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8 Ways to Lose Belly Fat and Live a Healthier Life

It’s impossible to focus on belly fat specifically when you diet. But losing weight overall will help shrink your waistline; more importantly, it'll help reduce the damaging layer of visceral fat, a kind of fat within the abdomen that you simply can’t see but that heightens health risks, says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D. , director of Clinical and Research Physiology at Johns Hopkins.

Here’s how to whittle down where it matters most.

Try curbing carbs rather than fats.
When Johns Hopkins researchers compared the consequences on the heart of losing weight through a low-carbohydrate diet versus a diet for 6 months—each containing an equivalent amount of calories—those on a low-carb diet lost a mean of 10 pounds quite those on a low-fat diet—28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds. an additional advantage of the low-carb diet is that it produced a better quality of weight loss, Stewart says. With weight loss, fat is reduced, but there's also often a loss of lean tissue (muscle), which isn't desirable. On both diets, there was a loss of about 2 to three pounds of excellent lean tissue along side the fat, which implies that the fat loss percentage was much higher on the low-carb diet.

Think eating plan, not diet.
Ultimately, you would like to select a healthy eating plan you'll stick with , Stewart says. The good thing about a low-carb approach is that it simply involves learning better food choices—no calorie-counting is important .

In general, a low-carb way of eating shifts your intake faraway 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.

Keep moving.
Physical activity helps burn abdominal fat. “One of the most important benefits of exercise is that you simply get tons of bang for your buck on body composition,” Stewart says.

Exercise seems to figure off belly fat especially because it reduces circulating levels of insulin —which would otherwise signal the body to hold on to fat—and causes the liver to burn up fatty acids, especially those nearby visceral fat deposits, he says.

The amount of exercise you would like for weight loss depends on your goals. for many people, this will mean 30 to hour of moderate to vigorous exercise nearly a day .

Lift weights.
Adding even moderate strength training to aerobics helps build lean muscle mass, which causes you to burn more calories throughout the whole day, both at rest and during exercise.

Become a label reader.
Compare and contrast brands. Some yogurts, for instance , boast that they’re low in fat, but they’re higher in carbs and added sugars than others, Stewart says. Foods like gravy, mayonnaise, sauces and salad dressings often contain high amounts of fat and much of calories.

Move faraway from processed foods.
The ingredients in packaged goods and snack foods are often heavy on trans fats, added sugar and added salt or sodium—three things that make it difficult to lose weight.

Focus on the way your clothes fit over reading a scale.
As you add muscle mass and lose fat, the reading on your bathroom scale might not change much, but your pants are going to be looser. That’s a far better mark of progress. Measured around, your waistline should be less than 35 inches if you’re a lady or less than 40 inches if you’re a man to reduce heart and diabetes risks.

Hang out with health-focused friends.
Research shows that you’re more apt to eat better and exercise more if your friends and family do the same.

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