Serendipity: touching lives!

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I was at a networking event recently and I sat next to a marketing head from an interior company. The lady looked extremely familiar and I just couldn’t seem to place her. I usually pride myself on being having a great memory with people I meet and I just couldn’t discover her from any rolodex in my mind!

I finally gave up and I introduced myself to her. Her eyes widened and she exclaimed loudly “Wow, it’s you, it’s you!” I sat there surprised, amused and a little shocked and racked my head again for clues. She again said that I had changed her life and thanked me profusely. Suddenly, I remembered her.

She was a prospective client I had met months ago for a design project. After the briefing meeting, she had mentioned in passing that she had been trying so many ways to lose weight and hadn’t got anywhere. When i reached office I had mailed her a link to my blog where I had shared my learnings and struggle with weight loss and what I had discovered in that journey.

https://sajithansar.com/2013/07/05/how-i-lost-20-kilos/

She was ecstatic when she met me again and told me she had lost nearly 30 pounds of weight inspired by the blog. She thanked me over and over again and couldn’t stop telling everyone around the room about the transformation due to my blog.

I left feeling wonderful and inspired. The fact that my words could at least impact one person felt unbelievable. She also shared with me that what inspired her the most was the authentic and honest manner in which I shared my experience and that resonated with her the most.

This chance meeting was a great learning and inspiration to keep sharing experiences which could in some way impact someone somewhere without us
realizing.

I couldn’t recognize her because she had lost 30 pounds!!!

Losing weight: 10 secrets of eating right!

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Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.
-Brillat-Savarin

In the thirst to understand further the fundamentals of eating right to lose weight, it surprised me to learn that every book, article, research and specialist stated some very simple rules for me to digest.

Most of the ideas are known by all of us but these simple ideas need determination to become habits and for us to imbibe them as part of our lives. Many ideas are what our grandmothers and elders have chided us to do and ideas we have heard before but we just don’t practice.

1. Chew your food
The simple essence of the essence of digestion is to let our mouth do most of the work during digestion, easing up the work for our stomach and also helping nutrients reach our blood. I used to gulp my food down to rush back to so a million other things on my mind and realised the folly and impact just recently.

The training of my mind to unlearn decades of gulping and sprinting through my eating has probably been the toughest part of my lifestyle change and is still a work in progress.

The other impact of chewing slowly is that your brain tells your body your stomach is full and you land up eating a lot less.

To know more ;
the effects of chewing your food right

2.Not having water during meals

This is another habit I have struggled to change and now I have almost got my handle on. These are words my grandmother and mother always said, but I never paid heed to.

Water dilutes the acids needed to help with our digestive process, makes the process longer, can result in heartburn and gas, and further in fat retention and storage in the body.

Water is meant to be had 15 to 30 minutes before your meal and 30 minutes after. That also should be room temperature water and not the cold water we love to glug. I also read and learnt that herbal tea after 30 minutes of eating helps digestion further.

Though I miss washing my food down fast with chilled water, the way I feel through the day without exhaustion or fatigue and a bloated stomach makes this habit worth every bit of the effort.

Sodas, sparkling water and soft drinks are far worse and can put a spanner in a healthy digestive process.

It’s necessary to hydrate the body with water through the day but refrain during meals. Often, when we are hungry and yearn for a snack or a heavy meal, a glass of water is all we really need. When I have tried this, I have landed up staying away from unnecessary snacking.

Read further :
the effect of drinking water during meals

3.Five small meals through the day

Our body stores fat when it senses that it may be starved of food. It’s a smart reaction system our bodies have for survival. The trick is to reward the body every time it seeks food and kick start our metabolism.

What I learnt is to have smaller meals along with snacks in between them and your body suddenly is never hungry. Fruit, dry fruit, nuts or protein shakes (if you are working out) help keep hunger at bay and provide the energy we need. Reducing the quantities of our meals (one helping in the size of our palm) along with a handful of nuts between meals helps keeping us going through the day.

We should eat once every 3 1/2 hours but take care of what we feed ourselves. The logic is not to eat any junk 5 times a day but intake what’s right for the body.

