If you’ve had a tough time getting rid of those fatty love handles, you might find comfort in knowing that millions of Americans have been in your shoes—and many have of those people have triumphed over their fat-loss predicaments. For some, all it took was an ounce of extra effort; others went to the edge of the earth and back to cut 5 pounds off the scale. Hopefully, you’re in the former camp, but if you do need some expert advice on losing your spare tire, we’re here to help.
Here are our 8 tips to get your body into bathing-suit shape, just in time for summer.
Watch What You Drink
Water is a zero-calorie drink. Aside from unadulterated tea and coffee, there’s no other liquid on the planet that can make the same claim. When you add sugar and cream to your coffee or take a big gulp of that Unicorn Frappuccino® from everyone’s favorite one-stop café, you’re telling your body to store the extra calories for later. No Bueno.
Tip: Ditch alcohol, milk, juice, and soda, and replace it with pure h2o. (Sure, add a lemon if you feel so inclined.) Easy enough, right?
Elevated cortisol levels send a signal to your body that you’re in fight-or-flight mode, even if you don’t notice. That added stress can cause your body to increase its fat storages, decrease your insulin sensitivity, and make you susceptible to water retention.
Tip: If you’re stressed, getting over the mental hurdle can be tough, and finding your de-stress groove can be just as difficult. Try to do some Yoga, quit Facebook, take a walk around a Kansas City park, meditate, get more sleep, have *cough* intercourse *cough*, adopt a cute little kitty, or meet with a therapist.
Adjust Your Diet
The most obvious reason you can’t lose body fat is an inadequate diet. While proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are all necessary macronutrients, or macros, a 33.3% (repeating, of course) breakdown of each isn’t the best idea. Fat-loss plateaus can usually be attributed to an unbalanced ratio between the three macros, so it’s important to track your calories accurately using an app.
Tip: It may seem contradictory, but you might want to increase your fat intake if you can’t lose extra body fat. Shoot for a 40-40-20 diet of fat, protein, and carbs, respectively, and prioritize healthy fats from fish, nuts, and beans over the gluttonous fats from treats like Twinkies. When you’re comfortable with your body proportions, you can move into maintenance mode.
“But, wait—didn’t you just say…”
Yes, a diet is essential to lose weight and cut your body fat down, but over-dieting is never advised. Dieting puts your body into a calorie deficit, and if you move from diet to diet to diet, you’ll always be operating at a deficit. The risks of this include:
- Increase in cortisol levels (the hormone that causes stress)
- Muscle loss
- Bone loss
- Mental “fuzziness”
- Nutrient deficiency
- Digestion problems
Tip: Be sure to phase in and out of diets as needed to keep your thyroid and metabolism active. You don’t need to diet if you’re at your goal weight—just maintain it with a standard 2,000-calorie meal plan, which any of our Olathe personal trainers can help you create.
Change Your Workouts
Just like dieting, you shouldn’t stick to one workout routine too long. Once your body adapts to a certain type of training or exercise, it’s less likely to produce the same results as it did in week 1. For instance, a strict regimen of cardio may knock some pounds off the scale in the first month, but it won’t do much to help you cut body fat down. In fact, too much cardio is largely useless if you’re hoping to lose body fat!
Tip: Switch from 60- to 90-minute workouts, increase your weights, focus on new muscle groups, join an exercise class, or up the intensity level altogether. IF you aren’t sweating buckets by the end of your gym visit, you’re not going hard enough.
Perhaps your “body fat” isn’t body fat at all; did you ever think about that? In some cases, that extra tummy chub may very well just be related to water retention, especially if you consume carbs. Just 1 gram of carbohydrates can equal 4 grams of water, which can build up in a layer between your skin and fat. And if you supplement with creatine, those water molecules are pulled into the muscles, which can show up as added weight on the scale.
Tip: Keep a journal of your measurements. If you notice a size increase in your chest, arms, and legs, but a decrease in your stomach and hips, you’re probably looking at fake fat, aka. water retention. Stay the course for a few weeks, then test this hypothesis by cutting your carb intake by about 5%.
Visit a Doctor
It’s rare that a medical condition is causing you to retain too much body fat, but it never hurts to cross potential issues off the list. Certain medications like birth control pills are a common culprit, though there are many other health disorders that can alter your body’s ability to lose fat include:
- Cushing’s Syndrome
- Hormone imbalance
- High blood pressure
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Tip: Make an appointment with your physician; don’t rely on armchair diagnoses from the internet.
Get a Strong(er) Support System
For some people, being held accountable is all the drive they need to lose the pudgy love handles. Having a solid system of supportive friends and peers is a good start, but you might just need a little extra oomph to get you into the next fat-burning phase: A mentor.
Tip: Join a gym. Work with a dietician or meal planner. Sign up for group workouts. Hire a dedicated personal trainer. Put yourself in a system that will reward you for the results you produce, not just the effort you put in. Only then will you have the right tools to say bye-bye to that tubby tummy.
If you’re in need of fat-loss advice in Kansas City, you know where to find us. At SunPoint Fitness in Olathe, KS, we have personal trainers standing by to help you make the most of your time in the gym. Contact us at (913) 267-5348 to schedule your first appointment or ask us about our services. As one of the best new gyms near Kansas City, we’re ready to get you over each hurdle, one pound at a time.
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