“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


“Research continues to support the role of a high-protein diet and weight loss, however, we don’t want to reach those protein needs exclusively with animal proteins. Plant proteins found in beans not only help us feel full and stabilize blood sugar but beans are associated with longevity. Who cares about being skinny if you die young?” —Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert

I myself try to eat balanced meal because for the most part I understand that protein, carbs, and even fat have essential benefits to the body that have nothing to do with losing weight. Do you agree? Plus, I like to eat throughout the day, if you just ate crap then you would hit your daily limit faster and have to stop eating to stay in your deficit.

47. Drink Your Coffee Black – Coffee can offer some benefits to weight loss, including an increased metabolic rate and fat oxidation.49 It can also enhance your strength, power, and athletic performance. This is not an excuse to drink coffee all day every day. Nor does this mean you’re doing yourself a favor by drinking sugar-filled coffee beverages that contain a lot of calories. If you drink coffee, drink it black or add just a splash of cream, milk, or nondairy milk.
What’s your take on Gary Taubes’ work (if you’ve read it)? He hates the calorie in/out concept but from reading it that’s mainly because it doesn’t address causality (and he doesn’t believe everybody that’s obese/overweight is just lazy/stupid). As I understand it he specifically he says insulin levels regulate how easily fat is stored and available to be burned off and affects how hungry we get. Is that wrong?
Fighting constantly with your S.O.? It’s time to address your issues head-on. "Research has shown that cortisol, the hormone that's released during stressful activity, is linked to fat storage,” says Gina Guddet, couples counselor and co-author of Love Metabolism. “And poor communication between couples is the most common type of stress that you tend to experience."
So boiling it down even further: reduce calories, eat better, exercise, and most of all, remember it is a practice that has to be repeated over time – months or years. The fact that you'll have to work harder at maintenance than your never-overweight best friend is depressing, but it's worth coming to terms with. And, most important to remember, your brain (the organ behind all this, after all) is plastic, and it will respond to the changes you make – better than you think. And so will your body.
Why you're gaining back the weight section is both complimentary and contradictory to the last section of common mistakes. In common mistakes the author tells you not to check the scale so often, in why you're gaining it back, it's because you're not checking the scale enough. Then it repeats the issues with crash diets (this is why they don't work, I agree with this completely). There is a brief paragraph on emotional eating, and I really wish this was talked about even more, but it's not.

Like protein, fiber slows the rate at which your body plows through carb calories so you feel full for longer and maintain steadier blood sugar levels, one reason why research consistently links fiber intake to weight loss. That means fibrous whole grain bread tends to be a better choice than white bread and also explains why fruits, which contain fiber and valuable vitamins in addition to sugar, beat straight-up candy every time.


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You're more likely to stay slim if the view out your window includes hills, water, a park, or a street that leads to one of those things. In a North Carolina study, counties with more natural amenities, including mountains and lakes, had lower obesity rates. "It could be that there's something healing and calming about simply being outside," says Stephanie Jilcott Pitts, PhD, an assistant professor at East Carolina University. For instance, research has shown that people tend to be happier walking outdoors than inside. They also stride faster, yet feel less exertion, than they do on a treadmill. Not only that, hoofing it outside curbs cravings along with calories: In a study, regular chocolate eaters who took a brisk 15-minute stroll consumed about half as much of their favorite treat as those who didn't go for a walk. So take your workout outdoors. If your neighborhood isn't made for exercising, find a park nearby and head there as often as you can to bike, run, or hike.
Who doesn’t want a flat belly, stat? Yet hours of crunches, cardio, and super strict dieting aren’t realistic—or a whole lot of fun—for many of us. Luckily, it is possible to flatten your belly and look slimmer almost immediately. “Your stomach is the one part of your body that reacts quickly to dietary changes—good and bad. If you want to look thinner fast, avoid gassy veggies, chewing gum, salt, carbonated beverages, and any foods with sugar alcohols,” says Erin Palin ski, RD and certified personal trainer. These foods will lead to water retention and bloating, she explains. If you normally eat three larger meals a day, Palin ski recommends cutting those portions in half and eating smaller meals every two to three hours.
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.

So I just came across this after reading another article on this site. It was about how muscles burn fat. Anyways, I like what I read because that’s exactly how I’ve been doing. Simple and easy. No complicated theories. However, the one theory that always haunts me is the “starvation mode” theory. I’m sure you’ve come across it. So, is it true that if I create a huge calorie deficit, my body will simply go into starvation mode and and use what it needs and store the rest thinking it will “starve”? Please correct me if I’m wrong with regards to the theory. I could have got it wrong all this time lol.