Read further
eating 5 small meals everyday

4.Eating breakfast

I used to skip breakfast when I had just started working and I lived alone. This in retrospect was one of the worst things I did to my body. Ideally one should have breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up because it has been almost 10 hours before the last meal at supper.

Breakfast maintains our sugar level, insulin, it keeps us from storing fat, keeps our energy high and provides the nutrients for the day.

Read more:
why we shouldn’t skip breakfast

5.Eating dinner early

The other rule I was flouting was the dinner timing. I would eat just before bed and amble into bed before digesting my food. Dinner is meant to be eaten at least 3 hours before getting to bed ideally.

Early dinner helps fat loss, provides better sleep, reduces heart burn and has a host of other advantages.

Read more:
why we should eat dinner early

6. Being there 100%
Earlier, I would watch TV during dinner, read a newspaper with breakfast and conduct a meeting along with my lunch.
Every article and book I read harps about the testament of being mindful and 100% there with your food. They all say the same things, be there in mind and body when you eat, to make it a ritual of love and give the meal every element of focus.

No computer, phone, book magazine or TV vying for your attention, just you and the meal. Eating at the table, specially one meal a day as a ritual with the family. Being mindful of the food, savoring the taste, noticing the nuances of the flavours and the textures in the dish, chewing slowly and relishing the meal like this were your last meal.

read more
being mindful of our eating

7. No more drinking sugar in any form
I read that if we just do away with any sugar based drink, we trim so many unnecessary calories. Soft drinks, coffee, juices (canned, bottled and concentrates), tea and any other form of sugared water can affect the body, our teeth, composition and become a catalyst for so many diseases besides fat gain. Fructose increases Uric acid, increases cholesterol, causes gout, heart and liver diseases.

I have found fresh coconut water or even fresh lime with a dash of salt as amazing replacements from the addictions of soft drinks and sodas. Green tea is a great replacement for tea and coffee.

Read more;
the ill effects of sodas and juices

8.Combining food correctly
How we combine our food is possibly the single most important aspect of how we eat. Understanding protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and the effect different food have on the body as they work in tandem is critical. As an Indian, we have a history of a very eclectic mix of dishes that accompany every meal. Rice and Roti with vegetables, meat, fish and chicken curry and desserts after (India incidentally also has the highest rate of heart diseases. Heart disease is also the biggest killer in India.). So also when we flip through the menu of a typical American diner or fast food outlet, the combinations are scary.

Anthony Robbins has a research centre for food and his books and seminars give food and its combination so much importance because how we eat determines how we succeed, how we balance our lives, our energy levels and how it percolates into every aspect of our mindset. How we look, our confidence and how we feel.

Fruit is meant to be eaten only upto 12 pm. Even in fruit, there are fruit which are high on sugar and avoidable. Within vegetables, we need to choose wisely too and find suitable replacements. Fruit is not meant to be eaten after our meals because we digest fruit in our lower intestine and this causes belching. We are meant to combine meat with salads and vegetables, not other carbohydrates or meat. It was interesting understanding these rules, seeing the benefits of specific food groups and adopting them.

Read more:
dangerous food combinations

9.Replacing the villains in your life

There were so many dishes and food categories I knew were bad for me which eventually I broke up with and we never spoke again. I am feeling so much better and I realised that there were so many more fish in the sea (pun intended)!

I was a bread addict and loved mashed potatoes. I let go of white carbohydrates completely. Protein bread, quinoa and wholemeal entered my life. Chocolate bars, pizza, coffee, burgers and other junk food walked out on me and in came crunchy gourmet salads, fish, fruit, nuts, egg whites, beans, grilled chicken, lean meat and a host of other options.

My wife wove her magic chef wand, researched the web for ideas, improvised and made the switch tasty and something I looked forward to.

Read more
unhealthy food to avoid

10.Getting the mindset to eat right
Finally for me it was about realizing and not telling myself that I was compromising, or on a diet or that I am suffering.

