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The 5 Best Scientifically Proven Ways to Lose Belly Fat

The 5 Best Scientifically Proven Ways to Lose Belly Fat

The number one reason men and women still have unwanted belly fat is because they aren’t on an effective fat loss routine. You know, like one that actually gets results. No results, no motivation, right?

So, what is the best way to get the kind of results you can actually see in the mirror and keep you motivated to stay on track.

After years of trial and error, here is my list of the 5 best ways to lose belly fat.

1. Get in the Fat Burning Zone

Getting in the Fat Burning Zone means exercising at an intensity and/or duration that actually burns fat. To do this, you have to get your heart rate into a target range that forces your body to burn fat as a source of fuel. Your belly fat burning target heart rate is based on your age. If your exercise routine is not intense enough, you won’t lose your belly fat.

Intensity is only half of the story. Duration is also a factor. To really lose belly fat you may need to exercise everyday for up to an hour or more, depending on what intensity you are working out at.

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Listed here are some exercises to give you an idea of the intensity level you need.

Best Intensity Exercises:

  • Stair Master (600 calories/hour)
  • Elliptical (600 calories/hour)
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) (800 calories/hr)

Best Duration Exercises:

  • Power Walking (450 calories/hr)
  • Swimming (550 calories/hr)
  • Biking (300 calories/hr)

2. Create a Caloric Deficit

Creating a caloric deficit means cutting your calories below your resting metabolic rate (a.k.a. RMR). This is the amount of calories your body needs at rest. For example, a person could have an RMR of 1800 calories a day, so if they eat 1700 calories a day, their body will dip into its fat reserve and burn 100 calories to maintain RMR.

After only a few days of maintaining a caloric deficit, you will start to see an improvement in your waist line. Keep this up over several weeks and you will notice the pounds disappearing.

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Best Low Calorie Foods:

  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Green Beans, Refried Beans
  • Celery, Carrots, Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Turkey Breast
  • Lentils

Just remember to also factor in the calories you burn each day by exercising. For example, you may eat 1700 calories, but burn an additional 500 by exercising – so now you are down to 1200 calories. Every individual has different caloric needs, so make sure you don’t cut your calories too low.

3. Eat Foods That Help Burn Fat

Limiting your caloric intake means that now you have to carefully choose what to eat. You will need foods that satisfy your appetite and provide nutrients. Empty calories such as sugars and processed foods are not going to give you sustained energy or nutrients. You will notice that even though you ate, let’s say 1500 calories, you are still going to be hungry and probably tired. Instead, you want to choose foods that not only keep you full, but also actually help you burn fat quickly.

Best Fat Burning Foods:

  • Oats
  • Grapefruit
  • Green Tea
  • Red Peppers
  • Berries
  • Vinegar
  • Proteins
  • Avocados

4. Manage Food Cues and Cravings

Working out and cutting calories is going to initially amplify your thoughts of food, and this is where most people fall off the wagon. During the day, you’ll see others eating unhealthy food, or you will crave your favorite “pick me up” foods such as sugar-packed coffee and pastries, or maybe it’s chips and soda (you get the point).

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The key is to anticipate these cues and cravings and find quick and easy substitutes that can give you a boost. Green tea and a small piece of dark chocolate could get you through the worse cravings. Nuts and a small amount of fruit is also a good choice. If you must have a donut, cut it in half, and share it with a friend. Just don’t do this too often, or you’ll still hang onto that belly fat.

Best Tips to Fight Cues and Craving:

  • Don’t hover around the desert table.
  • Use small plates and limit desert size.
  • Pack healthy snacks.
  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Get support from others who are eating healthy.
  • Keep junk food out of sight.

5. Get Some Sleep

Staying up and worrying about problems or distracting yourself with a late night movie can ruin your chances of getting a good night sleep. No sleep means no energy for working out. Lack of sleep can also lead to food cravings. Your body is pulling at straws, trying to find that quick boost of energy it needs to make it through the day. Usually, these craving are for sugars and salts.

Sleep is also needed for muscle repair after working out. Furthermore, sleep can also improve mood which leads to a positive attitude toward losing weight.

Best Tips for Falling Asleep:

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  • Turn the TV off.
  • Read a text book.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Forget about work.
  • Close your eyes even if you don’t feel sleepy.
  • Remember your problems can wait.

Conclusion

To recap, the best way to lose belly fat is to increase the intensity and duration of your exercises so you are actually in the fat burning zone. Create a caloric deficit and choose foods packed with nutrients that keep you full and help you burn fat. Fight off and avoid food cues and cravings by coming up with healthy food substitutes. Sleep is also very important. Make sure to rest up, so you have enough energy to exercise. Sleep also helps reduce food cravings.

As always check with your doctor before starting any exercise or diet plan.