Lastly, as I indicated, all my lifts are going up, but my weight (and even LBM, assuming my scale is even remotely accurate) so is it fair to say that strength gains are not directly related to muscle gains? Is this the “beginner” phase that you speak of frequently? The scale would indicate that muscle is going down….. But my presses, squats, deadlifts are all up.
Of carbs and protein, that is. Carbs certainly aren’t the enemy; you can totally enjoy carbs and still lose weight. The trick is to choose something complex (like brown rice, quinoa, or whole grain bread) or something refined (like white rice, white pasta, and white bread), and pair it with a protein. So if you’re having crackers for a snack, make sure you also eat some almonds or a stick of string cheese. “I always incorporate a protein and carbohydrate at every meal,” Jim White, RD, ACSM Health, and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios told us in our 30 No-Diet Diet Tricks article. “It can curb your appetite and it slows down the glycemic index of some of your higher sugar foods.”
This study took 16 overweight men and women and split them into 2 groups. They then had each person in each group create the same sized caloric deficit and then consume that same calorie intake every day for 8 weeks. HOWEVER, they had one group eat 3 meals a day, and the other group eat 6 meals a day. Guess what happened? They all lost the same amount of weight. In fact, the study showed that there was no difference at all in fat loss, appetite control, or anything similar. Why? Because meal frequency doesn’t affect your ability to lose fat or gain fat. Calories do.

Losing water weight shouldn't be a major part of your weight loss regime, and will only get you temporary results, in addition to being only temporary weight loss you can experience serious health issues. The first would be dehydration, which, if it becomes severe can have long lasting effects. Your goals should be toward losing pounds from fat loss, this type of weight loss will be more permanent and will make you healthier along the way. A mildly dehydrated person will have lost 5 to 6 percent of their body weight, moderately dehydrated will jump to 7 to 10 percent, a severely dehydrated person will have lost more than 10 percent of their body weight and is in serious danger of health complications. .
Water is vital in your body as it helps you feel satisfied and hydrated. The Medical News Today recommends drinking eight glasses of water per day. Water regulates your body temperature and blood pressure. It also helps you to manage your appetite. If you drink a glass of water before taking a meal, it will help you reduce your overall intake of food which allows you to lose weight.
Some great breakfast foods include any one or two of the following: oatmeal 125ml or half a cup, eggs (2), 1 slice of wholegrain bread with a thin spread of nut butter 15 ml or 1 tbsp), low-fat cottage cheese (125 ml or half a cup) with fruit, plus any serving of fruit and a glass of reduced fat milk, soy milk or almond milk, tea or coffee without sugar. Some wholegrain breakfast cereals with milk would also be fine but read the label. You want to see higher protein than fat or sugar.
I’m in favor of any program that promotes whole foods over hyper-processed fare, and this is one thing the popular diet plans can agree on. Overly processed foods have been linked to weight gain, perhaps because many unhealthy packaged foods (think: potato chips, ice cream, frozen pizza, cookies and the like) lack the fiber found in many whole foods, including vegetables. Fiber helps fill us up, and research suggests that by simply adding more fiber to your menu, you can lose weight nearly as well as a more complicated approach. Consistently choosing whole foods is one way to do this.
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.
Using a layered approach is another great way to build a good veggie habit. For example, start with a food you already enjoy — say, pasta — and layer some veggies into your bowl. This can help you explore a new food with one you already love eating, and from there, you can try new ways to savor it. Take spinach, for instance. After trying it with pasta, you may want fold it into an omelet or another favorite food, or explore it on its own with different cooking techniques (sautéed or steamed) or different flavor additions (garlic or golden raisins). The possibilities are limitless!
Coolsculpting is a nonsurgical way of getting rid of fats in the midsection areas. Some people try to get rid of belly fat through diet to no avail. Cool sculpting involves applying cold on areas like the belly so that the fat cells can freeze. Once they freeze, they die, and your body absorbs the body cells with time. While this treatment can cause some discomfort in the midsection, it helps to reshape your body by getting rid of belly fat.
"Protein is great for fat loss. It helps build and preserve lean muscle tissue and can increase the amount of calories you burn. It’s also a great source of energy that helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to snack. Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, eggs, milk and chickpeas. And if you’re finding it difficult to avoid snacks that are high in carbohydrates, try substituting them for protein shakes or bars. Remember also to opt for the lean sources of protein because some sources can be high in saturated fat."

