Nutrition

Burn Fat & Erase Cellulite with F.A.T.S

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Fat – we actually need some (it’s called essential fat), but are forever looking to get rid of the non-essential excess fat that shows up as “cottage cheese” or cellulite on the rump, thighs, and other places we’d wish it wouldn’t.  In researching fat, I’ve found 4 key ingredients that will get rid of unnecessary fat and cellulite: Food, Activity, Talking & Sleep (F.A.T.S.).

Before going into F.A.T.S., it’s important to know that our bodies have 2 types of fat: white and brown.  White fat is the ‘bad’ fat we have that is stored in our body that causes cellulite, bulges, etc.  Brown fat, on the other hand, is awesome— the activities of brown fat cells reduce fat & metabolic disease (including obesity) and correlate with leanness in humans.1

“Brown fat cells don’t store fat: they burn fat. If your goal is to lose weight, you want to increase the number of your brown fat cells and to decrease your white fat cells,” – Dr. Komaroff 2

So, the goal here is to apply this research and science into your current lifestyle to help attain and maintain a lean life using F.A.T.S.

F: Foods

Nutrition is the biggest aspect of losing weight and fat, and there are many different diets and opinions out there.  The thing that will work the best (if you are not on a current food plan) is to track your food intake for a week using myfitnesspal or something similar.  Once you’ve honestly tracked it, pick one area you can “fix” to make your diet choices healthier.  It’s always better to add or replace something in rather than just eliminate something.  It’s also important to not try to fix everything at once and do a complete overhaul – picking just one thing is manageable and will start helping you get results that will motivate you to stick with the new “fix”.  Once your “fix” is a habit, then you can pick another area of your diet to target.

For Example: If you have a habit of snacking at night (this is one of mine), make your only ‘snack’ option broccoli (or another low-calorie vegetable).  Most nighttime snacking is in response to a craving.  If you are really hungry, the broccoli will fill you up with good nutrients.  If you don’t want the broccoli, you’re probably not really hungry.  Another option is to drink hot tea!

If you are unsure of where to start with the food fixes, then I recommend adding things into your day.  The best way to eliminate unhealthy items from your diet is to add in good items.  So, give yourself a goal to include 3-5 litres of water a day and 7-10 servings of fruits & vegetables (1 serving = 1 cup fresh or 1/2 steamed).  Those 2 things will give you an instant increase in your energy, metabolism, and health!  They will also fill you up with great nutrients and take the place of other not-so- healthy foods in your day.

There are also foods that will increase your brown fat, which would make great snacks to include in your daily diet:

  • Foods with Ursolic acid—a substance that occurs in high concentrations in apple peels—increases brown fat and muscle mass, while at the same time reducing obesity and improving glucose tolerance.
    • Foods that contain ursolic acid include apples (with the peel), cranberries, blueberries, plums, and prunes, as well as the herbs oregano, thyme, lavender, holy basil, bilberry, devil’s claw, peppermint leaves, periwinkle, and hawthorn. 3
  • Melatonin-rich foods help regulate the sleep-wake cycle (sleep will be covered later) and also promote brown fat activity.
    • These foods are: almonds, tomatoes, tart cherries, cardamom, and coriander

If you are interested in just starting a new meal plan that takes a little more effort, I recommend a macro-diet.  You can use a macro-calculator to figure out how many calories/carbs/proteins/fats you personally need, and you can use these as goals as you enter your daily foods into myfitnesspal.  These are a couple reliable calculators that I’d recommend:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutrients_calculator.htm
https://corifit.com/macro-calculator

When entering foods, remember everything counts!  Beverages, condiments, and nibbles all included.  The great thing about macro-dieting is that there are no foods that are off-limits.  Although it is best to include a good amount of nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, you are free to include (or maneuver in) foods that you love (like cereal, ice cream, pizza, etc) as long as you enter it in correctly and hit your macros for the day.

A: Activity

The second part of F.A.T.S. is Activity.  Exercise is beneficial in 2 ways — burning calories and stimulating your body to produce the hormone irisin.  Our muscle cells need a source of energy when they exercise — they get that energy by burning fat and sugar brought to them by the blood.

Irisin is a hormone that muscles produce during exercise.  It travels through the blood and alters fat cells, changing the white fat cells into brown fat.  And the newly-formed brown fat cells keep burning calories after the exercise session is over. 4  Additionally, irisin helps prevent and overcome insulin resistance that contributes to type 2 diabetes.  This is most likely the reason why people who include moderate activity in their lifestyle are at a 60% reduced risk of developing diabetes.

So, what is the best exercise program to achieve this fat-burning effect?  The best exercise program is one that you will enjoy and be excited about.  If you are outgoing, you might want to check out some of the group fitness classes at your gym.  If you prefer to do your own thing, you can check out bodybuilding.com for some great workout plans to fit your goals and time commitment.  If you are goal-oriented, you can sign up for a race or competition that will keep you motivated in your daily workouts.  Any type of activity is going to help you burn calories and activate irisin.

T: Talking

The third key to getting rid of cellulite is talking.  Being social can actually have profound effects on your fat.  A recent study had mice live in isolation, and then moved them into an environment with 20 other mice.  In the enriched environment, the mice’s abdominal fat was decreased by 50%.  Additionally, the social environment had beneficial effects on cancer & helped improve the mice’s cerebral health (new neurons, enhanced memory & learning). 5 So, make time to spend with your friends and family – it will help you reach your fitness goals as well!

S: Sleep

The fourth key to burning fat is Sleep.  Sleeping helps in several ways:

  • It increases your melatonin — one of the hormones that has been found to increase brown fat.  Additionally, melatonin can help reduce bodyweight even without changing your diet. 6
  • It increases your growth hormone — this hormone helps repair and build muscle, keeps metabolism running high, and increases/enhances your body’s ability to burn fat. 7
  • If you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more the hormone cortisol, which causes hunger cravings.

Research has shown that those that do not get enough sleep decrease their ability to lose weight/fat.  In a recent study, it was shown that those who got only 5.5 hours of sleep lost less fat but more muscle than the group that got 8.5 hours of sleep.  All study participants received the same amount of calories and daily activity. 8

If you have trouble falling asleep, make sure you are not consuming caffeine after 12pm.  And if you don’t workout, start an exercise program to help.  One to two hours before going to sleep, check yourself out of social media and start a “bedtime routine” – i.e. simple yoga movements to relax, hot tea, reading, stretching, etc.  Pick a routine that makes sense to you and helps you calm down.

I hope this inspires and helps you on your way to your goals.  Remember Foods.Activity.Talking.Sleep are your 4 keys to tighten and tone, and get rid of cellulite for good.

Sources:
1 http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/01/17/brown-fat- levels.aspx
2 http://health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/major- fat-burning- discovery
3 http://rd.com/health/diet-weight- loss/brown-fat- boost-metabolism
4 http://health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/major- fat-burning- discovery
5 http://bbc.com/news/science-environment- 14813485
6 http://fitnessrxwomen.com/nutrition/supplements/benefits-of- melatonin
7 http://fitnessrxwomen.com/weight-loss/weight- loss-advice/3- things-you- didnt-know- about-fat- loss
8 http://fitnessrxwomen.com/weight-loss/weight- loss-advice/3- things-you- didnt-know- about-fat- loss

Rebekah is an ACE Health Coach with a B.S. in Kinesiology & Education from the University of Michigan. She is also a nationally-qualified NPC competitor, middle school health/PE teacher, and a sponsored athlete. Her goal is to share ways to make the fit lifestyle simpler and more practical to inspire all women become their best selves.

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