Are you committed to the WORK needed to lose belly fat?
“Reducing belly fat takes a combination approach of a low-calorie diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar along with cardiovascular and weight training,” Dr. Kashyap says. “If you are willing to do the work, you can move past genetics and lose it.” (Health)
Many people might be tempted to stop reading now because if you are like most people, you avoid extra work or discomfort of any kind. Hey sounds nice right? Although many diet fads, pills and ads will try to tell you that you can get “easy” shredded abs – this is just a lie to get your money and/or attention. (I can already tell this post is going to be a real popular one. lol ::sarcasm::)
As I have mentioned in previous posts – carbs are NOT bad. But the western diet is hinged around eating way too many grains/breads which is natural when we were brought up being taught the food pyramid.
Remember this? –
This has now been phased out and replaced with “My Plate” (to put vegetables before carbs!)
That’s right. 6-8 servings of carbs a day! Does a normal day to you sound like this?
Breakfast – Cereal/Bagel/Oatmeal
Lunch – Sandwich/Chips/Cookies
Dinner – Meat/Veggie/Rice or Pasta
If this is you, you are on a typical American diet – yet you want the body of someone that eats completely different. But how to eat? Should I count calories? What IS a calorie? Do I go on a Raw Food Diet? (NO) Do I go gluten free? (NO) Do I stop eating desserts for two weeks? (NO) The problem is there are SO many questions that no one really knows where to start. So lets make this SIMPLE. I like simple. :)
Shredded Abs takes 2 things –
- A body fat percentage low enough to see them
- Adequate muscle for definition
So lets bust MYTH #1 – “You can “Blast” or “Target” belly fat by doing all core exercises or by eating certain foods. ” Wrong. When you start to see those abs for the first time it’s because you lost weight all over.
So how lower my body fat % and what should be my goal?
If you want to have LEAN abs you need to be in that “Athletes” category. The “fitness” category is very healthy as well, but we are talking rock hard abs here. Mike Matthews states that “In the end, completely getting rid of belly fat requires that you get very lean–6-7% for guys, and 16-17% for girls. There’s just no way around this fact.” – Muscle For Life
You will also need to change the way you eat. As the quote above mentions and COUNTLESS fitness professional try to beat into our heads (Michael Matthews, Tony Horton…etc) that if you want to look different you are going to have to eat smaller meals with more protein and less processed flour foods. You are going to have to change the way you eat FOR LIFE. It’s not a fad diet. This is what your food pyramid should look more like:
Yep that’s veggies at the bottom. (A glass of wine needs to be at the top lol)
You need a HIGH FIBER – LOW CARB diet to get lean.
Now there is a very important piece of information that I haven’t mentioned yet. One that confuses people all time and that is the use of the word – carbs. Most people have no clue what the true definition of a carbohydrate is. You might think bread or pasta… Carbohydrates are not a food group. “The roles of carbohydrates in the body includes providing energy for working muscles, providing fuel for the central nervous system, enabling fat metabolism, and preventing protein from being used as energy.” (ISU) Carbohydrates are present in MANY foods – dairy, grains, fruit, and even vegetables! So truly trying to limit your carb intake is not only difficult but unhealthy. What I am focusing on here is “processed carbohydrates”.Some call these “bad carbs”. That to me sounds too vague…and stupid. Mainly, if you have to use processed flour to make it, limit that to 1 SMALL serving a day. Think of all the foods that include processed flour. These need to ALL be on your radar for limited consumption. I personally, try to avoid these foods altogether if possible.
- Leavened Breads
- Baked Goods – Pastries, Brownies, Cookies
- Pizza Dough
Here’s another EASY way to remember this everyday.
- You get 1 serving of grain/breads (such as potatoes, tortillas, rice) per day. Once this is up, that’s all you get!
- Also, you are going to build muscle so you need protein and veggie at every meal.
**IF you are overweight 1 serving of carbs/grains a day might be the ONLY guideline you need to reach a healthy weight!**
Why might you ask? Processed starches such as in the list above are VERY calorie dense. Only one serving per day is going to force you to eat healthier AND reduce your calorie intake by eating more fiber rich foods.
Now, you are probably thinking – if carbs aren’t BAD for me why am I being restricted?
Because most of us overeat when we are eating these carbohydrate rich foods, and this includes beer. Here’s an interesting fact –
Many people (including ME) have signs of insulin resistance. The signs of this are -” bloat, gassiness, mental fogginess and inability to focus, sleepiness, and hunger soon after eating carbs.” Signs of a positive insulin response are “pumped muscles that feel “full,” mental alertness, stable energy levels (no crash), and satiety”. And I’m not talking feeling full after downing a foot long sub – I’m talking healthy portions. (Mike Matthews)
If you have signs of insulin resistance, restricting your carbs is going to be a godsend. You will not have the same desire to overeat and after a few days you will stop craving all those foods that trigger overeating. For me, it is IMPOSSIBLE to lose any weight while being allowed carbs at every meal. Even if you eat “healthy” cookies – eating too many is still going to make you gain weight – or at least prevent you from losing any!
So basically, test things out and find what works best for you. If you think you might be a person with a positive insulin response, a higher carb – low fat diet will be better for you. You should focus more on consuming VERY low amounts of fat (try VB6 by Mark Bittman) – which I personally think is a harder thing to keep up for life. But for everyone – vegetables should be the foundation of every meal!!
STEP 1 – Get a Body Comp Done at your local gym and figure out your body fat percentage.
STEP 2 – Start losing weight GRADUALLY (about 1 pound per week) WHILE gaining muscle by:
- Printing out my FREE chart to make it easy to calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and come up with your daily calorie allowance.
- Coming up with a workout schedule including cardio AND weight training. Try HIIT workouts for 30 minute workouts you can do ANYWHERE! – Come up with your own HERE
- Figure out what you are going to eat. Check out my Meal Plan HERE . Planning ahead will keep make it easy!!
STEP 3 – WORK YOUR ENTIRE CORE!
– What is your core? If you just pointed to your belly button you need some education! :) Your core wraps around your entire midsection. Think about a tree with a strong outer shell but a soft inside. IF that outer shell was gone what would happen? The tree would slump over. And that is one of the signs of a strong core – good posture. Having a strong core will not only look good, but it will feel good!
Want to know what muscles consist of your core and how to strengthen those to achieve a ripped physique? – CLICK HERE
AND because people do not seem to listen to someone who doesn’t practice what they preach….
Yes – under my typical modest clothing I DO have abs. lol This is me at about 18-19% body fat.
Health Magazine. “11Reasons Why You are not Losing Belly Fat”. <http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20807507_12,00.html>
Michael Matthews. “Muscle For Life” <http://www.muscleforlife.com/>
Iowa State University. “The Role of Carbohydrates.” Human Sciences. <http://www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/content/carbohydrate>