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Health Blog

The MSN Healthcare Health Blog offers news and analysis on weight loss, fatigue, personal health, and health news. It includes contributions from Dr. Mark Neumann and others. Click now.


Fat Burning for a Healthier You: The Definitive Guide

Mark Neumann

The desire to lose weight is as common as the cold, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy feat to accomplish.

Here’s the good news…

Burning fat and losing weight are possible!

It all starts with understanding fat burning, learning about the role of your metabolism in weight loss, and getting into a good routine that prioritizes exercise, activity, and a proper diet.

Let’s dive right in.

Introducing: The Definitive Guide to Fat Burning

This guide will teach you all about how to burn fat and lose weight, how to measure success, how to support your metabolism for weight loss, what foods you should be eating, and what exercises you should be doing for success.

  • Chapter 1: Burning Fat vs. Weight Loss - Why the Scale Isn't the Best Indicator of Your Overall Health
  • Chapter 2: The Role Metabolism Plays in Burning Fat
  • Chapter 3: How to Stimulate the Thyroid to Burn Fat and Activate Metabolism
  • Chapter 4: 25 Natural Foods that Burn Fat 
  • Chapter 5: 25 Drinks to Promote Sleep and Increase Caloric Burn 
  • Chapter 6: How to Burn Fat with Supplements that Support Your Metabolism 
  • Chapter 7: High-Intensity Interval Training: 20 Minutes of Hell to Torch Away Fat 
  • Chapter 8: Putting It All Together – Creating an Effective Fat Burning Plan that Works for You

If you like this fat burning resource, please remember to share it with your friends on Facebook or by Tweeting it.


Chapter 1: Burning Fat vs. Weight Loss - Why the Scale Isn't the Best Indicator of Your Overall Health  

People often go on fad diets and rejoice when they lose 10 pounds during week one.

But here's the kicker…

That’s not fat they’ve lost.

Before you jump on that new so-called miracle diet, there are a few things you should know about the difference between fat burning and weight loss, because they aren't always the same thing.

Understanding Body Weight

Your body weight is a sum of everything you're made of, including fat, skin, bones, muscles, organs, water, and even the food in your digestive system right now.

If you were to stop eating for a couple of days, you'd lose weight because you'd lose water weight, and you'd expel the food that was in your digestive system. But as soon as you ate something and drank a few glasses of water, that weight would magically reappear.

Make a note: When you want to lose weight, you need to focus on losing fat, rather than just losing weight.

What Does Your Scale Tell You?

The short answer—nothing.

If you were to start on a new strength training regimen, your scale obsession would show weight gain, even though you actually lost fat and gained muscle.

When it comes to objectively measuring fat and weight loss, a Tanita monitor is a much better solution than a scale. This is a special monitor that tracks your body composition by measuring a number of important health indicators, including your:

●     Body fat percentage and mass

●     Visceral fat

●     Muscle mass and quality

●     Bone density

●     Total body water

●     Basal metabolic rate


Chapter 2: The Role Metabolism Plays in Burning Fat

And now it’s time for the question on everybody’s mind: how do I burn fat?

The short answer is by expending energy.

Luckily for you, your body already does this for you, in significant amounts.

Your basal metabolic rate is a measure of the energy you burn when your body is at rest. It refers to the energy required to keep your body functioning, including breathing, circulating blood, repairing cells, and all the other things your body does to keep you alive, and it accounts for as much as 85 percent of the energy you burn.

People with higher metabolisms have higher energy needs and typically find it easier to lose weight. This is because people with higher metabolisms have an easier time creating a calorie deficit, which is the number that matters when you want to lose weight and burn fat.

The idea behind the caloric deficit is simple: you eat fewer calories than you burn. This is easier for people with faster metabolisms because they already burn more calories just by living.

However, this doesn’t mean that having a slower metabolism necessarily means you'll be overweight.

Because here's the kicker…

It still comes down to what and how much you eat.

As long as you consume an appropriate number of calories based on your BMR, body composition, age, gender, and activity levels, then you won’t gain excess weight.  


