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10 Strategies to Lose Fat and Keep It Off

April 27, 2015 5 min read

We all know how quickly it cam come back once we've taken it off! Fat is a tricky and stubborn monster. 50 percent of women say that they manage to gain back their fat within 6 months of having lost it. Have a look at these tips to see how you can take it off (and keep it off) forever.

1. Make your fat burn

Your fat can help you lose eight. Seriously. There are two types of fat in the body, white and brown. White is the stuff you are trying to ditch but the brown fat, can help you get there. "Up to 80 percent of adults have brown fat deposits in their bodies," says Aaron M. Cypess, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School. This brown fat is packed with mitochondria, the parts of cells that generate heat. When activated, as little as 2 ounces of brown fat can eat up as many as 20 percent of your body's calories. Exercise is a great way to get your brown fat in gear. Scientists at Harvard's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute discovered that working out releases a hormone called irisin, which converts white fat to brown. Exercise for a half hour at least five days a week to turn up the burn.

2. Pop some vitamin D

A daily dose of vitamin D can help you drop pounds. A study at the University of Minnesota found that people who started a weight-loss program with higher levels of D lost more than those who weren't getting enough of the nutrient. Other research seems to suggest that Vitamin D appears to increase the effectiveness of the hormone leptin which signals your brain that you are full. Because it's difficult to get D from food, Shalamar Sibley, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the university, says you may need to take a vitamin D3 supplement. Many experts now recommend 1,000 international units every day.

3. Get in the mood to lose

You don't want to eat dessert but all your friends are and the urge you to join. You give in and order that piece of cheesecake. You've not committed sociotropy, or people pleasing, and that can make you gain weight. A recent study has shown that men and women who experience negative emotions, guilt, anxiety and anger, and who were impulsive and disorganized, tend to be heavier than their even keeled counterparts. "Women score slightly higher than men on people-pleasing measures," says Julie Exline, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University. This could be because women are socialized to 'be nicer.' If you are feeling pressured to eat dessert, tell your friends, politely and firmly, that you are okay with what you've already had. Be firm. They will understand.

4. Revoke your license to splurge

Don't fall into the licensing trap. You eat a low calorie meal so you reward yourself by skipping the gym or gorging on food later (check out more on this idea here). Most people have a tendency to want to balance things out, says Kathleen Vohs, PhD, an associate professor of marketing at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. When we do something good for ourselves, which often requires exhibiting self control and discipline, we will follow it up by allowing ourselves to indulge. How do you overcome this? Be aware that making a good choice may be a trigger is a great way to start. Think about a time in the past where you failed to resist the urge to overeat. Research shows that you will want to improve upon this past negative.

 5. Chew on this

Most of us eat way too quickly. We only chew our food a few bites which means we end up eating way too much. In a recent study, people who chewed each bite 40 times ate almost 12 percent less than those who chewed just 15 times. When we chew longer, our body produces less ghrelin an appetite boosting hormone and more peptide hormones which are believed to help curb appetite. Besides, the more you chew, the more you break down the food which means that the nutrients get into our blood faster and our brains have time to register that we are full. Put down the fork between bites and work your way to 40 chews per mouthful.

6. Outsmart your appetite

Cut yourself a little slack. Our bodies are wired to crave rich foods. Studies have shown that just tasting fat triggers our bodies to release of chemicals similar to those experienced by drug addicts. The trick to keeping this in check is to avoid foods that trigger you lose control. Eric Stice, PhD, a senior research scientist at the Oregon Research Institute says, "if you're tempted to have a scone with your coffee at Starbucks, instead of thinking about how delicious it will taste, tell yourself you'll get health benefits such as a smaller waist or a healthier heart from not having it. Doing this actually changes your brain by strengthening the area that helps you resist things and weakening the region that makes you think of treats as a reward." Also, you should eat throughout the day to keep your glucose levels high so you feel energized and satisfied. Try fruits and vegetables or low fat yogurt. Remember, eating consistently helps us beat cravings.

7. Get back to nature

A study out of North Caroline found that counties that had more natural amenities, like lakes and mountains, had lower obesity rates. It could be that there's something healing and calming about simply being outside," says Stephanie Jilcott Pitts, PhD, an assistant professor at East Carolina University. Research has shown that people tend to be happier walking outdoors than they are indoors. They also stride faster, yet feel less exertion, than they do on a treadmill.  So take your workout outdoors. If your neighborhood isn't made for exercising, find a park nearby and head there as often as you can to bike, run, or hike.

8. Pudge proof your cells

Sitting around can make you chunky. In fact, the act of sitting or lying down may actually speed up fat production. If you are stuck sitting at your desk all day, you need to change it. Richard Atkinson, MD, a clinical professor of pathology at Virginia Commonwealth University, says to get up and walk around for at least 5 minutes every hour. Walk around the office. Walk down the hall to your coworker's office instead of just sending an email. "Just standing — even if you're not moving — uses significantly more muscles than sitting down," Dr. Atkinson says. If you are home watching TV, get up and run in place or do jumping jacks during commercials can help you burn up to 148 calories an hour!

9. Sip green tea

Green tea is a big diet helper in a mug. A review of studies has discovered that regularly sipping green tea can help you lose weight. This is a result of EGCG, a compound known to reduce fat absorption, but that isn't all it does. As it's reducing fat absorption, "green tea also increases the amount of fat that your body eliminates," explains study author Joshua D. Lambert, PhD, an assistant professor of food science at the university. Think about swapping your afternoon coffee for a cup of green tea. Experts say that drinking 3-5 cups can help you lose weight.

10. Beat your weight fate

Three quarters of Americans have a 'fat gene' that is associated with a 20-30 percent greater risk of obesity. But this doesn't have to be your destiny. Exercise can win out over your genetics. Active people with the fat gene are 27 percent less likely to become obese than inactive people with the same gene. We are only talking about 1 hours of moderate to vigorous exercise a week. That's doable, right? But, you should aim for 5 hours a week (3 days of cardio and 2 of strength training) and you'll be in full control of your own destiny.  

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