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How To Lose Belly Fat

How To Lose Belly Fat

Spare tire, love handles, muffin top, pot belly…all somewhat comical terms for belly fat. Most people don’t like having that extra flab around their midsections, but we tend to just put up with it. Most of us have tried some diet or bought a video teaching us how to do a perfect crunch. But there is too much conflicting advice out there, and besides, we’ve failed in the past so there’s no guarantee we’ll succeed anyway.

Take heart, there is a truly effective strategy to lose belly fat, but you may have to loosen up some old preconceptions. Please note that in this article I am specifically talking about fat loss as opposed to overall weight loss (fat, muscle & water).

The strategy involves both diet and exercise – nothing new there. However, it entails 2 unique ways of going about it.

The Diet – Become a Fat/Protein-Burner

Low-carbohydrate nutrition is one of the most-effective ways of shedding pounds of fat from the body.

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Why?

Basically, the body burns energy in the following order:

  1. Carbohydrate (from food and stored glycogen)
  2. Fat (from food and bodyfat)
  3. Protein (from food and muscle tissue)

If you eat what most government guidelines recommend you eat, you are a carb-burner. It then becomes obvious that in order to become a fat-burner, you should reduce the current primary energy source i.e. carbohydrate.

When you do this, your body takes a few days to flip a ‘metabolic switch’ and become a fat-burning machine. At that point, the fat you eat gets consumed first, and then you start burning away bodyfat as your primary source of energy. Obviously, you don’t therefore consume copious amounts of fat, and you don’t need to go zero carb to benefit. Anything under 100 grams of carbs a day is considered ‘low-carb’, but ideally under 60 grams would produce great results.

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On low-fat diets (which by nature are high-carb diets), when your ‘food calories’ are gone, the body will burn a mixture of both fat and muscle tissue (protein). As muscle is ‘metabolically active’ — it burns calories all day long just by being there — losing it is a disaster for the dieter. Their metabolism will continually slow down over time.

This is one of the main reasons why low-fat diets very often produce temporary results: you lose weight for a while, but then it stops working (as your metabolism has crashed) and you pile it back on – and then some!

Notes

Low-carb diet works for many people but it might not be for everyone. The key is always to see which one works for you best. Nevertheless, the above suggestion and explanation hopefully can provide you a new perspective and approach to get rid of your belly fat. Just give it a try and listen to your body’s reaction!

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The Exercise – Cardio or Interval Training?

Loads and loads of cardio, right? Wrong.

Overdoing cardiovascular exercise will also put your body in a state where it breaks down lean muscle tissue (catabolism). So the question is, how do we complement our fat-burning nutritional strategy with fat-burning exercise.

It’s called ‘Interval Training’, or more specifically ‘High Intensity Interval Training’. The idea is to perform some sort of cardio in ‘fits and starts’ i.e. a period of lower intensity followed by a period of higher intensity.

Why?

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Research shows that this type of work burns more fat than steady-state cardio, typically by about 50%. In fact, one study showed a 9 fold increase in fat loss [1] for HIIT compared to low-medium intensity cardio.

Also, with respect to belly fat in particular, research has shown (though the reason is not clear at this time) that HIIT can produce more fat loss in this area than other parts of the body. An Australian study found that the HIIT group lost 3 times more fat and significantly more belly fat than the steady-state cardio group who actually exercised for twice as long!

The even better news is that HIIT need only be performed for 10-20 minutes at a time.

Hopefully you can see that these unique approaches to diet and nutrition will work synergistically to produce truly effective fat-loss:

  1. Get your body to burn fat for energy.
  2. Then add exercise that will utilize the most fat possible.

There’s obviously more to talk about on this topic, but a single post doesn’t permit me to get into it all. I hope you enjoyed it and if nothing else, you feel inspired to find any weight-loss program that you feel you can work with to bring permanent results.

Reference

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8028502

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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