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Are you sick and tired of wearing loose tops to hide your prominent belly? Or tired of the torture of squeezing it in with tight, uncomfortable clothing? You already know that the fat building up in your abdominal area makes you feel unattractive, threatens your health, and makes it harder for you to get through your daily routine. In order to get rid of those extra pounds and inches—and keep them off—it’s important to follow a reasonable weight loss plan.
What are the elements of an effective weight-loss plan? It should be gradual and healthy, it should burn more calories than you take in, and it should boost your metabolism and reduce your body fat.
Below are 13 tips to make your goal achievable.
1. Follow a low-calorie diet and increase your physical activity.
Keep track of the calories you eat. If you consume 500 fewer calories per day, you’ll lose about a pound per week, taking off the extra weight gradually and safely. Ideally, this should be a training time during which you learn new, better, eating habits for the long run, so you won’t regain the weight you lost once you go off your diet.
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2. Boost your metabolism.
If you want to burn off the calories you take in, you have to rev up your metabolism. In order to do this, you need to increase your muscle mass, as muscle burns more calories than fat. So, on top of an aerobic exercise routine, add a routine—at least twice a week—for building muscle. Abdominal or core exercises (like planks) will help you improve your tummy’s firmness and tone, but they’re not enough. In order to increase your metabolic expenditure, you have to work all the muscle groups in your body: your abdomen, legs, glutes, chest, back and arms.
3. Increase the intensity of your aerobic exercise…
…because your metabolism improves for several hours after exercising. High-intensity exercise increases the expenditure of energy for a longer time. So try to raise the intensity of your aerobic workout (for example, by running or jogging instead of walking) or alternate high-intensity and low- or mid-intensity intervals.
4. Eat more often and avoid fasts or very low-calorie diets.
When you cut calories excessively, your body thinks it’s starving and adjusts to the shortage: It starts to work more efficiently with less fuel, storing fat. It’s better to have smaller portions every three or four hours to keep your metabolic rate high.
5. Reduce portions and choose your food wisely.
Eating more frequently does not mean overeating. If you avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods, you will avoid calories. Fruits and vegetables, plain non-fat yogurt, and such snacks as almonds and walnuts are good choices.
6. Drink more water.
Stay hydrated by drinking all the water you can—at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day.
7. Drink green tea.
Green tea is known to improve metabolic expenditure for several hours. Try not to use sugar or honey in your green tea so you don’t increase calories. (See also our post “Green Tea May Lower LDL Cholesterol.”)
8. Eat enough proteins.
Your body uses more calories to digest proteins than to digest fat or carbohydrates. Choose low-fat sources of protein, like lean beef, chicken, fish, beans, lentils, milk, or yogurt. Have them along with fruits, vegetables, and grains.
9. Get enough sleep.
If you don’t sleep enough, you’ll build up more fat in your middle. According to recent studies, people who don’t get enough sleep are at 70 percent higher risk of being overweight. Here’s why: Leptin is a protein that tells the brain that your body has had enough food and is full, reducing the urge to eat. A lack of sleep reduces leptin production, which increases hunger and adds pounds. But there’s more. A lack of sleep also reduces your body’s ability to produce the insulin that controls blood sugar levels. Irregular blood sugar levels cause irregularities in fat storage. So, make sure to arrange your life to include both physical activity and restorative sleep.
10. Have a fiber-rich breakfast.
Choose whole grain bread over white bread, and make oatmeal a regular part of your diet. Also rich in fiber are such foods as blackberries, avocados, pears, bananas, and apples.
11. Avoid junk food.
Junk foods are notoriously high in fat and sodium, so resist the temptation. (For information on the impact of junk food, see our post “Junk Food Effects: Stay Away from These 6 Foods and Beverages.”)
12. Make smart choices at restaurants.
Learn how to choose the most suitable dishes for your new lifestyle from restaurant menus. You do not have to stop going to your favorite places; just opt for grilled meats and salads. Both are better choices than pizza or pasta. If you can’t resist the temptation to order dessert, have a small serving and increase your exercise level for the day.
13. Increase your daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Make it a lifetime habit to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. (See our post “How Many Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Do You Really Need?“)
Weight Loss Plan: It’s About More Than Diet
The suggestions above, you may have noticed, are not about dieting. They’re about changing your relationship with food and exercise, and about balancing your lifestyle. If you can make these small adjustments to your day-to-day routine and make them habits, you’ll lose the belly forever!
Source: ¡Adiós a la barriguita! 13 consejos para lucir un vientre plano y llevar una vida más saludable.
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