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid. Out the three, only the stearic acid (found in animal fats and cocoa) has no bad effects on your cholesterol level. Stearic acid raises the ‘good’ cholesterol by changing into oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, once it reaches the liver.Some healthy sources of saturated fat include butter made from grass-fed organic milk, coconuts and coconut oils, raw nuts such as pecans and almonds, organic pastured egg yolks, grass fed meats and raw dairy.
- Unsaturated fats – most of the fats that you should eat are these – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated oils are solid at low temperature and liquid at room temperature. Examples include olive, peanut and canola oils and avocado. On the other hand, polyunsaturated oils are liquid at both low and room temperature. Sources include safflower, sunflower and sesame seed oils.
- Trans fats – are a type of fat commonly found in foods that use hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable fats. Trans fat is one of the main causes of abdominal obesity as well as weight gain. Worse, it increases your risk of heart disease by increasing the bad cholesterol while lowering the good cholesterol in your blood.
Why Do You Need Fat to Lose Weight?
When your body does not get the nutrients it needs, your brain will send out hunger signals telling you to eat until it gets them. Our bodies cannot produce essential fatty acids on their own, so they have to be consumed through our diet.
One reason fat helps with weight loss is that it slows down digestion of food. How is this beneficial? When we eat carbs, they are broken down into glucose (simple sugar) and distributed throughout the body. When this occurs, insulin is released and carries the glucose to muscle tissues (or store it as fat if glycogen deposits are full). If there’s too much glucose in the bloodstream, your insulin level also increases, which prevents the release of fatty acids. Fats cannot be released when there’s too much insulin in the system.
How does fat help? Fats delay the digestion of your meal and this results in a nice, sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream. Because of this, insulin levels remain within normal range and fat can be mobilised. By adding a little fat to your meal, you delay the breakdown of carbohydrates and boost your fat burning potential.
Another reason fat can help you lose weight is that fat boosts testosterone. Testosterone is one of the most potent muscle building hormones, not only for men but women too. Dietary fat intakes have been shown to boost testosterone levels. Testosterone is a major muscle-building hormone and having that extra muscle will boost your metabolism and burn more fat. You can increase your testosterone level by eating between 20 to 30% of your calories from fat. However, you can’t use just any fat – it should be monounsaturated and saturated fats.
How to Choose Healthy Fats and Fight the Flab?
A US study found that intake of total fat, cholesterol or any specific type of fat does not help in predicting the development of coronary heart disease. When it comes to weight loss and reducing belly fat, it is important to note that what matters most isn’t the amount of fat eaten but the type of fat. Strong evidence reveals that the type of dietary fat matters more than the total fat intake because different types of fat play different or even opposing roles.
Learning about fats can be a little confusing. When checking out products at the grocery store, you will be confronted with products that are labeled low-fat, zero-fat or products with hydrogenated oil as one of the ingredients.
Mistake #3: Ignoring the Main System that Regulates Fat Metabolism
As discussed above, insulin plays a huge role in the metabolism of dietary fat. The good news is, insulin is the only hormone in your body that you have control over. This means you have the power to control your body’s fat metabolism.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a vital substance, a body hormone that processes sugar in the bloodstream and delivers it into the cells to be used as energy or stored as fat. It is a hormone produced by your pancreas.
Why does insulin cause weight gain?
One role of insulin is to get the fuel from the food you eat (glucose) and carry it to your cells. This means that the more food you eat that is converted to glucose, the more insulin your pancreas produces. When you have too much insulin in your system, it drives fat accumulation and blocks it from being released.
The leading cause of high insulin level is excessive intake of carbohydrates or sugar, which is quite typical in our diet today. This includes nutrient-deficient carbohydrates such as sugary drinks, processed foods along with insufficient fat intake, insufficient protein intake, and poor fiber consumption. Insulin resistance can also lead to stress, lack of exercise, overindulgence in alcohol and excess body fat, particularly around the abdomen.
How to regulate your insulin, reset your fat metabolism and reduce belly fat?
