What is the best way to get rid of belly fat?
Getting rid of belly fat at times seems impossible. But don’t fret! We have some tips and tricks that will lead you in the right direction. Some of the top experts suggest that focusing on your goal and following these tips will result in reducing your waistline. You can get rid of your belly fat!
The definition of belly fat might sound obvious—it’s clearly the fat that sits around your middle, right? Well, not quite. While belly fat (also known as visceral fat) does indeed reside around your midsection, it goes deeper than just below the skin, padding your intestines and other vital organs.
The reason it’s different than other forms of fat, is because it’s more metabolically active—it gets into the blood stream faster than the stuff under your skin. Belly fat has a bad influence on blood cholesterol and blood sugar, and all the metabolic diseases. So with belly fat also comes a heightened risk of those metabolic diseases, like diabetes.
Belly fat can also be independent from overall body fat, meaning someone who’s not overweight could still have a lot of excess fat around his or her waist. Here’s some good news! For most people, when they lose weight, it tends to come off the middle. People also tend to shed belly fat a little quicker than other areas, because the tummy is just a temporary holding zone for fat.
What does belly fat do to your body?
Belly fat doesn’t just sit there; it can have negative impacts on almost every organ in your body through the productions of excess hormones and chemicals. Having too much visceral fat can put you at risk for many other health issues such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.
How do you know if you have too much belly fat?
An easy way to determine if you have too much belly fat is to measure yourself at home. Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your bare stomach, directly above your hip bone. The tape should be snug but not too tight. Something to keep in mind: It normal to carry some weight around your middle. A normal waist circumference is less than 40 inches for men and 36 inches for women. There are a few things you can do if you want to trim it down.
Cutting down on belly fat now can save you many health risks later in life. Keep yourself healthy with good sleep, lots of exercise and a healthy low carb diet!
Why you should lift weights to lose belly fat
You can’t spot reduce. In other words, you can’t tell your body where to lose fat. When it comes to losing belly fat, your mind may immediately think of doing dozens of crunches or spending hours on a cardio machine. And while these moves may help you burn calories, they’re not the most effective method of burning body fat. In fact, you’ll want to hit the weight room and grab some dumbbells or a barbell. The idea of spot targeting your midsection is just a myth.
If you are looking to get rid of fat, specifically on your midsection, seriously remember that you can’t control where your body loses fat. When you lose weight, it’s up to your genetics to determine where on your body you lose fat. So to lose belly fat, you have to lose body fat overall.
To do this, consider the five cornerstones to any successful fat-loss program: increasing non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT (the activity you do outside of the gym), weightlifting three days a week, implementing HIIT one to two days a week, getting enough sleep (seven to eight hours a night), and eating in a healthy calorie deficit. If you’re curious why hours of cardio aren’t on the list, that’s no accident.
Experts suggest doing functional exercises that use the muscles of your entire core—abdominals, back, pelvic, obliques—as well as other body parts. These exercises use more muscles, so there is a higher rate of calorie burn while you are doing them. Planks are a favorite functional exercise—they activate not just your core muscles but also your arm, leg, and butt muscles. Add some movement to the plank, with shoulder taps or leg lifts, and you up the ante even more.
You may not think barbell squats or deadlifts will have any impact on your midsection, but you’d be wrong. Lifting weights has been shown to do a few phenomenal things to improve body composition. Weightlifting helps increase your muscle mass, and more muscle mass is one of the only proven ways to boost your metabolism. This is because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, so more muscle mass means a higher resting metabolic rate. A higher resting metabolic rate means burning more calories, and therefore more fat, at rest.
A daily run or Spin class is great for your heart, but cardio workouts alone won’t do much for your waist. You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training. Strength training increases muscle mass, which sets your body up to burn more fat.
Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle. Experts recommend 250 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week.
Strength training is the way to go, as it builds muscle. When you build muscle, you tend to replace fat with that muscle.
To get more fat-burning muscle, you need to keep challenging your muscles by lifting heavier weights. If you’ve been working out regularly, increase your weight by roughly 10% for a few moves each workout. For example, if you do 8 exercises, choose 2 exercises and increase those weights while the others stay the same (if you’ve been using 10-pound weights, go up to 12). The following week, choose 2 more exercises and increase the weight for those. Continue this process until you’ve upped the weight for all 8 moves. Then start again, going up 10% more for 2 more exercises at a time. Note: if upping the weight ever compromises your form, go back to the previous load until you’re strong enough to do all reps with good form.
Ramp up your workouts
To get rid of stubborn belly fat, you have to ramp up your workouts. Experts find that people who completed a high-intensity workout regimen lost more belly fat than those who followed a low-intensity plan. They also find that the low-intensity exercisers experienced no significant changes at all. You need to exercise at full intensity because the end goal is to burn more calories, and high intensity exercise does just that. High intensity workouts mean you’re going all out for as long as you can. If this sounds intimidating, think of it this way: you’ll burn more calories in less time.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of belly fat.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of living a long, healthy life and avoiding disease.
Eat all fats in moderation – even the healthy ones
The body doesn’t react to all fats in the same way. Research correlates high intake of saturated fat (think meat and dairy) to increased visceral fat. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats (think olive oil and avocados) and specific types of polyunsaturated fats (mainly omega-3s, found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon) have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good. Just enjoy them in moderation.
