8 Surefire Fat-Burning Tips
Excerpts from an article by Raphael Calzadilla, B.A., CPT, ACE, published online by eDiets July 2007

Click here for "31 Easy Great Ways to Burn Fat

TV infomercials promoting exercise machines of all shapes, sizes and prices -- plus those touting every weight loss and fat-loss plan under the sun -- some more expensive than others -- are a lot of hot air and are just there to get you to spend your money -- on them! Many people buy into those fat-loss myths -- the seller is counting on the consumers' lack of knowledge, emeotional desparation, and for a magical workout or the magical diet. Neither of which exist.

Here are some tips to help you burn the fat and help you from putting on any more fat. My point here necessary to make is -- DON'T EXPECT OVERNIGHT MIRACLES!

tThe health and fitness industry has its dark side just as any market does. So be cautious about anything that promises a quick fix in just minutes a day. If you ever see a quick-fix promise, always go back to the fundamentals. Fundamentals will never let you down, and they will never lie to you or mislead you.

Now---let's get back to the fundamentals of fat loss.
These are the points that always work and never try to sell you a false hope or a false expectation. There are eight points to consider when attempting to burn body fat:

    1. Control Blood Sugar -- Fat loss success is roughly 80 percent nutrition. It all begins with nutrition. If you donít have your nutrition program planned, you will not achieve success. It doesnít matter how hard or how long you workout. This applies to everyone who starts a diet and fitness program.

    Your goal should be to control blood sugar. Controlling blood sugar levels helps to shed fat. This is accomplished by taking in some protein, carbohydrates and good fats spread evenly through the day -- every two to three hours -- and by not over eating. Stabilize blood sugar levels, which helps to increase energy and fat loss. A sample meal schedule might look something like this; however, don't forget that calories must still be below the total you have been taking in prior to beginning your plan:

    6:30 Breakfast
    9:30 Snack
    12:30 Lunch
    3:30 Snack
    6:00 Dinner
    9:00 Small Snack

    2. Calories Count -- The goal is to eat as much as possible while still losing fat. For example, if you lose one to two pounds of fat per week on 1,400 calories per day, you're on track. If you try to accelerate the process and lower your calories to 1,200, you sabotage your efforts. Anything more than a 2-pound loss per week will strip muscle tissue and give one a soft look.

    A good example is the person who goes on a crash diet and ends up thin, but still soft and flabby when they get to their goal weight. This takes place because they lost not only fat, but also valuable muscle. They lowered calories too much, lost weight at too fast a rate and did not try to eat the optimal amount of calories for fat loss.

    Still donít think the correct amount of calories matter? Many people who have been on low-calorie diets complain that after four to five weeks of weight loss, they hit a sticking point. Why?

    The T3 (thyroid hormone) and body temperature are reduced. It's subtle and you may not realize that body temperature is reduced, but that will slow down the speed of the metabolism. To avoid this slow down, a slight increase in calories is essential. This helps to increase and optimize thyroid levels. Not everyone should increase calories if they hit a sticking point. In many cases, you aren't being consistent, or your diet isn't as low-calorie as they think. Again, eat the optimal amount of food to lose fat.

    3. Eat Breakfast! - If you don't eat anything else all day, a well-balanced breakfast is critical to start the day to break the fast from an overnight sleep. In addition, breakfast will rev the metabolism for the rest of the day, get blood sugar back to a balanced state, and is critical for sustaining fat loss.

    This does not mean load up on eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc. A well-balanced breakfast should be comprised of carbohydrates, protein and a little fat (that's GOOD fat, by the way!)

    4. Ratios Count! - A Calorie is not necessariliy just a Calorie. - Tto simply lower your calories to lose fat isn't the answer. The proportions of protein, carbohydrates (good vs. bad) and fats (good vs. bad) are important.

    Although this will vary depending on an individualís response to food, general ratios are:
    - 40-50 percent of carbohydrates
    - 25-30 percent protein
    - 20-30 percent of healthy fats

    Carbs are necessary for energy and not necessarily the enemy everyone makes them out to be. The key is how much you consume and of what type of carbs. "Sugar Carbs" are the enemy and should be taken in very low amounts, in comparison to complex carbs. You will find "sugars" listed on every nutrition label.

