Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The 5 Commandments of a Flat Belly

I came across this article a while ago through my e-mail and felt the urge to share it with everyone at Revolution Gym & Fitness. What you are about to read is really basic and straight forward, but it's amazing how most people tend to believe on other mumbo jumbos claiming things like 'a breakthrough technology in fat loss' or that 'world brand' thingy, where at the end of the day what the're really losing are their hard-earned money. Enough of my introductions...lets get straight to it!

Commandment #1:

Reduce sugar intake.

Out of all the obesity additives, sugar is public enemy number one. It’s important to know that sugar induces hunger and cravings because it wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels, causing them to rise, then fall.

When you eat sugar, a surge of a fat-storing hormone called insulin is released into your digestive tract. Insulin grabs hold of this sugar and stores it as energy–and then the excess is stuffed into your fat cells in all of those dreaded trouble spots–like your belly. As a result, your blood sugar levels drop, causing more hunger and cravings. Then the vicious cycle repeats.

And if that’s not enough to scare you off the stuff, recent studies have shown that sugar creates inflammation in your body that is the cause of most disease. It lowers your immune system. It also accelerates aging and wrinkles. Not to mention that studies now say that sugar is as addictive as nicotine and cocaine. No wonder we can’t get enough.

This is why, based on current research, I recommend that my students limit their sugar intake to a max of 30 grams a day (including natural sugars found in dairy products, fruits, and vegetables).

Commandment #2:
Eat more fiber.

Did you know that fiber (along with fats and proteins) fights belly fat by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the body and it helps to cleanse the belly bulge (waste) that comes from an overloaded digestive system?

Why is fiber so important for weight loss? Fiber-rich foods make you feel fuller for longer, and they slow the digestion of food so insulin (a fat-storing hormone) is released into the digestive tract. Plus, eating enough fiber (combined with eight to 10 glasses of water a day) keeps your digestive system running smoothly and can clean out pounds of “internal waste” that makes your belly bulge. Forget all of those unhealthy laxatives and cleansing detox pills you see advertised…all you really need is an adequate amount of fiber, water, and probiotics.

Commandment #3:
Replenish your good bacteria.

Your body is supposed to be home to trillions of tiny bacteria. And that’s a good thing. These beneficial microorganisms serve important functions within the body, mainly within the digestive tract. They do things like ferment foods that we cannot digest (such as fiber), help with elimination, support the immune system, prevent growth of harmful bacteria, and help the body absorb vitamins and minerals. What becomes a problem is when the toxins we have been consuming, as well as medicines like oral antibiotics, have a detrimental effect on these natural bacteria, also called “flora.”

Obviously, when the intestinal environment is compromised, digestive side effects may occur. That’s why it is common for people taking antibiotics to experience diarrhea, which a 2004 study from Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris linked directly to the change in gut flora. When “good bacteria” are killed, “bad bacteria” are more likely to take their place and cause problems.

I recommend adding probiotics and prebiotics to your diet each day in order to maintain the best intestinal environment and reduce your belly bulge quickly. “Probiotics” are foods that either naturally, or because they have been added, contain quantities of beneficial bacteria. “Prebiotics” are foods that contain fiber, which provide nourishment for all those little bacteria.

Add a splash of vanilla and cinnamon from your spice rack, plus a handful of your favorite high-fiber berries and natural sweetener, if desired. Blend. This makes a great smoothie! As an alternative, consider trying one of the new shelf-stable probiotic pills, such as Align (, or Culturelle (

Commandment #4:
Eat tasty foods every three hours.

A common mistake dieters make is assuming they will lose fat if they eat less frequently. Have you ever thought, “Hmmm… maybe I’ll have just a small meal or two each day?” This seems like a logical plan, right? Wrong.

Believe me, it’s the absolute worst approach. When you starve your body, it begins to fight back by conserving fat and burning muscle tissue. This dramatically slows your metabolic rate, which in turnprevents fat loss. Losing muscle tissue also leads to a loss of muscle tone and shape. Oh, and I should also mention that thisapproach ultimately makes you look flabby, not firm.