A deload is needed more when volume is higher and you’re pushing for progress every workout. When fat loss is the goal, volume should purposely be reduced a little and you’re shooting more for maintenance (maybe with the occassional progress) rather than constant progress. Now if you’re going to be in a deficit for a while, sure… I can see taking a diet break when needed and possibly using that time to deload as well if it felt needed.
Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
Consume about 50 gr of carbohydrate for a breakfast. Low carb diets are usually essential, if you wish to lose fat sooner. One cup with oatmeal has 50 gr of carbohydrate. For other meals in the day consume toned protein about the length of your fist. Feel free to use whey protein, yoghurt, fresh vegatables and fruits as snacks. Limit the consumption of fat to coconut oil or fish petroleum. Avoid using mayonnaise, margarine, butter, many other vegetable oils or anything else. You can start exercise like breathing squat to take out the belly body fat.

According to a study, people who snoozed past 10.45 am were more likely to consume 250 extra calories in their meals throughout the day. Additionally they leaned towards sugary, salty and trans-fat laden foods as compared to their early bird counterparts. Researchers from Northwestern University revealed that early risers received an additional metabolic boost and people who were exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMI compared to people who woke up late.
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.
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.
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.
There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, however, you should eat plenty of whole-grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff.
5. Increase Protein and Fiber - It is not about just reducing your calorie intake! Know the difference between eating right and eating less! Reduce the fat and carbohydrate content in your food, increase the proteins and fibres. Carbohydrates are not totally bad for you. Here are some examples of fiber: apples, broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, any fruit, any vegetable, oatmeal, whole grains, etc. The carbs you want to avoid are the ones that turn straight into sugar, like white bread, white rice etc.
The problem is that when you rely on exercise alone, it often backfires, for a couple of reasons. This is partly because of exercise’s effects on the hunger and appetite hormones, which make you feel noticeably hungrier after exercise. “If you walk briskly for an hour and burn 400 kcal,” says Klein, “and then have a beer and a slice of pizza afterwards because the exercise made you feel hungry…you will eat more calories than you have burned.” It may not always be beer and pizza, but people do tend to naturally compensate for the calories they expend.

Those trans fats on your menu are hiding out in plain sight and sabotaging your lean belly plans every time you eat them. If a food product says it contains partially hydrogenated oils, you’re eating trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity with every bite. In fact, research conducted at Wake Forest University reveals that monkeys whose diets contained eight percent trans fat upped their body fat by 7.2 percent over a six-year study, while those who ate monounsaturated fat gained just a fraction of that amount. Instead of letting harmful trans fat take up space on your menu, fill up with the 20 Healthy Fats to Make You Thin.
Good post and you shed light on some “hidden meaning” points (eat low carb diet suddenly you stop eating excess bread). However, I have a question/statement. If I were to eat a calorie deficient diet, but one mainly of raw broccoli and miscellaneous other foods. Explain to me how it “doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you are calorie deficient” if the large amounts of goitrogenic acids in raw broccoli inhibit my ability to convert thyroxine into T3 therefore actually gain fat? And, explain to me someone with a very “stressful” life whom produces high amounts of cortisol eats calorie restrictive loses muscle and not fat?
Hey its me again; im addicted to ur site! You make everything clear & u have so much for us to read! (I get sidetracked & lost lol). So pls help me this way. Im totally in love with the “eat whatever you want just less of it” method. My doc basically told me the same thing as a child. “Instead of a big whopper, eat a whopper jr.” I’ve already cut down on my dp; i only had 16 oz yesterday! Yay! But now im stuck. Remember? Im a little person. (29 yrs old, 4’4″). Soooo from another source on the subject (& common sense) i should be eating HALF of what avg height ppl eat, right? Like if theirs is 2000, mine should be 1000, right? And then on top of that, a cal def, sooo 980?? Idk. Im not giving up my evening walks or other exercises (which i’ve just included beginners pilates.) (We’re talkin im starting from the ground up. . . From the ground lying-face-down up lol).
I need to drop a lot of weight and after reading your article felt that I could ditch the stupid crap I have on my bookshelf. Unfortunately, I have a tremendous burden of laziness these days and was wondering if you have any witty, blunt or military-like motivation you can share with me. I need to move my fat a–, but have lost all desire to take this seriously.

