You’ve been working out all year – all that cardio and circuit training, not to mention all those sit-ups and belly crunches. Great abs, right? No, you still have that roll around your middle, and swimsuit season always seems like it’s coming up much too soon.
Belly fat is a problem, particularly for those of us who have experienced that approaching-middle-age metabolism adjustment that usually comes somewhere in your thirties, but certainly by early forties. What to do, what to do?
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Don’t panic! There are ways to get rid of that stubborn excess on your midsection . . . and hard exercise isn’t one of them! The real elements that make or break any fat-loss program are exercise, diet, diet, and diet. We are what we eat.
Fat is stored energy. Your body stores energy to protect against famine, prepare for reduced food availability and retain body warmth in winter. We don’t live in caves anymore, but our bodies still act as if we do.
There are a lot of dietary rules for weight loss, and there are diets so complex that only a CPA or digital engineering nerd gets anything from them. I don’t know about you, but that skill set doesn’t come naturally to most people I know, least of all me.
Today let’s go over a few easy-to-follow eating rules and review the foods that you can eat to accelerate the results of your weight-loss program. The rules will be as simplified as possible so you don’t have to carry a ledger to keep track of it all.
This isn’t a diet; rather it is some basic information about what to eat, how much and how often.
The First Rule of Belly-Fat Loss: Ditch the processed foods.
You know, the ones in the boxes, cans, bottles or kept in the freezer section of the supermarket. A check of the labels of most, if not all, of these time-saving products, will show a number of ingredients that sabotage your attempts to lose that belly fat.
Many processed foods are unhealthy, containing high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats, and they are also high in carbohydrates that will send you headed straight toward a blood sugar crash.
Buy fresh, whole foods instead: organic vegetables, grass-fed beef and free-range poultry. Instead of fish sticks, sausage biscuits or chicken fingers (what part of the chicken do fingers come from?) prepare some steamed vegetables and a grilled chicken breast.
It really doesn’t take much longer to prepare fresh foods than it does to heat junk foods in the microwave or oven.
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The Second Rule: Drink lots of water.
Water will boost your metabolism, keep your body hydrated, help you control your hunger, and increase your energy. Drink a lot of water before and during your workouts.
Your water may be mixed with something to give it a little flavor, but nothing with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Try a squeeze of citrus juice or mineral water. Green tea actually helps speed up the fat-burning process.
The Third Rule: Eat more protein.
Lean protein in every meal helps your metabolism while keeping blood sugar and insulin levels in the proper zone. Protein is needed to rebuild muscle tissue. More muscle = more energy expended, leading to less fat in your storage cabinet (your waist and belly).
The Fourth Rule: Eat only good carbs.
Avoid refined starches and sugars; these are not “good” carbohydrates. The best carbs are from fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh or dried beans and other legumes, and whole grains. Sprouted grain bread are touted as being healthy and easily metabolized.
The Fifth Rule: Eat healthy fats.
Some dietary fat is necessary for good health. The fats to avoid are saturated fats, especially trans fats. Good fats are olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds, avocado, nuts, and seeds of all types.
The Sixth Rule: Control your cravings.
Eating is sometimes an emotional experience. One of the best ways to control your food urges is to never let yourself get really hungry. Don’t skip meals; in fact, eat a small meal or healthy snack every few hours. Have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables readily available for hunger abatement.
The Seventh Rule: Exercise until you perspire (or glisten) on a regular basis.
Forget the long and boring cardio sessions; do something that’s fun and makes you sweat. The best time is first thing in the morning. It will rev you up for the rest of the day.
Foods That Burn Fat
The heading on this section is misleading. Foods don’t burn fat; your body does. But there are foods you can eat that will turbo-charge your metabolism causing a faster rate of fuel consumption.
Just like in an automobile, a turbo-charger will give greater power, but at the expense of gas mileage. If you are trying to lose belly fat, this is a good thing.
Mark Hyman, MD, points out in Ultra Metabolism: A Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss that the key to long-term weight loss is to eat foods high on the phytonutrient index (PI) and low in glycemic load (GL).
This simple phrase is the clue to how his program works. Lean meats do not register on the glycemic index, nor do they have phytonutrients.
- Low GL/High PI Foods
Vegetables Fruits Beans Nuts Seeds Olive Oil Whole Grains Tea Herbs and Spices
- High GL/Low PI Foods
Flour or Flour Products Refined Grains (White Rice) Sugar in any form Processed Foods Junk Food Large Starchy Potatoes
In his Fat-Burning Furnace food chart, Rob Poulos is more specific on which foods will increase your metabolism.
- Complex Carbohydrates
Brown Rice/Wild Rice Whole Wheat Pasta Oatmeal/Whole Oats Whole Wheat/Grain Cereal Sweet Potatoes Rye (the grain, not the 100 proof kind) Quinoa
Apples Oranges Melons Papaya Bananas Berries
- Animal/Plant Proteins
Lean Beef Lean Ground Turkey Chicken Breast, Skinless Lean Ham/Pork Skim Milk Non-Fat Yogurt Fish Shellfish Low- or Non-Fat Cottage Cheese Unprocessed Soy, Soybeans, Tofu Dried Beans Lentils/Peas Peanuts Almonds Cashews Walnuts Natural Peanut Butter Seeds
Broccoli Salad Greens Spinach Green Beans Green Peppers Carrots Asparagus Bean Sprouts Brussels Sprouts Cauliflower Celery Cucumber Mushrooms Onions Tomatoes Zucchini Artichoke Kale
Let’s summarize what we’ve learned today: There are simple rules for burning off that belly fat, and they include avoiding processed foods because they contain ingredients that will sabotage your weight-loss program.
Drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated and metabolism running high. Eat more protein, both animal and plant, to rebuild your muscle tissue. Muscles burn fat. Eat good carbohydrates, those that come from whole foods, fresh vegetables, and fruits. Eat healthy fats from olive oil, fish, seeds and nuts, avocado, and nut butter. Don’t let yourself get hungry; don’t skip meals. Break into a sweat through exercise, preferably in the morning. Eat foods that are Low GL and High PI to turbo-charge your metabolism and lose weight.
Check it out here, the best tips if you are interested in getting leaner, and packing on solid muscle at the same time, then you need to check out renowned fitness expert Tom Venuto’s latest tips – The “Four Elements” of Fat-Burning, where he reveals the most powerful secrets ever for shedding massive amounts of body fat WHILE boosting muscle.