Father’s Day is a few weeks away. Here are five tips on how to help your dad lose his big “beer” belly. These tips aren’t necessarily just for men…..women can use these tips too!
1. Eat smarter. Sure, beer has empty calories. But so do many of the other unhealthy foods we eat. Eating smarter means shifting from fried, processed and/or sugary foods to things like nuts, berries, lean meats, fruits and veggies. High fiber foods, in particular, will help your dad feel full. But fear not – it doesn’t mean that your dad needs to be put on a dramatic diet. Even making small dietary changes add up over time. Eating smarter will help reduce the number of calories your dad takes in. Cut out fast food. Fast food is the worst culprit in the battle against belly fat. It’s convenient but it’s loaded with calories and fat. Those calories and fat head straight for our bellies! Skip the fast food or at least opt for healthier fast food like salads (without fried chicken or calorie rich ranch on them) instead of fries. If at all possible, avoid fast food altogether. Cut out soda. A serving of soda contains more calories than a large banana with none of the nutritional value. Many of those calories have high fructose corn syrup which our bodies don’t know how to process and often end up turning to belly fat. Ditch the soda and save those calories for something that won’t turn to belly fat!
2. Exercise. Hitting the gym–get a personal trainer who will help your father increase the number of calories he burns. And again, it doesn’t mean he needs to hit the gym every day. I recommend starting out with 2 – 3 days for 30 – 45 minutes each, and possibly slowly moving up from there. I’d advise that he splits his time evenly between both cardio and strength training, as each has tremendous weight loss benefits. Get active and get your cardio going…While weight bearing exercise is important to help you lose belly fat, you will also need to add cardio. It’s important to keep moving. What counts as cardio? Anything that makes your heart pound hard for an entire 20 minutes. Maybe your dad can incorporate nightly walks or weekend hikes into his schedule. Any cardio, where your heart rate is elevated, is good if you are determined to lose belly fat.
3. Carry water everywhere! Before you sit down to eat, drink a glass of cool water, wait a few minutes, then dish your sensible portions and begin to eat. You will be surprised at how effective this is to lose belly fat. Also, it is always a good idea to keep well-hydrated. Sip water every now and then throughout the day and you will feel fuller, more invigorated and you’ll also be a lot less likely to indulge in a sugar-laden soda or juice if you’re not thirsty. This is a sure way to lose belly fat, try it for a week and you’ll see what a difference it makes.
4. Visit a Registered Dietician. Sometimes we need a little extra motivation to get us on the right track. Visiting a physician and getting a check-up can be a real wake-up call, especially if elevated blood pressure or other signs of heart disease are present. And consulting with a nutritionist can be a great way to build a meal plan that works for your dad, his habits and preferences. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment; it will yield huge returns in the quality (and possibility longevity) of your father’s life.
5. Have specific goals in mind. Have a specific goal for your weight loss. In any endeavor, it’s important to have a goal to keep in mind. Make sure your goal for losing belly fat is realistic and write it down, repeat it…it’s your new mantra. This goal will keep you motivated on the days when you don’t want to exercise and when the bad foods are calling your name.