Lastly, consistency is the key. If you want to see immediate results, stay on this plan for at least two weeks before you give up. That means exercising daily for at least an hour, and sticking to the diet plan. Once you’ve given it two weeks, you will not want to stop. Plus, you’ll shrink your belly in no time!

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Nick Bastion

Love Expert, Relationship Coach, Author

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Published on January 17, 2020

How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

If you think yoga can be learned on the mat, you’re wrong! To learn yoga is to learn yourself, your life and the world around you, which happens mostly off the mat.

Since 2000, I study, practice, teach and live yoga – I grow with it from year to year – hence life becomes more interesting and more meaningful from year to year, too. Through all these years, I observe the evolution of yoga in the western culture and see, how (mostly) wrongly, has been interpreted, taught and practiced. Little is known about how to learn yoga – about its practice, its effect and its application. Yoga is all about finding the simplicity and the meaning in the complexity of life.

But when we look around us, it doesn’t seem so simple, even for those who practice it, and for the most who teach it. Everything about yoga begins in its definition from the original yogic scripture Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[1]

And the value for how to learn yoga, is in this article – showing the value of the above definition and how to practice it in the simplest way, effectively and efficiently.

What is Yoga?

Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Hirodhah — and its translation is: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations arising within consciousness.

The 195 Sutras, that the original yoga scripture consists of, are written in a strongly compressed manner with the idea to deliver a profound meaning and a lot of space for interpretation. However, the interpreter must be highly serious and competent, otherwise the interpretation will drastically deviate from what the message conveys.

When the definition about yoga is interpreted and applied the right way, it tells us how yoga is to be practiced and explored. To start the right way, we must know the right destination of yoga, which is Kaivalya:[2] The union between you, the other and the world.

Let’s see how to do that:

Beginning with the famous mainstream slogan “Union of Body, Mind and Soul”, brings up the question, “How to reunite the body, mind and soul?”

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Your feelings – created by outside stimuli result in the creation of thoughts, hence there’s connection between your body and mind. That’s easy to understand, right?

Now this connection and the thoughts must serve and improve the mind, making it capable to 1) understand the soul and 2) to unite it with the body and mind. That’s where our journey towards the goal of yoga (Samadhi) is interrupted – making the main part of the union not easy to understand, even less so to accomplish.

Yoga is More Spiritual than Physical

This is what makes yoga more spiritual than physical. To put it in numbers, yoga is 97% of psychological, philosophical and spiritual nature and only some 3% of physiological, considering that there are only seven out of 195 Sutras referring physiologically to sitting and breathing, of which I talked in my earlier post on Yoga For men.

But before experiencing any spirituality from yoga, there is the mental (emotional) part that needs to be mastered and that part is to establish a connection between the body and mind. How?

The simple thought and realization that you are conscious of how you feel within your body (cold, warm, relaxed, depressed, anxious, happy and so on), means that you have made the union between your body and mind. (below the step by step exercise for that).

But to establish a connection to your soul – to the finest part of yourself – the Self:

You must find out (through thinking) what is the subtlest thing that drives your body and mind – yourself as an individual and use that driver to go pass beyond your physicality and mentality.

It is right here that you use the definition about yoga and the realization – the moment, where you are not analyzing any thoughts or feelings. This is a state of Yoga – a state of union between body, mind and soul, in which your consciousness has ceased to identify with its fluctuations.

Yoga as Creativity and Expertise of the Individual

In such a case, there is no specific (like beginners, intermediate or advanced) technique for learning yoga. The moment of the state of yoga arises for everyone of us in an individual way as everybody’s physique and mental content are different. You might be very well advanced in performing the most difficult asanas for decades but still unable and incompetent to be in a state of union with your body, mind and soul. Whereas, if you are a beginner and possess the grace and other virtues, than it’s easier and quicker to establish that connection.

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As yoga is an inherent part of the human being, firstly, in order to pave the yoga path successfully and effectively, you must understand that yoga is not a technique for performance, but rather a creativity and expertise of yourself.

Your learning process cannot be focused on, nor conditioned by a certain handbook, someone’s instructions or some specific school.

Learning yoga requires your creativity to look within yourself and learn from yourself, become the expert of your feelings, emotions and desires. You, as a beginner might already possess many qualities and prerequisites for creating the union between your body, mind and soul, but your knowledge requires creativity for your growth to reach the state of union and then reap the fruits of that union. Once this happens there is no turning back – you’ll be pulled by the beauty and energy of your on being.

Be Fast Mentally and Slow Physically

As already mentioned, you don’t need to do physical performances like the split or the headstand to be able to immerse in a deep meditation or Samadhi. But you do need enough creativity for your self-inquiry.

Many of my students start working directly with meditation – attending the complexities of the mind, because that’s where the hindrances lie. There, the meditator is able to work on the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the consciousness – where intelligence expands, adversity ends and the individual is ready to pass through its physicality and mentality in order to reach the union with the soul.

