Lose Belly Fat http://losebellyfat.com How To Lose Belly Fat | Healthy Ways To Lose Stomach Fat Mon, 07 May 2012 22:08:00 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 8 Exercises To Lose Belly Fat http://losebellyfat.com/8-exercises-to-lose-belly-fat/ http://losebellyfat.com/8-exercises-to-lose-belly-fat/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:53:03 +0000 mjcohen http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2755 If you want to lose belly fat, the last exercises you should do are “ab” exercises. Sit ups, crunches, and leg lifts will not get rid of your belly. To lose weight you want to use movements that make your heart pump and stoke your metabolism – and that means using exercises that involve your major muscle groups and accelerate your heart rate to the upper levels. With that, here are 8 exercises for losing belly fat:

1. Sprinting. If you want to run to lose weight, then sprint. Run as fast as you can for 40 – 100 meters and then take a short rest. Complete 2 – 12 sprints as your fitness level dictates. And for an extra challenge, do your sprint work on a steep hill.
2. Squats. Whether you use a barbell, dumbbells, or just your bodyweight, the squat should be part of [...]]]> If you want to lose belly fat, the last exercises you should do are “ab” exercises. Sit ups, crunches, and leg lifts will not get rid of your belly. To lose weight you want to use movements that make your heart pump and stoke your metabolism – and that means using exercises that involve your major muscle groups and accelerate your heart rate to the upper levels. With that, here are 8 exercises for losing belly fat:

1. Sprinting. If you want to run to lose weight, then sprint. Run as fast as you can for 40 – 100 meters and then take a short rest. Complete 2 – 12 sprints as your fitness level dictates. And for an extra challenge, do your sprint work on a steep hill.
2. Squats. Whether you use a barbell, dumbbells, or just your bodyweight, the squat should be part of your weight loss exercise regimen. Keep your weight on your heels, point your toes slightly out, and don’t be afraid to squat “below parallel”.

3. Burpees. A killer exercise that requires no equipment, you can’t go wrong with the burpee. To do a burpee squat down and put you palms flat on the floor. Next kick your feet back until you are in the bottom of the push up position (chest touching the floor). Spring your feet back to the squatting position and then jump into the air with your arms reaching for the sky. If you’ve never done them before, be ready to sweat!

4. Deadlifts. Done with either a barbell or dumbbells, the deadlift is an important compound movement for strength and fat loss. Primarily involving the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, the deadlift is a worthy addition to your fat loss exercise program.

5. Jumping Rope. Sure this one might require a bit of coordination, but it can be a fun and intense workout once you get the hang of it. Try jumping as fast as you can for one minute and then taking a 30 second rest. Repeat that cycle 3 – 12 times for a quick and effective fat burning workout.

6. Kettlebell Swings. Another exercise that primarily involves the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, the kettlebell swing is great for high repetition work. A simple and effective drill is to do the maximum number of swings for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest, repeated 5 – 15 times depending on your fitness capacity.
7. Lunges. Lunges are another great lower body movement than can be done with bodyweight only or with free weights. To mix things ups, try doing lunges forward, backwards, and walking.

8. Thrusters. The thruster is a combination move involving the front squat and the overhead press. Start with the barbell or dumbbells at shoulder level while in a standing position. Bend at the hips and knees as you descend into the bottom of the squat. Drive through the heels, returning to the standing position. As the hip fully opens, drive the weight overhead until the arms are straight. Using both the upper and lower body will have your heart rate cranked!
Losing belly fat is not about working the muscles of your midsection. It’s about getting your major muscles groups working at intensity levels that will be optimum for burning fat.

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12 Foods To Lose Belly Fat http://losebellyfat.com/12-foods-to-lose-belly-fat/ http://losebellyfat.com/12-foods-to-lose-belly-fat/#comments Sat, 03 Dec 2011 05:10:16 +0000 mjcohen http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2753 Without a doubt, diet is the most important component for losing belly fat. Not the latest workout fad. Not some powder, pill, or other supplement. Diet is the key to getting rid of your belly. It’s one thing to know that diet is key, but it’s another thing to know exactly what to eat. Below are 12 foods that you can’t go wrong with when trying to lose belly fat:

1. Broccoli. Loaded with Vitamin C and high in fiber, broccoli should be part of you weight loss diet. Stir fry it, steam it, or even microwave it – but be sure to include broccoli in your weight loss diet.
2. Spinach. A virtual vitamin powerhouse, spinach is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. It is also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Spinach is great raw in a salad [...]]]> Without a doubt, diet is the most important component for losing belly fat. Not the latest workout fad. Not some powder, pill, or other supplement. Diet is the key to getting rid of your belly. It’s one thing to know that diet is key, but it’s another thing to know exactly what to eat. Below are 12 foods that you can’t go wrong with when trying to lose belly fat:

1. Broccoli. Loaded with Vitamin C and high in fiber, broccoli should be part of you weight loss diet. Stir fry it, steam it, or even microwave it – but be sure to include broccoli in your weight loss diet.
2. Spinach. A virtual vitamin powerhouse, spinach is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. It is also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Spinach is great raw in a salad or sauteed with some olive oil and garlic.

3. Red Bell Pepper. Red bell peppers have almost three times the Vitamin C of oranges. Also high in the anti-oxidant lycopene, red bell peppers are great raw for a snack or to add color and nutrients to your stir fry or salad.
4. Kale. Another great source of Vitamin C, kale is also a good source of compounds with anti-cancer properties. Kale can add an intense flavor addition to salads or it works as a side dish when sauteed.
5. Asparagus. A good source of Vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, asparagus can be cooked in a variety of ways. Try them grilled, stir fried, or even raw in a salad.

6. Beef. A great source of protein as well as the minerals zinc and iron, beef is a welcome addition to your fat loss diet. Go with grass fed naturally raised beef if it is available for you.
7. Eggs. Forget the bad rap about cholesterol that eggs have received in the past. Eggs (yolks and all) are protein packed and welcome to your fat loss diet.

8. Salmon. A great source of healthy fat and protein, salmon is a good choice when adding fish to your diet. Try salmon baked or grilled with fresh squeezed lemon.

9. Almonds. Rich in healthy fat and Vitamin E, almonds make the perfect snack. Just be sure to keep your portion sizes in check as they are also calorically dense.

10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Full of anti-oxidants and healthy fat, extra virgin olive oil is the perfect base for home made salad dressings. It is also a great ingredient for marinades for beef and chicken.
11. Blueberries. Very high in anti-oxidants, blueberries are perfect for the smoothie enthusiasts. Blueberries are also perfect for snacks, especially when combined with the almonds listed above.
12. Grapefruit. Grapefruit contains the fiber pectin, which can help suppress appetite. Whether part of a healthy breakfast or a quick snack, grapefruit is welcome to your fat loss diet.

The food you eat will have the most impact on losing your belly fat. It can be tempting to think that hitting the gym is all you need to do to lose weight, but the food you eat is most important. Be sure to include the 12 foods above when developing your weight loss nutrition plan.

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Top 10 Myths of Losing Belly Fat http://losebellyfat.com/top-10-myths-of-losing-belly-fat/ http://losebellyfat.com/top-10-myths-of-losing-belly-fat/#comments Mon, 28 Nov 2011 17:17:44 +0000 mjcohen http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2749 Losing belly fat can be confusing. And with so many different weight loss fitness plans and diets, sometimes it can be tough to tell the facts from fiction. As you move into a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercise, keep an eye out for these top 10 myths of losing belly fat.

