When you’re working hard to lose weight, it’s okay to become skeptical of simple solutions that sound too good to be true. But while people often recommend some downright crazy things, health and nutrition studies published in scholarly journals are the real deal. Before they’re released, they’re peer-reviewed and upheld to a standard that you can rely on.
So when we tell you that all of the research below has found a way to decrease belly fat by at least 5%, you can trust us. As compiled from Eat This Not That, here are six ways to blast that belly in just two weeks.
A study conducted by researchers at Brown University claims that weight loss can be contagious if positive peer pressure is involved.
When 3,300 obese or overweight Rhode Islanders competed in 987 teams of 5-11 people to reach their weight loss goals, participants who lost at least 5% of their weight tended to be on the same team. And if team members were more active on social media, they were more likely to reach 20% loss.
“Being surrounded by others with similar health goals all working to achieve the same thing may have really helped with weight loss efforts,” says researcher Tricia Leahey.
According to a study published in Obesity, you need prepackaged meal plans. When people in behavioural counseling were given portion-controlled food, they lost more weight than those eating a self-selected diet.
Also, participants in this group showed the most decreased risk of cardiovascular disease factors out of all 183 participants. Although the study doesn’t include enough details on their dietary program to replicate it, you can easily start controlling portions at home.
Do it write
Instead of picking up weights, pick up a pencil.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that women who kept food journals lost about six pounds more than those who didn’t. The 123 participants tested were all overweight or obese sedentary women of ages 50-75, all at a greater risk for weight gain as postmenopausal women, but they experienced up to 10% weight loss.
“A food journal doesn’t have to be anything fancy,” says researcher Anne McTiernan. “Any notebook or pad of paper that is easily carried or an online program that can be accessed through a smartphone or tablet should work fine.” Make sure you’re honest, accurate, and consistent.
Stop skipping meals
In the same study, researchers found that skipping meals actually hinders weight loss. Those who missed meals had a harder time slimming down and McTiernan believes this has something to do with the tendency to respond to high-calorie foods after periods of fasting. Depriving yourself of food actually makes your body to hold onto fat in starvation mode. So if you’re hungry, eat but eat healthy.
Eating at a restaurant just once a week led to losing five pounds less. Researchers speculate that this has something to do with the lack of control when you’re at a restaurant: You don’t have much of a say over ingredients, cooking methods, or portion sizes.
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