Advertising

Last Updated on December 15, 2020

The Biggest Myth About Losing Belly Fat: Can You Lose Belly Fat Only?

The Biggest Myth About Losing Belly Fat: Can You Lose Belly Fat Only?
Advertising

There’s a guy in the fitness center I manage that is struggling with losing belly fat. To battle that issue, he chooses to wear a ‘fat-losing belt’ and rubs his belly with a special ‘fat-burning ointment’. He has tried to lose his belly fat for over a year now, with little to no success.

Most people think that they can target specific areas of their body to lose fat; for instance: they want to lose weight on their belly or on their thighs only. This is called spot-reducing fat, but this is mostly a stubborn myth. Although there could still be some truth behind it. In this article, I will explain the reason why this is, and how you can actually lose your belly fat.

How fat reduction works

In biochemistry class, you are taught that fat is stored as triglycerides in fat cells. You also learn that fat is energy dense and a pain in the rear for your body to metabolize.

Advertising

    Fat is so hard to break down because it’s stored as triglycerides. To use the fatty acids, your body first has to cut the glycerol molecule from the fatty acids. From there, the fatty acids travel within the blood stream to the muscle cell, where it gets turned into energy inside the mitochondria.

    You don’t have to understand every single step of this process. The key takeaway here is that using your fat as energy is what your body doesn’t necessarily want to do.

    The truth behind the myth

    Scientists established long ago that targeting specific areas of fat was impossible. The myth has persisted largely because of dubious infomercials that play non-stop at 3am in the morning.

    But this myth actually has some truth behind it. If you touch your body part with the most fat stored, you will notice that this part is cooler than the other parts of your body. That’s because in this area there’s minimized blood flow.

    Advertising

    Most spot-reducing gimmicks try to increase the blood flow to a certain area of your body, such as your belly or your thighs. In theory, this works; but practically, the effect is so minuscule that you won’t see any real difference.

    Don’t believe the hype. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

    How to lose body fat instead

    All living organisms must obey the first law of thermodynamics. The balance between energy intake and energy expenditure determines energy storage. Your body stores energy in the form of fat cells.

    To lose body fat, you have to burn more energy than that you consume. It’s simple actually. Here are three ways how you can do this:

    Advertising

    1. Pump up your muscles

    While you may not be able to decrease the fat size on a certain body part by training in the gym, you will better your proportions. If you struggle with belly fat, training your back muscles will get you a better look in the long-term, as your body will look more proportional.

    A great exercise if you want to spot reduce belly fat on your thighs is to do the squats or the leg press. These exercises train your whole body and help strengthen the muscles underneath. This creates a toned look in the long-term. Ask a competent friend, or hire a professional coach for workout advice.

    2. Hit that treadmill

    Due to your genetics, you can’t decide where you will lose fat in the first place, but your actions will decide if you lose fat in the first place.

    A great way to lose fat is cardiovascular training. While most people hate doing cardio (I’ve been there too), it nonetheless is important for your heart health. If you simply can’t manage to step on a treadmill, you can sign up for martial arts classes or do a team sport where you exert yourself on a regular basis. A friend of mine has lost over 20 lbs by doing martial arts 2 times a week.

    Advertising

    3. Eat like an adult

    We all know which foods are good for us. Yet our actions don’t match our understanding most of the time. Sometimes we eat like we are 5 years old.

    The best advice I can give you in the case of nutrition is to eat like a freaking adult. Eating cereal for dinner or Twinkies as a snack? To be blunt here: take a look in the mirror. This is not how you are supposed to eat.

    Start with simply eating more of the good stuff on a daily basis. Eat a little bit more vegetables than you are usually eating and you’re already making a great decision.

    For more weight loss guidance regarding nutrition, you can watch this video:

    Advertising

    Don’t believe the hype

    Spot reducing doesn’t work. Don’t believe the media hype and scrupulous advertisers.