Earlier, I would read articles and hear people talk healthy and I would scoff in my mind that they are missing out on life. I would tell myself that life is short, it’s not worth losing all the good things.
How wrong I was!

Then I realised that this is a lifestyle switch, its what I was doing to my inside. It’s how I affect my aging, it’s about one day being around for my kids and wanting to play football energetically with my grand kids. This is about feeling and looking young, being energetic, sleeping well, being confident and getting that dream waist line.

It’s when I realised that I am doing what’s best for my body and mind and this is the only way to be that I could adopt the new lifestyle shift easily and make it fun.

Today I don’t need a cheat day. Every day is fun and I live this lifestyle choice with élan. And when I do indulge in a tasty biriyani, a pasta, burger or pop corn at the movies occasionally I know the right quantity and when to stop.

The body needs 1500 calories of intake of you want to lose weight, 2000 if you want to maintain the weight and anything more adds up! Add exercise and being physically active to this and this is I guess as simple a formula as can be.

Adopting all these rules is a work in progress for me and I am almost there.

I have also linked some great visuals I found on Pinterest about eating right and info graphics on food. These are really inspiring and visually depict what’s great for us!

Read more:
developing the mindset for eating healthy
Sajith Ansar
-the author recently lost over 45 pounds combining the learning from this and cardio exercise. Besides articles from the web, insights from books and videos of Anthony Robbins, Paul Allen, Tim Ferris and Men’s health provides the ingredients and the garnish is his own experiments and home truths.

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How I lost 20 kilos!

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I wanted to share a sum of all the experiments I tried for weight loss and list finally what really worked for me. This is a summary of what was effective and created the final results.

1.understanding a simple truth
After trying many diets, dietician consultations, gym sessions, trainers etc with no effect, the formula for getting into shape sat obviously and logically right in front of me all the time. I guess I was too lazy or not motivated enough to act upon this basic logic.

The formula quite simply was – healthy low calorie intake + high-calorie burn working in tandem!! Burn more than my intake and increase my metabolism.

I was always doing one or the other. While eating less, I would tell myself I didn’t need to work out and when I was working out I would reward myself by eating more. More importantly my metabolism wasn’t keeping my body weight where I wanted it. Every time I would lose weight, it would come right back!

2. The Right Diet

the Scarsdale diet really works! I had tried umpteen diets and I had a tendency to put back the pounds once i had lost them. I always reverted to binge eating immediately after with a yo yo effect on my body.

Scarsdale set my metabolism in place through the process. The diet has healthy and tasty options besides having unlimited quantities. It doesn’t feel like a fast or a struggle and I felt fresh and invigorated throughout.

Follow the diet to the T, even the 2 weeks off program recommended and you will see magical results immediately!

3.Daily monitoring

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This really helped to keep myself in check. Having an accurate digital weighing scale and monitoring my weight everyday in the morning and evening kept my food habits in check. I could calibrate my food intake and exercise based on how my body was responding. There were times where I also slowed down the weight loss when I realized that I was losing the pounds too fast.

I also maintained a log of important milestones to observe what my body responded to.

4.Making a game out of the process!

I had hit a plateau after losing my initial fat and just couldn’t seem to break through to the next level.

The best way to keep me going was to make it fun and competitive. Personally, competition pushes me to do better. A friend of mine Nabeel and me had a bet. We weighed ourselves and set 6 kg as our target loss. We made a wager that either person who didn’t lose 6 kilos had to pay the other (we set a big amount to spur us into action)!

I announced it publicly on Facebook and told the whole world I was doing this to hold myself accountable and commit myself to it. Through the process, Nabeel and me kept sending each other pictures of the healthy food we were eating with the caption “Get your money ready!”. We constantly intimidated and motivated each other into action.

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We weighed ourselves at the end of 2 months and the results were awesome. Nabeel had lost 8 kilos and I had lost 9 in 2 months!

5.Discovering the joy of running!

Running was really the catalyst that got the calories burning and the process exciting.

The Nike running app is a brilliant motivator, a personal trainer and a social network all rolled into one. The running app made me set new benchmarks everyday and push myself harder. It also connected friends who were running and got me egging myself when I saw the distances they were doing.

