15 Ways to Shed Your Gut and Keep It Off
Looking to shed your gut and keep it off? Well, stop looking for a single (magical) method to lose weight. What you need is a multi-pronged approach, to chip away at your love handles from all sides throughout your day. These 15 easy tips will give you plenty of chances to kiss your gut goodbye, without drastically altering your lifestyle.
Eat low-fat protein. Your body needs protein to fuel your muscles, but not all protein is created equal. Keep the fat (especially the unhealthy saturated kind) out of your diet by choosing low-fat protein sources—eggs, fish, lean cuts of meat, poultry, beans and eggs.
Be label conscious. It’s no joke that foods with added sugars go right to your waist. While some are obvious offenders, like candy and soda, keep an eye on the food labels for other types of added sugars—things like high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, malt syrup and molasses.
Alternate your exercises. While working out, switch between exercises for your lower body and upper body. This gives your muscles a chance to rest while you work other muscles (and keep your heart rate up). You will also be able to do the same workout in less time.
Take care of your home. Keep your house and yard looking great while burning extra calories. It’s not just time at the gym that counts. Any physical activity—such as mowing the lawn, vacuuming the floor or washing the windows—burns fat, conditions your body and reduces your risk of heart disease and obesity.
Surpass yourself. During every workout, try to break your own record—even if it is just running a quarter of a mile more in the same amount of time or lifting two extra pounds.
Bulk up on fiber. High-fiber foods help you feel full and eat less. Fiber is also important for healthy intestines and may reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Cooked beans top the fiber scale, with 10 to 16 grams of fiber per cup; but a medium artichoke packs 10 grams of fiber and 1 cup of raspberries will get you 8 grams.
Eat regularly. Starving yourself by skipping meals slows down your metabolism—which means your body starts to break down the protein in your muscle for energy and hold onto its fat reserves. Opt instead for regular meals and snacks.
Divide and conquer. When eating out at a restaurant, divide your meal into portions before you start eating. Limit yourself to one portion and box the rest to take home.
Limit screen time. In general, screen time is sedentary time. Count up all the hours you spend sitting in front of the computer and television and you’ll see how much time you could spend being physically active instead. Set a goal to reduce your screen time, and head to the park or gym.
Weight for it. Lifting weights packs on the muscle which helps your body burn more fat. Unless you are training for a marathon or triathlon, ditch some of your cardiovascular activities for resistance activities like using free weights, resistance machines or body resistance workouts.
Go low glycemic. The glycemic index is a measure of how foods affect the insulin levels in your blood. High glycemic foods like potatoes, sugary sodas, white bread and baked goods cause your insulin to spike. Your body also breaks down these foods faster, which leaves you hungry and less satisfied. To keep your insulin more steady, look for low glycemic foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
Fill up on vegetables. If in doubt, eat more vegetables. As long as you aren’t dousing your greens—and reds and yellows—in lots of fatty dressing or dips, you will fill up without bulking up around the waist. Some fat, though, is needed to help your body absorb certain vitamins and nutrients, so don’t be afraid to use a little olive oil-based dressing.
Play like a kid. Working out doesn’t need to be so serious. Get together with friends—or join a league—for a good game of kickball, softball or soccer. You may not win any pennants, but you’ll stay active. Plus, the peer pressure of being part of a team will make sure that you show up.
Eat breakfast. Some studies have found that people who eat breakfast each day are less likely to be obese. A hearty breakfast—skip the sugary cereals and baked goods—helps stabilize your insulin levels and keeps you full longer.
Go to sleep. Several studies have found that people who sleep fewer than seven hours a night are more likely to pack on the pounds. This is worse if you go to bed in the early hours of the morning, which gives you more opportunities for late-night snacking. Make a point to go to bed at a decent hour each night, and turn out the lights (and computer and televisions) before you hit the sack.