1. Sit ups and crunches will help you lose your belly. It might seem to make sense that if you want to lose belly fat, then you should do exercises that involve your stomach. But this is not true. Fat loss training should involve full body movements that get your heart rate cranked. And sit ups, crunches, and other typical “ab” exercises do not move the body through a great enough range of motion to garner this effect. Abdominal exercises may give you strength in your core area, but they will do little to actually [...]]]> Losing belly fat can be confusing. And with so many different weight loss fitness plans and diets, sometimes it can be tough to tell the facts from fiction. As you move into a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercise, keep an eye out for these top 10 myths of losing belly fat.

Top 10 Myths of Losing Belly Fat

1. Sit ups and crunches will help you lose your belly. It might seem to make sense that if you want to lose belly fat, then you should do exercises that involve your stomach. But this is not true. Fat loss training should involve full body movements that get your heart rate cranked. And sit ups, crunches, and other typical “ab” exercises do not move the body through a great enough range of motion to garner this effect. Abdominal exercises may give you strength in your core area, but they will do little to actually reduce the fat around your waist.

2. You have to count calories to lose weight. It is true that you have to eat less calories than you use for energy in order to lose weight, but you do not have to count your calories to create this deficit. A simpler way is to use basic portion control guidelines that do not require the tedious counting of every calorie you eat. Counting calories can work for losing belly fat, but it is not necessary.

3. You have to follow a low fat diet to lose fat. There are plenty of foods that are high in fat that are good additions to your weight loss diet. Almonds, walnuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil are a few examples. The important thing to avoid is trans-fat. Trans-fat is the result of a man-made process and is found in junk foods such as crackers, cookies, and cakes.

4. Jogging is one of the best ways to lose belly fat. Any exercise is better than sitting on the couch. But long slow cardio training such as jogging around your block or on a treadmill, using the eliptical machine, or pedaling a stationary bike while you read a magazine is inferior to other training methods for weight loss. Instead focus on compound movements such as squats, lunges, and push ups performed in high intensity interval or circuit format. Keep in mind that intensity needs to be relative to your personal fitness level – the important thing to remember is that the training should be challenging. If you can read a magazine, watch television, or talk on a cell phone during exercise, then it is not intense enough for optimum fat loss.

5. Losing more than two pounds per week is “too fast”. As long as you are following a good nutrition program that includes real food in appropriate quantity, it is very possible that you will lose more than two pounds per week (especially during the first few weeks of your weight loss journey). As you get closer to your ideal weight, your weight loss may slow down to only a pound or two per week. But in the early stages of losing your belly, losing over five pounds per week is not uncommon when following a good program.

6. You need to spend hours in the gym to lose belly fat. First, you do not need to go to the gym at all. Effective fat loss workouts are possible in your own home without using any equipment. But whether you workout at home or at the gym, ideal fat loss training should be short and intense. If your training session goes much longer than twenty minutes, you are likely lacking the intensity level necessary for the best fat loss workout.

7. Pre-packaged frozen meals are the best thing to eat for losing weight. You’ve seen these cardboard boxes in the freezer section of your grocery store. They have bright colorful labels that say things like “Healthy” and “Lean”. Nearly any prepackaged food is going to include ingredients that are best avoided when trying to lose weight. Instead, focus on real foods that for the most part do not have any packaging. Foods such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, apples, berries, beef, chicken, and eggs are all examples of foods that are not processed, come with little or no packaging, and are excellent choices for losing belly fat.

8. A “special” workout is the key to weight loss. Maybe you saw the latest action movie so you did an internet search of how the star of the show trained to get in such great shape. Or perhaps you’ve been mesmerized by a late night infomercial that shows a bunch of sweaty smiling people going through a workout with some fancy name that can be shipped to your home as a library of DVD’s. The truth is that diet is the key to losing belly fat. Exercise is certainly important, but it is Robin to diet’s Batman. No amount of working out is going to erase the effects of a crappy diet. For weight loss success, focus on the food you eat.

9. You need the latest shake, bar, potion, or pill to lose weight. You do not need any supplements to lose weight. Again, a diet focused on real food in appropriate quantity is the key to losing your belly fat. Your body needs vegetables and fruit and healthy natural protein sources. It does not need some powder or pill to lose weight.

10. Losing weight is complicated. Losing weight can be confusing with all of the different fat loss programs available. But the only thing that truly works is consistent application of eating less and moving more. It is creating the habits of a healthy diet and regular exercise where the true challenge comes in – the problem is not knowing what to do, but in actually doing it.

There are not many mysteries when it comes to losing belly fat. It comes down to consistently eating real food, training hard, and allowing for adequate recovery. Nearly anything else that you hear about weight loss will likely fall into one of the top 10 myths above.

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Are You Making These 4 Fat Loss Mistakes? http://losebellyfat.com/are-you-making-these-4-fat-loss-mistakes/ http://losebellyfat.com/are-you-making-these-4-fat-loss-mistakes/#comments Sat, 19 Nov 2011 23:45:44 +0000 mjcohen http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2746 When you are trying to lose belly fat, it can be frustrating when you think you are doing everything right but the scale just won’t seem to budge. If you are experiencing frustration with your weight loss efforts and you are not sure what you are doing wrong, check to see if you are making one of these four fat loss mistakes.

1. Relying on grain based carbohydrates.

If you’re diet consists largely of bread, pasta, cereal, rice and other grain based foods, it is going to be challenging to lose weight. Don’t believe the old government endorsed food pyramid that promoted grains as the base of your diet. Most of your carbohydrates should be coming from vegetables for optimum weight loss. If you decide to keep the grain based carbohydrates in your diet, be sure to keep your portion sizes small.

2. Staying within your comfort zone when [...]]]>
When you are trying to lose belly fat, it can be frustrating when you think you are doing everything right but the scale just won’t seem to budge. If you are experiencing frustration with your weight loss efforts and you are not sure what you are doing wrong, check to see if you are making one of these four fat loss mistakes.

4 fat loss mistakes

1. Relying on grain based carbohydrates.

If you’re diet consists largely of bread, pasta, cereal, rice and other grain based foods, it is going to be challenging to lose weight. Don’t believe the old government endorsed food pyramid that promoted grains as the base of your diet. Most of your carbohydrates should be coming from vegetables for optimum weight loss. If you decide to keep the grain based carbohydrates in your diet, be sure to keep your portion sizes small.

2. Staying within your comfort zone when exercising.

If you are going to the gym several times per week but your results have plateaued, ask yourself if your efforts plateaued as well. Do you do the same exact thing every time you go to the gym? Do you do the same 30 minutes on the eliptical machine? Do you lift the same exact amount of weight for the same amount of repetitions? For continual progress in your weight loss, you have to always strive to do a little bit more with your workouts. Try to lift heavier, go faster, or do one more rep in every workout.

3. Failing to get enough sleep.

Sleep is an often overlooked component of your weight loss regimen. But a poor sleep schedule can wreak havoc on your hormones which can directly contribute to body fat. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate hunger and satiety (ghrelin and leptin). Testosterone levels drop when sleep suffers, which can lead to a reduction in muscle mass and a corresponding drop in metabolism. And cortisol levels increase with lack of sleep which is directly associated with an increase in belly fat. Get as much sleep as you can, it is more important for reducing your belly fat than you may think.

4. Cheating when you don’t realize you are cheating.

You are eating your vegetables, making sure you are eating healthy protein sources, and even consuming healthy fats from nuts, fish, and avocado. But you are also taking a handful of candy from your coworker’s desk, eating a seemingly insignificant cookie because your kid is a Girl Scout, and having some popcorn when you watch a movie. It all counts! Every single mouthful of food that you eat has a corresponding physiological response. It is up to you if you want that response to hinder or help your weight loss efforts.

