Everyone has body fat. Some have more than others, but nevertheless, we all have some percentage of body fat. Truth is, the body needs a certain body fat % for survival purposes.
“Fat is known to have two main purposes, says Susan Fried, PhD, director of the Boston Obesity and Nutrition Research Center at Boston University and a long-time researcher in the field.
• Fat stores excess calories in a safe way so you can mobilize the fat stores when you’re hungry.
• Fat releases hormones that control metabolism.”
The problem arises when we pack on the pounds–increasing our body fat%, therefore, increasing the type of fat, the amount of fat, and the location of the fat (thighs, belly, back, stomach, etc.) stored in our bodies.
Here are 11 tips to help you decrease your body fat:
1. Eat more protein – (builds/repairs muscles) and fiber (slow digestion & keeps you feeling fuller longer)
2. Eat healthy fats – incorporate more good fats (unsaturated) such as omega 3s & 6s from fatty fish like salmon, olive oils, avocados, and nuts. The bad stuff is always found in the “good” stuff we’ve all enjoyed (cookies, cakes, potato chips, fried foods, etc…)
3. Eat GOOD carbs – 60% of your body’s preferred energy comes from carbs. Every cell in your body uses carbs for energy. So the objective is not to avoid carbs but to reduce/eliminate bad carbs. Incorporate more complex carbs, which are high-fiber foods (spinach, greens, oatmeal, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, beans, etc) and limit simple carbs which are often high in sugar & fat (sugar–table sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, candy, cakes, white flour breads/pastas, cokes, baked goods, most cereals, etc.)
4. Eat often – Keep your metabolism burning by eating 5-6 small meals per day, including breakfast.
5. Increase your exercise: Exercise/activity has many benefits. Not only will exercise & daily activity help you shed the fat & lose weight, but most importantly, it keeps your heart healthy.
6. Do both cardio & strength training – Yes, cardio will burn calories faster but strength training/building muscles will help you maximum your fat burn long after you have completed your workout.
7. Change up your workout routines often. – By changing up your routine, you can avoid reaching a plateau in your progress or simply avoid getting BORED. Each time you do something new/different, you challenge different muscle groups, forcing the body to continue working hard.
8. Add HITT training – High-intensity interval training really gets you going. The idea is to do a low intensity activity combined with a burst of high intensity work. Ex. Walk at 3.8mph for 2 minutes & kick it up to a run for 30-60 seconds.
9. Get rest – Your body NEEDS rest. We are not sure when 8 hours became a “luxury” but truthfully, it’s something you should make every effort to do for yourself & your health. When you don’t get enough rest, your leptin hormone levels decrease and your ghrelin levels increase resulting in more “mindless” eating. Word of advice: go to bed.
10. Drink water. Any questions?
11. Avoid crash diets, fad diets, fasting diets, etc – It’s simple. Diets have ending dates. Your lifestyle does not. The objective is to create a healthier lifestyle that works for you. It’s about incorporating those foods you love & understanding HOW & WHY they can work to support your lifestyle, weight loss, & body fat reduction efforts.
As always, thank you for time, love & support. We hope what we have shared has helped you. Be sure to share this info with family & friends.
-Eric & Maleka Beal
Eric and Maleka Beal are health coaches and co-founders of BetterChoices, a health & wellness company and social community focused on educating, advocating, and promoting better health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness education.