Keep a food journal. You're serious about this, right? So grab a notebook or download an app (there are dozens of free ones out there). When you come face-to-face with what you're eating, it's a lot easier to see where your downfalls are. And to see your progress! And lots of apps have neat things you can mess around with that are pretty motivating, Index of / this diary, you'll be counting calories and tracking them. That way if you do really well on one day, you can fudge a little on the next. Or vice versa.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
It has to do with your hormones leptin and ghrelin. Your levels get all sort of messed up and it leads to them telling your body you're hungry when you're really just tired. And to top it off, when you're sleepy, you load up on sugar, grab take out for dinner because you're tired, and skip the gym for the same reason. That's three strikes right there.
And maybe a new mattress, because it’s not just the amount of time you spend sleeping that keeps you lean, it’s also the quality of your sleep. Fat cells in your body produce a hormone called leptin that helps the body keep track of how much potential energy (i.e. fat) it has stored. But leptin is only produced during certain stages of sleep. Miss out on those stages because you’re not resting soundly enough, and you’ll disturb levels of the hormone, leaving your body with no real idea of its energy reserves. Consequently, you’ll end up storing calories rather than burning them.
Fats are used by the body — together with glycogen stores — to fuel between meals, while sleeping, or when aren’t quite meeting our caloric needs. An important role of fat is to supply energy to our cells so that they can create ATP. Fat is a highly concentrated energy source but it needs to be broken down to participate in the creation of ATP. This process happens in special energy factories called mitochondria (7). We aren’t going to get into the specifics of the fat-to-ATP-process now but if you’d like some further reading, go here.
Ketone bodies: Ketone bodies are produced when the carb reserves (glycogen) start declining and the body must rely on fat reserves for fuel. Our liver then starts producing ketone bodies — a little molecule that can acts as a substitute for glucose (our brain’s favorite fuel). You can force your body to produce these ketone bodies by following a very low-carb, ketogenic diet.