Every day, countless Americans adopt diet and fitness routines centered on dropping unwanted weight. Unfortunately, all too often, they end up losing muscle unintentionally. This usually results in disappointing physiques that look weak or unhealthy. If you'd like to attain an attractive, healthy looking physique, learn how to burn fat without sacrificing muscle tone.

Eat Lots of Protein

Muscles are made of protein. To make sure your muscles have enough nutrition to remain intact, you need to eat a lot of high-protein foods. Opt for egg whites, baked chicken, fish and other lean meats which are low in calories.

Eat Frequently

It may seem counter-intuitive, but frequent eating can ramp up your metabolism, causing it to burn more fat. On the other hand, when you go long periods without eating, your body is likely to store more fat and burn muscle instead. For best results, eat small snacks every two to three hours.

Eat Fiber

When trying to lose fat, it's important to keep your blood sugar steady. When we eat high-glycemic foods that digest quickly, our blood sugar goes up, which results in insulin spikes that cause our bodies to store fat. When we eat high-fiber, low-glycemic foods that take a long time to digest, our blood sugar remains steady. Not only does this promote the right kind of weight loss, it keeps us energized and helps us avoid so-called crashes.

Don't Rush Things

Often, people try to lose weight rapidly to prepare for an important upcoming social event. In a race against the clock, they adopt crash diets, which cause their bodies to burn muscle and hoard fat. When we deprive our bodies of important calories, our brains go into starvation mode. This may promote weight loss; however, the ultimate result is less than appealing.

To look your best, you need to maintain your muscle tone. To accomplish this, it's important to lose weight slowly. If you don't have enough time to get that ideal body before a big event, you're better off employing specific strategies that paint your physique in a positive light. For women, this means wearing dark colored clothing that puts their torsos in balance with their waists and legs. Women can also wear high heels to make themselves appear taller and better proportioned.

Sunless tanners can also make a big difference for both men and women. Likewise, you can make yourself look thinner by avoiding salt for two days before an event. Whatever you do, make sure you wear comfortable clothing. According to professional photographer, Arnaud Brichet, who owns the Punta Cana wedding photography studio HDC Photo, this can be a big key in determining how others perceive you.

“In all my years photographing weddings, I can say that comfortable brides and grooms tend to look better in pictures,” he said. “If you're wearing a dress or suit that's too tight, you're not going to look your best. If brides or grooms are worried about how they might look, they should be careful to hire a photographer who knows how to paint subjects in the best possible light. Take the time to go through the photographer's portfolio to see how good a job they did photographing subjects who have body types which are similar to yours.”

Lift Weights

To gain muscle, you need to exercise and eat more calories than you burn. Obviously, if you're trying to lose weight, you're not likely to gain much muscle. That said, you can stave off muscle loss by performing weight-bearing exercises. Just be sure to work with a qualified trainer if you're new to weight lifting.

RJ Lawrence is a lead writer for 6COM Media.

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