Over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese. Weight (and weight loss) are common problems that nearly everyone struggles with. This article will provide helpful information about how your body stores and burns fat, along with tips to help you lose weight and reach your health goals.
In order to burn fat effectively, you must first understand how the body burns fat.
The rate at which your body burns fat depends on your metabolism – a word you’ve probably heard but might not fully understand. Your metabolism is a body process that consists of several chemical reactions. It is responsible for keeping you alive by turning food into energy.
Not all calories are burned at the gym. Your metabolism is actually burning calories 24/7 to keep you going – even while you’re asleep.
Your BMR (basal metabolic rate), which accounts for 60-70% of your metabolism, is the number of calories you burn while doing nothing.
Your BMR is determined by your genes and the amount of fat VS versus the amount of muscle in your body.
Digestive metabolism, which is referred to as TEF (thermal effect of food), burns calories while you eat. Digesting food makes up 10-15% of your daily calorie burn. Digesting proteins burns more calories than digesting fat or carbs.
Exercise/movement accounts for 15-30% of daily calorie burn.
By tweaking your metabolism, you can actually work less to burn more.
A pound of muscle burns 3x as many calories per day than a pound of fat. By accumulating more muscle, your body will burn more calories at rest.
The fat that accumulates around our bellies is called visceral fat. It surrounds our internal organs and releases nasty substances called adipokines. Not only do these substances increase our risk of inflammation, blood pressure, and heart disease, but they also inhibit adiponectin – a hormone that regulates metabolism.
The more belly fat you have, the slower your metabolism will be.
Here are a few tips to help you burn fat more effectively:
- Drink lots of water. Fat burning, like most cellular activities, takes place in water.
- Limit starchy foods to 3-5 servings per day. Aim to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals.
- Don’t eat within 3 hours of going to sleep, and don’t skip breakfast. Aim for a full, healthy breakfast with 30-40 grams of protein.
- Replace juice and soft drinks with coffee, water, or tea. Stick to fresh fruits instead of sweets.
- Drink coffee before a workout, but limit caffeine throughout the rest of the day. Make sure to skip the cream and sugar.
- Utilize fat burning supplements like CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
Fat burning: Men VS Women
Men’s bodies tend to have more muscle than women’s, which means they burn fat easier and more efficiently – at least in the beginning. Over time, weight loss will even out.
A man’s fast stores tend to be centralized (belly fat), while a woman’s are more spread out. Thus, weight loss tends to be more noticeable on men.
How to burn fat in a week
The more weight you have, the easier it is to lose weight quickly – that being said, the healthiest ways to lose weight take time. But we understand wanting to lose weight fast, like before a vacation or before your friend’s wedding.
Here are a few tips to help you burn belly fat in just one week:
- Set realistic goals. You aren’t going to lose 10 pounds in one week.
- Eat 500-1,000 fewer calories (but don’t cut calories so much that’s you’re starving).
- Fill up on low energy-density foods like fruits, veggies, and fat-free broths to stay full.
- Make exercise a daily habit.
- Avoid crash diets.
Those who aren’t used to frequent exercise will likely be sore in the beginning. Click here to read my comprehensive review on foot massagers.
Best ways to lose weight from the stomach area
A flat stomach is probably the most sought-after physical feature ever. But remember, your belly didn’t expand in just one week – so you can’t expect to lose the fat in just one week.
The fat we store around our abdomens, as I mentioned above, is metabolically active. It releases compounds that mitigate the effects of our metabolism. Too much fat in this area makes a person more vulnerable to heart disease, metabolic disturbances, and inflammation.
To lose stubborn belly fat, combine a better diet with 250 minutes per week of cardio and a few strength training sessions.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to lose belly fat. This is a type of training with techniques that alternate between short bursts of high energy (10 sec. – 1 min.) and slower, recovery motions (1-2 minutes). HIIT training boosts your metabolism, and helps you burn more fat after your workout, when you aren’t doing anything physical.
In terms of diet, choose fresh produce, lean protein, and whole grains. Stay away from juice, soda, alcohol, ice cream, baked goods, and other junk foods. It’s critical to avoid refined grains like white bread and pizza.
Keep portions small, and don’t be frustrated if you don’t see results during the first week.
Lose 10 pounds fast
You might see diets advertised that promise you can lose 10 pounds in just a week, but these diets are unrealistic and unhealthy. Even if you somehow do lose 10 pounds in one week, you won’t be able to keep it off.
Losing 10 pounds in a month is a more realistic goal. All you have to do is make a plan and stick to it. Below I describe a basic plan that emphasizes healthy foods and portion control. Follow it for 6 days out of each week and enjoy a “cheat day” on the 7th – just don’t overdo it.
Breakfast: 300 calories
- Almond oatmeal with Maple: add 1 tablespoon almond butter and 2 teaspoon maple syrup to 1 cup unsweetened oatmeal.
- Lox roll-up: wrap 1 ½ oz. smoke salmon, 1 tablespoon cream cheese (whipped), and 1 slice of scallion in an 8” whole wheat tortilla.
- Smoothie: blend 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt with ½ cup of calcium-fortified orange juice, 1 cup frozen peaches, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, ½ a banana, and a pinch of nutmeg.
Lunch: 400 calories
- Turkey Swiss Style burger: top a 4 oz of lean and ground turkey patty with 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, & onion; use a whole wheat bun and enjoy 1 cup of cantaloupe cubes on the side.
- Caesar salad with Grilled shrimp : 10 large grilled shrimp, 3 cups of romaine lettuce, 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan, 2 tablespoon Caesar dressing, and whole wheat pita chips.
- Roast beef with horseradish sandwich: 2 oz lean of roast beef with lettuce, tomato, and 1 tablespoon of reduced canola mayonnaise mixed with ¼ teaspoon horseradish; enjoy on rye bread with ½ cup of coleslaw on the side.
Dinner: 500 calories
- Takeout: 3 oz. ginger chicken with 6 oz. brown rice and broccoli
- Mexican Style burrito bowl: mix ½ cup pinto beans, 1/3 cup brown rice, ½ cup of grilled veggies cooked with olive oil, ¼ cup of corn salsa, ½ cup of shredded lettuce, and ¼ cup of guacamole.
- Tuna: enjoy a 5 oz. tuna steak with 2 cups broccoli sautéed in 1 tsp peanut oil and ½ cup brown rice.
Snacks and treats: 150 calories
- 12 oz. beer/ 6 oz. glass of wine.
- 12 oz. nonfat latte.
- 45 pistachios.
- 1 bell pepper with ¼ cup hummus.
More tips for a successful diet:
- Begin your diet on Sunday.
- Don’t watch cooking shows.
- Keep healthy snacks, like low-sugar granola bars, in your car or purse.
- Consume 15-20 grams of protein at every meal.
- Tell at least three friends about your diet.
- Be ready to say no to going out/ going to dinner/ doing other things when you’ve already made plans to go to the gym.