Nine Weird But Wonderful Ways to Burn Fat

19/08/2014 08:37 BST | Updated 18/10/2014 10:59 BST

We all know the classics tips for burning fat. The high intensity interval training, the eating six small meals a day, the seven to nine hours of sleep per night, the sipping green tea and the big hearty (ideally protein) fuelled breakfasts. We even know we should do weights to build muscle because that increases our metabolism and allows us to burn more calories.

We know all that. So there's no point in repeating this information. However, there are some slightly less well known, but still effective, methods of burning fat. And, in today's article, I want to share them with you.

Fat Burning Tip Number 1 // Eat Yoghurt

Diets rich in calcium reduce our fat producing enzymes and increase the enzymes that help the body to break down fat. What's more, a recent study documented in the International Journal of Obesity, found that those women who ate 3 daily portions of a low fat yoghurt lost 60% more fat than those women who didn't. A further study into the effects of dairy found that those who ate 3 daily servings lost two times as much fat as those who didn't eat dairy, or those who ate less than the three servings.

So, for maximum fat loss eat three servings of low fat dairy every single day. A plain, low fat yoghurt is an excellent option, especially when paired with some fruit and nuts. Try this as a mid morning, or mid-afternoon snack. Other good options include low fat milk and low fat hard cheese.

Fat Burning Tip Number 2 // Exercise After Eating

Now if your mum was anything like mine, she swore I'd drown or faint if I did anything more than get up from the table after a meal, however, recent studies show that this is actually a highly effective time to exercise, if you want to burn fat. And this is because the body's metabolic rate raises by around 10% after eating (due to the Thermic Effect of Feeding) which means that exercising within 15 - 30 minutes of eating could help you to burn even more calories.

Remember to go light though - no HIIT or BodyBlastingTM or you could be seeing that dinner all over again...

Fat Burning Tip Number 3 // Eat Fish

Those who eat fish regularly are found to have lower leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone made by the fat cells which regulates the amount of fat that's stored within the body. High levels of leptin have been linked to both a sluggish metabolism and obesity. Fish is also high in protein which helps to control the appetite and keep you fuller for longer. This is because protein is harder for the body to digest and more calories are burnt through the Thermic Effect of Feeding when you have eaten protein.

So try eating three to four servings of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel or sardines each week for optimal health.

Fat Burning Tip Number 4 // Eat Cherries

Studies have found that eating cherries just before you go to bed help to raise melatonin levels within the body. Melatonin is the body's natural sleep hormone as well as being an affective antioxidant. Sleep and antioxidants are both important ingredients for fat loss.

Fat Burning Tip Number 5 // Vary Your Calories

One of the problems with many weight loss techniques is that they reduce the calories so much that your body's metabolism slows down. When your metabolism has slowed down, you have less energy and you burn fewer calories. What's more - when you go back to eating like normal, it's likely you'll put on weight, because your metabolism will still be slower in accordance with the calorie deprivation of the diet. But there's a problem. We all know that we need to reduce the number of calories that we consume, or expend more calories than we consume, in order to lose fat. So....if cutting calories can slow the metabolism what can we do??

Well, one option is to vary your caloric intake each day. This means your body is less likely to go into starvation mode and your metabolism is less likely to slow down.

Fat Burning Tip Number 6 // Eat more Bananas

Bananas, though I'm loathe to admit it, are really good for you. They're crammed full of potassium which has been found to speed up the metabolism by regulating you body's water balance. Studies show that if you're dehydrated you burn fewer calories.

So for optimal health, and fat burning potential, be sure to get at least 2000 mg of potassium per day - that's about four bananas. Other good sources of potassium include baked potatoes, avocados and dark leafy vegetables.

Fat Burning Tip Number 7 // Spot Reduce Followed by Cardio

You what??? But spot reduction is a myth. Well...yes and no. A recent study from the University of Copenhagen found that men who performed single leg extensions for 30 minutes had an increased blood flow and lipolysis (break down of fat) in that leg. What this means is that the subcutaneous fat cells surrounding the leg muscle that was being used were releasing more fat into the bloodstream, to be used as energy.

However - what may happen is that after the workout, the fat is re-deposited from where it came from. Therefore, to stop this from happening, try 30-40 doing minutes of cardio or HIIT afterwards.

Fat Burning Tip Number 8 // Eat Iron

We all know we have to 'pump' iron to burn more fat, but we also have to ensure we're consuming the recommended daily allowance. Iron is a component of hemoglobin, the red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. If your cells don't have enough oxygen then your metabolism slows down.

So be sure to get 9.5 mg / day if you're male or 7mg / day if you're female. Iron can be found in red meat, whole grains, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables and soy.

Fat Burning Tip Number 9 // Exercise while you're PMTing (OK this one isn't quite so 'wonderful'...)

Let me explain. Getting into some form fitting lycra and jumping about may well be the last thing you want to do with pre-menstrual tension, but hear me out.

A recent study from the University of Adelaide in Australia found that the hormones estrogen and progesterone help your body to burn more fat as fuel. In the study women burned 30% more fat for the two weeks following ovulation, than they did at any other time.

So, if you want to burn more fat, put the hot buttered crumpet, hot water bottle and Girls DVD down and get yourself to the gym!