It’s every chocoholic’s dream: Research now shows that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate can reduce overall body fat and shrink your waist. A study among women with normal weight obesity (or skinny fat syndrome) who ate a Mediterranean diet that included two servings of dark chocolate each day showed a significant reduction in waist size than when on a cocoa-free meal plan. Researchers say it has to do with the flavonoids, heart-healthy compounds in chocolate that have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just be sure you’re reaching for a bar with at least 70 percent cacao, and stay away from the “alkalized” stuff, which has a significantly reduced flavonoid content.
There’s some truth to the old adage that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day,” and if you’re looking to blast belly fat, what you eat at the start of each day can make all the difference. According to a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a high-fiber, high-protein breakfast may be the most important investment you can make for your waistline. The study showed that eating breakfast triggered women’s brains to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical that helps to control impulses. In other words, eating a balanced breakfast decreases your chances of reaching for that 3 p.m. candy bar and keeps your belly slim.
Who knew that fantasizing about eating your favorite candy can actually result in real-life weight loss? A study found that daydreaming about eating an entire packet of the sweet stuff before indulging may cause you to eat less of it. To come to this finding, researchers asked participants to imagine eating three M&Ms versus 30. Then, they conducted a taste test where participants were able to nosh on the chocolate orbs. The results? Those who imagined eating lots of M&Ms ended up gobbling down the least!
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If you would like to pair your weight loss experience with a trip to an exotic location, you'll have plenty of options. International weight loss resorts cater to fitness and travel savvy clients all over the globe. You're likely to feel pampered at many of these hot spots which may make the weight loss process feel more indulgent and can make dieting and exercise easier.
Body fat gets a bad rap, but your body needs it. There is an essential amount of fat that each body needs in order to maintain its natural functions. That amount will vary between body type, age, sex, physical activity level, and fitness goal. For the general population, the levels accepted as healthy are between 21-32 percent for women and 8-19 percent for men.1 Higher levels can lead to weight-related health risks such as Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
A new German study found that when you drink 17 ounces of water (about two glasses) within a certain time frame, your metabolic rate shoots up by about 30 percent. Using these results, they estimate that by increasing your current water intake by 1.5 liters a day, a person would burn an extra 17,400 calories a year, resulting in about a five-pound weight loss.
Boredom isn’t just bad for your brain, it’s also bad for your waistline, especially if you’re trying to shed some pounds. According to a study in the Journal of Health Psychology, boredom actually strips you of your ability to make smart food choices; you become an “emotional eater,” What’s more, boredom turns you into the worst kind of emotional eater because you not only make the wrong food choices but also eat much more fattening foods than you normally would. To stave off boredom, try taking a walk or relaxing with a good book.
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.
Interval training can also be a very effective weight-loss tool. It's pretty easy to incorporate into any fitness plan because it can be applied to a variety of settings, and different types of equipment can be used. Choose an activity that you can do at a high intensity (greater than 80 percent of your maximum heart rate) for 30-60 seconds, then follow it with 30-60 seconds of rest.
Tart cherries are grown exclusively in Michigan, but if you’re able to get your hands on them there is strong evidence to suggest they can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Need proof? Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a 12-week study that found that rats fed tart cherries showed a 9 percent belly fat reduction over those fed a standard western diet. Scientists believe this is because tart cherries are especially high in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid with strong antioxidant activity. These and other flavonoids found in tart cherries have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Weight training is the ultimate way to burn calories fast. "A pound of muscle burns up to nine times the calories of a pound of fat," explains Richard Cotton, M.A., chief exercise physiologist for myexerciseplan.com. Weight training increases your resting metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you burn while sitting on your butt. What's more, it gives your metabolism an added boost after you exercise, staying in overdrive for up to two hours after the last bench press, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Strapped for time? Try these quick moves: squats, bench step-ups, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups and planks. In a pinch, just do single sets of 10 for each exercise — you'll get optimal results for the time invested.
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It may be tempting to blame your metabolism for weight gain. But because metabolism is a natural process, your body has many mechanisms that regulate it to meet your individual needs. Only in rare cases do you get excessive weight gain from a medical problem that slows metabolism, such as Cushing's syndrome or having an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
That’s because the tough love formula on Mountain Trek’s one- and two-week programs ($4,500 and $8,850 Canadian) pays off: Metabolisms rise and pants get loose. And then it all starts to just feel good. By the fourth day or so, the 6:30am yoga classes, sensibly portioned meals, challenging four-hour hikes—in which the encouraging and attentive guides insist you speed up if you’re able to speak in full sentences—and even health lectures start adding up to something energizing. Cortisol is losing! Metabolism-boosting hormones like HGH and DHEA are winning!
