Living off of white bread, sugary foods and soda won’t do much to help your figure. In fact, it will cause the fat cells to hold onto the unused energy, storing it as fat and swelling the cell. Any food that causes the fat cells—think refined carbohydrates, sugars, alcohol and processed foods— to become enlarged, makes them retain excess fat, in turn making the body gain weight and look “fatter.” “Once a fat cell can’t hold any more fat the contents spill out into the next tissue area, which causes fatty pockets to develop,” says Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Garth Fisher, MD.
Santa Monica, CA, fitness trainer and author Angela Parker says it’s not about how much fat you have but rather how your body loses the extra body fat that’s being stored. The standard “pinch test” is a good starting place to gauge how much extra fat you have—from there, you can determine the best plan of attack.
1. Curb sugar cravings with natural sweeteners
It’s virtually impossible to forgo all forms of sugar unless you can really stick to your guns. In times when sugar cravings call, reach for a natural-, xylitol-based sweetener, like XyloSweet. Unlike cane and refined sugar, this sprinkle-on sugar substitute uses xylitol, which is derived from foods like corn, strawberries and plums to satisfy your sweet tooth.
2. Don’t lose too much too soon
Slow and steady wins the race. Losing too much weight too quickly can have a negative effect on the way your body may look. “Crash dieting leads to loose skin,” says Parker, who suggests trying to lose about one to three pounds per week instead.
3. Lose fat and fight flabby skin
Parker says that the best way to shed unwanted pounds while still retaining elastic skin is to adapt strength training into your workout, which helps create good muscle tone. “Lean muscle helps prevent the skin from getting saggy. Creating lean muscle while you are trying to lose a significant amount of body fat is key in avoiding saggy skin.”
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