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Healthy Living Blog

Information and inspiration to help you make a habit out of living healthy.


3 Ways to Burn More Fat

Monday, February 12, 2018

By , YMCA Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Last year, your member surveys told us that losing weight was a top priority. We’re listening!

Each of our bodies responds a little differently to eating and exercise, but we all have the main things in common. So let’s look, big-picture, at how we can help ourselves burn more fat.

Read on to learn three basic tweaks to your routine that you can start right now. Plus, stay tuned to the end, where I’ll fire off more quick tips. You’ve got nothing to lose except those unwanted pounds!

1. Get serious about cutting out refined sugar

It's no shock that added sugar has negative effects on our health. But you may not realize that foods with added sugars or refined sugar/carbohydrates may also be the reason your body is holding onto fat.

When we consume sugar, our body produces insulin which carries that sugar (glucose) to our cells to be used for energy. However, when we have excess glucose (too much sugar), our body stores that extra glucose in the form of glycogen in our liver and muscles. When we have more glycogen than our body can convert into energy, our body will then store extra glucose as fat. By cutting back on your sugar intake, you reduce fat stores.


2. Increase your protein intake

Research continues to prove that protein-rich diets are most beneficial when it comes to overall weight loss. Protein-rich foods will fill us up quicker, keep us full longer, and may help improve overall metabolism. The emphasis should be on having lean proteins with each meal or snack. Choose lean cuts of meat, whole or reduced fat dairy products (no added sugars or artificial ingredients), nuts, nut butter, seeds, eggs, beans, lentils, etc.

Protein Goals:
  • Include a source of protein at each meal and snack.
  • Keep serving sizes moderate! Too much and you will exceed your calorie intake for the day.
    • 3 ounces of fish, chicken, pork, or lean beef
    • 1 ounce of cheese, 6 ounces of plain yogurt, 1 cup milk
    • ½ cup beans, lentils
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp. nut butter or 1 handful of nuts
  • Balance out protein with fruits and veggies, which are packed with vitamins, minerals, and extra fiber to keep you full.

3. Do the best kind of exercise

No surprises here! Exercise is essential for weight loss and fat burn. But I'm not suggesting adding another ab workout to your day. Instead, aerobic exercise such as walking, running, stair climbing, swimming, etc. is considered ideal for helping to burn fat.

Don't stop with aerobic exercise, though! Strength training continues to be the champion in helping to burn calories longer, resulting in successful weight loss. For best results, aim for 30-60 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week. Find a strength training class.

Bonus tips and tricks to help burn that stubborn fat!
  • Eat more soluble fiber. Some studies have found that soluble fiber may help with reducing belly fat. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Stress less. Chronic high stress can be a factor in preventing you from losing weight. 
  • Get enough sleep! When we're tired, our body craves energy, which often means more eating when what we really need is rest.
  • Talk to your doctor about intermittent fasting. The science behind fasting is worth considering, as there are numerous studies looking at how fasting a few times during the week, or even a period of fasting during the day, may help with fat loss. Before you jump on the bandwagon, talk with your primary care doctor to see if this type of plan is right for you. Some medical conditions, medications, and health factors may require you to eat regularly and routinely.

Want to learn more? Here are our top 6 weight loss tips for new dieters and 8 healthy winter recipes

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