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Everyone wants to lose belly fat and attain a lean physique, getting that beach body for the summer. Millions of people who actively try to lose weight often stress over how long it takes to get results. However, many people who try to get rid of excess fat may unknowingly be going about it wrong.
For example, there is a weight loss regime that gets rid of almost all excess fat, except for the deposits around your waist and stomach. This fat deposit is referred to as stubborn fat due to how difficult it is to find a way to get rid of it. According to the latest research published by Duke researcher Herman Pontzer, many people might be going about trying to lose fat with preconceived misconceptions.
1. How to Lose Belly Fat?
In the book titled Burn, many individuals have a limited or incorrect understanding of how metabolism works. The majority of the world’s population believes that exercise and diet are the only natural ways to lose weight and achieve a lean body. If you plan on having a cheat day, we probably are thinking you need to work out extensively to burn the extra calories consumed, right?
Wrong. According to Dr. Pontzer, his study revealed there was no link between exercise and metabolism, other than the fact that exercise helps reduce inflammation. The belief that more exercise will help burn more calories, in the long run, is incorrect.
Pontzer and his team spent over a decade in their research, trying to figure out how the body functions concerning fat and metabolism. This meant testing long-held beliefs about diet and exercise to confirm whether they were true or not.
For example, it is a common practice to measure the number of calories burned during each exercise and try to even out the number of calories consumed and burned. Similarly, many people believe that an active lifestyle will result in less weight being gained and easier to lose fat than a sedentary lifestyle.
However, the study involved over 6,600 participants located from several continents, from urban and rural populations. The results revealed that all the participants burned almost the same number of calories every day. This means that regardless of how much activity you engage in, the number of calories that you’re burning will remain the same in the long run.
According to Pontzer’s research, humans burn about 2,500 calories per day. And this value barely changes no matter how much energy is exerted during physical exercises. It’s true that for someone who hardly works out, an intense exercise routine can burn a significant amount of calories over the next day. However, this increase in the metabolic rate is only temporary since the body adjusts to the increase in activity within a week. Gradually, the person’s metabolism settles down to the average rate like everyone else.
Does this mean that exercise is useless? For weight loss, yes. Exercise will not have a significant impact on weight loss or burning calories. However, exercise will help strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation, and give you the shredded physique you want.
So, how does one go about losing weight? The answer is simple: you go on a diet.
2. How Does Dieting Work?
A diet is about knowing what you should eat and what you should avoid.
According to Pontzer’s research, if you can’t burn the excess calories you consume, the only option is to reduce your daily calorie intake. But make sure that you supply your body with the minimum nutritional intake.
The types of food, frequency of meals, and the overall amount consumed are all factors of a dietary routine or diet.
Examples of medically recommended diets include Ketogenic, Mediterranean, Whole 360, etc. There are also crash diets that require intermittent fasting.
While crash diets have become more well-known over the years, they often result in unhealthy changes in body weight and physical health issues.
Both Pontzer and Burn strongly advise against crash diets since they would disrupt your natural body functions. Human bodies have evolved to store fat to provide extra energy in case of emergencies. Extra carbs and energy stored in fat cells have helped humans survive tough periods of sickness, famine, etc.
3. Healthy Ways to Lose Belly Fat
When trying to lower the number of calories you consume, avoid starving yourself or stick to a diet religiously without taking note of changes to your body. With each week you stick with a diet, you may notice changes in your appetite and level of activity. This is your body telling you to adjust how much food you should eat or the distribution of each essential nutrition group.
4. Foods You Should Avoid
When following a diet, there are several types of food you should avoid if you’re looking to lose belly fat.
Consuming too much sugar increases the risk of suffering from obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. When gathering food, check any labels to make sure there is not an unhealthy amount of sugar listed in the ingredients. You never know which food items may have sugary content inside them so make sure to be discerning. Whether it’s baked items, dairy, or something else entirely, you can rest assured that if there’s sugar in it, it’s not a healthy choice.
4.2. Soft Drinks
Soft drinks are often filled with unhealthy amounts of sugar; even a small can of Coca-Cola or Mountain Dew will at least have a cup of sugar mixed in. It does not help that soft drinks are often laced with acid and artificial flavoring which results in consumers taking in unhealthy ingredients that cause an increase in body fat.
4.3. Processed Foods
Processed foods are fermented or have sodium added to them to increase shelf life. The problem with processed foods is that they have a lot of added flavors, preservatives, and more. They contain lots of trans fats which can increase cholesterol levels and increase the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases.
5. Foods You Need to Eat
5.1. Whole Foods
Whole foods provide protein, healthy carbs, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats; they can help lower sugar levels in your body. Examples of whole foods include:
- Cottage Cheese
- Soy Milk
- Matcha Tea
Fruits are rich in nutrients like fiber and help you feel full for longer durations between meals. They are delicious and are naturally sugar-free. Fruits rich in potassium, like bananas, can help with weight loss. Examples of fruits include:
Vegetables are low in calories, are full of essential nutrients like fiber, and can be mixed with other healthy foods. The best way to do this is by making salads and combining greens with adequate portions of meat. Green, yellow, and orange vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can help lower the production of stress hormones. Examples of vegetables include:
- Romaine Lettuce
- Crimini Mushrooms
- Turnip Greens
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