Love handles. Some hate them, some love them. Either way, it’s not very healthy for you to be walking around with excessive weight. If you’re stuck in a downward spiral with weight gain, it can be real tricky to get out of that rut. Lucky for you, we’re here to help!
In this article, we break down how to ditch that extra body fat, and be beach-bod ready for the next summer.
1. Proper diet.
It’s no surprise that eating bad foods leads to a bad lifestyle. This doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally have a ‘cheat day’, but eating a cheeseburger every day for dinner isn’t going to do you any good.
In the early 2000s, we saw a huge increase in weight gain across the North American population. The reason is believed to have been because of the huge sugar increase in the average diet. One of the most dangerous reasons is sodas and artificial fruit juices. You might think you’re taking the healthy option by taking an apple juice over a cola, but they can sometimes have the same amount of sugar.
Recent trends in health have moved away from adding mounds of sugar for taste, but it still pays to be conscious about what you eat. A good habit to develop is to check the nutritional labels of all products at the grocery store before buying them. You’d be surprised at how many ‘whole-grain’ products are actually terrible for you.
2. Drink enough water.
Another good way to help shed those pounds is by drinking lots of water. Water plays a key role in the body process of burning fat, so you definitely want to stay hydrated so the body can do its job. Keep a bottle or glass of water next to you all day as a constant reminder to keep up your water levels.
3. What fats are good fats?
One common misunderstanding people have is that all fats are bad for you. It’s important to know the difference between unsaturated and trans or saturated fats.
Unsaturated fats are the good kind. You can find this kind of fat in things like avocados, cashews, and whole-grain breads (check the label). These can help to lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease your chances of heart disease.
Trans and saturated fats are found in processed meats and lots of fast-food joints. If too much of these are consumed, there’s going to be buildups in the arteries which can lead to stoppages and possibly heart attacks.
You’ll also want to make sure to make sure you’re getting the right kind of carbohydrates, and burning them off when you can. Starchy carbs are found in things like pasta and bread, and when they aren’t burned through exercise will turn into fat. Carbs are great for giving you an energy boost before a workout, but make sure to only eat what you need.
4. Get some exercise.
A good rule of thumb for someone trying to lose weight is ‘burn more calories than you eat’. You’d be surprised at how many calories you burn by doing simple things like walking to work or going up the stairs, so this is actually a very achievable goal.
Getting a good amount of daily exercise is a great way to improve your overall health. When your heart rate is raised during a workout, your body is essentially crying out for more energy. The heart is pumping faster, and more fuel has to get to those muscles. As you push harder in the workout, the body starts to tap into the other sources of energy: the fats.
5. Increase your metabolism.
Another way exercise helps the body is by raising the overall metabolism. Our metabolism runs by converting food to fuel, and the rate at which it does it. The more efficiently we can change our food to fuel, the better we’ll be able to use it and the more we can use it to our benefit.
By increasing the metabolism in your body, you’re making the body work harder to transfer more food to energy. The harder your body works, the more fat you’re going to burn.
6. Raise your heart rate.
There’s all sorts of exercises you can do to raise your heart rate. Aerobic fitness like jogging or biking is a great way to get your blood pumping, or you could hit the weights for an hour to get a solid workout. Muscles need a lot of energy to carry your body, so the more you use them the more fat you’re going to burn.
7. Post-workout coffee?
One little trick you can do is to drink a black coffee before a workout. We know this dark drink fuels us in the mornings, but it’s also a great way to help shed fat. The caffeine works by causing the body to rely more on fat for fuel during a workout than other sources of fuel. This helps you get rid of the fats, and retain the more important vitamins and minerals.
8. Make a plan.
Once it’s written in paper, the plan usually becomes a lot more realistic. The amount of people who make New Year’s resolutions to workout more is crazy. January is one of the busiest times of the year for most gyms, but most people usually fade out after that first month.
By creating a written plan for your diet and exercise, it makes it much easier to manage the whole routine. You might forget one day that you were supposed to eat a certain meal, or go for an early morning run before work. Having a constant reminder is a good way to stay on track.
To make things easier for yourself, try scheduling a cheat day as well. This will give you something to look forward to, and in time you might even write off the cheat day if you’re dedicated enough to losing that extra fat.
9. Eat smaller meals.
Another helpful tip when planning your meals is to spread them out during the day as much as possible. Instead of the classic 3 meals a day, spreading them out into 5-6 a day is a great way to raise your metabolism.
After a big meal, it takes a long time to digest the food and transfer it into the energy we need. Eating that big meal will be satisfying, but once our body has gotten enough energy it needs, the rest of the food is going to be turned into fat stores.
By eating these smaller meals throughout the day, you give your body more time to digest the essential nutrients, and less fat to store.
10. Work as a team.
Once you’ve worked out a solid diet and exercise routine, make sure to stick with it. If you’ve got a friend who’s also looking to shed a few pounds, bring them along with you. Having someone there to motivate you is a great way to stay on track, and not get discouraged from the great progress you’re making.
Getting rid of body fat can be a big challenge, but it’s definitely doable. Remember to stay motivated and on task, and you’ll be saying goodbye to those love handles in no time. Good luck shedding those pounds!