The best way to reset your fat metabolism is by controlling the amount of insulin released by your body. How is this possible?
- Get back to the points stated in Mistake #2. You need to eat healthy fats whenever you lessen your total carbs, or you feel unsatisfied.
- Bump up your protein. Having about 20 to 25 grams with every meal and about 15 to 20 grams with every snack is a good way to start. Men should add an extra 10g per meal and 5g per snack. Protein intake keeps insulin levels low –which is a must for fat loss and appetite control.
- To reduce your insulin, you have to check the quantity of the carbohydrates you are eating and gradually lessen the amount.
- Eat less food in one sitting. Eating smaller, more frequent meals is recommended. By eating more meals with smaller portions, you won’t feel as unsatisfied or hungry in between meals since you are going to be eating again soon.
Mistake #4: Calorie Counting
Our body is designed with an internal system that tells us when we’re hungry and need food and how much to eat to feel satisfied. However, too much insulin, food sensitivities and chronic overeating disrupt that system and then we can’t trust it anymore.
This is the reason why we look for different ways to manage our weight, control the cravings, help us with portion control, and the worst of these ways is calorie counting.
What is calorie counting?
Calorie counting means calculating your calorie needs to maintain energy and a stable weight or to achieve weight loss. Based on the ‘calories in versus calories out’ idea, you need to plan the size of your caloric deficit in order to maximize fat loss.
Why is calorie counting ineffective?
There are many reasons why calorie counting is ineffective in the long run.
First, not all calories are made equal. Every macronutrient (fats, carbs and proteins) is processed differently by the body. Some foods can boost metabolic rate and increase satiety while some foods can influence your hormones and encourage weight gain.
The second reason counting calories won’t lead to fat loss is that different foods can affect your appetite. For example, protein can increase your fullness. Compare drinking a can of soda to eating the same amount of calories from eggs. With this example, we can prove that cutting carbs/sugar while increasing protein and healthy fats will lead to calorie restriction, and in turn weight loss.
The third reason is that we human beings are not robots. We don’t make decisions and behave based on a mathematical computation. You may notice how hard it is to change some habit in your life. The same is true with your eating behaviour – it is basically subconscious, and it is human nature.
If calorie counting seems ineffective, what should I do?
The key here is to restore your internal system – your hunger and fullness system. Once you succeed in bringing it back, you will find out exactly how much to eat per meal to max out your fat burning potential. How do you do it? Listen to those internal cues.
One of the most effective ways to lose weight and reduce your belly fat is to eat based on your hunger and fullness. Let your body be your guide. Stop when you’ve had enough.
In order to reset your appetite settings, detoxify, reduce the excess insulin in your body and just slow down with your meal so you can hear the signals of true hunger and satisfaction.
Mistake #5: Obsessing over Food and Ignoring the Deeper Hungers in Your Life
Sometimes, we don’t just eat to satisfy hunger. Food can be a source of comfort, a reward or a stress relief. Emotional eating has become a common problem, and many of us do not recognize the extent to which our emotions can impact our eating habits.
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food in response to feelings rather than hunger. Experts believe that 75% of overeating has something to do with emotions. Among all the triggers of emotional eating, stress tops the list.
How to Break Free from Emotional Eating?
What you are really hungry for may not be food at all – you might be hungry for something much deeper, like a fulfilling job, or peace and serenity in your chaotic home.
If you want to lose weight and get back into healthy shape, you need to be courageous and honest enough to look deeply in some starving areas of your life. Here are some tips to help you stop obsessing about food:
- Identify your triggers. – are they stress or emotions like loneliness, boredom, sadness, fear and resentment?
- Find another way to fulfill your feelings so you won’t immediately turn to food.
- Are you bored? Watch a movie, read a book or explore the outdoors.
- Feeling exhausted? Take a bath, treat yourself with a cup of tea
- Lonely and depressed? Call someone you can talk to, dance to your favorite song or play with your pet
- Take action by supporting yourself with a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, sleep and connect with others. These are three simple lifestyle habits to help you get through difficult times without emotional eating.
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