Stress wreaks havoc on every part of your body, and can lead to breakouts, joint pain, headaches, and yes, even excess belly fat. That’s because when you’re stressed, your body pumps out extra cortisol, that not-so-great hormone you keep hearing about. Studies show that cortisol not only spikes your appetite, but may also redistribute body fat to your belly area, according to a review published in the journal Obesity.
Being healthy is really about being at a weight that is right for you. The best way to find out if you are at a healthy weight or if you need to lose or gain weight is to talk to a doctor or dietitian, who can compare your weight with healthy norms to help you set realistic goals. If it turns out that you can benefit from weight loss, then you can follow a few of the simple suggestions listed below to get started.
For weeks, if not months, you’ve known you have that beach vacation with your girl, your friend’s wedding (with all the single bridesmaids), that video shoot at work. But suddenly, you’re looking at a calendar and the big day is just a week away. Unless you have superhuman confidence or single-digit body fat, you’re probably concerned everyone’s eyes will be less on your personality and more on the cheeseburgers and beers hanging around from the past few weeks.
Instead of satisfying your sweet tooth with some refined sugar, turn to berries and enjoy a slimmer waistline in no time. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, and research from the University of Michigan reveals that rats given a berry-rich diet shaved off a significant proportion of their belly fat when compared to a control group. Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are also loaded with resveratrol, an antioxidant pigment that has been linked to reductions in belly fat and a reduced risk of dementia, to boot.
48. Eliminate Coffee After 3pm – Drinking coffee later in the afternoon (within 6 hours of your usual bedtime50) could interfere with your sleep cycle, and adequate sleep is crucial for fat loss. Ideally, stick to 1-2 cups of coffee, and drink it before 12pm. This should give your body plenty of time to process the caffeine and enable you to fall soundly asleep when that time rolls around.
4. Replace processed foods with whole foods – Obesity has many causes, but the root cause is arguably the rise of processed foods. Food that is processed, like cereal, cake, donuts, and french fries to name a few, provide significant calories without filling you up. Even worse, your hunger levels can increase shortly after eating these foods, causing a vicious cycle of weight gain. Eating foods in their natural state, or as close to their natural state as possible like apples, fish, lettuce, yams, eggs, etc. will help fill you up and stabilize your energy levels, so that you maintain that large calorie deficit.10
Chronic stress may increase levels of stress hormones such as cortisol in your body. This can cause increased hunger and result in weight gain. If you’re looking to lose weight, you should review possible ways to decrease or better handle excessive stress in your life. Although this often demands substantial changes, even altering small things – such as posture – may immediately affect your stress hormone levels, and perhaps your weight.
Trying yet again to lose those last 10 pounds? We hear you. In fact, 50 percent of women say that within six months they gain back any weight they've managed to ditch. And more than a quarter have dieted so many times they've lost track of the number. Well, get ready to stop the endless yo-yoing: Science has finally come up with simple, groundbreaking solutions for lasting weight loss. We checked in with the top experts in the field and scoured the latest research to bring you the skinny on everything you need to reach your slim-down goals and stay there.
68. Sleep In A Cool, Dark Room – Sleep is optimized in a room that’s between 60-67F, and that’s as dark as possible. Artificial light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that makes you tired. Creating the optimal sleep environment in your room can greatly increase the duration and quality of your sleep, which can help with weight loss.57
The study authors believe that sleep deprivation can cause your body to produce extra hunger hormones (like ghrelin) and fewer satiety hormones (like leptin). This means you’ll feel hungrier and have a harder time controlling your cravings once they hit. Most adults should aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of shuteye per night, per the National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations.
Try interval training. Interval training is where you do really intense activity for only a short period of time, and then moderate or light intensity work for the majority of the time. Scientists have found, in several studies, that people who do interval training actually end up exercising for shorter periods of time and burning more calories than people who go at medium intensity for their whole workout.
Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack. Adding a source of lean or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer so you're less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats. Experts also recommend eating small, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar levels steady and to avoid overindulging.
You don’t need to bust out the measuring cups to properly portion out your food: A serving size of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards or the size of the palm of your hand. Your entire fist should be the size of a serving of veggies (although the more, the better!). A serving of fat, such as butter or coconut oil, should be the size of your thumb. Your carb serving should be no bigger than what can fit in your cupped hand. For other ways to eyeball your proper serving sizes, check out What the Perfect Food Portion Sizes Actually Look Like.
I am into day 2 of my 6th week of my calorie deficit. For weeks 1 through 3 I wasn’t exercising beyond my daily dog walks. I adjusted my BMR and calorie deficit to reflect the 6lbs I lost. Week 4 I started working out 3x’s a week – moderate weight lifting and moderate cardio. At beginning of week 5 had lost a total of 10 lbs, but wanted to wait until this weekend to make my adjustments based on whatever I lost in week 5. Well, I got on the scale, and the damn thing told me I gained a pound.
First, the bad news: Three-quarters of Americans have a "fat gene" associated with a 20 to 30 percent higher risk for obesity. But that doesn't mean you're destined to be heavy. A recent British review found that exercise can trump your genetics. Physically active people with the fat gene are 27 percent less likely to become obese than couch potatoes who have it. We're not talking about training for a triathlon; the active people got just one hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous exercise a week. Aim for the recommended five hours a week (three days of cardio and two days of strength training) and you'll rev your weight-loss results even more.
While nutrition is probably the most important factor, the ideal strategy is really not that complicated: Shoot for five to six meals of real food a day—three full meals, two snacks—each ideally heavy on protein and fresh low-carb vegetables. “Eating like this helps your metabolism boost and blood sugar levels stabilize, which increases fat burn, as well as your energy levels rise, which will improve your workouts,” White adds.
Obviously, it’s still possible to lose weight on any diet – just eat fewer calories than you burn, right? The problem with this simplistic advice is that it ignores the elephant in the room: Hunger. Most people don’t like to “just eat less”, i.e. being hungry forever. That’s dieting for masochists. Sooner or later a normal person will give up and eat, hence the prevalence of “yo-yo dieting”.