But if you’re really a beginner and cannot start with that, then you can start enhancing your creativity on the body-mind level. The exercise follows in the next paragraph.

The greater your creativity, the better your expertise about yourself – the deeper your competence to inquire further into the union with your soul. Sure enough that a more pliable and healthy physical body has some advantages and better preconditions for that, but don’t get discouraged because your body-mind union will open up the way.

So here we are, you are at the moment to enhance your creativity upon that union. Please, take this as a very serious part of the practice as it is crucial for learning yoga – for learning yourself.

The Beginner’s Exercise – Creativity upon Body-Mind Union

The first and most important element to learn and practice yoga is of physiological and psychological nature: Stillness:

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  1. Make sure your body is still and comfortable.
  2. Focus on breathing to initiate observing.
  3. Observe your body and identify the first feeling that occurs to you.
  4. Keep identifying feelings and emotions, but without getting involved with them.
  5. Now create feelings and emotions as you please and let them go.

That’s it! That’s the creativity upon the body-mind union. The validity of this creativity lies in the stillness and observance of that union. In this practice you can learn to understand and catch the moment – the main ingredient of life.

Life is a sequence of moments and knowing that you’re able to manage that sequence is a new level of living life, called dharma – the practical and skillful way of living. An essential character develops as a result of practicing this discipline.

However, be aware that we are still talking about outward elements of yoga – the gross levels (from Yama to Pratyahara) whereas the subtle, inward elements (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) are yet to be approached, learned and implemented. It is on these subtle levels that you can realize the depth of spirituality and the essence of yoga.

It is remarkable how the science of yoga can take you in such heights and depths of exploring life and being. Little is known about the essence and the right practice of yoga in the west. There is a huge knowledge gap between how yoga should be learned and how it is practiced today in the west. You can bridge this gap by practicing the above exercise.

Know that yoga is of a very subtle nature – operating on a subtle energetic level – the level of your mental energies, your thoughts. That means that it is to be learned at that level and not on any other. A body posture alone cannot take you to that level if you don’t apply your creativity and self-inquiry.

Prerequisite for Yogic Success – Union between You and the Other

Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.

Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other – with the stranger who’s not you but carries the same “core”, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego – the “I-consciousness” that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.

This separation is the second of the the five “klesah” afflictions[3] – that stand as major hindrance against the union (Yoga) – called “asmita” or I-am-ness / Egoism (Y.S. II.6.), and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the “I-am-ness” and the “Other-ness”.

This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner “psychological” freedom or the ultimate liberation “Kaivalya” for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:

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  1. Practice observance from the first exercise.
  2. Realize that the structure of your feelings, emotions, etc. is identical with the one of the other individuals.
  3. Practice witnessing, tolerating and gradually accepting the diversity between yourself and the other individuals.
  4. Observe for so long with equanimity, until you see the uniformity in that diversity.

This is one of the greatest accomplishments a human being can achieve. To be, means, to be in relationship – internally, as well as externally.

Yogic Lifestyle – Union Between You, The Other and The World

Here comes the last piece of the puzzle – the union – on the highest level of worldly existence – between you, the other and the world. This means that Yoga is also worthless if practiced only on the mat. So when learning yoga, especially when practicing the body-mind union, consider if:

You speak the language of nature and how you’re connected to nature and its basic elements? Do you complicate your existence by thinking that you are in the center of the world and require extra attention and acknowledgement?

Thinking this way interferes with the practice of yoga. And surely, you might wonder, what should be done here in order to create that harmony in union? You’d be amazed to know that there is one important yogic movement that needs to be done. That is:

The action of not doing anything but contemplating! Then yoga happens.

Yes, this goes beyond the physicality and mentality of your being. As our bodies play just a tiny part of the evolution of existence, we must not attach to the world in that sense – clinging to worldly life with that insatiable urge that generates worries and anxiety – but rather grow through life with detachment and the attitude that life has been gifted to us with the purpose to realize that gift and attain the wisdom of life.

Go Beyond Your Physicality and Mentality

Attaining greatness like connecting to the world and to your soul, we must pass beyond the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the influence they have on us. Hence we want to make the mental fluctuations to cease and let yoga shine its light through this yogic movement:

The stillness and the watching within.

Can yoga be understood and achieved in one single session and then practiced continuously, productively and effectively? Of course it can. Your union within yourself, the other and the world is lot simpler and easier than you think. Practice these simple yogic movements diligently, seriously but also effortlessly and your yoga will be flourishing and fruitful. I salute the spirit in you!

More About Yoga

Featured photo credit: Avrielle Suleiman via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
[2] Wikipedia: Kaivalya
[3] Plato Stanford: Klesah

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