It can be frustrating when you think you are following a solid weight loss program but you are not seeing results. If you find yourself in that situation, check to see if you are relying on grain based carbohydrates, staying within your comfort zone when exercising, failing to get enough sleep, or cheating when you don’t realize it.

 

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Beginners Guide to Fat Loss Nutrition http://losebellyfat.com/beginners-guide-to-fat-loss-nutrition/ http://losebellyfat.com/beginners-guide-to-fat-loss-nutrition/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2011 00:16:12 +0000 mjcohen http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2744 Without a doubt, diet is the most important component to weight loss success. It is also the source of the most confusion.

With the latest celebrity diet fads constantly gleaming from bookstore shelves and glossy magazines, it’s no wonder you are confused about how to eat for fat loss. If you are feeling unsure of where to start, refer to this Beginner’s Guide To Fat Loss Nutrition to get you headed in the right direction.

Eat real food.

Real food grew from the ground or had a heart beat at one time. If you set it out on the counter, it will spoil in a relatively short time. If it has an ingredient list, there will be no more than a few items listed and you will be able to pronounce and recognize all of the ingredients. Real food likely does not come in a box or wrapper. So [...]]]> Without a doubt, diet is the most important component to weight loss success. It is also the source of the most confusion.

With the latest celebrity diet fads constantly gleaming from bookstore shelves and glossy magazines, it’s no wonder you are confused about how to eat for fat loss. If you are feeling unsure of where to start, refer to this Beginner’s Guide To Fat Loss Nutrition to get you headed in the right direction.

Eat real food.

Real food grew from the ground or had a heart beat at one time. If you set it out on the counter, it will spoil in a relatively short time. If it has an ingredient list, there will be no more than a few items listed and you will be able to pronounce and recognize all of the ingredients. Real food likely does not come in a box or wrapper. So what is “real food”? Vegetables and fruits, meat, eggs, fish, nuts, and seeds are all real food. Some items such as bread, pasta, and dairy are subject to debate and best consumed in limited quantities if you decided to leave them in your diet. But the biggest culprits of weight gain – cookies, crackers, chips, and soda are clearly not real food and should be avoided completely.

Watch your portion sizes.

Calorie counting can be an effective way to monitor your food intake, but it is also tedious. A simpler way to control how much you eat, it to monitor your portion sizes with simple to use guidelines. A serving of meat or fish should be about the size and thickness of your palm. A serving of pasta or rice should be no more than the size of your clenched fist, and ideally smaller. A serving of nuts should fit in the center of your palm without overlapping (about 6 – 8 almonds as an example). Keep fruit to one piece per serving. And nearly all vegetables can be eaten without concern for serving size – eat as many vegetables as you like!

Pay attention to your body’s signals.

Do not worry about having to eat every 2 – 3 hours to “keep your metabolism up”. Just eat when you are hungry. But the trick is to recognize when your body actually needs fuel instead of wanting to eat out of boredom or for emotional reasons. A simple trick is to drink a large glass of water when you feel like you are hungry – this can stave off hunger for as much as an hour. Also pay attention to your energy level, attention span, and if you feel irritable or cranky as signs for actual need for fuel. But when you are truly hungry, eat!

Plan for success.

So now you know to eat real food in appropriate portions when you are hungry. Eating for fat loss really is that simple. But the key to success, is planning how you will execute that simple formula. First, plan your meals for the week. Actually write out what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks. Next, write a grocery list based on your meal plan and go shopping. When you get home from grocery shopping, precook your meals for the week or at least the next few days. By having healthy meals prepared ahead of time, you greatly reduce the chances of hitting the drive-thru or calling for pizza delivery when you get home from work and feel too tired to cook.

The basics of fat loss nutrition are not complicated. Eat real food, watch your portion sizes, eat when you are hungry, and plan ahead for fat loss nutrition success.

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A Beginners Guide To Fat Loss Workouts http://losebellyfat.com/a-beginners-guide-to-fat-loss-workouts/ http://losebellyfat.com/a-beginners-guide-to-fat-loss-workouts/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 00:25:23 +0000 mjcohen http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2742 Not knowing where to start, can be the biggest hurdle to getting started. And with all of the workout choices available when you are trying to lose fat, it’s easy to get lost in the options. Use this Beginner’s Guide To Fat Loss Workouts to get you started and keep you on track.

Train at home or go to the gym?

Whether you choose to go to a gym or do your fat loss training at home, you can still have effective fat loss workouts. You don’t need any equipment for exercise, but many people enjoy using free weights or cardio machines. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter where you workout, it only matters that you select an environment that you will use consistently.

Start with the basics.

You don’t need the intricate moves of an Olympic Weightlifter to get started losing fat. All you need to do [...]]]> Not knowing where to start, can be the biggest hurdle to getting started. And with all of the workout choices available when you are trying to lose fat, it’s easy to get lost in the options. Use this Beginner’s Guide To Fat Loss Workouts to get you started and keep you on track.

Train at home or go to the gym?

Whether you choose to go to a gym or do your fat loss training at home, you can still have effective fat loss workouts. You don’t need any equipment for exercise, but many people enjoy using free weights or cardio machines. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter where you workout, it only matters that you select an environment that you will use consistently.

Start with the basics.

You don’t need the intricate moves of an Olympic Weightlifter to get started losing fat. All you need to do is keep in mind these four basic categories of movement: push, pull, squat, and jump. Pushing movements include the push up and the overhead press using dumbbells or a barbell. The pull up and the bent over row fall into the pulling category. Squats (both with weights or with only your body) obviously fall into the squat movements. And jumps include skipping rope, burpees, and box jumps.

Anything is better than nothing.

Should you be running 5 miles each day to lose weight? Or lifting heavy weights in the gym? The most effective workouts for fat loss are high intensity short duration workouts using compound movements. That includes circuit training (using several exercises that you do one right after the other with minimal rest between exercises) and interval training (using one or more exercise in short maximum effort work periods followed by short rest periods).

But here’s the thing. . . if you’ve been sitting on the couch for the several years, nearly any exercise is going to be better than continuing your pattern of couch sitting. The most important aspect of your training when you first start is to select activities that you will do consistently. Can you take a walk around your block every day as soon as you get home from work? Can you do 10 squats on the commercial break of your favorite television program? Do not try to jump right into some intense workout regimen that will only lead to frustration and burn out in a few days. Start slow with activities you will do consistently and let your successes fuel more challenging training.

Always strive to challenge your comfort zone.

So you’ve started to walk around your block every day after work. And after two weeks that walk becomes easy and your weight loss results plateau. It’s time to up the intensity! Intensity can be added in a variety of ways – you can increase the weight you put on the bar for free weight exercises, you can increase the repetitions you do of a movement, or you can move faster and do more work in the same amount of time (or less). Your training should never get easier – it should only get faster or heavier.

When you are first starting to exercise for fat loss, the most important thing to do is to get started. Don’t get lost in the multitude of exercise choices. When in doubt, move! And as you settle into a consistent workout routine, remember to select a training environment that you will use consistently, start with the basics, anything is better than nothing, and to always strive to challenge your comfort zone.

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How To Lose Belly Fat In 4 Easy Steps http://losebellyfat.com/how-to-lose-belly-fat-in-4-easy-steps/ http://losebellyfat.com/how-to-lose-belly-fat-in-4-easy-steps/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2011 19:38:21 +0000 mjcohen http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2738 Losing belly fat does not have to be complicated. Any effective weight loss program is going to be comprised of these four simple steps:

1. Eat real food. Regardless of the type of diet you follow, it’s most important to eat food that is not the result of extensive processing. Nearly all food items that come in the flashy and colorful packaging of a box or a wrapper should be avoided. Taking a look at the ingredient list on the food item is the best way to determine if it is “real food”. The less ingredients listed, the better. As an example, a bag of raw almonds will simply have “almonds” listed in the ingredients. And the best foods for losing belly fat – fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish – won’t even have ingredient lists.

