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. These 21 other terrible habits will make your belly fat worse.
VLCDs are doctor-supervised diets lasting several weeks. The meals are nutritionally balanced, but expensive -- people can end up spending thousands of dollars over time. VLCDs safely produce a loss of 15% to 25% of body weight in 12 weeks. That's for those who finish the program: 25% to half of people don't complete the program. Weight returns when the diet is stopped and happens rapidly; some experts say its best to take a more sustainable approach to weight loss comparable to that of regular diets.
“Whether it’s an app or paper food logs, tracking what you eat will certainly be eye-opening. Almost everyone consumes more than they think. Write everything down as soon as you’re done eating so you don’t forget anything. The simple act of recording what you eat will make you eat less. When the calories are in your face, it makes you think twice!” — Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE
As noted above, our bike racer study (Phinney 1983) involved 9 lean men locked up while eating a precisely controlled ketogenic diet for 4 weeks. In addition to daily weights, three methods were used to determine changes in body composition. As a group, these subjects lost 1 kg of body weight in the first week of the ketogenic diet, all of which was attributable to reduced muscle glycogen stores (which were directly measured). After that, their weights were stable for the next 3 weeks. Unfortunately in this study we did not have the opportunity to measure metabolic rate, but based on our body composition data, anything over a 3% increase in energy expenditure associated with the ketogenic diet would have shown up as non-water associated weight loss (by implication, a loss of body fat). Clearly these 9 men did not demonstrate an obvious increase in body fat loss in the first 4 weeks of keto-adaptation.
Grains get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, but that's because refined grains (read: processed foods!) are linked to wider waists. 100% whole grains are bloat-busting superstars, however, as they're packed with minerals and de-puff by counter-balancing salt. Stick to brown rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, millet, farro, sorghum, and amaranth for the biggest benefits.
About: The best word to describe Chanden's blog is sassy. She’s not afraid to write a little rough around the edges (if you know what we mean), and she’s got a fun personality which comes through her posts as she works to get fit and change her eating habits. She does that by creating healthy recipes and offering cooking tips that she used to drop 70 pounds since she started her blog in March 2015. She also shares her own personal journey and thoughts, and her recipes are in a league of their own.
“A study by David Jenkins, MD, PhD—the University of Toronto pioneer in low-glycemic eating — demonstrates that eating small portions at frequent intervals is good for your health in a number of remarkable ways. Within the study, they found that people who ate every three hours reduced their blood cholesterol by over 15% and their blood insulin by almost 28%. That’s key, because in addition to regulating your blood sugar level, insulin plays a pivotal role in fat metabolism, inflammation and the progression to metabolic syndrome. When your body produces less insulin, you’re much less likely to convert dietary calories into body fat.
Grazing is a surprisingly good idea because it helps you avoid metabolic slowdown. "Your body will be tricked into thinking it's constantly eating, so it will never slow your metabolism down," explains Bauer. Aim for five small meals (200 to 500 calories) a day rather than three large ones. Also try not to go more than four hours without eating — if you eat breakfast at 7am, for example, have a snack at 10am, lunch at noon, another snack at 3pm and dinner at 7pm.
If you’re looking for a writer to follow who’s still in the midst of their own weight loss journey (and willing to admit might always be), Amy is your girl. She blogs about the ups, downs, and challenges on her path to weight loss on Not Afraid of Stripes. She doesn’t hesitate to share her insecurities or efforts to improve her own body image. Visit the blog.
Stop drinking sugary liquids. Sip on water, tea, black coffee or seltzer instead of soft drinks, juice energy drinks, flavored coffees, and martinis. Cutting calories with substitutions can be a lot easier than you might think. For example, a tall latte in the morning may pack 500 calories. Since a pound of body fat (lost or gained) is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, replacing that rich beverage with black coffee can help you lose a pound per week.
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.