Members of the National Weight Control Registry vary in age and demographic, but they share one common characteristic: All have lost an average of 66 pounds and have maintained that weight loss for an average of 5 1/2 years. They attribute their success to a variety of factors, including weighing themselves regularly, sitting in front of the television less often and exercising daily. Almost 80 percent of members also report that they eat breakfast every day. If you're looking to trim belly fat and keep it off, take a tip from registry members, and eat a nutritious breakfast each morning.
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Before you plan your morning meal, it's important to understand how weight loss occurs. To lose tummy fat, you need to reduce overall body fat, since you can't target one specific area for weight loss. To do that, you need to reduce your caloric intake by following a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and increasing your physical activity. If you can create a caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories daily, you can lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, some of which will come from around your midsection.
Breakfast and Weight Loss
Your morning meal plays an important role in weight loss for a couple of reasons. First, it breaks the period of fasting that your body has been in since your last meal the previous day, which gets your metabolism rolling. Second, it prevents you from becoming so hungry by midmorning or lunch time that you binge on unhealthy, high-calorie foods. The best weight-loss breakfast is one that is rich in satiating nutrients, such as protein and fiber, while still fitting within your overall daily calorie needs for weight loss.
Protein and Fiber to the Rescue
For your breakfast to be most effective, it should fill you up and keep you feeling full until lunchtime, without providing excessive calories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the best foods for weight loss are those that are low in energy density, meaning they contain few calories per gram. These foods, such as vegetables and fruits, also happen to be packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Another satiating nutrient, protein, comes from meat, eggs, fish, soy, quinoa, nuts and seeds. According to a review published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in May 2008, protein encourages satiety more than fat and carbohydrate, and it also enhances energy expenditure because the body has to work harder to digest it.
Your Perfect Meal
Building a breakfast around protein and fiber is easy because so many foods rich in those nutrients are typical breakfast staples. Pair whole eggs or egg whites with a slice of whole-grain toast and fresh fruit; whip up an omelet stuffed with sauteed spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms and serve it alongside several slices of fresh melon. Smoked salmon and tuna also fit into a morning meal as a topper for whole-grain bagels. It's important to include some healthy fats in your morning meal, so add a slice of avocado to your omelet or sprinkle some crushed walnuts over your bowl of fresh fruit.
- National Weight Control Registry: NWCR Facts
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- Forbes: 6 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management, and Satiety