If you want to lose some body fat, there are five ways that will work without fail. You have probably tried them all. If they haven’t worked for you, chances are that you think of traditional slimming methods as “losing weight,” when your actual goal is losing fat.
There’s a difference in the way of thinking when you address your thoughts to getting rid of fat, rather than concentrating on the numbers shown by a scale. Scale numbers can go up and down, depending on how much water your body is holding or how much digested food is still in your gut. When it comes to fat loss, numbers can be misleading.
While many of you will wish this wasn’t true, the number one way to melt off fat is exercise. Here’s the science: Exercise will activate three systems that use up those stored calories. The first uses stored fat to provide energy to the muscles, heart and lungs. This happens about 20 minutes into active exercise, when the body runs out of available energy and has to reach into the stored stuff. After the exercise session is repeated a few times, the metabolism adapts by speeding up. A faster metabolism requires more energy, which it gets from – you guessed it – the stored calories.
At the same time, the muscles that are now working harder than before adapt by getting bigger. Muscle tissue is a huge energy eater. It uses energy constantly, not just during an exercise session. When you get bigger muscles, you burn off a lot more of those calories stored as fat.
Diet is of secondary importance, but still important. Again, there’s a way of thinking involved. To lose fat and KEEP it off, you never go on ‘a diet.’ Instead, you change your way of eating. You can lower your appetite by drinking water or herb tea before meals. Take slightly smaller portions than usual. Your stomach will adjust within a week, and so will your eyes. Continue to gradually decrease your food portion size, without allowing yourself to ever leave the table hungry or feeling deprived. Soon you won’t even be able to imagine eating the amount of food you formerly ate.
The third way to lose fat is to concentrate on lowering the amount of stress you feel. Notice that description: it doesn’t say to REMOVE stress from your life, because often that’s not a choice. But you can change the way you allow that stress to affect you. Are you constantly feeling rushed, with never enough time? Does that particular stress often make you grab a sugary snack or a fast food burger instead of eating real food? If so, it’s time to stop, and start working on calming your stress down.
You can practice periods of deep meditative breathing until you feel more peaceful; or you may want to try talking to a counselor, just talking your stress out. Concentrate on relaxing the feeling of stress, which will be easier to do because of the exercise.
Sleep is the fourth factor in losing fat. Dozens of studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to hold on to fat and store it more easily. There are numerous reasons that even minimal sleep deprivation increases fat gain; some are still being researched. Plan to get at least seven to eight hours sleep a night.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fifth sure-fire way to get rid of fat: Give it time. Drastic “weight loss” measures never work; doing it too quickly means you also lose muscle tissue, which leaves you gaunt and irritable. The fat lost by depriving yourself of nutrition or by taking pills will always come back. Fat lost slowly and naturally, continually using these five ways, will stay off for the rest of your life.