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Real People Abdominal Fat Loss Tips

Experts weigh in on healthy ways to drop unwanted pounds. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

If you've put on a few extra pounds, you're not alone. Research from New Mexico State University reveals that nearly half of U.S adults gained weight during the first year of the pandemic. Lead researcher Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University stated, "Obesity was an epidemic before the pandemic, and little was known on body weight changes in the past year for adult Americans. We wanted to estimate weight changes in the U.S. population and its determinants after the first year of the pandemic." He added the pandemic was, "A perfect health storm. The U.S. consists of an adult population where the majority suffer from a chronic disease, are either overweight or obese, do not meet the physical activity guidelines, or have unhealthy eating patterns with lower consumption of fruits and vegetables." Losing excess weight is important to help avoid major health issues and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who give tips on how to help drop the weight. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Why It's Important to Lose Excess Weight

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Claudia Hleap, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator shares, "There are many potential benefits to losing excess weight (if indicated by BMI, bloodwork, and if desired by the individual). Some of the reasons to lose excess weight may be to reduce risk of chronic disease, improve blood sugar management, prevent or treat reflux/heartburn, and/or to improve cholesterol. Many people focus on weight loss strictly for aesthetic purposes and often forget that weight management is so valuable for your overall health and quality of life." 

Simon Courtney – Editor Healthcare Business Tech adds, "There are countless reasons why it's important to lose weight. Carrying too much weight can lead to a number of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Excess weight can also lead to joint pain, sleep apnea, and infertility."

2

How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

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Hleap says, "It is important to remind yourself often that weight loss is a long term journey, and does not happen overnight. People often have unrealistic expectations for how quickly the weight will come off and what their end goal weight or aesthetic should realistically be. It is important to make small and sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle in order to ensure that you are losing fat specifically, instead of other factors that contribute to weight, such as lean muscle mass and water. If you are motivated by blood work, try setting recurring appointments for blood work readings to keep you motivated!"

Jakob Roze, personal trainer, CSCS and founder of RozeFit, a high-end concierge personal training practice adds, "One of the best ways to stay motivated to lose weight is by outsourcing accountability. In my line of work as a personal trainer, I believe in looking to others for help. Along with coaching my clients through their exercise session, I always stay in close contact with them throughout the day to make sure they are staying on track with their exercise and nutrition. If you can hire someone to help you stay accountable, you have more skin in the game and you are more likely to stay on course."

3

Keeping the Weight Off

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Dr. Mir Ali, MD, bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA explains, "Fad diets and hardcore boot camp workouts will knock weight off of you pretty quickly, but unless you're dedicated to keeping up that level of activity, coupled with that strict diet, you're going to see the number on the scale rise right back up when you slack off. If you're serious about weight loss, there's no pill or diet that will let you eat whatever you want and become inactive while miraculously staying five sizes smaller. You need to look at this as a long-term lifestyle change. Whether you need to lose a little bit or a lot, no quick fix is going to take those pounds off and keep them off. You need to choose a diet that you can live with and an exercise routine that you like and can sustain, because you're going to be sticking to them for the rest of your life if you want to stay in shape."

4

Include Protein With Every Snack

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Hleap explains, "One of my go to weight loss tips is to focus on including protein with every meal and snack. Protein is filling and beneficial for maintaining and growing lean muscle mass. Maintaining and growing lean muscle mass is beneficial for your metabolism, making weight loss and weight maintenance more sustainable and easier in the long run. Since protein is filling, it will also ensure that your meals are more filling, therefore lending you to feel more satisfied and snack less throughout the day. It is always helpful to focus on foods to include and prioritize in the diet as opposed to foods to limit!"

Roze says, "Prioritize protein & fiber to stay full. The longer that you can stay full within your calorie deficit range, the less that you will eat during the day which results in sustained weight loss over time. Protein and fiber are high satiety foods that help you accomplish this."

5

Track Your Calories

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According to Roze, "If you want to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume). Therefore, tracking how many calories you are consuming throughout the day and staying within budget is the primary requisite for weight loss. There are a lot of great calorie tracking apps that you can download for this."

6

Walking

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Kent Probst, personal trainer, kinesiotherapist and bodybuilder with Long Healthy Life states, "Weight-bearing exercise such as walking will burn more calories than non-weight bearing exercise.  Having someone to walk with will make it more interesting and improve your exercise adherence. Your pace should be brisk and be done in an area that's safe, as well as being free of extreme temperatures.  Be sure to stay hydrated and wear comfortable athletic shoes."

7

Exercise First

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"Try to arrange your schedule so that you can make exercise your first healthy habit of the day.," Roze states. "The longer that you put off your training session, the more likely you are to skip."

8

Brush Your Teeth Right After Dinner

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Roze explains, "If you have trouble with binge eating in the evenings, brush your teeth immediately after dinner. This is a habit called a 'meal finisher'. It signals that you are done eating for the day and it has the added benefit of preventing you from eating more because food tastes terrible if you try to eat it right after brushing your teeth."

9

Don't Rush Yourself

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Dr. Ali says, "Without surgical intervention, most health experts maintain that healthy weight loss happens at a rate of about two pounds or less per week. As you get healthier, you may even find that the number on your scale stops going down and even goes up for a bit after an initial loss. The reason for this is redistribution. Especially if you're exercising, you're still losing fat, but you're also gaining muscle. If you're eating healthy foods and working out for at least thirty minutes a day, your jeans will most likely get looser, and your resting heart rate will decrease. Don't obsess about the number on the scale. Remember, your goal is to lose fat. You could 'lose weight' by sitting around, letting your muscles atrophy and not eating much. Your scale would say you were succeeding, but your body would feel like it is failing."

10

Bond with Healthy People

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"Some of your friends will want to join you in your lifestyle change," says Dr. Ali. "They'll get excited about bike rides, ice-skating, and going running with you. They'll tell you about their accomplishments, and you can tell them about yours. These are the people you want to keep close. They'll help you stay motivated and accountable. When you feel lethargic, instead of saying, "Well, let's just go get drinks and dinner instead and workout tomorrow," they'll suggest that you do something fun and active together. They'll become your support group. And on this healthier life journey, you'll need all the support and encouragement you can get. The friends you want to keep in your corner will be those who cheer you on as you work toward your health goals. These are the people who will get up at the crack of dawn to surprise you at the finish line of your first marathon. You don't have to choose between your friends and your health. But you can set yourself up for health success by sticking with the friends who will be there for you and support you rather than those who drag you down and guilt-trip you into old, unhealthy habits."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more