Of course, ladies also lose abdominal weight quickly -- they just tend to have less of it. "Women with excess fat around the middle will lose it more or less as readily as men," says upwave review-board member David Katz, MD, MPH, the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Men are more prone to gain weight around the middle."
It's important to have realistic expectations for weight loss with a reduced-calorie diet over the long term. Studies suggest that people can lose about 9 to 26 lbs. (4 to 12 kg) after six months of a typical reduced-calorie diet. Afterward, people usually gain back some of that weight, so they end up with a total of 9 to 22 lbs. (4 to 10 kg) of weight loss after one year, and 6 to 9 lbs. (3 to 4 kg) of weight loss after two years, according to the 2013 guidelines. [2016 Best Bathroom Scales]
As a neuroscientist, I’ve read hundreds of studies on the brain’s ability to fight weight loss. I also know about it from experience. For three decades, starting at age 13, I lost and regained the same 10 or 15 pounds almost every year. On my most serious diet, in my late 20s, I got down to 125 pounds, 30 pounds below my normal weight. I wanted (unwisely) to lose more, but I got stuck. After several months of eating fewer than 800 calories a day and spending an hour at the gym every morning, I hadn’t lost another ounce. When I gave up on losing and switched my goal to maintaining that weight, I started gaining instead.
In addition, the evidence that dieting improves people’s health is surprisingly poor. Part of the problem is that no one knows how to get more than a small fraction of people to sustain weight loss for years. The few studies that overcame that hurdle are not encouraging. In a 2013 study of obese and overweight people with diabetes, on average the dieters maintained a 6 percent weight loss for over nine years, but the dieters had a similar number of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease during that time as the control group. Earlier this year, researchers found that intentional weight loss had no effect on mortality in overweight diabetics followed for 19 years.
“The best thing you can do for your belly is to give up processed foods. A study in the journal Food Nutrition Research found that our bodies burn only 50 percent as many calories digesting processed foods as they do real foods. So it’s like eating twice as much, even if the calories are the same!” — Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer and author of Eat This, Not That! for Abs
10. Be patient – You may have come across this article because you are dying to lose your belly fat fast, but the truth is that losing weight – especially only fat – does not happen overnight. While you can lose 10 pounds in one day simply by dehydrating yourself, it will be almost entirely water weight. On the high-end, you can lose 1.5% of your body weight in fat per week. Much more than that, and it’s more likely you’ll be losing muscle and/or water. So a 200 pound man can lose 3 pounds of pure fat per week,16 which is a hefty 1,500 daily calorie deficit. Just because you want to lose weight faster, doesn’t mean you should, or you will. Be patient, follow your plan, and the excess weight will come off.
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.
Some of the weight loss articles out there these days are getting a little nutty. New scientific studies that shed light on how metabolism works are wonderful and valuable in their own right, but when findings get morphed into magical new “tips” for losing weight, something’s amiss. Some recent pieces in prestigious journals, which have sought to dispel the myths of weight loss and of the individual diets themselves, suggest that the medical community is also getting tired of the hype and the unfounded assumptions that permeate the public discussion.
As my colleagues have reported (here and here), when it comes down to it, it’s not the body or the metabolism that are actually creating overweight or obesity – it’s the brain. We all know intuitively that poor decisions are what make you gain weight and better ones are what make you lose it. The problem is that over time, the poor decisions lead to significant changes in how the brain governs – and, amazingly, responds to – the hunger and satiation processes. Years of any kind of behavior pattern lay down neural tracks, and overeating is no exception.
You've worked on the calorie intake part of the equation. Now what about the "calories out?" Studies show that people who exercise while dieting lose more weight, and are better able to keep it off, than people who diet and do not exercise, said Wayne Miller, programs director at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine's Center for Rural and Community Health.
1. Get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night5 – Sleep may be the most important habit of all to help you lose weight fast. The more quality sleep you get, the easier it is to control hunger and the more energy you have to exercise. Lack of sleep can cause increased hunger,6 muscle loss, and weight gain.7 We have plenty of tips to help you improve the quality of your sleep in our lifestyle section below.
