Go With­out Your Gut

Men's Health - Belly Off Guide - - CONTENTS - BY CINDY KUZMA

Belly too big? Think small. Choose from our list of easy ex­pert-ap­proved, re­search-backed waist re­duc­ers, and shrink your gut in no time flat

RIVERS CUT CANYONS. CON­TI­NENTS DRIFT. The guy in seat 23F hogs the arm­rest. Be­fore we even notice, sub­tle shifts can add up to big changes. So­cial sci­en­tists call this “creep­ing nor­malcy”. It’s bad news when it comes to cli­mate change or boep devel­op­ment, but you can use it as a tool to sculpt a new, leaner you. A dra­matic diet change – say, cut­ting hun­dreds of kilo­joules a day – can slow your me­tab­o­lism and thwart your ef­forts to lose lard. But with smaller ad­just­ments, your body’s fur­nace won’t dial down and weight loss may be eas­ier. That’s ac­cord­ing to Dr Scott Ka­han, di­rec­tor of the US Na­tional Cen­tre for Weight and Wellness. He’s one of many ex­perts we con­sulted for this com­pen­dium of sim­ple baby steps that add up to gi­ant leaps for mankind.

In fact, fo­cus­ing on just one seem­ingly triv­ial change each week can re­sult in about four times the weight loss over a four-month pe­riod that a stan­dard diet-and-ex­er­cise plan would yield, a study in the An­nals of Be­havioural Medicine found. An­other study pub­lished in the jour­nal Eat­ing Be­hav­iours found that over­am­bi­tious diet ex­pec­ta­tions can lead to big weight fluc­tu­a­tions. So fo­cus on small steps and grad­ual weight loss for long-last­ing re­sults. Start by try­ing out the fol­low­ing tweaks over the com­ing weeks – but only a few at a time!

CUT YOUR CON­SUMP­TION

Preload

Be­fore a big restau­rant meal, eat an 835 kilo­joule snack that con­tains at least 15 grams of pro­tein – a shake with whey pro­tein pow­der, for ex­am­ple. With a gut full of sa­ti­at­ing pro­tein and fewer hunger hor­mones cir­cu­lat­ing, you’ll eat less at the restau­rant and cut your to­tal kilo­joule count as a re­sult, says Ka­han.

Don’t Top Off

Pic­ture a petrol gauge in your gut; E means you’re rav­en­ous and F rep­re­sents full. Aim to stay be­tween a half and three-quarters of a tank by eat­ing be­fore you feel fam­ished and stop­ping when you’re sat­is­fied, not stuffed, says Matt Law­son, a be­hav­iour coach for the weight-loss com­pany Retro­fit.

Chew On It

Men in a Chi­nese study who chomped each bite 40 times ate 12% less than those who chewed 15 times. Chew­ing may kick­start the di­ges­tive process, speed­ing the re­lease of gut hor­mones linked to sati­ety, the re­searchers say.

Think Like a Foodie

Take time to note the tex­ture, smell and source of your food. Say­ing things like “This grass-fed rib-eye is juicy” can cre­ate a vivid “meal mem­ory” that keeps you fuller for longer, a UK study found. Smell plays a huge part in the sat­is­fac­tion of a meal, says Kar­lien Smit, reg­is­tered di­eti­cian from Shelly Meltzer & As­so­ciates, so use fra­grant in­gre­di­ents like herbs and spices.

Read an Awe­some Health, Fit­ness and Nutri­tion Mag­a­zine

Re­searchers in the Nether­lands say this tac­tic, called prim­ing, works on a sub­con­scious level. Most re­cently they found that peo­ple who were handed recipes with diet-re­lated key­words when en­ter­ing a gro­cery store bought fewer chips, bis­cuits and cakes – even if they said they hadn’t re­ally paid much at­ten­tion to the handout.

Plan Shop­ping Trips

Starv­ing shop­pers re­ally do load their trol­lies with more high-kilo­joule op­tions, a study in JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine re­ports. The best time to shop is af­ter break­fast on a weekend, says Anita Mir­chan­dani, a New York City di­eti­cian. If that’s not a good time for you, buy a medium-sized fruit or some fresh veg­eta­bles from the salad bar to nosh on as you shop. If the gro­cery shop is too tempt­ing, make cal­cu­lated choices on­line, says Smit. (Shop on­line at pn­pon­line.co.za or wool­worths.co.za).

9 Eat Flat-Belly Fare

When you sub­tract kilo­joules from your diet, add back the right stuff: a study in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nutri­tion finds that cer­tain nu­tri­ents can help keep you in shape. Grub high in the ones listed be­low tends to be lower in kilo­joules and higher in fill­ing fi­bre, says study au­thor Christina Shay.

VI­TA­MIN A

In a study in the jour­nal Obe­sity, vi­ta­min A helped reg­u­late fat tis­sue in mice. Those fed A-de­fi­cient di­ets were the fat­ter ro­dents.