In addition to eating food that is not processed, it is also important to [...]]]> Losing belly fat does not have to be complicated. Any effective weight loss program is going to be comprised of these four simple steps:

1. Eat real food. Regardless of the type of diet you follow, it’s most important to eat food that is not the result of extensive processing. Nearly all food items that come in the flashy and colorful packaging of a box or a wrapper should be avoided. Taking a look at the ingredient list on the food item is the best way to determine if it is “real food”. The less ingredients listed, the better. As an example, a bag of raw almonds will simply have “almonds” listed in the ingredients. And the best foods for losing belly fat – fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish – won’t even have ingredient lists.

In addition to eating food that is not processed, it is also important to eat appropriate quantities of each item. This will vary for each person, but as a general rule it is always better to eat smaller portions. With smaller portions, you can always eat a little bit more if you are still hungry. But if you eat too much at the onset of the meal, there is no undoing the food you’ve already eaten.

2. Exercise in a challenging manner. The best exercises for losing belly fat are going to be full-body compound movements. Compound movements mean that at least two joints and multiple muscle groups are involved. A good example of a compound movement is the pull up (using both the shoulder and the elbow, and the muscles of the back, biceps, and shoulders), while and example of a single joint movement that will not help with belly fat is a bicep curl (using only the elbow and the biceps). Other compound movements good for losing belly fat include squats, lunges, push ups, and burpees.

But whether you train using compound movements or feel more comfortable on a cardio machine, the important thing is to always try to do a little bit more with each session. That might mean a few more pounds on the bar for a bench press, one more push up today than you did yesterday, or just a few seconds faster on the treadmill. What ever your exercise selection, be sure to continually challenge yourself and push outside of your comfort zone.

3. Rest. Everyone knows that diet and exercise are important for losing belly fat, but allowing for adequate rest and recovery is often neglected. First on the list of adequate rest is sleep. Be sure to get as much sleep as possible and take measures to ensure quality sleep (keep the room dark, avoid watching television immediately before going to bed, and keep the room cool).

In addition to sleep, be sure to include other recovery practices such as massage, meditation, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying hobbies and pets. When we experience extended periods of stress, the body releases a hormone called cortisol which can directly lead to belly fat. Also taking at least one day off per week from your exercise regimen is important for recovery.

4. Be consistent. Losing your belly will not happen in one day. The regimen of diet, exercise, and rest must be done day after day with consistency to get rid of your belly. Rather than looking at losing belly fat as a quick-fix project, try to focus on new healthy habits that will last a life time.

Sometimes things can seem a little confusing when trying to lose weight. But if the program you follow includes the for simple steps above, you know you have found a plan for success.

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The Ultimate Guide To Fat Loss http://losebellyfat.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-fat-loss/ http://losebellyfat.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-fat-loss/#comments Sat, 08 Oct 2011 23:06:53 +0000 mjcohen http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2685 There are a ton of posts & articles around the internet and in magazines with different tips and tricks for losing fat – and a lot of them unfortunately end up being contradictory. I figured that it would be helpful if we could just create an “ultimate guide” here on LoseBellyFat.com that would go through every main component of fat loss, and the things to be aware of, so that we can get rid of all of this confusion and have a straightforward (and simple) fat loss guide to follow.

This guide was inspired by Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness, and a lot of the concepts in discussed here you can learn more about in his recently released book, The Dark Side of Fat Loss

So first and foremost, let’s talk about some basic fat loss concepts. One of the biggest mistakes and lies that I see perpetrated in the [...]]]> There are a ton of posts & articles around the internet and in magazines with different tips and tricks for losing fat – and a lot of them unfortunately end up being contradictory. I figured that it would be helpful if we could just create an “ultimate guide” here on LoseBellyFat.com that would go through every main component of fat loss, and the things to be aware of, so that we can get rid of all of this confusion and have a straightforward (and simple) fat loss guide to follow.

This guide was inspired by Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness, and a lot of the concepts in discussed here you can learn more about in his recently released book, The Dark Side of Fat Loss

So first and foremost, let’s talk about some basic fat loss concepts. One of the biggest mistakes and lies that I see perpetrated in the fat loss industry is that it’s all about calories in vs. calories out. Calories in vs. Calories out is a weight loss theory that is based on something called The Law of Thermodynamics. It basically says that energy cannot be created or destroyed – energy will just change from one form to another. So the conclusion that popular media (and bad science) has drawn is that if you eat too many calories and do not burn those calories off, then they don’t just disappear – they are stored inside of you in the form of fat on your thighs, hips, and of course, your belly. 

The problem is, this law cannot possibly apply to the human body. This is a gross oversimplification of a much, much more complicated problem. There are plenty of reasons why the law of thermodynamics doesn’t work for fat loss, but the main one is that this law is based on something called a “Closed System”. Basically, this law only applies to a system that has no interaction with any outside environment, or any other system. 

Which is NOT the human body, as we have a TON of interaction with the outside environment (we breathe air, we drink water, we go outside, we eat food, etc.). So we are not a closed system. Done deal. But just to really hammer this concept home – let’s say you weigh 180 lbs right now, and 10 years ago you also weighed 180 lbs. In order for you to have kept your weight the same for those 10 years, you would have had to eat the EXACT amount of calories you burned. For TEN YEARS. 

Meaning, if you ate 10 calories extra per day (which is equivalent to about 2 almonds), you would have put on 10 lbs over those 10 years. And I can pretty much guarantee that there is no one on planet earth (and probably in the entire universe, seriously) who has been able to keep track of, and maintain a calorie balance like that. And yet they still weigh the same.

So yeah, calories in vs. calories out makes no sense for fat loss, and ultimately is a waste of time. Fat loss is really broken down into a couple of main categories:

1. Balancing Your Hormones

2. Eating Real Food

3. Reducing Stress

4. SLEEP!

5. Improving Your Digestive System

6. Reducing Your Toxic Load

7. Exercise

While you could argue in some other components here (such as mindset), these are the main seven things that if you follow and do, you will see significant improvements in not only the amount of fat on your body, but how you feel on a regular basis.

So let’s talk about each one of these things, shall we? I’ll go through each topic briefly and then link to another article where I cover them more in depth.

Balancing Your Hormones 

Our body is an incredibly complex system of systems – and your endocrine system, which produces hormones, plays a huge part in what makes you human. Hormones will help you manage stress, your heart rate, and blood pressure. They help you with your digestion, and they tell your body whether to burn fat, or store it. Hormones will help you wake up in the morning, and go to sleep at night. They basically are chemicals that the cells of your body what they need to do. If your hormones are out of wack, the messages that they send will be incorrect, and can lead to a massive health disaster.
Ultimately, if you’re trying to lose fat, but your hormones are out of balance, you are doomed to failure. But fear not, while balancing hormones is not an easy thing to do, it is most definitely not impossible. And while it is most definitely a complex subject (many textbooks have been written about hormones alone), I’ll attempt to break it down into simple terms so that it’s easy for you to follow and understand. 

Leptin

Leptin is a called the “master hormone”, at least for fat loss, because it is secreted by your fat (your white adipose tissue, to be specific), and helps monitor how much fat your body has. Leptin communicates with a specific gland in your brain called the hypothalamus. When you’re healthy and your hormones are able to communicate properly, and your body has “enough” fat on it, leptin will tell your hypothalamus that you don’t need to store any more fat, and that you it should keep your metabolism moving along, while keeping your appetite low, because you do not need any additional fat right now.

