Before Facebook and Google pushed against quick weight loss solutions that claimed to get rid of belly fat in a week or one trick to losing belly fat, they were everywhere on our screens.
However, there is no shortcut to get rid of stubborn belly fat. The journey is long and hard but at the same time rewarding as well.
As long as you are ready to make effort, there are effective tips to lose belly fat. But first I would like to write what is belly fat and why it is so dangerous.
What is Belly Fat?
From a common man’s understanding if you have stomach fat, then you have belly fat. But belly fat is actually the fat that is inside the abdominal cavity and surrounds internal organs like stomach, liver and heart.
In contrast there is subcutaneous fat which is below the skin and not inside the abdominal cavity. Not all of your fat around waistline may be visceral fat though it is definitely belly fat.
Why Belly Fat is Dangerous?
The most dangerous fat that human body carries is belly fat. It is also called active fat because this increases risks for so many diseases, especially heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure and a lot many other diseases.
How it does so is for the scientists to debate but they agree that it does. For reference you can read this excellent article published in the Circulation journal.
Belly fat causes metabolic syndrome which is a combination of conditions that include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and, high triglycerides, out of range cholesterol and high fasting glucose levels.
What Causes Excess Belly Fat?
Humans have evolved from hunter gatherers societies where food was scarce and our forefathers would accumulate as much as possible when you they would find.
This was their way of protecting against future hunger by eating more and storing fat. However, during the last 40 years, our lifestyle has become more sedentary while we have seen abundance of food.
So reduced physical activity along with abundance of processed foods and foods with high glycemic index have led to an obesity epidemic. These foods raise our insulin levels, keeping us hungrier and wanting to eat more all the time.
These two factors along with lack of sleep are the primary reasons for excess belly fat.
Tips to Shed Belly Fat
Though belly fat is notoriously stubborn but we are going to give you effective tips to lose belly fat. Certainly one trick diets and solutions will not work.
1. Start Small
Of course you would love to get back in your old jeans as quickly as possible, but if you try to change too many things in your diet and lifestyle to lose belly fat at the same time, you will most likely fail. Start small and carefully achieve your goals one by one.
2. Cut Back Sugar
The first thing you can do is to drastically reduce sugar in your food. And all sweetened sodas should be on your say-no list. But juices are also to be avoided for reducing belly fat.
Just drink water in place of sugary drinks and you will start to notice dramatic decrease in your sugar intake.
3. Eat Vegetables
The best way to eat vegetables is to add salads in your meal. At least half of your plate should be either vegetables or salads. When you eat vegetables, you will eat less of carbs and fats. At the same time you eat more fiber which helps you lose tummy fat.
4. Get Enough Sleep
A research article published in Sleep magazine has found abundant evidence of less deprivation with obesity. Get at least 6 hours of quality sleep every day.
5. Eat Lots of Soluble Fiber
Fiber forms a gel in our stomach and slows down food digestion process which reduces our hunger. Soluble fiber has been shown to fight belly fat. One study showed that there was a decrease of 3.7 percent in belly fat by increasing fiber intake by 10 gram each day.
Some of the great sources of soluble fiber are oats, avocadoes, legumes, flaxseed etc.
6. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol has been shown to significantly increase belly fat, therefore, alcohol should be one of the drinks that you need to say an almost goodbye if you want to reduce your waistline.
7. Develop More Muscle
Muscles burn more calories, even in resting stage too. Therefore, build muscles because once you list weights, your muscles will keep burning calories for hours even when you are out of the gym.
One study has shown that the greatest weight loss can be achieved with a combination of cardio and strength training.
8. Include Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Diet
Surprisingly it has been shown that one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day may cause a reduction in belly fat of about half an inch in three months.
9. Sip on Green Tea
Apart from the antioxidants and caffeine which provide amazing health benefits, green tea also boosts metabolism. A study published in International Journal of Obesity found that green tea helped with significant weight loss and weight management after weight loss.
10. Drink Coffee
If green tea can help with losing belly fat, so is coffee. Studies have shown that coffee increases metabolism and causes weight loss because of fat oxidation and suppressed leptin in women.
11. Reduce Sedentary Sitting
Sitting a lot has been linked with many health issues. In fact, sitting is the new smoking. Our work routines have become increasingly sedentary where we sit for hours during the day. This reduces physical activity in our lives. Some of the things you can do to reduce your sitting times are:
- Take stairs where possible
- Take breaks of five minutes and walk around
- Do stretching at your desk
- Take a longer walk during your lunch hour
12. Redefine Entertainment
Our idea of entertainment these days is watching a TV series, playing video games or eating out. All these are sedentary activities which do not help at all with losing stomach fat.
