Carrying that spare tire around your midsection not only makes it hard for you to buckle your belt, but it's also bad for your health. Abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat, raises your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and men have a greater tendency of accumulating belly fat than women. Despite what many weight-loss ads say, no one food or diet plan is going to help you get a flat belly. A reduced-calorie diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups can help you lose weight all over, which may help improve the tone and look of your belly.
Your phone, tablet, and television may be affecting your waist size in more ways that one. Obviously if you're sitting on electronics then you're not moving around and burning calories. But the effects go beyond just energy. Blue light from electronic screens can disrupt your circadian rhythms; so our addiction to electronics is reducing our sleep as people favor Netflix-bingeing to bed. Both of these effects have been linked to higher levels of belly fat.
This plan, created by Cederquist exclusively for REDBOOK, cuts carbs significantly for three days, reducing excess insulin, a fat-storing hormone. Then it brings them back slow and steady (see below). During each phase, you should eat plenty of lean proteins ( g) and healthy fats ( g) throughout the day to keep you feeling full and ward off cravings. The protein will help you build and maintain muscle mass, too, which is key to burning calories, Cederquist says. Pack your bags, belly fat!
To lose body fat, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. When trying to lose belly fat, the Harvard Medical School says you should not cut back so much that it makes it too difficult for you to stick to your weight-loss plan. To lose 1/2 pound to 1 pound a week, you need to reduce your overall calorie intake by 250 calories to 500 calories a day. Tracking your calorie intake before you start your diet can give you an idea of how many calories you currently eat and how many you need to lose weight. The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute says most men can safely lose weight limiting intake to 1,500 calories to 1,800 calories a day.
They also aren't the only culprit. Just sitting for long periods of time (at your desk job, during Netflix marathons) can wreck your waistline. "When you slouch, the front of your body is rounded, just as it would be in a crunch," says Sean Wells, a physical therapist, certified personal trainer, and exercise expert for the online weight-loss and wellness program BistroMD. "So you're still conditioning your rectus to be in this shortened state—but often, it's also weak."
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As we grow older, our metabolism dips and more fat begins to accumulate around our waistline, giving us that ‘spare tyre’! But getting rid of belly fat is not just about appearances. Studies say that people with a large midriff are 2.75 times more likely to die of heart disease, even if they are within a healthy weight range. The fat stored in your belly region is more dangerous than the fat stored in the rest of your body. It increases bad LDL cholesterol, messes with your blood sugar, increases your blood pressure and your risk of having a heart attack. In short, having that spare tyre is more dangerous than simply being overweight!
"Refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies. Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat. Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are full of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may therefore actually prevent belly fat.”
Americans are getting less sleep than ever these days and it's taking a toll on our health—most visibly on our waistlines. Losing just 30 minutes of sleep per night can make you gain weight, according to a study done by the Endocrine Society. Worse, that weight is more likely to go straight to your tummy. Instead, the researchers found, the best sleep cycle is one that follows your natural circadian rhythms, which means sleeping and waking around the same time as the sun.
While no crunch in and of itself will get rid of belly fat, abdominal exercises are the “finishing moves” to sculpt the abs once you’ve removed excess fat via diet and exercise, Holland says. Spend the majority of your workout focusing on the rest of your body, and dedicate no more than 10 percent of your time on abs work. So if you work out for an hour, plan six minutes of abs exercises and give the rest of your time to strength training and/or cardio.
Want a flatter stomach? Look in your glass—milk and soda are two major causes of tummy inflation. Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, which means that your glass of warm milk before bed may be the reason you wake up with too-tight pajamas. And when it comes to soda, both regular and diet are belly busters both from the sweeteners used and the carbonation. Try eliminating these from your diet and see if it helps flatten your tummy.
HOW TO MAKE IT: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay two 5-oz servings of salmon (skin side down) on a lightly oiled tray alongside a small bunch of asparagus. Season salmon with salt, pepper, and paprika, and the asparagus with salt and pepper. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil and the juice from half a lemon. Place in oven and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 16-18 minutes. In the meantime, cook up 3 servings of brown rice — one you’ll use tonight, and two you’ll use later on in the week. Save two-thirds of the asparagus and the second salmon fillet for leftovers.
Yep, you read that right. High-water foods like fruits and veggies will fill you up faster, says Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., C.D.N, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Start your meal with soup, salad, or her favorite pick: Pre-dinner sliced crudité and spicy hummus. The combo of capsaicin (a spice in hot peppers) and the chickpeas' soluble fiber can help curb hunger.