FIND IT IN Sweet pota­toes, car­rots, spinach

NONHEME

Re­searchers from Aus­tralia say obese peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence dis­rup­tions as their bod­ies metabolise iron, al­though it’s not clear why. Most of the iron in your diet is nonheme, which means it comes from plant sources. Heme iron comes from an­i­mal sources such as beef.

FIND IT IN White beans, lentils, ar­ti­chokes

VI­TA­MIN C

Re­searchers from Spain found that obese rats on high-fat di­ets gained less fat if their chow was en­riched with C. The vi­ta­min’s an­tiox­i­dant ef­fects may cut fat for­ma­tion.

FIND IT IN Red pep­pers, or­anges, broc­coli

MAG­NE­SIUM

One study found that the less mag­ne­sium peo­ple con­sumed, the more likely they had a clus­ter of con­di­tions (in­clud­ing obe­sity) that raises heart dis­ease and di­a­betes risk. Mag­ne­sium de­fi­ciency cou­pled with obe­sity may con­trib­ute to in­sulin re­sis­tance.

FIND IT IN Bul­ghur, chick­peas, Brazil nuts

Hit the Sand

Run­ning on a shift­ing sur­face can force you to ex­pend 30% more en­ergy than run­ning on grass does, ac­cord­ing to a study in the Jour­nal of Sci­ence and Medicine in Sport. The re­sult is more kilo­joules burned, be­cause your mus­cles must work harder to sta­bilise your body. Nowhere near a beach? No prob­lem. Just choose the least sta­ble ter­rain you can find – soft grass or trail, say – in­stead of hard tar.

Go Back-to-Back

To crank your me­tab­o­lism, rest just 30 to 60 sec­onds be­tween your weightlift­ing sets, says cer­ti­fied strength and con­di­tion­ing trainer Marc Perry.

Do Full-body Car­dio

The more mus­cle groups you involve, the more kilo­joules you torch. An 80kg guy burns about about 1 400kJ in 30 min­utes of vig­or­ous row­ing – 580 more than in an el­lip­ti­cal work­out.

Walk or Run a Kilo­me­tre-and-a-Half

C’mon, it’ll just take a few min­utes. Do­ing this in­stead of driv­ing that dis­tance can re­sult in a BMI de­crease com­pa­ra­ble to cut­ting 420 kilo­joules a day, a study in Preven­tive Medicine sug­gests.

Race a Fit­ter Friend

Cy­clists com­pet­ing with an op­po­nent who was slightly speed­ier pushed hard for 9 min­utes longer than those who cy­cled alone, ay re­searchers at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity.

Wake Up Ear­lier

… and work out be­fore break­fast. (Okay, not all of these are easy.) You’ll force your body to burn stored fat, a 2013 UK study found.

Move More Out­side the Gym

An 80kg guy do­ing any of these can burn about 167 kilo­joules in 10 min­utes.

BATH THE DOG

CARVE WOOD

PLAY GUI­TAR

MOP THE KITCHEN FLOOR

MAKE THE BEDS

PULL WEEDS

WALTZ OR TANGO

Push to Ex­cel

Few moves work faster than the push-up to broaden your up­per body and make your waist look smaller. By mov­ing your hands out and away from your torso, you “force your pecs to work harder,” says BJ Gad­dour. Hold that po­si­tion for 30 sec­onds and you will in­crease the amount of time your pecs are un­der ten­sion, fur­ther ac­cel­er­at­ing their growth.

Lis­ten to Your Past

Mu­sic that in­spires you helps you work out harder and longer, re­search shows. You’ll be mo­ti­vated most by songs that were play­ing when you had your first kiss or won some­thing, says Lee Brown of Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity at Fuller­ton.

Make a Deal

Go to stickk.com and pledge to fork over cash if you miss a goal. In a Mayo Clinic study, some peo­ple in a weight-loss plan earned $20 a month if they shed ki­los, and paid $20 if they didn’t. They lost three ki­los more in a year than those with no cash at stake.

Track your Meals

Your smart­phone app can help you lose more weight than a pa­per jour­nal can, re­veals Bri­tish re­search. Keep it handy on the week­ends, es­pe­cially, when the binge risk looms largest, says Les­lie Bonci, di­rec­tor of sports nutri­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh Med­i­cal Cen­tre.

Break Out the Mea­sur­ing Spoons and Cups

You don’t have to use them re­li­giously, but haul them out ev­ery few weeks for a spot check. Serve your­self a typ­i­cal por­tion, then mea­sure to see how far you’ve strayed from the rec­om­mended serv­ing size, says di­eti­cian Al­li­son Stow­ell. By check­ing in with your mea­sur­ing uten­sils, you will mit­i­gate the nat­u­ral ten­dency to over­size your por­tions, which will al­low you to stay on track with weight loss. Out to din­ner? Find an app that pro­vides on-the-go por­tion size es­ti­mates to help you avoid overindulging.

WORK YOUR GUT OFF GRAD­U­ALLY, FOR GOOD, WITH THESE STEL­LAR WEIGHT­LOSS TIPS

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