    Protein is also critical to build and retain muscle tissue, which in turn helps to burn more fat. Remember that although red meats are high in protein, they are also high in fat and cholesterol which will affect your body in many other ways, healthwise.

    Fats are extremely important, that is, good dietary fats, not animal fats. Fats help to balance hormonal levels, increase strength and create a feeling of fullness. Such a plan that takes this into account is the Glycemic Impact diet.

    5. Weight Training -- To affect muscle versus fat ratios, you should work out with weights or perform some type of resistance training. An intense weight workout lasting no more than 60 minutes is the most efficient route to go. It isn't necessary to workout with a bodybuilding routine, but you do need to work the entire body approximately three alternate days per week.

    6. Cardio -- Cardio should be approached as a tool to lose fat. It should not be used as a never-ending event in the hope that all body fat will magically burn off. Excessive cardio is counterproductive and will burn not only fat, but also valuable muscle tissue.

    If fat loss is not taking place, increase the intensity of your session, not the time. The key is to perform all that is necessary -- and no more than that. This is accomplished by incorporating "interval cardio training" (integrating slower levels of intensity for several minutes with very high levels for several minutes). Intervals are great for boosting the metabolism and creating more of a post caloric burn (calories burned 24 hours after the workout).

    Contrary to popular belief, You do not need to perform two hours of cardio per day; in other words, in this case "more is not better". Nothing could be further from the truth. Start with a realistic amount of cardio per day and then add to it by five minutes or switch to intervals if you havenít lost body fat in two weeks. This is assuming that youíre eating enough calories.

    7. Water Intake -- Water is the underrated fat-loss tool. One corelation of water intake and fat loss is where the liver is converting stored fat to energy. The liver has other functions, but this is one of its main jobs. Unfortunately, another of the liverís duties is to pick up the slack for the kidneys, which need plenty of water to work properly (more than most people realize).

    If the kidneys are water-deprived, the liver has to do the work of the kidneys along with its own (lowering its total productivity in the process). The liver then canít metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently. If you allow this to happen, youíre setting yourself up to store fat because you've made the liver less efficient at turning stored body fat to energy.

    One caluclation I've seen is to multiply your weight by .55 times and the result is supposed to the amount in total daily ounces of water to suffice. For instance a person weighing 150 pounds would need at least 82.5 ounces daily, or almost eleven 8-ounce glasses, or more than five 16-ounce glasses of water. The key to beginning good water intake to to begin very early in the morning with about two 16-ounce glasses, then continue periodically during the day.

    8. Discipline -- This is the word people in the fitness industry does not like to mention. They would much rather talk about their new magic workout, the new magic diet, the machine thatís sure to burn fat off your butt, etc. Itís all a bunch of nonsense.

    "Discipline" is about doing the right thing and the hard thing at times. One day of discipline leading to another day of discipline. You build your body and your mind simultaneously. Without this, every point listed here is fruitless. The good thing is anyone can do it -- if they choose to -- and if I can do it, so can you.

Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

KNOW YOUR EMEMY! With all the confusion of diet plans, pills, exercises, gimmicks---pare your knowledge and your goals down to one enemy---F-A-T---how it gets there and how to burn it off. The key to losing fat and maintaining a healthy weight is the CALORIE, the unit of energy necessary to life. When we have too many of them, we store them as fat---3,500 calories to a pound! Some diet plans help us burn it off by revving up our metabolism, others by decreasing the amount we eat---but ultimately it all boils down to the CALORIE.
Proteins, Starches and Fats, oh my!Some diets say to avoid srarches, others say to avoid fats, and diabetic people should avoid sugars. The bottom line is that our bodies need all of these elements in our diets, but not all are created equal. Fats are more dense with energy---approximatley 9 calories per gram of fat--than carbohydrates and proteins, which have about 4 calories per gram. Saturated fats found in meats and dairy cause more damage to our bodies than polyunstaurated fats found in vegetables, olive or peanut oil. Processed carbohydrates like white rice, flour or sugar, retain less of the real nutrients we need than do unprocessed sources such as whole grains, vegetables and brown rice.
Read the Labels!Educate yourself to the contents of what you're buying at the grocery store. Your cereal may taste good but has high calorie count, high fat, high sugar content, and let's not forget the sodium. The same is true for sweeted fruit-flavored drinks vs. a healthier real juice beverages; for example, compare an orange-flavored drink to fresh orange juice, such as Tropicana.
Say "Cheese"!Can calcium help you lose weight? New research is now suggesting that this essential nutrient not only helps shed pounds but focuses on the weight we carry on our waistlines. Testers eating low-fat dairly products such as nonfat yogurt and low-fat cheese 3-4 times a day lost 70% more fat than low-dairy dieters. Look for ways to add 2-4 servings of calcium-rich dairy products to your diet. If you're lactose intolerant, try other calcium-rich foods such as sardines, tofu and leafy greens.
Never Say "No"!Yes, you CAN have birthday cake at the party and popcorn at the movies. To deny yourself life's special treats can doom your diet attempts to failure. Just choose wisely: got for smaller protions and forego seconds---and skip the butter on the popcorn!
Focus on the Future Stop thinking about what you can't eat and focus on what you CAN EAT. "A healthy weight-loss diet isn't boring or painful or uncomfortable. It is your passport to a new life."
Don't Deny Yourself That Breakfast Delight You can have that nice great big muffin---just make it a bran or blueberry muffin---and cut it in half. Eat one-half now and wrap up the other half for the next day.
Stop Up on Zero or Negative Calorie Foods Some foods take so much to eat and digest that they use more than they put in you! Crunchy fresh veggies like broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce asparagus and beets qualify as do some fruits including apples and strawberries.
Fill Up On Fiber Fiber-rich foods fill you up but not out! Vegetables, fruits and whole grains will leave you feeling full and satisfied but without the calories - or the plummeting blood sugar - of sweet breads, cakes, etc.
How To Sweeten It Try grilling fruit for a dessert---the heat carmelizes the natural sugars, making the fruit even more succulent. Prepare fruits and vegetables in new ways that can be enjoyed during the day, too. My "Power Fruit Salad" is ideal for any time of the day (check out my easy recipe here). Do your research on the various other sweeteners on the market such as Splenda, agave nectar, etc. and replace whole granulated sugar in your cooking and baking whenever possible.
Get Fresh! Prowl your grocery stores and famers' markets for fresh and zingy tastes in fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Shop with the seasons and surf my Recipe Archives and the Internet to find savory but "lite" recipes to prepare them. Go green, go for more taste and go for a slimmer waist.
Try a New Fruit or Vegetable If you're a bit staid and conventional like me, like me you need to get out of the rut of eating the same olf thing every day. Try a new fruit such as stara fruit, papaya, passion fruit, etc. Try jicama, eggplant, artichokes, etc. and new flavors that are packed with vitamins and minerals---many of which are "power foods".
Drink Up! WATER, that is! Water is essential to our bodies proper functioning and makes up roughly 60% of our total weight. Some studies say it actually speeds up metabolism. Drinking this no-calorie healthy beverage fills you up and keeps you from giving in to unhealthy snacks.
Don't Skip Breakfast! Starting the day with just coffee or tea may seem like a smart way to cut calories, but your body needs this important meal in order to function properly. Skipiping breakfast can lead to bingeing on sweets or eating way too much for lunch and dinner!