You can avoid a mindless binge by adding visual traffic lights to your snack. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University gave one set of students a bowl of uniform yellow chips, while another group had their regular snack layered with differently colored chips. Students who had their snack segmented ate 50 percent less than those with a uniform bowl.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee dropped their longstanding recommendation that we should limit dietary cholesterol. Decades of research have shown that it has little effect on blood cholesterol levels, and the government’s outdated recommendations have done little more than send scrambled messages about the pros and cons of eating eggs and shrimp. So go ahead and scramble up an omelet—with the yolk. Eating the entire egg is beneficial to your body because it contains metabolism-stoking nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids, and choline—a powerful compound that attacks the gene mechanism that triggers your body to store fat around your liver. To learn more about the flat-belly benefits of eggs, check out these What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Eggs.
In a small German study, subjects who drank 16 ounces of water at a time experienced a 30 percent increase in metabolic rate during the following hour, burning an extra 24 calories. The researchers recommend cool water because the body expends extra calories warming it up to your body temperature. Water's not the only healthy drink. We sipped our way through dozens of smoothies, teas, and juices to find this list of the most delicious and nutritious liquids.
I am so excited for the results I’m seeing with the Fit Body Weight Loss program! In less than three weeks I’m already down 17 pounds! All my friends, family and co-workers are noticing. My “skinny pants” now fit very loose. I’m a busy single mom, singer and own my own business and was I still able to easily fit the Fit Body program into my work and life schedule. I’m still working towards my goal, but I know I will be there soon! The Fit Body Weight Loss Program really works and best of all I am eating healthy, my skin is glowing with vitality and my energy has really increased! I feel great and everyone seems to notice my transformation! Bottom line, this program works and it can help you transform your life easily, quickly and without starving, no crazy workouts or risky surgery! If I can do it, so can you!
Mason, A. E., Epel, E. S., Aschbacher, K., Lustig, R. H., Acree, M., Kristeller, J., … Daubenmier, J. (2016, May 1). Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite , 100, 86–93. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799744/
Some popular beliefs attached to weight loss have been shown to either have less effect on weight loss as commonly believed or are actively unhealthy. According to Harvard Health, the idea of metabolism being the "key to weight" is "part truth and part myth" as while metabolism does affect weight loss, external forces such as diet and exercise have an equal effect. They also commented that the idea of changing one's rate of metabolism is under debate. Diet plans in fitness magazines are also often believed to be effective, but may actually be harmful by limiting the daily intake of important calories and nutrients which can be detrimental depending on the person and are even capable of driving individuals away from weight loss.
1 Reference for 5%: Blackburn G. (1995). Effect of degree of weight loss on health benefits. Obesity Research 3: 211S-216S. Reference for 10%: NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf [PDF-1.25MB]
If you just can’t shake those belly-bloating sugar cravings, try tyrosine—a building block of protein. It has been shown to prevent that yearning for the sweet stuff by encouraging the brain to release dopamine and another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. In other words, eating more tyrosine (which can be found in eggs, spirulina, certain cheeses such as Parmesan, Gruyère, Swiss, and Romano, milk, sesame seeds, beef, and bacon) helps fend off those harmful sugar cravings that make your belly fat.
When you start a new program that your body is not accustomed to, expect to be a little sore, tired, or both. Start at a comfortable pace. Going all out the first few times you exercise could leave you feeling so sore that you have to take the next week off. Spending four weeks on the couch instead of in the gym will put you right back at square one, which just plain sucks.
Working with a lifestyle medicine professional can also help you manage expectations, set reasonable goals and respond to your body’s changes if weight loss is a goal of yours. You may also want to consider whether a nutritionist is right for you. The team at the Northwestern Medicine Center for Lifestyle Medicine specializes in setting achievable goals ranging from comprehensive weight-loss treatment and management for overweight and obese adults and educational strategies that promote weight loss to risk factor reduction and tools to improve physical activity and encourage healthy eating.