It’s been a long winter and a longer year. Being stuck indoors with maddening restrictions has added pudge to waistlines and given us cabin fever. Well, hooray for Spring! It’s finally warm enough to head outdoors for some much-needed sunshine and freedom. And it’s a perfect time to deal with the excess flab and get fit and back into those skinny jeans. Wait! Is that moaning I hear?
Getting back into shape doesn’t have to be a drag. Sure, it takes commitment, but the benefits are ALL YOURS. You’re the one who ramps up energy, stamina, and strength. Your skin glows, hair shines, and your body looks and feels years younger. Your confidence soars, and people want to know your secret. But those benefits pale next to the fact that your health status launches into orbit, dramatically reducing your risk for disease and disability, especially as you get older. But, before we start, let’s get some fat facts.
The FAT Phenomenon
What you put on your fork matters. We’ve lost something with our connection to food and need to rethink that relationship. People have forgotten that eating equates to fueling your body with cellular building blocks so you can thrive. The American diet is packed with processed foods, fast foods, junk foods, GMOs, pesticides, refined carbs, and sugars. These are chemically altered and not “recognized” by your body as fuel. That means they’re toxins. Your body works harder to salvage anything “useful,” using up valuable energy to detoxify.
Ignite Fat Burning Mediterranean Style
Eat Fatty Fish 3 Times a Week. Salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies, mussels, and Alaskan pollock are excellent options.
Protein. Get protein from lean meats, such as free-range poultry, and limit red meat intake. Beans, legumes, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, tahini, hummus, and Greek yogurt are excellent sources of protein and other healthy nutrients.1
Colorful Veggies. Spread your wings and experiment with adding a variety of colorful veggies to your meals. It’s the perfect weather to get outside and grill them on the BBQ. Stir fry them up in a bit of broth with spices… yumm. Or choose the classic route and steam them.
Fight Flab with Healthy Fats. They ignite fat burning! Yes, it sounds weird, but healthy fats help you lose weight. They slow the emptying of your stomach, so you feel full, reducing hunger and appetite. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet’s healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds, reduce the risk of weight gain compared to a low-fat diet.2
Add Antioxidants. As your weight drops, fat cells released into your bloodstream trigger inflammation. To combat this, load up on antioxidants. Fruit and berries are heaping with free radical fighters, including acai, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and pomegranate.
Eat slow, letting your tastebuds explore the glamorous flavors and textures while your body savors the goodness. Enjoying your meal is the foundation of healthy Mediterranean living.
Intermittent Fasting Burns Fat Faster
Once your body uses up your food’s fuel, it then drafts fat cells to stoke the fire. That means your belly, love handles, and chubby thighs melt away while you’re sleeping! Studies show that IF reduced body weight by 3-8% over 3-24 weeks without diet changes, dropping about 0.55 to 1.65 lbs a week.3
Experts recommend a maximum weight loss of 1-2 lbs a week is safe and healthy. Faster weight loss initially is normal because it includes trapped water, and the rate stabilizes afterward. Losing more than that can lead to health issues, including muscle loss, gallstones, a drop in metabolic rate, and nutrient deficiencies.4 That’s why combining a healthy Mediterranean meal plan along with IF skyrockets fat loss while enhancing your vitality and vibrancy.
Muscles Burn More Calories
Muscles support your posture, skeletal structure, and mobility. Muscle loss increases your risk for falls and fractures, especially as you get older. They burn more calories than other tissues, so they help manage a healthier weight, ensuring you remain independent, vibrant, and strong with age.
Strength and resistance training are two great ways to build and maintain muscle. Studies found that strength training reduces visceral fat. Visceral fat is a dangerous abdominal fat that surrounds organs, increasing the risk for heart disease. The thing is, if you’ve got belly flab, you’ve got visceral fat.
Pairing strength and aerobic exercises are more effective for speeding up fat loss.5 One review showed that 10 weeks of resistance training increased the number of calories burned at rest by 7% and reduced fat weight by 4 lbs.6 7
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that pairs quick bursts of activity with short recovery periods to keep your heart elevated. HIIT is extremely effective at fanning the flames to fat. One study found that only 20 minutes of HIIT three times a week resulted in an average loss of 4.4 lbs of belly fat over 12 weeks with no other lifestyle or diet changes. They also enjoyed a 17% loss of visceral fat and significant waist shrinkage.8
Metabolic Boosting Supplements
Metabolic boosters have become all the rage of late. Some excellent options to accelerate fat-burning include spirulina, green tea, white tea, bitter melon, black pepper, raspberries, ginger, and cinnamon. Adding these to your daily diet will speed up your metabolic rate, cranking up fat loss. They’re also loaded with crucial antioxidants and beneficial nutrients.
Look for a combination of these natural ingredients in a quality supplement designed to upgrade your body’s metabolic efficiency. Add it to a refreshing smoothie with some berries and healthy fats like Greek yogurt for better absorption.
Adopting these lifestyle changes and especially combining them will make you love your body again. But more importantly, your body will love you back, leaving you to worry about more important things, like having a blast showing off in your skinny jeans!
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