All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you're including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, beans, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
A nice carbonated beverage can hit the spot when you’re thirsty. But you’ll have to skip the bubbles while you’re on a middle-shrinking mission—nutritionist Palin ski says the gas will make your belly poof up right away. Drink plain old tap water to stay hydrated—and make sure you get at least eight glasses a day. The special ingredients aren’t just there for flavor, either: The ginger helps calm and soothe your GI tract.
“Getting an extra half hour or 45 minutes of sleep can really make a difference,” McCall says. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that missing your bedtime too often affects how your body responds to insulin, a hormone that regulates your appetite and metabolism. The cells of folks who slept only 4.5 hours a night were 30 percent less sensitive to insulin—comparable to the cells of someone who is obese or diabetic. Plus, too many late nights activates a sabotaging cycle: “Studies have shown that poor sleep can result into overeating, and overeating can result in poor sleep,” White says. What’s more, logging five hours or less is directly related to gaining abdominal fat, according to a study in SLEEPThe last thing you need is lower willpower or unnecessary fat gain, so shoot for 7 to 8 hours a night. Not only will this help stabilize your hormones to avoid the pounds piling on, but you’ll have more energy to slay your workouts, too. You know to skip caffeine after 2 or 3 p.m., but also try not to exercise too late because it raises your body temperature which can sometimes affect your sleep, White adds.
Though exercise can help correct a metabolism that’s been out of whack for a long time, the grisly reality is that it may not ever go back to what it was before you gained weight. So if you’ve been overweight or obese and you lose weight, maintaining that loss means you’re probably going to have to work harder than other people, maybe for good. “The sad thing,” says Hill, “is that once you’ve been obese or not moving for some time, it takes a little more exercise to maintain. It doesn’t come back to normal.” It’s not a pretty reality to face, but coming to grips with it is important, he says, so that you won’t get frustrated when you discover that you have to do more work over the long term than your friend who was never overweight.
"If you lose weight very rapidly, on a diet like a cleanse, then you're going to lose excess muscle," Aronne said. Muscle loss can be detrimental, because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue; therefore, keeping muscle tissue can help with weight loss and maintenance, said Aronne, who is the author of the upcoming book "The Change Your Biology Diet" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).
Metabolize even more fat by working out in a fasted state in the morning, McCall says. If you are working out with fuel in your system, though, opt for high-intensity interval training to torch calories in a short period of time, suggests Christopher Jordan, CSCS, Director of Exercise Physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute and creator of the 7 Minute Workout.
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.
Basically, every single person has a unique calorie maintenance level. This is the amount of calories that your body requires each day to burn for energy to perform all of the tasks it needs to perform. From intense exercise like cardio and weight training, to simple daily tasks like brushing your teeth and getting dressed, to the various physiological functions needed to keep you alive (like digesting and breathing).
While it’s often assumed that bread is off-limits when you’re trying to lose belly fat, the right bread may actually expedite the process. Switching to sprouted bread can help out carb-lovers eager to get their fix without going up a belt size, thanks to the inulin content of sprouted grains. The results of a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism reveal that found that pre-diabetic study subjects whose diets were supplemented with inulin shaved off more belly fat and total weight than those whose meal plans didn’t pack this healthy prebiotic fiber.
It's normal to feel a few hunger pangs when you cut your calorie intake, but you don't want to feel ravenous. Filling your diet with low energy-density foods -- ones that have a low calorie count per gram -- allows you to fill up on larger portions while controlling your calorie intake. Many of these foods also supply water and fiber, which can make you feel full, to help with weight loss.
While there are many sources of healthy fats, you need to note that not all fats are healthy. Avoid man-made fats because they increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body system and reduce the good cholesterol. (HDL). All products containing hydrogenated oils have unhealthy fats. Bad fats are present in fried food and other processed meat. Other unhealthy fats are found in animal products, e.g., lard, red meat and butter among others.
There's one thing to like about visceral fat: It yields fairly easily to aerobic exercise. Running, biking, or swimming—basically anything that gets your heart rate up—wins over resistance training when it comes to getting rid of the stuff. A recent study from Duke University found that jogging the equivalent of 12 miles a week is enough to melt belly fat.
But it's important to remember that "fat" doesn't mean "unhealthy." Yes, women have larger fat stores, but it's part of their physiology, meaning it's not extra weight. So if a woman has 11 percent more body fat than a man, it doesn't mean she's 11 percent "fatter." A perfectly fit woman will still hold six to 11 percent more body fat than a perfectly fit man.
You can blame biology for your sweet tooth. We’re hardwired to have a preference for sweets, and this drive is universal and begins early on, according to research on the subject. Sugar makes food taste good, so food companies add it to everything from breads to soups to salad dressings to cereals, yogurts and more. This adds up to way too much sugar!
Some antidepressant medications can cause weight gain, especially the older tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as Tryptizol, Saroten, and Clomipramine; as well as newer drugs such as Remeron (Mirtazapine). Lithium (for manic-depressive disorder) often causes weight gain. The most common antidepressants known as SSRI’s (for example Citalopram and Sertraline) usually don’t impact weight significantly. More on depression