This system was originally created to keep us from starving when there was no food. Before grocery stores and 24/7 food availability, humans (or our ancestors, I should say) NEEDED to store fat on their body so that they could survive through famine – specifically, so they could survive through winter, when food availability was quite sparse. It’s not like they could drive over to their local whole foods and grab some meat. There was simply no food available.

So when there was no food, and our fat stores started to diminish, our hypothalamus would get less leptin. When there’s less leptin talking to the hypothalamus, it’s thinking “Oh crap, we’re running out of fat storage. If we totally run out, we’ll probably die!”. When this happens, the hypothalamus will communicate with other parts of our body, specifically, the thyroid, to slow down our metabolism. Because the last thing we need when there’s no food and we’re starving is a high metabolism. Along with that, the hypothalamus increases your appetite – telling you to EAT SOME FOOD! 

You might be starting to see the picture clearly now – when you aren’t eating enough food (or putting your body through a famine), your body will start to freak out and slow down your metabolism, and increase your appetite. This is obviously a survival tactic that has worked exceptionally well for us in the past – and it does not care for your attempts to lose weight with a low calorie diet. This is why low calorie diets basically don’t work for fat loss, and just lead to extreme hunger.

Oh yeah, and when you finally do start eating, your metabolism has slowed down so much that your body will attempt to store as much fat as possible. Not good for burning fat. 

So you might be thinking, okay, so then how come people with excess fat don’t have super high metabolisms and low appetites? Why do they struggle to lose weight?

Well, the answer is complex and simple at the same time – everything in moderation, right? Your body likes to have just the right amount of fat. It is obviously not good for survival if you have are carrying around an extra 100 lbs of fat. Good luck escaping from a sabretooth tiger at 350 pounds. Just sayin’.

Anyway, if you end up having too much fat on your body, combined with things like frequent blood sugar surges (which happen when you have high sugar, processed foods), high triglycerides, excessive fructose, and chronic stress, your body gets something called “Leptin Resistance”. This means that even though your body has a ton of fat on it (and remember, fat produces leptin), and the leptin is going to your hypothalamus saying “INCREASE MY METABOLISM! LOWER MY APPETITE!” your brain can’t hear it, and consequently, you’re in trouble. Now your brain thinks that there’s LOW leptin, and that you are in a famine and that you need more food (even though the complete opposite is the case). It, of course, will now decrease your metabolism, and increase your appetite – even though you’re overweight! 

Ultimately, we are still learning how to regulate leptin correctly to avoid leptin resistance, however, the biggest keys in regulating your leptin are the rest of what I am about to discuss in the rest of this post – regulating insulin, eating real food, sleeping, lowering stress, getting rid of toxic chemicals, and improving your digestion. 

Insulin

Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for your body’s accumulation of fat. Now, don’t take that the wrong way. While you might see that as a bad thing, insulin is extremely important to your body and without it, or the ability to produce it, you’ll be dead, or have type 1 diabetes. Not fun. 

Here’s how insulin works. When you eat something with carbohydrates, your body breaks down the carbohydrates into fructose or glucose. This glucose is absorbed, and then enters into your bloodstream. Having high levels of glucose in your blood stream (glucose in the bloodstream would be “blood sugar levels”), is extremely dangerous, and having too low levels of glucose in your bloodstream can kill you as well.

Anyway, point is, your body wants to regulate your blood sugar to a decent, healthy level. So, once you’ve eaten this carbohydrate and the glucose has entered into your bloodstream, your pancreas releases insulin, who’s job is to move this blood sugar into your muscles and liver (as glycogen), and into fat cells, to be converted and stored as fat. The goal of this is again to bring your blood sugar levels to a healthy “normal” range, so that you don’t have too high or too low levels of blood sugar. 

Here’s the thing. When you eat processed carbohydrates, high glycemic and high sugar foods, your insulin spikes massively. And if you are eating these foods as a main part of your diet, then your insulin levels are going to be chronically high. And when your insulin levels are up, an enzyme called Lipoprotein Lipase is also up (this enzyme is used for fat storage!). 

So here’s the problem. When you eat these kinds of foods, along with not following the other guidelines in this article (proper sleep, lowering stress, removing toxins, exercising, etc.) you start to compromise the insulin receptors on your muscles and your liver. Meaning that even though your pancreas is releasing insulin into your bloodstream, it can’t connect properly to your muscles and liver. So your blood sugar stays at a high level, and because it’s still at this high level, your pancreas will continue to release insulin to try to get rid of it. 

Along with this, while insulin is high, other chemicals that are designed to burn fat, such as glucagon, and hormone-sensitive lipase are shut down. So it basically becomes impossible to lose fat. AND having high insulin will promote inflammation, which releases cortisol, which increases your blood sugar even further! This is a very, very bad situation to be in. Unfortunately, a ton of americans are living this nightmare every day. 

So how do we regulate insulin? How do we make sure that insulin resistance doesn’t happen, and keep our body a fat burning furnace? Well, I’ll tell you one thing – it’s not from lowering your calorie intake. It’s about living a healthy lifestyle – and one of the most important parts of that is eating REAL food. So let’s talk about real food.

Eating Real Food

Oh boy. Just like with hormones, entire books can be written on eating real food. And unfortunately, navigating our modern food labeling system is not always as easy as it should be. Turns out that calling a food “natural” is meaningless, and there are literally no regulations on what foods you can call natural, and what you can’t. So much food in our country is irradiated, nuked of all of it’s nutrients, made from sick animals, grown in dead, unhealthy soil, covered in pesticides, and on and on.

All hope is not lost, though. Healthy food is still available all around us, so no need to fear. So let’s jump into what foods are healthy, and what foods you should avoid.

First and foremost, as much as possible I will stick to food that is organic, unprocessed, and unrefined. I stick to eating animals that are healthy and pasture raised, period. The reason being (aside from the fact that I truly believe that these foods taste better!) is that you are what you eat, right? And if you’re eating low quality, processed garbage, or meat from animals that are raised with 10 of their family members in a cage filled with their own feces, well, what does that make you?

Paul Chek of the CHEK institute has a great quote about this, and it’s “You can’t get healthy from eating sick animals” (this obviously applies to plants as well). 

If you’re eating sick, stressed out animals that are literally living in their own poop, can that food really be good for you?

So let’s go through some specific guidelines for picking healthy food.

Beef, Lamb, Buffalo, Pork: 100% Grass Fed. This means that the cow has been raised on grass and pasture from it’s birth until it was sent to the slaughterhouse. If you’re looking to eat healthy beef, this is the way to go. Everything else is not as high quality, however, 100% grass fed beef is not always possible to get. So if you can’t find 100% grass fed beef, “Grass Finished”, and “Grass Fed” (not 100%) and “Organic” are all okay — you want to make sure they are antibiotic and hormone free, though. That’s a whole other blog post – but I don’t want to be eating antibiotic filled meat, do you?

Poultry & Eggs: Free Range. Ultimately the best way to get high quality chicken is to go to an actual farm and see how they raise the chickens there. And a lot of the times, you can get the best prices on chicken that way. Other acceptable chicken labels are “USDA Free Range”, “Free Roaming”, and “Organic”. And as always, you want them to be antibiotic and hormone free. Again, hormones and antibiotics in your food is a big no-no. 

Fish: Wild-Caught. Farmed salmon basically are raised in pens filled with fish poop, antibiotics, and pesticides. It’s disgusting. Stick to wild caught.

Dairy: Honestly, there’s a lot of proponents for raw “real” milk, and while I don’t have anything against it, I just avoid dairy altogether. Most dairy that you buy in stores is pasteurized and lack real nutrients. Also, most dairy that you buy in stores is made from cows treated with antibiotics and recombinant bovine growth hormone. I’m good on cow hormones in my food. No thanks.

