Weight loss: Expert explains why avoiding unhealthy fats is the key to a slimmer waist
Anyone on a diet will no doubt be stepping on the scales to track their progress, but often there is one area that is harder to tackle than most. Belly fat is typically difficult to get rid of, and it requires a change to both your diet and fitness regime to see results. However, one expert has revealed that a specific change to what’s on your plate could help lead to a slimmer waist.
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If the number on the scales is dropping but your waist measurements are still higher than you’d like, there are things you can do to target the area.
Jane Michell, a nutritionist and founder of diet programme Jane Plan, explained exclusively to Express: “Belly fat is something that most people have. There are two types; the fat under the skin, and the fat that’s deeper, that encases our organs.
“It’s the latter that we need to be careful of. It can increase our chances of having conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Women typically have more of this subcutaneous fat, and when it comes to tummies, with age, hormones can make shifting fat more challenging.”
However, the bespoke diet plan founder warned that it’s not an easy fix.
“No diet or plan can guarantee that you lose weight from a specific area – however, there are foods to avoid because they target the waistline when laying down fat,” added Jane.
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According to Jane, it’s all about knowing your different types of fats, and making sure you incorporate the right ones in your meals.
“Knowing which fats are unhealthy is a good idea if you are focussed on trimming your tummy,” revealed Jane. “Trans fats, which contain hydrogenated fats and hydrogenated oils, are waging war on our waist, because of the way our body metabolises this type of fat.”
Unsurprisingly, trans fats, which are a form of unsaturated fat, are not only bad for your waist, but for your health too. Some studies have found that they can increase your risk of heart disease as well as increasing inflammation in the body.
However, they’re easy to spot, as they’re in all the usual suspects that you’d likely be cutting out in a diet such as cakes, biscuits, pies and fried foods.
But Jane warned that even having the occasional “treat” can have a negative effect on both your health and your waistline.
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“Some research has indicated that they may cause a redistribution of fat from elsewhere in the body to the abdomen,” noted Jane. “Even having them as a treat three to four times a week can have a huge impact, and those calories can accumulate over time – and with them our waist measurements.
“I would recommend you exchange the idea of a ‘treat’ for something you occasionally might have – changing how you view it is a great way to change behaviour longer term.”
The expert has also written a book on the topic, called The Jane Plan Diet: Life-changing Weight Loss, from the Woman who Knows.
But while her bespoke diet plan involves sending out light meals that you then cook at home, it’s not just the food that can make a difference to belly fat – it’s what you drink with it too.
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Jane said that cutting back on alcohol can have the biggest effect when it comes to losing weight.
“Even drinks we perceive to be a better option still contain calories. So many clients on Jane Plan are surprised by the difference cutting out alcohol has on their weight loss goals,” shared Jane.
“In calorie terms a gram of alcohol is only slightly less than gram of fat, at seven calories per gram. A few glasses here and a few bottles there soon add up.”
Drinking too much booze can go straight to the gut – hence the term “beer belly” and why so many people struggle to lose weight around their middle.
“Like trans fats, alcohol can have an impact on the waistline too. The term ‘beer belly’ is based on science, and whilst men are more prone to the beer-related bloat women suffer too. I would expand this term to ‘alcohol abs’ because all types of alcohol are to blame,” explained Jane, who advised cutting back slowly. The expert said to try going from having a glass with dinner every night to reducing it to alternate days, then gradually drinking even less often as it can be hard to do.
But while it is difficult, along with reducing trans fats, reducing your booze intake could have the biggest results in terms of slimming down your belly.
“Drink too much and you will gain weight – this fat is specifically bound for your tummy,” cautioned Jane.
“When alcohol is consumed, our liver turns almost all of it to energy, instead of using fat and carbohydrates as energy sources.
“Drinking increases the amount of subcutaneous fat and this fat specifically deposits around the tummy.”
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