Ok, so you have been working out, watching what you eat and working towards your weight loss goals, but that stubborn belly fat just won’t budge. You’re not alone in your frustration. Among women, about sixty-two percent of them say that their belly is the body part they are most self-conscious about. But have no fear; there are simple tricks that you can follow to a sexier core. According to Alan Aragon, a nutritionist in Westlake Village, California, some of the old food advice you’ve been following for years may actually be working against you. New research has found new culinary strategies for shrinking your stomach and dropping pounds all over. Here’s Aragon’s approach to tackling that belly fat.
Most of us have heard the mantra about eating five small meals a day and as that may work for some; it may not necessarily work for everyone. You’ll eat the healthiest if you eat your way – that means if you prefer larger meals fewer times a day, then there’s no reason why you couldn’t do that. You do however have to pay attention to the size of your meal. Portion control is key so no matter how many times you eat throughout the day, be sure to always keep a close eye on your portions.
Are fats OK to eat? Absolutely! So long as they’re the right fats – primarily monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) such as nuts, avocados, and healthy oils like olive oil but stay away from processed foods that contain trans fats, such as in baked goods like cupcakes, cake and cookies. Eating fat actually helps you become slim – hard to believe but true. The Institute of Medicine recommends that fatty foods make up 20 to 35 percent of your total calories. So indulge in fatty foods, in moderation of course, that are good for your body. These foods include beef (top round and sirloin), eggs, reduced fat cheese, walnuts, almonds, guacamole and lean pork.
One thing to keep in mind is that shedding belly fat basically boils down to the calories in versus calories out. Sure counting calories at every meal will help you stick to a healthy eating plan, but if counting every single calorie stresses you out then instead fill your plate with whole, energy-dense foods, such as lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. These foods pack a lot of nutrition in fewer calories, so you’re able to eat more feel full without jeopardizing your midsection.
Protein shakes, are they just for bodybuilders? Absolutely not! Don’t be confused, anyone can benefit from the belly-flattening power of protein powder. Go for the whey protein instead of soy; The Journal of Nutrition conducted a study where the participants who included whey protein in their diets for 23 weeks had less body fat and smaller waist than those who ate soy protein. In fact, those who included whey protein doubled their fat loss compared to those who ate the same amount of calories but didn’t drink any protein shakes. Drinking a whey protein shake once a day or at least a few times a week will help you lose that belly fat.
Carbs – enemy or not? Sure if you overeat carbohydrates you’ll gain weight, just as you will with overeating any food. Eat complex carbs like those found in whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables because they fill you up with fiber and it is easier to portion control these foods than it is with highly processed carbs like white bread, pasta and rice.
If you find yourself losing pounds but not inches then this usually means that you’re not strength training or eating enough protein. Start lifting some weights and increase your lean protein intake like a whey protein shake or smoothie after your strength training workout.
To sum it all up, in order to blast belly fat make sure you portion control, eat the right fats in moderation, count calories or increase your intake of whole, energy and nutrition dense foods, eat complex carbs and stay away from processed, refined carbs, incorporate whey protein into your diet and strength training. Follow these simple tricks and tips and you’ll be on your way to a flatter, sexier core.
Source: Women’s Health Magazine, April 2012 issue