Whether you're headed to the beach, prepping for a special occasion or just want to jump-start a healthier lifestyle, you can set the foundation for belly fat loss in a week. And while you likely won't reach your final weight loss goals in a week -- unless you're only looking to lose a pound or two -- you might be able to see minor differences and burn some initial belly fat. However, the results from diet and exercise modifications can keep you motivated to stick to longer term goals, and they'll set you on a road to success -- without the high risk of weight regain associated with fad crash diets.
Standing up taller can make you look 5 pounds slimmer, says Deborah L. Mullen, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in San Luis Obispo, CA. How can you make it a habit? Try Pilates. According to a 6-month pilot study of 18 chronic back pain sufferers, Pilates is one of the best ways to improve posture and strengthen your ab and back muscles. Jessica Chasity, Prevention’s senior fitness editor and a certified Pilates instructor, suggests two moves you can actually do while you’re still in bed that will set you straight for the day:
We hear a lot that a little exercise is the key to weight loss – that taking the stairs instead of the elevator will make a difference, for instance. But in fact it’s much more efficient to cut calories, says Samuel Klein, MD at Washington University’s School of Medicine. “Decreasing food intake is much more effective than increasing physical activity to achieve weight loss. If you want to achieve a 300 kcal energy deficit you can run in the park for 3 miles or not eat 2 ounces of potato chips.” It’s as simple as that. Some studies have borne out this dichotomy, pitting exercise against diet and finding that participants tend to lose more weight by dieting alone than by exercise alone. Of course, both together would be even better.
I mean, people lose fat on low carb diets, low fat diets, paleo diets, vegan diets, raw food diets, diets that involve eating “clean” instead of “dirty” or not eating after a certain time at night, and countless other types of diets that involve every gimmick, fad and method you can think of except the specific task of creating a caloric deficit. But yet, they have all caused people to successfully lose fat.
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]
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:
Skip the cream and sugar in your cup of joe, and opt for it black to help you lose weight fast. Black coffee has zero calories, and it can help you burn calories faster. According to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf.
Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince at lunch, and a pauper for dinner. Ever hear the phrase? It has some truth behind it. Eat early on to jump-start your metabolism and give you enough energy to last comfortably until lunch, and then for dinner begin to wind down and eat the smallest meal of the day. Here are some examples of meals you could cook for yourself during the day, with one snack in between:
61. Customize Your Meals – The unfortunate truth is that 8 out of 10 adults in the U.S. are overfat.55 If you want to be lean, consider customizing your own meals so you are not eating what everyone else is. Ask for salad on the side instead of fries, or sauce on the side instead of smothered on your entree. If you eat out often, this is a very powerful strategy that can be the difference between getting lean, or gaining fat.
39. Choose Lean Proteins – Chicken, fish, and turkey are excellent high-protein, lower-fat options. These options also have fewer calories, so you can eat bigger portions while still keeping your calories low. Lean protein keeps you feeling fuller longer and helps control your blood sugar, which means fewer cravings for sugary, high-fat foods.41 This doesn’t mean you have to avoid red meat – just be sure to order leaner cuts. For more ideas on good sources of protein, check out our list of Complete vs Incomplete Protein Sources.
You might have heard the term ‘middle-age spread’. This means, as women progress towards their middle years, the ratio of body fat increases compared to the body weight. During menopause, when the levels of estrogen go down, and the amount of androgens or male hormones increase, then there is an increased risk of fat accumulation in the waist. Hormones actually regulate the fat concentration in the body, and your figure depends entirely on it!
Few things are more discouraging to someone on a weight-loss plan than the oft-cited statistic that 95% of people who lose weight will regain it within a few years. The difficulty in sticking with a long-term weight-maintenance plan is one of the main reasons that weight-loss programs fail. To uncover clues to successful weight loss, researchers have been collecting information on people who have lost weight and successfully kept it off for many years. This project, known as the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), records what these people did to achieve their goals.
