How to Lose Your Belly Fat
It’s unsightly, it’s stubborn and we spend a stupid amount of time sucking it in – but belly fat is persistant beast that’s difficult to slay. Not only can it make your clothes not fit you right, it’s actually dangerous too, even if you’re naturally a slim person.
Having increased belly fat, known as visceral fat, isn’t just a sign that you need to put a weight loss plan together. It’s also dangerous too, as it can significantly increase the risk of heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and other conditions.
To check whether it’s time for you to put a plan in place, wrap a measuring tape around your bare stomach, just above the hip bone. Take a look at the number – if it’s around 37 inches or more, then it’s time to do something about it!
The secret trick to losing belly fat
And the secret trick is… there isn’t one.
You’ve probably seen plenty of tips online and elsewhere, offering up quick cheats and tricks to getting rid of troublesome belly fat. But in reality, there is no simple trick to losing it. Also, unlike what some advice sites will tell you, you can’t target and spot-reduce fat from a specific area on your body.
To make any real change quickly, it all starts with the food you’re fueling your body with. Eating healthily is essential, but you also need to be in a caloric deficit, which means you’re burning through more calories than your consuming. Of course the easiest way to achieve this is through exercise.
Just like our 28 Day Weight Loss Meal Plan, we’ve put together a plan for losing belly fat that’s suitable for you, no matter what your fitness level. Simply follow the steps below, in no particular order. And don’t worry, there’s not a sit-up in sight….
Be lighter on the booze
The first thing and arguably the simplest, yet most effective way to lose abdominal fat is to cut down on your alcohol consumption. We’re not saying that alcohol doesn’t have its health benefits in small amounts. However if you don’t have a healthy relationship with alcohol, it can be seriously harmful.
Research has linked heavy alcohol consumption with an increased risk of central obesity, where the body stores excess fat around the waist. So, by being a bit lighter on the booze may help when it comes to burning away that belly fat.
You don’t have to stop altogether, but drinking less alcohol per week will go a long way to achieving the results you want. This minor change in your lifestyle can turn into ridiculously good results.
Pack some protein into your diet
Protein is mostly associated with muscle gain, but it’s actually a hugely important macronutrient for weight control in general. If you’re aim is to lose belly fat, then increasing your protein intake is an extremely effective change to make.
Consuming more protein will increase the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which will help promote fullness. It will also reduce cravings, raise your metabolic rate and of course help you retain muscle mass during weight loss.
Packing some protein into your diet can help you avoid re-gaining weight too, after you’ve completed the plan. If you’re struggling to increase your protein intake, you can try quality supplements, such as whey protein, or take advantage of our muscle gain meal plans.
Exercise right to enhance your fat burn
Of course exercise is essential when it comes to burning the belly fat away, but make sure you choose the right exercises that will give you the results you want. This includes a combination of anaerobic exercise and resistance training.
It’s commonly thought that aerobic exercise, or steady-state cardio is most effective when it comes to weight loss. However, while it does use up a higher percentage of fat for energy as opposed to muscle glycogen – it’s no-where near as effective for burning energy as anaerobic exercise.
Anaerobic exercise is essentially high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This involves rotating quick, high-intensity intervals of exercise with recovery intervals. HIIT allows you to get in an intense workout in a fraction of the time. You’ll burn more calories, increase your metabolism and trigger the afterburn effect, where your body needs more oxygen to return to a state of rest. This effect causes you to continue to burn calories even after you’ve finished your workout.
Also known as simply weight lifting or strength training, this type of exercise is often overlooked for weight loss, in favour of just doing something cardio based. It’s true that cardio gets your blood pumping and heart working harder, which burns calories, but resistance training can give your efforts even more of a boost.
Resistance training can be beneficial for belly fat loss, as it involves preserving and gaining lean muscle mass. With more lean muscle you’ll actually burn more calories at rest, because your base metabolic rate will be increased. The metabolic demand of muscle is much greater than fat, and as your body expends energy maintaining your muscle mass at rest, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day.
A combination of anaerobic exercise and resistance training will certainly help you lose your belly fat quicker. Just make sure you seek advice from a certified personal trainer before you start a HIIT routine, or lifting weights.
Start getting more quality sleep
All this exercise and healthy eating will pretty much be wasted if you don’t get plenty of restful sleep. Getting quality sleep is essential for weight loss, and your overall well-being. Many studies have shown that people who allow themselves to be sleep deprived, actually gain more weight, which can include belly fat.
This is because studies have shown that when you don’t get enough sleep, your appetite is increased. In fact, a lack of sleep will dull activity in the frontal lobe of your brain, which is responsible for decision-making and self-control. And stimulate the brain’s reward centres, meaning you’ll be more likely to give into some junk food after a night of poor sleep.
By making sure you sleep well every night, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance to stick to your diet and exercise regime. You’ll have more energy and self-control, plus your body will better balanced and ready to burn off that belly fat. The amount of sleep you need can vary from other people, but it’s recommended that you get no fewer than 7 hours of soothing shut-eye per night.
Steer clear of a sugary diet
Added sugar is harmful to your health, but tricky to avoid. These days added sugar can be found in everything, even in foods that aren’t considered sweet; such as breakfast cereals, sauces, and yogurts. Processed foods and ready meals especially, often contain a substantial amount of sugar content – even when they’re marketed as being healthy.
If you consume a lot of added sugar, you’ll increase the amount of fructose in your body. Your liver will be forced to turn the overloaded amount of fructose into fat. This inevitably leads to an increase in belly fat, insulin resistance and a whole host of metabolic problems.
Liquid sugar is even worse, as the calories don’t register with your brain in the same way. Therefore, when you drink sugary beverages, you end up consuming more total calories. Everything from sugary soft-drinks to fruit juices and sports drinks with high sugar content can all end up adding to your waistline. To cut back, start reading more labels to make sure you’re keeping away from foods that are high in refined sugar.
Focus on fiber while cutting carbs
Dietary fiber is often overlooked, but this essential nutrient has long been linked with weight loss. Not only is it super-filling, it also digests at a much slower rate than simple starches and sugars.
This results in a prolonged feeling of fullness, which allows you to more easily keep both your appetite and your weight in check. Fiber is also great for your gut, heart-healthy, and can even reduce your risk of diabetes. Plant foods are best for getting fiber into your diet; such as fruits, legumes, potatoes and certain cereals like whole oats.
As well as filling up on fiber, it’s also a good idea to restrict your carb intake. Focusing on low-carb foods, while keeping your protein intake high as mentioned, can really help to promote weight loss around your belly. Dropping your carbs to around 50 grams per day can put your body into a state known as ketosis, which drastically reduces your appetite and helps your body to burn fat for fuel instead.
Despite what you may read, there’s no magic solution or single secret to losing belly fat. But by successfully adopting some or all of these points into your plan, you will certainly see positive results when it comes to losing your belly fat.
Achieving weight loss always requires effort, commitment and perseverance, which isn’t always easy when you’re dealing with a busy schedule. That’s where we can help – with our 28 Day Weight Loss Meal Plan!
The plan is chock full of nutritiously rich meals that can help you burn that belly fat away, and give you the energy you need to stick to your regular exercise routine. You’ll be able to reach your weight loss goals, without the stress of knowing what food to buy and cook.