Six things you should know about the fight against fat


Man-on-scale.jpg Are you wondering why you can?t keep the fat off? Have you hit a plateau in your fat-loss efforts? Are you still looking for a plan that works for you?

If so, you may be getting bad information. Most everything the media write and ?sell? on the topic of fat loss is incorrect. Marketing ads and infomercials are there to sell a product, not inform you of what really works, or what is most effective for you.

Here are real answers to six fat-loss questions.


1 Do crunches reduce belly fat? No. You cannot spot-reduce an area of fat. Fat loss is a process of shrinking fat cells, not eliminating them. A process to reduce body fat involves much more than crunches.

Crunches are a strengthening move that, in truth, aren?t very effective. If they were, wouldn?t we all have six-packs with as many as we?ve done in our lifetime?


2 How much exercise is required for maximum fat loss? For maximum fat loss you need 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, three to five days a week. But there?s more to consider. Studies show that after eight weeks of continuous aerobic exercise, our bodies quit responding.

This is due to several reasons:

(A) Our bodies are amazingly created in that they adapt quickly to new stresses placed on them.

(B) Continuous cardio training induces adrenal stress, which depletes fat loss.

(C) We begin to stress as our fat-loss efforts plateau; also, in addition to the stress your cardio training is inflicting upon our bodies, it also signals our brain to cling to body fat.

(D) Our bodies begin to wear down, accelerate the effects of aging on the body and decrease muscle gains. (Have you ever seen a veteran marathon runner or distance athlete? Do you really want to look like that?)


3 How much less do I have to eat in order to lose fat? Rather than eat less, in most cases you should eat more. We have gained a negative view of food; it has become our enemy. But we are designed in a way that our body requires food; it is a fuel source for our survival.

Our distorted view of food has been our downfall for years. Rather than nourishment, we have used food as a source of celebration, solace, comfort, friendship, grief and stress. This is due to the ingredients we are eating.

Food companies have concocted ?sugar-like? substances in our foods that studies are showing have the same addictive properties as drugs, caffeine and alcohol. No wonder we are overweight in America. We need to get back to healthy habits: eating nuts, vegetables, lean meats, fish, poultry and some fruits, and drinking lots of water.

For our bodies to be functioning properly, we should go no longer than four to five hours without eating a small meal or snack. When we eat regularly, we are fueling our body with a steady state of energy that helps us to move, think and feel better.


4 Can I measure fat loss by weighing myself on a scale? We can measure weight-loss on a scale, but not fat loss. Weight is a measurement of mass, fat is a substance.

The fact is, we can all lose weight overnight?it?s called dehydration. Our bodies will allow us to lose five to 10 pounds of water over a 10-day span.

Meanwhile, fat loss is a three, six even 12-month process that requires a steady, consistent plan in order to produce long-lasting results.

The reason most ?weight loss? plans don?t work is because a lot of the time we are flushing water out of our system along with muscle tissue (muscle is made up of about 75 percent water). Muscle burns fat. If we are expelling our muscle tissue, we are slowing our fat-burning.


5 Will eating fat-free foods result in fat loss? Ah, those food-company marketing schemes…. Get a tub of ?I Can?t Believe It?s Not Butter??which claims to be fat-free?and read the label. The first ingredient listed is hydrogenated oil. Hmm…that?s a pure form of fat, right? Yes, 100 percent fat. And it?s listed first.

Read the label again. How many calories per serving? Five. Now read how many calories are from fat. All five calories per serving come from fat.

The truth is, the Food & Drug Administration doesn?t regulate serving sizes on containers. If the stated serving size contains less than a half-gram per serving, it can be labeled ?fat-free.?

So, marketing companies shrink their serving sizes until they contain a half-gram of fat per serving?then slap a big ?fat-free? label on the container to attract our attention.


6 Are squats bad for you? You?ve probably heard your doctor say they are. If you ask why, the doctor probably will say squats will hurt your knees. But the truth is, we ?squat? almost every day.

Squats are one of the most efficient and essential strength-building tools for the legs, back and hips. Squatting in the bottom position is our body?s natural position.

Chairs are not part of our biological makeup. Only in the industrialized world do we have chairs and tables. People in most other countries squat for their meals, ceremonies and gatherings.

In most cases, squats are ?bad? or dangerous when done improperly. A natural squat, though, can do wonders for shaping your back, hips and thighs?all areas women are dying to tone.

Squats are good?and not only for the young. The elderly can experience huge benefits in leg strength by doing this movement. It can bring people out of wheelchairs and back into the world of walking. I?ve seen it, firsthand.


Anna Woods is a certified personal trainer from Hillsboro. She founded Woods Wellness in January 2007 and can be reached at 620-877-7503 for additional input about better health and fitness. Her Web site is at

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