High body fat percentage can possibly lead to heart disease and can cause early death.(1) (2)Therefore, it is logical that you need to reduce body fat percentage, especially if you are struggling with weight loss as well.
Despite a clear link of body fat with mortality, very few people know how much percent body fat (PBF) they have. But before we go further it is appropriate that we understand what is an acceptable percentage for body fat.
Ideal body fat percentage
It is not straightforward to measure body fat. The closest we can come to a measurement by ourselves is BMI but this only gives you an understanding that you are overweight. You would need medical/nutritionist advice for exact measurement of fat percentage in your overall body weight. However, we know from different reliable sources what an ideal percentage is:
- According to American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, the recommended body fat percentage for male and female is 25 and 35 percent respectively. (3)
- A leading non profit organization American Council for Exercise has cut off values of 25 percent and 32 percent for men and women respectively. (4)
How to reduce body fat percentage
While you might be really tempted to losing body fat quickly, it will be going to be a long drawn affair. Because any long term fat-loss plan will only work if it focuses on healthy weight loss practices. Here are top ten effective tips that will supercharge your body to a quick reduction in body fat percentage:
1. Understand weight loss
First thing you need to be clear is to understand how weight loss works. You have to stay away from myths. It is not possible to lose weight at a specific part of your body.
You will have to create a calorie deficit from current levels in your diet. This means that you will have to spend more calories than you eat. This is possible through two ways.
You start eating less calories and by this we do not mean less food but only healthy food which coincidentally also has less calories. And secondly you need to look for ways to burn these calories more by getting engaged in physical activity.
Ideally you need to have a calorie difference of 500 to lose one pound of fat a week. When you will lose weight, your inner body fat percentage will also improve.
2. Eat healthy
Getting rid of fat around your midsection is about one key secret. You have to take a look at your kitchen.
Get rid of processed foods, sweetened beverages (even juices), french fries, candies, cakes and ice cream. Replace these foods with the healthier options like fruits, vegetables, meat, whole grains and fish.
You can get some excellent motivation, recipes and suggestions for healthy eating at Choose My Plate.
3. Drink plenty of water
Water not only helps you eat less by keeping your stomach full but it also revs up your metabolism. Therefore, drink whenever you are thirsty and also drink a glass of water before every meal.
4. Work out more
By work out we mean cardio as well as resistance training. You should be getting a minimum of 300 minutes of cardio (running, jogging, walking, cycling, swimming etc) every week if you are battling belly fat.
Also don’t forget to add muscle fitness training to your workouts because this will help you build muscles which are powerhouse to boost your metabolism. And this brings us to our next tip.
5. Eat enough protein
Protein is known to decrease appetite resulting in less calorie intake. Secondly, our muscles are made up of protein, therefore, it is vital that your daily diet has enough protein to help building and maintaining of muscles.
Therefore, eat protein rich diet from healthy sources like chicken, fish and lean meat. Some of your protein should also come from secondary sources like beans and legumes.
6. Eat healthy fats
Another excellent way to jump-start fat loss and reduce body fat percentage is watching what kind of fats you eat. Try to stay away from saturated fats (palm oil, coconut oil, chips, crackers, baked goods and all similar unhealthy item that are available on shelf).
Replace these with healthy fats from avocado, canola oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
7. Develop taste for spicier food
Spices are known to increase metabolism. When you eat spicy food, it is also likely that you will eat less. Therefore, add spice to your life and diet and start using paprika and chillies in your food more often.
8. Add more fiber
Fiber is known to decrease weight because of two effects: one you will not feel hungry for a longer time and resultantly eat less. Two, fiber is known to decrease cholesterol levels, which are fats.
Aim for having at least 30g of fiber every day. You can start using oats in breakfast. Eating more fruits will also add fiber to your diet.
9. Sleep more
A recent study has shown that even not getting enough sleep for four days can start making you fat. Therefore, get at least 6 hours of sleep every night. You will not only stay away from late night unhealthy snacks but you will also wake up energetic which means you will also eat less during the day.
10. Dont starve youreslf
When you drastically cut your diet you will completely disturb the fat-loss equation which is built around eating healthy and burning calories with metabolism.
Your body will slow down metabolism when its not getting enough food to eat. Therefore, eat 5 to 6 times during the day but only a balanced diet.
11. Spot healthy foods outdoors
A rather smart way to help your body burn fat is to become smart at reading menus at restaurants.
Try to stay away from high cheese, high oil and fried foods. Stick with baked, steamed or boiled foods and don’t forget to order salad or veggies on the side. And no unhealthy dressings please.
12. Dont overeat
We overeat because of mindless eating and not out of hunger. Our mind takes about 20 minutes to send signals to our stomach that it should stop taking in more food.
We can play mind games with mind by chewing our food more and eating slowly. This will give our mind enough time to react and in the end we will eating less.
And food will taste better too because you will experience rich flavors that you would otherwise ignore by eating fast in front of TV or looking through your emails.
13. Commit to active life
When you are desperately trying to lose body fat percentage, one sure way to help your diet and exercise is to get more active in everyday life as well.
Try to add more activity to your life. Next time opt for stairs by ignoring elevator if its only up to 3 floors, move your feet at your desk, take walking breaks during your work or park your car farther from your place of visit.
These small changes will add extra exercise to your life and you will see amazing results.
Everyone is born with a six pack. It’s just hiding beneath the belly fat layer. Since science doesn’t agree that you can reduce body fat in specific areas, your only reliable option is reducing overall body fat percentage.
Health benefits you will get by getting lean are proven. Follow these 13 ways of lowering your body fat percentage and you will be amazed at how healthy and fit you will feel. This will also help you live longer and enjoy life.
Are you also trying to decrease body fat percentage, or you one of those lucky ones who have successfully lost body fat? Let us know in the comments what worked for you or what you can add to our tips to help those trying to lose fat sincerely and in a healthy way. We are listening…..