By Jason C. - 2007-10-07
Whether you have a big beer belly, or just a little pooch to lose, the solution lies in the same formula, just in differing degrees. First though, you must be aware that fat loss is not selective. You can't choose where the fat comes off.
First though, you must be aware that fat loss is not selective. You can't choose where the fat comes off. The good news is that the first place you lose it is often where you want to lose it most. So if you really need to lose belly fat, chances are pretty good that you'll see results there first.
To keep it simple and still get results, here are three basic elements of a plan to lose fat.
1. Eat and drink less.
2. Burn more calories with exercise.
3. Use resistance training to keep and firm your muscle.
As simple as that sounds, the devil is in the details - and always is. It isn't easy, but they're simple concepts to understand. It takes control, but keep your focus and you can meet your goal. Let's briefly look at each element.
Eat and drink less.
You know this already. To lose fat, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Notice what you eat and drink over the course of a day. A very simple way to cut calories is drinking water instead of other drinks - especially soft drinks. Notice the number of calories you drink - you might be surprised at what you learn.
Just one regular soft drink a day (around 150 calories), adds up to over 1,000 calories per week! If that's you, drink water instead, and you're now losing those 1,000 calories. At roughly 3,500 calories per pound of fat, that's about a pound in under a month! Just cut out one soft drink a day. Do you drink anything else during the day other than water? Try to avoid drinking calories when possible. As for diet soft drinks, they may have fewer calories, even zero, but there are other health concerns that aren't covered in this article.
Burn more calories with exercise.
Adding exercises to eating less will speed up your results as you try to lose belly fat. If you lose 150 calories per day by replacing that soft drink with water, then burn another 150 calories per day by exercising, you'd basically be doubling your efforts, in a way. That may sound over simplified, but the principle is true. Understand we're talking about burning 150 calories above and beyond what you would normally burn in a day. You can walk, climb stairs, jog or run, or exercise with kettlebells. Just move around more than you do currently.
Use resistance training to keep and firm your muscle.
This element is often missed. If you take the first two steps above, but overlook this one, it's likely that you'll lose weight. But, you could easily lose both fat and muscle, and won't get the firmness you want. To stay firm, you need to tell your body to keep or harden the muscle you have. Resistance training tells your body, "I need muscle, so keep it, and make it stronger." If you don't, your body can start to use muscle for energy. That's bad - you want your body to use fat as its source of energy whenever possible. Now, don't neglect ab training here, but also don't go overboard with it. If you lose belly fat, you want some firm muscle underneath.
So there it is. Simple and straightforward. It might seem oversimplified, but it gets results. These steps my not always be easy to do, but they're simple principles to learn and apply. There are many other details that will help you meet your goals faster. Never stop learning.
And remember, if you drink a cola or eat cake, don't be hard on yourself! Don't start the cycle of guilt. So you drank the cola, ate the ice cream, whatever it was... just get back on the program. You won't "ruin your diet" by having a little junk food once in a while. Just make sure you get back in control, and back on track. You can do it!