“It’s no big surprise, but my go-to weight loss tip is to eat more vegetables. They are the most low-calorie food you can consume, and they’re filled with health-boosting, satiating nutrients. From smoothies and eggs to soups, main and side dishes, they can fit in anywhere and boost volume and nutrition. If you want to eat more while still losing weight, veggies are your answer. —Laura Burak, RD, CDN
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
This study divided 54 obese patients up into 2 groups, both of which were put on low calorie diets (meaning a caloric deficit was present) and fed similar percentages of protein, fat and carbs. HOWEVER, one group was given a more balanced diet comprised of meals that contained protein, fat and carbs, while the second group had their carb and fat calories separated so they were not eaten together in the same meal. Guess what happened? They all lost the same amount of weight and body fat. Why? Because the manner in which you combine foods, organize your meals and consume your daily calories isn’t what causes fat loss. A caloric deficit is.
Hey Ken, happy you liked the article. I wouldn’t rely on the MyFitnessPal calorie intake / burn calculator. In general, calore intake calculators tend to overestimate calorie intake. I would stick to your target calorie intake even if you happen to do a little more exercise, or more activity. That’s my opinion. What I do with private training clients is use the Katch & McArdle method to arrive at estimated calorie burn, then subtract about 30-35% to create the estimated calorie intake. Another option, which is easier and similar, is just to multiply your weight x 10 for the calorie intake, which assumes 3 to 5 workout sessions. For more info, you can check out my article How to Calculate Calorie Burn.
If you can't or don't have time to exercise, being diligent about your diet can help you burn fat without intense workouts. Your body stores extra calories as fat, so controlling your calorie intake is the key to reducing fat. Keep in mind you still need to consume enough calories and nutrients to provide your body with the fuel it needs. Avoid sugary beverages and junk foods, control your portion sizes, and maintain a balanced diet. It might take some diligence, but keeping a close eye on what you eat can put you on the path toward better health.
Scrolling through your social media one last time may be most people’s pre-bed ritual, but it can seriously mess with your sleep cycle. The light from your screen can suppress melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep. And getting plenty of shut-eye is important for your waistline; a study published in the journal Sleep found that people who didn’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night were more at risk for weight gain. Try to put your phone away 20 minutes before your bedtime to avoid the light distraction.
If you eat too few calories, you may lose muscle and your metabolism can decrease.3 You will also have less energy to exercise. In other words, your body will fight you to conserve energy, burn fewer calories, and make you feel extremely hungry so you eat more.4 In addition, the quality of the calories you eat and your lifestyle choices affect this calorie balance equation by making you more or less hungry and increasing or decreasing the number of calories you burn.
You may have an apple-shaped or a pear-shaped body structure. Accumulation of fat occurs differently for different people, it actually depends on the body structure. For those whose bodies are pear-shaped, the fat tends to accumulate in the lower part of the body, like the buttocks. But for those whose bodies are apple-shaped, your body tends to store fat around the middle section, thus resulting in fat accumulation around the belly. You must know that there are two types of belly fat – visceral, which accumulates around the abdominal organs, and subcutaneous, which occurs between the skin and abdominal wall.
Yup, sounds like a good plan to me. A 2 week diet break at maintenance certainly can’t hurt (especially as you’re going lower in body fat), and then coming back to a small deficit is definitely the right idea. Getting into single digit body fat levels, you’re gonna want to lose slower now (0.5lb per week range), so a small deficit is the way to do it.