Think Raw! When you can, eat raw or less-cooked foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Not only do they maintain more of their healthful nutrients, but they also take more calories to digest.
Keep Alcohol Use Low Excess alcohol adds abnormal abdominal fat---the dreaded b-e-e-r b-e-l-l-y!! It also raises your risk for heart disease, liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
Consider Including Multivitamins in Your Diet Ask your doctor first before ingesting anything additional to any medications or physical ailments you may be experiencing. A multivitamin will make your body function better and you'll look and feel better, too.
Sip Smart! Green tea may help burn calories besides containing cancer-fighting properties. Now that sure beats imbibing sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages or so-called fruit juice drinks which almost all contain sugar. Those are empty calories that leave you feeling hungry, while green tea leaves you feeling full and satisfied. If you don't care for tea, buy natural or unsweetened fruit juice alternatives or stick ro tap water or bottled mineral water. Check those labels for an overdose of sodium as well.
Schedule Some Splurges Save high-fat and high-sugar foods and beverages for special occasions. Since they're loaded with calories, they should not be a part of your daily diet. Splurging occasionally will make you feel indulgent without overdoing it. That doesn't mean every couple of days---more like once a month.
Snack Around the Clock! Say what? No, really, Nitritionists now believe that a series of small healthy meals eaten throughout the day keep us feeling more satisfied and keep our energy levels steadier than just 2-3 big meals a day. Handy to keep around are healthy snacks such as nonfat yogurt, cut-up fruits and vegetables, a handful of nuts, 3-4 whole wheat crackers, 2-3 slices of cocktail rye or pumpernickel bread.
Think "Compklex" Early in the Day. Complex carbohydrates for breakfast such as whole grains and oatmeal leave us feeling more full nad give us energy to burn all day---long after sweet breakfast pastries are gone.
Take If Off! Visible fat, that is. If you're going to eat meat and sandwich meats, choose "extra lean" cuts and sandwich meats marked "low" or "reduced fat". If you see the fat on meat, cut it off before you cook it. Remove skin and excess fat from chicken and turkey to subract a lot of calories; and the breast meat of chicken and turkey have lower calories than thighs and drumsticks.
Leep it Lean Don't add fat to your diet by cooking with it, at least no more than the very least, such as PAM non-stick cooking spray. Grill, roast, bake, poach or steam your foods. Skip or at least limit the amount of breading because that adds calories and can soak up cooking fat.
Add to Subtract Eat more good stuff---such as the "Wonder Foods" listed in __-----__ --and you'll have less room for the bad stuff. Try adding bran or berries to your breakfast cereal and sliced veggies to sandwiches.
Heat it Up Yep--one of my favorites---CHILE PEPPERS! Mild or the very hottest of chiles, they will boost your metabolism by adding them to your favorite recipes or stuffing them with grains, vegetable fillings or lean meats. Healthy and a Southwestern delight, too! And don't forget the natural or organic salsa on the market now, but watch for added fats and sugar.
Dump The Yolk Most of the calories and cholesterol in an egg are in its yolk. Try egg white omelets or mix half-and-half---1/2 whole eggs and 1/2 egg whites--to reduce the bad stuff when you scramble.
Watch The Salt Excess sodium in our diets can raise blood pressure, make you feel bloated and "puffy", because it make syou retain water. This is a big "bug" of mine when reading labels---I'm astounded at the amount of sodium loaded into almost every processed product you buy, so again, READ THE NUTRITION LABELS before buying.
Skim, Skim, Skim! This means fat! Whether you're making soup, stew, gravy or casserole, cook it ahead and then refrigerate it. The fat will come to the surface and congeal, allowing you to skim it off the top before re-heating it. Don't forget the milk that you buy---either "2%" or "Skim" milk will help to keep the calories and fat low without eliminating taste. Nope, "Non-Fat Milk" will do that!
Ice the Fat Away! If you don't have time to cool and skim your cooked-ahead foods, drop a few ice cubes into it. The fat will stick to the ice and congeal, making it easier to skim out the fat.
Trade In Those Fatty Foods Substitute low-fat yogurt for mayonnaise, non-fat broth for some of the oil in a stir-fry, and other items labeled "low-fat". You'll add flavor and subract calories. Even small gains will add up.
Do Eat! Fasting---or not eating at all--may seem like a good way to lose weight fat, but it isn't. Extended periods or eating less than 500 calories a day will simply set your metabolism to burn fat slowly. Plus, you'll end up losing healthy muscle and the energy you need to function every day. Aim for eatiing at least 1,200 calories each day, including at least 2 grams of protein.

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