    Ointments and specific belts may help you but it’s in a very minuscule way. Stick to the basics: train your muscles, do cardio regularly and eat like an adult. The results will come; be patient and enjoy the process.

    More by this author

    Florian Wüest

    Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

    7 Super Fast Remedies for a Pulled Muscle in Neck Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss Hit a Weight Loss Plateau? Here’s How To Break Through It How to Gain Muscle Quickly and Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide) Your Body on Caffeine Addiction: 70 Cups of Coffee in 7 Days

    Trending in Diet & Nutrition

    1 13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach) 2 How to Break a Fast When You’re Intermittent Fasting 3 How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips 4 8 Best Foods for Dieters to Eat Healthily 5 7 Health Benefits of Vitamin B12 (Backed By Science)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Published on July 14, 2021

    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)
    Advertising

    We’ve all had late-night cravings. Those times when you would lie in bed but your mind is on the fridge. You try to fight it, but you find out that you can’t. Food—you want food—to chew and to drink and to swallow. It usually goes this way: after much hesitation, you would get off your bed and walk over to the kitchen where you would stand for seconds and maybe even minutes contemplating a lot of things.

    You have heard about it—read about it, too—the famous “eating late at night isn’t good for you.” You know well about how eating late at night can cause you stress and make you gain weight. But you just want to eat—and eat you must.

    But what must you eat? What are your best and most healthy options? Here are the 13 best foods to eat at night.

    1. Turkey

    If you aren’t a vegetarian, then you most probably love turkey. It is not only very tasty and delicious, but it is quite nutritious, too. Turkey contains a lot of protein. As little as 28 grams of turkey already contains eight grams of protein.[1]

    It also contains some amount of vitamins and a nutritive compound called selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in ensuring the thyroid gland functions properly.

    Turkey passes as one of the best foods to eat at night because the protein tryptophan, which it contains in a considerable amount, is believed to promote tiredness and thus, sleepiness.[2]

    2. Fish

    Another great choice for non-vegetarians is fish, especially fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are considered healthy choices because they contain a considerable amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body regulate its calcium levels and is good for your kidneys, parathyroid glands, skin, etc.

    Advertising

    Fatty fishes also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of healthy fatty acids that can serve as anti-inflammatory agents and are good for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to be able to increase the amount of serotonin produced by the nervous system, and thus, make sleep feel better.[3] This means that fishes would not keep you awake! You don’t have to roll from side to side trying to fall asleep after eating them.

    Fishes also contain nutritive oils that are good for your body and skin.

    3. White Rice

    White rice is just rice that has no bran germ—that is, both bran and germ have to be removed as a result of processing from brown rice to make it white rice. This removal of bran and germ causes white rice to contain lower fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants when compared with brown rice. However, white rice still contains a commendable amount of nutrients such as thiamine, folate, and manganese and so is great as a late-night meal.

    White rice has a high Glycemic Index. (GI). A food’s glycemic index is simply the measure of the rate at which that food increases the body’s sugar level. Taking in foods with a GI index, such as rice, can improve the quality of one’s sleep. This is as long as one takes these foods one hour before sleep. If you plan to sleep by 7 p.m, then it is a good idea to eat white rice by 6.p.m.[4]

    4. Bananas

    Finally, Something for vegetarians. A fruit! Bananas not only taste good, but they are also rich in the compounds potassium and tryptophan, making them one of the best foods to eat at night.

    Tryptophan, as earlier stated, is an essential protein that plays a role in relaxation. Some bananas before meals can improve the quality of your sleep. Plus, they contain vitamins and are rich in antioxidants. They also contain compounds that are capable of making bowel movements easier.

    5. Cheese and Crackers

    Cheese and crackers, crackers being a source of carbohydrates and cheese a source of tryptophan, can help balance the body’s sugar level. When you take cheese and crackers together, more tryptophan is made available to your brain.[5] The sugar in cheese feeds your brain, and tryptophan helps with the production of melatonin.