Organic Fruits & Vegetables: If it isn’t organic, it’s likely grown with pesticides (which I ASSURE you in ANY dose are not good for you), chemical fertilizers, and chemical growth enhancers. Again, I’m good. I don’t think our ancestors were eating foods with these chemicals in them — so I don’t need them either. One thing I will say is that unfortunately, organic food is usually more expensive than “conventional”. So if you can’t afford to always eat organic, there is a list at www.ewg.org that will tell you which “conventional” foods are okay to eat, and which you need to ALWAYS avoid. 

Healthy Fats &  Oils: Contrary to popular belief, fats are NOT bad for you. I generally stick with unrefined extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil – which to me is one of the healthiest foods there is. I stay away from canola oil, corn oil, and anything with soy in it.

Grains: It seems that our country has an obsession with “whole grains” being the ultimate healthy food. However, there’s a LOT of research piling up that’s showing that grains are not as healthy as we thought they were – specifically from the “Paleo” movement, and through a ton of other high-profile nutrition and health experts and scientists. I personally believe that most people in America have a gluten intolerance, and it’s a food that most people should not be eating due to the damage that it does to your digestion. I will write a separate blog post on gluten and grains, but for now you can learn more here: Details on Gluten. I will tell you that I do not eat any grains or gluten and I feel much better now than when I did eat them. I would highly recommend doing your own research into grains and whether you should be eating them or not.

Foods To Avoid:

Soy: I won’t eat anything with Soy in it. Soy is a “fake” health food as far as I am concerned – and has been shown to promote estrogen production, compromise your bodies ability to digest protein, and screw up your thyroid. Also, the majority of soy in the united states is genetically modified – a practice which we have yet to determine is safe or not (though of course, this genetically modified food is still for sale in our supermarkets).

Artificial Sweeteners: The keyword is artificial. While you won’t die instantly from eating artificial sweeteners, why would you want to put artificial chemicals in your body? A lot of these sweeteners are in the same chemical group as certain pesticides – no thank you.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Yes, HFCS is very similar to refined sugar. Refined sugar is bad for you. HFCS is bad for you. I avoid it like the plague. 

Those are some main guidelines for you to follow. The real point is that you just want to be eating real food – or JERF as my buddy Sean Croxton calls it. If you stick to eating healthy plants and healthy animals, then you will have no problems – you don’t need to count calories or worry about macronutrient ratios. 

Reducing Stress

This is a big one, and in fact, I wrote a whole post on Adrenal Fatigue a few months ago covering what happens when you get stressed out. Basically, the main forms of stress can be broken down into physical and mental. Mental stresses would be related to emotional stress (relationship issues, family issues), financial stress (worrying about money all the time), and “life” stress – meaning everything involved with your happiness and your “purpose” in life.

Physical stress would be stressors such as chemicals in your body and in your environment, your digestion and it’s function, exercise and if you’re overtraining, and nutrition and the food you eat.

I’ll give you a run down of what happens when you’re stressed out – and you can read the Adrenal Fatigue post above to learn more about it. 

Your body’s hormones are separated into two categories – sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, etc.) and stress hormones (cortisol). When you’re constantly stressed out, from any of the stressors mentioned above, your body will start to produce a lot of cortisol to help manage the stress. Cortisol is a hormone designed to help you manage stressful situations. It helps the “fight or flight” reaction, and helps mobilize your body to prepare itself to either fight, or run from a stressful situation. Like if a bear attacked you, or something.

Anyway, cortisol isn’t all bad, in moderation. However, when it’s elevated all the time (due to chronic stress), things start to get QUITE messed up. Cortisol by it’s nature will increase your blood sugar. When it’s constantly elevated, your blood sugar will be constantly elevated as well. And as you read before in the insulin section, having constantly elevated cortisol levels is no good. Along with this, cortisol creates a catabolic environment in the body – which means that it will metabolize muscle and bone – all while it’s promoting fat storage. Again, not good.

Again, your body is only designed to produce cortisol once in a while, for survival. It can’t produce it all the time – and if you are chronically stressed out, you’ll end up taxing your adrenal glands so much that you will start to limit the production of cortisol. This is what is called Adrenal Fatigue. Over time, your body can’t keep producing cortisol, and it’s cortisol levels will start to lower. You’ll start to feel tired in the afternoon, and eventually, have trouble even waking up in the morning. And, all of this focus on the stress side of your hormones leaves your sex hormones neglected — so chronic stress can actually lead to lower testosterone and estrogen (I can tell you this from personal experience, as I was in stage 3 adrenal fatigue, and my 57 year old mother had higher testosterone than I did. I’m a 23 year old male. THAT is messed up.).

Stress can be hard to manage, but some simple tips are – for emotional stress – make sure you have someone to talk to about personal stuff, make sure you’re being active and social (trust me, being isolated from other people for long periods of time is DEFINITELY stressful), make sure you’re responsible with your finances (duh!), and don’t internalize everything. Ultimately, emotional stress has to do with your perception of the environment around you – so always keep that in mind and if something is really bugging you, take a step back and really think about whether it’s worth getting upset about, or if it really even matters at all.

For physical stress, just follow what’s in this guide!

SLEEP!

This is going to be a pretty short section, as there are only a few specific guidelines to focus on for sleep. First off, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every night. If you can get to bed before 11 o’clock every night, you will most definitely have higher quality sleep, as those earlier hours are when your body is able to do the most repair to itself. I also recommend waking up early as not only is it awesome for productivity, but it feels great. The more consistent you are, the better you will feel. Also, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Some other things to keep in mind are to make sure that the room you sleep in has NO light in it, as it’s been shown that any small light can throw off your circadian rhythm. I use blackout curtains, though I’ve been told that sleep masks will help as well. Another thing to consider is waking up naturally with natural light – if you can’t leave your windows open due to lots of city lights, you can use one of those “sun” alarm clocks like this one: Sun Alarm Clock. I definitely would not recommend waking up to a loud alarm, I think it’s extremely disruptive and throws you off for the whole day. When in doubt, stick to how our ancestors would do it!

And that’s really it for sleep. Screwing up your sleep is one of the unhealthiest things you can do – in fact, all nighters were recently labeled as a carcinogen by the center for disease control. Lack of sleep can also contribute to insulin resistance, among hundreds of other problems. Fixing my sleep schedule has been one of the biggest contributors in making me feel good – I promise you that nothing is worth staying up until 2 am for! Get to sleep!

I’m really not doing these subjects justice as each one deserves it’s own book. Again, if you want more information on all of these topics I would highly recommend checking out The Dark Side of Fat Loss , which covers each one of these topics extremely in-depth, and has a lot more recommended resources as well. Alright, on to digestion!

Improving Your Digestive System

The truth is, something like one third of all american adults have some sort of digestive issue. From parasites, to bacterial imbalances, to leaky gut, gluten sensitivities, and so on. Our digestion is an extremely important part of fat loss, as if your digestion is messed up, then even if you’re eating great foods, the benefits from doing so will be limited, to say the least.  So let’s talk about the main digestive challenges that most people face – that is, parasites, fungal infections, dysbiosis, and leaky gut.

Dysbiosis

 In your gut, there are millions and millions of bacteria. “Bacteria” generally gets a bad rap, however, this kind of bacteria is actually good for you – they help you absorb nutrients, and digest food. There IS bad bacteria that you want to avoid getting in your gut – however, we’ll talk about them in just a second. There are two main groups of bacteria inside of you – bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Bifidobacteria are found inside of your colon, and lactobacilli are found in your small intestine. 

