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Is counting calories the only way to guarantee a flat stomach?
What matters most for shedding belly fat boils down to calories in versus calories out. For sure, counting those suckers at every meal will help you stay consistent with a healthy eating plan, but it isn’t necessary to lose weight. If worrying about every single calorie, is stressing you out, put away the calculator (research shows that stress itself can cause you to stuff your face)! Instead, fill your plate with whole, energy-dense foods, such as lean protein, good fats, fruits, natural sources of sugar, vegetables, and whole grains. Because they pack a lot of nutrition into comparatively few calories, you’re able to eat more and feel full without expanding your waistline. The trick is- knowing what’s good and what to avoid; and the truth may surprise you!
How do I know which fats are OK to eat?
It’s been scientifically proven: Eating fat helps you become slim. In fact, fats should make up 20 to 35 percent of your total calories. The trick is including the right fats—primarily monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) like nuts, avocados, and healthy oils —and staying away from processed foods that contain trans fats, such as baked goods and fried foods. Trans fats or hydrogenated oils increase the shelf-life of food, but also endanger one’s health. Hydrogenated oil lowers the good HDL cholesterol and raises the bad LDL cholesterol, putting one at greater risk for heart disease. Fatty foods are good for your body, it’s just all about eating the right kinds.
Label Marketing Jargon 101.
‘Fat-free’, ‘low-fat’, ‘light’, ‘sugar-free’, ‘low calorie’, ‘no added’ and ‘diet’ are just a few of the terms seen on many packaged goods creating confusion everywhere. It is important to know that there is currently no regulation of using such terms, making them highly subjective, and in recent years- BAD for health but GREAT for marketing. For example, ‘Low fat’ can be literal as in fat-reduced milk, or it can be not so clear as in no added sugar, but sugars used to make the product are technically allowed because the term “added” actually means not added to the finished product. “No added” items can still contain plenty of whatever was not added- such as salt, or sugar…so it literally just means they didn’t add any more. This is how marketing companies are fooling consumers with nice sounding words and emotional hit-home phrases that we as the dieters want to hear because it makes us feel better about what we’re eating. In another example- ‘Light’ doesn’t necessarily mean light in sugar, fat, or alcohol, they can simply be referring to light in color, taste or texture. What do you think these huge marketing companies care about – your abs and cholesterol or their profit margin?? So don’t be fooled by meaningless words and catch phrases–reading labels and staying away from anything processed is the only safe way to go!
The Skinny on Side Effects
“Diet” foods and drinks cut calories by replacing real fat and sugar with food-like substances. They aren’t food, and the body knows it. Be smart rather than convenient. What’s worse- sugar substitutes like sucralose, aspartame, saccharin and acesulfame are linked to abdominal pain, discomfort, headaches, depression and even cancer. Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, isomalt, lactitol and erythritol etc. can also cause gas, nausea and diarrhea leading to bloating of the stomach making you look fatter rather than thinner. Studies have shown that diet soda drinkers tend to gain weight rather than lose it, as opposed to those who chose regular.
Diet foods, and even some non-diet foods, contain ingredients that lower the calorie- or fat-count in these foods, but in exchange alter body chemistry which causes unwanted weight gain, not weight loss. The aforementioned sugar substitutes, high fructose corn syrup, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) have negative effects on the body because they aren’t natural substances.
For a Flat Belly, Feed Your Body Clean, real nutritious food. One good rule is if your Great Gramma wouldn’t recognize what’s on the ingredient list as with terms like, “acesulfame’, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Eat simple, be smart, and follow your gut – you’ll be doing both of you a favor.
Your Core Crunch Workout
Now that you’re eating right, flattening the belly can be done by simply working out 10 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Some exercises to include for core strength are the plank, side plank and side crunch, wood chops & the glute bridge. These exercises stem from the core & help total body stability & mobility. Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps each.
Thanks for reading!
Melanie is a San Diego native, a lover of outdoor activities, cooking, friends & family, & is an entrepreneur at heart. As a personal chef and fitness coach, she has been able to combine her two career passions – which has proven to be an exciting journey. Inspired by a love for cooking & entertaining, Melanie attended the Art Institute of San Diego and in 2006, she became a personal chef. Ever since been then, she has been preparing nutritious gourmet meals (personal meal deliveries & private party catering) for residents in La Jolla, Carmel Valley and all over North County San Diego. Melanie is NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certiﬁed and is the founder of Rock Body Food. Melanie truly loves her job of teaching others how to do what she loves & lives herself!