Chapter 3: How to Stimulate the Thyroid to Burn Fat and Activate Metabolism

The thyroid is a gland found in your neck. Despite its small size, the thyroid has a big job: it secretes the hormones that regulate your metabolism, and it also contributes to your energy levels and the overall health of your entire body. If your thyroid isn't performing as it should, then it’s possible your metabolism isn't functioning optimally, and addressing this could boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat. Here's the thing: if you suspect you have a thyroid problem, talk to your doctor. And if you want to make sure your thyroid is functioning optimally, keep yourself strong and healthy, exercise regularly, and eat a thyroid-healthy diet that includes:

●     Sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts

●     Beef, chicken, pork, liver, and turkey

●     Eggs

●     All fruits and vegetables

●     Fish and shellfish

●     Mushrooms

●     Whole-grain barley, brown rice, oats, and wheat germ


Chapter 4: 25 Natural Foods that Burn Fat

Extra fat on your body is caused by an excess intake of calories that’s not offset by the energy you expend. Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, therefore, are all about balancing calories in and calories out. When you want to maintain proper health as well, the focus should be on eating nutrient-rich foods that give you the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck. Here are a few key takeaways for eating for weight loss:

Increase your protein intake. People who eat about 100 grams of protein per day can lose more fat and less muscle, and not only does this result in weight loss, but it also makes your new weight easier to maintain.

Eat more whole foods. This means whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Eating whole foods ensures you get all the nutritional benefits the foods have to offer, plus the fiber helps you feel fuller for longer. On top of that, fruits and veggies are low in calories while also being packed with vitamins.

Up your fiber consumption. Soluble fiber makes you feel fuller, and insoluble fiber improves digestion. Fiber is a necessary part of a balanced diet, and eating more of it can lower your appetite and help you eat less.

Eat healthy fats. Although many diets recommend adopting a low-fat eating plan to help you lose weight, fat is an essential element of your diet, and cutting it out may not have the results you expect. Getting 20 percent of your calories from healthy monounsaturated fatty acids can help you lose nearly twice as much weight versus a low-fat diet.

To get the major benefits of these three suggestions, try these 25 foods:

1.    Coconut oil

2.    Avocado

3.    Eggs

4.    Fish

5.    Broccoli

6.    Cauliflower

7.    Berries

8.    Buckwheat

9.    Yogurt

10.  Nuts

11.  Goat Cheese

12.  Popcorn

13.  Salmon

14.  Spirulina

15.  Tofu

16.  Dark leafy greens

17.  Oysters

18.  Artichokes

19.  Sauerkraut

20.  Chicken

21.  Olives

22.  Spelt

23.  Seeds

24.  Chili Flakes

25.  Carrots

Looking for a way to use these ingredients in your daily routine? Try this fantastic recipe:

Everything Omelet

Makes 1 omelet


·         2 large eggs

·         Salt and pepper, to taste

·         ½ teaspoon chili flakes

·         2 teaspoons avocado oil

·         3 tablespoons goat cheese

·         ½ cup mixed filling:

o   Cooked chicken, shredded

o   Spinach, lightly steamed

o   Broccoli, steamed


Whisk the eggs in a small bowl

Add the salt, pepper, and chili flakes

Heat the oil in a skillet

Add the eggs and tilt the pan to coat the bottom of the skillet

Cook the eggs for two minutes

Add the cheese and filling

Fold the omelet in half over the filling

Serve and enjoy


Chapter 5: 25 Drinks to Promote Sleep and Increase Caloric Burn

It has been scientifically proven that there's a link between sleep deprivation and obesity, so getting a proper sleep every night can help you lose weight. Moreover, your body does, in fact, continue burning calories while you're sleeping, so it stands to reason that increasing your caloric burn at night could lead to increased weight loss. After all, to burn a single pound of fat you must burn 3,500 calories, so every calorie counts, regardless of whether you're awake or asleep. Here are the keys to using beverages to burn more calories while you sleep: drink relaxing beverages that will promote sleep, avoid beverages that disrupt sleep, and drink high-protein beverages that require more calories to digest.  

