It cannot be said enough: there is no such thing as targeted fat-loss. You may seem to gain more weight in particular areas of your body more than others, maybe on your ribs, for example. But when you want to take it off, you have to be prepared to burn the fat off your entire body in the process. Once you realize that, you can focus on a fat-burning program that will include both diet and exercise to maximize fat burning to take that layer of fat off your ribs.
Reduce the number of calories you take in by reducing your portion sizes. At home, dish up half of what you think you're hungry for, starting with half and having another, even smaller portion if you're honestly still hungry after you finish. In the restaurant, order a to-go container with your meal and package up half of it before you even eat.
Focus your diet on the food pyramid, choosing healthy foods from the four groups. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products that are low in fat and lean meat like fish, poultry and lean beef. Avoid, or at least limit, cheese and butter.
Switch to skim milk from whole or even 1 or 2 percent. Also substitute sparkling water for sodas in your diet. You can count the sparkling water you drink toward the 3 liters of water you should drink each day.
Engage in resistance training at least twice a week. You can participate in this type of exercise up to six times a week, as long as you allow at least 48 hours before you work out a muscle group again. Personal trainers like Matt Siaperas recommend a three-day regimen for beginners. You can either work out Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, taking the other days off from resistance training and beginning over again each week. Siaperas's three-day workout is structured to work your entire body during the course of a week: chest, shoulders and triceps on the first day, legs on the second day and back and biceps on the third day.
Work out for at least 30 minutes but no longer than 60 minutes each time you resistance train. You should have enough time to do between eight and 12 exercises each day, performing three sets of 12 to 15 reps of each.
Set a goal to perform 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week. If you are able to get in at least three days, you'll still benefit, but you'll burn fat faster if you do more cardio. Pick an activity that you enjoy, to increase the odds that you'll follow through with cardio exercise. And it doesn't have to be the same thing every time. Take aerobic or other cardio classes, go for a run on an indoor track or outside, or put in some time on the elliptical machine or stationary bike. Every time you increase your activity, you'll burn additional calories.
- Mayo Clinic: Belly Fat in Women: Taking - and Keeping - it Off
- Teens Health: Expert Answers
- Mayo Clinic: Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics
- Fast Fat Loss Plan: The Revolutionary Guide to Healthy Living; Daniel Burke
- Matt Siaperas: Personal Trainer, Hardbodies Gym, Blackfoot, Idaho
- Talk to your doctor about your fat-burning goals. He is a valuable resource for diet advice and will be the best one to raise any concerns about the exercise you intend to engage in.
- Remember to warm up before exercising and cool down afterward. Five to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching or performing cardio on a machine is sufficient.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.