Here’s where you run into problems. When you eat processed, crappy food, or take antibiotics (which are the biggest destroyer of “good” bacteria in the gut), you can throw off the bacterial production inside of your gut. Antibiotics, for example, do not distinguish between “good” and “bad” bacteria. They just destroy everything. So when you take antibiotics, you can do significant damage to your “good” bacteria, and consequently, screw up your digestion. When you have too much bad bacteria, and not enough good bacteria (or the balance is out of wack), you get what is called Dysbiosis. I should also mention that when your gut bacteria is out of balance, you can significantly throw off your metabolism, hampering your ability to burn fat.

The way that I’ve countered dysbiosis for myself, and what is usually recommended is taking a probiotic. These will help promote growth of the “good” bacteria in your gut, and get you back to being balanced.

Fungal Infections

Another problem that I dealt with when I was in poor health was fungal overgrowth – specifically, candidiasis, or candida overgrowth. Basically, a systemic yeast infection. Candida lives inside of us naturally, helping with production of certain B vitamins and vitamin K. Candida is generally held in check by the good and bad bacteria balance inside of your body. So, when you take antibiotics and throw your bacterial balance out of wack, because Candida is not a bacteria, it is not affected by the antibiotic. However, because the antibiotic has destroyed your balance of good & bad bacteria, Candida can now overgrow in your body without consequence. This can lead to all sorts of serious problems – including leaky gut (which I’ll talk about in a second) along with external fungus (which usually means you have a serious fungal problem). 

There is no simple fix for Candida, unfortunately, because it is almost always a symptom of a great problem. For me, I worked with Dr. Kalish of The Kalish Research Institute and took his supplement called “Clear 3″ and “Clear 11″, which are combinations of oregano oil, thyme oil, and some other natural oils that help remove fungus. 

Leaky Gut

Leaky gut is another extremely common digestive disorder in our country.  When you eat anything, obviously that food ends up going through your intestines on it’s way out of your body. Inside of your intestines, bacteria and fungus will help you digest nutrients and absorb your food. Occasionally, a parasite or virus might get in – and your intestines are great at protecting you from these sorts of things. You definitely do not want the bacteria, candida, parasites, viruses, or even food particles getting into your bloodstream – and your intestines protect you from this with something called your intestinal barrier. This barrier is designed to help you absorb the nutrients and break down your food, and also protect you form having the aformentioned bacteria, etc. from entering in your bloodstream.

Unfortunately, when you take antibiotics, or eat crappy, processed food, you can severely damage this intestinal barrier, and lead to what is called “Leaky Gut”. Leaky gut basically means that your intestinal barrier’s function is compromised, and small particles of food, bacteria, whatever it may be, are able to get through the lining of your gut and into your bloodstream.

And let me tell you, from personal experience — this is absolutely NOT something you ever want to have happen. When food particles enter your bloodstream, your body immediately sees them as foreign invaders, or “antigens”. When they see this, your immune system will immediately send down a squad to remove these foreign invaders. Now, your immune system is designed to do this – it’s designed to protect you from foreign invaders, obviously. But it’s not designed (the same way your cortisol is not designed to be elevated at all times) to be constantly fighting “invaders”, which is what happens if your food is constantly going into your bloodstream. There are a few things that can start to happen from leaky gut – one is that you can start to develop food sensitivities. If you eat a lot of turkey, for example, and have a leaky gut, those turkey particles will be going into your bloodstream on a regular basis. Eventually, your body starts to develop a sensitivity to turkey – and you’ll start to feel like crap whenever you eat it. For me, when I was in my worst stages of leaky gut, there were 28 foods that I was sensitive to and could not eat. Whenever I would eat them, I would feel like crap – tired, ready to go to bed, no matter what time of day it was.

Along with food sensitivities, if your immune system is constantly overactive and fighting invaders, you can develop autoimmunity issues. This is something that can take a long time to develop, but is extremely serious and very important to be aware of. Basically, if there are constantly new food invaders in your blood stream, eventually your immune system gets tired and starts to have trouble distinguishing this invader from other parts of your body…for example…your brain. When this happens, your immune system basically starts to attack it’s own tissues, or organs. This can be extremely dangerous and deadly, so it’s important that you are aware of it, and take the proper steps to prevent it. 

One of the biggest ways to prevent leaky gut is to simply cut out gluten. Gluten is extremely hard to digest, and a large majority of americans have some level of sensitivity to it. It is one of the biggest causers of leaky gut. If you’re looking to learn more bout gluten & leaky gut, I would recommend watching my buddy Sean’s tv show discussing it here: Gluten Sensitivity With Dr. Thomas O’Bryan. You can also learn more about gluten here: Mark’s Daily Apple.

Parasites

 This is one of the most undiagnosed problems in our country, and yet is the cause of a TON of common health problems. Parasites are obviously not something you want inside of your body, and can contribute to all of the above digestive disorders. Basically, if you’ve ever been to mexico or outside of the country, or really, feel “off” since your last trip – It’s important that you get tested for them. A lot of these bad boys can live inside of you for a VERY long time and absolutely wreak havoc. You can get tested by a Functional Medicine practitioner (such as Dr. Kalish or a Naturopathic Doctor.

There’s a lot more to know about digestion, but to keep it as simple as possible for you guys – it’s important to be aware of all of the above problems. As always, you can get more information from speaking to a functional medicine practitioner, or by clicking any of the links above. 

Reducing Your Toxic Load

There are unfortunately a ridiculous amount of toxic chemicals that we come into contact with every single day of our lives. Completely removing toxins is almost impossible, considering even the air we breathe has them. However, you can most definitely reduce your toxic exposure by following a few simple steps. 

The first toxin that we commonly come into contact with, and unfortunately, digest, is chlorine. It’s frequently found in city water, and while it’s good for making sure our water isn’t filled with bacteria and funguses, it’s not something you really want to be digesting on a regular basis. And it’s not just in your drinking water, it’s often in your shower water as well. This can be a problem because the hot water evaporates and you end up digesting large amounts of chlorine.

It’s relatively easy to get rid of this chemical in your water – and that is simply by using a water filter on your drinking water, and a shower filter on your shower. I bought a shower filter from whole foods for $50, and it took about 5 minutes to put together. As a side benefit, it’s made a huge difference in how my skin and hair feels when I get out of the shower – I used to have very dry skin whenever I would shower — that is no longer a problem.

The other main toxins to avoid are ones that are in popular personal care products, like shampoo, makeup, soap, and toothpaste. It’s important to make sure that you’re not using hyper-toxic products – and the easiest way to find out whether the product you’re using is okay or not is to go to www.CosmeticsDatabase.com and enter in your product there. It will tell you it’s level of toxicity. 

Ultimately, I am not a fan of rubbing toxic chemicals all over my body – and I think that you probably shouldn’t be either.

Another common source of household toxins are cleaning products. When you spray cleaning products in your house and you smell these products  - that means that particles of those toxins are getting inside of your system. And if this is a product that if you were to drink it, for example, would kill you, I can promise you that inhaling it is NOT a good thing either. So it’s important to make sure that you’re using non-toxic cleaning products. You can find a ton of good ones at whole foods or local health food shops. 

Some other things to be aware of, to wrap this up, are the majority of plastics, specifically ones marked with the #7 – they have something called Bisphenol A in them, which can cause leptin and insulin resistance. If I’m storing food, I always use glass or stainless steel. 

Cookware – You just want to get rid of non stick, teflon cookware. It’s filled with toxic chemicals that you absolutely do not want to be ingesting, or cooking your food in. Stick to stainless steel, or even cast iron cookware. 

