If you want to lose weight and lose belly fat, the first thing you have to do is stop stressing yourself out about it.
This is a concept that I first discovered several years ago and have been excited to share with others ever since.
But often when I try to explain my beliefs with die-hard dieters, I watch their eyes roll back in their heads in complete disbelief. So, I always love when I find research to support what my personal experiences have taught me.
And here is the latest finding...
Research shows that dieting too intensely, severely limiting calories or tracking every morsel you eat creates the perfect conditions for adding belly fat, not losing it!
You need a healthy balanced approach to weight loss that encourages adopting slow and steady weight loss through adoption of a healthy lifestyle, like Weight Watchers.
Stress Makes You Fat!
I just read about a study that tracked the stress levels of 121 female dieters for 3 weeks and showed some concerning results.
Study Results: Restricting calories increased the total output of the stress hormone cortisol, and monitoring calories increased perceived stress.
Conclusions: Dieting may be deleterious to psychological well-being and biological functioning, and changes in clinical recommendations may be in order.
This is the last thing you want to do when you are trying to lose weight, especially belly fat, because cortisol sends signals to your body telling it to store more calories in your middle.
This is just another example of how strict deprivation based diets work against you and additional proof that overly restrictive diets DO NOT WORK. They are counterproductive to weight loss!
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to eat well when you are stressed out?
So, by stressing yourself out with a restrictive diet, you are increasing your stress levels and setting yourself up for the exact opposite situation you desire!
Another Interesting Note About Food Diaries
Researchers also found that the women who kept super-detailed food diaries, accounting for every morsel, calorie, and gram, felt way more stressed-out than the those who ate without a plan.
So while it's good to think about and pay attention to what you're eating and track in a reasonable way, don't obsess about it.
Calm down, you are on a lifelong journey.
Of course this isn't permission to eat with abandon or to stop paying attention. It's about finding a healthy balance.
Pay attention to your portion sizes. Choose healthy foods as much as you can. Be aware of how many times you visit the snack cupboard. Record what you are doing, but not in an extreme and punishing way. Explore ways to lower your stress, like yoga and breathing exercises.
The key to lasting weight loss is to find that middle way - where you are eating neither too little or too much.
This takes patience and practice, but is so worth it!
I was just talking with my sister the other day about how I find intermittent fasting less stressful than any other weight loss approach I've ever tried. It's funny because you'd think it would be more stressful but when you actually do it, it's less stressful and more freeing! Click here to read more about my experiments with intermittent fasting.
Need of a little extra motivation and guidance kick-starting your weight loss in a slow, steady sustainable way?
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Major thanks for the article. Will read on...