If you ever heard the phrase ‘abs are made in the kitchen; not the gym?’ and questioned whether people who work with a personal trainer daily have problems with abdominal fat; they do. If you are apple shaped or carry most of your abdominal fat around the middle part of your body, we’d like to share a few quick facts about successfully reducing it with diet and exercise.
At a molecular level, sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Carbohydrates are the leading source of weight gain and increased fat deposits; the liver becomes overwhelmed with fructose, which it really can’t process very well.
If you love eating fresh fruit, stick to whole fruit that has an edible skin for additional fiber, to balance the fructose amounts and make it easier for your body to absorb and utilize as a healthy nutritional resource.
Somewhere along the way, we have created a myth that proteins are difficult to source in meals, or as healthy snacks. Today, there are more options in the prepared food aisle of your grocery store, including cheese and meat snack-packs that make it easy to add that extra protein to your day.
Another valuable resource for individuals who are working on a weight loss goal, are high-protein and low carbohydrate meal replacement shakes. While they are not a long-term solution for weight loss, they can be used strategically when you experience a craving.
Remember that your body is constantly breaking down starches and fibers. Low-fiber foods burn quickly and leave you feeling hungry for more calories. Soluble fiber helps to reduce cravings, prevent over-eating, and in one clinical study it was reported that for every 10 grams of soluble fiber intake, that increases in belly fat were reduced by 3.7% over a five-year period.
If you are finding it hard to sneak a little more soluble fiber into your daily diet, try adding a couple teaspoons of flax seed to your smoothie. Avocados and certain types of raw berries are also high in soluble fiber.
Many clinical studies measuring the impact of targeted abdominal training on waist circumference confirm that for weight-loss, cardiovascular exercises are the most effective. These exercises don’t have to be limited to the gym. Walking outside or running, swimming, spin classes or aerobics are all great ways to kickstart your metabolism and shift it into fat burning mode.
Before you start educating yourself on the nutritional composition of the foods you buy, here’s a little warning; grocery shopping is going to take a little longer. Until weight management becomes an issue, a trip to the grocery store meant grabbing your favorite brands and treats. Once you start reading the labels however, with the objective of finding the best nutritional ‘bargains’ for your money, you’ll start to see food chemistry in a whole new light.
Carbohydrates provide rapid energy, followed by an unpleasant sense of fatigue and tiredness. You’ll have more energy when you start cutting back on unhealthy carbohydrates.
While we are all tempted to climb on the scale every morning, it can be discouraging to see an increase in weight when you are being careful about exercise, and what you eat. A more accurate measurement of your weight loss or maintenance can be achieved by weighing in once a week and recording the information on an app. Look at weight loss as a long-term goal, with weekly and monthly incremental steps.
Behaviorally, we tend to forget about the hundreds of calories we may be consuming in alcoholic beverages, but they add up quickly. And when you consider that the average restaurant meal (including an appetizer) can amount to more than a full-day’s worth of calories, those high-calorie drinks are quickly converted into abdominal fat.
Before you start any new fitness plan, remember to discuss your weight loss goals with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can provide recommendations and support to help you adopt new lifestyle habits that will help you restore a healthy body weight.