If the fat around your midsection makes it necessary for you to inhale deeply as you struggle to buckle your belt each morning, you've got reason to breathe easy. Although there isn't a type of food or exercise that miraculously zaps the fat in this area, you can reduce your overall body fat and thus whittle your waist and back with some healthy lifestyle modifications. All it takes a little time and some attention to how you eat and exercise.
You Can't Target Flanks
Try as you might, you won't find a way to solely target your flank fat. It's a misconception that you're able to selectively burn fat in certain areas of your body. Fat loss takes place upon putting your body in a state called a caloric deficit. To reach this state, your caloric expenditure must be greater than your caloric intake. Attention to your diet and regular exercise can help you reach and maintain this state, which will result in fat loss from your midsection and other parts of your body.
Remove Unhealthy Diet Items
Instead of searching for a food that you hope will burn your flank fat, focus on crafting a healthy diet full of nutritious foods that are low in calories, fat and sugar. The first step is to remove high-calorie, high-fat and sugar-laden items from your diet. This includes fried foods, sweetened drinks and snacks such as cookies and chips. These foods are calorie bombs that contribute little nutritional value to your diet and only make it harder for you to trim your problem areas.
Craft a Healthy Diet
Once you're done eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet, focus on finding healthier alternatives to the foods you typically eat. If you enjoy omelets for breakfast, switch to egg whites and low-fat cheese, and load the omelet with fresh vegetables rather than ham. Increase the vegetable content of your lunches and dinners. For example, order a side salad with low-fat dressing instead of fries at lunch and serve yourself more veggies at dinner while reducing your serving of starches such as pasta. Keep healthy snacks such as fruit on hand to enjoy when you have a craving.
Exercise Is Part of the Equation
You'll be better able to reach a caloric deficit if you include some form of physical activity in your schedule. The exercise doesn't have to be vigorous, although the more intense it is, the higher the calorie burn. If you favor something moderate, such as brisk walking, plan to devote about 300 minutes a week to this activity. That's about a 60-minute walk five times a week. You can also break the exercise into 10- or 15-minute chunks. If you engage in more vigorous exercise, such as jogging, you can do less -- about 150 minutes per week. Resistance training is also important because it builds lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolic rate. Rather than just focusing on strengthening your midsection, engage in at least two weekly strength-training sessions that target all your major muscle groups.
- American Council on Exercise: So, You Want to Spot Reduce? Here’s How
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- Fitness: 10 Foods to Never Eat
- Colorado State University Extension: 100 Ways to Cut 100 Calories
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?