Avoid sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks
Foods with added sugars are bad for your health. Eating a lot of these types of food can cause weight gain.
Sugar is known to increase fat building up around your abdomen and liver.
Sugar is half glucose and half fructose. When you eat a lot of added sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat.
Some believe that this is the main process behind sugar’s harmful effects on health. It increases abdominal fat and liver fat, which leads to insulin resistance and various metabolic problems.
Liquid sugar is worse in this regard. The brain doesn’t seem to register liquid calories in the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugar-sweetened beverages, you end up eating more total calories.
Try minimizing the amount of sugar in your diet and consider completely eliminating sugary drinks. This includes sugar-sweetened beverages, sugary sodas, fruit juices, and various high sugar sports drinks.
Read the labels to make sure products do not contain refined sugars. Even foods marketed as health foods can contain significant amounts of sugar.
Keep in mind that none of this applies to whole fruit, which are extremely healthy and have plenty of fiber that mitigates the negative effects of fructose.
Eat more protein
Eating plenty of protein can boost your metabolism and reduce hunger levels, making it a very effective way to lose weight. Protein may be the most important macronutrient for weight loss.
Research shows it can reduce cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day, and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.
If weight loss is your goal, adding protein may be the single most effective change you can make to your diet.
Not only can protein help you to lose weight, but it may also help you to avoid regaining weight.
Protein may be particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat. Studies show that people who ate more and better protein had much less abdominal fat. They also indicate that protein was linked to a significantly reduced chance of abdominal fat gain over 5 years in women.
Try increasing your intake of high protein foods such as whole eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, meat, and dairy products. These are the best protein sources for your diet.
If you struggle with getting enough protein in your diet, a quality protein supplement, like whey protein, is a healthy and convenient way to boost your total intake. You can find plenty of protein powder options online.
Eat fewer carbohydrates
Eating fewer carbs is a very effective way to lose fat.
This is supported by numerous studies. When people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight.
Low carb diets sometimes lead to 2–3 times more weight loss than low fat diets.
This is true even when those in the low carb groups are allowed to eat as much as they want, while those in the low fat groups are calorie restricted.
Low carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people fast results. People often see a difference on the scale within 1–2 days.
Studies comparing low carb and low fat diets indicate that low carb eating specifically reduces fat in the abdomen and around the organs and liver.
This means that some of the fat lost on a low carb diet is harmful abdominal fat.
Just avoiding the refined carbs — like sugar, candy, and white bread — should be sufficient, especially if you keep your protein intake high.
If the goal is to lose weight fast, some people reduce their carb intake to 50 grams per day. This puts your body into ketosis, a state in which your body starts burning fats as its main fuel and appetite is reduced.
Low carb diets have many other health benefits besides just weight loss. For example, they can significantly improve health in people with type 2 diabetics.
Eat fiber-rich foods
There’s some evidence that soluble dietary fiber can lead to reduced amounts of belly fat. This should cause major improvements in metabolic health and reduce the risk of certain diseases. Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant matter.
Eating plenty of fiber can help with weight loss. However, the type of fiber is important.
It appears that mostly the soluble and viscous fibers have an effect on your weight. These are fibers that bind water and form a thick gel that “sits” in your gut.
This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your digestive system. It can also slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite.
The best way to get more fiber is to eat a lot of plant foods, including vegetables and fruit. Legumes are also a good source, as well as some cereals, such as whole oats.
You can also try taking a fiber supplement like glucomannan. This is one of the most viscous dietary fibers, and studies suggest it can help with weight loss.
Try to destress
Tight deadlines, bills, your kids—whatever your source of stress, having too much of it may make it harder for you to drop unwanted pounds, especially from your middle. And it’s not just because you tend to reach for high-fat, high-calorie fare when you’re stressed, though that’s part of it. It’s also due to the stress hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of fat your body clings to and enlarge your fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more visceral fat.
Stress is related to weight gain because in order to fight or flee you need energy. Cortisol is responsible for helping you to receive the energy you need, primarily by increasing your blood sugar.
It does this by converting protein to sugar, then releasing stored glucose in your liver. When blood sugar levels are high, insulin is secreted in order to transport the blood sugar to the brain and working muscles.
Here is the catch: the muscles aren’t working because there is no physical stress, only emotional. You’re not moving, so the excess sugar you just secreted, and probably replaced in the form of yummy carbs, in the form of carbohydrates gets stored as fat.
Get more sleep
People who regularly get 6-7 hours of sleep each night tend to have lower measures of visceral fat. Create a healthy sleep schedule for yourself and make sure you stick to it.
Too little sleep triggers a cortisol spike. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours.
What this means: You’re more apt to hang on to fat.When your body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, your body has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, so it ends up storing them as fat.So it’s not so much that if you sleep, you’ll lose weight, but that too little sleep hampers your metabolism and contributes to weight gain.
There are proven ways to reduce belly fat
Are you committed to the work needed to get rid of belly fat? Reducing belly fat takes a combination approach of a low-calorie diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar along with cardiovascular and weight training. If you are willing to do the work, you can move past genetics and lose it.
Following a healthy diet is also an effective way to get rid of belly fat. Diets high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, which include foods like fish, poultry, lean meats, eggs, healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, and lots of colorful vegetables, build up less visceral fat.