What’s more, after a while a starvation diet makes you irritable, less focused, tired, and weak. Your health is compromised and your immune system is impaired, thanks to an inadequate supply of health-promoting nutrients. After a few days, fierce food cravings take over, binging follows, and you end up gaining back all of the weight you’ve lost…and more.

But even that’s not the end of it. The next time you start dieting, the vicious cycle starts all over again. Only now your metabolism is even slower because, during the previous dieting episode, calorie-burning muscle was burned for energy. (By the way, each pound of muscle you lose while dieting causes you to burn about 50 calories less per day.) So now you have to eat even fewer calories than before to lose weight. (Ugh!)

This is what we call yo-yo dieting and it can wreak havoc on your body. A better alternative to starving yourself or skipping meals is to feed your body healthy foods every three hours throughout the day. By doing this your metabolism keeps burning calories at an accelerated pace all day long.

Part of the reason this occurs is due to something called the thermic effect of foods. It works like this: Nutrient-dense foods tend to be more complex. Take proteins, for instance (lean meats, low-fat cottage cheese, and eggs). It takes more energy for your body to digest and use proteins than it does for simpler foods like sugars. The thermic effect of protein is the highest of all foods. After eating protein, your metabolic rate will increase by approximately 17 to 20 percent. In other words, if you eat 100 calories of protein, 17 to 20 of those will be burned just digesting and using the protein.

By comparison, the thermic effect of carbohydrates is typically around 10 percent, and fat is just 5 percent. Plus, by eating complex food more frequently (five mini-meals spaced three hours apart), your body will better use the nutrients you consume because they are in smaller quantities that are easy to break down and absorb. Too many calories ingested at once tends to overload your digestive system, so many valuable vitamins and minerals “escape” while extra macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) are more likely to convert to body fat.

Frequent healthy eating also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which zaps excess
hunger and cravings; limits fat storage (by limiting the actions of a fat-storing hormone called insulin); and reduces the energy drain that accompanies big meals.

Here’s what I hope you’ll take away from all of this: Eating five small, tasty, obesity-additive-free meals every three hours throughout the day is the quickest, most painless way to get slim for life. It’s my number-one nutrition tip for losing weight without depriving yourself of great-tasting food.

Commandment #5:
Balanced meals are the key to your success.

If you’re considering going on one of those low- or no carbohydrate diets, please pay special attention to this next part.

Following are just a few of the reasons why I do not recommend these crazy diets:

1. You can’t follow this type of diet for life. Sooner or later you will fail because your body will fight you every step of the way.
2. Low-carb diets decrease a thyroid hormone (T3) that helps regulate your metabolism. So when you start eating carbohydrates again (and you
will), you will likely gain back all of the belly fat you’ve lost…fast.
3. The quick weight loss you may experience on a no- (or low-) carb diet is usually attributed to a loss of body water and not body fat, which is, of course, only temporary.
4. You will begin breaking down muscle tissue for energy, which decreases muscle tone and further decreases your metabolism.
5. Cutting out fruits, vegetables, and grains (carbohydrates) robs your body of ample amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that enhance and promote health. (And most of us don’t get enough of these nutrients in the first place.)

As you can see, the low- or no-carb diet has many flaws that negatively impact your ability to succeed in getting that traffic-stopping body and keeping it for the long run.

Conversely, super high-carb diets aren’t the solution either. High-carb diets tend to stimulate an excess amount of insulin production. Plus, high-carb diets are notoriously low in protein, which can have terrible consequences on your ability to build your muscles and shape your body.

And, if you’re following some “point system” that allows you to eat whatever you want as long as you don’t exceed your points, believe me, you are not getting the nutrients your body needs to be healthy and attractive.

The solution?

I’ve discovered that a diet containing moderate amounts of protein (around 30 percent), moderate carbs (around 50 percent), and lower to moderate amounts of fat (around 20 percent) works best for most people and can easily be followed for life.

Adapted from The 10 Commandments of a Flat Belly BY COACH JOSH


Revolution Gym & Fitness

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