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I got the Vibram running shoe and it helped my posture and made running so much more fun. I even ran the half marathon with the Vibram shoe. It’s as close as it gets to running barefoot and I strongly recommend buying them. It helps you to stay away from the knee and ankle injuries which are running related.

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The right music is so important for me when I am running. Music really helps push me further and set a rhythm to get me going at a pace I wouldn’t have achieved otherwise.

I have a playlist which includes a mix of all kinds of music -Paul Van Dyke, David Guetta, songs from Rocky, Sting, Rahman, Michael Jackson etc.

Increasing the momentum while taking baby steps and listening carefully to my body was most important as i started. I Increased distances a wee bit every time I ran. On my first day, I ran just over a kilometer and that too with many stops and walking breaks. I then kept adding and pushing myself steadily each day in terms of distance, pace and in 2 months I managed to run the half marathon without a break at a steady pace in just over 2 hours!

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6.The Nike Fuel Band
The Nike fuel band helped set myself benchmarks and monitor how I was doing against the same. Nike has a system called Fuel points which you can monitor with a wrist band across your day and keep track of your physical activities- running, walking, sport etc. 3 Nike fuel points works out to 1 calorie approximately and you can set a target of how many fuel points you should achieve on a daily basis. The band syncs with an app on your phone giving you detailed reports. I personally set myself a target of 3500 points and the fuel band has made me get up and take walks consciously within the office whenever I can, take the steps instead of the elevator, walk instead of driving, go for a run at night after a long day just to achieve my goal and keep me moving always.

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The days I don’t reach my target I feel so guilty and the days I exceed them I feel like a rockstar!

7.Combine a sport
Just to keep it exciting, I added squash whenever I could. I found it an exciting cardio workout and a sport that gets your heart rate up immediately. Combining a sport with running makes it fun and removes monotony that can set in. I am sure swimming, tennis, football etc can also be great substitutes.

8.What I am doing now
I am almost near the ideal weight recommended for my height. I have now got myself a personal trainer and I workout 3 days a week for an hour each. I am focusing on reshaping and sculpting my body without bulking up. The focus is on lower weights and higher repetitions done slowly with maximum effect on the muscles.

The trainer is making sure I do free weights and steadily increasing the resistance. Squats and bench press form the bulk of the program and that effects most parts of the body. Combined with arms and shoulders the sets are already having their effect. Over the next 6 months I plan to remove maximum body fat and get ripped into shape.

The goal is a six pack by June 15th ( yet another bet ) and a surfer body by September!

These are videos of 2 of the most effective ab exercises to follow. 1.myotatic crunch and 2.The cat vomit

I am running on the days I don’t train and playing squash every other day I can.

9. Lifestyle choices
Along with all these steps I have made some basic changes to my lifestyle. I have almost completely let go of white carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta ), soft drinks, sweets and desserts. I have started eating much slower, chewing my food consciously, I have cut down on water intake during my meals and I eat small portions with only 1 serving. I now make sure I snack through the day and eat my dinner at least 3 hours before my sleep. I also completely eliminated coffee and fast food and have drink 10 glasses of water daily. I quit smoking and sleep at least 7 hours now. I consciously take care when I travel to continue to eat healthy and when there are parties and occasions I make sure I take only one portion and don’t refill my plate.

All this is now a healthy way of life and not an effort. Its a lifestyle choice and I don’t feel I am missing out or making a compromise. I feel healthy, fresh, young and energetic!

I turn 40 in September and I want to greet the day looking 30 and feeling 20!

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great article on getting a six pack

  1. Do sit ups. Lie on the floor, feet on the floor, knees up and hands crossed on your chest. Have someone hold your feet down, or wedge them underneath something heavy. Sit all the way up, lifting your lower back off the floor along with your shoulder blades. Keep your back straight (no hunching). Lower yourself down. Repeat.