Here are beverages to drink before bed:

1.    Lavender tea

2.    Chamomile tea

3.    Protein shake

4.    Green tea

5.    Tart cherry juice

6.    Milk

7.    Soy milk

8.    Almond milk

9.    Fruit and yogurt smoothie

10.  Passionfruit tea

11.  Tea with honey

12.  Oat milk

13.  Whey protein shake

14.  Ginger water

15.  Cucumber water

16.  Prune juice

17.  Cantaloupe juice  

18.  Banana milkshake  

And these are the beverages to avoid before bed:

19.  Alcohol 

20.  Coffee

21.  Black tea

22.  Spicy drinks

23.  Soda

24.  Hot chocolate

25.  Peppermint tea

Tired of tea before bed? Try this secret delicious recipe:

Pre-bed green smoothie

Serves 2


·         1 cup kale leaves

·         1 cup natural yogurt

·         1 ripe banana

·         1 tablespoon almond butter

·         2 teaspoons flax seeds

·         2 kiwis

·         ½ cup almond or oat milk


Combine all ingredients in a blender

Process until smooth

Serve and enjoy immediately

Consume about an hour before bed


Chapter 6: How to Burn Fat with Supplements that Support Your Metabolism

Everybody’s seen the supplements on TV that claim to blast fat and melt the pounds away, and everybody knows they don’t work.

The point of supplementation should be to support your metabolism and overall health and complement the proper diet and regular exercise you're already using to burn fat.

You're still responsible for the hard work, but the supplements can help by providing you with the nutrients you need to keep pushing through the tough times.

Natural supplements such as Protandim® and PhysIQ™ from LifeVantage®, use ingredients to reduce free radicals and oxidative stress and promote health at the cellular level.

PhysIQ is the smart way to start burning stubborn fat today. It’s a safe, long-term weight management solution that uses natural ingredients to help you look and feel your best again.

The PhysIQ™ weight management line supports your venture to better health with effective natural fat burners, advanced probiotics, and a protein powder.


Chapter 7: High-Intensity Interval Training: 20 Minutes of Hell to Torch Away Fat

HIIT is a workout revelation because it doesn’t take much time, it’s incredibly effective, and it improves your endurance.

Here's how it works…

You do short bursts (intervals) of high-intensity activity for short spurts of time. Stop. Rest briefly. Repeat.

Sounds easy, but it’s tough, it’s hardcore, and it gets your heart racing and sends your body into fat-burning overdrive.

But What About the Fat-Burning Zone?

The short answer: don’t worry about it.

Modern workout equipment is often equipped with graphs that chart your heart rate and how it corresponds to what's been dubbed fat-burning zones and cardio zones.

These graphs would indicate that to remain in the fat-burning zone, you have to work out at a lower intensity. But this is misleading, because even though you may burn more-fat from stored energy at this lower intensity, you'll burn fewer calories. And as you already know, fewer calories equals a smaller calorie deficit equals less weight lost overall.

Give HIIT a try. It only takes about 20 minutes per day (three times a week), and in that short workout the high-intensity cardio will get you in shape faster and burn more fat than an hour of lower-intensity exercise.

Plus, HIIT has the benefit of after burn, or post-exercise oxygen consumption, and your body will continue burning calories for several hours after your workout.

Another great thing about HIIT? It doesn’t require any equipment, and you can do it absolutely anywhere. Translation: no more excuses!


Chapter 8: Putting It All Together – Creating an Effective Fat Burning Plan that Works for You

Diet: You’ve already learned the secret to specific foods you should be eating to support your thyroid and help your metabolism, but what about everything else?

In the end, a fat-zapping diet boils down to this: eat fewer calories than you burn, and get your calories from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.

Exercise and activity: For the sake of whole-body health, and to increase your calorie deficit, focus on getting 75 to 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, strength training twice weekly, regular HIIT routines, and increasing your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (all the non-exercise activities you participate in).

Sleep: Here's a tip that’s straight from the experts: you probably need more sleep than you're getting. The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. It doesn’t matter how well you think you function on less—your body isn't performing optimally if you don’t get your beauty sleep, and you'll see the effects on the scale.  

Getting help: A dietician, weight loss doctor, or health coach can provide you with relevant information, motivation, and tips and tricks that you can use to get healthy and achieve your goal weight safely and effectively. Don’t hesitate to reach out today.


The key to weight loss is that there's no magic pill and no quick fix. Burning fat takes time and effort: if you want to work your butt off, then you have to work your butt off. Here are the key takeaways from today’s discussion: weight loss isn't the same as burning fat; if you want to burn fat, you have to create a calorie deficit by eating less and by using more energy; there are lots of foods you should be eating to support your metabolism, thyroid, and overall health; and, finally, get plenty of exercise and activity every day, and incorporate high-intensity interval training into your routine to reap the biggest fat burning rewards that exercise has to offer.

Don’t be afraid to seek help.

Dr. Neumann is happy to discuss your health and weight loss goals in more detail. Call (734) 847-4700 to schedule your consultation today.