I am still making “strength” gains (maybe not specifically muscle, more on that later), but feel I am losing some LBM – not the end of the world I suppose. BUT, based on my current weight loss, it seems I am still about four months (give or take) away from hitting my “desired” bulking starting point of somewhere around14%. I was going to shoot even lower, but I think another five months of deficit will just be too much, given the type of training I do (squats, presses, deadlifts, etc.) and that I might start to suffer being in a deficit for so long (joints, maybe stalls in progress, who knows). So, I guess my main question is, if you were me, what would you do? Increase the deficit at the expense of muscle now, or keep on with my current deficit and drag this out at my current pace?
“Eat vegetables before or with meals. Whether you are hungry on your way home or right when you walk in the door, snacking on veggies can help you keep your portions in check once you sit down to a meal. I also recommend starting your dinner with a vegetable salad or vegetable soup to fill you up and prevent overeating. — Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, author of  Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?
“One of the keys to long-term and sustainable weight loss is to cut total calorie intake, and there’s no better way to do that than by eating just a little bit less of what you currently eat. Once you get into a habit of reducing portions—especially of sugary, fatty and other nutrient-poor foods—you can fine tune your diet to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods. But paring portions is still the best first step.” — Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of  Younger Next Week
5. Eat protein with every meal – While nutritionists may argue about whether low carb diets are best, one thing is for certain – a high protein diet helps you lose weight faster.11 Foods and meals that are high in protein help fill you up without providing too many calories. While 1 gram of fat has 9 calories, 1 gram of protein and carbs has only 4. That’s not to say dietary fat is bad, it’s just that protein, especially lean protein sources, will help satisfy your hunger more.12 Find out how much protein you need to build muscle.
You can do this simple exercise by lying down on your left side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and your legs one on top of the other. Place your right hand on your right hip. Now, tighten your abs and lift your hips off the floor. This way, you will be directly working the abdominal muscles. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
What’s your take on Gary Taubes’ work (if you’ve read it)? He hates the calorie in/out concept but from reading it that’s mainly because it doesn’t address causality (and he doesn’t believe everybody that’s obese/overweight is just lazy/stupid). As I understand it he specifically he says insulin levels regulate how easily fat is stored and available to be burned off and affects how hungry we get. Is that wrong?
So many people love to eat cheese. If you’re any of those than replace normal cheese with cheddar cheese. Cheddar cheese are very low in caloric content (around 113 calories a slice) as compared to normal cheese slice and contains around 7 grams of protein. A very good option to consider in your daily routine diet for sure. You can add a slice of cheddar cheese to your chicken breast sandwich, this way you can enjoy both the sandwich and cheese too.
At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year—or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.

14. Learn Kettlebell Swings – The kettlebell swing is an incredibly effective exercise that builds power, core strength and stability, and awesome grip strength. Additionally, it induces a powerful metabolic effect making it a great exercise for weight loss, especially fat loss. Learn how to do this exercise with perfect form to get the most out of every rep. Kettlebell training can burn 20.2 calories per minute while jogging burns half the calories.20
We know that this type of fat—called visceral fat—churns out stress hormones like cortisol and inflammatory substances called cytokines that affect the body's production of insulin. The result: Besides obesity, you're also looking at increased risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. No thanks. Check out these nine tips to finally rid your body of that excess stomach.
These diets and methods might never come right out and admit that or say you just need to eat less calories (partly because it doesn’t fit with their gimmick, partly because people don’t want to hear that they have to [GASP!] count calories or [GASP!] eat less of them, and partly because it’s hard to make money off of something that is simple, obvious and free.)
The specific “Biggest Loser” diet plan is probably not to blame. A previous study found similar metabolic suppression in people who had lost weight and kept it off for up to six years. Whether weight is lost slowly or quickly has no effect on later regain. Likewise — despite endless debate about the relative value of different approaches — in head-to-head comparisons, diet plans that provide the same calories through different types of food lead to similar weight loss and regain.
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.
80. Write Down 2 Goals – Make them SMART. That means they’re specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound goals. Setting SMART goals may make you more likely to achieve them.63 Create one performance goal and one body composition goal. Keep your goals somewhere visible so you’re reminded of them every day. For example, “Do 10 pull-ups in a row in 3 months” or “Lose 15lbs in 3 months.”

To encourage ketone production, the amount of insulin in your bloodstream must be low. The lower your insulin, the higher your ketone production. And when you have a well-controlled, sufficiently large amount of ketones in your blood, it’s basically proof that your insulin is very low – and therefore, that you’re enjoying the maximum effect of your low-carbohydrate diet. That’s what’s called optimal ketosis.
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