Are you looking for ways to effectively burn fat? This post tells you all about stubborn fat and why it hangs around plus my personal strategy, broken down into 11 easy fat loss tips for how I lost a total of 250 pounds!
Many of you who follow me know of the weight and body issues I had for many years. From my teens, really, and moving forward, I didn’t like myself. I thought I was fat and unattractive, and I didn’t have a healthy amount of self-esteem.
I did have times when my weight climbed, and I worked hard to take the pounds back off.
But it seemed I was constantly fighting with myself to take off weight. And even when I succeeded, I kept striving to lose more because I thought that would make me feel better. It was a real yo-yo of loss and gain, both physically and emotionally.
I knew things had to change.
To me, fat loss and gaining control of your body and mind with a healthy lifestyle is a whole package. It’s not about counting calories, and it’s not about deprivation.
It’s more about learning to enjoy food without guilt because stressing over every bite you take is never a good thing!
Want to feel good about your body weight without being consumed by a number on the scale? Read on for 11 fat loss tips presented in such a way that you’ll feel awesome about the changes you make. The recommendations will have you feeling more energetic and in tune with your health. You won’t get the “I can’t do this” feeling at all.
In fact, you’ll have a renewed sense of “I CAN do this!”
WHAT IS FAT?
Fat is necessary, folks!
I’ll give a little bit of science behind the term fat, but I will explain it in pretty simple terms. Body fat can be broken down into 3 types.
Essential fat: Fat found in your nerves, brain, organ membranes, heart, liver, kidneys, and bone marrow (to name some of them) is essential. It plays a role in functions like temperature regulation and vitamin absorption, to name just two.
Subcutaneous fat: Most of the fat on the body is subcutaneous. It’s found on your arms, stomach, butt, and thighs. Too much of this type of fat can lead to problems like heart disease and stroke. Subcutaneous fat is classified as storage fat as opposed to essential fat.
Visceral fat: This is the fat that accumulates around the organs and is known as belly fat. Excessive weight around the middle can lead to illnesses like type 2 diabetes and stroke. Like subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is storage fat.
So, a certain amount of body fat is definitely required. When the percentage of body fat you carry is healthy, you will see these benefits:
- Hormone levels are balanced
- Blood sugar is balanced
- Metabolism is humming along
- Body temperature is regulated
- Neurological health is good
- Vitamin storage is tip-top
On the other side of the coin, too much fat can cause health issues. Excessive visceral fat is especially problematic:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hormonal disturbances
- Diseases like coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, and heart disease
- Complications in pregnancy
- Risk of stroke
- Increased risk for some cancers
WHY DOES FAT ACCUMULATE?
Fat builds up in the body when we consume the wrong kinds of foods (think soda and packaged cookies). Trans fats, for example, are believed to accumulate in the abdomen. Studies show that high sugar intake can cause visceral fat to build up. Being sedentary can cause you to gain weight. As well, not managing your fiber intake can affect fat accumulation, too.
These are just some of the factors that lead to excess fat. And these factors point out that making simple, yet effective changes can have a bearing on your fat loss. You'll see more about what I mean when you reach the 11 fat loss tips below.
HOW CAN I LOSE BELLY FAT?
Since belly fat is mainly visceral fat, there are things you can do that will help you lose it. Particularly helpful and important is cutting down (or even better, eliminating altogether) refined sugars and processed foods.
You may gasp at the thought of quitting sugar. It is possible, and to learn how, read my post on how I quit sugar. Doing so was a big step forward in my weight loss journey, and I can vouch that quitting sugar will have a significant impact on your life.
Stop eating processed foods and learn to enjoy the pleasure of eating clean. Eating foods like lean meat, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, kimchi, and more changes everything – your energy levels increase, you feel healthier and have less hunger, and you have more concentration. And, the fat mass you want to get rid of will soon disappear also.
Exercise is essential, too! More energy expenditure speeds up processes like digestion and yes, fat loss. Get out and move more, be kind to your lungs by increasing your heart rate, and try a workout like my shelter-in-place workout. It’s an effective way to build lean muscle mass and easy to do at home!
HOW CAN I LOSE WEIGHT FAST?
Losing weight fast isn’t the best way to lose weight and keep it off. For one thing, super-fast weight loss is often water loss. And because you lost the weight so quickly, it can return just as fast.
Not only that but there are also hazards and problems with a rapid loss of pounds:
- You miss out on nutrients that give you energy
- You can slow down your metabolism by starving your body
- Your body burns muscle for energy and leaves the fat behind
- The water loss can lead to things like constipation and headache
- Stressing about weight loss will raise your cortisol level and drive you to snack
- Bingeing can occur because you are so hungry
- Rapid losses and gains of weight can lead to an unhealthy body image
TOP 11 FAT LOSS TIPS
In my weight loss journey, I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to burning fat. I’ve compiled a great list and am happy to share it.
