You'll likely need to make several lifestyle changes to flush trapped fat from the body. Sure, you need a healthy diet, but there's more to it. If you want to get rid of fat and keep it off, you've also got to learn to eat the foods that burn fat, detoxify, boost your metabolism and get rid of water weight. Controlling cholesterol and blood-sugar levels is key as well, says nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, a nationally known nutritionist, who has some recommendations.
Detoxify your liver. This is crucial to losing unwanted fat. Your liver acts as your body's filter, detoxifying your blood and breaking down fat. When your liver gets overloaded, it turns toxins into bile. This thick, viscous bile cannot metabolize fat properly. Liver-supporting foods include cranberries, 100 percent cranberry juice, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli, eggs, lemon juice in hot water and whey protein. You also need to stop consuming items that stress your liver and lower your metabolism, including all forms of sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, trans fats, soda, processed foods and too many carbohydrates in general.
Stimulate your lymphatic system. This is the body's drainage system, which works in tandem with the liver. Drink lots of fluids and eat a good balance of slow-release carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. Avoid pollutants, pesticides, additives, solvents and other toxins. Adopt good posture to keep lymph channels flowing and avoid tight clothing and sitting for a long time. Exercise regularly because movement keeps lymph channels flowing. Yoga, dry brush massage and lymphatic massage all work well.
Take a gamma linoleic acid (GLA) supplement. GLA stimulates brown fat activity in the body. Rich sources are black currant seed oil, borage and evening primrose oil.
Take omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids. Omega 3's are found in chia seeds, flaxseed oil and fish oil. Omega 6's include the GLAs and conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, which can be taken as a supplement. Omega 9's are found in olive and macadamia nut oil. These monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, are high in oleic acid, which keeps yeast from overgrowing in the body and causing bloating and weight gain.
Spice up your diet with anti-inflammatory spices, which include ginger, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, turmeric, oregano, cinnamon and cloves.
Lower your insulin level with a balanced diet. Insulin is a fat-promoting hormone. Eat a diet high in protein that includes essential fatty acids and slow-burning carbohydrates.
Eat colorful fruits and vegetables for their detoxifying enzymes, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals that protect against pollutants, and chlorophyll. Chlorophyll also helps counteract pollution and blocks carcinogens. Especially boost intake of leafy greens.
Reduce your stress. With continuous or frequent stress, cortisol levels stay high. Cortisol activates body enzymes to store fat. If stress lasts long enough, it tires adrenal glands and puts you at risk for depression, inflammation, a compromised immune system and other disorders. Try an aromatherapy bath for 20 minutes three times a week to relax. Also note that stress can be caused by lack of sleep or excessive exercise.
Get enough sleep. If you don't, your body will release cortisol and stimulate hunger. Even an hour can make a difference. People who sleep 7.5 to 8.5 hours nightly secrete half as much cortisol as those getting 6.5 hours each night, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. You also lose your ability to effectively metabolize carbohydrates, leading to high insulin levels.
Take a probiotic. Having enough beneficial bacteria in your gut helps you digest food better, break down toxins in the body and produce B vitamins and vitamin K.
Make sure you get enough iodine. You need iodine for the thyroid gland to make its hormones. If your thyroid is not functioning well, your body's metabolism will slow. Have your doctor check your thyroid to find out if it is working well. If you need to eat more iodine, you can consume sea vegetables, or seaweeds, twice a week or use an iodine-rich seasoning such as Seaweed Gomasio.
Make sure you have enough zinc. A deficiency makes it hard for your liver to detoxify. Good sources include pumpkin seeds, red meat and eggs. Also, make sure you don't have too much copper in your system because an excess can gather in tissues, organs and glands. Yeast, tea, sesame seeds, coffee, curry powder, cocoa powder, wheat germ, chocolate, sunflower seeds, soybeans and sesame seeds all have high copper content. The ideal balance of zinc to copper is eight to one in favor of zinc.