1. Track your calories
The most basic approach to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. For instance, since 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat. A weight loss app, or even just a pen and paper, can help you decide how many calories you need to cut from your diet or burn at the gym in order to meet your goals. If you were to burn 500 more calories per day seven days a week, that would lead to 3,500 calories in a week and one pound of weight loss.
2. Eat more fiber
Foods that are high in refined carbs and sugar don’t actually tame your hunger, so you end up reaching for more. Instead, eat more fibrous foods like whole grain breads, oats, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, and chia seeds. They fill you up more, as fiber helps slow your digestion.
3. Walk every day
If you don’t have an established exercise routine, walking is a pretty good entry point for people. Even if your starting point is a 10-minute walk, if that’s more than what you’ve been doing, there’s health benefits to that. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is that they try to do too much too soon and get burnt out.
4. Begin strength training
It’s important to do full-body strength training if you want to lose belly fat, especially if you’re trying to keep it off for the long haul. Strength training should be a part of everybody’s exercise plan. That’s because strength training helps you build muscle, which will replace body fat. And because muscle is metabolically active, you'll continue to burn calories after working out, thereby, reducing overall body fat. Bonus: When your metabolic rate becomes faster due to muscle growth, you’ll have a little more wiggle room in your diet if that’s something you struggle with.
5. Embrace healthy fats
If you want to lose fat, you have to eat fat...the right kind, that is. Adding healthy fats, in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can help you feel more satisfied with your meals. Fat sources that I recommend boosting in the diet come from unsaturated fatty acids found in foods like olive oil, nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and eggs, as they can help increase satiety while providing a variety of health benefits when consumed in moderation. You can increase your intake of healthy fats by adding some chopped avocado into your salads, enjoying wild salmon twice a week, and having a little peanut butter with your post-workout snack or smoothie.
6. Load up on protein
There’s a reason everyone harps on about protein: Not only does it help keep you full, but it’s also responsible for repairing the tiny tears caused by strength training in your muscles. This helps them grow bigger and stronger, nudging out body fat in the process. As a general rule of thumb, aim to get at least 70 grams of protein throughout the day.
7. Okay, now you can do some crunches
Although you can’t spot reduce fat, you can target building lean muscle tissue, which in turn helps burn fat. There are literally dozens of muscles between your shoulders and your hips that are involved in every movement you do. The fastest way to create a lean midsection begins with choosing the right moves.
Aim to do ab work three or four times a week on non-consecutive days with at least 24 hours of rest in between sessions. During those sessions, you can start with simpler moves like crunches, bicycle crunches, and planks. Even though you may only be directly targeting your abs three or four times a week, you should still be activating your core.
8. Try to limit your stress
Stress can manage every part of your body, but how you deal with it can make or break your weight loss goals. For some, it makes us eat more, because we use food as a substitute for dealing with stress.
The truth is, eating food to make yourself feel better is usually a whole lot easier than actually facing the stress head-on. Stress-eating can only lead to one thing: growing your belly rather than whittling it. If you find yourself stress eating, take a step back and think: What’s causing my stress, and what can I do about it? Find a way to remedy the solution or talk through it with your trainer, rather than turning to a bag of Doritos.
9. Prioritize quality sleep
Sleep is huge when it comes to your weight loss success and that’s both if you sleep too much or too little. Sleeping too much is probably not great for you health wise, but sleeping too little is worse.
If you’re only getting a minimal amount of sleep each night, that leaves more time for you to snack and make otherwise unhealthy decisions that could affect your weight loss. Although it will vary from person to person on how much sleep you actually need to be most effective, the ideal number is typically seven or eight hours.
10. Drink less alcohol
To lose weight, you simply have to consume fewer calories, but that can be tough when feelings of hunger start creeping in. One good plan of attack? Ditch the empty calories that don’t serve your goals so you can make more room for the foods that do. This includes all sugary drinks, like soda, but alcohol is a big one.
Drinking frequently, even if it’s a moderate amount, can set you up for excess fat in the belly. Not only do the beverages themselves contain unnecessary calories, but once you start sipping too much, your inhibition also plummets. The result? You’ll have a hard time resisting that late-night slice of pizza.
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