    • Once this becomes relatively easy for you (i.e. you can do a quite a bit with ease) start adding more challenges. Find an incline bench. Do weighted sit ups. Hold a weight on your chest while you do these. As these become easier, hold heavier and heavier weights.
  2. 2

    Do crunches. Lie on the floor (with or without a mat) with your arms in front of your chest or with your hands lightly touching your temples (never behind your head). Bend your knees. Raise your shoulders (upper torso) towards your knees, using strictly your abdominal muscles.

    • It is very important to not lift your entire back off the floor, as this can cause back strain. Additionally, the extended movement does not help you develop six pack abs any faster.
    • The most important part of the crunch is the initial flexing of your abs as you lift your shoulders off the floor. As soon as you begin lifting off the floor, exhale through your mouth, ending with a gasp once your shoulders are off the floor.
    • Pause for a second once you are at the top of the crunch and exhale the last bit of air from your diaphragm while flexing your abs. Lower back down slowly and controlled while inhaling through your nose, just until your shoulder blades touch the ground. Do not let your head touch the ground.
  3. 3

    Train your entire core. To build really great abs it’s helpful understand what abs do. Their full name is “rectus abdominis.”[1] The “rectus” bit is Latin for “straight, proper, upright.” Contrary to popular opinion, the abdominal’s primary job is not to curl you up into a ball, but rather to work together with the back muscles to maintain correct posture and stabilization. Some of the best exercises for abs are ones that force your entire core to go into overdrive to support your spine. Some exercises that do this are squats and deadlifts.

  4. 4

    Do leg lifts. Lie on the floor, legs straight out, hands at your sides. Lift your legs straight up (not bending your knees at all) until they’re at a 90 degree angle (or close). Lower your legs and repeat without letting your legs touch the floor.

    • For more of a challenge, use a parallel bar at a gym to raise yourself up using your arms as support and dangle your legs.
      • Easy: Just raise your knees to your chest. Keep your knees bent and your legs underneath your thighs.
      • Medium: Raise your legs to a horizontal position with your legs straight and outstretched. This helps firm up the lower abdomen.
      • Hard: If you’re truly a monster, try doing leg lifts with a medicine ball hanging from your feet. Or, hang from a pull up bar and raise your legs in front of you all the way up to the bar, keeping your legs straight.
  5. 5

    Do jackknife sit ups. Lie down flat with your back on the floor. Place your hands on the ground to your sides for balance; you can pick them up as you get used to the movement. Simultaneously raise your knees and torso so that your knees and face meet on an imaginary line extending from your pelvis to the ceiling. You should be able to kiss your knees at the top of the motion. Your legs will naturally fold, bringing your feet towards your hips, much like a jackknife. Lie back down (i.e. “spread out”) and repeat.

    • Don’t let momentum bring you down. Slowly put your hands and feet back on the ground. Place a weight between your feet when you think you can handle it.
  6. 6

    Try butt-ups. Start in the push-up positions, except with your elbows and forearms on the floor. With your elbows and forearms resting on the ground, slowly moves your glutes as high up into the air as possible. Your body will look like a mountain, with your glutes being the peak. Slowly lower the glutes back down into the starting position, being careful not to sag the back below the hips.

  7. 7

    Do static holds (planks). Put your body into the push-up position but with your elbows on the floor, and your whole body flat. This position is also known as the plank, and it trains your core (including your abs) to hold the body in place. Hold this position for as long as possible.

    • Beginners should be aiming to start off with at least 45 seconds, while seasoned ab workers are known to achieve over 5 minute static holds.
    • To perform the side static hold, roll onto one side of your body and lift into the same position as before. This time, only one arm will be on the ground, with the other arm pointed straight up the air and your non weight-bearing leg resting on your bottom leg. Once again, hold this for as long as possible.
  8. 8

    Train your oblique muscles. It’s not as important to work on your oblique muscles at first, but eventually you’ll want to start working these too. These are the muscles on either side of your stomach. There are multiple ways to do this and anything that includes twisting your torso against a resistance counts. There are twisting machines at gyms; you can twist while you do sit-ups; you can do side bends; you can twist side to side with a medicine ball in hand, etc. Be aware though, that many beginners tend to have weak obliques compared to their abs (it simply isn’t used as much in daily life) so go easy on the sides at first.

