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For numerous people, losing weight is a battle that may take months or years to win. Especially when it comes to “problem areas” like the belly – the battle becomes even harder to fight. So how do you get rid of extra flab around your torso? Here are some “basics”; get these down and everything else will become easier.
When you hear the word obese, you immediately picture a person who, by all intents and purposes of the word, has very visible body fat. But this isn’t necessarily the case! People don’t have to be visibly obese to have central obesity. Central or abdominal obesity is characterized by a large waistline – this means a measurement greater than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men. This is considered an independent measure of health, distinct from the typical BMI measurement. 
#1: Lemon juice
Lemons are not just a way to add flavor to your water or drink, they are also an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants.  Instead of those expensive detoxifying shakes and juices, try just adding lemon juice (fresh from a real lemon, not from a bottle) to your water and you’re good to go. Drink a whole glass of lemon water 30 minutes before breakfast and watch as you shed those unwanted pounds. Note – good to rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards to prevent acidity of lemon juice from harming your teeth.
#2: Go For Long-Burning Carbs
Lay off the white rice and opt for brown or red rice instead. These sources of carbohydrates take longer to digest and process, decreasing the body’s need to eat. Check out (or even print out!) this Harvard University list of the glycemic index of 100 of the most common foods – then aim to consume a higher proportion of the foods that have a low to medium glycemic index, making them an excellent choice for people battling high blood sugar. When food has low glycemic index, it doesn’t spike blood sugar and therefore doesn’t contribute as much to fat deposition. 
#3: Avoid Sweets And Sugary Food
Step number three is obvious – but how many people actually do it? Avoid food that contributes to drastically raising your blood sugar. That means avoiding sweets, sodas, commercial juices, rice, pasta, and white bread. Unused glucose is eventually converted into stored fat, so avoiding sugary food is a must if you’re on a diet.
#4: Cut Back On Alcohol
We’re not necessarily expecting this one to be a popular tip – but here it is: Despite the fact that alcohol itself does not readily convert to fat in the body, it influences the body’s storage of fat. Alcohol is converted to acetate by the liver and this process takes precedence over the processing of other nutrients. In other words by suppressing fat oxidation, it causes other fats in other foods consumed while drinking to be stored more easily, rather than burned.
Garlic is known for improving heart health but recent studies have also proven its ability to promote weight loss. Allicin, a substance found in garlic, is able to reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels – all contributing factors to weight gain. 
#6: Instead of Sugar and Salt, use Herbs and Spices to Flavor Food
Choose from a variety of herbs and spices like rosemary thyme and cinnamon to flavor your food. Reducing the amount of sweeteners in your meals can drastically help lower your weight. On a similar note, using spices instead of salt will help normalize your blood pressure as well. Note – be careful to look at the ingredients of spice mixes: The good ones should contain “nothing but spices” – however some contain numerous additives and much salt.
#7: Targeted Exercise
The last tip is the most important one – doing targeted exercise. General exercise activities like jogging and weight lifting are all good ways to shed those pounds but what if you want to tone your belly specifically? Get rid of the belly fat by performing activities that target the abdominal muscles – such as the plank. This will tone your belly and get make that flab disappear.
#8: Know Your Fats
A recent wave of research has demonstrated that not all fats are the same – and the “winners and losers” overturn previous theories. Coconut oil has been found by scientific study to lead to weight loss – and evidence has been found that grass fed butter eaters have fewer heart attacks. See also The Dirty Truth About Canola Oil.
 Harvard School of Public Health. Obesity Prevention Source. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-definition/
 Misharina, T. & Samusenko, A. (2008). Antioxidant properties of essential oils from lemon, grapefruit, coriander, clove, and their mixtures. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/S0003683808040182
 American Diabetes Association (2014). Glycemic Index and Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html
 Elkayam, A., et. al. (2003). The effects of allicin on weight in fructose-induced hyperinsulinemic, hyperlipidemic, hypertensive rats. http://ajh.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/12/1053.short
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