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The fat burning diet plan that actually works

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The fat burning diet plan that actually works

There’s a lot of “best” information out there about fat burning diet plans: the best foods, the best workouts, the best heart rate, the best diet plans for women, and a lot more. But they all leave one thing out -- finding the plan that’s best for you.


And that’s because no two bodies are alike. One person might see dramatic weight loss after switching to a vegan diet, but another might find themselves lacking in important nutrients. One person might respond well to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but another might hate it so much that they quit altogether.


This article takes a look at not only the basics of fat-burning, but how to tweak any plan you find to make it work for you.

What are the best fat-burning foods?

It may seem counterintuitive, but some of the best foods you can eat for fat-burning are those dense in healthy fats. Healthy, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines or other oily fish top the list, not only because they are rich in lean protein, but also because they come packed with Omega-3s, which are fatty acids that benefit your body and your brain.


Healthy oils can also be found in other greasy foods like coconut or olive oil. Nuts, eggs, and Greek yogurt are also important sources of good fats, as well as green or oolong tea, whey protein, apple cider vinegar, hot peppers and quinoa. Even coffee has been linked to burning more fat.


The list seems diverse, but most of these foods have one thing in common besides their fat-burning properties -- they’re filling. This is great news for people who struggle with reducing their caloric intake, because foods that are dense and nutrient-rich make you feel fuller longer.

That said, there’s no magic shopping list that will bring success to everyone.


One way to see which foods work best for you is to keep a journal. Take note of what you ate, the amount, and the time of day, as well as any “side effects” you notice as you go (digestive issues or headaches, for example). If you start to notice links between a food, whether good or bad, adjust your eating habits to have more or less. The same goes for exercise -- if you see that you felt stronger on workout days when you had an egg for breakfast, make note.

When is your body in fat-burning mode?

It all starts with metabolism, the process by which your body turns the food you eat into fuel. This happens all day, every day -- even when you’re asleep! (If you hear someone say they have “high” or “low” metabolism, they’re probably referring to their metabolic rate at rest.)


None of us have control over that type of metabolism. But when it comes to burning fat, we have everything to say about not only the types of fuel we consume, but the type of energy we create with it. To burn fat, we need more output than input.


It’s a delicate balancing act that includes eating the right types of foods in the right amounts at the right times. Too much output vs. input (high-intensity exercise, for example) tells your body to burn carbs instead of fat. Too much input vs. output (hello, couch potato) triggers your body to store those extra calories for later use, and you gain weight.


Here are the general guidelines for putting your body into fat-burning mode:

Figure out what to eat, and when to eat it

First, consider the type of foods you eat, and when you eat them. Long-burning fuel sources, such as whole grains, fruits and other complex carbohydrates, can be a great choice for breakfast because they continue to work hard for you throughout the day. Later in the afternoon, foods that help regulate blood sugar, like veggies, can help set you up for the rest of the day.


It’s also important to make sure the fuel keeps coming throughout the day by way of healthy snacks and water. 


A journal can help here as well, but from the perspective of time. Did certain foods for breakfast help you feel energized all day? Did your lunch send you straight to nap land? Finding patterns in this way can help you adjust your meal routine to one that helps your body stay in fat-burning mode 24 hours a day.

Exercise, but not too much

The body burns three types of fuel -- carbohydrates, protein and fats. Protein is used mostly to repair muscles after exercise and help build them back stronger. When you’re in serious workout mode -- high intensity exercises, running or engaging in sports, for example -- your body uses mostly carbohydrates (hence the idea of “carbo loading” before a sporting event.)


Your body enters the fat-burning zone during lower-intensity workouts, like walking, yoga, and easy cardio.


The commonly accepted range for a fat-burning target heart rate is 55% to 65% of your max heart rate, but it can be stressful to figure out how hard you have to work to get into that zone, and distracting from the other important aspects of exercise, like good form, if you always have one eye on your heart rate monitor.


Here’s a simpler way to maintain a workout in the optimal fat-burning zone without having to think about it too much: can you still carry a conversation while you’re exercising? If the answer is yes, then you’re in a good place. If you’re breathing so hard that you can’t speak, you’re working too hard and burning carbohydrates.


This isn’t to say that high-intensity exercise should be avoided, because it also contributes to weight loss and has numerous other health benefits. But if you’re specifically targeting fat, try to aim for an exertion level that allows you to keep talking.

What’s the best fat-loss diet plan for females?

There’s no single answer to this question, because while diet and exercise work equally well for men and women, every body is different. Many times, however, women struggle more than their male counterparts when it comes to dropping the fat.


Biologically, it’s because women’s bodies tend to have more fat and less muscle than men, which slows down their overall metabolism. Pregnancy can have an effect on hormone levels that make losing weight more difficult, as well as conditions like menopause and polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS.


Psychologically, however, all of these extra challenges can make women feel like they’re playing with a stacked deck. It can lead to frustration, quitting, and maybe even falling victim to one of the many fad diets that are targeted to women.


Any weight-loss plan that claims amazing results in a short amount of time can be more than a lie, it can be dangerous. It’s vitally important to remember that even if women take longer to reach their goals, the recipe for every human who wants to burn fat is the same -- a healthy diet and the right exercise.

Fat-burning diet plans that actually work

Several diets have cut through the marketing and hype to show actual success for both men and women when it comes to burning fat. One popular diet, especially among women, is to count macros -- fats, carbohydrates and protein. The method involves consuming these nutrients not only in the right proportions, but also in the right mix that works best for your body. Counting macros originated with bodybuilders with a goal of building muscle, but it can also be tweaked to burn fat.


Intermittent fasting is another way to kick your body into fat-burning mode. Unlike lifestyles like veganism or keto, which eliminate certain types of foods, intermittent fasting basically says no to all food for a certain number of hours per day.


The concept is simple -- eat healthy, fat-burning foods during a 6 to 8-hour “window” and fast the remaining hours of the day (black coffee, unsweetened tea and water are always okay). The benefits of fasting begin at around 12 hours without food and include not only fat-burning, but also a reduction of inflammation, insulin regulation and promoting heart health.

Are there fat-burning workouts you can do at home?

One of the easiest ways to participate in fat-burning exercise is to go outside and take a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes. If your home has multiple floors, you can also get a great workout from taking trips up and down the stairs for 30 minutes.


Strength training is an important component to losing fat as well because it replaces fat with muscle, and you can use your own body weight to build your strength. Exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, planks and other isometric exercises are also effective at increasing your heart rate without having to hit the gym.


It’s a lot to think about at once. If you need a little help keeping track of your food, exercise and how it’s affecting your body, my 28-Day Fat Burning Challenge is full of recipe ideas, grocery lists, and other great ways to stay motivated during your journey. 



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