Just by following the guidelines above, you can dramatically lower your toxic chemical exposure and remove chemicals that can be impeding your fat loss efforts. It might seem like a hassle (and trust me, I debated for a while about getting the shower filter, for example) but it’s well worth the cost and the health benefits, and avoiding a ton of common health problems connected to toxic chemical exposure.

Exercise!

I’m going to keep this one short, as we have a whole exercise section here on Lose Belly Fat with a ton of articles for you to look through. But basically, here’s how I look at exercise:

1. Exercise often, but not too often: I go to the gym 3-4 times a week. I try to at least walk for an hour a day, even if I don’t make it to the gym. While exercise is extremely important in growing strength, losing fat, and general health, overdoing it can cause serious problems and you want to make sure that you’re not overtraining. There’s no need to be in the gym for more than 45-60 minutes at the most.

2. NO Long & Slow Cardio: I absolutely despise jogging, and all forms of long distance running. Regardless of what you hear, and this is obviously debatable, I am a firm believer that long distance running, especially doing it often, is extremely bad for you. It creates free radicals in your body, elevates your cortisol, catabolizes muscle, and promotes inflammation. Not something you want to be doing. Also, it’s boring! But that’s just me.

3. Involve High Intensity Work: I think it’s important to do high intensity training at least once or twice a week – just to keep your metabolism roaring and it’s been proven to be great for fat loss. And, sprint training is a ton of fun. 

The Wrap Up

So this is by no means an all inclusive guide, as every subject in here can be expounded on significantly, however, it’s a good starting point and hopefully you were able to glean a few nuggets from this article. If you have any questions or comments about it – make sure to let me know in the comments section below. Let us know what you think! 

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Health Benefits of Rosemary http://losebellyfat.com/health-benefits-of-rosemary/ http://losebellyfat.com/health-benefits-of-rosemary/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2011 17:36:47 +0000 dan http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2612 What is it?
Rosemary, often found in spice or garnish form, is usually an afterthought in terms of important foods. However, this piny, pungent herb is both extremely nutritious and extremely healthy. If you’ve never thought rosemary could be an integral part of improving your long-term health, maybe you should look a little closer at what this wonderful herb can do for you.

 What makes rosemary so healthy?
Rosemary is often used in small amounts because it is so strong both in flavor and aroma. Even in the tiny amounts in which we use it, rosemary is still a good source of vitamins A, C and B6, as well as minerals calcium, iron and manganese. Rosemary has been traditionally used therapeutically to stimulate memory and learning. The flowery herb was placed in the hair or behind the ears of students in Ancient Greece as an aromatic way to [...]]]> Rosemary can help you lose belly fatWhat is it?
Rosemary, often found in spice or garnish form, is usually an afterthought in terms of important foods. However, this piny, pungent herb is both extremely nutritious and extremely healthy. If you’ve never thought rosemary could be an integral part of improving your long-term health, maybe you should look a little closer at what this wonderful herb can do for you.

 What makes rosemary so healthy?
Rosemary is often used in small amounts because it is so strong both in flavor and aroma. Even in the tiny amounts in which we use it, rosemary is still a good source of vitamins A, C and B6, as well as minerals calcium, iron and manganese. Rosemary has been traditionally used therapeutically to stimulate memory and learning. The flowery herb was placed in the hair or behind the ears of students in Ancient Greece as an aromatic way to stimulate the brain. The reason for rosemary’s long standing tradition as a memory aid comes from its ability to help improve blood flow to all areas of the body including the brain and heart. For this reason, rosemary is also extremely beneficial for the heart and can be benficial in reducing high blood pressure. As an extract or oil, rosemary can be used to treat digestive problems such as heartburn and upset stomach. This wonder-herb helps improve many functions of the human body from brain to heart to stomach. It is powerful in small quantities and can be incorporated into anyone’s diet regimen with ease.

 Buying, picking, and choosing Rosemary.
When looking for rosemary at your local supermarket, you have a few choices. You can buy it fresh, as a dried spice, or as an extract. Rosemary is very herbacious, however, so only a little bit is generally needed. We recommend using fresh rosemary when you can, as the sprightly, leafy herb can add a refreshing accent to any meal. When picking fresh rosemary you should depend on your eyes and your nose. The sprigs of the herb should be a deep, dark green and not yellow, brown, or splotchy. Also, the rosemary itself should be pungent and aromatic. You can tell right away the freshness of the rosemary by its scent.

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Health Benefits of Cacao Beans http://losebellyfat.com/health-benefits-of-cacao-beans/ http://losebellyfat.com/health-benefits-of-cacao-beans/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2011 17:32:33 +0000 dan http://losebellyfat.com/?p=2604 What is it?

We all know how delicious and sweet chocolate is, but the hidden truth about chocolate, or rather the cacao beans that make chocolate, is how nutritious and good for you they actually are. Cacao beans have been eaten and used to provide health benefits for centuries in South America, but it wasn’t until the early 16th century (after Christopher Columbus landed in what he named Hispaniola) that cacao entered the western palette. By adding sugar to the South American cacao recipe, chocolate became all the rage in Europe, what the western world didn’t know until recently was that the cacao bean is much healthier than it’s processed cousin.

Cacao beans are technically seeds from the South American cacao tree. Cacao beans, refined and processed into cacao butter, are the basis for chocolate and chocolate products, however much of the amazing health benefits of cacao beans are [...]]]> Cacao Beans can help you lose belly fatWhat is it?

We all know how delicious and sweet chocolate is, but the hidden truth about chocolate, or rather the cacao beans that make chocolate, is how nutritious and good for you they actually are. Cacao beans have been eaten and used to provide health benefits for centuries in South America, but it wasn’t until the early 16th century (after Christopher Columbus landed in what he named Hispaniola) that cacao entered the western palette. By adding sugar to the South American cacao recipe, chocolate became all the rage in Europe, what the western world didn’t know until recently was that the cacao bean is much healthier than it’s processed cousin.

Cacao beans are technically seeds from the South American cacao tree. Cacao beans, refined and processed into cacao butter, are the basis for chocolate and chocolate products, however much of the amazing health benefits of cacao beans are lost when processed and turned into chocolate. Incorporating raw cacao beans into your diet can be extremely beneficial for your brain and perform other vital roles in for your immune system and general health.

What nutritional benefits can cacao beans provide?

Where can we start? Unprocessed cacao beans provide amazing benefits for a variety of bodily functions. In the brain, cacao beans have been long considered natural antidepressants. Raw cacao contain low levels of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. These three chemicals act as neurotransmitters in the brain and help regulate the body’s mood and emotions. Furthermore, the flavonoids found in abundance in cacao beans have important functions in improving and sustaining the brain’s ability to learn and remember.

Cacao beans can also provide great benefits to cardiovascular health. As previously mentioned, cacao is rich in antioxidant flavonoids. Studies have shown that flavonoid-rich diets help improve blood flow across the body which is why cacao can help with learning and memory. Another added bonus of improved blood circulation is reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol. When scientists studied South American tribes with high cacao consumption they found that these same tribes had remarkably lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

 

 

Where can I get it? 

We recommend getting cacao beans in as raw or organic a form as possible. Raw cacao nibs can be found and purchased from various whole foods outlets or from an online retailer. One alternative to raw cacao is dark chocolate. While processed dark chocolates have lower flavonoid content and thus, less nutritional benefit, than raw beans it is a decent alternative. Milk chocolate, however, is absolutely worse than cacao beans or dark chocolate. In fact, it is much worse. Using milk chocolate as an alternative to cacao beans is much worse than not eating any at all due to the presence of milk and unsaturated fats from processed cacao butter. Always be wary of the potential benefits and the potential benefits lost when incorporating new foods into your diet. Cacao beans are extremely nutritious foods that can help improve both your long-term physical and mental health, consider adding them to your diet today.

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