Green tea isn't known only for its cancer-fighting benefits: It may help boost your metabolism, too. People who took green-tea extract three times a day saw their metabolic rate increase by about 4 percent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (Translation: You could burn an extra 60 calories a day, which equals about six pounds a year!) It may be because green tea contains catechins, which increase levels of the metabolism-speeding brain chemical norepinephrine, says Joy Bauer, a New York City nutritionist and author of Cooking with Joy.
Conversely, the more food in front of you, the more you’ll eat—regardless of how hungry you are. So instead of using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10 to 14 inches (making them look empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on salad plates (about 7 to 9 inches wide). Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups.
Seriously: Your flab can help you shed pounds. How? Just as there's more than one kind of fat in food, there's more than one type in your body. White fat is the bad stuff you want to zap. But a second kind, brown fat, actually torches calories. "Up to 80 percent of adults have brown fat deposits in their bodies," says Aaron M. Cypess, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School. This good fat is powerful because it's packed with mitochondria, the parts of cells that generate heat. When activated, as little as two ounces of brown fat can gobble up as much as 20 percent of your body's calories.
84. Take Progress Pictures – Every week, or month, take a shirtless picture of yourself to see your change over time. This comes back to motivation. Since you see yourself in the mirror every day, you might not notice the subtle changes in your aesthetics and physique. Taking pictures of yourself lets you compare where you started with where you are and where you’re going.
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.
One study from the University of Adelaide in Australia suggests you may lose more weight when you work out towards the end of your menstrual cycle, as opposed to right when a new one begins. That’s because the hormones estrogen and progesterone tell your body to use fat as an energy source. "Women burned about 30 percent more fat for the two weeks following ovulation to about two days before menstruation," study author Leanne Redman says.
Studies reveal that foods made from refined white flour are the significant causes of visceral fat. Added sugar has a high content of fructose. Sweetened drinks such as fruit juices, sodas, and other soft drinks can increase the amount of belly fat. You should also avoid desserts, candy, and pastries because they contain a lot of sugar. In case you crave for sweets and other sugary food, replace them with more nutritious food like nuts, yogurt or fruits.
“The American Heart Association recommends that men eat less than 36 grams of added sugar and that women consume less than 24 grams. However, for optimal weight loss, I tell my male clients to consume less than 20 grams of sugar per day and I tell the women to consume less than 15 grams.The easiest way to cut back on the sweet stuff is by consuming less sugary drinks and dressings. Cut the sugar, lose the fat, regain your health and life.” — Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS
Avoid sweetened drinks. Drinks that are sweetened, whether artificially or naturally, will have little nutritional value and add lots of empty calories to your diet. Do not drink fruit juice or other sweetened drinks. Even natural sugars will increase your daily calorie intake and prevent weight loss. If you chose to drink juice, do not exceed 4 oz per day (1/2 cup). Instead of drinking sweetened beverages throughout your day, drink unsweetened, calorie-free beverages. Some beverages to avoid include:
Watch your drinks. It's amazing how many calories are in the sodas, juices, and other drinks that you take in every day. Simply cutting out a can of soda or one sports drink can save you 150 calories or more each day. Drink water or other sugar-free drinks to quench your thirst and stay away from sugary juices and sodas. Choosing nonfat or low-fat milk is also a good idea.
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the major causes of occurrence of belly fat. If you don’t indulge in any physical activity, and spend most of the time sitting, watching T.V., reading, etc., it is known as a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of regular exercise, or not exercising at all can lead to fat storage around the belly area. In other words, being a couch potato will make you fat.
A 2012 study also showed that people on a low-carb diet burned 300 more calories a day – while resting! According to one of the Harvard professors behind the study this advantage “would equal the number of calories typically burned in an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity”. Imagine that: an entire bonus hour of exercise every day, without actually exercising.