Having a flat or trim belly does way more than just make you look good – it increases your lifespan. Being overweight and having a large waistline is largely linked to increased health risks such as heart disease and diabetes. While belly fat is the hardest to lose, it also brings about the most benefits, including improved blood vessel functioning and better sleep quality.
Let’s face it, belly fat is the most stubborn fat on our body. While losing weight overall helps shrink your waistline, getting your tummy under control is a whole other hassle. However, you don’t need to worry anymore; here is a list of ways to deal with belly fat effectively.
Reduce Your Carb Intake
Consuming fewer carbs is a very effective way to get your belly fat under control. Many studies suggest that cutting carbs leads to a reduced appetite, helping people lose weight. Most people tend to cut down on fats rather than carbs as a natural instinct to decrease their weight. However, studies suggest that low-carb diets are twice or thrice as effective as a low-fat diets.
Sticking to a low-carb diet also leads to a quicker reduction in water weight, bringing about faster results in weight loss. Individuals often notice a difference on the scale within just 1 or 2 days. A study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets indicated that consuming lesser carbs specifically targets the fat around the abdomen, organs, and liver. This means that most of the fat you lose by opting for a low-carb diet is harmful abdominal fat.
So, one of the best ways to lose belly fat is to avoid refined carbs such as white bread, sugar, and candy, while maintaining a high protein intake. You can also reduce your daily carb intake to 50 grams per day to reduce belly fat fast.
Physical activity is a great way to burn belly fat. One of the biggest advantages of exercise is that it helps you achieve your ideal body composition (lesser fat, more muscle). Incorporating physical activity in your daily life works especially well to reduce belly fat as it reduces circulating levels of insulin, which otherwise signals the body to hang on to fat. Moreover, it also pushes the liver to use fatty acids, especially those that are near fat deposits.
The amount of physical activity you require for weight loss largely depends on your goals. However, 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise works pretty well!
While exercise routines such as cardio and HIIT helps burn fat, strength training helps build lean muscle mass, which leads to more calorie-burning throughout the day. Full-body strength training is vital if you want to lose abdominal fat, and keep it off in the long-run as the muscle you build while strength training replaces your body fat. Also, since muscle is more metabolically active, you continue to burn calories even after working out.
Remember to start small and give your body time to adjust to your exercise regimen. You can start by lifting weights at least 2 to 3 days a week, and work your way up from there, for instance, you can increase the number of reps you perform. The goal is to build your stamina over time and remain consistent.
Track Your Calories
Perhaps, the most basic approach to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume. For instance, 3,500 calories make up one pound of fat. Bearing this in mind, you can track your calorie intake through a weight-loss app or a simple journal to see how many calories you need to cut back on to lose weight and belly fat.
If you’re not too focused on counting numbers every day, you can opt for a more generalized approach – portion reduction. So, if you consume an entire sandwich for lunch, you can cut back and have only half instead.
Eat More Fiber
Foods that contain high levels of refined sugar and carbs don’t tame your hunger, instead, they end up increasing it. So, you end up eating more than your body’s requirement. A good way to curb your hunger is to increase your fiber consumption by opting for fibrous foods such as oat, fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grain bread, chia seeds, and legumes. These fibrous foods fill you up more as they slow down your digestion process.
Embrace Healthy Fats
This might sound contradictory, but in order to lose fat, you need to eat fat – the right kind. Healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are an important part of your diet as they help you feel more satisfied with your meals. Unsaturated fatty acid foods such as nuts, avocados, fish, eggs, and olive oil help increase satiety while providing your body various health benefits. However, you should consume healthy fats in moderation since they are quite calorie-dense.
Try To Limit Your Stress
Stress is one of the key factors that lead to weight gain. How you deal with stress ultimately determines whether you can achieve your weight loss goals or not. Having stress leads to increased food consumption as you use food as a substitute for dealing with stress. Food instantly makes you feel better and lifts your spirits, which is far easier than dealing with your problems head-on.
The point is that stress-eating leads to one main thing – an expanding belly! While following all the above tips is important to help you lose belly fat, you also need to pay attention to your mental health and stress levels. If you have a history of stress-eating, then keep an eye on your current eating patterns. If you find them getting out of hand, you should reach out to a therapist and seek help.
The Bottom Line
Abdominal fat, more commonly known as belly fat, is associated with an increased risk of health concerns such as diabetes, heart problems, and even cancer. All the above-listed ways to deal with belly fat encircle around making key lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, and maintaining a stress-free routine.