    • Do bicycle crunches. Lift your feet off the ground while doing the crunches by alternating each leg in the air. Bring your left knee up toward your right shoulder and then your right knee toward your left shoulder.
  9. 9

    Do an ab roller exercise. Hold the ab roller while kneeling down on the floor. Slowly push the ab roller out away from your body, extending your arms. Go down as far as you can without touching your torso to the ground. Yours arms should be well outstretched above your head.

    • Try a barbell ab rollout if you don’t have an ab roller. Use an Olympic barbell loaded with 5 or 10 pounds on each side. Get into pushup position, with your hands on the barbell instead of on the ground. Slowly lift your hips and bring the barbell back towards your legs, until your legs are perpendicular to the ground and your glutes are all the way back. Go back down slowly and repeat.
  10. 10

    Do pull-ups hanging from a horizontal bar. You will be amazed at the number of muscles around your stomach working with pull-ups. Do 5 pull-ups with your palms facing away from you and 5 pull-ups with your palms facing towards you. This will also build your pectorals and biceps at the same time.

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    Find new ways to crunch, bend and twist in your daily life. Some possibilities include:

    • Use a stability ball. Do your crunches on the ball to introduce instability to your workout, which will improve your balance too. There are also lots of core exercises that cathe way. Do this as often as you are comfortable or at times when it won’t look weird. You can bend forward from the hips or, if you’re really into it, bend at the knees too and really “sink” out of the way.
    • Add complex core-movements to your workout. That will boost your overall body constitution tremendously. For example, combine push-ups with rows. Go into a push-up position on two dumbbells. Now don’t do a push-up, but instead start to row alternating dumbbells. See how much power you need only to hold balance? Combine exercises! Be creative. Tension is your friend.

Lose Fat

  1. 1

    Understand what it means to lose weight. In order to burn fat, you need to use up calories. Since there are about 3,500 calories in a pound, you need to burn about 3,500 more calories than you bring in with food or drink in order to lose one pound.[2] It sounds simple, but it’s actually quite hard.

    • Don’t have unrealistic expectations. A vigorous, hour-long workout will only burn 800 – 1,000 calories.[3] Luckily, being active helps, and if you burn between 600 and 800 more calories than you take in per day, you can expect to lose about one pound per week. You’ll start seeing results in your abs quite quickly.
    • Understand this before you start trying to lose belly fat: There is no way to target fat loss in any one area of your body.[4] (This is also called “spot training.”) Just like your body deposits fat in many different places, it burns fat in your entire body, not just from your abs or your thighs.
  2. 2

    Do cardio workouts. You need to lose some of that extra fat over your abs. Even if you work out and get gigantic ab muscles, if there is still a layer of fat over them no one will ever get to see them. Cardio workouts are workouts that raise your heart rate for a given set of time. Some examples would be runningjoggingbike ridingdancing and rowing. Try cardio workouts often (3 to 5 times per week) for at least an hour at a time.

    • Try interval training. Interval training is short burst of furious activity followed by longer periods of low activity. Researchers think that interval training helps burn fat better than exercising at the same intensity for longer times: One study found that participants who practiced interval training on their bikes for only 20 minutes a day lost on average 4 more pounds, over 4 months, than participants who cycled at the same speed for 40 minutes a day.[5]
  3. 3

    Eat smaller meals late at night. Meals later on in the day tend to get stored as fat not because your metabolism is beginning to shut down, but because late-night meals are often overly caloric snack foods such as pizza or ice cream that aren’t worked off before you go to bed.[6][7][8] Your metabolism works even while you sleep; the fact is that most people eat sweets and starches before bed rather than kale and spinach.

