This question is on so many minds: how can I lose belly fat...and fast? While there's no magic formula of food and exercise to reduce belly fat with the snap of your fingers, there are nutrition choices, exercises and lifestyle changes that can help. Here's your guide to understanding exactly what belly fat is and how you might be able to reduce it over time.
For example, you might not realize just how much you eat when you go out to happy hour with friends. But if you take the split second to take a step back and make yourself aware of that fact, you’re more able to make a healthy decision. “The awareness and then planning and coming up with strategies for what else I can be doing—that might give me the same benefit of eating those comfort foods that make me feel better,” says Gagliardi.
Keep your exercise regimen interesting. Variety is the key to both promoting a healthier you and keeping you motivated. When you do the same exercise day in and day out, you put yourself at a higher risk of injuring yourself. You are also more likely to become bored, thus making it harder to find the motivation to keep exercising. While at the gym, switch between machines, join a fitness class, and add some resistance training into your schedule.
Red wine can actually be good for your health, thanks to the antioxidant resveratrol, which studies have shown is good for your health and could help you lose weight. But any more than one glass, and you’re opening yourself up to extra sugar, empty calories, and a boozy buzz, which may inhibit your ability to make healthy food choices. If you’re out to happy hour, stop at one glass and opt for club soda (which is calorie free) or water with lemon instead.
Tired of carrying around those extra pounds? The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to create a low-calorie eating plan that you can stick to for a long time. If you just want to drop a few pounds fast, there are plenty of techniques and tips you can adopt to help you reach your short-term goals, too. Scroll down to Step 1 to learn more. Understand that you may not lose more than a pound or two per week, however.
About: No, Amanda’s blog title is not referring to those delicious chocolate treats— or dancing— or a dog after he gets in from the rain. “Shakes” is Amanda’s long-time nickname and, it just so happens, it also turned into the perfect way to describe her blog. Amanda is an outspoken advocate of having a positive body image and maintaining a common sense healthy lifestyle. She also posts her very real struggle with depression and overcoming her own demons when it comes to sense-of-self. It’s that authenticity that makes for a compelling read that will leave you wanting to check back in every single day. Plus, her top post features a visually stunning photo array of what a typical weekday looks for her.
It is possible to do more in less time — at least when it comes to your workouts. By incorporating interval training — that means bursts of high-intensity moves — you’ll give your metabolism a huge boost, says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., director of the Kinesiology Program at the University of Virginia and author of The Spark. If you usually jog at a consistent pace, try adding a 30-second to one-minute sprint every five minutes, or, if you’re on a treadmill, change up the incline for one-minute intervals.
On this site you will find a huge database of the nutritional values of just about any food you can think of. It also has a database of the calories burned in exercises as well as normal daily activities. There are tools to help you figure out your caloric needs for a day (these are generalized so they will be a good starting point for you. Mine are very different than the standard but I started with these numbers and adjusted up or down as needed to achieve weight loss at the speed I felt was healthy)
Yes whey: the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high-protein shakes are a vital part of a weight loss plan, so don’t hold back – especially at breakfast. According to research from the University of Bath, eat 700 calories before 11am and you’ll have better blood sugar levels than those who skipped the most important meal of the day. It’s the best excuse you’ll have of sticking with a morning fry-up and avoiding a costly Starbucks lunch.
Attend a weight loss camp. Sometimes sticking with an exercise routine and diet plan is too challenging. Old habits and daily routines will steer you back to your old foods and activities at every turn. To combat this, many people enroll in residential weight loss programs that remove them from their daily lives. Sometimes called fitness retreats, these programs come in dozens of different styles, and are available for youth, adults and seniors. You should always make sure before attending, that your weight loss camp of choice is equipped to safely handle your age and health specific needs.
Also, my perspective of what a meal was evolved. I grew up thinking every meal needed to be a plate with a meat, veggies or fruit, carbs, grains, and dessert; and that just isn't accurate at all. I learned that it is totally acceptable to make meals like a bowl with veggies and protein. Or breakfast could include a big bowl of oatmeal with almond butter, greek yogurt, granola, and fruit. I incorporated a ton of fresh produce and didn't let myself buy junk food from the store. It's not always about eating less of everything either, it's less of some foods but more of others.
Rounding out the top three for best weight loss programs on the U.S. News and World Report 2016 rankings, the Biggest Loser meal plan uses a pyramid system with fruits and veggies setting the foundation. Simple tenets back the plan: for example, being mindful of portion control, keeping a food diary, and exercising regularly. So, yes, work will be involved, but the plan is sustainable in the long-term and a likely way to shed pounds.
About: Jackie, a 26-year-old English professor, is not exactly new to blogging. She’s been doing it since 2013. But recently, she moved her posts from Tumblr to their own website — and with an 80-pound weight loss, why not? Jackie’s the kind of writer who draws you in not just with her words, but with her use of photos and links, too. She’s snarky and quick-witted, and her posts are a blast to read. Factor in the continuing journey to shed pounds and reach her goal weight of 132, and the blog is really something special.
About: Aurora is a college student full of curiosity, including a nearly insatiable appetite to learn all she can about fitness and nutrition. She fell in love with exercising early on, while playing for a softball team growing up. That fueled a passion for nutrition as well, and eventually a blog dedicated to both as a way to inspire others to live healthy and lose weight. Aurora, who works in a veterinary’s office, also has a deep love for animals (which is always a bonus in our book). And yes, she includes many photos of cute puppies in her blog.
About: Besides Nadia’s beautiful smile, it’s her philosophy on life that really drew us to her blog. Yes, Nadia is passionate about all things fitness and healthy eating, but she’s even more passionate about spreading the message that perfection is impossible and the key is to love yourself for who you are. That’s the kind of heart Nadia puts into each and every one of her posts as she strives to help people find their own version of happiness.
When Johns Hopkins researchers compared the effects on the heart of losing weight through a low-carbohydrate diet versus a low-fat diet for six months—each containing the same amount of calories—those on a low-carb diet lost an average of 10 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet—28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds. An extra benefit of the low-carb diet is that it produced a higher quality of weight loss, Stewart says. With weight loss, fat is reduced, but there is also often a loss of lean tissue (muscle), which is not desirable. On both diets, there was a loss of about 2 to 3 pounds of good lean tissue along with the fat, which means that the fat loss percentage was much higher on the low-carb diet.
About: Blogs full of heart-felt writing and deep emotions are great, but it never hurts to toss in one with a laugh-out-loud humor to it as well. Enter Running off the Reese's blogger Cely. If her blog mantra “Because no one should have to choose between their pants and chocolate” doesn’t pull you in, her creative use of gifs and humorous style of writing will. Cely was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 18 — a diagnosis she certainly didn’t let hold her back. She runs races (usually half-marathons or less), shares her experiences, has a long list of book reviews...and talks a bit about life in general in between. And it’s awesome.
Also, while your menstrual cycle may not affect weight gain or loss, losing or gaining weight can affect your menstrual cycle. Women who lose too much weight or lose weight too quickly may stop having a period, or have irregular periods. Women who have obesity may also have irregular periods. A regular period is a sign of good health. Reaching a healthy weight can help women who have irregular periods to have cycles that are more regular. Learn more in our Menstrual Cycle section.