Between trendy diets, crash diets, exercise fads, and everything in between, there are dozens of suggestions on how to help your body burn fat. Many of us have tried a few of these ourselves – maybe to some effect, no effect, or to an effect that didn’t last for the long-term.
To support healthy long-term fat-burning, we need to look at how our body naturally burns fat and how we can support its natural process. This allows us to incorporate sustainable habits to burning fat that will be long-lasting for our overall health, rather than creating unhealthy fluctuations in our weight.
The best exercise for burning fat include cardio, circuit training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and strength training. To make these even more effective in burning fat, mix and match a few of these into your workout routine to keep your body challenged, and avoid plateaus.
Whole carbs over refined carbs is the answer to burning fat sustainably. Whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, and oats are all rich in fiber. Those who eat more whole grains tend to have a lower BMI and body weight, as well as a lower risk of heart disease.
That’s because refined carbs (like breakfast cereal, pasta, pastries, and processed foods) don’t contain the fibrous bran and germ that encase whole grains. This makes your body burn through refined carbs quickly, spiking and crashing blood sugar levels, and not gaining much nutritional value in the process. Over time, this metabolic process and empty carb consumption can increase body fat and the risk of diabetes.
Sugar and sugar-filled food and drinks are often packed with empty calories that spike and crash your blood sugar. Because of the quick burn of sugar, your body doesn’t have a dependable and sustained energy source, so it leaves you feeling hungry quicklyand makes you crave even more calories.
Probiotics offer a myriad of benefits ranging from boosting your immune system, to mental health, to burning fat. In an analysis of 15 different studies, people who took probiotics consistently had larger reductions in body weight, fat percentage, and BMI.You can eat probiotic-rich foods like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, or yogurt, or take a supplement for the long-term fat-burning benefits of this good bacteria superpower.
Short-term stress can lead to overeating and low energy, while long-term stress can slow your metabolism and increase stress hormones like cortisol. This results in more fat, and a higher risk of obesity.
To prevent your stress from taking over, incorporate regular stress-relieving activities like walking, reading, meditating, or spending time with people who make you feel good.
Adequate sleep plays a major role in managing your appetite and maintaining healthy insulin levels. In a study where participants cut their calories in equal amounts, those without enough sleep saw less weight loss and more body fat. Even with all the suggestions above, make sure you get enough sleep to see the long-lasting health benefits to your metabolism.
The key to sustainable fat-burning is to maintain a consistent and healthy metabolic rate so your body is regularly using energy from healthy and sustainable sources, and maintaining that rate at rest without spikes and crashes.
Rather than looking at burning fat as cutting things out and putting new things in, consider these suggestions as swapping in healthier options for less healthy ones. This framework can help you develop lifestyle habits that support a healthy metabolism and keep excess body fat away for the long-term.