    • Try eating a larger lunch or snacking healthily before dinner. Fresh fruits or vegetables are excellent choices for curbing appetite while offering healthful benefits. A handful of nuts might do the same.
    • Try drinking a large glass of water or tea right before sitting at the table. Your stomach will feel more full, allowing you to comfortably eat less.
  4. 4

    Eat breakfast. Many people skip breakfast because they don’t have time for it. The harm of skipping breakfast from a weight loss perspective is twofold: it causes you to get hungrier later on, and it fails to jump start your metabolism.[9] Eating a healthy breakfast will keep you from eating more later on and put increase your resting metabolism by as much as 10% — for the rest of the day![10]

    • Try eating lean protein in the morning. Skip the bagels and cream cheese. Instead, try:
      • Egg-white omelet with spinach, turkey, and chipotle peppers.
      • Greek yogurt with blueberries, bananas, and flax seed.
      • Leftover salmon with whole-grain toast.
    • Avoid eating:
      • Sugary cereals.
      • Simple starches such as potatoes (hash browns, etc.) and refined wheat (white bread, etc.).
      • Smoothies. Low fat drinks don’t always translate to lean physiques.
  5. 5

    Lift weights. The more muscle your body has, the more calories your body burns, even at rest.[11] Plus, resistance training is important to limit the amount of muscle mass lost whilst reducing your calorie intake. If you only do cardiovascular exercises (running, playing basketball, football) without weight training, you may lose the muscle mass, including the muscle in your abs.

  6. 6

    Keep metabolism steady. While there isn’t any scientific merit to the claim that eating six meals a day instead of three will help you lose weight[7][12], there are foods that you can eat that will slow down your metabolism. Avoid these foods to keep your metabolism steady:[13]

    • Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and rice.
    • Sugar, which is absorbed quickly, but which brings your metabolism to a crawl.
    • High-fat foods, such as fast food and fried food.
  7. 7

    Drink more water every day. To find out how much water you need to drink as a minimum per day, halve your weight (in pounds) and that is how many ounces of water you need to drink.[14] So a 150 lb person would need to drink a minimum of 2.2 liters a day. It sounds like an absurd amount of water, but you get water from the food you eat, and you can drink teas to make up some of the quota.

    • Drinking too much water (several liters, especially while sweating) can dangerously dilute certain salts and minerals. If you are exercising heavily and sweating a lot, you will need to replace your salts as well as fluids. Supplement your water drinking with a sports drink or potassium rich fruits such as bananas and apples.
  8. 8

    Switch out refined grains for whole grains. In a scientific study, people who ate all whole grains (in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy, and two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry) lost more belly fat than another group that ate the same diet, but with all refined grains.[15] A diet rich in whole grains changes the glucose and insulin response in your body, which hastens the burning of fat.

  9. 9

    Get the right amount of sleep. Doctors are beginning to dive deeper into information suggesting that hormones that control appetite are affected by sleep, or lack thereof.[16] In one study, scientists compared individuals who got 5.5 hours of sleep per night, and individuals who got 8.5 hours of sleep per night. The individuals who slept 8.5 hours per night were able to lose more body fat than those who slept only 5.5 hours per night.[17]

  10. 10

    Control your stress. Stress, along with sleep, is helpful in pushing you toward your weight-loss goal.[18] Participants in a study who slept at least 6 hours but no more than 8, and who had the lowest levels of stress, were more likely to lose weight than participants who reported higher levels of stress.[19]

Tips

  • Be sure to exercise your back muscles just as much as your abdominal muscles or you might develop poor posture.
  • Make sure you give yourself adequate amount of rest (8 hrs for adults, and 8-10 hrs for kids and teenagers). When exercising you actually break down the muscle and if you give then the proper time to heal (and eat the proper foods) they will grow back stronger than before.
  • Try swimming. It is one of the most effective ways of exercising your whole body, especially your abs.
  • Make sure to warm up before exercising.
  • If you feel you need to, ease into the changes in your lifestyle. Start eating breakfast. If you have difficulty with this, start with a couple glasses of water or a large cup of coffee right when you wake up. It’ll go down easy and prepare your stomach to get back to work. Cut the amount of dinners little by little. For the exercises, start slow and increase pace and/or repetitions as you are comfortable. Attempting lifestyle changes in a drastic, sudden manner can backfire. Do what you can but don’t sell yourself short.
  • Opinions on weight loss and muscle training routines are like noses – everyone has one but they’re all different. In the end, you should find something you enjoy and that you will stick for life. Over time, you can modify it until you get the results that are right for you.
  • Everyone has abs; you likely just have fat covering them, so you have to lose the fat then strengthen your abs.
  • Keep hydrated. Drink lots of water, and eat healthy. Don’t deprive yourself from food, it will only make you sick.
  • Unless you are watching your weight for another reason, ignore the reading on the scale. You may be decreasing your body fat but your weight may stay the same (or even increase) as you build muscle. Muscle tissue is denser than fat so it will be heavier than the same volume of fat. Water weight can also vary your readings by a surprisingly large amount.
  • Avoid drinking excessive alcohol as it can slow your metabolism.

