Dr. Travis Stork: Food plays the most important role for most of us in the battle against belly fat and contrary to popular belief; one cannot single out belly fat with a particular exercise. But the good news is that any activity when combined with an improved diet will target belly fat as a whole. And let’s not forget that exercise is great for our overall health – it can help prevent heart disease, some kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety to name a few.
Want to lose that belly fat? In your dreams! Seriously, though: a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to get rid of that extra fat around your waist for good. Among the 60,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, those who snoozed for fewer than five hours a night were at the greatest risk of becoming obese and gaining 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period when compared to those who slept for seven or more hours.
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
If you want to work late at night, think again. When your biorhythms are off, you end up eating more. When you're tired you produce more ghrelin, which triggers cravings for sugar and other fat-building foods. Losing sleep can also alter your hormone production, affecting your cortisol levels that cause insulin sensitivity, prime reasons for belly fat! Getting about 7 hours of sleep a night is one of the best things you can do for your body shaping goals.
As for celebrity fad diets, Stork says he's suspicious. “I'm wary of all celebrity fad diets. I think when we started hosting 'The Doctors' is when the maple syrup diet came out, and it was all about, 'Oh pour a little maple syrup with lemon,' and I was like, 'No, no, that's not going to cure you of all that ails you. I think people need to be careful with celebrities because we always forget … celebrities have a lot of money and access to a lot of things that most normal people don't."
Here's something else most people probably don't know: Fidgeting is good for you. It's considered a nonexercise physical activity, and it's an important way to burn energy. You get more health benefits if, in addition to exercising, you are a more fidgety, more active person the rest of the day. This means gesturing while you're talking, tapping your foot, just moving around.
The stem, fruit and root bark of the barberry shrub contains berberine–a powerful, naturally occurring, fat-frying chemical. A study conducted by Chinese researchers revealed that berberine can prevent weight gain and the development of insulin resistance in rats consuming a high-fat diet. Previous studies have also found that consuming the plant can boost energy expenditure and help decrease the number of receptors on the surface of fat cells, making them less apt to absorb incoming sources of flubber. Pair it with this definitive plan of 14 ways to turn on your get-lean genes to slim down fast.
Each of these 5 Best Teas for Weight Loss has its own individual, magic properties, from dimming your hunger hormones to upping your calorie burn to—literally—melting the fat that’s stored in your fat cells. Oh, and they can also help reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes too. (Stick to 3-4 cups—or tea bags—of tea per day, and choose brewed varieties over bottled to avoid extra calories and sweeteners.)
But at the end of the day, Jim reiterated that losing belly fat and maintaining that fat loss is all determined by the amount of calories lost versus what is consumed. Unfortunately, calorie intake isn't a one-size-fits-all equation; it depends on age, weight, height, sex, and activity level. To calculate how many calories you need to lose weight, use this formula.
Sleep’s a big deal. Losing a mere hour of shut-eye over the course of three days is enough to negatively impact the body’s hunger and appetite-regulating hormone, ghrelin. Quality sleep, on the other hand, fuels the production of fat-burning hormones, making it a top priority if you’re trying to drop a few pounds. Valerian is an herb that’s long been valued as a mild sedative, and now research is showing what tea enthusiasts have known for centuries. In a study of women, researchers gave half the test subjects a valerian extract, and half a placebo. Thirty percent of those who received valerian reported an improvement in the quality of their sleep, versus just 4 percent of the control group.
Other Exercises – Ab exercises will also help reduce belly fat and help you keep that tummy tone as you lose the weight. We are a huge fan of core and ab exercises here at Lose Weight by Eating, and consider them the best exercise to lose belly fat. Not only to they help you tone up fast, they also strengthen your back, fix your posture (which makes you look thinner!) and help you lose belly fat!
A mere 1,200 calories might be enough for your basal metabolic rate—the calories your body would need if you did absolutely nothing all day—but it won’t necessarily keep you energized for basic activities like walking around. “If you cut too many calories too quickly, you’re going to be overly hungry and struggle to maintain that lower calorie intake in order to lose the weight,” says Nolan Cohn.
"One of the hardest parts of losing weight is maintaining the lifestyle changes you’ve made. It’s difficult to stay motivated all the time, especially if you’ve slipped up along the way. But don’t let this affect your end goal. If you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, ask a friend to join you for your workout and then afterwards cook something healthy for dinner together."