That gut of yours. You’ve been trying hard to get rid of it for a while, but for whatever reason, it insists on sticking around. We’re inviting you now to stop trying so hard and start trying smart. We’ve looked at the studies, we’ve talked to the experts, and we’ve come up with five strategies for finally getting rid of the paunch you had so much fun putting on. Not only can you can pick and choose which strategy best suits you, but you can actually employ all of them in a five-pronged assault on the blubber. And be sure to check out the exclusive report that’s already changed thousands of lives: 100 Ways to Live to 100!
All humans, indeed all animals, are hard-wired to feast and fast. However, most of us eat three meals a day with snacking in between. Back in the day, our ancestors never knew where their next bit of food was coming from. When nutrients were scarce, those who could better break down body fat for energy passed along that ability. But since the agricultural revolution, more and more people had a steady supply of grub in their lives.
“Studies have shown that while people will lose weight with daily calorie restriction, they don’t stick to it for very long,” says Krista Varady, Ph.D., an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Varady adds that daily dieting means always watching what you eat and usually feeling hungry much of the time. But if you fast on alternate days, or eat all your caries in a short window in the middle of the day, you’ll feel hungry sometimes, sure, but there’s always the next day to look forward to—a day when you can eat as much as you like. Other studies have shown that fasters tend to keep more lean muscle mass than calorie counters.
Go low carb
The rumors are true. Low-carb diets are devilishly effective. Why? A diet that includes a lot of carbs causes insulin levels to spike. That’s bad if you’re trying to get rid of stubborn fat, because one of insulin’s vital roles in the body relates to fat storage: it inhibits the breakdown of fat cells and stimulates the creation of body blubber. The good news is that merely reducing your carbs — as opposed to cutting them out completely — will begin to reduce those insulin spikes right away, which will soon have a marked affect on your wobbly parts. Try at first halving your consumption of bread, pasta, rice, booze, soda and other sources of refined sugars. When you see results, you may be inspired to cut carbs more aggressively and accelerate the process. The trick is to make up for the caloric shortfall with lean proteins and healthy fats, plus nutrient-packed, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Stock your kitchen with these 25 Foods That’ll Keep You Young Forever!
Address portion control
A recent British study compared four popular-on-the-internet approaches to losing body fat by assigning the four regimens to different groups of participants. One group wore activity monitors and were given help making lifestyle adjustments. The second group did a regular sit-up routine. The third group consumed a liter of milk per day without changing anything else. The last group reduced portion size — not what they ate but how much of it — measuring servings by using their fingers and as as guides. The clear winner was the portion-control group, which lost an average of 8.2 lb each over six weeks. Their average waistline shrank by 2 inches, and they ended up with with 5% less body fat and a 14% reduction of the dangerous visceral fat inside the abdomen.
Cut out booze
Alcohol contains calories, mostly from carbohydrates. You can safely assume that a beer, glass of wine or a cocktail packs about 150 calories each. Aside from wine’s supposedly heart-healthy benefits, these calories are the very definition of empty — they offer next-to-nothing in the way of nutrition. If you cut out drinking and don’t replace the alcohol with other sources of empty calories, it’s a good bet that you’ll start to lose fat without much effort. Say you drink an average of five alcoholic beverages per week. Then you cut out the booze without making any other lifestyle changes. In a year’s time, you’d save more than 39,000 calories. That’s 11 pounds of belly fat burnt. When 14 staff members of New Scientist magazine decided to cut out the booze for 5 weeks, they lost 2% of their body weight on average. That’s just one of the 30 Best Ways to Boost Your Metabolism After 30!
HIIT it with your best shot
Short for “high-intensity interval training,” HIIT involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise like sprints or squat jumps followed by a longer, low-intensity phase referred to as “active recovery.” And because the high-intensity phase is measured by effort instead of weight or duration, it’s one exercise worth keeping in your schedule. As your fitness level improves, so will what you define as 80% — the amount of effort called for in these short bursts of intensity. It’s a workout that evolves with you. Because HIIT requires a lot of energy — and therefore longer periods of rest — try incorporating a HIIT cardio session into your workout routine one to two times per week.