Warnings

  • Don’t neglect warm-ups or you may find yourself pulling muscles!
  • Do not fall for “miracle diets”, even ones that sound healthy. Some diets may help you lose weight or gain muscle fast, though specialized diets (focusing on a certain food group or product) are often unpleasant to follow and rarely provide enough nutrients. You can still eat lots of food and lose weight, you just need to avoid exceeding the recommended amount of fat intake per day, as well as get as many nutrients as possible.
    • Many people do not really know what a complete diet is. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of nutrients that you need, even if you’re not following an exercise regimen. Your diet should contain a wealth of leafy greens (i.e Spinach), lean meat (fish, lean beef/pork), fruits (as a source of carbohydrates and sugars), fiber (i.e oat-based cereal), various other vegetables (such as red/green/orange peppers, mushrooms, garlic, onion, etc, etc), tubers such as potatoes (preferable sweet potatoes, since they contain a larger wealth of nutrients), etc, etc. Your diet should be diverse, not focused on only fruit shakes, or fish, etc. Don’t hesitate to get a regular flow of sugar from fruits/vegetables, you should only slightly reduce your intake when trying to lose fat, or else you’ll find yourself constantly feeling tired, possibly depressed, etc. The key to dieting is to slightlyreduce your intake of calories/carbohydrates/sugars, they are all still essential, if you deprive yourself of them, the diet will feel like hell, and you may develop health issues.
  • Try to keep a steady eating routine. It will throw your body off if you skip a meal and starve yourself only to stuff your face later. Avoid such situations as much as possible. If you go hungry for an extended period of time your metabolism will slow down. The body, thinking that no food is available tries to make the best of what it has and goes into power-saving mode. Whilst on ‘power-saving’ mode, the body will supplement its carbohydrates (being burnt for energy) with the proteins in your muscles. What this means is that you are in fact eating back into that six pack just to try and make it show through.
  • As with any exercise program, consult your doctor before making major changes in your workout routine, especially if you have medical problems. Increase loads slowly. Being eager is great but setting unrealistic goals isn’t going to help you in the long run.
  • Fiber also acts like a mild laxative. Be careful if you eat a lot of fiber. It can also cause some gas if you’re not used to taking in so much fiber. If you increase your fiber dosage by a lot, increase your water intake too. Excessive fiber with little water can result in digestive problems.
  • For people who have a few extra pounds around the belly and start this from scratch, building ab muscles may make you look larger in the belly for a period of time since you are putting on muscle beneath your fat at first. You may want to begin for a significant period of time by doing more cardiovascular exercises to lose fat all over the body. Doing specific muscle exercises, unfortunately, does not remove fat from that specific area of the body. Additionally, focusing solely on the abs can produce an imbalance in the body and may cause back problems where there were none before or exacerbate any existing problems.
  • Be wary of ab machines shown on TV. Many of these are in fact rip offs and you are more likely to stay motivated if you incorporate an abs workout into a regular gym session. You are less likely to get sick of it!
  • Don’t over work yourself. This will hurt you more than it helps.
  • Most, if not all of these exercises are not recommended for people with lower back problems. There are many other ways to properly develop six pack abs without putting so much strain on your back. If in doubt or experiencing lower back pain, talk to a physical therapist for proper ways of performing the routines.
  • Know your limits