62. Eliminate Seconds – At a buffet, it’s easy to get tempted by all of the options to overeat. Remember our recommendation to “limit variety”? That applies to when you’re at a buffet as well. To counteract the temptation of buffet variety, take only one plate and don’t go back for seconds. Fill ½ of your plate with veggies, ¼ with protein, and ¼ with a healthy carbohydrate.
If weight loss sounds like a lot of physical and mental work, that's because it is. And there's no magic pill: Dietary supplements that claim to help people lose weight have not been proven to work, and they have the potential to be dangerous, Cohen said. Many nutritionists and researchers agree that such supplements can do more harm than good. Supplements can contain drugs that are not listed on the label, and may have harmful side effects. In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration identified more than 30 weight loss supplements that contained hidden drugs, but only seven of these were recalled by their manufacturers.
However, Cohen cautioned that the long-term safety of weight loss drugs hasn't been studied. Most of the studies look at these drugs' safety after just one year, he said, and some earlier drugs that were approved by the FDA were later taken off the market because of their side effects. For example, in 2010, the weight loss drug sibutramine (sold under the brand name Meridia) was removed from the market — even though it had originally been approved — because it was later linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Women who ate low-fat dairy products, such as non-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese three to four times a day lost 70 percent more fat than low-dairy dieters, according to a study published in the journal Obesity Research. "Calcium serves as a switch that tells your body to burn excess fat faster," explains study author Michael Zemel, M.D., director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Sorry, but you won't reap the same benefits from calcium-fortified O.J. Research shows that you get the best results from dairy products themselves, not fortified foods. Aim for 1,200 mg, which includes about three servings of dairy a day.
Also some research shows that the human body is primed to consume most of its calories during daylight hours. But the lifestyle is problematic for many: Because family meals and dinners with friends often are scheduled for after sunset, “people who try to stop eating after 7pm can’t do it every day for the rest of their lives,” says Dr. Seltzer, who supports an alternative strategy: Eating a hearty meal at your regular dinnertime.
Though science has yet to establish a surefire link between obesity and each health risk, the extra fat tissue seems to be the biggest culprit. More fat in the neck has been tied to sleep apnea, while compounds released by fat cells may increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, the more body fat a person carries, the more blood is needed to provide the tissue with oxygen and nutrients, resulting in higher blood pressure. (On the other hand, losing weight can relieve such burdens on the body, leading to health benefits, including reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.)
While it is possible to lose 10 pounds in a week, it’s very unlikely—and most nutritionists wouldn’t recommend it. “I generally don't counsel that type of extreme weight loss,” says registered dietitian Maya Feller. “Losing more than a pound a day would be very challenging. Even when I’ve worked with [obese] patients, the most weight I've seen lost in a week in a real world setting—where the person has other obligations and isn’t spending the day in the gym—is 5 pounds.”
Obese people who lose as little as 3 to 5 percent of their body weight improve their health. Research suggests that losing 5 percent of body weight results in a 3-mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading, which is a measure of the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats) and a 2-mmHg drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading, which is a measure of the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats), according to the 2013 guidelines. Losing even more weight is associated with greater health benefits, so the guidelines recommend that people start out with a goal of losing 5 to 10 percent of their body weight over six months.
Christy Brissette, MS, RD is one of North America's top dietitians and a leading nutrition and food communications expert. She is the President of 80 Twenty Nutrition, a nutrition and food media company. Her mission is to end food confusion and dieting once and for all. Christy appears on national TV and is interviewed for international magazines, radio and websites. She empowers her clients to look and feel their best with the healing power of healthy, delicious food. She helps clients achieve results through cutting-edge, creative and fun meal plans and recipes. You can still enjoy your favourite foods and have the body of your dreams!
Basically, the effect of exercise on our weight is vastly overrated. That’s why it’s only number 15 on this list. There are other things you need to take care of first. It’s not a good idea to eat bad food, drink sugar water (so-called “sports drinks”) or be on medications which force you to exercise for hours daily just to compensate. Metaphorically that’s like digging a hole, into which you put your ladder, on which you stand and paint the basement-level windows of your house.