How can I lose body fat? This is a question I am asked frequently, so I thought I’d share a little more on this topic!

So, let’s talk about what body fat is. Fat is stored in the body when the number of calories consumed is higher than the number of calories burned. It doesn’t matter if it’s protein calories or fat calories or carbohydrate calories – if more energy is entering the body than leaving, the body stores extra energy as body fat. And we need body fat! If you want to improve your body composition, know that loosing body fat and being able to sustain that new body fat percent takes time and consistency – but it’s possible!

Incorporating healthy habits into your every day is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Start slow, reach out for support, and give yourself time during the process. Check out my tips to lose body fat in an effective way.

Fiber Up

Soluble fiber absorbs water and moves through the digestive tract slowly, helping you feel fuller for longer.

According to some studies, increasing your intake of high-fiber foods may protect against weight gain and fat accumulation. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are a few examples of high-fiber foods that can boost fat burning and weight loss.

One study of 1,114 adults found that for each 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake per day, participants lost 3.7% of their stomach fat over a five year period, without any other changes in diet or exercise.

Another study found that increasing fiber intake promoted feelings of fullness and decreased hunger. In fact, an increase of 14 grams of fiber per day was associated with a 10% decrease in calorie intake.

Bottom Line: Eating more foods rich in fiber — can be an effective strategy to lose body fat.

Cut Down on Refined Carbs

Decreasing your intake of refined carbohydrates may help you lose extra fat. During processing, refined grains are stripped of their bran and germ, resulting in a final product that’s low in fiber and nutrients. These include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals.

Refined carbs also digest quickly, and their high glycemic index causes unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. They can also cause fluctuations in mood and energy.

Studies show that a diet high in refined carbs may be associated with increased belly fat.

One study in 2,834 people also showed that those with higher intakes of refined grains tended to have a higher amount of disease-promoting stomach fat, while those who ate more whole grains tended to have a lower amount.

For the best results, reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates-pastries, processed foods, white breads and sugary breakfast cereals. Replace them with whole grains such as whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, barley and oats.

Bottom Line: Refined carbs are low in fiber and nutrients. They may increase hunger and cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Consuming refined carbs has also been associated with increased stomach fat.

Increase Your Cardio

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is one of the most common forms of exercise and is defined as any type of exercise that specifically trains the heart and lungs.

Adding cardio to your routine may be one of the most effective ways to enhance fat burning.

For example, one review of 16 studies found that the more aerobic exercise people got, the more stomach fat they lost.

Most research recommends between 20–40 minutes of cardio each day of moderate to vigorous exercise.

Running, walking, cycling and swimming are just a few examples of some cardio exercises that can help burn fat. Bottom Line: Studies show that the more aerobic exercise people get, the more belly fat they tend to lose.

Limit Sugary Foods & Sugar Sweetened Beverages

Sugar which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess. These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease.

Observational studies show a relationship between high sugar intake and increased stomach fat. It’s also important to point out that not only refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain. Even healthier sugars, such as honey, should be used sparingly.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are loaded with liquid fructose, which can make you gain belly fat.

Studies show that sugary drinks lead to increased fat in the liver. One 10-week study found significant abdominal fat gain in people who consumed beverages high in fructose.

To lose belly fat, it’s best to completely avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, punch and sweet tea, as well as alcoholic mixers containing sugar.

Bottom Line: Excessive sugar intake is a major cause of weight gain in many people. Limit your intake of processed foods high in added sugar. Limiting liquid forms of sugar, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, is very important if you’re trying to shed some extra pounds.

Incorporate Healthy fats

Adding the right healthy fats, in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can help you feel more satisfied with your meals. Healthy fats, such as unsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil, raw nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and eggs, as they can help increase satiety while providing a variety of health benefits when consumed in moderation. You can increase your intake of healthy fats by adding some chopped avocado into your salads, enjoying wild salmon, or having a nut butter with fruit as a snack. Just remember to enjoy them in moderation as they’re calorically dense.

Limit your stress

Stress can interfere with every part of your body—but how you deal with it can make or break your weight loss goals. It may make us eat more, because we use food as a substitute for dealing with stress.

The reality is eating to make yourself feel better is usually easier than dealing with the stress face-to-face. It is immediately satisfying and doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.

Stress eating can only lead to one thing: growing your stomach. If you find yourself stress eating, take a step back and think: What’s causing my stress, and what can I do about it? Find a way to remedy the solution.

In conclusion

There are plenty of possibilities to help you shed excess fat and improve your health. Incorporating some healthy habits into your routine and changing up your diet can make a huge difference. Even minor changes to your lifestyle can have powerful effects on fat burning.

Have you discovered any tips or tricks for fat loss? Comment below or on Instagram  #nutrition_connections


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Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN