Body fat comes in two forms: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat accumulates as a flabby mass just beneath the skin layer. Visceral fat is the hard buildup around your internal organs. Fat loss of any kind is beneficial, but according to Michael and Mary Eades, authors of "The Protein Power Lifeplan," visceral fat is especially important to lose because it is linked to obesity-related ailments such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing 30 minute workouts at least three times each week to help maintain healthy levels of body fat. The Eades also suggest changing your diet to help reduce and reverse fat accumulation caused by overconsumption and poor dietary choices.
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Eat fewer carbohydrates. A 2003 study conducted by F. Samaha, N. Iqbal and P. Seshadri and published in the The New England Journal of Medicine showed that low-carbohydrate diets were more effective at reducing short and long-term body fat than low-fat diets. Remove sugary foods such as soda and candy from your diet and restrict your consumption of bleached or white foods such as bread, rice and pasta. These foods are poor sources of nutrition and contain high amounts of carbohydrates.
Drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day. Water is a calorie-free substitute for carb-heavy drinks such as soda, milk and juice. In addition to being a top-notch thirst quencher, water improves your digestion and increases your metabolism, both of which help you burn more fat over the day.
Exercise regularly and include both cardio and strength training. The true benefits of exercise is increased lean muscle mass and metabolism. Cardio burns off calories during the workout, but also boosts your metabolism which consumes extra calories for the rest of the day. Strength training builds muscle mass, which uses more calories and helps reduce visceral fat.
Eat frequently and break up your meals into smaller portions. One of the main reasons people gain body fat is because they eat too much food. This is easy to do because it takes a few minutes for your body to feel full. Rather than eating until you feel full, eat a smaller portion and wait five minutes. If you're still hungry, eat more, but chances are you will be satisfied and can avoid overeating.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- "The Protein Power Lifeplan"; Michael and Mary Eades; 2001
- "The New England Journal of Medicine"; Low-Carbohydrate as Compared With a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity; F. Samaha, N. Iqbal and P. Seshadri; 2003
- Health.gov: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- SixWise: The Two Types of Fat