    Advertising

    This means that there would be more serotonin and melatonin production in your nervous system when you take cheese and crackers together. Serotonin improves the quality of a person’s sleep.

    6. Warm Cereals

    Cereals are great sources of fiber. Ones like oats also contain an impressive amount of melatonin, which improves sleep.

    Before bed, a hot bowl of cereal and maybe even whole grains are a good choice. They do not contain a lot of calories and would most likely not keep you awake.

    7. Yoghurt

    Yogurt tastes good, and kids and adults love them. They are also a rich source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral to the body. It is necessary for the growth of bone and teeth, and skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles need it for muscular contractions to happen.

    Your body also needs calcium to produce melatonin from tryptophan. If calcium levels are low, there will be a reduced rate of production of melatonin—and thus, low quality sleep. Yogurt also contains casein. Casein is believed to reduce early morning hunger.

    Unsweetened yogurt is a great snack and one of the best foods to eat at night.

    8. Eggs

    Eggs are great sources of protein and don’t contain many calories. As a late-night snack, eggs are a great pick. They are easy to cook and can go along with many different kinds of snacks.

    Advertising

    Eggs also contain tryptophan, which—as you must now already know—can improve the quality of one’s sleep.

    9. Protein-Pineapple Smoothie

    As you may have noticed, most of the snacks and foods on this list of best foods to eat at night are protein-rich foods. Protein-rich meals taken around bedtime can boost muscle repair. They can also combat age-related muscle mass loss especially in people who frequently exercise.

    As a late-night snack, you can blend some pineapple pieces into milk. Milk is a great source of the protein tryptophan from which the body produces melatonin. Pineapples do not contain a lot of calories and might not prove a threat to your body’s normal digestive functions. Pineapples can also boost your body’s serotonin levels.[6]

    10. Tart Cherries

    Juices made from tart cherries are great alongside other snacks, such as crackers and cheese. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory effects. Even though in small quantities, tart cherries contain the sleep hormone melatonin. They also contain procyanidin B-2, which is believed to keep stable the essential amino acid tryptophan.[7]

    Tart Cherries have low calories, too. This means that they are not too heavy and do not pose the threat of fat deposition, and they would not keep you awake.

    11. Honey

    Honey harvested from bees is nutritious and does not contain a lot of calories. It is known to be capable of increasing the production of melatonin in one’s body.[8]

    It also contains healthy sugars, such as fructose and glucose, and can have a healthy effect on your body’s sugar level. Honey is one of the best food to eat late at night.

    Advertising

    12. Popcorn

    When it isn’t swathed in sugar and milk and other fatty stuff, popcorn presents as a great late-night snack. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack and contains a rich amount of fiber.[9] High-fiber grains are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

    Also, popcorn contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants believed to improve circulation and in general, health.

    13. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

    French fries are amazing. They taste so good. Do you like french fries? Then baked sweet potato fries are a great pick you might want to consider.

    As a late-night snack, you can very well bake sweet potatoes instead of frying them. They are easier to prepare when baked and do not contain so much fat. Sweet potatoes contain a good quantity of fiber and vitamins.[10]They also contain some great amounts of protein.

    Final Thoughts

    When next you have the craving for a late-night meal, you should know that not all meals are great when eaten at night. Some are about right, and others could contribute to excessive weight gain, heart diseases, digestive disorders, and other health issues.

    Have you ever woken up with swollen eye bags, felt nauseous, or had malaise after a late-night meal? Then it’s possible the meal was not a great pick.

    When choosing the best meals and snacks to eat at night, you should choose meals that contain low calories—not more than 200 calories—and have high protein content. Proteins like tryptophan enhance the quality of sleep. Some of these foods include eggs, turkey, cheese, bananas, yogurt, juices, etc.

    Advertising

    Remember, eating healthy is a great way to remain healthy.

    More Healthy Snacks Options

    Featured photo credit: K15 Photos via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next