How to Lose Belly Fat Fast for Men and Women by Jenny Allan is a popular book for people trying to lose weight. This book summary will go over the key takeaways of the book, and help you get on the right track to losing belly fat.
Calories – The author stresses that if you are trying to burn belly fat, you need to calculate how many calories you need per day, called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). There are plenty of online calculators that do this, and a quick online search for a BMR calculator should point you in the right direction. The BMR is the amount of calories your body needs to simply survive, so you shouldn’t be eating fewer calories than your BMR suggests. To lose weight, a rough estimate is you should be eating about 12-13 calories per day for each pound you weigh. So if you weigh 170 pounds, to lose weight you should be eating about 2050 calories per day. To maintain your weight, eat about 15-16 calories per pound, and to gain weight eat about 17-18 calories per pound. These estimates are calculated for someone who is physically active, so the more sedentary you are, the less accurate these values will be.
Fiber and Protein – Fiber and protein help you stay full, stabilize blood sugar, and help prevent food cravings. It’s important to eat plenty of each to trim belly fat.
Carbs – The more carbs you eat, the more water your body will retain. So even if you don’t gain fat, you will look and feel larger due to the retained water. It’s good to stay away from carbs that have sugar, white flour, and starch in them. Instead, get your carbs from healthier foods such as fruits, veggies, barley, wheat bread, brown rice, or really any carbs that aren’t from processed foods.
Metabolism – Your body will do it’s best to keep you alive, so if it thinks it’s going to starve, it will do what it can do prevent that. When you go on a low-calorie diet, your body will go into efficiency mode and tone down the number of calories it needs to survive. Then when you come off your diet, your body is still in efficiency mode, but you’re eating more calories. This increased spread in calorie consumption is what makes it very easy to gain weight back after dieting. Also, your body will think you came off a famine and will attempt to store fat for the next famine while food is plentiful. The best way to spark your metabolism is to make sure your caloric intake matches your BMR, eating less than your BMR recommends will make your body inefficient. To keep your metabolism active, eat periodically throughout the day. Instead of 3 meals, aim for 5-6 smaller meals. Make sure each mini meal includes foods from different groups to ensure you are meeting your body’s nutrient requirements. Speeding up your metabolism will take time, but once you do it will be much easier to lose weight, and keep it off!
Vitamins – The better your body works, the more fat you can burn. Make sure you are always getting your daily recommended value of vitamins. The best way to do this is to eat a lot of different kinds of healthy foods. You can also take a multi-vitamin if you believe you aren’t meeting your daily values.
Hunger – Beware of cravings. Sometime you’re hungry and need to consume more calories to maintain your energy, but sometimes your body doesn’t need more. The best way to prevent cravings it to eat healthy foods often, using the method of eating 5-6 smaller meals per day.
Sweeteners – Studies have shown that people who replace sugar with artificial sweeteners are not more likely to lose weight. This might be because of people assuming foods with sweeteners are healthier and eat or drink more calories because of it, or because sweeteners increase your desire to eat. Try to stay away from artificial sweeteners, and stay clear of high fructose corn syrup.
Salt – Just like carbs, eating too much salt will cause your body to retain more water in the abdominal region. Watch your sodium intake to prevent this excess water from developing.
What’s Triggering Your Hunger? – Identify what is causing your hunger and cravings. It is often emotionally related, such as anxiety leading to a food craving. Once you identify what is causing you to eat in excess, find a solution to the emotion without eating, such as going for a walk or calling a friend.
If Nothing is Working – If you’ve tried all these things and nothing is working, take a look at your diet. If you have additional cravings, it could be because of some vitamin or mineral deficiency. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of variety should help solve this. It might be time to expand your food horizons.
Beware of These Foods and Phrases – “Fat-free”, “reduced calories”, pre-made diet meals, coffee and caffeinated beverages, diet shakes, and diet snacks may be advertised to be healthy, but you need to be aware of what you are consuming. Fat-free and reduced calorie meals often still have high calories in them or other unhealthy ingredients such as artificial sweeteners. Pre-made diet meals are a good back-up but contain a lot of salt. Coffee black is okay, but when you add cream and sugar be aware that you are adding a lot of calories to it. Caffeine can give you the shakes and make you feel anxious. Diet shakes often have a lot of sugar and calories and may be adding additional calories to your diet if not being used as a meal replacement. Finally, diet snacks may be low-calorie but usually aren’t nutritious.
There’s Only One Answer for Weight Loss – The only answer to permanent weight loss is to live a lifestyle consistent with weight loss. Make your healthy living a life-long journey and not a temporary fix.
Water – Drink plenty of water instead of other beverages such as soda to keep your body running smoothly. It’s not uncommon to think you are hungry when you are actually thirsty. Try to drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water per day. Monitor your urine to make sure you are getting enough water. If it is dark yellow, you need to drink more water.
Exercise – Exercise that gets your heart rate up is the best way to burn fat. To determine if your workout is intense enough to burn fat use the talk test. If you can easily hold a conversation during the workout, you aren’t working hard enough. You should also weight lift to build muscle. Try to work your abs 3 days per week on non-consecutive days.
Misconceptions – You do not always need to stretch prior to exercising. While stretching before a run is beneficial, when weight lifting save stretching for the end. Wearing wrist and ankle weights will not help you burn calories faster. You don’t need at least an hour of exercise per day to see results, do what you can and build up to a full hour! BMI, calculated using your height and weight, is not a good way to measure fitness. Everyone has different body types and training routines, so avoid BMI as your primary indicator of success. Even though you are working out, you need to make sure you are eating healthy. The idea that if you work out you can eat anything you want is false. It’s okay to eat before a workout, it will help stabilize your blood sugar. Last but not least, it’s easy to get a good workout at home, don’t allow yourself to skip workouts if you can’t make it to the gym, so them at home.
Sleep and Breathing – To reduce stress, make sure you are getting 7-10 hours of sleep per night. If you can’t sleep at night, avoid taking sleep aids as it is easy to get addicted. Instead, try to cut out caffeine late in the day, and avoid alcohol consumption right before bed. Small doses of alcohol act as a stimulant. Take time to take deep breaths, similar to meditation. This will reduce your cortisol levels, which will in return make your body less likely to store fat.
We hope you enjoyed this book summary.