Americans certainly have a hard time battling the bulge. While many diets and products promise fast, easy fat burning, the best way to maintain weight loss is to lose it slowly. Create a negative calorie balance by eating less and getting more activity. Consult your doctor before starting any weight-loss plan.
When you're trying to lose fat, your motto needs to be slow and steady. If you lose weight too fast, more than 2 pounds a week, you may be losing muscle and water instead of fat, according to FamilyDoctor.org.
One pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories, so **creating a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories to 1,000 calories can help you lose 1 pound to 2 pounds of unwanted fat a week.
Using a combination of diet and exercise can make it easier for you to lose the weight and make the calorie restriction more manageable. For example, for a daily deficit of 500 calories, limit your intake by 250 calories and burn 250 calories through activity.
You don't need to eat special foods to lose fat. In fact, filling your diet with whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, helps satisfy your appetite while keeping your calorie intake low. Other low-cal, nutrient-rich foods include whole grains; lean proteins such as white-meat poultry, seafood and beans; and low-fat or nonfat dairy.
Divide your foods into three meals and one snack, eating about the same amount of food at each meal. Filling half your plate with fruits and veggies, one-quarter with whole grains and one-quarter with lean proteins can help you max your nutritional intake while limiting calories.
While diet and exercise are the cornerstones to weight loss, drinking water and green tea may assist in your efforts. Drinking 2 cups of water before each of your low-calorie meals may help you eat fewer calories and help you lose more fat, according to a study published in 2011 in Obesity.
Additionally, the catechins in green tea may also help you lose a small amount of weight, according to a 2009 review study published in the International Journal of Obesity. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests drinking 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day to up your catechin intake.
Making sure you get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night may also help you lose the fat.
Not getting enough sleep may increase hormones that make you hungry, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Skimping on your sleep also increases the number of hours for eating, which may cause you to eat more and may also lead to poor food choices, HSPH reports.
And of course, burning extra calories through exercise also helps you lose the fat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity a week and two or more days of muscle-strengthening activity.
That breaks down to 30 minutes of moderately intense activity, such as brisk walking or pushing a lawn mower, five days a week.
Muscle-strengthening activity includes exercises such as situps, pushups and squats. Aim to work each of the major muscle groups -- arms, legs, abs, chest, shoulders and hips -- on each of your muscle-building days.
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Eat More, Weigh Less?
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: Getting Started With MyPlate
- International Journal of Obesity: The Effects of Green Tea on Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance: A Meta-Analysis
- Obesity: Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older Adults
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- Harvard School of Public Health: Sleep
- National Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?