One of the things I love about my job, besides the fact that my work keeps my family and me healthy, is helping you to navigate your way to a better you! My weight loss strategy, leading me to lose 250 pounds total over the years, included these tips:
1. CONSIDER INTERMITTENT FASTING
If you haven’t read my guides, Does Intermittent Fasting Work for Weight Loss? and Intermittent Fasting for Women, you’ve got to take a look. I’ve been on an intermittent fasting eating regimen for a while now and love it. Studies show that intermittent fasting helps people to lose weight, reduce fat, and lower cholesterol. IF even reduces the risk of heart disease.
2. STRENGTH TRAIN
Strength training is awesome. Not only does pushing yourself do wonders for your self-esteem, but the results are amazing, too! There are lots of studies out there to show that resistance training reduces fat and can also encourage fat burning at rest.
3. INCREASE CARDIO
While we are on the topic of exercise, doing cardio as a workout can help reduce belly fat, waist circumference, and the amount of body fat you carry. And when you choose an exercise you enjoy, whether it's moderate-intensity or high intensity interval training, you'll see benefits from day one. And that's awesome. Aerobic exercise sessions like running, walking at a fast pace, and swimming are all stellar fat burners.
4. ADD PROBIOTICS TO YOUR DAY
I recently wrote a post on the Benefits of Sauerkraut, and I talk about probiotic foods. Fermented cabbage, aka sauerkraut, is considered a probiotic. Other foods to add to your diet include sourdough bread, miso, and yogurt. Why probiotics? In a compilation of randomized controlled trials where participants took probiotics over 3 to 12 weeks, the results showed significant weight loss and reduced body fat percentage.
5. REDUCE YOUR REFINED CARB INTAKE
Another top fat loss tip is to lower your carb intake. Refined carbs, that is. Foods like packaged snacks and sugary foods are the typical culprits. I’ve given the low down on fake healthy foods in my post here. You’ll be surprised at some of them on the list! A lot of them are full of refined carbs and sugar. Think trail mix, flavored instant oatmeal, and store-bought muffins.
6. INCREASE YOUR FIBER INTAKE
Not only does fiber increase feelings of fullness, but it also keeps your digestive system working well. Fiber-filled foods, like avocados, legumes, oats, and quinoa, can help burn fat. Fiber can help reduce belly fat, according to a study on visceral fat.
7. DRINK COFFEE
You may wonder, what has coffee got to do with fat loss? In my post, Is Coffee Healthy? I explain how coffee can reduce the risk of disease and has a ton of nutrients. But I also explain how coffee boosts your metabolism by increasing the epinephrine in the body. This hormone signals the fat tissues to break down fats and send them to the blood. Drinking coffee increases metabolism, too. Caffeine has antioxidants, another benefit!
8. EAT HEALTHY FATS
Did you know that eating more fat can help you lose fat? I’m not kidding. As long as you eat the right type of fat, that is. I’ve narrowed down the top 10 best food to lose fat and build muscle, including nuts like almonds, and full-fat dairy choices like cottage cheese. Eating fat can slow down your digestion and reduce your appetite.
9. DRINK APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
If you’ve watched my video on apple cider vinegar, you know that I drink about 70 ounces of water a day, with apple cider mixed in to create a tonic. One to two tablespoons a day is the recommended amount to boost fat loss. If you don’t want to drink it, add it to marinades and salad dressings. When to drink apple cider vinegar? I answer that question and tell you more about the health benefits here.
10. GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
So, you want to decrease body fat? You may not think that sleep matters – but it does! Studies show that adequate sleep (and quality sleep) can affect fat loss. One study proved that getting at least seven hours of sleep a night meant more weight loss for participants in a 6-month weight loss program. Being deprived of sleep may interrupt your resting metabolic rate, so to increase fat burning, get to bed at a decent hour as often as you can.
11. EAT LOTS OF PROTEIN
It’s really important to fuel your body with protein. Protein enhances muscle growth and also helps you lose fat, especially in the abdomen. My favorite go-to high protein snacks for weight loss include protein shakes and hummus. And seriously, your calorie intake is much less of a concern when you fuel your body with healthy carbohydrates, good for you dairy products, and power packed proteins like chicken and fish.
MORE FAT LOSS TIPS
You may want to take a look at my post, 15 Weight Loss Hacks That Actually Work. I’ve covered a lot of handy tips that make losing weight easier. A few of my favorites are:
- Use meal prep to your benefit by having healthy meals ready and waiting
- Pay attention to portion control
- Limit your alcohol intake (drink green tea instead!)
- Eat clean wholesome foods
- Choose healthy cereals and grains
- Learn to spot hidden sugar
- Drink lots of water
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