Use your free time to enjoy a hobby like sports or gardening. Or may be engage in physical activities with your kids. They are energy powerhouses, and you will be spending a lot of calories if you play with them outdoors.
13. Spot Training Doesn’t Work
If you are doing abs training, crunches and situps and hoping to decrease belly fat, then it might not work. The reason being that it is not possible to decrease only belly fat without decreasing the overall belly fat. Spot reduction of fat is not established in science studies.
This can only be done by engaging in physical activity that involves aerobic and muscle training on a regular basis and at the same time watching your diet.
So abdominal exercise are good as part of an overall fitness regime, but don’t count on them for dramatic belly fat loss.
14. Eat Mediterranean Diet
Most of the successful flat belly diets draw their wisdom from the Mediterranean Diet which is not only good for heart and overall health but also can reduce your belly fat storage.
This is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which are good types of fats. Some of these foods are nuts, avocados, olive oil, fish and seeds.
15. Avoid Trans Fats
Trans fats are unhealthy and are found in most processed foods. Some of the most popular foods like margarines, spreads and packaged foods have high trans fats content.
To help reduce belly fat, see the ingredients on packaged foods and aim for zero trans fats foods. They are also listed under the heading ‘partially hydrogenated fats’.
16. Eat High Protein Diet
Studies have consistently showed that high protein diets help with weight loss, reduced appetite and cardiovascular disease risk. Protein also help build muscles and increase metabolism. Protein is very important nutrient in your diet if you are trying to shed some extra pounds around your waist.
17. Decrease Stress in Life
Stress hormone called cortisol has been linked with increased appetite and belly fat. And to make things worse when you have more belly fat, you produce more cortisol which puts you in perpetual cycle of obesity.
Try to destress your life by engaging in pleasurable activities like walks, socializing with friends and family and by practising yoga and meditation.
18. Do Cardio Exercise
It is important that you remain consistent because it matters more than the intensity of your cardio exercise.
19. Use Coconut Oil for Cooking
A study published in European Journal of Nutrition in June, 2018 has found that coconut oil leads to reduced appetite. Another study has found it to be effective in waist circumference reduction of about one inch in 3 months.
20. Eat Fish
Eating fatty fish like Salmon not only provides your body with healthy Omega 3 fatty acids but also cut visceral fat. Eat between 2-3 services of delicious fatty fish each week and see your weight reduce over period.
21. Eat Healthy Snacks
Aimless snacking can seriously jeopardize any weight loss plans. It is always recommended to keep healthy snacks like nuts and raisins in your easy reach so that your small food cravings do not turn into eating a bowl of ice cream.
22. Eat Fruit
Fruits are loaded with nutrients. But only as long as you eat whole fruits and not just juice. Eat fruits that have fiber and good fats. You can start with lemons, watermelon, avocado and orange.
23. Cook Your Food
When you cook most of your food at home, you will most likely be in control of healthy eating. When you eat mostly outside, you end up eating food high in calories, rich in salt and full of trans fats. Therefore, prepare your food every other day and store in refrigerator so that when you are really hungry, you do not order unhealthy stuff like pizza and burger with highly calorie loaded sodas.
24. Eat Foods With Probiotics
Foods with probiotics have healthy type of bacteria which promote and regulate weight loss and loss of belly fat. Some of the natural sources of probiotics are natural yogurt and aged cheese. You can also get probiotics supplements but it is always better to turn to nature.
25. Take Your Lunch to Work
When you take your lunch to work, prepared by you, it is less likely that you will turn to unhealthy fast food. Moreover, you are also less likely to give in to invitations by your colleagues for indulging in high calorie food. It may seem old fashioned but it surely will be helpful in decreasing abdominal fat.
Top 10 Reasons You Can’t Lose Belly Fat
- Consuming high calorie sodas regularly
- Not getting enough sleep
- Too much stress in life
- You are not working out and burning calories though you are on a strict diet
- Not doing the right type of training. You must include strength training in your exercise to build muscle and increase resting metabolism
- Following a fad diet. These extreme diets only produce momentarily results and are not suitable for long term belly fat loss
- Eating too much processed foods.
- Not eating a protein rich diet
- Not doing cardio
- Not drinking enough water
There is no ‘one trick’ or magic solution to losing belly fat. The answer does not lie in fad diets or drugs and supplements. Any weight loss plan requires perseverance, effort and healthy lifestyle changes.
If you follow some of the tips written above, you are sure to lose extra pounds around your waist.