Losing body fat can lower your risk of disease, improve your self-image and help make you feel happier. However, you may not have the time to workout at the gym every day. Anyone can lose body fat with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Making a few key changes can turn you from a fat-storing machine into a fat-burning one.
Eliminate unhealthy high-calorie, low-nutrient foods from your diet, especially foods containing high levels of sugar, alcohol, fat or processed carbohydrates. Eating junk food, even a small amount, will switch your body from burning fat to storing fat. Choose fresh food, which tend to be placed around the perimeter of the grocery store, rather than processed foods, which tend to be located in the center aisles.
Build your diet around healthy foods such as low-fat dairy, lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seeds, beans and legumes. These foods are highly nutritious, but do not contain excessive fat and calories. To boost metabolism, eat a meal every three hours containing a source of lean protein and several servings of fruits or vegetables, according to nutritionist Dr. John Berardi.
Be active when possible. Though it is not necessary to exercise intensely in order to burn fat, it will be very difficult to lose body fat if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. Being active can be as simple as doing regular house work, gardening, parking further away from the store or taking the stairs rather than the elevator. Aim for at least 60 minutes of such physical activity per day.
Reduce calories for two to three consecutive days followed by a single recovery day of normal calorie intake. This allows you to burn more calories than you take in without creating the metabolic crash that is inevitable with prolonged under-eating.
Substitute water or unsweetened tea for beverages that contain calories. Avoid sodas, energy drinks and fruit juices as they are very high in sugar.
Sleep seven to eight hours a night in a cool, dark and quite room. Sleep disturbances can elevate stress hormones that lead to weight gain.
- Precision Nutrition; John Berardi, Ph.D.
- MayoClinic.com: Healthy Diet: End the Guesswork with These Nutritional Guidelines
- MayoClinic.com: Sleep Tips: 7 Steps to Better Sleep
- Consult your doctor before major changes to your diet, especially if you are currently receiving medical treatment.
Chris Daniels covers advances in nutrition and fitness online. Daniels has numerous certifications and degrees covering human health, nutritional requirements and sports performance. An avid cyclist, weightlifter and swimmer, Daniels has experienced the journey of fitness in the role of both an athlete and coach.